How to do a good presentation

Key points for a good presentation

This checklist assumes that you are presenting your credentials using your work as a case history or histories.


Before you start…

Set your objectives: what are the maximum and the minimum you want from this presentation?

  • Be clear on why you are different; express this as benefits to the customer.
  • Research the venue if it is foreign to you, and see if you can get in early to set up.
  • Remember the Ps: Preparation, Passion, Professionalism, Proof, Props, Personality,
  • Persuasion, Pace, Participation.
  • Throw away all notes, and rely on good cues; leave your hands and mind free to be
  • spontaneous. If you are presenting your work, you know it better than anyone else.
  • Select your work to prove you can take a tight or a wide-open brief, solve problems and get results.
  • Use the work to get feedback from the clients and to identify their problems.
  • Plan to demonstrate that you care about your clients’ problems and not just your own.
  • Think through the difficult questions you may get beforehand and turn them into positives.
  • Remember AIDA as a guide: Attention, Interest, Demonstration, and Action. Do not worry too much about technique, but do not annoy people, and do be interesting. Be yourself.

During the presentation…

  • Start by opening positively; forget parking, travel and the weather.
  • Take control by setting the agenda, checking how long you have, getting approval for what you are to do.
  • Tell them if there are notes or handouts. When do you want questions?
  • Keep control by variety of voice, props, participation, eyes, questions and demonstration.
  • Keep interest with drama. Do not forget the non-visual senses: sound, taste, smell, touch.
  • Listen for leads (potential client problems) and buying signals (how much do you charge?)
  • Float ideas and solutions. Stay positive, however negative the client. Summarise what you could do.
  • Close the meeting effectively: propose follow-up action, try a question that is difficult to reply to with a “no”. Example: “Would you like me to come up with some approaches to this problem fairly quickly, or do we have some time to take a more detailed approach?”


After the presentation…

  • Leave behind something positive, especially if what you presented will be shown later on to someone else in your absence.
  • If appropriate, do a contact note by e-mail, fax or letter to summarise what happened.
  • Maintain a contact database note of what happened. You may want to retry later. Make a diary note to follow up an unsuccessful but well-received presentation. Have a reason to come back, and know what your minimum objective is.


Courtesy of Jeremy North


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