Any chance you have to make a presentation is a golden opportunity to engage with people and demonstrate your worth. Financial advisors who can deliver exceptional presentations can differentiate themselves while connecting with potential clients in a memorable way. However, it’s challenging to recover from presentations that fall flat, leaving audience members wishing they could have their precious time back.
While some advisors are natural orators with the ability to sail effortlessly through a presentation, anyone can and should develop the skill of delivering compelling and inspiring words that can move an audience. It takes some skill, lots and lots of practice, and a clear understanding of how to frame a presentation. But the results can be well worth the effort.
Here are five critical elements of a successful presentation.
1. Be aware of your physical presence
You should always be mindful of your physical presence. Before you utter your first words, your audience is sizing you up. Your demeanor and body language reveal a lot about you to your audience, who are trying to decide if they should believe you. You’ll have a lot to overcome if you display hesitancy or a lack of conviction in your content.
You must stand tall and refrain from unnecessary hand or foot movements that could indicate nervousness. Smile, maintain eye contact and move with purpose. Practice your presentation constantly in front of a mirror or someone willing to critique you.
2. Start strong with a compelling story
You need to accomplish three things in the first five minutes of a presentation:
- Convince your audience you are like them, worrying about the same things that concern them.
- Let them know you have a solution that you will share during the presentation.
- Make them understand why you do what you do and why it’s important to you.
Nothing can communicate this better than framing it in a story. Through a well-told story, you can demonstrate your authenticity, connect with your audience and help them visualize what it will be like to work with you.
3. Be stingy with your content
Too often, financial advisors want to fill their presentations with everything they know on a given topic. That’s when they lose their audience. Most people can’t remember what they heard in a presentation except for one or two salient points. Make sure those key points aren’t lost in a tsunami of gibberish. For memorable presentations, less is more.
4. Be a minimalist with your slides
Weak presenters rely heavily on their slides to get through a presentation, using them as a script. Your slides must depend on you to make them come to life. As far as slide content, less is also more.
5. Engage your audience
Create opportunities to involve your audience in a genuine dialogue. You can throw thought-provoking questions out to your audience or have them write down a question on a card before the presentation. Audience members are always interested in what others have to say.
6. Be enthusiastic
Having a positive attitude and exuding energy speaks volumes about you and your topic. They’ll remember your passion if they remember nothing else, which is an attractive trait.
7. Don’t overstay your welcome
Less is more, and shorter is better than longer. If you are given 30 minutes for a presentation, cut it off at 25 minutes. Let the audience know how much time you will take and deliver on your promise upfront. You don’t want audience members squirming and checking their watches.
8. Finish strong
Keep your closing short—two or three sentences to drive home your most important points. Punch your keywords to make them easy for your audience to remember. Have a well-prepared call to action. Have your audience complete a brief review of your presentation, including an offer for a follow-up call or no-obligation consultation.
9. Never stop practicing
There’s no such thing as too much rehearsing. Rehearsing instills confidence, which raises the level of your presentation. If you continue to practice until you have your presentation down cold, you will appear more spontaneous, allowing your authentic self to come out.
Becoming a convincing and inspiring presenter can elevate your practice to another level. It can put you in front of a lot of people. It will raise your visibility and stature. It will differentiate you and make you more appealing as a well-spoken expert, making it well worth the time and effort to develop and hone your presentation skills.
Related: The Path To Becoming Exceptional