Last week I shared strategies from three advisors on how to prepare for any presentation. Here is their advice on how to deliver an informative presentation in a comfortable atmosphere.

Delivering the presentation

  • Create a comfortable atmosphere by forming a sense of trust. Brad Williams, president of Brad Williams Financial Services in Huntsville, Ala., greets everyone upon arrival, he says, and provides a nametag for all attendees, so he can address them by name throughout the presentation. He makes sure to write the names himself to ensure the print is large enough to read from a distance.
  • Movement is also important. Williams says, “I want to be sure I can move around. If someone asks something, I want to go over and engage them, and that’s where the nametags come in. I want to look them in the eye and address them by their first name.”
  • Industry publications; quotes from well-respected financial gurus, such as Warren Buffet; and relevant news stories are all effective means for establishing trust, as they validate your statements. But spewing quotes isn’t enough. You should also provide hard references or at least a source list for any statistic or fact you quote, Williams says.
  • References. “If I’m going to reference a book, even if I have the slide, I hold the book up,” Williams says. “I tell them there’s a table with all of my reference sources, and they’re welcome to look those over. I even provide a list of reference sources I use, so they can go get them on their own if they want.”
  • Share stories to create trust, especially if they reflect your own experiences, says Mark Pruitt, founder and CEO of Strategic Estate Planning Services in Dallas. Doing so shows you’re more than just an advisor who is just looking to make a sale; you’re a person who empathizes with their situations. But avoid using real stories about clients, Johnson cautions. You could break confidentiality clauses.
  • Volume. You don’t want the audience to miss a word of your presentation, but that can be difficult in a large room. Johnson uses karaoke equipment and places the speakers in the back of the room. People in the front of the room typically do not have a hard time hearing, but it is an issue for those in the back, says Steven Johnson, chief investment officer of Ashton Royce & Company, Williamsburg, Va.

Look next week for the third part, which explores the best ways to wrap up a presentation.

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Amanda McGrory is the online editor for Senior Market Advisor, Benefits Selling and Life Insurance Selling magazines.