How to present and close a deal – with PowerPoint

Introduction

Oh no-not death by PowerPoint!

In the last chapter you were given the tools to conduct an effective sales meeting, including tips on presenting to a small group of two or three people.

Sometimes we are invited to present to a much larger audience which requires a different, more dynamic approach-with PowerPoint often having an important role to play.

Here’s some good news!

Being a good PowerPoint presenter is not something you are born with. People say “I am lucky that I was born with great communication skills.” This is nonsense. No-one is born a great PowerPoint presenter, you aren’t born charismatic, you don’ pop out of the womb saying “and on the next slide you will see……..”

As a result, you might have watched many boring PowerPoint presentations that have given rise to the phrase “Death by PowerPoint!”  30 million PowerPoint presentations are being given every day so it’s a skill well worth mastering.  

Being good with PowerPoint and presenting is something that you can learn, something that with a little practice and time you can become very good with. This guide will help you to captivate, intrigue and make your presentations even more memorable than before

You might even start to enjoy using PowerPoint!

Objectives and Scope

In this chapter we give you a process that will allow you to create stunning PowerPoint’s that entertain, inform and engage.  This process will allow you to make your message stand out amongst the thousands of other messages we are exposed to every day.

Just following this process will build massive confidence for your next presentation.

After reading this section you will be able to:

  1. Understand the reason for using PowerPoint.
  2. Control what the audience sees and when.
  3. Make your presentations more memorable by using PowerPoint.
  4. Get your message across easier and quicker than ever before.
  5. Design great looking slides.
  6. Deliver dynamic presentations.

Why Use PowerPoint?

PowerPoint has a bad reputation. Undeserved in my view. It stems from poorly trained people using it and now some people in the presentation skills training industry are even warning you not to use it.

So why should you bother with this piece of software?

Well I think there are several very good reasons. Let me explain:

  • A picture equals a thousand words – it can take you ten minutes to explain to an audience what a picture can show in just a few short seconds.
  • It adds impact – used properly, your audience’s attention can be easier to keep.
  • It aids memory retention – by engaging more of the participants senses, visual, auditory and kinaesthetic you are making your presentation more memorable.
  • It appeals to all different types of learners – some audience members want to hear things, some have to see them and some only take it in by doing it.  So by using PowerPoint you appeal to more of the learning styles in the audience.
  • It can get complex ideas across quickly – It can help you to get over complex structures and relationships far quicker than just words.
  • It can be a lot of fun – I have done stand-up comedy with a PowerPoint before.

Planning an Effective PowerPoint

Confidence and smooth delivery comes from two things in presenting:

  • Preparation
  • Practise

There is no substitute for preparation and practise. You may have seen slick PowerPoint presentations before that have great visuals and smooth transitions between looking at the slides and the presenter communicating with us.  You may have thought “wow I bet that took hours to put together”.  Well there is no substitution for preparation and practise but we can show you how to make a visually stunning slide deck quickly and easily.

Please allow yourself the time and resources to prepare and practice for your next PowerPoint and you will be astounded by the results.

We put so much pressure on ourselves to deliver brilliant presentations with little preparation and practice, no wonder we get stressed when we present!

The following process can be used quickly to guide you through creating a great PowerPoint that will enhance your message and make it more memorable.

So follow these steps and we will get you on the road to powerful PowerPoint’s with confidence and charisma.

Presentation Objectives

The first step, before even getting near a computer, is to know the objective of your talk.  What do you want people to think, feel or do differently after you have finished talking. You must have a clear objective for your talk.  For more information on Objectives please read our Guide “How to Deliver an Effective Presentation”.

Secondly, you must have all your ideas down on paper and have formulated your talk.  We suggest using mind mapping to do this.  You can find out more about mind mapping and idea generation in the Guide we just referred to.  The areas that we suggest that you have covered are:

  • Stories
  • Information
  • Statistics
  • Objectives
  • Audience
  • Topical news items
  • Benefits

Make sure that you have written your speech before you get anywhere near a laptop or PC.  Then ask yourself the questions:

  1. Do I need PowerPoint to demonstrate my point?
  2. Can I enhance my message with the use of visual aids?

If the answer to these questions is no, then don’t use PowerPoint.  

If the answer is yes then we will start by creating a wireframe overview of our presentation on PowerPoint. Before we do that let’s look at what makes a bad PowerPoint so that we can avoid those mistakes when we are putting our own one together.

