Step 1: Hook the Audience by Offering to solve a key business problem.
Hook your audience by identifying the business issue that your audience cares most about. A good way to arrive at your hook is to think, “If I were to ask my audience what worried them most about the topic I’m going to talk to them about, what would they say?”
A good way to start the hook is with the phrase, “I understand that you are concerned about . . . .”
“I understand that you are all frustrated with how burdensome it is to get reimbursed for your travel expenses. I’m going to walk you through how to use our new system, ultimately allowing you to get reimbursed faster.”
“The regulators have put in place a series of credit reporting obligations that are going to be extremely time consuming. I know that you’re worried about adding headcount. We need a plan to ensure that we comply without having to add headcount. I’m going to talk about how we’re going to do it.”
“We’re charged with increasing revenues by $10 million in six months. I’m going to talk about how we’re going to do it.”
When in doubt, appeal to the pocketbook
“Everyone here is interested in earning more money. And you may not know it, but you may have a patentable idea that can help you earn more money. I’m going to talk to you today about how you can capture that idea and make more money.”
For a sales pitch. Focus on What’s in it for the Prospect
“I know that you’re interested in growing your sales with your industrial clients. I’m going to talk to you about a new protective glove product that your prospects will love and that can grow your revenues.”
You can use a story that illustrates a business problem
“Last week, I went into one of our stores looking for a white t-shirt. They had none in my size. I found out that last year we lost $40 million because we were out of stock when customers came in for specific items. Out of stocks is a problem that we all recognize. I’m going to talk about how we can fix that problem.”
You can use a piece of data to illustrate the business problem.
“$10 million dollars a year. That’s how much money we stand to save if we can eliminate the paper invoices that we create each year on our loading docks nationwide. I’d like to talk about a plan to capture those savings.”
“What do I do if I don’t know my audience’s key business challenge?”
Here’s a promise. If you don’t know your audience’s key business challenge, then your presentation will stink! Guaranteed. Here’s what you do. Call key members of your audience on the phone or send them an email that says, “I’m going to be speaking with you in a few days on the topic of [insert topic]. I want to make sure that my presentation is as helpful to you as possible. What are the key issues that you’re looking for help with in this area right now?”Then listen. Then make sure that you address that stuff prominently in your presentation.
Your Turn: Write Your Hook Below.