Monday, July 23, 2007

The Power of the Point

Sometimes my mind gets in "high gear" and I just write. There's no plan. I just write.

It usually happens when I have something on my mind. Right now it's a big presentation that I've been preparing. I will be headed for Fort Worth early on Wednesday for a meeting with a large prospective customer. I've been working on my Power Point slides off-and-on all day -- between phone calls, e-mails, interruptions, etc.

I work best on these types of presentations in "fits and starts." Yeah, I know, that doesn't sound especially organized, but it's how my mind works. I spend time developing ideas in my head -- usually while I go about other tasks. I've been working on this in my head since my trip to Denver last week. Usually I am able to "dump" it all at once. To a large extent, that's what I did today.

I spent a couple of hours gathering material -- photos, statistics, etc. Then I spent most of the day developing the slides. Now I'm in the refining mode. I know that my mind is working on it even as I type because my head feels a little like a caffeine buzz. I also am not able to focus on other things for any length of time -- like blogging -- and making it rhyme. So, after about a half-dozen poetic starts I have abandoned poetry for the evening and will ramble my thoughts out on the keyboard. By morning I will know what refinements that I need to make and should be able to do any fixes fairly quickly. That will leave me most of the day tomorrow to practice and to work on transitions.

Power Point presentations are wonderful. I have been doing them for many years and find them to be very effective if done well or very boring if done poorly. The presenter MUST NOT read from the slides or tell what is on the slides from memory. The slides should be heavily image based -- NOT a continuous series of bullet points and charts. The images should fix the thought that is presented verbally into the mind of the audience. There also should be a few minor surprises slipped into the slides -- humor. The humor should be relevant to the presentation. It will help to emphasize points. It can be subtle but not overly so because the audience must get the point.

The oral presentation should include questions that require a small amount of audience participation. It can't get out of hand. It must be relevant. All parts of the presentation should be framed from the perspective of the customer/audience. Don't just get up and tell how great you and your company are, tell the customer how you are going to make/save him money or solve a problem that he faces. Orient around customer value NOT how valuable you think you are.

Give the customer facts and testimonials -- NOT opinions and company propaganda. Show him the benefits. Show him the money. Show him VALUE. If you play your cards right, price won't even come into the discussion until his decision has already been made. Sell the sizzle.

Well, I guess this post confirms where my mind is focused. It was good to review these points. Now I need to make sure that I've followed my own advice!


Kay Dennison said...

I find that mulling things over really helps. If I do it enough, whatever it is I have to write just flows. Looks like you do the same.

bigwhitehat said...

Go get 'em!

Ranando said...

Now, go close the deal...

Isn't it fun, win-win, win-lose, lose-win, or lose-lose, it's still fun.

Anonymous said...

You sure spend a lot of time on the road. Do you like that? I used to like going "TDY" when I was in the Marines but these days I stay close to home.

Panhandle Poet said...

Hermit: Road time is just part of my job. I like being at home but nothing can replace face time with the customer if you want a successful business.

Plowing and Sowing said...

60 to 70 thousand miles per year. I still find time for my wife and kids, but it takes commitment to get back home most every night. The good part is that I don't have to sit inside all day, my truck is my office. I get to see a lot of cool places. I am with ya on the travel.

Panhandle Poet said...

That's a lot of travel P&S. I've been there but cut back some. I'm currently covering about 30K/year by driving and considerably more flying.

Some years back I was traveling 5+ days per week. It was so bad that I would wake up in a motel and have to look at my watch for the date and my planner for the location to know what city I was in. That's too much.