Making the Case to Make Your Case – PRESENTING DATA – Part 4

Presenting Data - Tell Your Story
Date Published
Brett Jones

Part 4 – Tell Your Story!

The first part of this blog series examined playing to your audience. Part two explored how to build your case with data. Part three examined how to visualize and present the data itself.

Ultimately though? You need to be able to present your hard work like a rock star. If the thought of that client meeting/webinar/presentation to a roomful makes you queasy, read on to discover how to calm those nerves and deliver your message with confidence.

Here are 10 ways to rock your presentation:

  1. Internalize the data. Know it back-and-forth and upside down. Anticipate questions and have your answers prepared, if they’re not already part of your deck.
  2. Know your presentation inside out. In my experience, these first two points are the MOST important. You’ve got to be able to speak with authority and vision, and more importantly, you’ve got to be knowledgeable enough to go off script when the actual conversation starts.
  3. A lot of folks will tell you to memorize it. My advice? Don’t. Develop your talking points in order, but memorizing the material (unless you’re a good actor) stiffens it up and doesn’t leave much room for error.
  4. Practice. In whatever way you’re presenting – client meeting or presentation style – DO practice verbalizing your talking points.
  5. Be the first to talk. Arrive ahead of time, chat up the attendees, be the first to make contact before the presentation begins. This one has saved me LOTS of times because it distracts me from the anxiety of public speaking.
  6. Another technique that has helped me is one I use to fall asleep: counting backwards from 300 by 3s. It really helps to get me out of my head.
  7. Visualize it! See yourself making your case, speaking clearly and confidently, see other people looking to you with interest. (I also like to “see” the end of the meeting, shaking hands with everyone and celebrating a job well done.)
  8. Remember to breathe. Focus, and breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth, slowly.
  9. Have a bottle of water handy. A sip or two at the right time can help you and your audience reset and re-engage.
  10. You internalized the data, right? If so, everything else is gravy!

Whether it’s the basis for a project pitch to the CEO, getting buy-in from the team who will have to manage the project day-to-day, or sharing campaign results in a webinar or a room of 200 people, making your data tell a story is key, and knowing that data in all the ways will help you build and support your case. Your ability to visualize that data and translate it confidently to your audience will win the day. Good luck, and happy presenting!

About the Author:
Brett Jones
Vice President of Client Management, Agency Services

Role at the Company

I lead the Agency Services Client Management team. I challenge the team to continually improve our strategy, creative and service, and develop new ideas, so we can provide better solutions and outcomes to our clients.

What excites you about your work at AFG?

I love fundraising! In my career I have had the chance to work with many different organizations that are doing incredible work and really making a difference. I enjoy helping them meet and exceed their goals so they can advance their missions. 

If you weren’t at AFG, what would you be doing?

I have always wanted to work with non-profits and love fundraising. It’s my way of contributing to the greater good. I can’t imagine what else I would do!

What are your hobbies/interests outside AFG?

I love reading, ice skating, and going to the beach in the summer, but most of I love spending time with my daughter.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

Brett is my middle name. I’m actually Sara Brett. But don’t call me Sara if you want me to answer!

What’s your favorite childhood memory?

I remember the first time I rode a bike without training wheels. I was so proud of myself. I was so excited to visit my neighborhood friends by myself.

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