When you work in sales, you hope that every presentation you give leaves a lasting impression on your audience. The best presentations are so compelling that the listener doesn’t want to look away. The speaker exudes confidence, discusses thoughts with conviction and displays tremendous knowledge on the subject matter.

Author Richard Newman, who has been teaching clients how to communicate their ideas for nearly two decades, says there are a few important steps to practice if you want to take your next presentation up a notch. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we highlight Foreman’s four steps for nailing your next presentation.

1. Determine your goal. Newman says he often gets asked, “How can I be impressive as a speaker?” In response, he asks, “Why do you want to impress people?” If you only want to impress, you likely aren’t providing content that’s truly useful. Unless you have a concrete goal in mind, you’re not serving your audience as well as you could. Instead of aiming to simply impress people, think about what they need from you. Consider what kind of value you can bring while speaking and what’s the best way to bring that value. Newman encourages sales professionals to remember that it’s less about presenting yourself as a hero with restorative knowledge and impressive slides and more about serving as a guide who’s there to help others on their journey.

2. Make your content specific to your audience. It’s critical that you offer content that people care about. If you give a fantastic talk to one audience, don’t repurpose it for another. Newman says he has seen this happen and it fails every time. Instead, it’s better to dig deeper into people’s goals and how they want to achieve them. Ask a series of questions about what worked for them in the past and what hasn’t. You could also spend time thinking about what your audience’s best possible outcome would look like. The most important takeaway is that you remember to focus your content on the audience rather than yourself.

3. Be genuine in your delivery. Don’t just talk and keep going; make sure you speak your words with genuine passion and conviction. Nobody will ever be more enthused about your idea than you are. Newman says that when you are fully committed vocally and physically to your message, people feel compelled to watch and listen. You don’t have to be big and loud-but you do have to give it all your energy. Whether someone is speaking quietly, loudly, slowly or quickly, when they’re speaking with enthusiasm and conviction, people pay attention. Don’t just look through your slides and memorize your content. Be sure to spend time rehearsing and get to the level of presentation you want.

4. Focus your mindset. Newman reminds sales professionals that it’s crucial to mentally prepare before speaking. Ensure that you’re in the best state possible before delivering your message. You should feel centered and rested so that you can commit the necessary energy to giving the delivery your content deserves. If you feel agitated or distracted, try going for a short walk or doing a quick meditation to clear your head. Take long, deep breaths or visualize the presentation going well.

How well you can deliver an exceptional presentation can make or break a deal. Use the four steps above to take any presentation from OK to outstanding.

Source: For more than 18 years, Richard Newman has been teaching clients how to communicate their ideas. He has worked with 50,000 people across 45 countries and wrote the book, You Were Born To Speak.