10 Reasons Your Presentation Stinks ( and didn’t make the cut with the bosses!)

Hi readers,

this is another blog from my table on the theme of “top 10” this, and top 10 that…

This blog and the following blogs will all deal with TOP 10!


Here goes

REASON #10: It is all data, no story!

Guys …guys…guys….data is nice, BUT ALL DATA is downright boring! it will have NO TRACTION with your audience and very soon I guarantee you, folks in the audience would be suppressing yawns!!

Hot tip-Make your presentation tell a story, ideally with the audience as the heroes. Learn to story board, take the help of folks in marketing and advertising to help you develop a presentation around a story…and you will have your audience’s attention.

REASON #9: Your slides are too fancy!

Guys, remember who your audience is ( they are like your clients…if you take pains to understand your client before making a customized pitch to them, then your audience is not different…..understand this and learn). If these are folks from a different generation, who have never been comfortable using all the special effects in PPT, then please don’t jazz up your slides with special effects…it will boomerang on you. The audience may lose the key points in the presentation, and you will lose the plot !!

Hot tip– KISS ( Keep it simple and sweet) works most of the time, make the presentation contextual in terms of delivery, based on your understanding of your audience.

REASON #8: Your slide background is too busy!


Hot tip– KISS ( Keep it simple and sweet) works most of the time, Use a simple, single color background. Always.


REASON #7: Your fonts are unreadable!

Please ensure that you always take a run with the presentation on the projector/equipment that you will use for the final presentation. Believe me…what appears sexy on your laptop will look totally different on the projector!

Hot tip– Use large fonts in simple faces (like Ariel); avoid boldface, italics and UPPERCASE


REASON #6: Your graphics are too complex!

Learn the art of making maximum impact with minimal inputs- a few good graphs, which are logically able to build on a good story, with uncluttered numbers have better impact than numerous graphs on the same topic- please remember, your graphs DO NOT REPLACE YOU…YOU ARE THE MAIN STORY TELLER and will have to TELL YOUR STORY ( so guys, brush up your story telling, presentation skills and get rid of your stage fright!!)

Hot tip– Only include simple graphics; highlight the data point that’s important.


REASON #5: You are all opinion, no fact!

The presentation is NOT ABOUT YOUR OPINION ( Unless you are the CEO!!)..remember its all about NUMBERS/FACTS!!

Hot tip – Only state opinions that you can back up with quantifiable data.


REASON #4: You speak fluent biz-blab!

You may be the best thing to have happened to your team since Steve Jobs, You may have topped the MBA program at Harvard, BUT you gotta remember that folks who matter ( your boss, the CEO, Senior executives ) have been there , done that, and probably dont remember bizz flab which they did some 15 years back in B-School!! If you use too much of bizz jargon, you will come across as a pompous ass!! ( YOU DONT WANT THAT !! )

Hot tip– Just stop it. Cold turkey.  Please


REASON #3: You drifted off topic!

Tut tut tut…what were you thinking??!!! FOCUS on the basics- SCQ ( Situation, Complication, Key Question!!) thats it…

Hot tip– Only include material that’s relevant to your overall message. ( Key question!!)


REASON #2: It was too d**n long!

Yaaaaawn…did you see that or missed that completely!! Keep to the point, while keeping the story “flavor” got it ? Sounds contradictory, but balancing a story and keeping it to the point is an ART so learn through practice!! There is not short cuts here…

Hot tip – make your presentation less than half as long as you think it should be.


REASON #1: You read from your slides!

WHAT!! you were actually doing this…what are you, a kid in school??? There is something called…knowing your subject inside out…there is something called practice…there is a skill called communication and its not about reading in class!!

Seriously, go back to school to hone your public speaking skills…and please understand, you can always use cue cards…heard of them?

Hot tip – Use slides to reinforce your message rather than to outline your data points.


LAST COMMENT- Investing in your presentation skills not only will help you ace your relationship within the organization, but will help you close your sales with outside clients as well…so get cracking on this guys!!

This is very important to develop your executive presence.



Sales 101- Top Ten Sales Skills…..

Hi readers,

ready reference for sales pros….quick list of top 10 sales skills for you and your teams

  • Skill #1. Researching prospects and organizations prior to first contact.

Cultivate a genuine love for researching, using both primary as well as secondary sources for researching on your client, your prospect and the organization. Research empowers you to not only be prepared for the questions that you will be asked, but will also ensure client delight, when he confers with you and gets to know that you have taken the pains to know more about the industry and the organization. You are therefore better equipped to close the all important sale!

