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Big Presentations in Small Rooms

helping ordinary people communicate with extraordinary effectiveness

5 QUALITIES OF GREAT PRESENTATIONS: A CUSTOMER SERVICE MINDSET

QUALITIES OF GREAT PRESENTATIONS: THE BOTTOM LINE

What is the bottom line of customer service?

Think of the organizations known for their service and that might provide clues.

When I teach customer service classes (a series of Big Presentations in Small Rooms), I pose this question to the participants: Who do you think of when you think of great customer service? What is great about the service they provide?

I have heard thousands of responses. And there are some common answers. See if you can list a reason for the following common answers.

Chick-fil-a

Disney

Amazon

If you have experience with them, you could probably identify the reason.

Qualities of great presentations are similar to those of Chick-fil-a, Disney and Amazon
Qualities of Great Presentations: Do you recognize great service?

What does this have to do with Big Presentations?

Here’s the big idea.

When discussing the service, the participants rarely focus on the product. Instead, they focus on the delivery of that product.

“The What” is a given. It is “The How” that matters.

The same is true of presentations.

The How is important.

The What forms a baseline expectation.

At Chick-fil-a, you will get chicken and waffle fries.

At Disney, you will experience a theme park.

With Amazon, you will access physical and digital products that are delivered to you.

You don’t show up at Chick-fil-a wondering if you are going to be served a burger and curly fries.

You don’t show up at Disney wondering if they are going to sell you a used car.

You don’t go to Amazon wondering if they are going to schedule an orthodontist appointment.

The product is a given. It is the delivery that sets it apart.

When you deliver a presentation, the topic is the product. That is a given. That is The What.

The How is what sets you apart. How do you deliver the product?

When asked to describe the best customer service organizations, class participants often list characteristics like:

Friendly

Quick

Fresh

Accurate

Responsible

QUALITIES OF GREAT PRESENTATIONS: FRIENDLY

Could these same characteristics apply to presentations?

Great presentations, like great service, are appropriately friendly.

One of the worst things that can happen in a business is to be ignored. Have you ever entered a restaurant, waited to be seated, and then left because you were ignored? Have you ever called customer service, been put on hold, and forgotten?

Have you ever been treated like you were a bother rather than a customer?

If so, then you know the importance of appropriate friendliness.

5 QUALITIES OF GREAT PRESENTATIONS: A CUSTOMER SERVICE MINDSET
Qualities of Great Presentations: Friendliness | Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

The same is true of presentations. The Big Presentations mantra is this:

Know your audience. Know your message. Make the connection.

If you are unfriendly or aloof, it will be more difficult to make that connection. Seek to build rapport with your audience members. You want them to like you and trust you. Appropriate friendliness is a powerful way to create this

QUALITIES OF GREAT PRESENTATIONS: SHORT AND RELEVANT

Great presentations, like great service, are quick and fresh.

How often do you hear complaints about a presentation being too short and too current?

How often do you hear complaints about a presentation being too long and irrelevant?

When dealing with food, we want two characteristics: quick and fresh. Those are difficult values to balance. The fastest way to deliver food means that it will be prepared—perhaps way earlier than it is ordered—which means it is not fresh.

But if nothing is prepared, then the process might be frustratingly long—it is not quick.

So many fast-food places advertise that they don’t cook it until it is ordered. They are prepared in the sense that all their ingredients are available, and all their equipment is ready to go—and they can compile your order in ways that are both quick and fresh.

Good presentations are similar. When asked to deliver a presentation, a presenter should seek to make the most of the time allowed—being quick. And they should be determined to provide fresh information. Be careful about cutting and pasting as a way of creating presentations. Your content might become stale, and you might lose the support of your audience.

QUALITIES OF GREAT PRESENTATIONS: ACCURATE

Another customer service value is accuracy.

When drivers for Uber Eats go to pick up an order, there is often a warning attached to the pickup. It states that customers have complained that previous orders have been inaccurate. This reputation of inaccuracy creates tension for everyone involved. The Uber Eats driver experiences the tension of wanting to ensure accuracy while not offending the employees and not breaking protocols regarding opening bags. The restaurant employees experience tension if the accuracy is questioned. And the customer experiences tension wondering if the order is going to be correct.

And drivers quickly learn that some establishments have much better reputations than others when it comes to accuracy.

Qualities of Great Presentations: various images
Qualities of Great Presentations: Accuracy | Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

A similar thing is true regarding presentations. When a presenter has a reputation for delivering accurate and up-to-date information, everyone can relax a little more. Even when the information is not positive, the audience is better able to accept it because of the reputation of the presenter.

When creating and delivering presentations, remember that accuracy builds trust and trust builds cooperation.

QUALITIES OF GREAT PRESENTATIONS: RESPONSIBLE

Another customer service value is responsibility. Customers want organizations to own their work, and to take responsibility for the services and products offered –especially when mistakes are made. When this doesn’t happen, when irresponsibility exists, the ripples can go far and wide. The actions of an individual can create a bad reputation for an entire business.

The same is true of presentations. The audience expects responsibility. They want the presenter to own their content and own their delivery of it—especially when there are problems.

Early in my presentation career, I had a painful experience. I was presenting a class that had been developed by someone else. There were some inaccurate statements in that curriculum. Participants noticed it and brought it to my attention—publicly. It was painful. Thankfully, I had learned (from previous painful experiences) the importance of owning my work. I listened and was able to see that they were right. I apologized and made the corrections. And the class was able to move on and be a good experience. It was stressful, but it turned out well because the customers (the audience) could see that responsibility was taken and changes were made.

QUALITIES OF GREAT PRESENTATIONS: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Great presentations, like great customer service, will be characterized as

Friendly

Quick

Fresh

Accurate

Responsible

Your topic is the product. Your presence, engagement, and content quality are the service. Your job is to deliver great service of a great product. Offer great service!

And, like great customer service, great presentations will build a positive reputation. People will be glad to see you stand and speak because they know they can trust you to provide good things in good ways.

So, take a customer service approach to your presentations, and you will be well on your way to making Big Presentations in Small Rooms.

Want to know more?  Keep reading the blog

Do you prefer to listen?  Check out The Big Presentations Podcast

Want to know even more?  Order the book Big Presentations in Small Rooms

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