Today’s post was written by Kelly Slater, co-owner of Slater’s Garage Ads & Audio.
This afternoon I made a sales presentation to a client remotely, using a screen-sharing app. Of course, it involved a multiple-slide PowerPoint presentation (because the common thinking is that customers NEED to see your offer, idea, strategy, etc. in a multi-page Power Point, right?), which I practiced before the meeting.
So… I’m making the presentation, carefully addressing each page and each point on the page, and as I was wrapping the presentation up and getting ready to ask for the sale, the client said, “Ahh, sorry to interrupt, but I’m not seeing any of the slides.”
I realized that I had inadvertently forgotten to share the screen after he had joined the meeting. Whoops.
Rather than going back and starting at slide one, I continued, and admittedly felt a huge relief when I started just talking to him, and telling the story behind the ideas in the campaign. I slipped into a warmer, more confident place, and was able to summarize the concept, explain the rationale, how we would measure the success of the campaign, and ultimately ask for the sale. (I upsold it, in fact!)
Afterwards, when I self-assessed my delivery, I noticed that when I was speaking to the slides, that was ALL I thought about: making sure that I was speaking to the slides. When we started talking, and I stopped “presenting,” the communication flowed more easily. I was engaged in the conversation, and not worried about the presentation.
As it turned out, I never needed the slide deck to begin with. In fact, having it only made my presentation sound stilted, scripted, and over-rehearsed. But I did know the topic, my audience, and the story I wanted to tell.
The moral: Dean’s right when he talks about how your slides can only hurt you. When I let go of the slide deck, it became more of a conversation, and less of a presentation, which made it easier to close the sale.