Have you ever bought someone a present? I’m guessing the answer here is ‘yes’. When you buy someone a present, you obviously consider what the person would like, what they would want, and what they would need. Once you’ve found the right present for the person, it is then very likely you would take the time to wrap the present in an attractive way, perhaps with ribbons and bows, before giving the present.
Why am I talking about presents and gift-wrapping? Because the way you select and wrap a present with the recipient in mind is exactly the same as the way you prepare and present a presentation to your prospect.
Think about the word ‘presentation’ and analyse the word ‘present’. Just as when you select a present for someone as a gift, when you present to your prospects, you must consider the person to whom you are presenting. What will interest them? What will motivate them? What will excite them? A presentation must be packaged around the person you are presenting to, so it is very important that you know who your audience will be. You cannot rely on the same presentation to be successful with every audience. It must be tailored to suit your audience, so it is therefore essential to have established a relationship or rapport with your prospect before you present to them.
The next similarity between present-giving and presenting is that you don’t give a gift that is not nicely wrapped, and you don’t give a presentation without wrapping it with all the right trimmings that people want to see before getting to the core of the business.
I used to give my daughter gifts without wrapping them, so to not waste paper. But my daughter would complain that it wasn’t as exciting to receive an unwrapped present. She likes the anticipation. It is the same with a presentation. A lot of people fail because they start talking about the intricate details of the business too soon in their presentation: the costs, the involvement, the compensation plan. When you do this, your audience will quickly grow disinterested and will think you’re trying to sell them something for your own benefit. They will not be as receptive as they would be if they thought you’re giving them a gift. If the audience is not receptive, it is the presenter who is failing. The approach should be that of giving a present. “Hey, I have something here that will be of value to you. I want to give it to you.”
Normally, in a big group presentation, you cannot be so specific to the needs and wants of an individual, and you can’t really close. So, that’s why when you speak to a large crowd, you wrap your present with many different trimmings, try to use as many examples as you can, and express various ways of saying your point, so that you try connect with each person at different times.
What’s more, when you are presenting, another trimming is the atmosphere and the environment. It is important to set up the right atmosphere, where people appreciate what you are saying to them. When I am giving a presentation, when I am giving someone a gift, I don’t become uncomfortable. I don’t think that he or she is doing me a favour by listening or accepting my gift, nor do I feel that I am wasting his/her time. I am giving them a present.
So wrapping it is very important. The different trimmings that would attract a particular person is best applied one-on-one. You can then focus on their individual needs, what they want, what dreams and aspirations they have, and all the things that excite that person. These are the trimmings. The details of the business are the present.
So, in this final Gem in the Fundamentals of Networking series, I am not going to tell you ‘how’ to present. I can’t tell you that because I don’t know who you are going to be presenting to; because who you present to dictates how you present. I can only give you parameters that you should consider, and advise that you should always show respect, be careful how you dress, be prepared in terms of what you’re going to say, have a thorough understanding of the business, know the background of your audience, and so forth. The rest is up to you and your prospect.
Group Managing Director, QI Ltd