Converting 1-on-1 Sales Pitches for Conference Presentations

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.


Why Should They Listen to Your Pitch? 9 Key Tips

The sponsor – an experienced sales person – had 15 minutes to make her pitch to 25 customers. Each person in the audience could recommend her services to others. It was an important 15 minutes.

But she blew it.

Instead of pitching a fun, cool product (which is what she represents), she presented a boring slide deck with too many bullet points and collages of meaningless (to her listeners) photos. Oh, and she took 25 minutes.

What a shame.

Instead of stepping out of “presentation mode” and having a conversation with the buyers, she talked and talked and talked. She told us about features no one cared about and no one remembered. Instead of presenting to pique our interest, she stifled any.

9 Important Tips

Do not begin with the name and introduction of everyone on your team – even if your entire team is present. Instead, add their photos, names and an interesting statement to your collateral. So when listeners are interested in learning who is who, they can at their own pace.

Do not begin with background of who you are and why you’re there. If your prospect has invited you to pitch, they know.

Start strong. There are many  powerful ways to begin a presentation. You can startle them or delight them. You can start with a point they’ll easily agree with or one that will make their blood boil. You can help them envision their success or their demise. Craft an opening that will matter to them

Stay future focused.

Don’t apologize for not having something with you. If you don’t have it, don’t mention it. Or, just tell them you’ll email/mail it after the presentation.

Leave out the parts they don’t care about. No matter how wonderful your hotel spa might be, if the meeting planner is interested only in a one day seminar, your spa doesn’t come into play. Respect them enough to not talk about it!

Eliminate self-centered behaviors. No one needs to know that you aren’t feeling well, got in late, couldn’t sleep or any other ailment that might be ailing you. Deal with it in silence.

Stay through the end. Even if you have to leave the room because the rest of the meeting is closed to outsiders, stick around outside the room so you can mingle during their break. Make yourself available after your pitch. That’s where the magic happens.

Create extraordinary opportunities from routine selling situations. It’s up to you to ensure you aren’t presenting in a routine way. Make it mean something to them and make it memorable (in a good way) and they’ll want to listen – and engage.

About the Author:

Sue Hershowitz -Coore is a corporate consultant, communication specialist and internationally-recognized professional speaker. For more information about her company, visit

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