Delivering short, powerful presentations isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. Some individuals are gifted with excellent visual presentation skills, some with a sense of humour, and others with a vibrant personality. But what if one doesn’t fit into any of these categories? How can you make a presentation that makes an impact?
“If you’re like what most tech entrepreneurs are (including myself), you’re most likely a geek who makes slides with a terrible choice of colours and fonts, and demos with a two-column table,” says Sanjay Swamy, Founding Partner at Prime Venture Partners.
In this week’s Prime Knowledge Series, Sanjay explains the magic formula for creating an outstanding presentation: a structured approach.
He asks us to consider an imaginary startup, let’s name it Remit, which has developed a low-cost cross-border money transfer service. It is faster, easier to use, and less expensive than traditional services such as Western Union.
Here’s the perfect five-minute pitch, according to Sanjay:
Tell them what you’re going to tell them in 60 seconds
This can be done with only one slide and a simple script. The slide could simply say:
- 20 million people -> $20 billion/year to India alone
- Cost of 3 – 5%
- EzRemit brings this cost down to 1%
The script should be simple. “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is John Doe and I’m the Founder and CEO of EzRemit. Did you know that 20 million people transfer 20 billion dollars every year to India and it costs them between 3 percent and 5 percent to do so? We think there should be a better way and have developed EzRemit, a service that will make money transfer simpler and cheaper for as low as 1 percent. I’m going to give you a quick product demonstration and describe some salient features and benefits of our approach.”
Tell them the details in 180 seconds
“They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, a demo is worth a thousand pictures,” Sanjay says. He adds that in today’s day and age, a live demo or at least a video demo is important to include in a presentation.
Sanjay advises founders to download the right software to get the demo right, so that it’s easy to project on a big screen when one connects their phone, tablet, a laptop. “It is easy to do, so please take the time to figure it out and do it right,” he adds.
While it is important to have the demo do most of the talking, one should set things up well. He advises that one should always create a scenario that people can relate to.
“I would say, ‘Let’s take an example of Ram, an Indian working in Dubai. Ram has a family in Kerala and he sends $1,000 home every month. Today, he has to spend half a day and it costs him 3 percent to transfer the money to India. Let me show you how his world would be with EzRemit’,” he says.
It is important to explain the demo to people – explain what they are seeing, what role the presenter is playing, what role one’s partner is playing, and what it would be in the real world. People need to understand assumptions before one presents the demo.
Sanjay says all data should be “pre-filled”, so that one does not end up fumbling around amid the demonstration. “Wherever possible, involve someone from the audience. For example, ask someone in the audience for a mobile number to send an SMS receipt to.”
Once the demo is done successfully, it is important to quickly summarise what people saw.
Tell them you told them in 60 seconds
This last 60 seconds of any presentation is the most critical phase, but often under-valued.
For the example he has given so far, a good summary would be: “Just to recap, we at EzRemit have developed a mobile-based solution that allows you to transfer money globally at a fraction of the cost. I demonstrated to you a use case of an Indian living in Dubai who sent money to his family in India with three clicks and saved two percent in the process. I also demonstrated the messages received by the recipients in India.
“The product is now in a beta testing phase and will be going live in January. We are really excited about what we have achieved here — and how this has the potential to truly make an impact in people’s lives. I’m sure you share our excitement and thank you for your time and attention. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.”
If this is done in a succinct manner, one would have aced the demo and presentation.
(This piece originally appeared in Sanjay Swamy’s LinkedIn. YourStory is republishing it with minor modifications).
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)
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