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How to nail a marketing presentation with just 3 simple tricks!

Do people praise you for your ability to engage the audience and tell compelling stories?

Not yet?

Good news: you are already ahead of the pack: you are learning the 3 tricks that will differentiate you from your fellow marketers!

Somewhat surprisingly, there is a method with just 3 simple tricks to get closer to your dream of being the next Churchill or Mandela in the office. ;)

So, dry your tears little panda, and let's go rock the marketing boat!

sad panda - credit

Read below for the 3 tricks, they will amaze you! 

With them you will:
  1. Open your presentation like a pro and hook the audience,
  2. Go home with your goal accomplished,
  3. And nail the toughest questions!
credit maxpixel

Open your presentation like a pro and bring the audience on your side

How do you usually open your presentations?

Beware: either you bring the audience with you from the start of your presentation, or you will have to row against the stream for the full duration of the meeting.

The opening is the most important part of any presentation and good news - it is very easy to perfect!

The structure of a good opening is in 3 parts:
  1. socializing introduction.
  2. A ramp-up using "you" to address the audience and then providing a hook.
  3. An announcement of the structure of the talk, its duration, and a question to ask if this is OK for the audience.
With that structure, I can guarantee you won't put your audience to sleep.

Don't put them to sleep. Your marketing presentation deserves their attention!

Socialize to manage the atmosphere

Don't forget to break the ice and give time to your audience to come into the meeting.

It's rude to start immediately discussing work without properly greeting the audience.

The trick to put your audience at ease before starting is to talk to the audience like you talk to your friends.

They should feel that you are happy to be here and happy to meet them.
  • "How do you feel today? Thanks for taking time after your trip from San Diego. "
  • "Have you seen the sky this morning? The colors were amazing. My 3-years old daughter told me if was yellurple. And you know what? I think she was right!"
"I am happy to be here and happy to meet you". Make the audience feel they are your friends!

Ramp up and hook the attention of the audience

Your audience is here, ready for you to start.

Well, not quite!

If there is an elephant in the room, it's the moment to acknowledge it: "speak to the pain". And use "You" to involve your audience.
  • "You may be wondering why I called for this meeting."
  • "You may be thinking that this is just another meeting on this topic."
Now, it's better! People are ready to give you their attention: seize it with a hook!

A hook is all about withholding some information and announcing that you will give it later.

Using surprising statements works very well for getting attention!
  • "I am about to announce the thing you have all been waiting for"
  • "In a minute, you will discover an idea that will change our company forever"
  • "There are only 3 people in the world who have done what we are about to do together"
  • "500 million. That's the number of people without shoes in our key market."

Announce the structure of your presentation

The announcement of the agenda is an easy part. But it matters A LOT.

Everybody's time is precious. They are all wondering: "How long will she take? I have tons of emails to answer."

You must reassure the audience with a clear agenda and a duration showing how much you value their time.
  • "I thought we could take 15' to discuss my background and then 10' to discuss the project. How does that sound?"
Agenda by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images

Close with a call-for-action

Remember when you started your talk? You had a goal in mind, something you wanted from the audience. It's time to come back to it and ask for it!

If you have done your work well, you have asked questions during previous exchanges with the audience and during the presentation. So you know that what you are asking is a good opportunity for your audience. Time to use your favorite closing technique!

Then nail the questions!

Questions may make you nervous. 

When I worked in sales, I was actually happy when people asked a question. Because I knew the best part was coming: people reveal their thoughts when they ask questions. And they give you an occasion to shine. But there is a trick...

To stand until the end, you need to know the 3 secret types of questions!

Follow the method, and you will stand until the end! photo credit DoD

Identify the type of question asked 

Have you ever heard about this concept of the 3 secret types of questions? I am not talking open vs closed questions. I am talking about a simple categorization of questions that enables you to remove all the anxiety from presentation Q&As! 

Let's start with the basics: when you receive a question, you thank and praise the asker. Not everyone dares to speak up, you should be grateful they did! 
  • "Whao, that's a great question! I am so happy that you mention this as it is the essence of the topic we are discussing today."

Then, you cannot beat around the bush too long. You need to take action on the question.

That's where the 3 secret types of questions come into play. They give you the tools to solve just any question!

Here is what you should know. There are only the 3 types of questions below, and among them, there is only 1 type of questions that you must answer:
  1. Unclear questions,
  2. Tough questions,
  3. Easy questions => these are the only questions you should answer.
Yeah, baby! You now have all the tools you need to nail all the questions from your audience!
Let's address these question types 1 by 1 together!

Unclear question? Clarify it!

You should admit that if you try and answer the unclear questions, there is no way you can be right.
So, don't answer them and rather ask the asker to clarify their thoughts!
To all unclear questions, I reply with a question: 
  • "What do you mean exactly by statement report?"
  • "This is an interesting area and I need to understand better what exactly your question is about. Would you like to follow up after this presentation?"

If you are in the dark, ask for clarity!!
By Kenny Louie from Vancouver, Canada (Unclear) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Tough question? Go in the asker's direction, then deflect.

Your heartbeat is racing. The bold guy on the front with the big lip asked exactly the question you did not want!

First, acknowledge that this is a tough question. It will immediately remove some of the pressure, especially if you use humor.

  • "Thank you for asking this question on my second day on the job, ah ah (big sincere smile)."

Then, realize that if you try and answer these tough questions, there is a big chance your answer won't be right and maybe you are not even allowed to answer this question!

The smart way to handle this type of questions is to divert them: either by acknowledging there is no answer yet or by directing the asker to someone who can answer.
  • "It's a very complex question as you know and there is no simple answer. I would like to hear the opinion of the audience on this point, and in the next two weeks, I will lead discussions with you to understand how you think our organization should address this challenge."
  • "This question is being discussed at the higher levels of our organization, and I am not able to answer it yet. I advise you get in touch with your general manager who should be able to provide additional elements"
If the question is too difficult, bring it to the ones who can actually help!

Sometimes people use the question-answers to raise things that are not questions but plain old objections. One way to address them is through the famous "feel, felt, found" technique:
  • Acknowledge - "I understand you can feel that way!"
  • Mention others who changed their mind - "My manager felt the same way when she recruited Yann, but after a few weeks working together she found that he provided the best marketing plan she had seen in years."
That's not my favorite method because I find it sounds fake. It's a question of tastes I guess!

I prefer the other famous sales technique; asking questions where the only good answer is the one you want to hear.
  • "As a manager, do you think you have the required experience to manage to coach him to the level of performance you are expecting?" => Given the way the question is asked saying no is very hard! It would mean I am not a capable manager.
All these techniques may seem manipulative. Use them smartly and with the best interests of people in considerations because nobody likes evil people and even less evil marketers! 

Easy question? Don't screw it up!

You are on track for a home run. And then you lose your shorts. Damned, this feels bad, right? 

Who has never seen a speaker go into a confused and 5' long explanation after an easy question? That's just the same a losing your shorts on a home run.

How to avoid this?

Speak slowly - you should be able to count to 4 in your head in between two sentences. This gives you time to think.

Keep your answer short! 10 to 30 seconds is OK, not more.

Ask the audience if they are happy with your answer. 
  • "Did I answer your question?"
  • "I hope this provides the element you were looking for?"

A final word

Thank you so much for reading this, I feel blessed for having so many brilliant people reading my posts!!

I am not an expert at presentations yet. And sometimes I do not apply all of the tips above. But when I do, it just rocks. The audience is listening, I am feeling good, and I get what I want.

All the best for your presentation. I am sure you will be amazing!

And if you like this post, share it on social! 

About Gilles


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