Master Your Message Blog

solution

Features and benefits – two key elements of any sales course. After all, understanding them and the differences between them is part of the foundation of making a sale.

If you want to be persuasive, benefits have to be at the core of your presentation – the tastier the better. Let me explain:

If you’re like me, you learned earlier on that …

features are what a product has; benefits are what it does.

But sometimes, what you think are benefits aren’t. They’re often not personal enough. They’re not compelling.
To REALLY sell, your benefits have to be specific. They have to give your audience a specific gain . . . one they can personally feel, or imagine.

Benefits have to personally and emotionally affect Read More …

The closing is second most important part of your persuasive presentation. I say that because if you don’t have a great opening, you will have lost them by the closing and so your closing won’t matter.

It would probably be helpful here to review the opening of your persuasive presentation:

  • Start with the situation, opportunity, or problem.
  • Then describe your credentials – what makes you the ideal one to provide the solution.
  • After that, your proposed solution.
  • Finally, state the agenda. In other words, tell your audience what you intend to present in support of your solution.

For the closing, the structure is almost a mirror image of the opening.

First step is to restate the SITUATION, opportunity or problem – the reason you Read More …

Virtually every presentation has to persuade someone of something.

Now you might argue that point by saying that some presentations are informational. That may be true. But there’s usually a desire on the part of the presenter to persuade the audience that the information is important, or that they should do something with that information after the talk is complete.

Setting up a persuasive presentation is actually relatively easy. You want to make sure your audience knows why you’re all assembled there – usually there’s a problem or opportunity. It’s your job as the presenter to state what it is so that you and the audience are “on the same page.”

Once the problem is on the table, it’s time to deal with the solution. Read More …

This is for those of us who have sat through a persuasive presentation and wondered, “What on earth is this about?”

I haven’t actually counted, but it seems to me that it happens more than fifty percent of the time. I don’t know where the speaker is going. The flow of the presentation is off – it’s not logical.

More often than not, the speakers forgets to tell us what the presentation is about … they just launch into the middle of it.

Or sometimes, they start with a big, long story … but we have no idea where it’s leading … sometimes, even at the end of it!

There’s a really simple way of thinking about the flow. It’s the secret to crafting really Read More …

Using video in your presentation is easy. But you need to check your software manual or help files to find out what kinds of video you can use. You’ll find a list on my website for the various flavours of PowerPoint and Keynote.

But here’s what I want to talk about – etiquette. Because you can’t just throw up a twenty minute video and expect your job to be done and the audience to think you’re the greatest think since Cecil B. DeMille. There are unwritten rules to using video in your presentations.

This article and video will give you tips and techniques to ensure you use video as effectively as possible if you’re planning on using it in either PowerPoint or Keynote.

Keep your Read More …

This past week, I attended a “pitch” competition called “The Doghouse” at the Global Petroleum Show, in Calgary. It was for start-up companies to try their pitches in front of potential investors.

Five different companies on two consecutive days pitched their product or service to five potential investors. They were each evaluated and one winner was picked from each group. But here’s the kicker—each presentation could only be three minutes in length. They really had to have their acts together!

It was gratifying for me to see that the ones that followed the “tried and true” persuasive presentation structure won. They had done their homework and had specifically targeted their presentations to that particular investor audience. The others—not so much.

As I’ve helped take a number of well-known Canadian companies public (some of them are listed here), I sat in the audience, taking notes. I sent a short evaluation to each of the presenters afterwards by email to let them know what I thought they had done well and what they might do to improve their message. Read More …

One of most common dilemmas people have when they’re up against a presentation deadline is how to actually open it: “How do I structure the opening?”

Presentation opening for pipeline spill

Pipeline Spill

I have a client I’ve been working with the past couple of weeks who has taken the reigns as the business development partner in a company that services pipeline companies, but in a different way than you might think.

They provide software, expertise, and resources to help major pipeline companies mitigate the risk of ageing pipelines – you know, the ones underground that keep rupturing and devastating the environment around them. The software tracks the pipeline infrastructure and risk across the system so that the pipeline company can concentrate on preventive maintenance — honing in on the Read More …

I was asked to summarize a talk I  gave in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. So here goes!

There’s lots of angst when it comes to giving presentations. I often compare it to going to the dentist. The thought of it is often worse than the actual visit! We tend to take small amounts of anxiety and blow them up into much more mental trauma than they deserve.

We tend to concentrate on our upcoming performance first, without thinking about what we’re going to say. Or worse still, we call up the art department and book them for visuals before we’ve thought through what we’re actually going to use.

Well, here’s my take:

If your message is right, you truly believe in it, and you’re passionate about Read More …

In persuasive presentations, you need to get to the point. Stories have their place, but it’s usually not at the beginning of a presentation, unless it’s structured so that the point is obvious … and alluded to up front.

Lady being persuasive in front of a small groupI was in Toronto recently sitting across from my brother. We had  been invited to a friend’s house for a dinner in honor of my mother, who was turning ninety. The phone rang. It was the host. I could hear the entire conversation as it continued on. After the usual pleasantries, she began to tell a story of having a last minute client request that would have her unexpectedly work during the afternoon, which meant she would have to drive into town, do the work, and Read More …

I like to travel in a jacket and dress slacks. There’s a reason for that. I think I get better treatment.

Over many years, I’ve proven that theory to myself, although some of the examples are arguable. This has not been a scientific study, after all.

I just got back from Kansas City. On the way there, I had to pick up a pre-booked rental car. The agent tried to up sell me, of course, and I had to tell her that the car was booked by a third party and I had no flexibility in price. However, I ended up getting an upgrade anyway – four levels above what was originally booked. I’m convinced that if I’d been in jeans and somewhat unkempt in Read More …