How to take your presentation skills to the next level
It's time for B2B marketers to embrace personalisation – not only in their marketing campaigns, but for webinars and presentations, argues Spencer Waldron
In many ways, B2B marketers have been ahead of the curve when it comes to creating a personalised customer experience for users and prospects. The vast majority of B2B firms already assign their largest users a dedicated account manager or create segmented content marketing campaigns that are delivered directly to relevant customers. They do so for good reason: by the end of next year, companies using personalisation will generate 20% more revenue than those who don't.
Nevertheless, it is a common occurrence that many are not applying the same rigour to their own sales and marketing presentations, and are still using vast slide decks that have not been personalised to the audience. This is a crucial and frustrating oversight. The time has come for organisations to start creating more engaging presentations if they want to make a meaningful and lasting impact.
Cut the fluff
Research shows that 50% of people can’t remember a single point from a presentation they saw two days ago. When asked about the reason for this, over 55% of respondents said it was because the information wasn’t relevant.
It's vital to think about who you are meeting and tailor your content to them. There's a general rule of thumb among public speakers that your audience will take away, at most, three key points from your talk. Before the meeting, look at every slide in your deck and decide if it is one of the three things you want your audience to remember. If it isn’t – delete it.
You wouldn’t send a 100-page document to your customers and suggest they "skip to page 72” – so why would you structure your presentation that way?
Master your deck
It’s understandable that you may not have time to create a brand new deck for every meeting you attend. However, showing every prospect the same presentation will not set you up for success. Rapidly flicking between slides in a linear fashion for the data you need makes you appear unprepared and unprofessional.
Instead of creating a presentation from scratch each time, you can go in and tailor an existing master document for each meeting - although this can be time-consuming.
There is a third option for those looking to break away from a traditional slide-deck. Harvard University recently conducted a study comparing traditional oral presentations with slide-based visual aids and ZUIs (zoomable-user-interfaces). Interestingly, participants concluded that the ZUI presentations were more organised (13%), engaging (16%), persuasive (22%), and effective (25%) than both slide-based and oral presentations.
The research also found a more engaging and enjoyable experience for an audience when zooming and panning over a virtual canvas rather than using sequential, linear transitions.
Let the audience guide you
Recently, B2B marketing has seen the rise of a ‘conversational storytelling’ philosophy to presentations and webinars. The best way to approach this is to treat a presentation like a conversation, by speaking directly with and not at an audience
With conversational presenting, you build just one big presentation that has all the things that you would normally need to cover in a sales meeting. Then when you get to the meeting, instead of presenting the entire document and saving questions until the end, you say, "Thank you for giving me twenty minutes of your time. How can we best spend it?". This allows you to cover off the points that are most important to your audience first.
If you build your presentation in a way that enables conversational storytelling, then you only have to build it once, and you simply present a different version of it to each person that you meet. You can add and edit as time goes on, but it removes the need to spend a lot of time creating a new presentation each time you go to meet somebody.
Adopting this new approach on how presentations should look, feel and be structured definitely requires a shift in mindset for many marketing professionals. However, if you’re looking to create a personalised B2B marketing presentation that really leaves its mark, then conversational storytelling is for you.
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