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5 Steps to Preparing an Engaging Industry Presentation You can make a great impression and generate interest with an exciting, informative presentation. Find out my five secrets to creating an industry presentation guaranteed to wow.

By Cyrus Claffey Edited by Chelsea Brown

Key Takeaways

  • This article offers practical advice for delivering impactful presentations at industry events, emphasizing the importance of a comfortable stage presence, understanding your audience, designing effective slides and more.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Industry events are a chance to network with your colleagues and impress distributors — but to really make the most of your time at a conference, you need to learn how to prepare a presentation that engages, informs and leaves an impact.

I've presented at some of the most important real estate and property technology events in the country as the founder of ButterflyMX. Here are a few tricks I've picked up along the way to wow any audience.

Related: 6 Tips for Making a Winning Business Presentation

1. Getting comfortable with the stage

I recommend taking a walk around the stage before your presentation. By familiarizing yourself with your environment, you can prepare yourself better.

And while you're on stage, a relaxed, comfortable presence goes a long way in keeping your audience engaged. Whether you want to play your presentation casually or more formally, audiences can sense discomfort, which prevents them from fully connecting with your message.

To project your sense of comfortability, focus on your body language. You can project confidence by speaking slowly and clearly and by walking across the stage to keep the audience's attention — even if there's already a podium or lectern set up on stage.

Unfortunately, if a speaker spends too long standing behind the podium, an audience might interpret that as a sign of indecision and inaction from the speaker. Instead, you can remove any barriers between yourself and the audience by using the whole length of the stage.

2. Familiarity with industry statistics

An audience that doesn't know me might be wondering why they should be taking my advice. I certainly don't blame them. When I'm watching a new presenter, I ask the same question.

If you can back up your claims with hard data, your presentation will ring true with listeners. You can cite industry-wide statistics or establish your own bona fides by citing stats that buttress your own credibility by establishing your company's success.

In my case, I'm happy to use a couple of statistics that prove how successful my company, ButterflyMX, is in the proptech industry. For instance, we serve more than one million apartment units, and if you're interested in how consumers feel about us, look no further than the internet — we have over 20,000 five-star reviews!

Related: 7 Ways to Captivate Any Audience

3. Knowing your audience

Depending on who your audience is, you'll have to adjust your game plan and prepare for different things.

I've spoken at conferences where the audiences couldn't be more different — a presentation that wows one crowd might have no information that's applicable to another. As the founder of a property technology company, I have the pleasure of speaking at a variety of different conferences that serve different markets.

For example, integrators and installers might value a talk on product features and hardware more than others. And if I'm presenting to an audience of property managers, I'll know to dial down the technical talk and focus on the benefits a robust video intercom offers, such as simplifying their day-to-day workloads.

Depending on your audience, you need to strike the right balance between talking about hardware specs and features.

4. Designing your slides carefully

Slides are a good opportunity to share the aesthetics, tone and values of your company — but you've got to make sure you use them effectively.

A slide with too much text looks busy, and it'll distract your audience and draw focus away from you. Instead, consider putting that information into your notes and speaking it aloud. Slides should focus on one or two visual elements, like bullet points, charts and graphs.

As for the actual design of your slides, you should ensure that you adhere to your company's brand guidelines. If you're unfamiliar with the concept, brand guidelines are a single, governing document that goes over important design concepts like the colors and logos that your company has.

Related: 6 Ways to Take Your Next Presentation to the Next Level

5. Asking for audience participation

Asking for audience participation is the ultimate way to ensure everybody is locked in and paying attention — but it's also a double-edged sword. You also need to be prepared in case asking the audience to participate doesn't necessarily go your way.

For example, you might generally ask if an audience has any questions at the end of your presentation. But you run the risk of running into a hostile, bad-faith question — or you might even be met with silence.

That's why I'd recommend you give the audience questions and tasks that have a little more structure. You could do things like asking for a show of hands, asking for specific anecdotes or taking a poll.

Polls have gotten an especially high-tech upgrade recently — see if you can set up an electronic voting system that allows audience members to vote with their smartphones. Then, you'd be able to throw the results on screen and watch them update in real time!

You should pepper these interactive sections throughout your presentation to ensure that audiences are engaged throughout your entire talk.

Cyrus Claffey

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder of ButterflyMX

Cyrus Claffey is the founder of ButterflyMX, a proptech company focused on smartphone-enabled property access. Claffey has been developing and implementing real estate technologies for more than 15 years. He currently works with some of the largest names in multifamily and CRE.

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