10 Tips On How To Give A Killer Presentation

Dec 09, 2019

Presentation skills. How do you put together a killer presentation? In this blog, I'm going to share with you just how to do that, so here we go.

When you're advancing your career, many times you're going to have to present, whether it's a proposal or an idea that you want to share with the organization. Whatever it is, you have to uplevel your presenting skills. I've spent thousands of hours working on my own communication, whether it's observing great communicators, reading books on communication, creating content myself, writing my presentations, or delivering my presentations. I've had to learn the hard way how to do some of the things that I'm sharing with you today.

These 10 tips come from a fantastic resource titled, "Well Said," by Darlene Price. I just connected with Darlene on LinkedIn, so hopefully, we can interview her on Influence Trainer in the near future. Darlene interviewed a number of executives and asked them, "What are your pet peeves? What are the things that annoy you, that derail you, that make you shut down a presentation?" She compiled this list of the top 10 things for her book and I'm going to share them with you today. I wholeheartedly endorse this book and these 10 tips. If you utilize these 10 items, you immediately uplevel your presentation, uplevel your communication, and increase your influence with those executives. So here we go.

  1. TMI. Too much information. When you are creating a proposal or presenting for a high-level executive, you've got to put yourself in their shoes. This is a foundational principle of all communication. Know your audience. These executives are very busy, they've got a lot of things going on. Time is precious to them and so you've got to honor that time, respect that time, and don't give them an overabundance of detail. I like to say many times these executives can make a decision with 20% of the information. You might need 80% of the information to make a decision, but they only need 20%, so let them ask questions about the other information they want.
  2. Don't Ramble. Like number one, don't give lengthy explanations to a simple question. Deliver the answer, be confident in it. There's a great quote that says if you confuse people, you lose people. That's true with anybody you run into, but it's especially true with the executive that values their time very highly. Don't ramble.
  3. What's in it for them? Do not fail to tie your message to the key business drivers of that decision-maker. What's in it for them? That's what every single person is asking. That's what you're asking. When you read this blog, you want to learn about presentation skills. If I start talking about golf, you're going to get frustrated and tune out unless it ties back into presentation skills. So what's in it for me is what every person you interact with is asking, but especially those high-level executives you're presenting to.
  4. Be confident. Remember we're talking about the top 10 biggest complaints from executives and number four is lack of confidence and enthusiasm. You've seen the show Shark Tank, they can smell a lack of confidence from a mile away. You've got to believe in your product, you've got to believe in your presentation, and then you've got to communicate that confidence and enthusiasm to the executive.
  5. Do your homework. You've got to be ready when you're asked a question. You've got to anticipate before that presentation, "What would I ask if I was sitting in their seat?" How am I answering that question, "What's in it for me?" What questions are they going to ask you? What information do they want to know? Not what's important to you, or important for the engineer to deliver, but what's important to that executive? Anticipate that question. Do your homework and be ready.
  6. Anticipate objections. Just like number five, you need to anticipate, but instead of questions, anticipate any objections that might come your way, the negative things they might respond with. That's where practice comes into play. Get around some people that are a little more critical and can poke some holes in your presentation and let them poke holes. Let them ask the tough questions or bring the objections, and be ready to counter those objections.
  7. Know what you need. Let me ask you this question: Do you know what you need from this decision-maker that you're trying to present to? You've got to know that. You've got to know what you are asking of them. Are you asking for more resources to fulfill a project? Are you asking them to sign on the dotted line? Are you asking them for a decision that day so you can move forward, so you can put in an order? What are you asking this decision maker? You've got to decide what that thing is and drive towards that and then make the big ask.
  8. Don't get defensive. Decision-makers hate it when you respond defensively to their criticisms or feedback. Don't let a shiver come up your spine or at least don't let it show when there's some harsh criticism or some feedback. I had this happen during a proposal I was sharing with the president of an organization. He said, "I don't believe in the style of assessment that you use." I didn't blink an eye. I didn't skip a beat. I kept moving forward because I know what I deliver is quality. And you know what? At the end of the proposal, he said yes. Why? Because I was confident in it. Maybe he had had a bad experience in the past, but my ability to continue to move forward confidently in what I was delivering and not be afraid, frustrated, or angry when he gave critical feedback, enabled me to get the deal in the end.
  9. Lack of executive image. These are frustrations that are expressed by executives, high-level decision-makers, highly influential people -- the people that you want to influence for your success and your career. They get frustrated when you lack an executive image. So while it may be comfortable to have more of a business casual image, you've got to know your audience, know the type of organization that you're going into. I wear jeans and a tucked-in dress shirt and a sports coat on a regular basis. It works for 75% of my engagements. But there are some conferences and events where I'm in a full suit because that's what I need to present. That's the image I need to put out there. People are judging you from the moment that you walk in the room. You need to know that. You need to understand that and you need to leverage that for your own highest good and your highest influence with that group.
  10. Teach them something new. A frustration and complaint from high-level executives about folks that present to them is, "They didn't teach me anything new." If you're going to take the time of a high-level executive, remember, they're paid the big bucks so they can make high-level decisions. Other decisions are made below them. You can be frustrated about that, you may dislike it, but that's the system. Einstein said, "Learn the system and then beat the system." So this is the system. You need to teach them something new. You need to know what they know going into that meeting and be able to deliver something they didn't know before. This is where you are adding something new. Hopefully, this blog is worth your time because I shared with you something new, some new information, something that you didn't know before. It might be this wonderful book that Darlene wrote that's fantastic and I'll be using in the future. It might be something else that I shared with you, but you better go into that room with some information that the executive did not know before if you want to increase your influence with them.

I hope this content helps in your presentations with the executives that you interact with.

Thank you so much for reading and as promised, I have the influence assessment in the links below.

To access your free download, click on the “Influence Assessment” link below.  

Increase your influence, realize your dream.

Influence Assessment

Well Said!: Presentations and Conversations That Get Results by Darlene Price

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