Ask the Expert: How to make a winning presentation

Posted by jasoneconomides

Today we have an interview with presentations expert Beth Harvey, who I often send clients to for a presentation masterclasses. Here is what Beth had to say about what to do and what not to do to make a winning presentation in interview.


Eco Business Academy: Hi Beth, thanks for sparing some of your valuable time to share some pearls of wisdom with our readers. Why don’t you start by telling everyone how you became to be the ‘presentations guru’ and why this has become such a passion of yours?

Beth: My first ever presentation as a management trainee, longer ago than is appropriate to share, was probably the most terrifying experience I had ever had. But I persevered, and eventually learned to love it, so much so that I ended up training and presenting for a living. It’s a passion for me because I firmly believe that presentations are just conversations with groups of people and don’t have to be huge ordeals – and I’d rather other people reached that conclusion earlier in their careers than I did! Consequently, I really enjoy working with people of all ages, levels of seniority and backgrounds to help them enjoy their presentations, regardless of subject matter.

EBA: Fascinating! Okay, to get everyone started, perhaps you can tell us a couple of stories. One of a particularly great presentation, and one of a badly prepared presentation. What made them so good or so bad?

Beth: A professor of positive psychology at a conference delivered the best presentation I have seen recently. The worst was a results presentation to City analysts. What was fascinating for me was that although the content in the latter was (arguably) better composed, the presenters approached their audience as “the enemy”. In the first one, the whole session felt like a conversation with a very large group of friends. What both sessions reinforced for me was the importance of treating your audience, and their views, with respect.

EBA: thanks. Can you give us a top 5 Do’s and Don’ts to help job?hunters ace their presentations. What fonts, sizes, colours usually?work best? Should one put pictures or even sounds and moving pictures?in presentations?

Beth: Not sure about a top five either way, but there are definitely some golden rules that apply!

Prepare your presentation before you do your slides. Some of the worst presentations are written straight onto PowerPoint, and it shows – mainly because the author has just “brain dumped” whatever came into their head, and then tried to present it. Get your key messages straight first. What do you want the audience to remember?

Remember that a PowerPoint presentation doesn’t replace what you’re saying, so your presentation materials need to support, rather than replace, your content. It’s almost impossible to build a relationship with your audience if they’re trying to read a complicated slide before you move on to the next one. So a good rule of thumb to use is:

• No more than five bullets per slide?• No more than five words per bullet

It’s also helpful to take a minimalist approach to your materials – less is definitely more. No-one wants to endure Death by PowerPoint! Ten slides for a ten minute presentation is, in my opinion, at least six too many. You’ll struggle to get through them. If the organisation you are presenting to likes to use detailed or complicated materials, provide further, more detailed slides as handouts after the presentation, and cover the “headlines” in your allotted presentation time.

For interview presentations, try and use a font size and colour which are the same as, or similar to, the ones used by the organisation you want to join. You can usually pick these up from their websites. The subliminal message is “We are on the same wavelength!”

EBA: Ah, yes, matching – I can just hear the NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) practitioners out there resonating with that one!

Beth: Pictures are helpful, and often illustrate a point far better than words. Moving graphics and sounds can work but again, need to be appropriate and useful and support your key messages, rather than an exercise in demonstrating your IT skills. If you’re in any way worried about how they will work, best to avoid them.

So the questions to ask yourself are:?“Do my materials reinforce my main messages?”?“Are they appropriate to the culture of the organisation I am presenting to?”?“Am I confident that I can get it all to work properly on the day?”

A final tip – always take printed copies of your slides in case the laptop or projector fails you on the day. Having a contingency plan in place makes all the difference.

EBA: are there any good websites where we can pick up more?presentation tips or templates?

Personally, I’m not sure that templates are the answer – if you want to see them used comically to great effect, visit and see how Lincoln would have coped with modern technology… has lots of great tips and ideas, particularly for nervous presenters.

EBA: So far we have mainly talked about the electronic side of?presenting, you know, how to put together the materials. How about?the physical aspect of presenting. How should one deliver the? presentation? Does one stand up, and if so where? I know when I stand up and present I tend to walk around a little bit, and I try to engage my audience as much as possible with questions. I think that if one is in a situation where the recipients are sitting down, it’s better?to remain in the same plane or at the same level – as it helps maintain that all important rapport. What are your thoughts on this?

Beth: I agree with you, Jason, and I think that the culture of the firm is important here too. Don’t forget that national culture also has an impact on presentation approach, so if you’re presenting abroad, do your research on this. Check out the expectations of the audience in advance if you can. Do they expect a formal approach, where you stand up and they sit down? Can you ask people to interact, or will questions be kept until the end? Or is the organization or association the kind of place where everyone sits down and has a chat? Ask the person who is organising the engagement as many questions as you feel you can – about the people attending, what style the organisation prefers, and even the room itself. Preparation really does count here. The more information you have in advance, the more confident you’ll feel about your approach – leaving you free to concentrate on the content.

