Far too many professionals focus on preparing slides, handouts and details of their speech. They forget to focus on preparing themselves for authentic, confident and masterful delivery. Sell more with this easy 4-point plan.

To truly succeed in all kinds of business setting, you need to prepare your message and yourself. Whether you are presenting over lunch, in a conference, at a panel, or addressing a small group of decision makers, you’ll need to be ready for anything.

Let me tell you a story.

A few years ago, I was addressing a small group of training decision makers for a huge financial institution. The group agreed to meet with me over lunch. If you’ve ever competed with a racing clock and the magnetic pull of food, you know that I needed to come up with something of equal pull.

I asked the group to take a mini-vacation to their favorite beach. We imagined palm trees. Crystal clear water. And a warm breeze with not a care in the world. After the few minute escape, we returned to the boardroom.

We each drew a ‘postcard’ of the experience. Using this hands-on activity, everyone felt happy, refreshed and very good. They enjoyed the mini-retreat and sketching more than any other lunchtime event they’d had. Naturally, our company got the contract to train their trainers, speakers and professionals in interactive presentation skills.

There will be times in your career when you need a good story. Some stories illustrate a point. Others are teaching stories. Still others provide overviews, humor or relief from tension.

Use this quick 4-point checklist to prepare for success.

Tip 1. Evaluate Your Story
When you’re preparing your presentation, it pays to think through your personal treasure chest of stories. Which one will appeal to this audience? Which one do you want to have as a backup plan in case you need to make a special point?

The more stories you have, the better prepared you’ll be.

Tip 2. Share Emotion and Personal Experience
Now, keep in mind that stories are best when they are built for persuasion. You might love telling Story “X” because it reminds you of a fun time in your life. That’s a good start. But don’t stop there.

What is more important than how you feel? How your audience feels. Use your own emotions and personal experience to mirror feelings your audience may have. This is a fast way to engage people and add human touch to a business presentation.

Tip 3. Provide Evidence
Add data, proof points and examples. Pick specific facts that will appeal to each audience. Some of the best forms of evidence are ones that the audience interacts with. This may take the form of a product demo, interactive exercise, or hands-on activity.

Use your creativity to create opportunities to show evidence. Show physical models. Show examples. Show photos of people using your products. Create exercises where participants ‘create’ evidence.

Tip 4. Adapt To Each Audience
If you are speaking to training directors, speak their language. If you are speaking to financial directors, speak their numbers. The power of this cannot be underestimated.

What if you knew exactly how to tell stories, match your audience, satisfy with logical evidence and adapt on the spot? You’d have the power to unlock doors and open up new opportunity in every situation. You’d have the power to sell more with stories.

Want to get ahead in your career? If presenting to groups and speaking in public is part of how you sell ideas, products and solutions…build your storytelling skills. It’s the single most flexible tool in your presentation toolkit.

Author's Bio: 

Milly Sonneman is a recognized expert in visual language. She is the co-director of Presentation Storyboarding, a leading presentation training firm, and author of the popular guides: Beyond Words and Rainmaker Stories available on Amazon. Milly helps business professionals give winning presentations, through Email Marketing skills trainings at Presentation Storyboarding. You can find out more about our courses or contact Milly through our website at: http://www.presentationstoryboarding.com/