Get Clients Using Presentations and Seminars

It’s the biggest concern for most professionals. That awful feeling in the pit of their stomach: where is my next client coming from?

One of the best ways to win a steady stream of new clients is to use public speaking and seminars.

Why are presentations and seminars so effective at attracting clients?

Well, to a large degree, professionals sell expertise. Yes, if they’re smart they’ll focus on the end results and benefits clients will achieve. But the reason clients hire professionals rather than achieve the results themselves is most often that those professionals have expertise they don’t have.

One of the biggest challenges professionals face in marketing and business development is how to prove they have the expertise clients are looking for. It’s no good claiming you have it – anyone can do that. And everyone has a myriad of references and testimonials.

The best approach is to demonstrate your expertise. And speaking and running seminars on relevant topics is one of the best ways to do that.

Clients get to experience first-hand that you know what you’re talking about. And they also get a sense of what you would be like to work with in person.

Public speaking and running seminars is not for everyone. Some professionals who are great face to face communicators crumble when on stage. And organizing the logistics for events is a time consuming task.

Most crucially, it is often a huge challenge to get attendance even at free events. The topic needs to be highly relevant to a significant number of potential clients – and you need to be able to reach them to alert them to the event and sell them on attendance.

It’s often a useful tactic to be able to “piggyback” on existing events with regular attendance from your target clients. Professional associations are often on the lookout for good guest speakers, and many networking events have speaker and seminar slots available. This can be a very effective route if you don’t already have a strong list of potential attendees yourself.

But please: do the world a favor and only use this approach if you can genuinely give high quality talks. We’ve all been in the audience for those awful seminars where the presenter drones on and on and reads through bullet point after bullet point. make sure that’s not you.

Make sure you prepare well, rehearse thoroughly and get independent feedback on your performance. If needed, get training or coaching, or join a local speaking club such a Toastmasters.

HELP! I Have To Deliver A Presentation!

“The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.”

- George Jessel

What is it about public speaking that drives people nuts? Many studies have shown that given the choice of what registers the greatest fear in humans, “untimely death” actually is less fearful than speaking in public!

1) Public Speaking or Humiliation

2) Peer Rejection

3) Untimely Death

It is hard to believe that such angst is caused about presenting to groups. As with many things in life, I believe it comes down to one thing and one thing only: Preparation. Those that are thoroughly knowledgable in their subject matter as well as their delivery of the subject matter, find presenting not only easy, but actually energizing.

One of the goals I have always used in delivering speeches, is to know the material so well, that the well-prepared content is delivered in a nearly ad-libbed fashion. This casual delivery style keeps the audience engaged through both delivery of content as well as inflection in the voice. In the early days of my speeches, I used to have three key words highlighted in my speaking notes for each slide. I would ad-lib the slide but always ensured that I covered the three key words – that was the solution to delivering the message. Now, I practice speeches so much that the “ad-lib” sections and anecdotal stories flow seamlessly to capture the essence of the presentation.

Rules Of Thumb:In a nutshell, make the presentation entertaining! Presentations should be inspirational, exciting, well-thought through and yes, entertaining. From the look and feel of the presentation, to its delivery, it is critical to keep the audience dialed in. Specifically, I prefer the following as my simple rules of thumb:

  • Black background with vibrant colors to pop of the slides
  • Kabel Ultra Bold font for the best readability – not everyone is sitting in the front row
  • No more than 3 bullets per slide in – short and to the point!
  • Graphics on every slide – think entertainment and interest
  • Presentation should be timed to about one minute per slide – keep the audience engaged

StoryBoard It! Slow down… and don’t race to create slides just yet. Before you start creating slides for your next presentation, plan what you’re going to say. Storyboard the flow of the speech first – this will make your presentation more cohesive and easier to create the slides. Believe me, some time spent up front in mapping the sequence, will save you more time than it takes to create it. This storyboard process will help you clarify what you want to say, when to say it and how you want to say it. The flow of the presentation is equally important as the content of the slides.

Never, Ever Read Slides: Raise your hand if you have been in the audience of a speech where the presenter read the slides WORD-BY-WORD… positively riveting! Don’t be THAT guy! The audience can read the slides – keep them brief and to the point – accentuating what’s on the screen with anecdotal tidbits that enhance and personalize the slide. Keep the pace moving so that the audience does not fall into a trance staring at a slide with 100 words on it for five minutes.

Be A Story Teller: Personalizing your speech is an excellent way to deliver a message. Interweaving anecdotal examples of real-life stories that help to characterize the essence of the point create a longer-lasting impression on the audience. In addition, these interjections of personal experiences enable the speaker to humanize the points and allow the audience to create commonality with the presenter. The more the speaker can make the content their own, the better the reception from the audience.

Be Prepared – Practice! Now is not the time to go lightly – this is the area that will make or break your speech. You MUST practice your speech to the point that it flows effortlessly from your mouth to the audience. In your mind, you need to know not only where you are in your presentation but what is coming up next. I always love it when I get “in the zone” where I am simultaneously delivering the speech while thinking about what is going to be presented next. Or as Wayne Gretzky, hockey Hall-Of-Famer would say, “skate where the puck is going, not where it’s been.” That is being in the zone.

Overcoming the fear of presenting is solved through one way only – preparation. Know your stuff, be well-practiced and your delivery will be seamless and well-received. The “rubber chicken circuit” is not for the faint of heart, but with proper planning and preparation, you can unleash your “inner orator”.

Tip For an Effective Presentation in English

Hello,

Sometimes customers come to me, complaining that they feel stuck in the planning stages of a presentation. In other words, they do not know where to begin.

A tip that I recommend is to try thinking backwards. Try asking yourself, “What would I want the participants of my presentation to take with them at the end of my presentation?” Write down all the things you wish to happen. For example, after my presentation:

- I would like the participants to remember the price of my top three products
- I would like the participants to enter my website during the week
- I would like the participants to remember four advantages of my product

This list will assist you in creating the presentation in a more accurate way.

Recently, I conducted a workshop for sales representatives of a large and well-known retail chain that sells computers and computer accessories. When I sat down with the manager in order to plan the workshop, he wasn’t sure about the content he wanted to convey. The moment I presented the issue ‘backwards’, things became clearer:

“What would you want your sales reps to know how to do by the end of the workshop?” I asked him.

“Ah, that’s easy,” he answered, “I want them to be familiar with several selling techniques in order to sell more successfully.”

The moment he phrased it that way, things came into place: we knew that the workshop has to contain specific hands-on tools and techniques that will improve the effectiveness of the salespeople. Once we knew what the final target is, it became easier to build the workshop ‘backwards.’

One last comment:

People tend to see presentations as something that is related only to the business world. However, it’s important to remember that a presentation is a delivery of information in a way that conveys the message in the manner that will be best understood. What am I trying to say? I’m trying to say that trying to convince my wife to join me for a Hamlet performance next Friday is also a type of presentation. And, if I want to convince her to come with me, especially if she’s not a big fan of Shakespeare, then I need to spend a few minutes thinking about how to present it properly and convincingly. We present all the time, and to everyone. “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players,” said Shakespeare (As You Like It, Act II), and if the famous Bard said so, then perhaps we should listen.

I would love to hear about interesting or weird presentations you’ve had.

Good luck.

Mr. Miron Abramson
Add-Vantage