The Power of Presenting 
(An Essential Skill in Today’s Competitive Markets)


By:  Mike Bayly


“It was the “umms” and “errs” that I remembered, not their message.”

If you want to win that order, you need to wow your prospects and customers with a well- prepared and professionally delivered presentation. In today’s highly competitive markets, the difference in presentations between competitors can make the difference between success and failure.

When you stand up and give a presentation, it’s so easy to be unaware of all the little distractions that detract from your message.  How many times have you heard a presentation with every other sentence joined with “umms” and “errs” or “OK” or that common one of teenagers today, “like”?  Did you remember the message or was it the “um” rating?!  Your audience will not thank you if you do that and even worse you could lose the order.

So what can you do about it? Well, PRESENTING is a skill, and skills can be learned. You first need to PREPARE your presentation. Winging it in today’s business environment just will not fly anymore. After all, the eagle, the symbol of America, does not wing it. It soars, finds its prey, hovers to make sure it can achieve, and then goes for the kill. It PREPARES, and so must you.  With a well-prepared presentation, you will not have to worry about forgetting what you are going to say. One of the reasons why people get so nervous is they think they are going to dry up.

You obviously need to know your subject, but only pick the 10% that’s RELEVANT to your audience – resist the temptation to “impress” them with your knowledge by overwhelming them. They will not be able to absorb it and will just tune out. You have lost them! When you have decided on which 10% to use, you need to STRUCTURE it. Start with your basic message and then expand it in a logical sequence. And when you start your presentation, tell your audience what you are going to talk about – give them a “roadmap” of your subject. Then they will be able to follow you.

DON’T fill your slides with a huge amount of information. Use just KEYWORDS and then talk around them – it will be much more natural. Otherwise you will lose your audience as they try and figure out what on earth the relevance of the information presented is to what you are saying. A bit like a movie when the voice is out of sync with the picture – the brain gets confused. If you have something complex to show, use a PICTURE or a simple diagram. There is much less likelihood of any confusion than if you only use words – after all the brain does not “see” words. It interprets those words to form an image and unless the relationship between the words and the image were all made at the same time to the same audience, there is a very high probability that each member of the audience will “see” a different picture – not what you are trying to achieve!

When you have prepared your presentation you think you are ready, but the actual delivery can be the most daunting activity.  You break out in a sweat, you start to shake, and the brain decides it’s going to sleep! Sound familiar? Well now you need to prepare yourself. You need to relax. Just stand with your hands loosely at your sides and gradually relax all your muscles in your body. Take a deep breath and then hold it before gradually expelling. Do this a few times. Fill your lungs, just like a singer or a wind instrument player because if you talk in a “conversational” voice, your audience will very quickly become bored. You need to develop a “presentational” voice. You speak more slowly, deliberately, with more power (remember the back row – they would like to hear what you are saying too) and instead of all those non-words (the “umms” and “errs”) use a PAUSE. A pause is very powerful. It gives your audience time to absorb what you have just said, and it gives you time to collect your thoughts. Have clearly in your mind the first 30 seconds of what you are going to say and practice it over and over. And make sure it GRABS their attention.

You do not get a second chance to make a first impression!

By:  Mike Bayly

© 2015 Alliance Training and Consulting, Inc.



View our Presentation Skills and Train the Trainer Courses