5 Phrases That Will Kill Your Presentation

If you’re like us, client presentations happen almost daily.

And with virtual platforms like Zoom becoming a commonplace tool, these meetings tend to take place even more regularly than before Covid-19. Yet whether you're presenting to your clients every week or maybe just meeting once a month, it’s important to take a step back and reflect not only what you are presenting, but how you are presenting it. Especially since – in this new age of virtual presentations – Zoom often takes away from some of the nuances you would otherwise pick up on during in-person conversations, like a client’s facial expressions, subtle body language or slight reactions to what it is you are presenting to them. So here’s what ends up happening: In an attempt to fill that awkward silence at the end of a virtual presentation, you may feel the need to ask questions of your clients that unintentionally might make you look less confident or even unsure of the work you are presenting.

And we totally get it: Your work comes from your heart and soul.

When presenting to clients and customers, there tends to be this little voice inside that seeks approval from them. So naturally, there’s often this innate desire for our work to be “liked” by clients. But what we sometimes forget is that our work – while from the heart and soul – also comes from our brain. Years of training, honing and perfecting. You’re an expert at what you do, right? So while feedback and collaboration are what can make things better, you also need to keep in mind that you are the pro. That’s why clients hire you. That’s why clients trust you. To do the stuff they need, but that only experts like you can create. So no matter what type of profession you are in, the next time you are unveiling your work to your clients, be sure to avoid these 5 Phrases That Will Kill Your Presentation. 

1. “Do you like it?”

Ok, here’s the thing. Your client might “like” one thing...but that might not be the right choice for their goals. In fact, it may not be the right choice for a lot of things! So while what they like does matter to a point, what matters more is whether the outcome is appropriate and effective for your client’s business objectives.

2. “So, what do you think?”

If you’ve done your research, you should be able to explain your solutions and why they are effective. By asking the client what they think, you’ll appear unsure about your work. You’ll also open it up for debate. Don’t get us wrong: There is absolutely nothing wrong with collaboration. At the end of the day though, it’s not so much about what they think. You are the expert whom they’ve hired to do a job – a job they lack the knowledge to do themselves. They are looking to you to be their guide and deliver what you think is best, not what they think about it.

3. “Is there anything missing?”

Here’s what is going through the client’s mind when you ask that question: Ummmmm, I don’t know. Is there? I didn’t think there was. But now that you mention it, let me see if maybe there is in fact something missing. Asking this during a presentation does only one thing – it raises red flags in your client’s mind. They begin to question themselves, your deliverable, and you. Don’t suggest anything is missing unless of course you want the client to think it is. 

4. “I think…”

We all do it. But why?! Starting a statement off with “I think” indicates opinion instead of fact. It is a weak opening phrase when trying to explain why you did what you did. Stronger phrases could be: in my assessment; in my experience; from what I’ve observed; research shows. Or even better, just say your statement without starting it off with “I think.” Here’s an example. If we omit “I think” from the following statement, listen how the perspective changes: I think the first option is the better choice for your current situation. By eliminating “I think,” the preceding statement rings truer and has more authority behind it. Listen again: The first option is the better choice for your current situation. Bam – much stronger! 

5. “I don’t know.”

In high school, our coach used to say to the team: I don’t know means I don’t care. He never wanted us to answer him with “I don’t know.” Because let’s be honest, if you really don’t know the answer, you’ll find a way to figure it out….if you actually care. There’s nothing worse than asking a question and receiving the reply: “I don’t know.” #Cringeworthy – seriously. Your clients want action or a resolution to a problem. If you’re not certain of an answer to a question during a presentation (or in life, for that matter), a stronger reply would be: “Let me research that and get back to you.” And of course, be sure that you do! 

At MC2, we are a team of creatives.

From graphic artists to website designers to copywriters – we put our heart and soul into our client work. So from one team to another, we share this guidance in the hopes it will help inspire you to be more confident during your next client presentation. If you’re like us, we absolutely welcome and thrive on feedback and collaboration from our clients! But we also recognize that our clients trust us to confidently and professionally present our deliverables in a way that reassures them they hired the best team for the job. Now go get ‘em, tiger. You got this!

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