Presenting Re-engineered

You are attending a Presentation Skills training workshop.

For most, this conjures up “eye contact”, “voice modulation”, and “gestures” – great for phone, PDF, iPad and web presentation applications are they not?

How we sell today is dramatically different to as recently as 5 years ago.

Power Point and Keynote have been replaced by PDF files, Webinars and Video.

In person is being replaced by teleconferencing.

Boards replaced by streaming video and e-mail attachments.

The advent of Twitter, Utube, Facebook and Blogs have all but changed how we sell before we present.

Re-schooling, re-tooling and re-practicing have become paramount to survival.

Following is an overview of the critical presentation skills needed in today’s business environment.

Persuasive Communication Skills

Fortunately, communication is still communication. Its delivery systems are the only real changes.

“It’s not only what you say – it’s how you say it”, is about the only idiom that has stood the test of time.

However, with the advent of technology, which itself emphasizes the facts over the style, it’s become critical to find a way to make the facts interesting enough to listen to, as your “personality” is often not there to hold your audience’s attention.


1) Do not make a key point until you have “enticed” the audience to listen to it. Therefore – “set-up” your point before you say it, as a barker would do at the circus or stage manager on a talk show.

2) Whenever possible pre-sell by sending persuasive insights and/or facts by email, text, etc. – each helping you remotely set up your presentations.

3) Have one-on-one or small group teleconferences to pre-sell your final ideas. Let the audience engage and suggest. These are precursors, not recommendations.

Persuasive Organization Skills

We see that the premise:

¨ tell ‘em whatcha gonna tell ‘em,

¨ tell ‘em, and

¨ tell ‘em whatcha jus’ t’ol ‘em”

…is no longer a workable formula.

It is what many have called the “story telling” approach.

The contemporary challenges facing today’s presenters include:

♦ Audiences have little to no time to listen to anything other than the immediate answers to the questions they had walking into the presentation;

♦ Groups in organizations listen to information differently (as do individuals within those groups); and

♦ If you can’t persuade, but only inform (the tell ‘em format) your contemporary audience quickly gets a case of the “I’ve no time for this drivel” syndrome.

For any of you reading this, you know today you must poignantly and efficiently prove your point or go home.

The Solutions:

♦ Learn how people listen and evaluate data and customize your message to this;

♦ Learn how to structure an argument (do not misinterpret to mean “argumentative”) in such a fashion that it becomes “obvious” that your P.O.V. and recommendations are well evidenced and stand up to scrutiny.

Action #1:

Match how you state your key point to how the audience likes to “listen” to information.

Your tool to this is to find out what types of reading material they prefer. This will lead you to the way they have programmed themselves to receive information.

For example – if their favorite way to get information is to read Google articles or the morning newspaper – then you know you’d better get to the point in as few words as possible.

 Action #2:

Start all presentations with what you are “Promising” the audience will get out of the presentation that they would consider of value.

Then follow with “evidence” that delivers upon your opening promise.

Presentation Aids

Albeit the mediums have made dramatic advances, messages are still messages.

Hollywood, Disney and Broadcast became our new teachers. After all, it’s what they do better than any pundit of the famous Power Point™ or Keynote™ presentation.

We discover some absolute truths.

♦ Aids are there to “assist” the presenter in making the point not to be the point.

♦ When the presenter is not available such as in the case of emailed PDF’s and the like, then the aid is the presenter and should be developed with the same care as one would develop one’s personality and social graces when presenting in person.


1) Think of anything you use to aid you in making your point as a “fellow presenter”.

Therefore. First, when it’s making the point – shut-up.

2) Secondly, the aid should sufficiently make the point that you do not now have to “re-explain” it.

Therefore, your aids should only show what you want said allowing you to then highlight it, not restate it.

Handling Objections and Tough Questions

Fortunately, we’ve previously had much of this subject well researched, explored and conquered.

An acronym to remember when answering a “why” question is – P.R.E.P.

P = Point – this is where you repeat the point of the question

R = Reason – give the reasoning behind your answer typically started with the word “because”

E = Example – this is where you give an example to explain and support the point (vs. giving a long winded explanation)

P = Point – this is where you restate the original answer (point) with words such as “so that’s why…”

Case in Point:

Question by you of your personal financial adviser: “Why should I save 10% of all our income?”

P = You should save 10% of your income as a just in case emergency fall back fund.

R = Because in this business climate, keeping a job for 35 years is a thing of the past.

E = For example, in 2011 the average marketing job had an 18 month tenure.

P = That’s why you should save 10% of your income.

The biggest Challenge of today’s presenter

Formal, group, stand-up and staged presentations have dramatically given way to informal, sit down, unstaged group meetings.

However, the classic business purpose of both has remained the same.

Function remains, form has changed.

On the other hand, these presentations are quicker, livelier, less structured and most importantly, more critical in terms of what they must accomplish today.

The Solutions:

Manage this chaos by:

1) Manage message length.

Poignancy versus blah! blah! – trying to make the audience submit through the sheer volume of content we can shower on them.

2) Manage priorities of messages.

Building one’s case is only as practical as one has the audience’s attention while doing so – therefore seek to re-prioritize critical content in order to maintain group attention and interest.

3) Managing inattentiveness.

Speaking louder has been a favorite fall back technique of presenters of old.

Nothing could be further from practical in today’s meeting room.

Instead, manage:

a) beneficial relevance of content, and

b) individual reference to people in the audience especially when you are presenting remotely.

As you can see, both a and b above can be tied together. Example: “Joe, (individual reference) you will see that the CPM’s dropped for the third quarter (beneficial relevance).”

A final word

Today, presenting is the subtle, highly technical and persuasive skill of working through live and remote electronic mediums and a cacophony of interruptions to ensure your message, as intended, is heard, understood, consensually agreed to and signed off on.

Be Brief.

Be Relevant.

Be of Value.

Toni Louw
Louws – CEO & Founder

About the author:

Over the past 34 years, Toni Louw has trained, coached and consulted with over 480 Brand advertising, promotion, direct marketing, digital, interactive, social, media and public relations agencies worldwide. This has also included over 50 of the top 150 brands internationally.

Toni has recently re-constructed and updated, for 21st Century business application, 18 different business critical subjects that has made Louws one of the most ubiquitous leader of innovative performance based training, coaching and consulting services worldwide.

Click on the link provided: Stellar Meeting Presentation Skills© for more information on Presentation Skills Training,Coaching and Consulting.

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