Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

Jeffrey Gitomer’s 29.5 Power Elements of Presenting:
The Essence of Selling Yourself to an Audience

1. You can do it if you believe you can. Your presentation will only be as good as you believe it will be (and that you have prepared it to be). Many are “afraid” to get up in front of the room. Don’t confuse fear with lack of preparation. Fear is a reactive state of mind and can be easily replaced.

2. They buy you first. It’s about credibility. Yours. They buy your message if they buy you. You know the old story — don’t shoot the messenger. Well it started from people giving lousy performances. People are not buying your company or your product — they’re buying you. If they buy you, your product has a shot. If they don’t buy you, your product has no shot.

3. The introduction sets the tone — if it’s a low tone get it up. Write your own introduction, and get your introducer to practice it.

4. It’s show business — create a mood of upbeat excitement. Music, slides, video. Something to put the crowd in the right frame of mind.

5. Command the room with poise and opening aura. You are center stage whether it’s five seconds or five minutes — take control.

6. Start in the middle. Begin as though you were talking for five minutes. A story, a quip, a question.

7. Don’t demand the audience to participate. Don’t say “Hello” (the audience gives a weak “hello” back) then you say, I said HELLO, then they say HELLO and they’re all pissed because you made them do it, and treated them like children, Great, you’re less than 20 seconds into the talk, and you’ve already irritated half the audience.

8. Make them laugh, but don’t tell a dumb joke. What’s a dumb joke? You’ll know one second after you tell it. There will be groans, polite laughter or (the worst) silence. If the room is laughing, they’re buying.

9. Should I use notes? Do what’s comfortable — as long as it looks cool. Use one word notes — or work off your handout. Don’t fumble unless you know it cold.

10. You get 5 extra points for looking good. Dress to suit yourself, but be stylish and neat.

11. Ask engaging questions. Questions about satisfaction, finance, technology, use of product, satisfaction with service, quality, or future. A question about them that makes them think and respond in terms of you.

12. Make the message powerful by making a powerful presentation. Don’t speak without a beginning, a point or two, a laugh, and an ending.

13. Make a high-powered, concise, compelling presentation (not more than 15 minutes) that creates a desire for involvement. Rehearsed and presented by someone with professional speaking skills. Short attention span. Fear, greed, vanity.

14. Anticipate all questions, and answer them in your presentation. To build credibility, you must answer (dispel) doubts.

15. Don’t say “uh” or “um” even if your ass falls off. Avoid er, um, ah, uh, you know, again, (I hate again) and duh. If you have a hitch in your presentation, it will painfully distract the audience. Stupidity is not limited to words — there are dumb gestures too. Hands in pocket, hair fidget, twitch, jingle something, play with something.

16. There are 8 elements of presentation that make it hit or miss (make the audience cheer or hiss). Tone, vocal variety, eye contact, enunciation, posture, gestures, and dress combine to give the clarity of message a chance to shine through.

17. Have a prop or two. I use a washcloth, a tin cup, a glass, a tube of chapstick, a book, a mirror (hand held) and plastic vomit.

18. Prepared slides divert attention — but they give you some credibility and authenticity. Use them until you don’t need them any more. A flip chart, or write-on overheads work best for me. The key is not to make your slides bigger than your information. There is a point of argument here — what about multi-media stuff — yeah what about power point and astound and laptop projection. To that I say it’s great if used in a limited manner. Ten to twenty minutes of a two hour presentation is perfect. And, nothing is worse than failed technology — be sure to rehearse and know how to operate the stuff. There is a science to using any image projector — when to turn it on and off are critical to the attention of the audience, and the penetration of the message. The words of caution are: Master it before attempting it.

19. Test the participants. An assessment of their present situation. You should incorporate some of the questions above. Let each person rate their own reality on a scale of 1-5 on each question. The purpose of this exercise is to create a clear black and white picture of where they are vs. where they want to be.

20. Create a sense of urgency. A compelling reason to act now. The ability to create a fear of loss is crucial to your overall success.

21. Get a roadie to push the buttons, dim the lights, and pass out the handouts. Arrange it before the talk starts.

22. Attention spans are short and people are impatient. Get to the point. Make good points. Make concise points. And make an exit.

23. Even if you stink, your story can save you. If you prepare one thing — prepare your story.

24. Create a real story that has relatable concepts. Something that provokes a thought in me. Make me laugh, make me think, make me want, make me cry. Then practice, practice, practice using the self evaluation rehearsal method.

25. Tell stories with passion — short and sweet. Make every time you tell your story sound like the first time you told it.

26. Solicit spoken testimonials of those who have already acted. The more testimonials, the more people will buy.

27. Have at least three new ideas that directly relate to them. If you bring new information, the audience will like you. If you bring new ideas, the audience will love you.

28. Tell the audience that their questions will be answered in small group sessions. WARNING: One poorly answered question in front of a group could spoil the entire presentation.

29. End with a laugh, a tear or a powerful statement or give someone else the applause with a powerful introduction segue after your last statement.

29.5 Confidence breeds confidence. Yours breeds theirs. The more you own your talk, the greater confidence you will project and the greater audience acceptance you will have.