Corporate Presentations | Till It Clicks

Ground rules for best corporate presentations

Corporate presentations are generally made in PowerPoint because of the flexibility PowerPoint provides and ease of making them. Lately, new tools such as Prezi and Keynote are also used primarily because these tools provide some advanced animations, the quality of which at times becomes difficult to match in MS PowerPoint. However, I am a great advocate and lover of PowerPoint simply because there is a lot more to it than what meets the eye. Let me start off by telling exactly what the corporate presentations are made for.

Although there are no stringent rules laid down for the usage of presentations, according to me the ideal use of a corporate presentation would be during a one to one meeting with a prospective client. This meeting would generally be the first interaction with that client and the first impression may not necessarily be the last impression, but it is definitely a lasting impression. So you need to get this absolutely right!

There are a few ground rules I have set for myself before I start off with making a corporate presentation.


Rule # 1

Get your content absolutely right:

A corporate presentation is not a brochure which you would be attaching through e-mail to someone. So it doesn’t need to be self-explanatory. I am not a big fan putting in a lot of text content in the presentation because of a couple of reasons – a) You are going to explain it so you do not want the written and the spoken content to be either redundant or diverse b) No one reads it.

So ‘minimalism’ is the way to go as far as the content on the slides is concerned.

Long sentences are absolute taboo. A couple of slides with bullet points should be more than enough. All the other slides should either have graphics or have important words. These important words need to be explained through your speech. Use arrows, tables, flowcharts and graphics at all places possible.

Every slide needs to have a heading and this rule needs to be followed without exception. But, you can always play around and be creative with the headings. Finish off all your content about one topic on one slide in order to avoid using the same heading for consecutive slides.


Rule # 2

Go with the flow

The flow with which your corporate presentation goes is extremely important. After you are done with the brief introduction about your company, be quick to tell the person in front of him, what is in it for him. So long as the presentation is not related to the person sitting in front of you, it is very difficult to grab their attention. The flow of the presentation could be as follows:

Slide 1 – Cover: full name and logo and tagline
Slide 2 – Introduction: Year of founding, Vision, Mission, Beliefs, Values
Slide 3 – Company facts, Leadership team profiles
Slide 4 – Snap shot of all the services/products
Slide 5 to slide 9 – Details of the services/products
Slide 10 – Key differentiator
Slide 11 – Revenue model, Engagement model
Slide 12 – Success stories, clients
Slide 13 – Contact information
My ideal corporate presentation would contain anywhere between 12 to 15 slides. I often find presentations too much beyond 15 slides to be boring.


Rule # 3

Manage the time lines

For how long do you ideally present it largely depends on the interest of the person sitting in front of you. To an ideal audience, I prefer to give the presentation for around 10 to 12 minutes for a half an hour meeting time slot. If one of your slides lasts only for a few seconds, it does not have any business to be a part of the presentation at all. Try to dedicate equal time for each slide and take your own sweet time to explain things.


Rule # 4

Graphics, visuals and animations

Use the slide design and colour which is aligned with your brand colours. Do not use the most common slide designs which every other person from you B-school used for all of their presentations. It is appreciated if you can put your corporate logo on each slide, however, this is not a hard and fast rule which has to be followed. If you think that the logo ruins your slides, do not out your logo on any of the slides at all.

Animations have the potential to make even the dullest of presentations interesting. Learning animations in PowerPoint is not an overnight job. You first need to understand all the animations, and then think how you can use the animations to make your presentations more creative. Even if an expert is charged you thousands of rupees and delivers a corporate presentation with fantastic animations, it is worth spending. For some of the animated I have prepared, people hit the Escape key to check whether it is really a PowerPoint presentation. I consider this as my victory.

There has to be one ‘wow-factor’ in a PowerPoint presentation which people remember for a long time. It may be in the form of some creative entrance/exit effect or some interesting animation, if your presentation does not have it, you are just another potential vendor blabbering about the greatness of your company. An animation is the only difference between a PDF and a PPT, make the best of it.


