Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Would your business presentation pass the ‘Starbucks Test’?

So you reckon you’re all set for your big presentation. You’ve learned some lessons from past experience and put real time and effort into preparation, rehearsing all the different elements including the handovers and the technical aspects and you’ve even been to check out the venue.  Just one more thing – would you pass the Starbucks Test? 

“What’s the Starbucks Test?” I hear you ask. It’s the ultimate test of your readiness to give a winning presentation and it goes like this. You turn up to the venue that you have taken time and trouble to check out in advance and your contact comes to greet you in a slightly flustered manner. “I’m terribly sorry”, he says “but the meeting rooms have all been double booked. So if you don’t mind we’re going to go across the road and do it in Starbucks”.

Now, you have to make a judgement call here as to whether you are prepared to be messed about in this way. But it’s a bit academic if you find yourself simply unable to give a competent presentation under such circumstances.  If you can, then just imagine how good you will be when everything goes exactly to plan and the facilities are all that you had expected and deserve. The fact is that important business isn’t always done in the boardroom. You really do need to have your elevator pitch ready to go at a moment’s notice and the same should apply to the crux of any other pitch you need to give.

I speak from experience on this one. Yes, the rooms were double booked; yes we went to Starbucks; no, I didn’t win the business; and no, I have never been caught out since. I have always prepared for the worst, in every way I could imagine.

Extracted and adapted from Nick Fitzherbert’s book 
Presentation Magic, published by Marshall Cavendish

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