I was running a workshop in Oracle, Rome today – just six hours and seven people. We were working on presenting with influence whether face-to-face or in the considerably more challenging environment of over the phone, where these days sales meetings or client briefings take place.
Sorry, I can only give you 10 minutes
What happens if the client says they only have 10 minutes to give you when you had planned the meeting for 30? First step is going to be to really focus on your objective whether that be simply getting to the next meeting, or proving that your product or solution is unique, or that perhaps you are the right partner to deliver what the client needs. Step away from your complexity to the client’s reality and demonstrate that you can deliver more value even if you have less time.
Then, in the time available, however short, be ready with those three killer messages, the key points that answer the question ‘why’ you are giving the presentation or why your client needs you – the benefits.
As simply as ABCD
In the first 30 seconds you need to give your audience a reason to want to continue to listen (even more challenging on the phone when you cannot even see what the other side is doing).
- A is for ATTENTION: a simple question, one benefit-laden statement, big numbers, a narrative
- B is for BENEFITS: what is in it for the client. Can you answer the question ‘so what?’
- C is for CREDIBILITY: what you say and (in those precious 10 minutes) how you say it
- D is for DIRECTION: what’s in your 10 minutes and where do we go from here.
You can’t change yourself, so don’t try
I do believe that most presentations require some kind of performance but that does not mean trying to change who you are to fit a particular pattern or mould. You can’t really become someone else, so don’t try.
But you can use strategy and tactics, tools and tips based on the audience in front of you to reach your goals. Ten minutes, 30 minutes or a whole two hours, the principles remain the same. You need to plan and practice if you are going to successfully persuade.