This post is part of a continuing series of guest posts. Diane DiResta is CEO of DiResta Communications, Inc., a New York City consultancy serving business leaders who want to communicate with greater impact.
Having coached a number of marketers on their presentations, it’s come to my attention that when delivering presentations even the most creative marketing professionals may be sabotaging their success. The reason many marketing ideas are rejected by management is not because of the quality of the idea. It’s more often because of the way the idea is presented.
Here are five presentation myths that marketers need to dispel:
1. It’s about the numbers. I’ve seen marketing clients who believe that if the numbers back up their idea, it will sell. Nothing could be further from the truth. Marketers fall in love with the numbers and make this the focal point of the presentation. Then they’re shocked when senior management isn’t excited about their new product launch.
Reality: It’s passion that sells. I had one client who was shot down after presenting a new product. The reason was not because it wasn’t a good product. It was because it wasn’t a compelling presentation. The feedback her manager gave me was that she presented the facts but there was no enthusiasm. Tell the story behind the numbers. Senior management needs to be sold in the same way the consumer needs to be sold.
2. Defend your position. One client got into hot water because of a need to defend his idea. When you’re wedded to your way of thinking you can alienate your boss and your supporters.
Reality: Defending a position may actually backfire on you. Some marketers believe if it isn’t invented here, it doesn’t count. Being flexible and open to other ideas will up the ante on your presentation. Listening and questioning are the keys to success in selling your idea. If you don’t know the answer admit it and offer to get back to the questioner. “Fake it til you make it” does not apply here. You’ll gain more credibility if you’re honest.
3. Tell them everything you know. Some marketers do a data dump, believing the listeners should be information rich.
Reality: Good speaking like good marketing gets to the point. When pitching a product or concept if you give too many details, the listeners tune out. Tell them what they need to know – not everything you know. When it comes to delivery, less is more.
4. Keep Talking. Some marketers believe that by dominating the conversation they’ll push through their ideas. The squeaky wheel may get the grease but it won’t necessarily get you the business.
Reality: Know when to shut up. A running faucet will eventually flood a room. Don’t drown in your own verbiage. Come up for air. Master the pause.
5. The Company Knows Best. Departments have their own culture. Expectations may range from using a standard version of a PowerPoint template to having a tradition of all presenters being seated.
Reality: Tradition doesn’t have to reign. Breaking the rules can be used to your advantage. A text-only deck is not as impactful as slides that contain a few visuals. Just because presenters traditionally speak while seated in a boardroom, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stand. Effective presenters know how to stand out and blend in. You can respect company culture and also infuse your personal brand.
To give a good presentation remember the three Cs – clear, concise, and compelling.
Diane DiResta is CEO of DiResta Communications, Inc., a New York City consultancy serving business leaders who want to communicate with greater impact — whether face-to-face, in front of a crowd or from an electronic platform. DiResta is the author of Knockout Presentations: How to Deliver Your Message with Power, Punch, and Pizzazz, an Amazon.com category best-seller and widely-used text in college business communication courses. http://www.diresta.com