… So don’t panic.
Presentations are good. Even necessary. And while many people think that its a real drag when it’s their turn to present their business at a networking meeting, it’s actually a really important opportunity. Why?
1. It’s something you should be doing anyway. Now before you say, “But…” hear me out. Regardless if you own your own business or if you are employed by someone else, at some point or another you have to explain to someone (even if its your own boss) who you are and what you have to offer. The setting of a networking group is the perfect opportunity to do this. After all, it’s not just the opportunity to promote yourself, it’s also a forgiving environment in which you can practice.
2. Even if “everyone’s already heard me before” it’s still a good opportunity to either remind or update everyone. Face it, with the barrage if informational input, on most days we’re lucky if we can remember our own names. It takes multiple exposures to something to make a lasting impression, so reminders are a good thing. Besides, it’s also the perfect opportunity to update everyone on what is new in your business.
3. “I’m a terrible public speaker.” It’s true. Most people fear public speaking more than they fear death. Honestly, the only way to conquer that fear … is to do public speaking. For all the years that I have been doing networking, I can honestly say that networking groups are the most forgiving and probably the best place to practice. Generally, the people who do networking don’t keep score on who the best speaker is, and are incredibly sympathetic because their turn is coming up too.
So what do you do if you think your presentation is getting a little stale?
There are a couple of ways to “freshen up” your presentation, but the most common thing is to simply focus on one particular area of your business.
Usually, the first presentation is almost always a general “this is who I am, how I got started and what I do.” That’s actually a pretty solid initial presentation. But in 10 or 20 minutes you’re not really going to be able to get in to the real nuts and bolts that might lead to some solid referrals. But if you follow the same general structure as a 30-second commercial (except for about 20 minutes) you can craft multiple presentations on just one business and still keep it interesting.
Opening (2 minutes) – Introduction of yourself
Overview (5 minutes) – General overview of your business.
Detail (10 minutes) – This would be on one aspect of your business. What it is, who it serves and how you do it. Remember, you’re not trying to teach people how to do your job, so try not to get too technical, but feel free to try and teach people something interesting they might not already know because they are not in your industry.
Wrap up and Questions (3 minutes) – Always leave at least a minute or two for questions and/or discussion.
So when someone asks you if you’d be willing to present, don’t avoid eye contact. Just sign up and give it your best shot. You’ll be a better person for it!