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Powerful Presentations Build Your Business

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Summary: Take the time to create presentations for your meetings, and sign up more business.

Category: Small Business

Words: 1050

Powerful Presentations Build Your Business

Copyright (c) 2003 by Angela Booth

You've set up a meeting with a potential client. You've dressed
appropriately, your shoes are shined. You've got your portfolio
and your business cards, and you have an idea of what you want
out of the meeting. In a word: you want business.

This is the way 95 per cent of small business people approach
meetings. However, if you spend a little more time preparing your
presentation, you'll make a more powerful impact and will get
more work.

The major rule is: when you've landed a meeting, always make a
proposal. Have a clear idea of exactly what you want. You present
your proposal via a carefully scripted, and rehearsed,
presentation. This is not the time to leave anything to chance,
or to wing it.

Before you can create your presentation, you need to know what
your proposal is. For example, let's say you're a freelance
copywriter approaching a graphics design agency, with a view to
being considered as a sub-contractor.

Remembering "WIIFM", (What's In It For Me), you realize that you
will need to create your presentation's proposal from the view of
the agency.

Before you do anything else, make a long list of What's In It For
Them. Why does it make sense for them to sub-contract work out to

What's In It For Them is the heart of your proposal. On your
notes, make sure you put WIIFT on each page, so that it stays at
the front of your mind. It's easy to make the mistake of talking
about what you want, but please don't. You can leave a CD copy of
your presentation with the prospect, but again, it MUST focus on
how you can help them.

==> Preparing your presentation

The easiest way to prepare your presentation is to use
presentation software. If you own Microsoft Office, then you also
own Microsoft PowerPoint, it's part of Office. It's worth taking
the time to learn to use PowerPoint. It makes creating an
effective presentation easy.

What do you put into a presentation? Your proposal, and
supporting material. Remember the agency wants to know what's in
it for them --- how you can help them make money, save money, and
make their lives easier and more pleasant. Everything you include
in your presentation --- the kind of work you do, items from your
portfolio, testimonials from satisfied clients --- must relate to

Think of the presentation as being a combination of a speech, an
advertisement for your services, a showing of your portfolio, and
a proposal, all rolled into one. Aim to make it around 10 to 15
minutes long. Have some fun with creating the presentation.
Include plenty of slides with bullet points, and graphics.

You can get double-value out of your presentations. Just copy
your basic all-purpose presentation onto a CD, and send it to
prospective clients. You can also make your basic presentation a
download on your Web site.

It's also a good idea to print out some of the slides from any
presentation you give personally, so that you can leave the slide
copies with the client after the meeting. (Note: don't hand out
copies before the meeting. You need to make sure that everyone is
paying attention to your presentation.)

==> Control your nerves: rehearsal is everything

Many people hate public speaking. However, if you prepare
yourself, you'll be just fine, and each presentation you give
will enhance your confidence.

Write your speech out completely. Ask someone else to read it and
help you brainstorm ideas. Then leave the speech for a week for a
gestation period. You'll find that other ideas will come to you,
and you can incorporate these.

As you prepare your speech, you can also prepare the slides in
PowerPoint. Use photographs and other graphics, to bring your
presentation to life.

When you're happy with the speech, learn it. Practise giving the
speech in front of a mirror, then practise giving it as you click
through the slides in PowerPoint.

If you don't have a notebook computer to take with you, take your
PowerPoint file along on a disk or CD. You may be able to borrow
a computer. If you can't, then give the presentation without the
file, but leave the presentation CD and notes with the decision

==> Who will be at the meeting? Pitching to decision makers

Before you set a date and time for the meeting, ask who will be
attending the meeting. You need to be sure that you'll be making
your presentation to a decision-maker in the company. If you
can't get an assurance that the decision maker will attend,
postpone the meeting until she can attend.

==> Get an agreement before you leave the meeting

You've given your presentation. You've made your proposal. Now

Now you get an agreement.

This is the "close" in sales-speak. It's the most important part
of your presentation, aside from the WIIFM aspect. Many otherwise
competent people skimp on the close, because it makes them
nervous. However, no matter how nervous you are, you must ask for
the sale.

So, in our scenario, as you wind up your presentation, you would
ask to become a sub-contractor for the agency. This will lead to
discussion, but unless you get an immediate agreement to sign you
up, make sure that you attempt to close at least three more times
before you leave.

In the best of all possible outcomes, you won't leave the
business before you have a check in your hand. This is your aim.
So when the decision-maker says: "Yes, that sounds fine, we'd
like to put you on our books as a sub-contractor", you say:
"Great, can we make a deal now? I'd like a retainer, and _______
(mention the terms of your services agreement). A deposit of $X
would be fine."

Good luck with your presentations. They're a sure-fire way to
build your business in a hurry.

***Resource box: if using, please include***

Veteran multi-published author and copywriter Angela Booth crafts
words for your business --- words to sell, educate or persuade.
E-books and e-courses on Web site. FREE ezines for writers and
small biz:

About the Author

Writer, author and journalist Angela Booth has been writing successfully for print and online venues for 25 years. She also writes for business.


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