Category Archives: Presentation tips

The Power of Show and Tell:  3 Ways to use Props in your Sales Presentation or Pitch


Show and tell

For many of us, bringing a pet, a favorite toy or even person to school for show and tell was our earliest experience using a prop.  Why didn’t the teacher just have us tell a story?  Because teachers know that a verbal story alone is not enough to hold the attention of a room full of children. While your prospects are likely a bit older, show and tell is still one of the most powerful ways to gain an audience’s attention and improve recall. According to Toastmasters, listeners only retain 10% of what they’ve heard one week later.  This percentage increases to 67% when visual aids are added to the equation. I’ve seen a lot of presenters use props, some successful, and some…not so much.  Using a prop simply to grab attention at any cost is a cheap trick that often backfires in a presenter’s face.  Like anything in a Read More

50 Ways to Blow a Great Presentation


bad presenter

So many ways to blow a great presentation…and so little time.  You likely work hard to get the opportunity to present to a prospect, so why risk blowing it on one (or more) highly preventable mistakes? Here’s my Top 50 ways to blow a great presentation.  Check off which ones you’re guilty of – if you dare! Spend a lot of time “chatting” with your prospect in the beginning to get comfortable. Talk about yourself or your company right away. Take your time getting to the value you bring your customer. Don’t confirm who will be in the audience. If you find out anything’s changed before you start, just forge ahead with what you planned, regardless of whether it’s still relevant. Don’t practice. You don’t want to be phony!! And be sure and tell your audience you didn’t have as much time to prepare as you’d like. Don’t plan out Read More

3 Buddhist Principles for Fearless Presentations


You never know where good advice will come from! On a recent flight to Chicago I was seated next to a woman who was also on her way to speak at a conference.  When she found out that I teach presentation skills she shared that she used to be deathly afraid of public speaking.  In fact, so much so that she asked a Buddhist monk for help.  Although not the first source I’d think of in this area, it turned out to be the right solution for her. The monk helped her overcome her paralyzing fear of presenting and now she actually looks forward to speaking to audiences all over the world.  I wanted to share those 3 Buddhist principles with you as well as their application for your presentations: 3 Buddhist Principles for Fearless Presentations Conviction Conviction, or having a strongly held believe that you’re doing something worthwhile, is Read More

The Oscars Best and Worst Presentation Awards


Delivering an Oscar-worthy performance is one-thing, but what about an Oscar-worthy presentation? Each year I hand out (not literally) awards for the Oscars Best and Worst  Presentations in a variety of categories, along with some helpful tips for us less famous presenters.  Here are my top awards from this year’s Academy Awards.  See if you agree. The Oscars’ Best and Worst Presentation Awards from the 2018 Oscars Best Acceptance Speech (TIE) Frances McDormand, Best Actress Jordan Peele, Best Original Script If there was any doubt Frances McDormand’s speech was going to be standard fare, that was quickly dispelled with “I’ve got a few things to say” opening.  McDormand was passionate and expressive in words, face, and body.  Even so, she was able to channel her big personality and excitement enough to deliver a powerful message of change – along with specific instructions! While Jordan Peele’s style was certainly more contained Read More

Reduce Presentation Nerves and Self-Doubt with these Actor’s Backstage Tips


You finally get that presentation or meeting set with your dream account. You arrive at their office pumped up and ready to knock your presentation out of the park!  But of course you have to wait…and wait….And with each passing minute you can feel that positive energy slip into anxiety and tension. Before you know it, your mind begins to wander, you’re second guessing your entire presentation, kicking yourself for not practicing more, or searching for distractions on your phone.  Presentation nerves claim another victim. Regardless of whether you’re sitting in a reception area or waiting for customers to join you for an online meeting, presentation nerves can rob you of positive energy and necessary focus.  When you finally do get to your presentation, you feel awkward and uncertain.  And depending on your default “Fight or Flight” response, you either race or slog through it detached from your audience and Read More

Confidence in Sales

Confidence in sales can be elusive.

I hear a lot of advice a long the lines of “just be confident!” from sales coaches.  But I think most salespeople know that confidence is important in sales.  The question is – how do you gain confidence?  And if you’re not confident, does that mean you don’t belong in sales?

