GIVING A MEMORABLE PRESENTATION AS A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER April 4, 2023 | Marketing , Business Tips | small business , networking , entrepreneur By Kimberly Stevens, NPI, Inc.'s Marketing Coach Small business owners need to learn how to advocate on their own behalf and demonstrate their knowledge in many different venues. With success and expertise comes opportunities to share specialized knowledge with peers in their industry and related fields. Although public speaking may not come naturally to many business owners, presentations are fantastic opportunities to network and present themselves as masters of their craft. We’ve already covered some tips on how to improve public speaking as a small business owner , but there are many more strategies presenters should employ to make their speeches, classes, or demos more memorable . In most settings, business owners have a lot that they are trying to accomplish during their presentations. Not only are they trying to provide value to their audience by educating on their chosen topic, but their overall goal is also to leave a lasting impression that will convert their audience members into paying customers. Whether you’re a seasoned speaker or a newbie, here are a few things to consider to help take your presentation to the next level. Reduce Distractions (Through Preparation) The most effective presentations are done by passionate experts in their field. New technologies, such as animations or sound effects, can be exciting to incorporate into presentations, but when they become too distracting to either the presenter or the audience, they ultimately detract from the experience. As the presenter, it’s important to reduce anything that could cause a disruption. Prepare a bottle of water (and a backup) so that the presentation isn’t paused by a sudden dry throat, and show up a bit early to become familiar with the overall space. If lighting in the room is too dim or the setup is challenging to work with, it’s better not to be surprised. Most details can be easily adjusted in advance. With the audience in mind, eliminating these personal distractions is the best way for any speaker to convey confidence and enthusiasm. When working with a PowerPoint presentation, it can be useful to clearly outline the presentation from the beginning using an “Objectives” or “Introduction” slide. Identify clear goals, emphasize the relevance that the topic at hand has with the audience, and then wrap things up by pointing back to those goals. Organizational techniques like these are key to effectively directing your audience’s attention in the right direction. Take Advantage of Visual Aids The power of images cannot be understated when it comes to giving an impactful presentation. Reporters at The Guardian speak on this well known phenomenon by writing, “A picture can trigger a buried memory and recall a precise moment in time much more rapidly than words.” The common practice of presentations has been to accompany points with associated images to better build a long-term association in the audience. The majority of time, this means using a PowerPoint to bolster a presentation. While PowerPoints can be greatly beneficial, there are a few pitfalls that presenters should avoid. Firstly, slides that are too busy visually or too text-heavy are more difficult to digest. Simplify slides to intentionally direct the audience to a specific point. In the same vein, never read directly from a slide! This directs attention away from the speaker and creates an unfortunate disconnect. Images are powerful tools—but don’t feel forced to indulge in technology! Physical examples can be more memorable than slides on a screen, and video or audio examples are utilized less often than they should. When using any technology to aid a presentation, always do a runthrough beforehand to work out any technical issues. Technology will fail often, so strong presenters should be prepared to move forward without it when necessary. Engage the Audience with Interaction With distractions eliminated and images carefully selected as a solid backdrop, the best presentations should implement some audience interaction into the mix. Presenters should adjust to the audience and recognize what level of interaction they’re comfortable with, but personal participation is the best way to get engagement with your subject matter. Solid ways to promote engagement are to open a presentation by polling the audience and leaving room for them to ask any questions. If an audience member feels that they can change the direction of a presentation to suit their needs, they are more likely to participate. If a presenter is familiar and comfortable enough with their topic, spontaneous anecdotes and stories can be the final ingredient that takes a presentation to the next level. But use this strategy with caution! Anecdotes that don’t clearly tie back into the topic can cause frustration, and too many tangents will surely muddy any overall goals. National Property Inspections’ network of professional property inspectors have a bevy of experience presenting on areas of their expertise. If you’re interested in drawing from decades upon decades of real estate, commercial property, and residential inspection experience, learn more about franchising with NPI today! About the Author Kimberly Stevens, Marketing Coach The baby of eight children, Kimberly learned quickly to master the art of communication in order to be heard. She has been with NPI for more than 15 years and is passionate about getting to know our franchisees. Kimberly is a certified marketing and business coach, trainer and speaker, leading training seminars, one-to-one coaching and more. She's a high-energy, fiery red head and an eternal optimist. Her greatest joy is celebrating our franchisees’ victories!