Blogs

Written by Nancy Brommell, Business Advisor, Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba

Almost 100 Canadian delegates from most of the provinces participated in this year’s WBENC Trade Mission. Delegates are women like Tatiana Wensley (left) and Hailey Jeffries (right).

Part one of my blog discussed why researching your audience is crucial for a powerful presentation.

Another common mistake I see when people are giving presentations is not having a clear message. They will present a well-rehearsed speech, but during their preparation did not think about what they wanted to achieve during the presentation, and/or what they wanted their listeners to do afterwards.  It leaves the audience wondering “now what?”

It is easier than you think to have a strong formulated structure to your presentation, as long as you assemble your speech this way from the start.

What is the most important part of your presentation? The topic? The impact? The takeaways?

All three are important, but none of the above will result in an effective presentation without an engaged audience. My rule is that “It’s never about you, it’s all about your audience.” The number one way to ensure success of your presentation is to understand your audience. This does not mean tailoring the material to what they want, but tailoring the way you present the material to what they need.

Following up with clients and contacts is all about consistency. Entrepreneurs that make the initial effort to follow up do really well in the first few months and then gradually fizzle out. Here are some ideas to implement that will create a culture of consistent connections!

1. Spread out your follow up. Follow up throughout the year with phone conversations, email, newsletters, and greeting cards.

2. Create a plan and stick to it. Don’t change your pattern. Your clients will begin to plan on hearing from you and will make time to see you.

3. Schedule the next meeting before leaving the current one.

In this last of our 3-part series on stories, let’s go ‘live.’ Effective business stories should be memorable and repeatable. How else to know than to test them out loud and with an audience?

Stand and deliver to an audience in person or craft your stories for online platforms. Know that practice lends consistency to your message and connection to your audience.

To be right and ready, stories should be told. Practice builds your confidence.

You’ve got two practice modes:

1. Private

Read your notes out loud. Get feedback if you can from a reliable listener.

Entrepreneurship is hard. Excuse me, not hard. It’s mind changing, life shifting, mood swinging, energy draining, hard. You’re out there, embracing risk to give life to a whole new business. Every day, you’re out there, pitching for opportunities. No matter how much of a great speaker you are, that’s a tough challenge.

So, make your life easy by relying on structure, whenever you can. Having a ready-to-go pitch deck, is a simple way to ease communication and improve efficiency, at all levels: impromptu meetings, funding rounds, account and media relations and so on.

Baseball cards, tea cozies, stamps—humans love to collect things. Even time pressed entrepreneurs may find the time to acquire a collection of antique dolls or ceramic frogs. Business cards, however are not simply for collection. After you leave that networking event, it is essential that you follow up. Otherwise all you’ve done is stuff your pockets, purse or briefcase with worthless bits of fancy paper.

Stress management is the final area that contributes to emotional intelligence. This is about how well we cope with change, the unfamiliar, and our daily challenges. Here, we examine how well we manage stress. 

These competencies make up the general area of Emotional Intelligence

  • Flexibility
  • Stress Tolerance
  • Optimism

Let’s finish examining the third competency under the Stress Management Composite and discuss Optimism.

Optimism is the ability to have a positive attitude and outlook on life.