Sales Presentations and Presentation Training

Powerpoint presentations are here to stay. Whatever the form of the business gathering, you’ll find they are almost always accompanied by a slideshow. It’s particularly true of sales presentations, where winning over the audience is absolutely fundamental. However, Powerpoint is now treated as compulsory, which means that it’s used whether or not it’s useful – a case of the tail wagging the dog. The problem is that Powerpoint design is frequently fairly poor, and serves only to put off your listeners, not win them over to your way of thinking. Thus something that can be a great asset can all too often become a liability. How do you avoid this happening?

People communicate in various ways. There are those who want to send and receive large quantities of information; they are noticeable by their habit of going into great detail and giving you more data than you really need. There are those who tend to communicate on a more emotional basis, interpreting a situation by the way they feel about it. They tend to be more emotive in their own communication, too, using means that resonate on that level – colourful language, anecdotes and intense descriptions of their feelings. And there are those who are far more instinctive and straightforward. They tend to want to get to the heart of a matter and make a decision quickly, and are interested in only the most important details. Bear in mind that when you are communicating with a group of people, it will likely contain one or more of all of these types. Therefore you need to cater for their needs. Otherwise, you will find that you talk past two-thirds of your audience, simply because you’re not communicating in a way that they find easy to engage with.

In terms of Powerpoint presentations, that means you need to adjust your slides as well as your talk. You should make sure you cover all three areas in your Powerpoint design. For your talk, give the data you need, of course. But you should complement it with illustrations and personal stories. You should also provide a summary for those who want nothing more. For your slides, you can do the same. Charts and graphs convey large amounts of information. Photographs and pictures appeal to a different side to the audience and will register emotionally, giving them something to remember. For the last group, a short list of bullet points will give them what they need. Make sure you cater to everyone’s preferences and you’ll find your sales presentations have a higher degree of success.

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Sales presentations and the science of the slideshow

Powerpoint presentations are a very common way to bolster your verbal presentation and, when used properly, can give an exceptional boost to your audience’s engagement with the material. sales presentations can be hard-going at the best of times, but good Powerpoint design can provide extra details, snare the attention of listeners in danger of tuning out, and provide a critical second strand of information. Consequently, this is one skill it’s worth acquiring – or buying in from an external consultancy if you don’t have the confidence to do it well in-house.

The reason Powerpoint and other visual presentations are so worthwhile is that some people simply do not respond well to the spoken word. Each of us understands a presentation in our own unique way and, for one reason or another, we may not take on board much of the material in a talk. There is a rule that some people are auditory learners – they engage well with the spoken word – whereas others are visual (and others kinaesthetic – that is, they respond to activity, rather than seeing or hearing). Of course, each of us is a mixture of these aspects rather than employing one alone. However, the reality remains that a large proportion of us may not digest well information that is delivered orally. Backing up a spoken-word presentation with a visual one caters to these types.

Therein lies one potential problem of Powerpoint, however. It is all too easy to duplicate content on the screen – in the worst cases, merely repeating the spoken presentation verbatim with a set of slides. This is both distracting to the audience and insulting to their intelligence. A better strategy is to complement, not copy. A picture speaks a thousand words, and charts and photos can supply helpful background information that cannot concisely be given by the speaker. Moreover, information presented this way is far more accessible than written words, in that it is far richer in content.

Powerpoint design can therefore contribute a great deal to your sales presentations and other events. The catch is to do it properly, since bad Powerpoint design will actually detract from your delivery, rather than just not adding very much. Dedicated companies offer training in how to put together a convincing slideshow – one that will engage your audience and complement your speech. Alternatively, you can simply farm out this aspect of your presentation and get an expert to put it together for you.

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