Headlines speak for example in effective business presentations

It was a pleasure to once again host a Speakeasy event at our offices in Manchester this evening. Speakeasy as a concept – to assist business owners and professionals craft and deliver their business message – is growing in popularity with 7+ live groups in and around Manchester and international expansion imminent. It is a testament to the hard work and effort invested by its founder, Andrew Thorp.

Alistair MacDonald was an excellent co-facilitator at this evening’s event.

Key learning points in relation to delivering effective presentations for me were as follows:

Start with a headline

Rather than launch straight into the dense detail of your presentation content, start with a teaser headline e.g.

“It was on the 10th January 2010 that my life changed…..I’ll return to the reason for this in a moment but first let me explain how I got there…..”

Think about news programmes and how they craft their message. They always start with short, punchy headlines.  Headlines both frame a story and provide a teaser to pique interest, before returning to flesh out the detail. The same technique can be used with great effect in public speaking.

Tell stories by using the words “for example”

A repeated lesson from tonight’s Speakeasy (in fact from pretty much every decent presentational training event I’ve been to) stressed the need for the presenter to use stories to engage the audience and provide memorable hooks for the audience to take away.

Alistair MacDonald provided a great insight in that he said his ears prick up when he hears a speaker say the words “for example” as he knows a story is imminent. This provides an excellent hook for speakers to remember to use to introduce stories plus it provides a smooth bridge to bring in stories throughout a presentation.

Are there any other tips that you find help turn an otherwise dull, mundane talk into an inspiring and engaging presentation?

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Developing new client relationships drip by drip

You must water your garden every single day.

It is so easy to fall into the trap of focusing on dealing with clients and customers in the here and now. You’re really busy – in fact you’re rushed off your feet – that’s great news, but if you miss one single day of reaching out to new prospects or renewing acquaintances with old clients then you are storing up trouble for the future – a garden that’s either parched or overgrown with weeds!

I was reminded of this the other day when a prospect that I have met with on several occasions (a company that falls within my definition of a ‘dream client’) sent me a LinkedIn invite – let me repeat “sent me” the invite. I realised that a few months had gone by and we had not been in touch. My contact may have been sending a polite reminder that we should get back in touch or more likely was busy forcing himself to tend to his own garden – either way, it was a shot across the bows and made me rethink when and how I had last been in touch with my prospects and clients.

If, like me, you are keen to ensure that you have a steady stream of clients and customers, you must discipline yourself to keep on investing in these relationships each and every day – even if you’re lucky enough to be rushed off your feet right now.

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