Make a Presentation to your Local Business Group

Manufacturing Millionaires

Sherry Knight

President & CEO at

Let’s face it, if you belong to a business group you have a built-in audience you can speak to. It may not be easy to stand in front of your peers yet what a great place to start! These are people who know you who will cut you some slack and even give you pointers afterwards if you ask.

Think about it, how do you get those opportunities to stand in front of your peers? First of all, you look at your talk, seminar or workshop to get really clear on what you want to help people learn. There are a few key things to consider:


Understand what you are so passionate about you want to share it with others

Perhaps your passion is to increase business, have greater work/life balance, get more leads or so many other passions you have! Maybe you are not sure how to share your passion with others. How do you help them improve their business and/or personal lives with the experiences and knowledge you have?


Who is your target audience – who do you want to hear your message?

Know who you want to share your passion with. Is it the small business owner/the corporate CEO/the franchise owner, or is it a segment of the business – the CFO’s, the receptionists, or the warehouse supervisors?

Why does this group need to hear about your passion? Perhaps it’s something they want to know, need to know, or something that will change their life.


Know the key points you want to deliver

It all depends on what you know will help your audience. Break your passion into the key points you want to deliver – three or four will be helpful. If you only have a few minutes you will want to choose and focus on only one point. However, if you have more time you still don’t want too many points as your audience will have a hard time recognizing what you want them to learn. Build on your key points to keep your audience fascinated.


What are you able to deliver in the time you’ve been given

When you are asked to speak it is critical you stay within the time parameters you have been given. You may be asked to speak for 5 or 10 minutes, or possibly up to an hour. Regardless, prepare your presentation for the various lengths of time you will be asked to speak. In a 5 to 10-minute presentation you will only want to focus on one key element. In an hour’s presentation you can possibly provide 3 to 4 key points.

Now it’s time to get to work and develop your presentation.


Have you sat in a luncheon and been in awe of what you were hearing? It’s rarely when someone spouts off the latest government statistics. It’s when they tell real-life stories about events they have experienced themselves around business.

1. Think about what you have experienced in your personal and business life

How will you be able to relate those experiences to your audience? Make a list of all the experiences you’ve had and then look at that list and connect it to the key points you want to make.

2. How to connect your personal experiences to your audience

Ensure your stories are relatable to your audience. There is no sense talking about high heels, hats or handbags when you are talking to land developers as it doesn’t help your audience relate to the points you want to make. Know what THIS audience needs to hear because it will be different than what another audience will need to hear.

Be sure to relate which story goes with which audience.

3. Tighten your story

Make sure your story has the key point you want to make regardless of how long it is. With a 1 minute for your story be sure the key point is there – understandably there will be less added colour. With a 2 minute story you can add a little more colour, always making sure your key point is there.

Remember, sometimes our minds wander so you will want to ensure you remind us of the key point after your story is told.


Once you are certain of what you want to say to a specific audience, it’s time to connect with people who can put you in front of that audience.

If you attend a specific business group then you have an easy in – speak with your organizer. Explain your passion by giving the background that led you to where you are at the present time so your listener understands the context of what it is you are hoping to do. Or, as a second option, call someone they respect and you feel close enough to ask a favour of. This is networking and it often works very well. Explain your passion and let the individual know what it is you want to do.

Then ask if it might be appropriate for him/her to connect you with the person who can give you the chance to speak. By asking permission you have a better chance of success than simply asking the question outright.

How do you ask for permission to speak to an audience you want to talk to? You pick up the phone or send an email…

- You explain you have an idea that might be valuable for the business audience. You let them know you would like to discuss this in person and ask for a time that might be convenient.

- They may come back with a date and time or they may not respond. People are busy!

- If you have had no response within 2 weeks call – call 3 times at various hours before you leave a message. Always try to connect without leaving a message!

- For most people in a management/leadership position the best time to connect is the ½ hour before their workday begins and ½ hour after it ends – this is when they are generally at their desk.

- When you have them on the phone, ask, “Is this a convenient time to call?” If it is, carry on with, “Thank you for taking my call.” If it is not convenient then ask, “What would be a better day and time to connect? Can we both book that on our calendars?”

- Be sure to have the title of your presentation already organized so you can say it.

- Now it is time to get to the reason for your call. Ask permission… “May I tell you about a passion I have which I believe has a message for ______?” When you hear a “Yes” you may continue with, “My passion is ________________ and I see it being of great value to your ________________ so they can _________________ (how you came to this conclusion of it being of value to your listener’s audience so they can get the results they need.)

- Now comes the question. “Does this sound like something that might be of value to your audience?” When you hear, “Yes.” ask which dates are appropriate for you to present and how long they would like you to speak.

- If it seems appropriate, ask for a couple of contacts you could speak to, to gather their input on your topic. Talking to people who will be in your audience often gives you a twist you had not thought about.

- This also allows you to develop rapport with members of your audience BEFORE you see them face-to-face.

Once you are on the agenda it is a good idea to keep a few things in mind:

- Be sure to practice a minimum of 10 times individual times before the big day.

- Get there an hour early – sit in your vehicle, take a walk around the block or enter the room and sit quietly visualizing how you want your presentation to go.

- Walk among the attendees before the event starts – shake hands (not too strong and not too weak) and introduce yourself. Be sure to ask their name and comment briefly on something about them (providing it is sincere.)

- Afterwards be available for people to speak with you one-on-one. Many like the opportunity to share their story or even to get your autograph. This can only happen if you have left sufficient time in your day to stay around AFTER you have made a great presentation.

You’re flying high – you aced it and you’re getting all kinds of positive comments. It’s exactly what you had hoped for. Wait a few days and ask:

1. Could you get referrals to other groups that might find value in a similar presentation? If he or she says yes, then ask if it would be appropriate to use their name in an initial contact or would they prefer to introduce you to someone themselves. You might get your preferred response if you give the outcome you prefer as the last option.

2. For a testimonial. Ask the leader if he/she would be willing to provide you with a testimonial you could use to help others know how you can add value to their audience.

If you want to share your passion with others and help them improve their business or their lives, then now is the time to start. Just make that first contact!

Sherry Knight

President & CEO


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