In the third installment of the theme of presenting at networking meetings, I am going to focus on the theme of what to present at your next networking meeting.
We’ve looked at how to deliver an effective presentation. Here I share lots of practical tips and hacks for keeping things smooth and on track. And then I shared a few experiences of what to avoid in the blog, what not to do when presenting a networking meeting.
So let’s start at the beginning. First things first.
Imagine the end game. What are the outcomes?
You are standing in the room. Go on. Imagine it. You are at the top of the room, you are presenting your company, your content. You want to be engaging, informative, passionate and knowledgeable. You have peaked curiosity so that the audience asks some questions. And don’t think questions are bad…they are absolutely brilliant.
Questions are good because:
- They show the audience has listened.
- They’ll also show if you haven’t explained something in an easy fashion. A question that requires clarification is gold dust. It’ll help you better explain the point in the future. It’ll help you preempt how you explain the point to a client.
What Presenting at the Networking Meeting Is
Think of the presentation as a conversation with a friend. Explain everything as if you were talking to an 8 year old or explaining what you do to your grandparents. If you start getting the glazed look, then you need to mix it up a bit.
- It’s an opportunity to stimulate people’s curiosity. It’s your job to get people interested in your service or product.
- It’s your opportunity to deliver a memorable presentation that leaves them wanting to learn more.
- It’s an opportunity to tell stories of how you help clients and the problems you solve for them.
- It’s a part of your marketing and sales strategy.
- It’s a chance to grow your reputation and become the go-to person in your industry.
And if you’ve ever done one of Peter Turley‘s sales training courses, you’ll know that your presentation must be:
- Make a connection.
Tell stories. Make the stories easy for people to remember so that they can retell them to their friends. That’s the trick.
What makes you remarkable?
How will people feel when they use your product or service?
What problems do you solve?
As I mention, in my blog, How to Deliver Effective Presentations at Networking Meetings, once you know how long your presentation slot is, you should start out story boarding your content. An easy, fast and cost effective way of doing this is turning to the humble post-it note.
Storyboard The Presentation
Write down what you want to say on post-its and create a story board. Develop the points that you want to convey.
Translate this on to powerpoint. Ideally, if you can find an image to convey your central point, then use an image and a word or sentence. Keeping it simple, makes it much more impactful. People will be concentrating on what you are saying, rather than reading the slide content.
Proof, Print & Practice
And when you’ve finished, print it out and proof it. And yes, I said print it out and proof it. You cannot proof from a screen as your eyes only see what they want to see. If there are typos, you won’t catch them on a screen.
For grammar nerds like myself, I’ll just focus in on the typo when you are presenting. An annoying trait I know, but I’m distracted. There is no excuse with online tools such as grammarly, etc.
I’ve mentioned before about practice, so practice your presentation in front of a team member or if you are a solopreneur, practice with a friend and trusted advisor. Ask them to help filter out the ‘so what’ moments.
Tip: Save the presentation with the title, the networking group and the date. The reason for this is that you’ll be presenting to the group again. Each presentation marks a moment in time for your business, so review the previous presentation so you know what to focus on, avoid and expand on.
Also, if you are presenting to different groups, it helps you log what is said and not said, so you can keep a tally on the content and avoid duplication.
Ideas for Presentation Content
There are so many ideas for content. I often listen to someone chatting about their business and within two minutes, I have about 20 blog titles and umpteen ideas for presentation content outlined in my head.
People underestimate how to translate what is in their head and get it out onto paper or into a presentation. This is where soundboarding and storyboarding can really be of help.
Here are a few ideas for what you can present. This is by no means exhaustive, but I hope it gives you some thoughts and ideas that spark off your own creativity.
You can talk about:
- New products
- New services
- Product launches
- Industry trends
- Idea validation – if you are exploring a new avenue, you could test out the idea
- Client testimonials
- Client case studies
And don’t forget to include your team. Ask them about the questions they are being asked by clients. Ask them about training they have been doing. Invariably these conversations will throw up some lightbulb moments for you to flesh out for your next presentation.
What Do You Want Them To Do?
What do you want people to do after they listen to your presentation? They aren’t mind readers. So tell them. What’s your CTA, or call to action?
For example, you might want them to:
Follow you on your social media chanels – so list them out. Don’t just tell people, you are on Facebook, Linkedin etc. Be explicit. Make it easy.
Handles (your social media addresses) aren’t generally intuitive, so list them out. I mentioned this in my blog How to Deliver an Effective Presentation, where I suggest having the last slide with all the social media details and contact details open as you are dealing with the Q&A.
Don’t forget to list personal and company social media details where they are professionally related.
Other examples of call to actions might be:
- Do you want people to sign up to your newsletter?
- Do you want people to organise a 1-2-1 with you?
- Do you want feedback on a product/service idea that you were floating?
The Bad Day
Always observe the successes and failures of others’ networking & presenting efforts. There is a lot to learn from them.
And there will be days, where you wake up and you just aren’t feeling it. You didn’t sleep well. The kids kept you up all night. You woke up with a cold brewing. And that’s ok. It happens to all of us. You know why? Because life happens. And it rarely goes to plan.
Be gentle and kind to yourself. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Success is impossible without some failure along the way. If you don’t get your message across the way you had envisioned it today, there’s always next time…
Don’t forget that people often take pictures of the slides that have a call to action, so make sure the font it big enough and legible for people to follow up on.
I also note a marked difference between what business owners present and what sales people present. One of these two groups has obvious skin in the game and the other, well, not as much. Sales people tend to be transient. If you are a sales person, don’t forget about reputation. It matters.
So when you are designing out your next presentation, make sure to
- Make it easy.
- Make it memorable.
- Make it meaningful.
- Make a connection.
- Make it emotional.
Benefits. People are self obsessed with themselves, so we need to make more about them and the benefits of what’s in it for them. (WIIFM)
As said by the fantastic and intriguing, Seth Godin. The power of belief.
‘People don’t believe what you tell them.
They rarely believe what you show them.
They often believe what their friends tell them.
They always believe what they tell themselves.
Let’s keep the #networking conversation going! You can join my mailing list too and I’d love to have you on board.
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