Yesterday, satisfied our trade show booth is in order, I “disappeared” much of the day for last-minute preparation for today’s presentation of my SMPS Foundation white paper results on strategic alliance best practices for the architectural, engineering and construction community. Colleagues suggested some last-minute solutions to the risk of trying to conduct a presentation using Internet-based resources — systems don’t always work and of course when they don’t work during a live presentation, you can be in trouble. I learned, at last, how to effectively download some videos to my computer for the presentation and load them into prezi.com files which reside within my computer, not Prezi’s free online system (but free to me with Prezi’s thirty-day trial.)
I then ran through the presentation “one last time” to check on timing and sequence.
Preparing for a presentation lasting 90 minutes requires lots of time and effort. Just a “run through” of the actual presentation, of course, requires at least a couple of hours. Multiply this by five or six times to get it right, along with the research, review and co-ordinating time, and you can see that the process requires a significant investment in effort and energy.
The trade-off, the fact that for professional services within the AEC community there is no single more effective marketing methodology, remains clear in my mind, however. A solid presentation to a relevant audience is like a sales call on steroids — you get all the benefits of personal interaction with clients and prospects willing to spend upwards of 90 minutes to listen to you and see you in “performance” — multiplied by the number of potential clients in the room. The pay-back starts occurring right after the presentation, when audience members approach you to ask personal questions and (often) to suggest they wish to do business with you.
Of course, if you frame your presentation as a pure sales call, or even as a thinly disguised one, you will turn off more people than you attract. Construct Canada and other conferences generally set some rules about presentations: Avoid self-promotion outside of the natural course of your presentation and provide real, tangible and useful resources to everyone attending — regardless of whether they will ever do business with you.
Well . . . in a matter of hours, it is time for me to be on stage. Nervousness and butterflies will happen, even with preparation and care. If you are in Toronto, I think you can still make a last-minute reservation. I’ll share the results in tomorrow’s blog posting.