Recently, I heard three people give a 5-minute presentation to a roomful of potential clients. They were a financial advisor, a business consultant, and a mortgage broker. Each had a different area of expertise, a different style of speaking, and each spoke directly to the audience, with good eye contact, an easy-to-listen-to voice and a friendly manner.Yet they all made one common mistake that could easily have been avoided.
They tried to say too much in too short a time.
It's an easy trap to fall into, especially when you're 'on the clock', and you have so much good stuff to share with the audience. You really want them to know all the benefits of working with you. You need them to appreciate your years of experience and knowledge, and to understand that you really are the expert they need. Unfortunately, five minutes isn't long enough to give all the information you want them to have. Or is it?
It's not what you say, but how you say it.
The one common mistake many of us make is to try to tell the audience every single thing we can possibly do for them. It's sort of a one from Column A, one from Column B approach. If they don't need the one from Column A, they may need the one from Column B, or C, or D, or... you get the idea. Unfortunately, we end up presenting a laundry list of services that all sound alike. The audience is overwhelmed with too many choices, can't take them all in, and may stop listening after the first minute or two because it's too much of an effort to remember any of them.
There's a better way, especially when your time is limited. Remember three small words that have a huge impact: Less Is More.
Choose the two or three services that you want to offer this particular audience at this particular time. Your choice will depend on who is in the audience, the nature of the group you're presenting to, which of your many services you feel most comfortable offering at this moment, or other factors that are important to you. In five minutes, you'll have a little over a minute to highlight two or three key products or services.
Next, forget the laundry list. Simply tell a story to acquaint them with your services. Talk about a previously successful client who really benefitted from your expertise. Describe the problem she came to you to solve and the solution you provided for her. Briefly mention your education and experience within the story rather than waste precious time listing them separately.
That's all there is to it. Two or three brief stories, about people whose problems you solved, how you solved them, and how happy they were to work with you. Audiences remember stories about others like themselves. They're more likely to remember you if you talk about a problem they have that you can solve.
Make it easy for them to remember what you can do for them. Give them specific information they can relate to and use immediately. Make it bright and brief and avoid audience overload. The less effort they have to exert to remember what you can do for them, the more willing they'll be to actually contact you and make the connection.
Next time you get up to speak, remember that Less Is More!