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Making Effective Presentations That Lead to Lasting Engagement

Making effective presentations

Along with a strong social media presence, website and print collateral, face-to-face presentations can serve as a key component of your marketing program.

In a senior living setting, in-person presentations typically involve community executives or marketing team members speaking directly to prospective residents and their families. Getting your message across effectively is critical for making a good impression.

How can you and your team members put your best face forward in presentations and how should you follow up to keep your audience engaged afterward?

Be Enthusiastic, Passionate and Relaxed

A boring, disinterested speaker can kill a presentation from the outset. No one wants to listen to someone drone on in a monotone voice for an hour or more.

If you want to get prospective residents excited about your community, you must exhibit genuine passion and enthusiasm for your subject matter. Don’t read from slides or notes. Instead, speak from the heart. Find an agency who can coach you on polishing your public speaking technique.

At the same time, it’s important to keep your nerves under control so you can appear relaxed. If you’re not accustomed to speaking publicly, practice in front of a mirror or to an audience of colleagues. Be sure to smile and make eye contact.

Focus on Your Voice

Many people feel self-conscious about the way they speak, but you can control your voice to a significant degree by varying your speed and intentionally changing tone and pitch for emphasis.

Using your voice effectively means more than just monitoring your physical manner of speech. It also means speaking in a way that is authentic to your personality.

Rather than simply relaying general information about your community, try to use some stories that personalize your presentation. Engagement requires having your audience like you, and if they like you, they will want to learn more about you and your community through the stories you tell.

In addition, don’t overlook the importance of body language and gestures, since so much of communication is nonverbal. Avoid crossing your arms or standing in a way that makes you appear disengaged or closed to personal interaction.

Keep Your Message Short and Simple

Shorter presentations can have the most impact, because people begin to lose interest in lengthier talks. As you craft your remarks, consider your primary message and try to summarize it with just three main points.

You should be able to state your key concepts very clearly and succinctly. Even if you’re giving a longer presentation, it’s a good idea to develop an “elevator pitch” about your community that you can deliver at any time. If your presentation includes a question-and-answer segment, you may benefit from being able to briefly cover the unique selling points of your community.

Don’t Let Your Slides Take Center Stage

Some of the best presenters don’t use slides at all, instead captivating an audience with their presentation style and riveting stories. If you feel that your presentation requires slides, keep them as simple as possible.

Your slides should not include paragraphs of text and you certainly should not read lengthy passages from them. Use simple graphics, neutral backgrounds and a very readable font in a large size. Keep the number to a minimum, avoid skipping slides, and customize the number and content of slides to each talk.

During your presentation, audience members should be focused on you and your core message rather than on your slides.

Follow up Effectively

How can you keep your audience engaged once your presentation ends? To begin to establish a dialogue with audience members, plan to take questions afterward. Individuals who ask questions are likely to be among those most interested in making a move in the near future.

Have a handout prepared with some basic information about the community, including your contact information. Your handout can provide a website link for audience members to download a copy of your presentation — and visit other pages on your site as well.

Within a day or two after the presentation, plan to make contact with audience members. If you spoke to a relatively small number of people, a handwritten note is a nice touch. For any size audience, you and your team members should follow up with a phone call to ask if the individual has any additional questions or would like to visit the community for lunch.

For audience members who aren’t interested in visiting, ask if you can give them a call to check in and answer any questions that may arise. Creating a customized email template for sending occasional newsletters and other marketing messages also can be an effective strategy. Be sure to get permission from your audience members before adding them to a list.

By laying the groundwork for repeated contacts following a successful presentation, you and your marketing team establish long-term relationships that eventually may convert to move-ins.