"Customers are concerned with three things: me, me, and me."
- Laverne Caceres, The Professional Voice

Every slide must answer the question: What's your point?

Please remember that you are the presentation,
not your PowerPoint.

Cliff Atkins, author of Beyond Bullet Points says, "The traditional lecture format, bullet point slides, and post-presentation Q&A session are becoming dinosaurs in this fast-moving world. Each of these social tools has offered some efficiency or benefit that was appropriate for the time, but times are radically changing, and it is time for these methods to evolve into new ones that are a better fit for our needs."

Oral Presentations

Imagine yourself as your customer at an oral presentation of your company's proposal.

What are you selecting?

You are selecting the team of people you are going to spend the next months working with. You are not selecting a stack of parts.

So you have to convince your customer that you are the kind of people they want to hire.

This means that the centerpiece of your presentation needs to be the project team, not the sales people, the management, product specialists, or the products.

This means that you need to carefully select the project team prior to submitting the proposal, based on how well they present, not just how well they fit the RFP qualification requirements.

If the first time your project manager meets your customer is at the oral presentation, you are starting from a hole.

The customer is choosing people to work with for the next months or years. They want to pick people they will like working with.

Each slide in a sales presentation must address these three aspects:

What's your point? (Meaning)

The listener needs to understand, not just what you are saying, but why you are saying it. They need to be able to comprehend your meaning. If you don't, they may be thinking, so what? Who cares?

What's in it for me? (Benefit)

Do not leave your customer guessing about the benefit of what you are talking about. Tell them. Be explicit. If you are being scored, make sure you "answer the mail" in a way that makes it clear that your offering has a benefit to them. If you talk about how old and big your company is (I just described your first slide, didn't I?) without making it clear how they get value from it, then you are just bragging. If you can connect that company information to a benefit for them (e.g. risk reduction), then you have succeeded.

Prove it. (Credibility)

Once you have made a claim, you need to substantiate it somehow to make it credible. Not every proof has to be built on unimpeachable evidence, but every proof has to have a plausible connection to the truth. It may be enough to cite that someone else believes it. It can be as trivial as being specific about details and facts to demonstrate that your claim is real. Use numbers, percentages, dates, and names.

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