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If you belong to a networking group, at one point or another you will be given the chance to make a presentation in front of business people. This is a golden opportunity to position yourself as the expert in your business community and generate leads, referrals, and sales.

Preparation is key. To take full advantage of such occasions, I think in terms of something I learned in Toastmasters: having a signature speech ready to go. This way you’re never caught off guard having to pass on a perfect opportunity to talk about your business in front of a group of business people.

Crafting Your Signature Presentation

Here are five 6 steps to creating a winning presentation:

1. Start With An Outline

Structure your presentation with an attention-grabbing opening, a middle with 3 or 4 key points, and a powerful conclusion.

Make sure that in the 3 or 4 points you address how you help your clients. Mention the advantages of working with you, and your process to find the best match for your client’s events or promotions.

2. Keep Your Target Audience In Mind

The first time I presented to my networking group at my local chamber, I didn’t know the group that well. I had recently joined, and one of the members was a credit union banker. I prepared the presentation for him, even though I was addressing the whole group. Much to my surprise, at the end of the presentation, he asked me to come to his office to meet with his team and discuss an event they had coming up.

The point is, your presentation must speak to your target audience. Always. Whoever is listening must be able to quickly identify the type of businesses you serve.

3. Use Powerpoint

A powerpoint (or keynote, or google slides) presentation is a great tool to show a higher level of branding and professionalism.

It also allows you to keep a flow while reinforcing key points. You’ll want to include your business values, who you help, show some of your clients, and showcase your best case studies and fun projects.

Make the last slide an advertisement for your business. Include your logo, your picture, web address and contact info, large enough to be easily read. Also, include your tagline and a call to action.

4. Show & Tell Favorite Swag

It can be hard to decide what to bring to the meeting.  After all, there are one million products to choose from. It’s best to keep it simple. 

Bring a handful of “favorite items” and tell a story about how they were – or could be – used.  Then pass them around the room for people to touch and feel them, and play with them a bit.

5. Show Promos Gone Wrong

Include a few defective items. Pens that fall apart, prints that rub off with the “nail test”, poor quality embroidery, crackled prints, etc. I”ll assure you, you will get your audience’s reaction.

Use this opportunity to reiterate what can happen when you don’t work with an expert. Say something like: – this is what can happen when you buy online.  Everything looks good in photos –

This also works well when you meet prospective clients for the first time.

6. Prepare a Strong Close

Leave a few minutes at the end for questions. Leave your last slide up.   Once that’s over, thank the audience and ask them if they have an upcoming promotion, to let you know. Also, ask them to connect in social media and sign up to your email updates. And lastly, ask them for referrals.

The Point

Make the most of every opportunity you get to talk about your business. Use it to position your authority and expert status in the marketplace, and communicate the value your clients get when working with you.

How about you? Share your story!