When Trolling for Business, Don’t Wing It
After the assertion is stated you must substantiate your claims. If you’re going to use charts or graphs, use them to validate your claim. Don’t make your audience figure out what the charts say. A visually appealing graph can be a great presentation tool, but make it easy to understand what the charts are telling them.
Always tune the pitch to the audience. Make sure you know who is attending your presentation. What’s their title? What’s their reporting relationship? Why are they there? What’s their role? Who is an ally? An adversary? Who are simply spectators?
Determine beforehand whether you are going to use a deck (printed handout, often bound) or a screen (PowerPoint presentation). Sometimes it’s determined by the size of the audience; other times it’s dependant on the nature of the content. Financial people, regardless of the size of the audience, typically present with decks without projected visuals. They do that for a reason. They want their deck to be taken away and referred back to later.
Open in Bangor, not on Broadway. This becomes much more significant as the degree of the importance of the presentation increases. If you were going to make a major presentation, it’s essential that you conduct a rehearsal. Get a couple of allies or one or two of your advocates, and give them the opportunity to review your presentation. Pre-presentation feedback and commentary are essential to fine tuning an important pitch.
Finally, as it relates to substance, figure out ahead of time what you’re going to do about questions and answers. Don’t allow these to be ad hoc. Are you going to ask that questions be held until the end or will you encourage a fire at will approach? Both ways have advantages, but they also have some real disadvantages. It’s dependant upon the audience, the subject matter being presented and the nature of the listeners and their degree of expertise.