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You Don’t Have An Hour and Half to Present

The conference room may have been reserved for an hour and a half. You may have been put on the schedule for an hour and a half. You may even have been told that you have an hour and a half to present.

You don’t have anywhere near that much time to present.

How Much Time Do You Really Have to Present

You have thirty minutes.

Your dream client wants to learn a little bit about your company, a little bit about how you approach clients with similar needs and issues, and a little bit about what you believe is possible based on what you know.

Your dream client wants to spend the balance of the time that is scheduled doing something more valuable than watching a PowerPoint presentation.

Knowing Enough to Know

If you have done even a reasonable amount of homework, you should know the three or four things that are really important to the people to whom you are presenting. Those three or four things are what your thirty-minute presentation should be geared towards.

You aren’t selling to you. What you believe is important may be absolutely meaningless and a waste of time when it comes to engaging your dream client.

Much of what you would have presented would you have really had an extra hour to present can be provided as supplementary material. Things like your founder’s biography, your office locations, the logos of your existing clients, and the resumes and backgrounds of the people on the team that will be serving them.

And, there is no reason to cram a detailed report onto a PowerPoint slide. That’s a handout.

But wait . . . there’s more.

Give the People What They Want

Your dream client wants a dialogue, not a monologue. They want to share their ideas, their wants and needs, and their vision—even when you are there to present. What they really want is a chance to understand how you think about their problems, how you think those problems and challenges might be solved, and the reason you believe what you believe.

They want to ask questions about how you do what you do, why you believe it is the right way to do what you do, how it is different than what your competitors do, and why it makes a difference.

Your dream client wants to know if you are someone who cares about them and about helping them achieve the outcomes that they need.

They want to know that you can be trusted with their business and that you are going to own the outcome.

These are very different outcomes than a pitch. If you were in your dream client’s shoes, what would you want?

Questions

What is the best way for you to spend an hour and half when you are invited to present?

What do you believe your dream client would believe is the best way to spend that time?

What do you need to gain in the way of commitments when you have a chance to present, and what are the surest ways to achieve those outcomes.

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  1. [...] your standard slide deck and when you must share some basic history. Even then, that presentation should not dominate your time with your dream [...]