5 Must-Have Presentation Skills for Entrepreneurs
By Ashish Arora
The ability to present and persuade is crucial for entrepreneurs to sustain success within their businesses. However, with each presentation, there is a lot at stake.
During the startup phase, being capable of bringing investors and customers on board is essential to your survival; in the growth phase, being able to keep your corporate vision alive and gain new and enthusiastic supporters builds on your ability to grow and prosper.
In our digital age where people are inundated with messages, you need to be able to add a “wow” factor to your presentations. To do that, you need more than great graphics and a well-modulated speaking voice. Here is a quick guide to the five essential presentation skills you need as an entrepreneur today:
1. Give value before you try to get anything.
Every presentation is arguably a chance for you to grow your business, but today’s audience will think less of you if you use their time to simply deliver an advertisement for your business. People need to receive a message of value before they are prepared to support you.
As Larry Page, co-founder of Google says, “Always deliver more than expected.” An effective way to over-deliver is to ask yourself before each presentation: “What can I give my audience that will intrigue them so much they will go out and tell somebody else about it?”
That something can be a great story, but it is more often one essential rule that will add value to a person’s life if they do it. Think about your area of expertise. Think about one truth you know for sure that if everyone did it, it would enhance their lives. Present that truth in a straightforward, genuine way.
Make it more than a platitude. For example, if you are a social media expert, don’t just tell people they have to post regularly and respond to messages. Instead, tell them about four other changes they could make, one a week for a month, that would genuinely enhance their on-line relationships.
Also, make sure that what you suggest is possible for your audience. Give them new ideas to consider. For example, if you offer thoughts about the future, consider linking to Bill Gates’s musings about the world in 2030 in this video:
2. Establish your credibility and the validity of your point.
No matter how well established your reputation is, and how accomplished you are, never assume that your audience thinks you are credible. Say and do things that demonstrate credibility with each presentation. If you make claims that contradict how most people think, back them up with facts and figures or the background on how you reached a certain philosophy.
Part of being credible and authentic is making it clear what your agenda is when you begin to speak. If you need the audience’s support on a policy, for example, be up front about that and then make your case.
A great example of that is Bill Nye the Science Guy sticking up for his credibility when he was attacked for linking climate change with wildfire a couple of years ago. See how eloquently he makes his case in this interview:
3. Shock people awake if you have to.
The late Dame Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop and human rights activist, counseled entrepreneurs to be different, and that includes in their presentations. She said, “If you’re different, you will stand out.”