You’ve been working hard on a proposal for a potential client because the account could put your company on the
map, and finally, you’ve been granted the opportunity to make a
strategic oral presentation.
Suddenly, you’re a little lightheaded, and your palms are
sweaty. Your stomach is dropping faster than Disneyland’s
But in today’s competitive marketplace, effectively
getting your message across is crucial. Whether you are a
manager wooing a prospective client, an executive preparing a presentation for an audience, or a newcomer to
the business world hoping to feel at ease speaking with
clients, you must be prepared to present.
First tHings First
First, set the goal for your presentation, even if it’s a one-on-one talk with a new client or promising employer.
Remember, you’re there for a reason. Your audience is
listening because they want your information, expertise
or opinion. Determine if the goal is to inform, educate or
State the goal in a single sentence, such as: “I want to con-
vince this prospective client to hire my firm to manage his prop-
erty,” or “My goal is to win over employees who are apprehensive
about upcoming changes in management.”
Build your presentation around that goal. Tell listeners what is going to be
discussed and why it matters to them. Also, repetition is a good thing. Find a
way to reinforce your message throughout the talk.
Aside from pinpointing your presentation’s goal, be sure to determine the
tone for the presentation. People can read your slides and handouts themselves. Digging a little deeper to tell an audience the story behind those slides
and handouts can effectively set the atmosphere for your entire presentation.
Focus on how you want the audience to be impacted and how to effectively
do that. Recently, I attended an open house for a local residential home that
serves teenagers in crisis. Donors and community members were invited to
tour the home, where the goal was to reunite these high school students with
If you’ve ever attended this type of event, you know the speeches from the
administrators or board members can be both lengthy and dry. This was different, however. The teenagers themselves told their stories, describing how