Use these 5 tips for more engaging client presentations
Are your presentations winning over your clients and prospects? Columnist Matt Umbro shares tips for crafting presentations that truly connect with your audience.
Whether you are pitching a prospect or showcasing account results and initiatives to an existing client, crafting engaging and relevant presentations is crucial. The presentation allows the vendor to prove the value of its work to the client in a digestible way. Especially for prospects, the presentation is the main takeaway and could very well determine if the two entities work together. Creating presentations shouldn’t be a task, but rather an opportunity to impress your audience.
For this post, I’m defining the presentation as both the actual PowerPoint and the delivery. Not only do you need to provide good content, but you must present it in a way that won’t bore your audience. Here are five tips you can try to make your presentations more engaging.
1. Ask the client for input before beginning
Before you create the presentation, ask the client what should be in it. It sounds like an obvious statement, but too often, presentations lack focus and the correct initiatives because the content is wrong. You will lose your audience if the material being presented doesn’t speak to their concerns.
Let’s take an example of a client who tells you that the main goal is to expand into other channels. You can touch on performance and past initiatives, but the tone of the presentation should focus on growth. You may speak to:
- new channels to test.
- how performance of the new channels will be judged.
- what you will need for new channels (e.g., creative, messaging and so on).
Instead of a presentation that showcases many ideas but lacks focus, tell a story based on the client’s input. The presentation will be tailored to that client and address their specific needs.
2. List the key takeaways at the beginning
You should tell a story through your presentations, but you should also include a summary at the beginning. This summary can be bullet points or quick-hit items that give an executive-level overview. The purpose is to give a 30,000-foot view of what’s going on to anyone who only has time to digest the key takeaways.
Using our example regarding growth, here’s what a key takeaways slide may look like. Remember that each of these items will be discussed in greater depth later in the presentation, but for brevity’s sake, we’re summing each up in a sentence.
- The current attribution funnels will be analyzed to determine how much each channel and source is assisting in the conversion journey.
- Based on what we know about our audience demographics, we propose expanding into Facebook and Pinterest to begin.
- The minimum performance requirement for each new platform is to break even with a clear focus on user engagement.
As you deliver these takeaways, be prepared to give a short oral explanation as a follow-up. Again, it doesn’t need to be long, since you will be discussing more later, but be prepared. For example, after the third bullet point, I may say:
“Though expanding into new platforms is a good opportunity, we understand that the return still needs to break even at the very least. We’ll be reviewing our attribution funnels to make sure each platform is contributing somewhere in the process. We’ll also pay attention to engagement metrics such as post reactions and shares. Even if we aren’t seeing last-click revenue, we want to be interacting with our consumers.”
3. Ensure your slides aren’t too busy
This tip isn’t unique to client presentations, but it is especially relevant for this format. Often, slides contain too many bullet points, an influx of images, or graphs/charts that aren’t clear. It’s not that the information isn’t relevant, it’s that it gets overlooked.
A good strategy with your slides is to adhere to the philosophy that more is better. If you have a slide with five bullet points, break it into two or three slides. Similarly, if you have three graphs, consider breaking them out into three slides. Your presentation may end up being 50 slides instead of 40, but that’s OK. You are making it easier for the client to understand and interpret as you go through the slides. You’ll most likely send the presentation over to the client once complete. Then they can review it if there are further questions.
4. Include only the data that matters, and put everything else in the appendix
In any presentation, it makes sense to include data. You may be including metrics around past performance or stats that speak to initiatives you want to try. No matter the case, some form of data will inevitability be in your presentation. The question becomes, what data matters?
You should use your best judgment as to what data you think the client needs to see. If the presentation is a review of past performance, it makes sense to include metrics around client goals.
If we again use our example of growth, it would make sense to have data speaking to the reach of each platform. The bottom line is that the most important data, however this term is defined, needs to be in the presentation. That doesn’t mean the rest of the data can’t be included in some form.
By including an appendix at the end of the presentation, you can include all the data you want without having to tell the client to explicitly look at it. This way, the data can be reviewed on the client’s time if they are so inclined. And, if for nothing else, including an appendix shows the client your thought process while you were collecting data and then distilling it to them based on what you believed to be most important.
5. Encourage your client to speak
After spending a significant amount of time and effort creating a presentation, you want to impress the client with your findings and recommendations. It’s good to have the desire to impress, however, make sure you pause every so often to let your clients ask questions and share their feedback.
Some clients will speak up no matter what, so you don’t need to worry as much about being cognizant of breaks. It’s the more introverted clients who need a cue to speak. Every couple of slides, it’s good to ask questions such as:
- Do you have any questions so far?
- Do the trends shown here correspond to what you are seeing in other channels?
- What is your interpretation of the data?
Even though you are presenting, you want to encourage client feedback. It will allow the client to be more involved while also giving you further information that you may not have received otherwise.
Client presentations tend to be classified as time-consuming and somewhat tedious, but they should be looked at as an opportunity. You have the chance to showcase your work while engaging the client to see how both parties can improve. Focus more on your presentations, and your relationships will prosper.