Rule # 5

Engage the audience

The success and failure of a meeting often depend upon how successful you have been in engaging with your audience. There are some people who you just cannot engage. They are least interested in your services and if you had the guts to ask them to repeat your last line, they would be dumbstruck. They appear to have such a straight face that even if you threaten them with their life, their facial expressions would not change. Your corporate presentation is not made to impress those who cannot be impressed. You will end up meeting such people more often than you would like.

However, some people are interested are more interested in your services than knowing about your company. The presenters need to be on their toes to identify such an audience quickly and to make a few changes in their presentations.

Explain in details to those who have time. Spend time on each and every point and give as many examples as possible. Sharing your own experiences is always a good an idea and a quick and certain way to strike an immediate connection with your audience.

Always carry a.PPT as well as a.PPS file with you and as soon as you notice that some of the slides would be inappropriate in a situation, feel free to delete these slides. A .PPT file gives you the luxury to edit your presentations at the last moment, whereas a.PPS hides all the unwanted animations and unfilled text boxes and looks more professional.

Under any case, do not forget to turn slide show off while presenting.


Rule # 6

Know the objective of the presentation

To know the objective, you need to know what a presentation is. A corporate presentation is not a.PPT file made by the best designing company in the world; a corporate presentation is that performance where a presenter is as important as the.PPT file itself. As a presenter, you need to be thorough with your home work about the company you are visiting in order to avoid last moment slipups. The presentation needs to be practised really well since I do not consider it to be too different than a 12 minutes stage performance. With the backdrop, lights and sound well set in the form of the.PPT file, the artist needs to get into the act and convey a strong message across. The presentation gives directions to the presenter, supports him with the flow and brings in the ‘wow-factor’ into the presentation but the basic function of the corporate presentation is to break the ice and initiate a dialogue. In some situations, the presenters may find the audiences easily connecting with them and even sharing their business requirements. No matter how beautiful presentations you have, it is always advisable to keep yours.PPT file closed and connect on a personal level.

Need a good Corporate Presentation? Get in touch! 🙂

6 essential brand building contents for every start-up | Till It Clicks

6 essential brand building contents for every start-up

To quit your job and start a company of your own is a big decision. The only thing the drives an entrepreneur is his belief that his business idea has the potential to change the world. A lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners I meet believe that there is enough room in the industry to create and sustain another Infosys or Wipro. True that without having a strong belief in yourself, an idea cannot transform into something which you could call truly great. However, these entrepreneurs often feel that investing in branding is a luxury which only established companies can afford. A few exceptions who believe in the importance of branding feel that a brand cannot be established in the kind of budgets they have. With only a logo designed by a free lancing graphic designer, companies register themselves and go into the market with initial projects they bag through their references. A logo can barely be enough of a branding material and you wouldn’t be able to survive for too long securing projects only through references. Yes, brands take a long time and dedicated efforts to be established well in the market but here is a list of 6 things (apart from a logo) which all entrepreneurs should seriously consider as a starting point to establish a strong brand.

