A month ago, a client of ours was bitterly telling me about a sale they lost due to lack of preparation and due diligence. Technology -or lack of proper use- apparently played a huge role on the mishap. I wanted to tell her how to avoid such heartbreaking scenarios, but I was there basically as a crying shoulder and did not dare to break her woes.
Last week, I heard of another similar embarrassing moment in a presentation. Although apparently the show went on with good dribbling from the presenter, the fact of the matter is that there could have been many ways of preventing such mishaps with a little bit of planning.
In July 2009 I delivered a Business Sales Tips related presentation and one of the main topics was, precisely, how to formulate, test and apply backup and contingency plans when technology fails us. I also explained and showed with a few examples how to prepare, test and apply techniques to avoid such happenings.
The slides of the presentation can be found here, however I think one has to be a member of such group to be able to see them. ...and they really mean not much without the accompanying talk and show.
I wish these salespersons and presenters could have attended then; it would have help shown a more positive outcome than whichever potential clients and attendees perceived from such derailed sessions.
In brief, the secret to be ready for a flawless delivery is:
• Practice, practice, practice
• Have the same material you are presenting in at least 2 different media types (i.e. Presentation slides file in your computer, in an external storage device, and printouts)
• If there are charts of diagrams that will be crafted while explaining, have them also pre-printed in poster form, or at least printouts for all attendees
• Did I mention practice?
• A brief introductory message and delivery of material before the talk will always help, acknowledge your audience has received it
• Imagine you are presenting in two totally different places: one counts on all gadgets needed such as projectors, flip-charts, white-boards, good lighting, and etcetera. The other has none of these. Simply prepare all needed for both scenarios
• Deliver at least the slides after the presentation is over, if you did not provide any information beforehand
• Finally, practice
So, there you have it. Again, this summary might not make much sense without a proper... er, presentation; but these might be building blocks for future events.