Converting 1-on-1 Sales Pitches for Conference Presentations

By Jan Schultink

You have a sales presentation that – despite the fact that it is loaded with bullet points – has been very successful in 1-on-1 meetings with customers. Now you have an invitation to speak at a conference for an audience of more than 100 people for a maximum of 20 minutes. What next? Here is a recipe.

1) Trim down the content. In the conference audience are competitors, analysts, journalists, all kind of people that might not be suitable to receive the ins and outs you would discuss with a prospective customer. Remember, the object of a conference presentation is not to close a deal, it is to tease people into calling/emailing you to set up a first meeting.

2) Flatten the story. Take out overview/summary slides, and spread them out: one slide covers one bullet. We want a story, not a structured table of contents of a business school text book.

3) Beef up the “problem” section of your presentation to let the audience connect with the issue you are trying to solve. The problem might be totally obvious to you and 60% of the audience. The other 39% is not there yet.

4) Avoid repetition. If you talk early on in the presentation about how highly accurate your product is, group that together with the slide in the back that shows test data confirming accuracy.

5) Find big bold visuals that support your points (one point per slide). Stretch images to a full page size, and cut text.

6) Take out any live demos or demonstrations

7) Use your videos (if you have them), BUT only if you can integrate them seamlessly in your presentation flow. Embed it and test it 300 times to make sure there are no technical glitches. Think where you want to insert the videos. Videos are excellent wake up calls, so anticipate where in your story the audience runs the risk of getting bored.

8) Practice, practice, practice, until you can deliver the whole talk in 15-17 out of the allocated 20 minutes.

Good luck!

About the Author:Jan Schultink is a presentation designer with a decade of experience as a CEO strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company. Besides his design work at Idea Transplant, Jan is CEO of Pitchera, a new web-based presentation app that has set itself the ambition of becoming a “PowerPoint killer.” For more from Jan’s blog, click here.


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