Remember the advice you received about the importance of building rapport before making your pitch?
Inauthentic chatter just wastes everyone’s time.*
Instead start your presentation by describing the problem or challenge. (If you’re presenting training, you’ll want your participants to describe the problem for greater buy-in.)
No fake rapport.
No, here is my recommendation so now let’s discuss the problem.
Start by overviewing the problem. Help your stakeholders to clearly and quickly understand what is at stake.
Don’t overstate it, but state it. Help them see and feel the urgency. Give them a reason to triage.
Then, describe your solution.
Do it the other way – solution/recommendation first – and watch them tear your recommendation to shreds.
The most common presentation mistake is losing your audience because what you’re saying doesn’t resonate.
Get your listeners to sit up and listen by connecting them first to the problem that needs their attention.
Be prepared with a story to explain how you know your recommendation/solution will work.
Say, “This is how I learned this will help us move toward our goals,” or “The best example I’ve seen to alleviate your concerns is …”.
Then discuss the story outcome.
Ask: Do you feel this would also be true here? Are you concerned this won’t work here?
The more the “presentation” turns into a “conversation” the better “presenter” you’ll be.
*Be ready to meet and greet before you begin your presentation. By the time you begin talking, you should have connected with each stakeholder. A handshake, a thanks for being here, a welcome, come on in, a good to see you again. Doesn’t take much more than a smile and eye contact (though a handshake is proven to reduce tension and bolster positive negotiation results).
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