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Article

How to Deliver Compelling Presentations

How to avoid "death by PowerPoint"

Following up on my prior article, how to deliver effective demos, here are some guidelines how to deliver effective presentations. This is a summary of an excellent seminar I attended, given by Tom Sant of Hydeparkpartnerscal

We have all sat through PowerPoint presentations crammed with text in 10point font which the presenter often just reads; within a few minutes most of the audience are thumbing their mobile devices or engaged with their laptops.

So, in the age of five minute attention spans, how do we keep our audience engaged?

Avoid this pitfall:  Do not start the presentation with an introduction to your company, all your customers, latest earnings, partnerships, shareholders, where you or your CEO are featured, "corporate ra ra".

Why avoid this? You are presenting a solution to the prospective customer's problems. Prospects are not interested in how great you are, they want to know if you have the answers to their problems.

Suppose you are proposing a virtualization solution to a company with several datacenters.

Five steps to the perfect presentation:

  1. Interest and relevance - why our solution is of interest to the prospect ?We are relevant to their problems. "Is your datacenter costing you too much? High utility bills, System Administrator costs? Rent..."  To get this captive start, you need to do some research into your prospects problems. Look at their website, the 10K financial statements, talk to some of their customers. Tailor the presentation to the customer!
  2. Why you need us "Our datacenter consolidation services save customers money"
  3. How will you benefit "Reduce your bills, consolidate your servers by virtualizing many physical servers to virtual servers thus reducing your System Administrator costs and utility bills."
  4. What we do "We offer a virtualization solution and professional services to help you consolidate your servers and reduce your datacenter costs"
  5. Why are we different "We have a track record of successful consolidations, employ personnel with industry certifications, here are some reference customers whose datacenter costs were growing out of control and benefitted from our solution and services."

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Jonathan Gershater has lived and worked in Silicon Valley since 1996, primarily doing system and sales engineering specializing in: Web Applications, Identity and Security. At Red Hat, he provides Technical Marketing for Virtualization and Cloud. Prior to joining Red Hat, Jonathan worked at 3Com, Entrust (by acquisition) two startups, Sun Microsystems and Trend Micro.

(The views expressed in this blog are entirely mine and do not represent my employer - Jonathan).