Posted in practice on February 23, 2016 10:20 am EST

Five Simple Moves to Improve Your Next Client Presentation

If you're a designer working with churches, many times, the people you are presenting to are some of the best presenters on the planet. Here, tips to make sure you can confidently play on that field.

Giving the client the opportunity to impact the flow of a conversation not only shows your ability to adapt to changing conditions, but is also much more engaging.


 

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TAGS: business, client presentations, connection, education, motivation,

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By Cathy Hutchison

Remember that old adage: Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them? While it is often repeated, it is terrible advice.

We live in a world where people have ready access to some of the best presenters on the planet. Not only that, but if you are a designer working with churches, many times, the people you are presenting to are some of the best presenters on the planet.

Here are five simple maneuvers to immediately improve your next presentation:

1. Create space for the client to tell you what they want.

It isn’t unusual for us to be nervous before a presentation and—let’s face it—there is a lot of comfort in jumping into a linear flow of PowerPoint slides. Yet, reciting a monologue isn’t the best way to create connection with people. There are multiple ways to give the client room to choose what they want you to cover. For example, what if your opening slide was a list of possible issues on their project, and you ask them where they would like you to start. Or what if you simply ask them if anything has changed that they feel you should know about before you begin your presentation.

Giving the client the opportunity to impact the flow of a conversation not only shows your ability to adapt to changing conditions, but is also much more engaging.

2. Add a story.

Humans are uniquely wired to respond to stories. It is the reason the movie industry is a multi-billion dollar business.

According to Annie Murphy Paul’s NY Times article, “Your Brain on Fiction:”“ Researchers have long known that the ‘classical’ language regions like Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area are involved in how the brain interprets written words. What scientists have come to realize in the last few years is that narratives activate many other parts of our brains as well, suggesting why the experience of reading can feel so alive. Words like “lavender,” “cinnamon” and “soap” for example, elicit a response not only from the language-processing areas of our brains, but also those devoted to dealing with smells.”

Becoming a better storyteller can have a major impact on our presentations, but it is a discipline that takes practice. We have to learn which details to include, and what to edit out. We have to balance brevity with emotional impact. When a design team shares a story, it humanizes the building project. It can tell the client that you understand what they are trying to accomplish. It can make them believe it.

3. Hold eye contact for at least 10 seconds.

There is a difference between making eye contact and scanning during a presentation.

Practice building your conversational eye contact in meetings and watch how your personal presence improves.

Looking each person in the eye and speaking one to two sentences to them, then moving to the next person is far more effective at building connection than letting your eyes brush across the tops of people’s heads. Not only that, but we are far more likely to feel uncomfortable with extended eye contact than the people we are talking to.

Looking each person in the eye and speaking one to two sentences to them, then moving to the next person is far more effective at building connection than letting your eyes brush across the tops of people’s heads.

Practice building your conversational eye contact in meetings and watch how your personal presence improves.  continued >>

 

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