Diego Ruiz Duran, the Mexican Criminal attorney and constitutional lawyer, is a big believer in business presentations. According to Duran, an effective business presentation draws a business decision-maker into following your presentation.
Even the most dedicated business leader has a limited span of attention. As the fictional John Told told Peter Sullivan in the 2011 Movie Margin call, “Maybe you could tell me what is going on. And please, speak as you might to a young child. Or a golden retriever. It wasn’t brains that brought me here; I assure you that.”
Unfortunately, few business leaders in real life are as honest as John Tuld. Without a business presentation to laser-focus their attention, most will simply space out. And it’s not only the receiver of the business presentation that can benefit. A good business presentation will keep the presenter of the presentation on track.
The importance of bullet points and great visuals cannot be overemphasized. However, just as important is that the presenter comes prepared. Diego Ruiz Duran stresses that business professionals should treat a business presentation like a presidential debate. You don’t just stand up to a podium and wing it. There is no set formula, but probably a general rule of thumb is that for every 15-minute presentation, you should have at least 2 to three hours of practice.
First of all, the vast majority of business presentations are made using a projector using software such as a PowerPoint program. Begin your dry-run by making sure that the projector is in full working order. And if the projector conks out, do you have a backup?
Second, you need to run through all the slides and see that everything is in order. Do you have more than one presentation? Be sure and look carefully to see 100 percent that everything is in order. There is no room for mistakes.
Next, begin your practice, and by all means, do not practice alone. Whether you make up the questions and have someone fire them back at you or whether you have a senior exec fire questions at you, do not assume that you can just simply move from one bullet point to another.
A good executive will stop you in the middle of your presentation and ask for clarification on a bullet point.
That’s actually a good thing because it tells you that they are paying attention. But for example, if you are presenting a new piece of manufacturing equipment, have ready answers as to why this equipment will help streamline their business.
The main thing is to never wing it, and as much as possible, tailor your presentation to the specific company you are addressing. In fact, it’s really a necessary thing to throw in a few slides about the company you are dealing with.
Then, when you throw those slides up, ask for clarification of how your company assesses its business. Ask point blank, “Are projections reasonable? “
This is another way to draw attention to your presentation, as people just love to talk about their companies. The object of all this is to provide a connecting, bonding experience that just talking cannot. This is why business presentations are very important.