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Presentations can be a bit nerve-wracking, and it's understandable to feel that way. It is, however, absolutely unacceptable to be unprepared. If you are running a business, there should be no excuse - you should know it back to front and have an answer for all questions. Your passion should come through in how you discuss your topics and you should be well versed on the latest jargon related to your industry.

Obviously, you need more than knowledge to have a killer presentation. The presentations are often at the time, date, and location convenient to your client and that can throw you off. Worrying about traffic, or if you’ll find the location, or working it around your own schedule can be challenging, but set your focus aside from that. In your nerves are focused on that, you may slip up on other areas. Here are some key things to remember to bring to ace your next presentation.

The Preparation
Whether you are going alone or with a business partner, ensure you are up to speed on what needs to be accomplished in the meeting. A little practice and prep work can go a long way. Make sure all the documents you want to access during the presentation are easily accessible and that you (and your business partner) know your part. Aim to leave well ahead of schedule and arrive within 15 minutes prior to allow some set up time, if need be.

The Marketing Materials
If this is your first meeting with the client(s) and they haven’t confirmed their contract with you, bring some materials. Whitepapers or brochures that contain the most up-to-date information on your company or product is a great way to leave behind some content. Pricing brochures can also be useful if the potential client is unsure on the services or products they are selecting yet, if your company offers a wide variety. When handling a client who has agreed to work with you, do not bring excessive marketing brochures full of pricing for unrelated products or services. You can always work on your up-sell at a more appropriate time. Let them know about the product or service they’re interested in today.

The Presentation
Having a put-together presentation is key, however don’t dull them with a PowerPoint you created in 2002. Make sure your content is snappy and relevant. We like presenting potential clients with design ideas and showcasing how their business would look if we took over their online presence, as well as have a proposal document for them to keep. For clients that we have already agreed to work with, we often make a mock-up of the website so that they can see what’s to come in the future. They don’t need to know the history of our business, they need to know that we can handle the job.

The Tech
Speaking of presentations, figure out your tech in advance. Fumbling around with cords is unprofessional and shows a lack of preparation. Ask in advance what type of projection screen they have available, or make sure you have one available for yourself. You do not want to be showcasing your beautiful presentation on your 15-inch MacBook screen. Bring along all necessary adaptors and understand how the hook-ups work well in advance. And don’t forget a charger!

The Laptop
Using your own laptop for presentations is to be expected, it has all your work on it, after all! A few simple tips for this is to clean your laptop: outside and on the desktop. No one wants to see food crumbs, a desktop of insanity, or any non-work related files pop up. Keep it all clean.

The Extras
Never forget to bring a stack of business cards - this is what they’re made for! Have enough to hand out to the group, as well as extras in case people wish to have a couple to pass out to their network. Also bring a pen and notebook - in the odd case that your laptop gives out, or if you don’t want to seem rude by tapping away your notes on the laptop throughout the meeting, have a notebook to document everything in.

The Afterthought
Aside from thanking them in-person for having you to present, make sure to drop a note to the person or people who specifically set up the meeting for you. An e-mail is most appropriate nowadays and aim to send it within a few hours following the meeting. This is a much appreciated step, whether it is a new client or a long-time client and is a great way to recap the meeting, as well. Always thank people for taking time from their day to speak with you.

Posted by Samantha Lloyd

Samantha is the co-founder and CEO of DevoKit. When she isn't busy running around like an overly-organized and well-prepared chicken with its head cut off, she can be spotted reading the Harry Potter series for the umpteenth time or pretending to have opinions about wine and cheese pairings (all cheese goes with all wine, let's be honest). Her goal is to encourage other women to explore their interests in technology and engineering fields.

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