Yesterday was a long, good, day. I was in Florida making a presentation about the ESSENCE brand to a client discussing how our goals are very much aligned. By all accounts, the meeting was successful. We were prepared, focused and united. Even with my last-minute tendencies (see last week's post), I am always ready to speak, sell or present my case. Whether I am dashing off to a TV studio or pitching my editor-in-chief, I am ready. How, you wonder? Not because I wake up ready, but more because when you're sleeping, I'm researching, writing and rehearsing. And by the time you wake up, I'm ready to rock and roll. I never really thought about it, but there is a method to the madness. So before you roll out and try to sell the world a crock of sh*@, don't bother. We can see right through you. Instead, heed the following advice to make your next speech, pitch or public-speaking presentation sing:
Know Your Audience. Identify who will be in the room, their positions and even their backgrounds. That will allow you to have small talk before the actual presentation, which can be very disarming to an audience. Instead of being on edge, everyone is comfortable.
Do Your Research. It does go without saying, but I've seen plenty of people try to wing it without doing any due diligence about the company, the brand, the clients or even the project they are pitching. Ignorance is not bliss in this case. It's just ignorant. And it's a waste of everyone's time. So come together with your team to figure what you are trying to sell and find the information that you need to do it. The more you know, the better prepared you will be and the stronger your presentation will be.
Practice Your Pitch. I can't say this one enough. If you've done your research and written up a rock-solid presentation, good. Now, you and your team must practice. Write note cards, prepare to tell a brief, but funny story, and identify who is speaking when. Making a presentation should feel like a carefully orchestrated game of tennis where each player hits the ball over the net without missing a beat.
Set Up Your Tech in Advance. Don't arrive 15-minutes beforehand and think all of your digital equipment will jive with theirs. That's usually when the tech guy is running late, someone forgot that one plug that was needed and for some unknown reason, your presentation won't load. Give yourself more than enough time to set up.
Pitching for a raise, a promotion or even a new piece of business is an art. It takes a bit of skill, research and the right personality to create a win-win scenario for everyone. Implement the steps above and I guarantee positive results. Good luck!