The Six Biggest PowerPoint Mistakes

These are the top mistakes that I see people using PowerPoint making time and time again, avoid these and you are most of the way there:

  • Reading the slides – Please don’t read from the slides, if you have got everything you have got to say on your slides then we don’t need you!  You could have sent it to me and I could have read it for myself in bed with a mug of cocoa.
  • Facing the slides – When you turn your back on the audience you lose your rapport, your connection with audience.  It kills your connection and your presentation dead.
  • Too much information – If you have too much information on the slide then I am focusing on that trying to decipher what it is that rather than listening to what you are saying.  Too much information can distract the audience and take away from your presentation.
  • Too much text – If I am reading your slides I am not listening to you.  Half the audience will be listening to you and half reading and everyone will get different messages.  Then you are in trouble.
  • Standing in front of the slide – You have taken the time to make slides and then you stand between me and them, so I can’t see them? I am now thinking about what I am missing out on and won’t hear a word of what you say.
  • Using it as a memory aid – You have created a talk starting with the slides and are only using them so that you know what to say next.  When the slide changes you turn around and look confused for a second before saying “Ah, yes that is what I wanted to say”.  Seriously are you taking this presentation seriously enough? Do you care if you get the business? Do you care what I think of you?

Avoid these 6 major mistakes and you are halfway to a decent PowerPoint before we have even started.

Room Setup

Which side of the PowerPoint screen should you stand when presenting?

I would always stand to the right of the PowerPoint slide or the audience’s left of the slide and there is a simple reason for this. People read from left to right, so what you want to happen is that they look at you and then their eyes go to the right to look at the corresponding point and then their eyes automatically come back to you (the start) afterwards.  This makes it easy for your audience to listen to you, look at the slide and then refocus on you.

The screen should also be slightly off to the audience’s right hand side allowing you to be centre stage.  Your PowerPoint is there to support you not to take the limelight.

For what I think is the ideal room set up for a PowerPoint see the image below:

How to present and close a deal.

Your laptop should be in front of you so that you can see the current slide and the slide that is coming next so that there are no surprises when you click that remote.  

You should use presenter view that shows you the current and the next slide.  This way you don’t have to look at the screen behind you just glance at the laptop in front of you.

To select presenter view click slide show and then presenter view.  You will need to have it set up on two screens to allow you to do this as it gives you a different view on your laptop to that which is displayed to the audience.

To switch your PC to utilise two screens:

  • Right click on the desktop and click personalise,
  • Half way down the list should be a link to display settings.
  • When you have the projector plugged in you will see there is two monitors in black numbered one and two. 
  • You will be able to click on monitor two and select the checkbox for extend my desktop onto this monitor. 

Then when you use presenter view the presentation will be on screen two and your notes and slide view on screen one.  It makes it really easy to see what is coming next and smoothes out the presentation.

If the video you are using shows on the laptop and not the projected screen you need to change which is the primary screen.  Do this within the control panel, display settings.

  1. Double check cables for the projector and laptop the night before.
  2. Carry a VGA to DVI converter if using other people’s machines.
  3. Take spare batteries for your presenter.

Checklist and Conclusion

Remember that becoming a top PowerPoint presenter doesn’t happen overnight. Follow the steps in this guide and you will be well on your way.

Confidence comes from preparation and practise so give yourself as much time as possible for these

Here are some other things that you can do to increase the speed at which you become a great presenter:

  1. Play with the software and create presentations for fun.
  2. Join a toastmasters club: http://www.toastmasters.org/ to practise.
  3. Watch other speakers and note down what you like and dislike, become a PowerPoint connoisseur.
  4. A great source of speakers to watch is: www.ted.com, watch the presentation by Hans Roslin for an interesting view on how to present data.
  5. Get on a PowerPoint workshop.
  6. There is no better way to improve than to get on stage and practise delivering your newly created slides.
  7. Most importantly of all have fun with it; if you enjoy giving your presentations then the chances are the audience will enjoy watching.

Checklist

To sum it all up here are the top tips for using PowerPoint, stick to these and you will make an impression next time you use this great piece of software.

  1. Write your presentation first then think if you need PowerPoint to help you demonstrate it.
  2. Have a clear objective for your presentation that is easily measurable.
  3. Create a wire frame slide pack and organise it using “slide sorter” view.
  4. Use images where ever possible not text.
  5. Use the rule of thirds to create visually stunning slides.
  6. Keep bullet points to a maximum of 6 with 3 or 4 words per line.
  7. Animate your slides to control what people see.
  8. Use a presenter such as the Kensington Si600.
  9. Use the key “b” to black out the slides when you want the audience’s attention.
  10. Stand to the right of the screen so it is easy for your audience to read from left to right.
  11. Put the laptop in front of you so you can see the slides come up as the audience does.
  12. Put the screen slightly off centre so that you are the centre.
  13. Arrive early at the site and test the PowerPoint and projector before people arrive.

 

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