Opportunity Awaits! 5 Tips on How to Prepare a Strong Presentation for Your Board
Opportunity is everywhere. Innovation and technology can improve the member experience, provide considerable savings, and increase membership numbers for an association. But changes often come with risk and effort, and, as a result, the benefits may be overlooked.
That means it’s up to you to show the board what they’re missing. To accomplish that, a powerful presentation is required. While there is no silver bullet for presentations, there are ways that presenters can improve the receptions, reactions, and responses they get. Read on to uncover five tips that might improve the next presentation you give to your board.
Discuss Your Competition
Some associations have direct competitors and others have in direct competitors. A direct competitor means that your association is competing for the same members with another association and an in direct competitor means that your members or potential members may choose to purchase products or services from another organization instead of your association. Presenters shouldn’t be afraid to talk about their competition. Management often possesses a competitive spirit, so discussing where your association lags behind its competitors might be enough to spur some action. While the inclination might be to focus on what the other organizations do well and suggest a similar course of action, presenters might get better results by charting a new course rather than following the leader.
The key is to outline the competitive landscape and identify what members truly want and need. When Steve Jobs delivered his powerful product pitches for the iMac and iPhone, he not only highlighted the idealized “Promised Land,” but he also showed where competitors fell short of meeting customer expectations. This strategy opens the door for the presenter to then provide a solution to meet member demands and to make the most of the opportunity.
Use Hard Data
Just telling the board that opportunity exists isn’t enough. Presenters need to show proof by using objective data and evidence. To ensure its effectiveness, however, presenting data requires proper delivery. Firstly, presenters should thoroughly understand the data and the context in which it was recorded. The presentation should contextualize the data in a creative way, perhaps by storytelling or offering a relatable insight. Furthermore, the presenter should be prepared to answer questions about the data.
The next challenge is to have the data stick. This can be done in several ways, but the simplest is to give the information time to set. By letting a slide, a story, or a datapoint breathe, the presenter allows the audience to digest and reflect. Presenters may also accompany the data with a visual to help create an association process and eliminate some of the dullness objective data can evoke. Finally, remember to come back to meaningful data. By repeating certain facts or figures, the data becomes more prominent and the audience more retentive.
Talk About Savings
While presentations often focus on the money returned on an investment, it can be every bit as effective to discuss an opportunity that leads to potential savings. Presenters can show off how an upfront investment can lead to cost savings on the back end. Try delivering this potential using objective numbers, which might be found from third-party research, personal or independent studies, or numbers from competitor.
Presenters may also want to examine other forms of savings, like time or personnel. If investing in a new technology, for instance, can streamline administrative work, the additional time savings can have a measurable financial impact. Similarly, it can be effective to demonstrate how tasks might be managed with fewer employees or require lesser training or expertise, both of which can produce significant savings.
Paint the Full Picture
When trying to pitch innovation or a new technology to the board, presenters should provide the audience with a full picture to erase any potential doubt. This means not only outlining all the possible benefits but the potential shortcomings as well. Rather than just describe the savings and the return on the investment, address the startup costs and time involvement as well. Presenters can then show how the proposed innovation can overcome these drawbacks or provide alternative solutions.
Another element to creating a fully realized and effectively structured presentation is to utilize a demo if possible. Make sure to keep the demos short and simple to keep the audience engaged. Highlight some of the most important features or those that bring the most value to the organization. In case of questions or issues, it might be beneficial to understand the troubleshooting process involved in these actions.
Reach New Audiences
One of the most effective methods for a strong presentation is to examine how innovation may provide access to new audiences such as new members, demographics, or sponsors. This can work in different ways. For example, new technologies may be able to manage a larger member base or access a wider geographical area. Similarly, innovation may appeal to underutilized or desirable demographics, which can dramatically influence the board’s decision.
Furthermore, innovation and new technology can create connections with new potential sponsors. This may lead to additional sponsorship dollars or mutually beneficial relationships that can add value to future events or membership offerings. Presenters would be wise to outline any profits, savings, and/or efficiencies to which these new relationships might contribute.