Presenter In A Strange Land

By Malcolm Fleschner

You’re of course familiar with Murphy’s Law, right? Anyone who isn’t has clearly never delivered a sales presentation at a customer’s location. Parking issues, security concerns, electrical failures, fire alarms, flash floods – you name it, if something can crop up to derail your presentation, it likely will. But rather than let Murphy decide your fate, the next time you present on the customer’s home turf, follow these 10 suggestions from presentation expert Jerry Weber of Corbis BizPresenter.

1. Expect Nothing
Your customer or prospect may not have an A/V room, and even if they do have one it may not have the facilities you need. So be prepared for little to no assistance in this area.

2. Come Carrying
Unless you know and feel comfortable with the facilities where you’ll be presenting, channel your inner Boy Scout and bring along your own projector and cords.

3. Get It in Writing
If you can’t or don’t want to bring your own projector, at least make sure you’ve got plenty of paper copies of your presentation handy. This way as a backup you will always have something to give the audience to look at.

4. Early Bird Special
Get there well ahead of time. Nothing makes a great first impression like a desperate call from your cell phone trying to locate the customer’s office in a foreign city as the seconds tick down toward the expected start time of your presentation.

5. About Last Night
For some reason you may not be able to get to the customer’s location early. OK, how about coming into town the night before and getting some rest before appearing brightly first thing in the morning? Every client is important and will appreciate that you took the time to prepare.

6. A Little Help
See if the administrator in charge or your contact will give you permission to set up well ahead of time. The audience will appreciate not having to sit through your booting-up process.

7. Get a Buffer
If you can’t get into the presentation room early, ask your contact to let everyone know the presentation will begin 10 minutes later than originally planned. This should give you plenty of time to make all the necessary arrangements before they arrive.

8. Open Strong
Before anyone walks in, make sure you’ve got your opening slide splashed up on the screen. Not only does the audience not want to see your desktop, you may prefer to keep your program icons and wallpaper to yourself.

9. Meet and Greet
As people file in, shake hands and dole out your business cards. Ideally, no one will enter after you’ve begun, so make sure that everyone is present before you launch.

10. Raised-Hands Time
If you present for 30-60 minutes, you should probably leave just as much time at the end of the presentation for questions and discussion. Also, nothing screams preparation like having slides prepared in anticipation of likely questions.