One tool people shouldn’t leave out of a networking meeting but almost always do
Of all the networking meetings, exhibitions and even meet ups that I have been to in my professional life there is one tool that I notice that is either not done well or is completely missing. It is a tool that should be with you almost all the time and should change with the times. What is this wondrous sales and marketing tool? The short presentation.
If you have been paying attention to me you know that you should have already an elevator speech but elevator speeches should not take the place of a presentation. However these short presentations I am speaking of here are not the same time presentations that you should give in front of larger groups. These presentations I’m talking about should be designed specifically for speaking with one to three people ideally. They should be focused and intimate. And when you make these presentations I would keep three things in mind:
- The presentation should be ten minutes or less. This is for a number of reasons, most all of them practical. First, the fact that you are in a meeting with many things going on the presentation should not be long. Should the event be a network meeting most of the time there will be one-on-one sessions that normally are up to thirty minutes. A ten minute presentation would give your one-on-one partner their time plus leaving you both time to discuss items of interest that might come up during the meeting. If you are at a conference the ten minute presentations would fit neatly into break time. If you are at an exhibition this would mean that the visitor will quickly get the overview of what you can do for them.
- The presentation should be targeted specifically to the event. Though I believe in having general presentations as well, by tailoring the short presentation to the topic of the event your will be much better targeted and in tune with the people around you. Your company and your services will seem to be a much better fit and you won’t waste anyone’s time wading through information that would be of little or no use to them. It also helps to qualify prospects quicker and more precisely.
- The presentation should leave a memorable impression as to why you stand out. Let’s face it. If you can’t make a presentation memorable then you are just going through the motions in making the presentation at all. You want your target audience to have something to remember you by. You want them to recall why your company is a good fit for their needs. There are clear signs that your presentation made a good impression and I think one of the best is when after seeing it, your target asks you to send it to them so they can see it again or to someone else who should see it.
These presentations are inexpensive and can be presented on your laptop, tablet or even your mobile phone. And because of that there really isn’t any reason for you to ever be without one in this day and age. They can be in several formats as well, though PowerPoint and PDF seem to make the best sense to the most people. Some companies like to make use of video for the purpose of short presentations and I’m not saying this is a wrong way to go about it but PowerPoint and PDF presentations have some advantages to consider. For instance, you can control the speed of the presentation. You can flip back to review the presentation. You get to give it your own voice. And video, in a large meeting, can be disruptive to conversations going on around you. Video does have pause and rewind, but hey, it’s just not the same. Again, I’m not against videos, especially if they are well made and professional, but I don’t believe they should ever replace the short presentation.
So the next time you have a networking meeting or a conference coming up, get your short presentation ready. If you use this time and again you will find it to be one of the best sales weapons in your company’s arsenal.
Gary Dale Cearley is the Managing Director of Advanced International Networks Ltd. (AIN), one of the fastest growing and most dynamic business-to-business networking organizations in the world. AIN’s networks include AerOceaNetwork (AON), XLProjects Network (XLP), and AiO Logistics Network. Gary Dale has been in many facets of international freight forwarding for more than two decades from operations to sales to the owner of the first 100% foreign owned freight forwarding company licensed in Vietnam. The companies that he has been involved with have been both generalists and specialists. He has also worked from large European and Asian multinationals (Danzas and Hankyu Express) as well has small start up forwarders. For the past ten years Gary Dale has owned and operated AIN. He has lived in several major cities in four different countries and he is multilingual. Currently Gary Dale runs the AIN operation from Bangkok, Thailand, but travels the world over.