10 Secrets to a Stellar Business Presentation
Know your NUMBERS
This is one of the most important pieces to a business presentation, and what makes a business presentation different from all other presentations. Know your numbers forwards and backwards –price point, margins, cost per unit, revenue projections, target market numbers, etc… Investors will want to see all these numbers and then some so make sure to quantify the business, know the numbers yourself AND how you generated the numbers.
- Know your audience
There are different types of presentations under the umbrella of a business presentation. There will be certain information you will need to include when presenting to investors that you might not necessarily need if you are presenting to an audience for feedback or help on growth. Know who the audience is and then build your presentation to speak to them.
- Know your slides/presentation
This is very important. Do not read your slides. It is hard to instill confidence in you from investors standpoint if you read your slide to them word for word. You should have the presentation down and know what the slides say. Also on this, make sure to bring notes for yourself in case technology fails and you no longer have access to your presentation. This happens more than you think, and I have seen people flounder so be prepared in the event that technology does not work properly.
- Know your purpose for the presentation
What is your purpose for presenting? If you can’t identify why you are presenting, then the audience will not be able to identify it either. Before constructing your presentation, decide what the purpose is and then build it from there. This will help keep you on track and make sure your message is consistent throughout your presentation.
- Know your business
You need to know what your business is. If you have to read me your mission statement, then you don’t know your business. This seems like a very basic and simple concept, but a lot of people fail at this. Also, be ready to give your 30-second elevator pitch.
- Follow the format/structure
Most places and/or competitions that you present in will have some type of timed structure and format. It looks very bad on your part if the time allotted for your presentation is 7 minutes and you go over. You are trying to convince people of your business, which in the entrepreneur world is also you, so make sure you can follow a structure. This leads in to the next piece of practice.
- Practice your presentation
Don’t over practice your presentation because when the time comes to deliver it for real, then you will sound like a robot and will have trouble engaging the audience. That being said, you absolutely want to practice the presentation to ensure you will be able to adequately follow the structure/format and so you know what is on your slides. I would recommend practicing no more than 7 to 8 times before delivering the actual presentation.
- Clean and simple presentation
You are meant to be the sole focus of the presentation and the slides are just there to add icing on the cake. Keep the presentation simple and clean. Don’t put long paragraphs on the slides because then the audience will be reading that instead of paying attention to you. Make sure your logo is on each slide somewhere and use easy to read backgrounds and text so the audience can see what the slides say.
- No last minute changes
My rule of thumb for this is at least 3 days in advance, no more changes. This is for two reasons: 1.) Changes made at the last minute usually lead to worse presentations and throw the presenter off of their game and 2.) This allows you enough time to get intimate with the presentation and learn it so you know your slides.
- Think about possible questions the audience will ask
Think about some questions you can expect from the audience and what your answers to these would be. This helps you look more prepared and helps to instill confidence in the audience. Some questions I would prepare answers for include:
- Why should I invest in you/your company?
- Give me your 30-second elevator pitch
- How did you get into this?
- Tell me how you generated your numbers
- Are you looking for investment and if so, how much?
- How are you competitive?
- And finally, learn how to take constructive criticism on your business