Top 4 Steps to Improve the Presentation of Your Business

Being presented well in these tough economic times can be the difference between a customer choosing your, or your competitor. So what do you do to become better presented and attract the attention of your clients? Here are some of the best tips I use to improve my operations in the customers eye:

1. Clean! Cleanliness is one of the simplest things you can improve when it comes to improving your presentation. If your customers are experiencing anything less than a spotlessly clean shopfront or office environment right now, then you can improve. Your ability to clean is only limited by your cleaning supplies, so go shopping and introduce the rule “if there’s time to lean, there’s time to clean!” and get your staff to become busy with this activity. You’ll also find that by being busy, you’ll naturally attract other activity (ie, more shoppers!).

2. Move things around. Another strategy I’ve used to attract customers attention is to move my stock around, or change the location of furniture. By moving things around a bit like this, you’ll engage your regular customer’s interest again. They’ll ask questions, look for new items and be attracted to the change. Be creative and do this fairly regularly. I change the display in my shop at least once a month, and people are always looking to see what new is going on.

3. What other senses do your customers use? By adding other ways to interact with your customers you’ll be appealing to their other senses. This gives you many more opportunities to leave a positive impression on their mind regarding your products. Add a gentle scent to your office or shopfront. People are stimulated by their sense of smell more than their other senses. Use “hands on” displays so your customers can interact with the products and “get a feel” for their purchase before they buy. If you sell food, maybe you could consider offering a sample of the product so customers know what it’s like. Once they’re interacting with the products in a new way, they’re more likely to purchase.

4. Music! Add a taste of sound to your environment to entice the kinds of customers you’re looking for. By offering a similar environment to your customers to what they’re used to “hanging out” in you’ll be appealing to their sense of familiarity. Get people to attach a sense of similarity and they’ll feel like they’re at home.

Enjoy enticing your customers to buy by applying these steps and you’ll find yourself with increased revenue, and higher turnover. Also, a nicer place to work!

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs – Book Review

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo is a great little book that explains some of the key elements of a typical Steve Jobs presentation. Jobs was not only a brilliant technologist, but also a master communicator and marketer. He not only founded Apple and went on to create incredible products, but took personal responsibility for introducing them into the marketplace. His keynote presentations and product launches were legendary. They were as important to the success of Apple as the products themselves. Here are a few of the key points Gallo makes about how Steve Jobs made effective presentations:

Tell a story: Everyone likes a good story. Steve Jobs was a master storyteller. He knew how to write the plot, describe the characters and their journey, and conclude with a happy ending. Often his story started with a significant customer problem to be solved and then ended with his latest product coming to the rescue. Like any good story, there are challenges to be overcome, villains to be defeated, and heroes who come to the rescue. A Steve jobs presentation is not your typical product launch. It engages customers in an exciting adventure and invites them to be part of the journey.

Deliver it with the audience in mind. A Steve Jobs presentation is not a typical business PowerPoint presentation. Although he may use some slides, he also uses other props, does product demos, and inserts videos or other media to grab and keep people’s attention. More importantly, he tailors the messages for the audience. He uses basic techniques like selling benefits and not just product features; making three key points rather than five or six; and focusing on the ultimate a question everyone asks, “What’s in this for me?”

Practice and rehearse: The old adage, “Practice makes perfect,” was just as important for Steve as it should be for everyone else. He made it look simple because he practiced what he needed to do and refined it through his rehearsals. Anyone who wants to give a brilliant performance knows the importance of preparation. Unfortunately most people don’t spend enough time in rehearsals. If you want to give a memorable performance, then you have to practice like Steve.

In this book, Gallo does a good job explaining the basics of a Steve Job presentation. The book is easy to read, and the key elements are easily understood. Gallo is a veteran public relations professional and a communications expert. He uses his experience to explain how Steve Jobs did his magic. Follow his insights and you too can use Steve Jobs’ secrets to give your next presentation.

Presenting at a High-Stakes Industry Event: Your Peek Behind the Curtain

Every industry has them – gatherings like conferences, sales meetings or trade shows, often filled with high-profile speaking opportunities. Ever wonder what it takes to present at one of these events? Let’s find out…

Over the past decade, I’ve worked with executives and members of the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing (known as NACS) as they prepare for their annual trade event, which draws on average 20,000+ attendees. As the top destination for learning what’s new in the convenience business, the show features a mix of dynamic general sessions, workshops and training classes.

Though each NACS executive I work with may be prepping for a different type of presentation for this event, they all have one thing in common – an extraordinary commitment to being confident and inspiring when they take the stage. In reviewing my notes from 12 years of NACS coaching, I found three common elements that stood out as the keys to a successful industry presentation.

1. Identify your core message.

The theme of the 2011 NACS Show was, “One Industry, One Voice.” When we met over the summer to begin preparing for the October event, the NACS executive team had taken the time to develop draft presentations that complemented one another and reinforced the “One Industry” theme. Knowing that stories and examples make information much easier for listeners to digest, each presenter planned to use personal experiences to illustrate main points.

The takeaway: A clearly defined message – told via powerful stories, examples or simple props – adds human interest and depth to your presentation, while making the message memorable.

2. Make the message your own.

Though the NACS executive team was delivering a presentation based on the same theme, each of their presentations reflected their unique personality as well as their role within the organization. The result was a cohesive, highly effective presentation – one that took advantage of each speaker’s strengths and point of view while maintaining a collective focus on the core message.

The takeaway: Shaping basic content to make it your own increases your comfort level, making your presentation feel more authentic to listeners while helping to keep you engaged and in the moment.

3. Maintain a meaningful connection.

Integrating stories into their presentations paid clear dividends for all these high-stakes presenters. Why? It allowed them to engage emotionally with the audience. Another way to encourage engagement is the judicious use of image-heavy slides – rather than reading loads of text, your audience’s attention remains on you – maintaining that connection. Slides should always be considered a supporting backdrop, not the main event. That’s you!

The takeaway: Solid eye contact with memorable stories and carefully chosen supporting visuals helps you to emotionally engage with your audience and transforms a so-so presentation into a showstopper.

So that’s our behind-the-scenes look at being a presenter at a high-stakes trade event. As you can tell, a tremendous amount of preparation goes into making a great presentation look effortless. Apply these success secrets and you just might find yourself on stage at your industry’s next big event!