In our previous articles we have written quite a lot about the importance of planning and preparation when it comes to standing up in front of an audience but what if you don’t want to read from your notes or memorise a script? As long as you are confident enough in your ability to deliver a high-end presentation by improvising your talk then there is nothing wrong with taking this approach whatsoever. By using this technique you will be able to ask your audience questions at any appropriate moment and engage with them, leading to further lines of information from you and enhancing their impression of you and your business. You will also be leaving them with a very positive lasting impression which will bode well for any future dealings.
This is what is called conversational presenting.
You can start your conversational presenting from the moment you walk into the room or onto the stage. For example, you could open with:
″Thank you for taking the time to come here today, I hope everybody is well?″
This is an example of a closed question. A closed question is where the recipient can only answer with one word. These are fine at certain times but if you want to engage and create a conversation you will need to use open questions to allow this to happen.
An example of an open question is below.
Your next step will be to allow your audience to help make a decision about where the meeting/presentation is going to go:
″How can we use our time best today? What areas would you like to hear about first?″
At this point, you will need to know which slide to go to next and show that whatever answer you receive you are prepared for it. This is where your confidence is key. There will be no time for fumbling around or for nerves and you will not look professional if you don’t know how your slide deck is laid out. Preparing this for any situation and all types of questions is paramount, you need to ensure that all bases are covered and that you can seamlessly move between your slides effortlessly.
Reading your Audience
Once you begin you should be able to gauge the way in which your audience thinks and what they are expecting from you. Your open questions will allow you to engage with them and you can test the water.If they are very relaxed and seem to want some personality in the room you could try adding some humour into your presentation. If you think you have a more serious listener it is best to stick with being formal and delving into your stats and information to a professional extent. Mirroring your listener’s body language and tone will help to build a rapport and show that you can be openly aware of the mood in the room.
Now you have a handle on the way in which the atmosphere in the room is going you can begin to build trust with your audience. By being open by asking questions and showing that you are happy to make conversation you will be showing how genuine you are and that you have no areas to hide within your business. This should hopefully lead to their interest in what you have to offer and how you can work together.
The Pitch Deck
As I stated above you need to know your slides inside out but also be confident that you have included all the vital details of your pitch and what it is you want to get across to your potential new clients. We have this covered in several other articles:
There are many more in our learning center.
From Talk to Sales
Pitches are at their best and most effective when there’s room for exploration and discovery based on the audience’s needs and pace and not yours. You have built your rapport and your trust and your prospective new client has been offered genuine answers with solutions to issues and has built an interest in your business. From this moment it is time to wrap up your presentation and close any sales that may be on the cards. This is where closed questions will come into force. The rest of your presentation would have been focused on open questions to obtain your conversation but this is now the time for you to end the chat- in a professional manner- and make some business deals.
Do you think you could confidently deliver a conversational presentation? Do you have any tips to add?