You can front-load your introduction and put the Pow! into Powerful Business Presentations to seize your audience from the first second of your show.
Or you can tiptoe into your business presentation so no one notices you.
Which would you choose?
You’d choose the introduction with Pow, of course!
But many people don’t.
Many folks in business school, in fact, simply don’t launch powerful business presentations for one excellent reason.
The Reason Why Many Business Presentations Sputter
Many folks don’t know how to begin a presentation.
“Of course I know how to begin a presentation. What kind of fool does this guy think I am?”
But do you? Really?
Does your intro have Pow? Consider for a moment . . .
Do you begin confidently and strongly? Or do you tiptoe into your presentation, like so many people in school and in the corporate world?
Do you sidle into it? Do you edge into your show with lots of metaphorical throat-clearing? Do you back into it?
Do you actually start strong with a story, but let the story spiral out of control until it overshadows your main points? Is your story even relevant? Do your tone and body language and halting manner shout “apology” to the audience?
Do you shift and dance?
Are you like a turtle poking his head out of his shell, eyeing the audience, ready to dart back to safety if you catch even a single frown? Do you crouch behind the podium like a soldier in his bunker? Do you drone through the presentation, your voice monotone, your eyes glazed, fingers crossed, actually hoping that no one notices you?
One major problem with all of this is that you exhibit horrendous body language that destroys your credibility.
Set the Stage with Your Situation Statement
You begin with your grabber . . . then follow immediately with your Situation Statement.
The Situation Statement tells your audience what they will hear. It’s the reason you and your audience are there.
What will you tell them? The audience is gathered to hear about a problem and its proposed solution . . . or to hear of success and how it will continue . . . or to hear of failure and how it will be overcome . . . or to hear of a proposed change in strategic direction.
Don’t assume that everyone knows why you are here. Don’t assume that they know the topic of your talk. Ensure that they know with a powerful Situation Statement.
A powerful situation statement centers the audience – Pow! It focuses everyone on the topic.
Don’t meander into your show with chummy talk, thanking the board for the “opportunity,” thanking the conference staff, thanking the bartender for generous pours.
Don’t tip-toe into it. Don’t be vague. Don’t clear your throat with endless apologetics or thank yous.
What do I mean by this?
You Need Pow!
Let’s say your topic is the ToughBolt Corporation’s new marketing campaign. Do not start this way:
“Good morning, how is everyone doing? Good. Good! It’s a pleasure to be here, and I’d like to thank our great board of directors for the opportunity. I’m Dana Smith and this is my team, Bill, Joe, Mary, and Sophia. Today, we’re planning on giving you a marketing presentation on ToughBolt Corporation’s situation. We’re hoping that—”
No . . . no . . . and no.
Direct and to-the-point is best. Pow!
Try starting this way:
“Today we present ToughBolt’s new marketing campaign — a campaign to regain the 6 percent market share lost in 2011 and increase our market share. By another 10 percent. A campaign to lead us into the next year to result in a much stronger and competitive market position.”
You see? This is not the best intro, but it’s solid. No “random facts.” No wasted words. No metaphorical throat-clearing.
No backing into the presentation, and no tiptoeing.
You have set the stage for a powerful business presentation.
Put the Pow into Your Powerful Business Presentation!
Now, let’s add some Pow to it. A more colorful and arresting introductory Situation Statement might be:
“As we sit here today — right now — changes in our industry attack our firm’s competitive position three ways. How we respond to these challenges now will determine Toughbolt’s future for good or ill . . . for survival . . . or collapse. Our recommended response? Aggressive growth. We now present the source of those challenges, how they threaten us, and our marketing team’s solution to regain Toughbolt’s position in the industry and to continue robust growth in market share and profitability.”
Remember in any story, there must be change. The reason we give a case presentation is that something has changed in the company’s fortunes.
We must explain this change. We must craft a response to this change.
And we must front-load our introduction with Pow! to include our recommendation.
That’s why you have assembled your team. To explain the threat or the opportunity. To provide your analysis. To recommend action!
Remember, put Pow into your beginning. Leverage the opportunity when the audience is at its most alert and attentive. Right at the start.
Craft a Situation Statement that grabs them and doesn’t let go.
For more on putting the Pow! into powerful business presentations, have a look here.