A Presentation That Pays Off with Future Sales

The success of a presentation begins with its very first sentence. Ask yourself what will be most interesting to your attendees. Is there new research or data within their industry that can help their businesses run more efficiently? Maybe there’s a recent success story that may impact their mindset about a new technology in the marketplace?

Not every presentation needs to be exactly like Steve Jobs would have done it, or in the style of a famous TED Talk, but there are some key points that will captivate your audience and keep their attention — helping you close deals. Follow the tips below to prep for your next presentation and stand out in front of the crowd.

What makes an amazing presentation?

Experts at CustomShow, a sales presentation platform, stress that capturing your audience’s attention with a strong opening will engage their minds, enabling the presenter to effectively convey his entire message. Their advice: “In general it is not a good idea to memorize your entire speech. It is, however, a good idea to memorize the beginning four to 10 sentences. This is critical because it allows you to feel confident and ride the wave of confidence as you continue your presentation.” For additional ideas, view How To Start A Presentation Tips And Tricks – 22 Powerful Strategies on their website.

The mechanics of speaking will in itself make a difference in the effectiveness of your presentation, too. Your voice speaks volumes about your confidence and will reflect, rightly or wrongly, on how you feel about the topic. Therefore, speaking clearly and confidently is important.

4 ways your speaking voice matters

You’ll find many useful tips for prepping your voice at SkillsYouNeed.com. Its primer on Aspects of Effective Speaking provides useful exercises on increasing your comfort in developing a speaking voice, using breath to improve your voice and the four important aspects of voice when making a presentation:

  1. Accents
  2. Finding your voice
  3. The effect of breath on voice and speech
  4. Vocal production

One example of how your voice matters is inflection. For example, when a person asks a question, the last word of the sentence typically goes up in tone at the end. Sometimes when speakers are uncomfortable with a subject or nervous about their situation they fall into a rhythm that ends every sentence on a high note, whether it’s a question or a statement. This leaves an impression of uncertainty. Practice your presentation, record it and listen for proper inflection. Strong statements should finish with a steady or lower tone. Make sure your voice varies appropriately.

Make the content memorable

Equally important, of course, is the content. You have earned a precious opportunity to stand in front of an audience that includes prospective clients. Show them how much you value their time and how you intend to make it pay off. Talk with knowledge about the audience’s industry or needs. Share important trends or information relevant to their needs.

While your talk may include a scripted explanation about your company’s services, make certain the bulk of your presentation offers in-depth information that makes for useful takeaways. When you do so you’ll build trust and that is the first step toward opening the door to business after the presentation.

rollercoaster park

Even Out the Ups and Downs Of Business

rollercoaster park

Economic cycles – up and down – are inevitable, whether they’re national, regional or local. Businesses are cyclical too. One year you’re up; another year you’re down. Hopefully you’ve had a string of good years in between. The causes vary: Technology can make a product or service obsolete; an important client can go out of business; a new, aggressive competitor has moved into your territory.

Regardless of the timing or cause, preparation can mitigate negative effects. Strategic Marketing Consultant Neville Pokroy in his Mastermind Solutions Inc. article offers Six Steps To Overcoming The Economic Roller Coaster. Being proactive runs throughout his recommendations.

“If you plan for your next downturn, you ‘ll be in great shape when it comes,” Pokroy says. “In fact, if you’ve already put plans in place, and are executing those plans, you could prevent the next downturn from coming at all.” One aspect of his six steps is a customer-building process called AIDA:

  • Catch their Attention
  • Raise their Interest with reasons your product or service is what they want
  • Create a Desire in them to buy from you
  • Prompt buying Action when they’re ready

The more customers you invest in during good times provides more cushion for your business during downtimes. If there are personnel changes or cutbacks within some accounts, you’ll have a broader base to make up for the loss.

Big Change, Best Path: Successfully Managing Organizational Change with Wisdom, Analytics and Insight, authored by Accenture Strategy’ s Warren Parry and published by Kogan Page, helps organizations navigate complex organizational change using ground-breaking modeling to understand success and failure and to learn from it to become more agile and resilient.

In a whitepaper Turning Change Upside Down, Accenture Strategy addresses the “inherently messy, chaotic process” of change – whether it’s due to a downturn or an organizational evolution. Parry and his colleague Randy Wandmacher encourage “Fitness for Change,” describing it as “a requirement to be in business – not something you pay attention to only when change comes along.”

