Orchestrate the presentations, do not try to wing it.
When it comes to presenting to a large audience, generating and capturing attention is very difficult. For example, being a sales head or being an entrepreneur, you present your product at a national seminar. Oftentimes, the presenter presents this product or solution but never connects with the audience. When it comes to sales pitches or when it comes to product demos, the desired result is to generate interest or generate the lead. This is true for our webinars as well.
I was called for the presentation.
This was the year 2012 and I was into selling LMS and learning technology solutions to colleges and corporates.
In my profession I go for a lot of presentations, it is either in the corporate sector or in the universities. This time, the request was from a prestigious engineering college in Bangalore and they wanted me to talk to their final year students and the topic was related to IT career options for the students. I can say that the topic was a useful subject for the final year students looking for a great career. Since the college was our customer and since I knew the Director of the college really well, I readily accepted the request.
On the day of the presentation, I went well prepared and expected a good response from the students. I always felt that I am fairly good at presentations and I can read the pulse of the audience so as to hold their interest.
But I was wrong this time.
The presentation started after a brief introduction about the speaker by the principal. Despite my honest efforts at connecting to the audience, despite my efforts at setting the context that was more relevant to the audience, I found the audience disinterested. Many of the students and faculty were either looking at their mobile phones or the audience sitting in the last row were leaving the conference hall one by one.
After coming back to the office, I thought a lot about the failure, my failure of not attracting the attention of the audience, and my failure of not creating that "aha" moment.
After COVID, we have shifted towards online webinars and online events. Getting and retaining the attention of the audience in webinars is much more difficult compared to face-to-face interactions. The main reason for the failures of our presentations and webinars is mainly not setting the right context and the right expectations.
Even the farmer will not throw the seeds to the land without tllling the land.
Nowadays, I started following a structured approach for demos, webinars, or for presentations. Following a structured approach has come in handy for me for several presentations or demos to achieve desired results. In this write-up, I have only mentioned the 'Before' part and not covered the 'During' and 'After' parts of the presentation.
1) Create a complete biography (Who you are)
Beforehand, I convey to the organization (to whom I am going to talk) my background, education, skills, and experience. This is always in a document format with crisp and clear details. For example, if I am going to present a webinar to the researchers, I ensure that the registered audience receives a detailed document with details about the speaker.
2) Setting expectations with a clear takeaway.
It is important to mention why the audience needs to attend our presentation. For example, in some of the sales presentations for a larger audience (maybe a workshop or a conference), I study the audience persona and clearly mention 'Why" they need to attend my session. A document containing clear takeaways can help the audience to engage with the presenter in the right spirit.
For example, if there is a national conference and the audience is HR executives, I request the organizers that they have to send an introduction email to the audience along with the PDF copy so that the audience will be ready with some expectations. The more effective way is to take the printouts of the important points and put them on the desks of the audience. This works fantastic if you are presenting your product to a larger audience.
3) Introduction by the familiar face. (for the audience)
I always request the organizers to introduce me in detail. Oftentimes, what happens at conferences or in workshops, is that because of a busy schedule or simply because of a lack of focus, organizers just read a few sentences about the speaker and we can see the introduction activity as an act of routine. This is true in the case of big conferences or in seminars. The result of this poor introduction leads to low attention from the audience.
This is true for sales pitches to a small group of people. When an insider of the prospective organization (where you are presenting) introduces the presenter to the audience, there is an element of authenticity and impact.
I see many sales pitches or product presentations fail to achieve the desired results (generating leads or interest) because of a lack of setting the context. People try to wing it during the sales pitch without ground preparation but in vain.
To orchestrate the process of presentation, setting up the right context is very important. Unless we set the context and expectations for the audience we can not get the desired results.
🧠🧠I am, a Growth Marketer, and my insights on Content Marketing, Lead Generation, and Business Strategy are based on my experiences working in the B2B sales and marketing domain. I create content on Linkedin, and Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_u2cmCHRcHzZIQaau8a3OA) Medium, and on my blog site. ✍️🎀🏆