Amp up your presentation skills with these 4 tips

Marketing and PR professionals are used to the ongoing networking and relationship-building that helps to drive word-of-mouth recommendations, but the process of actually presenting in front of a live audience is a completely different game – one that requires not only an effective presentation from a visual standpoint, but an energetic, informed delivery.

Don’t skip over introductions

While you might be ready to simply dive into the actual presentation (after the inevitable late nights and multiple rounds of review who could blame you!), but introductions are an important way to engage your audience. Take time to introduce each team member and allow them to explain a bit about their focus. Include a personal anecdote or fun tidbit that relates to your clients business, and then invite your audience to do the same.
Remember its not just about demonstrating your expertise, but demonstrating you are the right partner. Opportunities to add a bit of personality to your presentation not only engages, or hooks, your audience, but actually prices them to be more invested in what you have to say.

Begin with an attention-grabber

Because you have done your research and have garnered clear objectives from your prospective client, you know the problem or opportunity at hand. Build a story around this knowledge, pulling in examples from previous successful programs and making it known how deeply you understand the business challenge at hand, before jumping into why your firm should be hired.

Stay focused on the central message of the presentation

Tangential conversations can crop up when a nervous presenter veers off-topic, or when someone on the prospective client team asks a question that then refocuses away the conversation at hand into uncharted (and unplanned for) territory. Connect with your team beforehand and make sure everyone is clear on the intended outcomes of the pitch, and name someone the point person to reel everyone back in. Remember it’s totally fine to say something like “I am really enjoying this conversation, but in the interests of everyone’s time, I’d like us to table that for later and dive into a few of our campaign ideas.”

Practice before you pitch

When the script and slides are ready, deliver the whole presentation in front of someone else, or video tape yourself explaining your part of the pitch. Video is a great (if painful) way to make sure you aren’t fidgeting, swaying, speaking too quickly, mumbling, etc.
With practice, you can learn to deliver new business presentation with confidence.  For a great resource to circulate with your team, consider sharing this infographic from WalkerStone about how to keep audience engaged during a presentation and communicate your message efficiently.
About This Author

Known as the “fashion publicist’s most powerful accessory,” (San Diego Union-Tribune) and the “West Coast ‘It’ girl of fashion PR,” (YFS Magazine) Crosby Noricks put fashion public relations on the digital map when she launched PR Couture in 2006. She is the author of Ready to Launch: The PR Couture Guide to Breaking into Fashion PR, available on Amazon. A decade later, Crosby is a successful fashion marketing strategist who spends her time championing PR Couture's growth and mentoring fashion publicists through her signature online course PRISM. Learn more about opportunities to work directly with Crosby at her website crosbynoricks.com