They write: “Developing this ‘fitness for change’ is similar to athletes training for a competition. Training in the right way – focusing on specific muscle groups for strength and flexibility, for example – will build up their conditioning, enabling them to withstand greater exertion without any drop in performance.”

When you prepare for change in good times and bad, you steady your business to take advantage of growth when it occurs and to strengthen your staff and loyal customers in the face of difficulties.

10 times thinking

Think bigger & grow your business by 10 times

10 times thinking

What would you do differently if you had to grow your business revenue by 10 times?

Would you keep doing the same thing you’re doing now? Would you maintain the same strategy? Do you think 10 times growth could be possible?

Startups thrive on 10 times growth

That’s exactly what was requested of Jason Silver, Growth Lead for Airbnb Canada, when he began his career with the famous startup – as he explained at a recent conference to a packed audience.

Silver was asked to fly to San Francisco to present his growth plans for the coming year to leadership. Being an enthusiastic new team lead, he set a bold vision for the year ahead and laid the strategic groundwork for 10% growth – what would be considered a remarkable achievement for most organizations.

In the boardroom that day, he explained how he and his team would achieve that growth, heads nodding around the room, and he was proud of what they had planned. But at the conclusion of his presentation, one of Airbnb’s most senior leaders questioned Silver.

‘What would you do differently if we asked you to achieve 10 times that growth?’

Silver was stumped. He stopped dead in his tracks and knew that this wasn’t just a question; it was a request.

Reimagining your entire business strategy

On the flight back home, Silver knew 10 times growth could never be achieved through a simple retooling of the existing strategy. He thought to himself, “If this seemingly impossible task was actually possible, what would my plan be?”

He had to scrap everything and start from the ground up.

Back home, he and his team began developing an entirely new plan in short order – this time focusing on an incredible growth trajectory over the same period of time.

His mantra during the ensuing year became one about the very idea of failure. “Failure is the tool I use to figure out if we’re being ambitious enough in the work we’re doing.”

The company’s vision for an aggressive approach to strategy and growth would teach him one of the biggest lessons of his career.

Can 10 times be achieved?

Skeptics would argue this would be an improbable achievement under most circumstances. And they might be right.

In Silver’s case, the team put their strategy into action and worked diligently throughout that year to achieve 10 times growth. And the result? They failed.

But failure was far from a bad thing. Although they didn’t achieve the ultimate goal, they did achieve nine times growth – and that amount to a near 800% improvement over where Silver’s original strategic plan would have put the division in the same timeframe.

By any account, that is a massive victory.

     Related: Using failure as a guidepost: Why growing companies should embrace failure.

Thinking bigger in your organization

The lesson is clear. Any individual, team or entire company can achieve exceptional results well beyond their original goals, but it may require a fresh approach to their strategy. Step outside the comfort zone of your original plans and ask yourself what it would take to achieve 10 times your results.

Silver recommends thinking about the ‘what if’ questions in your own company. What if our market was bigger? What if we developed a completely new product? What if we attracted a sought-after demographic of customers?

By reimagining the possibilities of your company boundaries, you can put down the preconceived roadblocks and find alternate avenues to your strategy. The possibilities are infinite, and brainstorming ideas is one route to uncovering a potentially lucrative new direction.

Can your company achieve 10 times revenue? That is to be determined – the starting point is challenging yourself to come up with a new way of approaching your business that breaks out of the mold.

Are you capable of 10 times thinking? Absolutely.

brexit

Will Brexit Impact Your Business Operations?

brexit

There’s no doubt one of the world’s largest economies has made a splash in the business news lately. How could Great Britain’s exit from the European Union impact our business community in North America?

We look at the highlights from across the media to see what analysts and outlets are saying, and what to watch out for.

1. “How bad will Brexit get? Here’s what top economists are saying.”

From: Vox World

“On June 23, British voters decided to vote “Leave” anyway. And now they’re left to grapple with the consequences — including any economic turmoil that may follow.

“So how bad would severing ties with the EU be? On the day after the vote, markets plunged sharply around the world, suggesting serious economic risks were on the horizon. But economists have differing views on just what Brexit would mean — and exactly how dire it could get. Here’s a running roundup from around the web.”

