Get That Yes! 3 Steps to Super-Wow Proposals and Presentations
And we don’t just mean taking their powerpoint presentations and client proposals from blah to gah-gah! or beautifying e-course slides from meh to yowza!, though we do that, too.
The truth is that everything we do has to do with presentations. Because the essence of our job is to make our customers look and sound good before a specific audience.
We’re still presenting.
And people come to us because they want to win clients and influence their audience to buy from them. And to help them accomplish that, we apply the 3 fundamental rules of super-wow presentations.
Whether you’re a freelancer about to present a project proposal to a potential client, a coach about to present to a room packed full of people, an e-course instructor about to create slides for your lessons, a speaker about to get out on the TED stage, or even a dancer about to get on stage to present a new choreography…
These elements hold true for ALL presentations across ALL platforms through ALL mediums and for ALL circumstances.
The 3 Fundamental Rules to Super-WOW Presentations
1. TECHNICAL KNOW-HOW
Or in everyday parlance: “Know your shit!”
At the most basic level, everyone watching a presentation is trying to gauge how much the presenter knows about the subject.
Although no one ever says it out loud, that’s the questions being asked at the subconscious level of our mind. “How good is this going to be?”
• A potential client wants to understand how much you know about your industry so you can help them with their problem.
• A bride about to choose a wedding cake wants to understand how much experience you have to deliver the best cake the world has ever seen on her special day.
• A theater-goer wants to gauge the mastery of the actors on stage so she can know what level of entertainment to expect.
So before you get up to present anything, make sure you know what you’re talking about. Duh!
Technical know-how, of course, doesn’t make for a brilliant presentation. In fact, if all you have is technical know-how you’ll put your audience to sleep.
Technical know-how is the prime material you’ll shape into a stunning presentation.
For the actual shaping, however, you’ll need the next two tenets of stunning presentations.
2. ARTISTIC EXPRESSION
Does every presentation need to be a work of art?
Not necessarily. At least not in the strict sense of the term “work of art.”
But yes, every good presentation needs to be an artistic expression in order to be effective.
What does that mean? (Glad you asked!)
It means that you need to take that technical know-how of the first rule and present it in a way that is pleasant, persuasive, and appealing to your ideal audience.
And that takes art.
Let’s take the example of a photographer.
If you start telling potential clients what cameras and lenses and lights you use, and go on explaining the features and specs of each one and their rating in the industry, you’ll never close a client, EVER in your life! All that belongs to the technical know-how information you need to know.
But to a client?
You show them your portfolio of carefully selected images that show exactly how you use each of those cameras and lenses and lights and editing software. Even if the client has no clue that that’s what she’s looking at.
The moment your client opens her eyes wide with excitement, points to a photo and yells “That’s what I want!” you know precisely which camera, and lens, and angle, and whatever to use. She doesn’t know and she doesn’t need to know.
What she wants is the RESULT of the ARTISTIC EXPRESSION in your presentation.
And again, this isn’t true just for the artistic and creative fields, but for all fields.
Let’s look at the presentation of a business coach to a potential client as another example.
If you go in armed simply with a series of exercises for overcoming various obstacles in a business and start spewing out the practical steps to your customers, they’ll just yell out “next!” without a second thought.
But if you assess the specific business and then start painting pictures with your words and stories of different outcomes you can help that business achieve, you’ll know precisely which exercises and practical steps to use the moment your clients claps his hands and points at you saying “THAT’S what I want!”
The client has no clue yet of the practical steps that will lead him there yet and that’s totally fine.
That’s why YOU’RE there!
Your client (or audience) wants the outcome you painted in your artistic expression of the technical know-how.
3. PASSION WITHIN
So much passion within, in fact, that it spills without.
It doesn’t matter how good your pictures are, how amazing and elaborate your descriptions of the results your clients will get, or how great the recipe you used for the cake is.
Unless you have a little fire burning right inside you that fuels what you do, the client will never warm up to you.
No matter the degree of your technical know-how or the elaboration of your artistic expression, without passion in your heart you’ll get a “maybe” from the client at best.
If the photographer from above puts the world’s best photos before a bride in the most listless and unexciting way imaginable, saying “Oh, just a wedding thing I did once,” she’ll never say yes. She wants a photographer who gets excited about weddings. Not one who sees them as a chore.
If the coach paints the picture of a successful company while yawning and shrugging her shoulders, the clients will never say yes to her proposal. The client wants a coach who’s as excited about her success as she is.
If a dancer gets on stage and does the most technically perfect plié with the passion of a polar bear in winter, the audience will never go back for another performance. They someone who’s so excited about doing pliés that all of life seems to flow through the movement of his knees.
Passion drives everything. And although it resides within, a super-wow presentation needs to communicate it without for success with its audience. Regardless of the medium.
Truth is the pudding!
He’ll just return the licked sample spoon to you with a cold “thanks” and march out the door.
To win the client’s heart and dedication, his eyes must pop out the minute his lays out on your (metaphorical) pudding, and drool start dripping out the side of his mouth (sexy! as the pink sample spoon hits his tongue.
Then and only then do you have a definite winner!