Presentation Power – The Courage to Be Brilliant

If you are in sales, you present. Sometimes it’s a one-on-one across a desk. Sometimes it means standing at the front of a big room before a discerning audience that has assembled to decide who wins the sale. But no matter the arena, no matter the product or service you offer, your goal is to capture your listeners from the very first word and have them happily follow you right through to the end–and buy.

You can do what you always do–thank your audience for allowing you this opportunity, tell them you’re so happy to be there to inform them about whatever it is you are selling, introduce them to your team, tell them about your company, and make your pitch. Or you can open with power, have the courage to be brilliant–and win the sale.

It’s not as hard as you might think. Yes, it takes originality and intelligence–but you’ve got that in spades, right? So, here’s what to do.

First, decide on your message.

Your message is the most important thing you want your audience to remember if–at the moment you began your pitch–the world were to come to an abrupt end. It’s the key thing that gives your audience a reason to buy. To articulate your message, describe in one or two simple sentences what it is you are selling, its key benefits and why it is better than anything else in the marketplace. Polish it, refine it and make your message shine.

Next, identify the theme of your message.

Is it about change? Innovation? Technology? Financial savings? Improving something? Simplifying something? Magic? Whatever it is, you will use that theme to drive your presentation.

Finally, create an opening that leads to the theme of your message.

I’ve listed a variety of interesting ways to open below, and whether you choose from my list or invent an opening of your own, the point of your opening must be clear and lead directly to your message. If you’re really clever about it, your opening leads to a message whose theme you can use throughout your presentation. When you can do that, you’ll not only wow them from the start, your audience will be engaged throughout your delivery.

At the end of your presentation, restate your message, then tie it all together by returning to your opening.

So let’s summarize. Begin with an intriguing opening that leads to a clear and compelling message. State your message. Deliver your content keeping your theme in mind and referring to it from time to time. End by restating your message and returning to your opening–which is now a clever close.

Here are a few ideas for brilliant openings. Begin with:

  • a personal story
  • a quote from a famous person
  • a quote from your CEO
  • a magic trick
  • a musical introduction
  • a story from the news
  • a reference to a topic of national interest
  • a game or contest
  • a demonstration
  • a reference to a story with great emotional impact
  • a mind-reading act.

You won’t differentiate yourself from the competition by sounding like everyone else. To grab your audience from the very first word, you’ll need a memorable approach, a dynamic style, and the courage to be different. That’s brilliant!