Standing up in front of a group of strangers can be nerve-wracking. Standing up in front of a client (or a prospective client) to present can take those nerves to a whole new level, particularly if you’re new to presenting. Nonetheless, presentations are something which come with the territory for those who work in client services. As such, Mentor send all of their newest recruits to presentation school for a back-to-basics session whether they’re an account executive or a senior project manager.
A few weeks ago, Ollie Boyd (Digital Marketing Manager), Nick Awbrey (Senior Project Manager) and Grace Fox (Account Executive) worked with Mentor’s training consultancy team to brush up on their presentation techniques. This week, we’ll be taking you through the presentation introduction techniques our team were taught.
This may seem pretty obvious but you’d be surprised how many people kick-off their presentation with a simple “hello” before diving straight in. By not properly introducing yourself, your audience can be left feeling confused as to who you are and why you specifically were deemed most suitable to be presenting in the first place.
Start off your presentation with a formal introduction, keep regular eye-contact, use open hand gestures and of course, smile. Your audience will form opinions on you (and in so doing your company) within the first few minutes of your presentation so make sure you give yourself the best start.
Why are you presenting?
A big no – no for a presentation introduction is simply listing all the things you’re going to talk about. Stop. Think about how YOU are helping your client by doing this presentation. Tell your audience why they should really listen to what you have to say and what they will gain from it.
Keep your client and their interests at the forefront of every message you give during a presentation. Move away from the “I” and towards the “you” and “we.”
What will your client gain at the end of this presentation?
Every presentation needs a beginning, middle and end so start off your presentation by briefing the client on the journey they’re going to take with you today. What knowledge, skills or techniques will your presentation give them by the end? How can your audience then attribute this information you’re going to give them?
By setting out your presentation structure, you can give your audience a better idea of how each element will be working towards the end goal of your presentation. This method of introduction will further encourage your audience to engage and justify why you have set your presentation structure in a certain way.
Interact with everyone!
Be honest, during your last presentation, did you ask your audience to participate at all?
Asking questions during your presentation can be a great way to keep everyone engaged and make sure you’re all on the same page. You could be discussing a new social media tool under the assumption that everyone in the room has the same social media savviness that you do but what if they don’t? Check in with your audience during your introduction and you can quickly resolve any misunderstandings which could impact upon your presentation later on.
Most presentations last between 30 minutes to an hour, this can prove quite a challenge for any audience to sit in silence and concentrate for. Keep checking in with your audience throughout your presentation to get their opinions and keep their attention.
We’ll be back soon to look at the biggest chunk of a presentation, the main pitch, for the next instalment of our presentation series. If you can’t wait until then why not check out Tina’s book, ‘Get the Presentation X-Factor!’ from Amazon or get in touch with Mentor Training to see what they can do for you.