We’re All in Sales

by: Doug Michaelides

Once, many years ago, I was in an elevator chatting with a colleague about the marketing launch for a new product.  The elevator doors opened and the COO walked in.  Finishing my thought I said to my friend, “The marketing job is done.  Now it’s all up to Sales”.

The COO smiled at us and said in his man-of-few-words way, “We’re all in Sales though, aren’t we?”

He was reminding us that we couldn’t just abdicate responsibility by passing the buck to the sales team.  But his words contained a larger truth.  We are all in Sales.  Every day.  In everything we do.  We promote our ideas, influence people and attract resources to our causes.  Salesmanship and the art of communication is an essential life skill.

One of the best ways of convincing others is by delivering a great presentation.  Anil Dilawri, Managing Director of Save It Like Sully, a presentation skills training firm, claims that in a world of mediocre presentations, we should strive to be nothing short of remarkable.

Here are three techniques that Anil says will get you on the road to remarkable:

  1. Preparation. You can tell when someone has effectively prepared for a presentation. If you want remarkable, practice by emulating your live presentation environment as much as possible. Stand up, say your presentation out loud, and evaluate your physical delivery to make sure it feels right. It’s time consuming but it works.
  2. Know your audience. How many of them will be there?  What are their biases?  What questions will they ask? What stories, examples or anecdotes will engage them? Short, easy to follow stories tied to the audience’s reality will bring your content to life.
  3. It’s about you (not the slides!). They asked for you not your PowerPoint slides, so make sure that’s what they get. Aggressively reduce the quantity of text on your slides so they’ll work for you by complementing your delivery, not against you by distracting your audience.

Anil admits that developing and delivering a remarkable presentation isn’t easy.  Average is easy. Remarkable is tough work.  But the return on investment is worth it, especially when we’re all in Sales.  I have to say, by the time I finished talking with Anil, I was certainly sold on the idea of improving my presentation skills!

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