Want to leave a long lasting impression…every time?
You’ve read it all before, stand out from your competitors, be ‘the brand’, make sure people remember YOU when you leave the room. But the question is, how do we achieve this, and do this every time we interact with someone? Well, the answer is simple … prepare.
When preparing for a meeting or presentation, whether it be a one-on-one meeting over a coffee, a formal project update to senior board members or a keynote presentation to hundreds, people tend to focus on the same three areas of preparation.
Content Story Design
They tend to forget that as important as these three aspects are to a meeting, there are many more factors that will take your presentation, and the way you present yourself to the next level and ensure you leave a lasting impression on your audience.
Yes, presentations require rigorous preparation on content and delivery, but guess what, so does a casual client meeting over coffee!
We understand (and can teach you), that the same rules apply to every meeting situation, whether it be a chat with a colleague or a formal presentation with slides.
You need to connect with your audience/ the person you’re speaking to.
You need to be present in the room – forget the numerous emails that need responding or the groceries you need to buy on the way home.
Be consciously aware of the way you sit, stand and speak.
Make eye contact and connect – don’t be that shady poker player on the other side of the table constantly looking at his hands, or over the other person’ shoulder.
You may believe that a coffee catch up with a client requires no preparation on ‘delivery’, as you’re not ‘presenting’ in a traditional sense, however what you have to realise is that you are presenting yourself, your personal brand and/ or a larger company that you work for on a daily basis.
Here are some tips to help you make an impact and leave a long-lasting impression (and we mean a positive impression) every time.
The client is the most important person in the room. Understand your client and what they need and desire from you. Every client needs a different approach, it is not a one size fits all methodology.
The difference between a good and a great consultant, is that they are able to tailor their behaviour towards each individual client. Remember the difference in communication between the way you speak to your mother versus the way you speak to your best friend? We adjust naturally. The same goes with clients. Some clients want to be taken through every detail of the project and be lead along as you present, others require a more direct way of communication.
Chloé’s takeaway tip: If you are presenting with a PowerPoint or any other visual material, be mindful as to how much time you spend looking at the material versus your audience. In the few seconds you look at the slide or turn your back, you give your client the opportunity to switch off.
When preparing for a presentation take some time to think about the other aspects that you are in control of, such as, picking a room and knowing where to position yourself. Depending on the size of the room, the quality of your voice should match the environment. Speaking to 20 people requires a different vocal energy, in comparison to just two.
If you are using a projector or microphone for your presentation, practise at home by using a pen or a hairbrush; pretending it is your microphone. What most people forget, is that hand held microphones can be very restricting to your gestures.
Arrive well in advance and check the technology is working. Not just 10 minutes early but 30-45 minutes in advance. There is nothing worse than someone starting a presentation and the technology failing. This small preparation is key, imagine Oprah Winfrey coming on stage and her microphone not working. It doesn’t happen, because she prepares to be ready!
Chloé’s takeaway tip: Offer people refreshments when you first greet them. This simple gesture and attention to detail makes an enormous difference.
THE HUMAN CONNECTION
Before you meet the client, think about how you left the last conversation. If you know they have been on a holiday, ask them how it was and actively listen. This is a nice way to break the ice and shows the client that you care about more than just their business. This ensures that you form a human connection with your client and come across as open, warm, engaging and present.
Building a long-lasting relationship means adding value to your client besides a transactional exchange. At the start of each year ask them about how you can help them and what their vision is for the year ahead? Both in their professional and personal life.
Chloé’s takeaway tip: When your presentation or meeting starts, what is your first sentence? How are you going to kick off the meeting? Prepare this in advance to ensure impact and engagement with the audience.
THE PHYSICAL AND VOCAL
Your posture and voice matter greatly and heavily determine whether someone believes you’re competent, confident and trustworthy. Think about your body language, the way you stand, listen and take on feedback.
Whether you are in a room with one person or one hundred, think about the energy and projection you require in your voice.
Chloé’s takeaway tip: We assess new people within three seconds, so ensure your voice resonates and reaches your audience throughout the whole meeting.
Yes, structuring your presentation is fantastic as you know what is next, however make sure that you are still responding to your audience (you don’t want to be Wile E Coyote and tumble off the cliff every time). If they fall off track and lose engagement with you, you’ll need to be able to change your course of action.
Chloé’s takeaway tip: Make sure that you are engaging your audience, more than your presentation material. Remember, your material is there to support you, not the other way around.
Think about your client and what other things could be of difficulty that they will want you to clarify. Receiving criticism and feedback during, or at the end of the presentation is part of the process, and you need to be prepared to handle the notes from your client.
Chloé’s takeaway tip: For example, if you have gone over budget, there is a high chance the client is going to flag this with you. Be prepared for this question, and ensure you are backing yourself up with facts.
We would love to hear how you prepare, simply let us know in the comments below.
This is just the beginning of our seven-part series on preparation. Stay tuned for our next periodical coming out soon.
END TAG NOTE: Chloé Oestreich works with leading organizations and coaches CEO’s and senior executives internationally to help individuals present with conviction and confidence.
By making her clients aware of the habitual patterns that undermine their authority during business interactions, Chloé develops a tailored strategy that enables leaders to be mindful of their presence.
Whether focusing on storytelling, body language or voice, Chloé helps individuals make an impact and leave positive long lasting impressions.