For consultants and independent marketers, the most important and often the most difficult thing is landing the gig. All other decisions and details can be worked out together with the client from there. But first and foremost, business people should prepare for strong competition that they have to beat out if they wish to land those coveted assignments. Toward that end, going in with the best pitch and presentation can help tilt the scales in your direction.
The most effective and proven way to achieve that is by building memorable presentations around visual communication and storytelling. Images will not only grab someone’s attention, but can also sway his or her opinion in your favor. Some experts writing on the Microsoft website identified 20 different ways that talented people can take advantage of pictures in their presentations. Steve Jobs was known to incorporate some of these tactics into his public lectures when he ran Apple.
Although everyone should be thinking about how to make presentations that much more presentable and dynamic, here are three proven ways that business people can dress up their slides to impress prospective clients:
Show them what to think of you
Anyone can stand up in front of a room and quote statistics or outline areas in which a company can improve. It’s the salesperson who thinks sharper and smarter than his or her counterparts who will win the job. Content imagery gives you the opportunity to influence how they think. Put up some large, beautiful slides that will set the viewer at ease and will transmit confidence. During your introductory remarks, be sure to include pictures that conjure up imagination, innovation, efficiency, and power. If they’ll be judging you in the first few frames, then you should control how they feel. Veterans of pitch meetings will tell you that they recall the imagery put in front of them more than they hold onto the information contained on slides.
Tell a story through pictures
The trickiest part to any pitch is not to show your full hand; after all, if they have your idea already, what do they need to hire you for? Even if at the beginning you won’t want to share your complete vision, you can at least begin to get them there. Support your slides with a series of stock photos they recognize. For instance, if their company sells cat food, show happy cats engaging with the brand throughout the presentation. Convey positive energy by weaving together a narrative from slide to slide. That happy cat can escort them through the presentation, showing up in unexpected places and pointing to core materials. It’ll keep them engaged while you walk them through your information.
Outline your process with visual section fronts
It’s a long way from the initial meeting to when the project is complete. You want to be realistic about the amount of work that will go into producing the best results. Break the work into smaller components and address each one as its own sub-project, complete with a discussion about how much time to expect each stage to last. You can make a “picture story” to head up each of the chapters in your presentation, building a coherent message. Instead of having just text on those slides, include a series of different, vibrant pictures of that task being completed. That’s really what they want to see and hear about. Through showcasing your process one step at a time with compelling imagery, you will give them a full view of what’s in store, and how you work.