Presentations: Making The Most Of Them

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Presentations and Audience Follow-up

Being selected as a conference presenter is the perfect opportunity to tell your company’s story to a captive audience. But even if you deliver a well-polished, professional and informative presentation, how can you be sure that your exposure to such a targeted audience will translate into future business?

For too many presenters, audience follow-up is not a high priority. Even the most experienced presenters can focus all their attention on content or delivery and then fail to properly plan for follow-up. They are laboring under the misconception that their products or services speak for themselves. After all, they’ve successfully positioned themselves as an expert in the profession and were chosen to give a presentation, right? Wrong. In today’s competitive marketplace, you can’t assume that the quality of your presentation will automatically guarantee new business.

Turning An Audience Member into a Prospective Customer

While it may seem counter-intuitive, the less you tell prospective customers about what you do, the more they will remember. The average audience member walks away from a presentation retaining no more than three of the ideas presented. Even if the presenter tries to cram ten ideas into their brains, they’ll still only remember three. Control what they remember by limiting the messages and details in your presentation.

One way to encourage engagement from your audience after the presentation is the promise of sharing more specific information with those interested through your website or printed materials. Make sure you provide a copy of your presentation slides (preferably as a PDF) for any attendees who may want to share your information with colleagues or supervisors. If you have product samples that the audience can see, you will only boost your credibility.

To turn an audience member into a prospective customer, you have to do more than just leave a stack of business cards at the door. Bring along your company brochure or a handout. Provide the most recent issue of your company newsletter. Let people know about upcoming presentations you’ll be making elsewhere.

Make sure to leave your audience with a strong call to action. Consider this the “Buy Now” button on your website that will make passive listeners actively engaged prospects. Encourage them to visit your website to find out how we can learn more or sign up to receive an informative article or newsletter. This will allow you to capture their contact information, so that you can continue the conversation.

Overall, each presentation should be viewed as an opportunity to grow your business. Just remember that each presentation—like each customer—is unique and should be treated with professionalism and individualized follow-up. Generating leads is only the first step in a successful business presentation. Responding to those leads with valuable information, professional materials and knowledgeable answers will go a long way in translating audience members into real clients.

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