The Biggest Presentation Mistake You Can Make

The Biggest Presentation Mistake You Can Make

Presenting at conferences and seminars offers an incredible opportunity to build pipeline for your business.

Where else do you get the opportunity to engage a room full of potential prospects?

In this situation selling can seem like the obvious thing to do.

To do so, however, would be a big mistake.

Although you’re likely under pressure to realise a return on the investment of your talk, in 99.9999% of cases, selling will deliver the exact opposite result.

No matter who you are or how well known, when you don’t give your audience what they came for, you risk turning them against you.

Just as David Bowie found out a few years ago.

How David Bowie Made the No1 Presentation Mistake

I was recently reminded of a story I’d read about David Bowie falling foul of his fans.

The Godfather of Glam Rock had just launched a new album and was going on tour to help promote it.

The author of the piece had been to the opening concert and was delivering his verdict. To my surprise, it hadn’t gone well.

Instead of playing fan favourites, Bowie had decided to indulge himself and stick mostly to his new stuff.

Cool for him. Not cool for his fans.

The result was a massive backlash. As far as his fans were concerned, they’d paid a lot of money for what they hoped would be a celebration of music they loved and a chance to relive the good ole days.

They hadn’t got it and understandably, they wanted restitution.

It’s hard to quantify the damage done to brand Bowie, but the lesson learned is clear.

It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done or how big your fan base, if you don’t give your audience what they want, you risk their wrath.

Selling Kills Your Integrity

While an audience’s expectations of your talk may not be as high as a night with David Bowie, they are just as easily disappointed. This can mean anything from losing their attention for a few minutes to them walking away from you forever.

Whether you’re a rock god or a sales god, getting the most out of your time on stage, means forgetting about what you want and focusing instead on the needs of your audience.

You have made a promise that you will deliver something of value and doing anything else will break that promise.

And if you break your first promise to your audience, how can they trust you to deliver on any of the others you make.

How to Sell Yourself Without Selling

Interestingly, your audience is almost expecting to be sold to, because it happens to them so often.

I remember being sat in the audience of a client’s presentation. We were waiting to be introduced on stage by the organiser. One of the attendees behind me turned to his colleague and whispered, “I wonder what they’re going to sell us this time?”

That is good news for you because doing anything but selling will immediately help you stand out from the crowd. It will also be met with relief.

Remember, your audience is also under pressure.

You are not the only one who has to return to their workplaces having realised a return on the investment made attending the conference. Not only on the financial cost but also the time spent out of the office.

Your audience is in search of insights they can use straight away to get them closer to the where they want to be. Information, that when shared with colleagues and superiors, makes them look good.

They want to wow and be wowed.

When you provide insights that offer a real benefit, you sell your empathy with your audience, your ability to get things done and your expertise and experience.

In the face of all the other options that your audience has, you position yourself as someone who can really help.

You don’t have to give away all of your secrets, just enough to get them started and wanting more.

This approach of giving away valuable information is nothing new. In fact it has been used by Internet Marketers to achieve millions of dollars from their product launches. One man in particular has turned it into a bit of a science.

His name is Frank Kern and he calls it Results in Advance. You can check out a video here, where he talks you through the process in more detail.

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