Are you going to be giving a sales presentation any time soon? Don’t let the word “sales” mislead you; most presentations have a sales angle to them. Whether you’re selling a product, service, strategy, idea, way of thinking, or course of action, you’re trying to persuade your listeners to take some action or adopt a certain behavior or mindset.
To ensure you achieve that goal, resist the temptation to jump right into creating the presentation. Instead, start by closing your eyes and picturing yourself having given it: The presentation has ended . . .You’re gathering up your material . . .You’re exchanging pleasantries with those who haven’t dashed out . . .You’re answering questions from a few who stayed behind to ask them . . .You’re grabbing the last donut . . .You’re leaving the room . . .You’re done.
Now, reflect on this imagined presentation and ask yourself some questions, such as:
• What exactly was I trying to accomplish?
• What was the outcome I was looking for?
• How did I want to influence my listeners?
• What reactions did I hope for from them?
• What mood did I want to leave them in?
• What is the most important idea I want them to remember?
• What decisions do I want them to make?
• What action do I want them to take?
• What else should I be asking about this presentation?
You can now begin to create the presentation. With your answers to these questions to guide you, you’ll prepare a talk that will be more focused, better substantiated, and more confidently delivered, and you’ll be more successful in achieving your desired outcome.