How many times in your career have you seen a great project that had every earmark of success never get there? And how many times have you seen the opposite? Something that didn’t seem as if it would work, that seemed like a bad idea, that in the end found its mark?
Is it true that what sells and conquers audiences is the best product and service? Or is it what is best presented?
We at SOAP have come to realize that in the process of selling ideas there’s always a turning point, what we call a defining moment, when events move in one direction or another. When a message gets conveyed . . . or not. When people sell a product . . . or not.
So what is a defining moment?
It is a moment (personal or professional) when there is a communication between a person and other(s), whether or not there is visual support. And it’s a moment at which there’s something very important at stake.
This defining moment can occur in different situations, some planned, some not. A defining moment that is planned can be something like a green light for a major project by the management team of a company. And an unplanned defining moment? Whenever we meet somebody important that we didn’t expect to encounter, an informal lunch that suddenly becomes a business opportunity, an elevator in which we bump into the CEO….
What we want to make clear here is that a presentation doesn’t necessarily imply a stage, slides in PowerPoint, a presenter and an audience. A presentation is a concept much broader and more powerful than just that.
In whatever situation, whatever the defining moment, the goal is to get the audience, be it one person or hundreds, from point A to point B, the latter being the point we want the audience to be at, at the end of the meeting. Point B may be an okay for a certain project, it may be the purchase of a product or service, it may be the acceptance of some corporate change…. And point B will always be necessarily different from Point A, which implies a change happens during the presentation: a change of attitude, a change of perspective, a change of will, among others.
If this turning point is so important, how can we maximize our chances of success?
In our experience of over ten years, the only way to maximize each and every defining moment is by doing an overall outstanding presentation.
Now, you may ask yourself, just what is an outstanding presentation?
Well, for us SOAP outstanding presentations are ones that have a profound, change-inducing impact on the audience.
To be able to create such a presentation, there are some steps you need to take:
1. Get to know your audience.
2 . Have clearly defined what is the main message you want to convey, and create an appealing slogan that summarizes it.
3 . Think of a story that will interest your audience and bring emotion to your defining moment.
4 . Write a script, taking into account the profile of your audience and the story you want to tell and taking into account the main message you want to convey.
5 . Begin and end your script with the slogan you’ve pre-defined.
6 . Start now by breaking down the script into segments.
7 . Each segment should have a main idea that can be summarized in a word, expression or short sentence.
8 . If your defining moment is planned and you choose to use PowerPoint, use only one main idea per slide.
9 . Illustrate each slide with a strong image that supports the main idea of that slide.
10 . Review your presentation and prepare your speech (don’t repeat the same information in the speech that appears on the slides).
11 . Rehearse as much as possible before the day of the presentation.
The path described above is only a brief summary of the points we make in our weekly blog, where you’ll find articles that provide more detail as to how to create outstanding presentations.