Presentations are one of the main ways that your ideas as a consultant will be communicated to your team and client. As such, it is important to develop the skills to assemble a good presentation and then to deliver it effectively.
Types of Presentations
Presentations are likely to be needed throughout any consulting engagement of significant size. Some will be formal, but that isn't always the case. Here are three types of presentations that you are likely to be involved with depending on your role in the project.
Board Level: There is usually a formal presentation podium. The presentation is supported by slides or overheads. This type usually has the least amount of interaction during the presentation,
Task Force Meeting: Less formal than the board level presentation. Often includes more interaction with audience and is supported by overheads.
Working Session: The least formal of all presentations. Usually the participants work from discussion documents.
The purpose of a presentation of results is to communicate and sell the product of your consulting efforts. This includes:
- Demonstrate your consulting expertise and scope of work done.
- Gain buy-in and acceptance of findings and analysis.
- Gain buy-in and approval for recommendations.
- Identify and agree on next steps.
Presenting to Persuade
There are several important ways before, during, and after your presentation that you can use to sell your ideas and gain the necessary buy-in to proceed. These include:
- Pre-test and pre-sell key ideas before the presentation.
- Map all findings and recommendations back to the client's stated needs.
- Demonstrate the client payoffs for all recommended actions.
- Express client payoffs in bottom-line financial terms whenever possible.
- Identify client expectations for your presentation at the start of the meeting, and then demonstrate how these expectations were met at the end of the meeting.
- Keep the client focused on the big picture; don't get mired in the small details. This can be accomplished by providing frequent overviews and summaries.
- Make sure decision makers attend the presentation.
- Visit with key individuals after the presentation to reinforce the presentation.