Essential guide to business presentations

Just thinking about giving a presentation can make you feel nervous but for a small business owner, presentations are an excellent marketing tool that tell potential customers what you do and why they should use your business. Here are some tips from and procedure and training specialist Sarah Dobson to help you prepare.

There may be times when you need to speak to investors to help you grow your company and to do so, you need to be confident in you presentation skills.

Regardless of how many people will be listening to you, using a smooth, clear and informative pitch is essential. Here are some tips from and procedure and training specialist Sarah Dobson to help you prepare:

Grab their attention – Your talk should have a punchy opening, a thought-provoking main body and an engaging ending that focuses on your unique offering and its benefits. Define you proposal, strategy or idea, explain why your audience should be excited to buy or invest and detail your promises and how you will deliver.

Be clear and concise – You should be able to state the objective of your presentation in a single sentence. If your objectives, the services you offer and the benefits of using your business over another are clear in your mind, they should come across clearly to your audience.

Don’t bombard them – If you are using PowerPoint, put main bullet points on the slides and explain them verbally, but don’t overload your audience by using lots of text. Simple diagrams can be helpful, but too many will just be confusing.

Practice makes perfect – Run through your presentation the day before. Stand up, adopt a confident posture and speak out loud. Have a familiar audience that can give you feedback and time your presentation to ensure you fall within your allotted slot. It might also be an idea to visit your venue before the big day, you will be less nervous if you know what to expect and aren’t searching around for the right office building.

Don’t panic – Once you’re on the hotspot, take a deep breath and relax. Smile and make eye contact. Divide the room into quadrants and connect with a different person in each one as your eyes move around the room. Be energetic, enjoy yourself but don’t speak too fast. Afterwards, stay relaxed and network with members of the audience, remembering to give out business cards. Make a point of following up on any good leads from your business presentation within 24 hours.

Sarah Dobson creates procedural documentation and training manuals for small businesses during periods of change or growth, provides training and advises on improving efficiency.

See also: How to prepare for investor presentations

Adam Wayland

Adam Wayland

Adam was Editor of from 2006 to 2008 and prior to that was staff writer on sister publication BusinessXL Magazine.

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