As a free agent, independent professional, and/or freelancer, we are often asked to present a summary of what we offer to a board of trustees, several officers of a company, leaders of an organization, or members of an association. Dealing with more than one person can create a plethora of different considerations and approaches before reaching a successful outcome. In this article, I share some of my experiences with group presentations -- what's worked for me and what to watch out for.
Find out as much as you can before meeting with a group. I do a good bit of work for non-profits. These corporations all have vocal boards of trustees to whom they must answer when the spending of a considerable amount of money is involved. The more information I have about the corporation and its leaders, the better. If possible, I try to connect before the "big meeting" with the executive director and find out exactly what they are seeking and how much they are planning to spend -- most non-profits, for example, vote on a yearly budget at the end of their fiscal year, so know exactly how much they have ear-marked for a project.
Others are putting out feelers to find out how much -- or how little -- they should set aside for the project. Oftentimes, there is background information you can discover. A lot of proposed projects have been in the works for awhile and have quite a history. Ask lots of questions and do all of the research possible. For example, I just finished an extensive website for a group that I discovered had initially talked with and had been turned down by many of the big design firms in town. I believe that I got the job because I was willing to take the time to meet with their board, listen to their suggestions and do the custom work they desired.
Prepare, prepare, prepare. No matter what kind of presentation you are making -- whether to two people, twenty people or two hundred people -- proper preparation is the key. First of all, know what your goal for the meeting is and have a plan and strategy ready. Write down the information you want the group to know about you and your services by the end of the presentation. What makes you unique and why should they hire you?
Realize that just telling them this is not going to work. You must create the right questions to ask them so that they will ask you the right questions. This is the way you will discover what it is they are looking for and whether or not you can help them get it. The operative word is "help." When others feel that you care about them and their problems, that you are on their side and ready to help, they will be much more willing to open up and form a bond with you. You will also learn what you need to do to please them.
Group presentations can really pay off when handled with preparation and enthusiasm.
Chris King is a free agent, professional speaker, storyteller, writer, website creator / designer, and fitness instructor. Chris has what she calls a "Portfolio Career" --many careers at the same time. If you wonder if you could handle and love having a "Portfolio Career" you will find a free assessment to take at http://www.creativekeys.net/portfoliocareertest.htm Sign up for her eclectic E-newsletter, Portfolio Potpourri, at http://www.freelanceliving.com You will find Chris' business website at http://www.creativekeys.biz