You may have a tried-and-true deck for your sales presentations, but that doesn’t mean you have to give the same standard delivery every time. By incorporating elements of surprise, you can not only keep your audience engaged in the moment, but you can also ensure they remember you after the fact.

Worried about sounding gimmicky or salesy? You can avoid these pitfalls by using surprise strategically and sparingly, according to San Francisco-based writer Samantha Acuna. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share some of Acuna’s tips for adding a few surprises in your sales presentations.

Turn it into a conversation. When your clients and prospects attend a sales presentation, they’re probably prepared to listen, not participate. You can surprise them by making their role more active. Engaging speakers know how to break down the barrier between themselves and the audience, Acuna says. Try asking your audience questions about themselves. These check-ins can turn a one-way stream of information into a two-way dialogue, she says.

Catch your audience off guard. Think about altering the way you typically open a sales presentation. This can make the follow-up much more compelling, Acuna says. This is because anytime a speaker contradicts audience expectations, listeners have a reason to perk up and listen more intently.

Vary your tone and cadence. You can also surprise during your sales presentations by changing up your delivery style. Instead of putting everyone to sleep with the expected monotonous delivery, Acuna recommends varying your presentation’s speed and volume. You can also incorporate short silences when appropriate.

Stun them with stats. If you have some wow-worthy data or numbers to share, make sure you put the stats in context. Try saying, “that’s the equivalent of” to help people visualize what you’re saying. Remember that dropping a fact is not enough on its own, Acuna says. You must provide the relevant context for it to be impactful.

Be yourself. Your audience may be expecting you to take a straightforward and professional approach. However, don’t be afraid to work in humor and show your human side. This can help you win over your audience, Acuna says. You can surprise them in a good way by sharing a personal anecdote or lesson early on in your presentation.

Your sales presentations are a chance to wow your listeners. If your presentations have gotten a little stale, try working in a few of the ideas above to surprise your audience. Whether you start with an interesting personal tale or you drop a few impressive stats, you can use the element of surprise to stand out in the best possible way.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Samantha Acuna is San Francisco-based writer who contributes to outlets such as and Yahoo! Small Business.