Yesterday, I presented in front of a Fortune 50 organization and spoke on the subject of 'Closing The Sale'. It's a near and dear topic with me and I feel EVERYONE needs to always brush up on their closing techniques. I was so happy to receive hearty applause from the group when I finished — many team members came up to me afterward to shake my hand. During the entire morning, I realized I've 'built-in' a number of successful habits when I deliver presentations and I thought I would relate them to you — so here goes:
1. Pack up the night before.
I check (and double check) all of my files, my laptop, my projector and all of the peripherals/cables needed the night before. I ensure they are packed and ready to go in the morning. I know of so many instances when people forget things for their presentation — a cable, adapter, handouts, etc. and it makes them spin into a tizzy prior to their presentation. Prepare.
2. Arrive early.
Really early. Hours early. I arrived at my location at 6 AM to set up my laptop, projector and to check if everything was ready to go. I can't stress this enough — nothing went wrong, but if something was amiss, I had ample time to repair it.
3. Greet everyone as they come in.
I make it a point to stand by the door to greet people as they enter. It breaks down the 'wall' which develops with presenters and the audience. They get to meet you, ask questions, you can ask questions of them — it's a win-win for everyone. In addition, you can find out more about them and position your talk to their needs.
4. Build an intro slide.
I always have my laptop powered up, my projector running and an intro slide with me welcoming people. Usually my slide would say GOOD MORNING TEAM! It's a nice way to greet people AND it is a great excuse to have my entire setup on and ready to roll for my presentation. I hate when presenters are introduced and they are fidgeting with their laptop, projector, and cables to get everything running.
5. Ask if everyone is 'READY'.
I always begin with a slide (after the title slide and introduction) to stop and ask the audience if they're ready. It jolts them at first but then I get a resounding 'YES!' and their attention is on me and their blood is pumping.
6. Ask a lot of questions.
I make it interactive and ask the audience a lot of questions — "Has this happened to you?" — "How do you feel about this?" It allows me to keep the volley moving between speaker and audience.
7. Use the audience as examples.
During my pre-talk greet with the audience, I get to know their names, professions, and some of their worries. During my presentation, I might use them to reinforce a point I'm making by singling them out and using them in a fictitious example. They always agree with me and everyone around them gets the message — they could be next!
8. Watch the clock.
I always ensure I've locked down the EXACT length and time to present. Hosts ALWAYS try to cut it short, so I make sure I meet with them prior to the talk and clearly define MY time on stage. I then reiterate my start time and end time and in a very nice way let them know not to cut it short. It seems every host has a secret need to let their people out early and I have to head that inkling off at the pass.
9. Always leave time for questions.
Know when to stop and leave time for the audience to expand on what you just presented. Not only does it clear up some things for them, it allows them to flourish you with accolades in front of the audience.
10. Be available after the talk.
I always buffer additional time after all of my speaking gigs to allow the audience to meet me, speak with me, ask questions, and exchange cards. I get a LOT of business that way. So stick around and be available — I find there usually is a line of people ready and willing to reach out and touch you.