  1. Website –Most entrepreneurs recognize the importance of a website and in the India market, creating a website has become dirt cheap. People would be queuing to create your website even if you had just Rs. 10,000 to spend on a website, and this would include buying a domain name, hosting, website designing and development. Even the entrepreneur is aware that the quality is going to be sub-standard, yet he compromises on the look and feels of the website thinking that he will change it once he settles down a bit, which seldom happens. Clients, employees, potential clients, potential employees, investors and competitors are just a few people who visit your company website and immediately know what kind of a company you are. So, get rid of your narrow template website, and make use of the whole page. Find a team who know the importance of a good looking website. Put graphics and visuals into your website and reduce text content as much as possible. If you think a person is overqualified for any position, you are downgrading the job, similarly, if you think your website is too good for the market in which you operate, you are downgrading your own company.
  2. Corporate presentation –What websites do in your absence, corporate presentations do in your presence. A corporate presentation is a fantastic way of initiating a conversation with a company which you want to do business with. It has to be well thought of document. I prefer presentations where the viewer understands nothing if there is no presenter. That is why I cut down sentences and insert just a few relevant words instead. A good corporate presentation looks impressive and makes the presenter look intelligent. A classic tool to leave a lasting first impression.
  3. Corporate brochure –The primary objective is to send it across when someone demands more information about your company over e-mail. This may be perhaps the only branding content where I can allow you to be as descriptive as possible. This has classically been a PDF file in which you can start right from your vision, mission statement, offerings, a key differentiator, core competencies, management team and so on. It should be a booklet which better explains your website. Virtually no one reads your corporate brochure thoroughly, even if most of your viewers browse through it right till the end, you have been successful in creating a good corporate brochure. This wouldn’t be possible without having a fantastic design and graphics.
  4. Business cards –The international market is more or less free of business cards, in India, you cannot be a company and not have a business card. The way in which business cards are exchanged has evolved but the importance of business cards stays put. Indians still attach a sense of prestige to the kind of business cards they carry. But it is better not carrying any cards instead of carrying these thin, unattractive, dull white business cards. An attractive business card is preserved years by the recipient simply because it is too good to be thrown away.
  5. Case studies / Product demo –Congratulations if you have reached a stage where you need to send across your case studies or give product demonstration. Reaching this stage is a lot of hard work for many companies, thus losing business from this stage hurts them even more. However, sending your case studies or giving product demo is only half the job done. That too if the case studies have been well compiled and the product demo is well explained. These can be in the form of presentations, PDFs, pictorial representations or in video format. Whichever format they may be used in, it is important to compile your thoughts well and create an interesting story. The lesser the viewer reads to understand the story, the more chances you have.
  6. Social Media Setup –These are some of the free online platforms, which give you some of the greatest SEO in the world. However, merely creating a presence on these platforms is not sufficient. You have to maintain it and sustain your efforts over a period of time. You need to believe in the power of social media, interlink all the platforms post at least a couple of updates in a day. Network, interact and express don’t just broadcast unintelligently. Most of the people I meet run their social media platforms enthusiastically for a few months, get busy with operational issues and never return to social media. There are only a few things which turn me off faster than seeing an ill-managed Facebook fan page. If you cannot do something well, ask, learn or outsource, don’t keep on struggling with it heading anywhere in the process.

There is not a fixed strategy with which you can guarantee winning deals. So you have to eliminate those factors which may result in loss of business, either knowingly or unknowingly. Creating high-quality branding content not only ensures that you do not lose deals but in fact, it plays an important role in winning them. No matter how ugly we are, we always fantasize about beautiful looking partners. Similarly, people always want to be associated with good looking companies.

If I have to give you a number, I would ask a start up to allocate a budget of around Rs. 1,00,000 for creating the above branding content and take pains find an agency which will deliver amazing quality in that budget. Remember, by investing in quality branding content, you are creating assets for your company which your business development team will need a day in and day out.


Preparing to setup a booth at a conference

One thing that surprises me when I meet companies participating in conferences is that they spend lakhs of rupees to buy a booth in the conference but they have absolutely no idea what they are supposed to do at their booth. Product companies at least put their products on display and get away with good attention at the conference however but for services companies, the earlier statement becomes astoundingly true. Not surprisingly many companies feel that the event wasn’t successful and shy away from participating in events in future. Let me tell you that participating in events is one of the great ways to generate business since you can end up meeting more prospects in three days than you would in one whole year if you participate in the right events.


I will be writing about how to choose the right event for you in one of my subsequent article, however, this article is for those companies who have already determined the right event for themselves but do not know what they are supposed to do there. Also, those companies who think they know what they are supposed to do there might take a look at this and take a note of a thing or two.


