Five Benefits of Rehearsing Presentations
How much time do you take to rehearse for an important presentation? Recently, we noticed that several of our workshop participants reported taking about 30 minutes to rehearse for an important sales presentation – in which the stakes are worth tens of thousands of dollars. Sure you’re busy, but one reason may be that you’re not winning enough deals, and presenting to more prospects than are needed to achieve desired results.
Here are five key reasons to take the time necessary to rehearse.
It increases audience-responsiveness. When you rehearse, you shouldn’t be simply flipping through slides and regurgitating the speech that goes with each one. You’re in a relationship with your audience; you’re delivering an important message which can help the audience. You need to picture the audience you are addressing, and how both of you relate to one another as a presentation proceeds. How does the setting (e.g., small vs. large room), time of day (early morning vs. right after lunch), their initial opinion of you and your message impact on the presentation.
If your PowerPoint is a template with the actual speech customized to each audience, only through rehearsing can you figure out what it is that this unique audience needs to hear, and how to organize the information so it flows and produces the desired reactions. In your “mind’s eye”, you should see how the members of the audience are going to reacting, and how you will respond to them. If you’re dragging on, bored by the information and/or repeating yourself, can you really imagine them excited and sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for the next section? Not likely. Selling is the transfer of enthusiasm – you need to see, feel and hear your enthusiasm and how it resonates with the audience to create it for them.
It reduces “Stage Fright”. The Number one fear that people admit to, is the fear of public speaking. For most that means stage fright – feeling uncomfortable being in front of an unfamiliar audience. In contrast, when people present to people they already know (e.g., relatives and friends around holiday time) they don’t experience such fears. So, practicing with similar audiences and/or picturing the audience as you practice, reduces this fear.
Competence generates confidence. By practicing how you’re customizing the message to this specific audience, you’re improving your presentation competence: saying the right things. As you see, feel and hear yourself connecting to the audience, you feel more confident. And as you exuding confidence, you’re transferring enthusiasm to the audience increasing persuasive impact.
You’re in control of the flow. By practicing how each part of the story you’re telling connects to the other parties, you take control of the presentation. That means you can tell the story and have the visuals appear to complement what you’re saying – rather than waiting for each slide to come up as the trigger for the message you want to say. Further, when someone interrupts and takes you off on a tangent, you’re in control because you know where you want to go and can swing back and get on track again easily.
Powerful presentations often reduce the need to negotiate several items. In the sales cycle, the presentation informs the prospect of the value of your products/services and the reasons to buy. Once convinced of the need to go ahead, you negotiate the terms. However, the more powerfully that you deliver a persuasive presentation, the less likely the prospect will want to deviate from the “proven successful system” that the “expert” is offering. Fewer demands for concessions, means getting more of what you want, more easily,
So, whenever possible, rehearse until you feel competent and confident.
Generate Trust in You When Presenting
Two key emotions need to be invoked in an audience during a presentation.
The first is enthusiasm and the second is trust.
In prior newsletters, we've agreed with Brian Tracy's definition of selling
- it's the transfer of enthusiasm. The speaker must exude confidence in the
product/service and the company and communicate that he/she believes it will
fit perfectly into the user's plans for it. It's the style of the message
here that is key.
Trust is more difficult to instill, because it's the summative feeling that
the audience has about you after evaluating you, your company and your
offerings over time. Yet it is critical to successful selling because it's
the key to eliminating objections based on any remaining fear, uncertainty
You earn trust by maintaining great relationships with customers who use
your products, and being so confident of the ongoing relationship, that you
relate stories that position you as the "problem solver". Trust arises based
on your ability to deliver the desired service/products correctly the first
time; it is generated when you correct problems quickly and efficiently with
the goal of keeping the client happy. The buyer feels that you are worthy of
being trusted by hearing testimonials, case studies, product reviews,
results of satisfaction surveys and other third party actions that
effectively endorse you as a trusted "partners".
When presenting take the time to demonstrate your fine qualities and actions
that make you trust worthy!