Today, I want to take you behind the scenes, behind the closed doors where presentation coaching happens. I want to tell you how presentation coaching is needed, how it’s private, how it requires a method, how it involves structuring the presentation, designing it and delivering it. And finally, I want to tell you that coaching is never over and that it can involve your whole company.
My hope is to give you some clarity on what it means to hire the services of a business presentation coach.
But first, let’s clear the air.
Not the right coach, sorry!
Business Presentation Training Vs Agency Vs Workshop Vs Coaching
Nowadays, there are plenty of options for people who want to take their business to the next level with some external help. Let’s quickly specify the difference between various options.
Agency work (or outsourcing) happens when you ask someone else to apply a skill for you. You get a better result, but you don’t get better yourself.
You’re doing a workshop when you learn and apply a method in a group.
You’re taking coaching when you learn and apply a method one-on-one or in a small group. This small group has homogeneous objectives and therefore acts “as one.”
In this article, we will focus on coaching.
Business Presentation Coaching Is Usually Urgent
I admire the individuals or companies that think about the necessity of a coaching session in advance. Coaching is an intervention people figure out they need upon encountering an immediate and urgent knowledge gap. The challenge is threefold. First, the client needs to find the right coach. Second, the coach needs to tailor their approach to the client. And finally, the coach and client need to find a time when they are both available.
And all of this needs to happen in time for the important deadline the client is facing.
Business Presentation Coaching Is a Private Matter
Any consultant or coach receives private and proprietary information from their clients. Therefore, it’s only natural that they should be sworn to privacy and refrain from talking about the details of their engagement with any third parties. Most presentation coaching endeavors begin with the coach signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that governs the information transfer. This sort of document underscores the responsibilities of the coach to keep all the information they receive confidential.
Business Presentation Coaching Is Rather Complex
Most presentations belong to a certain “genre”, such as sales, investor pitch, motivational, or technical, just to name a few. All presentations can benefit from more structure: a tighter first act, better climactic moment, efficient ending. Each presentation is uniquely different, which is why the coach will need a certain amount of domain knowledge in the matter of the presentation. That doesn’t mean a business presentation coach should understand all the nuances of the business of the client, but they need to grasp the principles that govern their field. Having worked for a similar type of company is an additional advantage.
Business Presentation Coaching Is Always Unexpected
A skilled business presentation coach can be expected to have a game-plan when meeting with their client. However, they also need to pack a lot of improvisation skills, because the challenges coming from the client can be very diverse. The coach needs to quickly assess the strengths of the client and work harder on their knowledge gaps. They need to facilitate where they find blockages and skip anything that wouldn’t urgently benefit their client. The coach needs to bring the biggest toolbox and be prepared to pick and choose the right instrument for the job.
Business Presentation Coaching Can Start With Chaos
I have yet to see a presentation or speech that wouldn’t benefit from a better, clearer structure. This is why I start all of my business presentation coaching engagements making sure that the storytelling flow of the presentation is perfect. That means using some training materials and then applying the ideal presentation structure to the challenge posed by the client. The client shouldn’t just receive help on their upcoming presentation, but they also need to learn the skills so they can repeat my method in my absence. The endgame is to eliminate guesswork from presentations by transferring the full Presentation Hero method to the client. After we spend one day together, my clients are perfectly able to apply my method on their own. That allows them to save countless hours whenever they need to prepare a new presentation.
Business Presentation Coaching Looks Ugly (At First)
If the ritual sacrifice of Post-its has yielded results, we now have a solid structure. The time is ripe for thinking about presentation design. Most presentations look ugly at the beginning, but they become beautiful with time and attention. My focus is first and foremost on creating a consistent layout that can support the content. Once we have imagined (if not created) the base layout, we can start sketching the individual slides. Presentation Hero suggests that all slides should be drafted on paper before they become a digital design.
Business Presentation Coaching Is… Uhm, Kinda, Like, Embarrassing
I’ll admit it: I still catch myself using nasty fillers. Even the most confident and convincing speakers could use some work on their delivery. Maybe it’s the eye contact, the pacing, the subconscious body language, or the posture: there’s always room to improve. That’s why, in every coaching session, I integrate a moment to rehearse the presentation for the first time. This is a great time to see if there are some major delivery tips that can help the client feel more confident and appear more natural and convincing.
Business Presentation Coaching Is Never Over
After one day together, we will have worked wonders on structuring your presentation, designing your slides, and polishing your delivery. But even though the coaching day is over, the work is far from complete. Each one of these steps will benefit from a second and a third pass. This is why many coaching engagements continue after the first session in order to add a new coat of polish to each component of the presentation. The client can proceed on their own or choose to continue working together with the coach, either in person or remotely.
Business Presentation Coaching Is Like a Day Spa (For Your Slides)
Relax your brain to get your best ideas out. Peel your topic to highlight the right story points. Cleanse your structure to make your content shine. Rub your design to make your ideas pop. Massage your delivery to make your presentation more convincing. I call my one-on-one full-day business presentation coaching a day spa because your presentation will feel as good as you would after a full day of pampering at a five-star spa. As a coach, it’s addictive to see that glow on my clients at the end of the “day spa”. It’s not just skin deep. They are confident, energized, assured: they have a playbook and a plan going forward. It feels so good to get them on the path of presentation excellence in just one day.
But often, it doesn’t end at the level of the individual…
Business Presentation Coaching Is a Company Matter
During every business presentation coaching engagement, I’ve encountered an obstacle: the corporate template. Most companies have a major issue with their presentation template. Some simply don’t have one. Others have a badly designed one. That doesn’t mean that the brand identity team consists of incompetent people, but rather, it indicates that nobody has taken to heart the needs of managers and teams that have to create presentations. I’m an advocate for excellent company templates, and I push each company to reflect (with or without my support) on how the default template will influence the internal and external communication of the company. Another pet peeve of mine is the “default company pitch”. This is the presentation that all sales/marketing/product people use when they encounter a client, a partner, or a vendor. It’s a big deal because this presentation gets delivered tens, if not hundreds, of times a day. And it usually sucks: it doesn’t have a story, no flow, no polish. I love to work on that sort of presentation. That is what I deliver under the umbrella of Pimp My Corporate Template.
I hope I’ve given you some much-needed clarity on business presentation coaching. This is something I’m very passionate about because it’s one of the most effective ways of getting to presentation excellence. Is it posh? Maybe. Is it worth it? Most definitely. I hope you have the right support when the next deadline approaches. I would love to be by your side, if you think you can use my help.
Get more information on my business presentation coaching offer.
Discover more about Presentation Day Spa from Presentation Hero.