Plan your conference well in advance

Planning your conferences well in advance is of prime importance. Some of the most successful companies plan their events and conferences more than two years in advance. It is difficult for some of the small companies to be this proactive, however, if the conference is just a couple of months away and you get a really lucrative booth offer from the organizers, I suggest you to give it a miss. Planning 6 months prior is pretty safe and achievable. Planning 3 months prior becomes tough yet desired results can be achieved.

Right at the start of the year, chalk out your events road map and inform and train your team. If you can get an expert on board, nothing like it. If you can hire an agency or a free lancer to help you get ready in participating in the event, you should be good to go.


Know your booth

Get to know your booth first. Understand the dimensions, the length, breadth and height. Check for availability of tables and electricity points. Draw a 3d image of the booth in your mind and if possible even on your computer and design the booth intelligently. Crowds will generally gather onto your booth after looking at the designs. Some of the largest events abroad ask beautiful ladies from their organizations to manage their booth, ultimate crowd puller. However, as Indians, if you are not equipped with these tricks of the trade, you need to overcome it through publicizing your company.


Announce your participation

Publicity is not requesting the organizers to distribute your flyers at the entrance. Publicity should happen well in advance and that is the reason why I urge you to plan your events early. All the other things can be organized quickly, but spreading awareness takes its own sweet time.

Start off by getting the list of all exhibitors and attendees from the organizers and start e-mail communication with them. Try to fix up meetings with some of them who might be your prospects. If all the exhibitors are your competitors, you are in the wrong event.

Start following the event on twitter and interact with the other followers. This is the time to build personal connections. As Indians, we tend to shy away from participating in discussions not concerned with us, get over it. Use a catchy phrase, a witty hashtag, a cool name or a cute mascot so that people actually remember your company. Do a bit of social media monitoring and find out what people are saying about the event. It is not difficult to generate curiosity through social media and the internet but there has to be thought and a method to it.


Things to carry

Great quality business cards – these are the ones which are preserved
Standees and backdrop – Attention grabbing
TV and Loop movie – to give people an idea of what the company is at a glimpse
Corporate presentation – This is what people will remember
Brochure – Be rest assured that they would end up in a pile at the end, but they are important nonetheless
Bowl for cards of others, notebook and pen
It is remarkable to understand that most of these things need to be designed really well. Therefore, a good designer is always or someone who has a good eye for design always comes in handy. As a matter of fact, a designer plays as important a role as the booth manager as far as the success of the event is concerned.


Practice and perform

Choose good people to represent your booth. They have to be smart, well dressed and knowledgeable, capable enough to answer all questions posed by the visitors. “I will get back to you on this”, is not acceptable. Deals are closed in some conferences. If you do not perform well at the conference, somebody else would.

During this performance, here has to be some point of reference for you to follow and for your visitors to engage. That point of reference often proves to be your presentation. Prepare a great presentation and practice your presentation really well. You can win over most people with your presentation.

Three days of the event are nothing short of an exhausting performance. Build up stamina and prepare yourself mentally and physically. Dress well on all three days and wear a smile on your face. No matter how exhausted you are, to explain your offerings to EACH AND EVERY visitor is your prime duty. (There’s a wonderful story behind why I am emphasizing this so much.) If visitors are just passing along semi-curiously, ask them if they would like to know more. They are not going to be the ones initiating the conversation, you are.

Make a note of all the interesting conversations that happen in your notebook along with the name and contact details of the people you had a conversation with. Collect as many business cards as possible, they make a great database.


Post-event task list

Drop a thank you note to everyone who visited your booth as soon as you resume work after the conference. Talk about the discussion you had with them and give them a call for action. Also, drop a note to the people who you had fixed up a meeting with, but didn’t turn up. Connect with all these people through social media platforms. Don’t forget to thank the organizers when you get back. They might just offer you a good 20 percent discount next year.

7 Etiquettes of ‘Soft Sale’

Companies are always on the look out for ‘hard cash’, something which can be only achieved through ‘hard sales’.

