Making Effective Presentations Requires Preparation
Today I decided to change gears and address an area that is pertinent to those agencies pursuing the corporate travel market.
I cannot think of a better way to position one’s agency and influence a group of select decision-makers then through a formal group presentation.
My reasoning is simple. Travel represents the third largest controllable expense for most companies following payroll and data processing. Therefore, it makes sense that a group decision is called for when selecting a travel management company.
The group presentation presents an ideal opportunity to introduce your agency, your knowledge, your personality and your interest and the prospects well-being. But take note there’s no room for shortcuts. Preparing properly is the only way to ensure positive results. Failure to do so will prove to be her quickest way to hurt your reputation. The larger the risk, the higher the payoff. All you need to do is say all that should be said, and not all that could be said.
Here are the seven steps for building a great presentation.
- The background statement. This places everyone on equal footing. Your opening remarks might begin with, ”A year ago, the travel industry was …,” or, ”Having studied the travel patterns of XYZ, I found ….”
- The overview. This lets everyone know exactly what you are about to say. You only have a short time to convince people that yours is the agency to manage their account.
Some people in the group may not care about you or travel in general, and maybe resent having to attend the meeting. People have their own agendas and you may be infringing on theirs. Your strategy is to outline your main points up front. This way, those who cut out early get to hear your major points. Also, telling your audience what you are about to tell them makes them feel more comfortable.
- Isolating the problem. Pinpoint areas that contribute to the high cost of travel, but don’t rely on facts and figures alone. Tell a travel war story. In other words, dramatize a problem and set the audience up for your solutions.
- Your ideas and solutions. Introduce the good news. Let your audience know that you deal with these types of problems every day and are in position to fix theirs. Back your solution with statistics, but don’t confuse the listeners with too many numbers. You’re better off citing similar experiences you have had with similar types of organizations.
- The benefits. Outline the payoff for selecting your agency. Most presenters don’t spend enough time on this. Remember, evidence favors the presenter and benefits favor the listener. Meticulously outline the value of your service. Mention what is in it for the company, the stockholders, secretaries, the travelers and everyone else in the room.
- Action. If you have constructed your presentation properly, this step should unfold naturally. It is time to seek a reaction by asking the prospect to do something: Sign a contract, pick a start date, identify key contacts, schedule a follow up meeting. Don’t leave the action step to chance. Think about a logical next step.
- The summary. Bring your presentation full circle. This step gives you one more chance to emphasize your key points. It also leaves the audience with the essence of your key ideas and lets the listeners know that you are almost finished and that it is time for them to ask questions.
Your recap might sound like this: ”In summary the problem is… our solution is… the supporting evidence shows… the benefits of working with XYZ travel agency are….”
Now that you know what to do, go put your thoughts together and practice once or twice in front of a mirror before finding somebody to present to.
Mike Marchev freely shares his experiences, strategies and observations with travel professionals in an effort to keep them on top of their game. For a complimentary copy of his 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike’s daily column is made possible by AmaWaterways.