I think it’s a myth that great salespeople are always confident.  I think they may know how to get themselves into a state of confidence, or they have the courage to persevere even when they don’t feel confident and trust that the confidence will come.

Sometimes, let’s face it, you’re having a bad day, you had a fight with your spouse, you lost a deal.  Sometimes, you simply can’t think your way into greater confidence.  For those times, I want to share with you a really practical technique I learned as an actor.

It’s called Acting as if. And it works like this.  Next time you’re feeling really confident, notice what that looks like and sounds like for you.  Maybe you stand taller, gesture more, speak louder, or hold eye contact longer.

Then when you have to get on that call or give a presentation when you’re not feeling 100% confident, apply these confident behaviors as you’re practicing. Push through even when it feels awkward and uncomfortable and maintain those confident behaviors in your meeting. In other words, act as if you have great confidence.  9 times out of 10 you’ll find that pretty quickly you are actually feeling confident and good.  It’s much like forcing yourself to smile can make you feel happier.

So go out there and show confidence, and if you can’t, act as if until the real deal kicks in.

Read more on building Confidence in Sales here. 

5 Ways to Shake up Your Sales Presentation in 2018


Stand out from the crowd

It’s 2018, and by rough count, I’ve sat through a thousand sales presentations.  Most of them have blurred together in my mind.  What stands out?  The exceptionally good ones…or the cringingly bad ones.  Your prospect may not have seen quite as many as me, but they likely struggle to recall most of them as well.  Why does this matter? Boring, forgettable presentations are unsuccessful presentations.  Why are today’s presentations so forgettable? In a day and age where we know so much about our prospects, from their interests and dislikes, to their challenges and goals, it seems surprising that most presentations are still so ineffective.  Part of the problem is that most salespeople today are still following a presentation structure that has been around since the seventies  (even though many of today’s prospects were not even alive in the seventies!)  This dated, ineffective structure includes too many elements that are unnecessary, Read More

How Snack Size Presentations Keep Your Prospect Engaged


snack size candy

I love snack size foods.  They’re cute, they’re portable, and they create the illusion that I’m eating lighter.   I say “illusion,” because I usually end up eating more than the equivalent of a full-size portion – especially if it’s a candy bar! Snack size foods have exploded in the last five years for those very same reasons.  Smaller packaging gives customers a relatively low-risk way to sample a product — without making a full investment in money, time or calories. In a selling environment where customers show an ever-increasing reluctance to invest their time and energy to sitting through – or sifting through – long presentations or product demos, it’s time to think about going snack-size as well. Customer’s Love Affair with Snack Size Content The majority of people consume content today in snack size portions.  We get our news and entertainment on demand, read or watch only so long Read More

Trial Lawyers Share their Secrets to a Successful Presentation


Trial Lawyers

Imagine being wrongly accused of a crime and having to present your case to a jury.  You’d want to use every possible advantage to win them over, right?  When the stakes are high, good trial lawyers know a few secrets to a successful presentation – how to quickly establish credibility, present a strong, persuasive case, and win over skeptical jurors. While you’re not technically on trial in sales, you also need to win over often skeptical buyers.  And a dry run through of the facts is not going to cut it.  Being able to present a strong, persuasive case is a critical skill for salespeople today in an increasingly competitive market where buyers are reluctant to change. Fortunately, trial lawyers have a few secrets up their sleeves for a successful presentation that we can apply in sales to improve our results. Trial Lawyers’ Secrets to a Successful Presentation 1. Make Read More

Effective Presentation Strategies for 4 Buyer Styles


Buyers styles

If you deliver your presentation the same way to each of your customers, you are leaving money on the table. Think back to your last three customers.  One may have been talkative and forthcoming, while the other was quiet and guarded.  Perhaps one of your customers lit up when you were talking about the big picture while another only showed interest when you got to the numbers.  Even customers in similar industries or roles can have dramatically different personalities.  And these Buyer Styles – and how you react to them – can determine whether your meeting is successful or not. Adjusting your presentation strategy to buyer styles doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds.  Once you learn how to identify specific personality traits and understand what adjustments you need to make in the way you present, you will have a distinct advantage over your competition. Below are 4 Read More

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Performance Sales and Training: Persuasive Presentation Skills to meet the challenges of today’s B2B Sales Environment