  • Skill #2. Asking questions and listen more than you talk.

Always a classic- if you dont have listening skills, then invest in this skill!! Enough stress cannot be put on this skill to highlight its critical importance in a sales rep. MUST HAVE SKILL….

  • Skill #3. Focusing on a few top prospects and contacting them frequently.

FOCUS has always been key to success. There are many fish ( prospects) in the sea….knowing your value prop and the offer, and matching that to the best target clientele in the business eco-system takes judgement maturity. Focus on a few prospects that are the best match for your offer and then go all out. Spend a clearly allocated time with each prospect and qualify them according to the response that you generate with first contact and then build on the engagement as it unfolds!! SIMPLE!

  • Skill #4. Cultivating insider “coaches” to understand customer requirements.

YEP….you need to have superior schmoozing skills to cultivate relationships ACROSS the client’s organization. Some times grapevine is very critical to the success of your sales pitch…you never know which gem of information turns out to be of strategic importance and your decision is affected by it…wouldn’t it be better if you had prior information through your “cultivated” internal sources???

  • Skill #5. Solving problems and overcoming objections as a consultant.

Be it product driven enterprises or services focused businesses, today and in the future, the long term value of your offer will only be unlocked IF you are successfully able to SELL A SOLUTION as opposed to a stand alone product or a service!! Face this reality folks…please invest in your solutions marketing and selling skills, solve your customers problems and you will have a client hooked on to engaging with you for as long as he is on the decision makers seat!!! Beats recession any day!!!

  • Skill #6. Creating long-term relationships with prospects and customers.

Relationships management that endure time is an art and a science- this is from my experience. Honesty in your business engagements with your client, bringing more than the product or service to the business offer to the table, transparency in your B2B engagements are all critical attributes that will help you to establish and then maintain long term business relationships., which will hold you in good stead , especially when the going gets tough.

  • Skill #7. Communicating appropriate messages (e.g. value propositions).

Communication skills, having the ability to articulate the same message ( value prop) for different audiences, without diluting the core essence of the value prop, is an art that comes from creativity and hard skills combined. If you are not inherently creative, I encourage you to take classes in creative writing, or go back to school and learn communication, work for some time in advertising, or just paint, cook….on form of creativity translates into other forms of creativity- and here we are talking of communication skills!!

  • Skill #8. Recognizing when the prospect is ready to buy.

JUDGEMENT MATURITY….this cannot be taught, but

  • Skill #9. Knowing how to close the sale when the time is right.\

Refer to skill # 8….

  • Skill #10. Getting referrals and then following up on them.

REFERRALS are crucial to your success today, especially in the B2B space. In Solutions sales, strong  references may mean the difference between success and failure in closing, large ticket deals, AND getting referrals is also an ART!!

So what are you guys waiting for..go get ’em Tiger!!

What Constitutes Marketing Aptitude?

Hi readers,

This is another subject that my sales  team members would often take up for discussion during our Saturday meetings.

I based my assessment of marketing aptitude on my personal experience, inputs from peers who had impeccable record in marketing and by developing an understanding of the subject by observing my VP marketing at work.

According to me, the 9 key attributes that constitute marketing aptitude are

  1. Business and operational savvy. Visceral understanding of what constitutes business success, strong finance streak, capable of P&L responsibility and flawless execution.
  2. Passion for the product. Passion for every aspect of the product or service the company markets. Detailed knowledge of the competitive marketplace and what it takes to win.
  3. Big picture. Keen understanding of all the moving parts of the entire industry’s food chain, logistics, and infrastructure.
  4. Inspirational and insightful. A visionary capable of big insightful ideas, plus recognizing and inspiring them (and innovation) in others.
  5. Customer savvy. Passion and empathy for the customer relationship and the user experience.
  6. Promotion savvy. Intuitive understanding of what it takes to get above the noise, create a buzz, and build a brand. Detailed knowledge of all major promotion vehicles from grass roots to mass market.
  7. Communications skills. Adept at communicating vision, ideas, and emotions to a broad range of audiences from the board of directors and employees to customers and partners.
  8. Leadership skills. Capable of driving diverse groups of highly opinionated individuals to consensus and action.
  9. Left brain – right brain balance. Marketing intelligence combines the ability to think, reason, and act logically and methodically, with the ability to connect emotionally and inspirationally with one’s self and others.