Sure we all have things in our lives that we memorize, right? Our “ABC’s”, the “Pledge of Allegiance,” prayers – I was raised Catholic, so I have a lot of those still in my mind today. But even as long as I have known, and the countless times I’ve recited the “Our Father”, I still can’t start it in the middle.
Same holds true with your presentations, the client asks a question and you lose track. It’s nearly impossible to answer that question and get back on target. Besides, if a presentation is memorized, it will sound scripted. If you try to memorize a script, unless you’re a natural actor, the client will pick up on it every time.
You actually put more stress on yourself when you try to memorize, because when you do forget a word – and you will – or if you get a little bit off track, you will become so nervous that you stand a good chance of losing the whole thing. And, you cannot recover from that. Besides, none of us have that much time in our day.
Here is how to prepare in the easiest and quickest manner.
- Know your opening statement. And, make sure it connects to one of the client’s needs or issues they face.
- Define three keys to success. In other words, what are the three ways you help solve that issue your client is facing? Write out your bullet points. Not the entire sentence, just key words that spark your memory. Now, get those bullet points down, this is your outline.
- Talk naturally about each bullet point. This is your conversation with the client and how you can help them. It will change slightly each time and that is just fine. You will get your point across.
- Have your closing statement down. This will keep you from rambling and you know you are done. This closing statement should also include the benefit to the client.
This type of outline creates a conversational tone, allows you to be in the moment, and more interactive. And, when you practice your outline, practice out loud. Have you ever practiced anything in your head, from a speech to song lyrics? It always sounds great, doesn’t it? The words flow without a hitch, all perfectly formed without a single “uhm” or awkward pause, no wimpy words, and no “loss for words.” In other words, you sound like a Hollywood actor turned rock star. But try it again, out loud. It sounds a lot different, doesn’t it?
When you practice, it has to be out loud. For the next level, try it in the mirror. Watch your own facial expressions. Do you look grumpy or approachable? Do you look friendly and likeable, but insincere? Do you have good posture? Are you making the connection you would like?
When you practice in this manner, your next presentation will be conversational and will make a stronger connection with your listener. Make it easier on yourself – Don’t memorize your part! Practice your part in a conversational manner.
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