Sometimes you spend hours and hours getting ready for an important partner or customer presentation. But, in the end, you have just one hour in front of them to make your pitch. And then they’re off to talk with one of your competitors. And maybe another competitor the next day.
It’s like speed dating. That VAR or ISV or reseller may be checking out multiple vendors to partner with or buy from. As with speed dating, they make a decision on who they’re going to spend the next few years with after just an hour or a day with you.
You have to make the right impression in a very short time – both in what you say and how you say it.
That’s when preparation and practice are critical. We recommend using the Mandel Blueprint™ to prepare a listener-focused presentation that concisely and directly speaks to their concerns. It’s important that you’ve prepared a customized message just for them.
It’s equally important that you deliver that message with the confidence that you want them to feel in the IBM brand.
Be sure you “look ‘em in the eye” so that you appear honest, knowledgeable, and competent. Eye contact is critical in establishing trust and credibility. Don’t just dart your eyes around the room like a “sprinkler”. Make 3-5 seconds of eye contact with each person – that’s a phrase, a thought, or a sentence with each person before you move on with your eyes.
And be careful to avoid fidgeting. If you’re having a little “hand party” you’ll look nervous, even if you’re not. It’s a “tell”. Avoid the “spider push-ups”, “hand washing”, “sisters of mercy”, playing with your ring, fist-clenching, hand clasping, etc. Keep those hands apart, make nice big gestures, and bring your arms down to your sides occasionally. Plan in advance for some purposeful gestures that will support your message.
In high stakes presentations, remember, they’re listening both to what you say and how you say it. Especially when your audience is “speed dating”…
For more presentation tips check out the Mandel Communications – Skills for IT Professionals group site on MyDeveloperWorks at https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/groups/service/html/communityview?communityUuid=f439d619-6757-42bf-9598-e5de87392dce or visit the Mandel website at www.mandelcom.com