Part 2 of 2: Final Steps to Yes

Note: This is the second of a two-part article based on “Getting to Yes: Presentations that Sell,” a recent SF IABC workshop by Deb Doyle, president of Stage2 Marketing and founder of the Marketing Heroes™ Training Program. The first article outlined the early steps in creating a successful presentation.

Here are the final questions you’ll need to answer and steps to take to complete a strategic and winning presentation.

Now that you’ve determined why (your objective), who your audience is and what they need to know to say “yes,” the final questions are how, where and when.

How much time do you have? An hour? A half-day? Fifteen minutes? Craft your presentation according to the time available to you, and rehearse to make sure you’re meeting that target.

Be prepared for a last-minute change of plans. What if you’re told the day of your presentation that you can only have 15 of the 30 minutes you were promised? Plan for this. Assuming you’ve prepared your list of most important things to know, you’ll be on good footing to cut back to these critical items.

Where will you be presenting? In a conference room or a coffeeshop? Consider background noise and privacy as you build and rehearse your presentation.

Videoconferencing is a specific way of presenting altogether and requires special preparation.

Tip: Keep videoconferences engaging:

  • Zoom meeting icebreaker — use the annotate button to let people write onscreen.
  • Pollanywhere, PollEV and Mentimeter — begin or end meetings using one of these, which also provides a good way to collect testimonials (“one thing you learned today”)
  • Chat — ask people to answer a question using this function

If you’re sending your presentation out into the world without you, meaning that your audience will be reading it without necessarily benefiting from hearing your oral presentation, consider using the notes section to your advantage by including brief, salient information there.

Tip: Craft a cover letter with key points to send in an email with your presentation.

When: Consider both time of day and audience. If you’re presenting at the end of the day when energy levels typically flag, consider opening with some humor or an icebreaker. If you’re presenting first thing in the morning, keep in mind that not everyone is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed early in the day.

Tip: Be aware of cultural and individual communication styles, your own included. Do you speak rapidly? Do you tend to ramble? Check facial expressions and take cues about your pace and whether you might need to slow down, and so forth.

Tip: Consider the big-picture context, especially during times of crisis such as when COVID-19 first hit; when people are burdened and distracted, minimize visuals, keep messages simpler, and make your ask especially clear.

If you follow these steps, your presentation will be persuasive because you’ve presented a solution to someone’s problem. You’ve made it easy for people to say, “I agree. I’ll do it.”

Leslie Hanna is Instagram Manager, Communications, for the San Francisco chapter of IABC and Acting Director of Communications for two Bay Area startups.