One final thought. Presentations are rarely the first stage in a selection process; the organisation has usually decided that you have something to offer before they ask you to prepare something like this. So remember – this is your opportunity to share your wisdom with a wider audience, and prove conclusively that you are the person for the job. Have fun, and good luck!

EBA: Thanks Beth for all of your advice, I know that Eco Business Academy readers will have found some fantastic tips here.

Why you should NEVER judge your prospects by their looks

Posted by jasoneconomides

Shop assistant: Hello, can I help you?
Vivian: I was in here yesterday, you wouldn’t wait on me.
Shop assistant: Oh.
Vivian: You people work on commission, right?
Shop assistant: Yeah.
Vivian: Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now.

If there is one thing I have learned in the world of selling over the past 18 years that I have been involved in it, it is to never, EVER, judge your prospects and customers. The above quote is a great example, and you may recognise it from the famous scene from the movie Pretty Woman, when Vivian, a call girl, walked into a high-class ladies wear store, with lots of bags of designer shopping, having been refused service the previous day because she wasn’t dressed appropriately.

When I used to work in a large investment bank, I was surprised every day by the behaviour of my various customers.  Surprised in that my expectations of what they would do versus what they actually did, regularly differed.   Supposedly small clients gave more regular trade than supposedly large customers.

People in the banking world or financial advisors, have to go through a process of KYC – Know Your Customer.  But this applies to all businesses, whatever you do.

How much time do you actually spend getting to know your customer?

One of the very best salesmen I have ever come across, was a guy called Charles B. He used to wait on me at one of the UK’s leading menswear retailers.  When I first met him, I had gone into the shop because I needed to buy a pair of trousers.  That first time I went in, I left having spent over £1,000

Charles’ approach to selling was to take a completely holistic view of his customer.  He did not ask the typical shop  assistant question “How can I help you?” – No –  he would ask me what event I was getting ready for; what part of my wardrobe am I having trouble with right now (i.e.. casual, smart casual, formal, or super-formal).  He would draw me into a conversation that would go something like this:

Charles: Hello Sir, I’m Charles.  How are you doing today, are you planning something special or just looking to add some versatility to your wardrobe?  Are you having trouble choosing what to wear in the morning?

Me: Well, actually yes, I just don’t have any trousers that I really like.  I have jeans, and I have suits, but I want some casual slacks for when Jeans are just to casual.

Charles: No problem Sir, why don’t you step right into the changing room, and I’ll bring you 5-6 pieces for you to try on.  What kind of knitwear, and shirts do you tend to wear, just so I can get an idea of the styles you are comfortable with?  You’re a size 32 waist, and small for shirts/tops right?  What is your name Sir?

Jason: It’s Jason.  Yes that’s my size.  I tend to wear fitted shirts, block colours like white or blue – I try not to be too loud or ostentatious.

Charles:  Okay, stay there Jason, and I’ll sort you out with an outfit.  You don’t have to buy everything, I just want you to see how you would look with what you already have in your wardrobe at home.


I would then spend the next 2 hours in the changing room. I’d never step out of it.  Not once.  Charles would even bring me water to keep my hydrated (you know what it’s like in changing rooms – HOT!)

Charles would bring me trousers, along with shirts, shoes and jackets (that I hadn’t come into buy) just so that I could ‘try them on’.  He would emphasise how I feel and then bring more clothes so I could feel even more.  He made me look good, and that made me feel good. He said that I didn’t have to buy ALL the clothes.

But I DID have to buy them, because he found the best pieces in the shop that suited my taste.  He even sold me my first ever PINK sweater!   That first visit I left with trousers, shirts, sweaters and shoes.  Oh, and a belt.   I bought it all, because what he also did was ask me to wear all the items in different combinations.  White shirt with the navy trousers.  Then the black trousers with a green sweater.  Then the green sweater with the white shirt, and navy trouser etc… showing me that I wasn’t just buying one outfit, I was buying multiple outfits.  He showed me that in fact my money was going to stretch to six-times the amount it would have if I had just bought without his help.  I would buy 8 pieces, but have 64 different possible combinations to wear them.

He judged me better than I judged myself when I walked into the shop.  I say “trousers”, he says “Get in the changing room”.  He sorted out my entire season of clothing in one visit.  I didn’t need to go to another shop for 6 months…..and when I did, you can bet I went back to see Charles.

Try to remove the “How can I help you?” vocabulary, and think of alternatives, and properly engage with your customers. Get to Know Your Customer the Charles B. way.   My sales guru Zig Ziglar, (R.I.P), would be proud of him.

Oh, by the way, Charles B. now runs a very successful jewellery company called Bead Brothers.

What 99% of business startup owners don’t do and hence why 1% of them succeed.

Posted by jasoneconomides

I meet startup owners all the time. They are passionate about a product or service they have invented, and spend lots of time refining it and perfecting it. But the truth is unless you have a solid marketing plan, ain’t nobody never gonna hear about it.

Marketing is the systematic process of letting the world know about what you have to offer them.

Business startup owners spend time putting together 30 page business plans to appease their banks or investors. Sure they mention marketing in the plan, but does it actually happen systematically?

