Group sales presentations are a very versatile prospecting technique and can take many shapes and forms. You could, for example, arrange your own seminar, inviting anyone and everyone that fits your demographic. Conversely, you could be invited along to make a presentation on behalf of your company to a group of clients with similar interests or a single client with many representatives. However the group meeting is derived, the techniques you’ll need to employ for a successful outcome remain the same. And if the idea of presenting to a group of people gives you the fear of God, then these techniques should settle your nerves and make the occasion a smoother more fluid experience.
Planning is the key to the door of success when preparing for a group presentation. The first thing you’ll think of is the need to write a script and plan your visual aids. Of course, this is necessary, but if you’re too scripted you’ll have no flexibility and – well what happens if you forget your script half way through? There’s another pitfall of being over scripted and that’s turning into a talking book. As far as presentations go, you’ll sound dull and boring and the people you’re presenting to will inevitably lose interest.
There is a middle ground, and that’s to make notes. Outlining the structure of your presentation will give you flexibility and the freedom to ad lib, answer questions and inject a spark of spontaneity into the proceedings.
After all, you’re the one who knows more about your product or service than anyone else in the room – and that counts for a lot.
Structure and rehearsal
You’ll want your presentation to be a story with a beginning, middle and end and this is how your notes should be ordered. As a guide, you’ll want to start off by introducing yourself and the subject of the talk, then explain the points you wish to make before wrapping up with a summary.
Now you’ve got that sorted, it’s time to rehearse. Run through your presentation several times so that you’re familiar with its story – and vitally, time it too.
If you’ve been invited to speak to a group, you’ll most likely be given a time slot, and if you have been, it’s essential to keep to it – do not overrun. If you’re speaking at an event you’ve organised, timing is still critical. Remember, people have limited concentration spans so cut out any waffle, sharpen your presentation and keep it interesting by sticking to the key points.
Also remember to factor in a concluding question and answer session, especially if you’ve been given a set time slot within which to present.
And the big day
Now for the critical part – making your presentation. To start, it’s imperative that you dress for success. Also think carefully about hygiene and cleanliness – don’t overdo the cologne and if you’re a smoker, don’t smell like an ashtray.
You’re the entertainer, and you need to be the star of your show which, incidentally, is why rehearsal is so important. Feeling nervous? Channel that energy into your act. Be relaxed but alert. Be aware of your body language as well as that of the prospects in front of you.
Other vital points include always standing to make your presentation so everyone can see you, talking naturally to your audience and being animated. It’s also important to vary the tone and pitch of your voice and don’t be afraid to make direct eye contact either.
All these little points come together to make a whole presentation effective. Granted, if it’s your first time there’ll be a learning curve, but if you follow the basics, you’ll be out of the starting gates and past the winning post before you know it.