Key takeaway: Brexit is a crisis in Britain, but there is no sure sign this is a crisis for North American business…yet. The key thing to remember is that if you’re dealing with British businesses, EU businesses that rely heavily on Britain, or if your clients are doing just that, then you should keep a close eye on what’s happening. For most businesses dealing primarily with other North American companies, Brexit may not have an immediate impact other than stirring the already-mirky waters of the psychology of business economics.

2. “‘Brexit’ in America: A Warning Shot Against Globalization”

From: The New York Times

“For all the shock and awe on Wall Street and financial markets around the globe on Friday, the imminent danger to the underlying American economy is relatively small. What’s far more worrisome is whether Britain’s decision represents an end to the economic integration and opening markets that have helped propel sales at companies like Eastman over the last few decades. …

““In the near term, you’re seeing markets being roiled, and feedback effects for the Federal Reserve,” Mr. Hubbard said. But for now, at least in the United States, “I don’t think it’s going to raise recession probabilities.” …

“When it comes to commerce, Britain is not even among the United States’ top five trading partners — it’s currently the seventh largest…”

Key takeaway: This lackadaisical stance seems to make us feel like Brexit will have little-to-no impact on American business, unless you’re like the Eastman company mentioned and have operations in both the U.S. and Britain. Instead, they cite opportunities for trade and partnerships elsewhere, potentially exposed because of the changes in the world markets. Perhaps your business can take a look across other borders for new opportunity knocking.

3. “Brexit jitters claim a Canadian IPO”

From: Globe and Mail

“The market turmoil that erupted in the aftermath of the Brexit vote has claimed a prominent Canadian casualty: MCAP Corp.’s initial public offering.

“The mortgage lender filed for a $275-million IPO in May, and institutional and retail orders soon started flowing, according to people familiar with the offering. A few days before Britain’s referendum, things came to a halt. On Wednesday, the deal was pulled altogether.”

Key takeaway: Although Brexit wasn’t the direct cause of failure, the market’s insecurity with what would amount from Brexit turmoil was enough to massively impact this business. But keep in mind, this was a huge enterprise with a muli-million dollar IPO at stake, so it’s not as relatable to most SMBs. Keep an eye on the papers for these types of stories, as enterprise analysts can give you early warning signals of what’s to come in the market.

4. “Impacts on Small Businesses And Startups In The U.S.”

From: Fast Company

“Small business owners, along with multinational companies, must understand that hundreds of laws, rules, and agreements governing everything from trade and immigration to agricultural subsidies will be rewritten, and that will impact contractual agreements,” Wojcik says. …

“Now that Brexit has happened, Todd believes slow growth here in the U.S. is likely to continue. “Paradoxically, even with all the economic and political uncertainty, if a tech entrepreneur has a good idea, it could continue to be a great time to go out and try to raise capital,” Todd contends. …

“”The strongest of small businesses know how to withstand turbulence, adapting quickly to changing environments,” Holoubek says. “When your service or product helps larger corporations do the same, times of great uncertainty become a win-win.””

Key takeaway: Although there are certain risks starting a cross-border business, this may be a great time to find valuable investment at lower rates. And if you’re a small business supporting a larger enterprise, you could have just stumbled into the sweet spot as SMBs can generally weather these storms very well, and that means more money in your pockets.

5. “After the Brexit Vote: The impact on US & Soviet relations”

From: Richmond Times

“As the U.S. heads into an election campaign, Washington’s influence on events in Europe and elsewhere is ebbing. President Obama went to Ottawa two weeks ago to confer with his Canadian and Mexican counterparts about coping with Brexit’s impact on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). These leaders foresee growing opposition to free trade during the U.S. election campaign and beyond. Continued close relations on trade and commerce are important U.S. interests, but the overriding U.S. priority is the strength and cohesiveness of NATO. It was responsible for forging peace and prosperity in Europe for nearly 70 years and eventually bringing former Soviet satellites under its defense umbrella. If the EU begins to unravel under the stress of nationalist pressures, NATO’s defense shield will remain a vital U.S. interest in Europe.”

Key takeaway: Economics, politics and Russian relationships. We’ve seen over and over in reality and the movies. You better believe these discussions will be all over every news outlet, late night comedy talk show and blog, so keep watching for impacts on your business.