Our first few articles on giving presentations have focused on finding opportunities, delivery of your presentation and using visual aids. Now, let’s explore how to best craft your message for the particular group you will be addressing. Today’s consumers tend to be savvy. They have access to the internet travel agencies, to top notch publications like Budget Travel and Conde Nast as well as television programming devoted to travel. You will want your own unique message to be especially relevant. Your audience will expect valuable information that offers solutions or insight into their own travel ambitions.
Firstly, research the audience to assist with making your presentation relevant. Who will be attending and what is their demographic? What does the group’s affiliation say about it’s probable interest in travel? Speak to the organizer of the event to gather additional insights and find out who has spoken to the group previously and on what topics. If you know a member of the group you will be addressing, ask about the group’s personality and interests.
Next, be sure to make the presentation centers around the benefits to the listeners. Don’t make a speech just about you, your travel planning practice and your own history. Even if those are the topics of the presentation, find a way to let your audience know how each item you discuss relates to and benefits them. Try to introduce new, exciting, controversial or unexpected aspects into the presentation.
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The title you choose for your presentation is very important. The title, which will likely be published in advance, sets the expectations of the group. At the beginning of the presentation, reference your title and immediately relate it back to them. Your audience is going to want you to succeed when they expect to learn something valuable about themselves from you.
Practice, practice, practice! Don’t try to wing it. The better you know your material, the easier your demeanor and your ability to put additional energy into your presentation. If possible, consider videotaping yourself to improve your “stage presence”.
A few days before the event, speak with the organizers and make sure that all of the on-site materials you will need will be there (projector/audio) and that everything is in order for the event. Arrive early to survey the room, the equipment and especially the projector if you are using one. Come armed with well-prepared hand outs and promotional materials, including your business cards, enough for everyone.
Take questions at the end of your presentation. Leave the group with a call to action – perhaps suggest that they sign up to receive more information from you. Have a sign-up sheet or collect business cards so you can later follow up with the attendees. On the signup sheet, ask a brief question about the types of travel or destinations in which they have an interest.
Write or email each attendee. Thank them for attending and refer to their interests in travel. Offer your services to them. Write a thank you note to the organizers and ask to be considered for future events. If the organizer received any feedback, ask for a copy. If you videotaped your presentation, consider adding it to your website. Finally, make any changes to your presentation while it is fresh in your mind.
As daunting as public speaking and presentations can seem, there are tremendous benefits to your business life. Follow the tips we have provided this week and you will get the most out of each opportunity…and maybe even have a good time doing it!