September 28

(Video) What’s the difference between conversational presentations and traditional presentations?


Conversational Presentations vs.Traditional from Julie Hansen on Vimeo.

I often get asked “What’s the difference between conversational presentations and more traditional presentations?”

Traditional presentations are probably what most of us are familiar with.  They typically involve going through a slide deck in a linear way with limited audience participation.  While this style of delivery is often appropriate for more formal presentations, larger audiences or when delivering a great deal of content, it has it’s limitations.

What if you are off the mark?  What if the audience wanted to see something else?  In a more traditional presentation you may not find out until the end when you open it up for questions.  Obviously this is too late to adjust.

Conversational presentations, on the other hand, are more of a two-way exchange and more fluid than a typical linear presentation.  You are engaging with the customer more frequently throughout your presentation so you are able to gauge their interest, address questions and pivot as necessary.  (You can do this by breaking your content into smaller chunks and engaging your customer in between each chunk.)

This non-linear style makes sense for many reps today who are in front of customers in less formal circumstances, whether it’s in their homes, on a work site, or a coffee shop.   It also involves the customer more so they feel more engaged.  And the more engaged they are, the more memorable the experience.

But don’t be fooled.  Just because they are less formal doesn’t mean you can slack off on preparation!  In fact, if you aren’t prepared to talk about your solution in an engaging and memorable way at some point in the conversation, you are not likely to drive the opportunity forward.   And if you don’t manage your conversation, you can end up going off in the weeds and fail to make a strong cohesive point that leads to action.  Read more here about preparing for and managing  conversational presentations here. 

Looking to adapt your presentation skills to the new conversational style?  Check out our Conversational Presentation Skills workshop.


audience engagement, conversational presentations, Video Tip

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