Coming up with great ideas is challenging. Pitching them to our clients via conference call can be even tougher. We only get a few opportunities to communicate directly with our clients and we need to make them count. Here are a six ways help ensure a seamless and more polished presentation.
A good visual will help communicate your ideas even if it’s a rough sketch. It’s hard to describe style, functionality and the overall concept with just words. Let your visuals guide the way while you point out all the main points of your concepts. This also helps convey your concepts if the doc is shared internally without it being presented.
Keep it simple and concise.
Make sure your Doc is sent to the client prior to the call and that everyone has it open. Reference page numbers and sections you are viewing to ensure everyone is on the same page.
If you fumble through your ideas, you’ll come off as less-than knowledgeable (or stupid). Please don’t be an embarrassment to yourself and to your team.
PRACTICE. PRACTICE. PRACTICE.
Review your notes and know them by memory. Go through the presentation to yourself, out loud. It’s harder than presenting to a client. When you’re done with that, do a dry run with your group. Make any last minute edits and add them into your notes.
If multiple people are presenting, make an agenda for everyone presenting so they know when their turn is to present.
Be prepared to answer any questions about your idea. If you don’t have the answers to their questions, let them know you will get back to them after the call with more information and continue on.
Don’t read the brief that everyone has word for word. Chances are, they’ve already skipped ahead, read it and it will just bore them. Keep it candid by making notes, using your own words and being yourself.
Your audience can’t see your pitted-out t-shirt or the dark circles under your eyes on a conference call, but they CAN hear the level of excitement in your voice. Try standing up while talking to bring up the energy level. Also, talk directly into the phone base to ensure you’re being heard. Don’t block your voice with a laptop, your hand, etc.
Don’t fly through your notes. Slow down and allow your audience to stay up with you while they review your doc. During your pitch, check in from time to time to make sure they are keeping up, understand what you’re presenting, etc. Ask them if it’s ok to proceed. It’s polite.
Did you blow it? Your co-workers should be able to let you know. Take a few minutes to talk with your team on the presentation. Did it go smoothly? Was the audience responsive? Were they engaged? Find out what worked, what didn’t and what you can improve on for the next presentation.
Thanks to Nick & Tyler for sitting through some of my terrible presentations and offering great constructive feedback.