Traditionally, in order to be a successful sales person, one needs to possess qualities like being outspoken (if not loud), extrovert and thick skinned. “Such should be the convincing power of a sales guy, that s/he should be able to sell even stones”, was something that I heard quite early in life. Since I knew that I possessed none of the above qualities(?)I knew that the last job I would have opted for was that of a sales guy.

After being unemployed for a few months at the start of my career, one fine day, I got a call for an interview and things moved so fast that day that I not only found my self-employed (as a sales executive!) but I had also completed the first day of work that day itself (this may make up for an interesting story, I will try to share it later).

I wondered how I would fit the bill considering my quiet nature.

Strangely enough, as I spent more time in this company, I started doing surprisingly well as a sales person. I couldn’t change my nature too much during this time but I received a lot of support from my company, which finally resulted in a lot of revenue for the company through me.

This proved that even if you do not possess the qualities of a conventional sales person, you can still do well. I would like to call this approach, soft sale.

Thus, I thought Soft Sale would perhaps be more effective than hard sale.

What exactly is soft selling?

It is that sales activity, which is done not by persuading the potential client to buy your product but by persuading him/her to buy your personality and in turn want to be associated with you. I believe you can never sell to a person who does not need. Even if you succeed in doing so once, it would be only a matter of time before he realizes his mistake and starts cursing himself.

Here are the etiquettes of a successful soft salesperson:


1. Dressing

Show up in casual or formal attire, there should not be a single stain or a wrinkle. Spot-less shoes and well-kept hair is some thing everyone notices. Dressing should reflect that you have spent time on yourself and looking good matters to you every time. Subconsciously, everyone realizes that a person who takes effort on how he looks is sure to take efforts on delivering for his clients.


2. Confidence

Confidence is the key. If you know the message you are trying to convey to your prospect yourself, chances are, you will be the success. To be confident, you need to believe. And to believe, you need to have knowledge. Of course, looking good also makes you much more confident.


3. Knowledge

Without doing your homework, you couldn’t impress your teacher, there’s no way you would be able to impress your prospects. It is important that you have a good understanding of the company, the industry, market trends, technologies and people to whom you are trying to sell. Speaking to them in their own language is very important.


4. Discipline

If there was one golden rule of becoming a sales superstar, it would be discipline.

If your lead asks you to give him a call after 10 minutes, make sure you do it. If he asks you to get in touch with him early next quarter, mark it on your calendar. If he doesn’t respond for a couple of days, follow up. If he doesn’t answer e-mails, call. If he doesn’t return calls, send him SMS. But make sure that you make your life’s objective to get a ‘yes’, a ‘no’ or a ‘hang for XXXX days’ from all the people you have sent proposals to.

Most of the leads are lost due to ineffective, indisciplined follow ups.


5. Persistence

Just as everything else in life, you need to be persistent, even restless at times, but extremely polite. You won’t believe how many of my prospects have given me a pat on my back ‘because I was always in their inbox, every couple of days’.

You lose your persistence, you lose a deal! Simple.


6. Politeness

If you follow all the other rules but if you are not polite to even with one sentence, your prospects will bite you back. Sales can be extremely tricky and you need to be on your toes in understanding the person in front of your quickly modify the tone of your sales pitch.


7. Body and language

Straight posture, directly facing the prospect always helps. Look into the face when he talks and observes carefully. And I cannot emphasize enough on how important it is, to be a good listener if you want to be a successful soft salesperson.

I understand if you do not dominate the conversation (although ideally, you should), but whenever you open your mouth, make sure you make perfect sense. Command over the language in which you are communicating is a must. And if you are not confident, do not try use flowery language unnecessarily. It is better to say a simple ‘thank you’ rather than ‘I would like to thank you with my bottom’ (she meant ‘with the bottom of my heart’) (tongue of slips happen!)

Try to accessorize yourself with a business card that leaves a good impression and a killer corporate presentation. And don’t forget to carry some charm along. It will take you a long way.