After you have prepared your presentation, checked all the equipment you need, set out the venue and finalised the guest list you are now ready to give your presentation. This is your opportunity to gain credibility in your career. You must use this opportunity to build your credibility and be accepted as an expert on your subject. This is not as difficult as it may seem.
If you have studied your brief, become totally familiar with your subject and can show confidence when delivering you will be more than half way to achieving your aims. Buyers are impressed when faced with someone who is obviously knowledgeable about his/her subject, so earning their respect. Let us look at some of the situations where you can achieve this. If you are presenting a new product to potential buyers emphasise the features and benefits of the product but make sure you mention benefits not associated with the main sales literature. It's not difficult to find some of these undisclosed benefits if you do a little research within the development and production departments. Concentrate on your in depth knowledge of the product, your belief in it and continually emphasise how YOU are involved in the success of that product.
Take another scenario for a presentation. Let us say you are presenting a report for a department of your company to your colleagues and senior management. You will highlight any subjects and points with which you were directly involved. If a system is to be changed or a department reorganised, explain your involvement. Point out that your suggestions, innovations and efficiency moves have resulted in increased productivity and therefore profits. When making a presentation don't ever make the mistake of assuming an arrogant or boastful attitude. Such an attitude will immediately alienate prospective purchasers. Introduce your involvement in improvements as a fact, as part of your duties and as a result of your level of knowledge. Presenting your subject in such a manner helps your audience to understand and acknowledge your skills which increases your credibility.
One other type of presentation frequently used for employees concerns changes to working practices which directly affect the employee. You can use exactly the same research and preparation as discussed for other presentations but you will need to change the parameters a little. The most important point to emphasise is the benefits the employee will gain from the new arrangements. It doesn't matter how or when the benefits are introduced as long as they are introduced clearly and with concise information and to how the employee will benefit. Many people, when giving a presentation to employees, like to concentrate on the company's history, the state of the market, the latest legislative regulations plus lots of other areas which they feel are appropriate. There is no problem with that, but you should be very careful not to offer too much background information. This could create a feeling of boredom and therefore lose the interest of your audience, particularly if you have not accentuated the benefits which they will receive from the changes. Be succinct, factual, clear and concise and you will produce a successful and beneficial presentation.
One last point. Don't forget that all presentations can be used as an exercise to boost your credibility and acceptance as an expert on your subject. I have overcome many difficult situations by giving a presentation which has clarified points which were causing problems that could have created serious difficulties. Thorough groundwork and organisation are essential for a successful presentation and will enable you to deliver it with confidence. In doing so you will enjoy the experience, make many contacts and further your own ambitions.
Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Small Business