I was lucky enough to work with 2 very talented managers at a financial information company in the City on Tuesday. They were highly competent and knowledgeable – and what is more, open to learning new things. A pleasure to work with.
What was very exciting for them – and for me – was to introduce them to the idea that when you are making a presentation, you are selling something. You are selling an idea, a concept, a change of approach as well as your products or services. And a sale doesn’t happen just because you tell them what you’ve got!
To convince the intelligent people in your audience (and your audience is always intelligent!), you need to show them you really understand their problems, their needs and their situation.
After you’ve greeted them with a story or a news topic that is current and is specific to your subject or merely a quotation, and after you’ve outlined why exactly you are entitled to be talking to them (I call that Earning The Right), it’s wise to talk to them about themselves. As a friend of mine Tony Hendry, an experienced trainer helping companies educate their teams on presentations points out,
“People in your audience are there for their reasons, not yours!”
So to hook your audience and get them really listening to you, talk about their concerns and worries (that you have a solution for). You are demonstrating respect, empathy and thoughtfulness.
This is the first and vital step to winning their engagement – and ultimately their agreement.