No. Why? Because
a) Most business owners aren’t trained in marketing, they are only trained in their specialist area.
b) There isn’t time to do the marketing or even learn about it

So consequently, the vast majority of brilliant idea generating entrepreneurs have their business fail because they don’t do the one action that is NOT OPTIONAL. Marketing.

So what can be done about it? There are different options
1) Hire or JV with a good business development manager or marketing expert who you know and trust. Get them to do the legwork for you.
Or if you don’t feel comfortable delegating the entire task,
2) Get someone to help YOU do it yourself. (One-to-one coaching and training)

If you choose option 1) here is the critical thing in choosing someone to do your sales or BDM FOR you. They have to be passionate, I mean, really passionate about your product or service. If they can’t convince you of this, find someone else and fast, because every day that goes by is a day where they are not putting the same effort that YOU DO into making the business thrive.

If you choose option 2) congratulations, you have now truly taken the first step to sales success for your business. Remember the mission of your company is not to have “invented the best widget in the world”.

The mission is to invent “the best widget in the world and SELL IT”. There’s no point inventing something and then going bankrupt because you don’t hit your business plan’s sales objectives.

If you are not sure where to start, how about downloading a series of videos on marketing. There’s lots of stuff on YouTube and right here in this group. But where to start? What topics?
Here are a few:
1 – Putting together a powerful million dollar message – your elevator pitch
2 – How to construct a business card that actually pulls in prospects to your business as opposed top just informing them of information they don’t care about – i.e. your business name (nobody cares about who you are! They only care about what your company can do for them.)
3 – How to create adverts that actually engage their viewers
4 – How to put together a website that generates leads and gathers targetted customer information so that you have people to call and sell to (google ‘landing pages’)
5 – How to write scripts that you and your staff can use that give a consistent message out and compel prospects to buy what you have to offer.

I could go on….but guess what, researching and learning how to do all this ‘stuff’ takes time. And that time needs to be set aside in your diary. No really, I’m not kidding. You need to plan when you are going to do your marketing in the same way you plan and diarise when you are going to meet a client or prospect.

It is essential! No marketing = No Sales = R.I.P. Widget Factory.

So please, don’t make the mistake to miss out this key component of business success.
We have put together a series of 10 videos (completely free) covering the exact topics above, and more (along with lots of examples for you to look at), and you can download them by visiting the home page. Why not start now by watching one of the most important videos you will watch this week “The Three Lead Generation Mistakes Small Businesses make and how to overcome ALL OF THEM”

Dedicated to your success!

Jason Economides
Founder of and
For more really useful business marketing ‘stuff’:
Twitter: @ecobizacademy @econetacademy
or email us at info {at}  (replace {at} with @)

What 99% of all professional course providers don’t bother teaching you, but you really need

Posted by jasoneconomides

I’m always amazed at how course providers of professional qualifications spend no time educating their students on making a living.   Architects, Doctors, Dentists, Chiropractors, Lawyers, Accountants  can train for between 6-7 years  (roughly between 1500-1750 days of studying for degree and professional qualification training) before getting that nice certificate on the wall.

And out of those 1500+ days of blood sweat and tears, how many days are dedicated to business development training?   Zero, Nada, zilch.  Not a one.

So it’s hardly surprising so many professionals struggle to make ends meet.  I was speaking at an event this week.  It was to a group of about 35 driving instructors.  I asked them all, “How many of you have had, during the course of you getting your driver trainer training, any sales or marketing advice.  How many of you have had an hour/day/half day covering ‘building your own business’?.

Only one person put their hand up, and even then, he said that it was a very brief talk.  These guys had invested hours and days and a lot of their own money, to become trainers – but had no idea how to get the wheels turning (that’s pretty ironic for driving instructors, don’t you think?)

If you have taken a course towards a professional qualification, your next step is to invest some time (and perhaps some dollars) into getting your business turning.

There are some fantastic books you can buy like:

Zig Ziglar’s – Secrets of Closing the Sale

Michael Port’s – Book yourself solid

C.J. Hayden’s – Get Clients NOW! ™

And you can also visit the homepage of , Eco Business Academy, for a free tutorial every week.  (half way down on the right – look for This Week’s Training Video)

If you are on a course already, and think that you and your fellow students could benefit from this ESSENTIAL business marketing training, ask your course leader to contact their favourite business coach (or myself) to come and give a talk, or host some webinars on the topic.


The 5 Step Proven Profit Formula for Doubling your profits webinar this Thursday at 2pm EST

Posted by jasoneconomides

Calling all chiropractors, accountants, lawyers, personal trainers, building contractors, plumbers, electricians, real estate agents… fact, if you own a small business, then you CANNOT afford to miss the webinar this Thursday at 2pm

We will be covering the 5 step proven formula that all small business owners need to know to grow their business and their profits, and how YOU can apply this to your own business.

Tickets are valued at £65 (approx $100), but if you make sure you use the discount code EcoBiz100, you will get a 100% discount. (I.e. a free ticket)