Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The best presentations focus on the audience

Recently I heard a panel of four professionals asked what was the best and worst they had seen in sales presentations in their industry. Every answer revolved around the presenters focus (or lack thereof) on the audience. One said that the worst presentation he had seen was one where the time allotted for the presentation had been shortened due to other circumstances and the presenter had to choose what to present. Instead of asking the audience of decision makers what would help them make a better decision, he immediately skipped to what he thought they should hear about and promptly killed any chance his firm had of getting the business. He had picked the wrong section, one they didn't care much about and made it his focus. One of the "best" presentation examples cited was when the presenter did extensive research in advance to determine the knowledge level of the audience, and, when he found that the decision makers were not experts in this area, he directed his presentation to their level and his tailored presentation hit the mark right on - they won the business. Here is the lesson: If you don't focus on the audience's needs instead of your own, you will lose most of the time. It doesn't matter whether you use PowerPoint or not, the audience is the key.


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