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Presenting Skills

Becoming a More Effective Presenter and Public Speaker

As a sales professional, an important skill to master is public speaking and presenting.  You simply never know when you may have to pitch to a large audience so being equipped with the necessary skills to control your nerves and deliver your pitch with impact is a necessity.

We've all met them and worked with them - some people are just born to be public speakers.  

Many enjoy making speeches in front of large audiences and they take to the stage with relish, no hint of nerves and perfectly deliver the message, leaving to rapturous applause.

However, the majority does not fall into this category but, through these notes, we hope to give you the confidence to overcome your nerves and become an extremely competent public speaker.  The notes are aimed at sales professionals looking to improve both their presenting skills and their ability to pitch to a larger audience.

Four General Types of Public Speakers - Which are You?

  • The Avoider - Does everything possible to avoid facing an audience. In some cases, avoiders seek careers that do not involve making presentations.
  • The Resister - Becomes fearful when asked to speak. This fear may be strong. Resisters may not love to speak in public, but they have no choice. When they speak, they do so with great reluctance.
  • The Accepter - Can do presentations but is not that enthusiastic to do them. Accepters occasionally give presentations and feel good about them. Occasionally the presentations can be quite persuasive, and satisfying.
  • The Seeker - Always looks for opportunities to speak. Seekers understand that anxiety can be a stimulant that fuels enthusiasm during the presentation. Seekers work hard at building their professional communication skills and self-confidence by speaking often.

Preparing Yourself to Speak

  • Gain an understanding of who you are. Understand the limits of your own knowledge, capabilities and biases.

  • Gain an understanding of your audience. You must know what the audience you're presenting to wants to hear.

  •  Gain an understanding of the situation. Consider how the setting of the place and other unforeseen factors could affect the way you deliver your speech.

  • Anticipate response from the audience. Make sure you have a clear purpose in mind so that the audience will respond in the way you want them to.

  • Search for other sources of information. There might be more materials available for you to make your speech more colourful.  Use graphics, visuals and depending on the audience perhaps even props.

  •  Ensure the validity of your pitch. Make sure that the purpose of your speech is supported by clear and reliable data.

  • Add structure to your message. organise your ideas and use graphics so that the audience will not have a hard time following and digesting your ideas.

  • Talk directly to your audience. Make sure the language you are using is one that your audience is comfortable with.  Present to every one of the audience and try to have eye contact with each and every one of them - work the floor!

  • Gain self-confidence through practice. It is only through practice can you effectively present your speech. Master the flow of your presentation by repeatedly rehearsing it. That way, you can have command over your speech.

Eight Basic Steps in Preparing the Speech Itself

  1. Know your topic!  Be confident in what you are pitching.

  2. What is the objective - close the sale, propose a solution or to attain a follow-up meeting

  3. What is the right style - formal, formal with visuals, informal, interactive, etc

  4. Analyse your audience - who are you pitching to, how can the pitch be effective to all levels of decision makers.

  5. Plan and organise your main ideas.

  6. Organise your introduction and conclusion.

  7. Prepare an outline and prompt cards (if necessary)

  8. Practice your speech.

Seven Golden Rules to Becoming a Great Public Speaker

  1. Be Respectful to all.  Respect the variety of the audience, i.e. don't just pitch to the major decision maker

  2. Listen.  Know as much as possible about listening, ensure you know that your audience is listening and be prepared to listen intently to any questions that are raised.

  3. Planning.  organise carefully to improve understanding and recall.

  4. Simple Three Staged Format.  The Format of a Safe and Solid Presentation - You can't go wrong with a good old fashioned, three staged pitch that follows the old classic 'tell 'em what they're going to hear, say it and then say it again':

    • Introduction: Capture the attention of your audience, boost their interest, and give them a background of your topic.  

    • Body: Start with your main ideas. Keep them organised and support them with visual and verbal aids as much as possible.

    • Conclusion: Provide a recap of all your points and join them together in a way that will create an impact on your listeners, making them remember your points.  Conclude to close or follow up.

  5. Use language effectively. Keep it short. The simpler the language you use, the more powerful and interesting your speech will be.

  6. Sound natural and enthusiastic.  Speak with passion about your products and services, engage the audience.

  7. Use high-quality visual aids and graphics.  There is a tremendous amount of free or low-cost resources online now for graphics and photos. For instance, Pixabay, Pexels and more!

Date published: 26th Feb 2024

A photo of Darren Dewrance, Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment

About the author

Darren Dewrance

Darren spent six years in sales and field sales before joining the original sales recruitment specialist, Austin Benn, in 1998. After achieving the status of top consultant, out of about seventy at the time, Darren rose from Senior Consultant to Operations Manager of the commercial sector before leaving to join a London based Headhunter in 2003 before setting up Aaron Wallis with Rob in October 2007.

With a natural leadership style, Darren is an expert on putting his finger right on the heart of the problem. His natural commercial instincts have helped hundreds of employers make better recruitment decisions. Darren is married with two children, and when not at work or with his family, he likes nothing more than to be on the side of a river or a lake with a rod in his hand.

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Rob’s knowledge of the recruitment industry and his thoughts and how to make it better for his clients have always been eye opening. I would recommend Rob to anybody who is looking for a professional, knowledgeable and flexible recruitment specialist.

CEO, Friday Ad Online Services

George is a rare find in the world of recruitment - communicative without being pushy or over-bearing. He listens and understands what the customer needs as gets to know the business to ensure he provides fully competent candidates who fit.

HR Manager, Big Dug

Thanks for all your help during the recruitment process. I have been extremely impressed with Aaron Wallis especially when compared to other agencies we have dealt with. I really felt you grasped the type of person we required and found strong candidates.

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Generally good standard of candidates. Especially liked the personality profile. Overall good value for money and will certainly use you again.

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I have used Aaron Wallis to fill a number of our Sales Development Manager roles and I have found them to provide a very professional service. I will use their services again in future recruitment campaigns.

HR Business Partner, Greene King

Giles Phillips is a rare find in the minefield of sales recruitment; an honest and thoughtful recruiter who considers the needs of both the client AND the candidate to create perfect role matches. I look forward to working with him again in the future.

Marketing Director, City of London Police

Very professional service and will certainly be in contact for future recruitment.

Director, Blakedown Sport & Play Ltd

George came recommended by a colleague and has been a pleasure to work with. He was great at updating us on his progress and ensured a great experience for both client and candidate.

HR Manager, Annapurna Recruitment Ltd

Giles is highly professional and was a pleasure to work with. He achieves excellent results through his personable skills and tenacity. I have no hesitation in recommending Giles to anyone who considers employing his services.

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I can't fault Sam or AW! Sam was a pleasure to work with and provided great support from the start. Sam always provided me with timely updates when required and provided outstanding candidates!

Director, Waste Managed Ltd

We were impressed not only by the quality of candidates you found for us but also the level of information, preparation and qualification you put into the process. You continually kept us informed of each person’s feelings about the process, which is very important but often overlooked. I am looking forward to working with your company again in the future.

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I found Aaron Wallis to be very professional and efficient, taking time to understand the role and the type of candidate we were looking for. The candidates they put forward met our criteria and were of a high standard. The service they provided was exemplary and I would have no hesitation in recommending them, and will certainly consider using them again in the future.

HR Assistant, Fischer Connectors Ltd

I really liked the YouTube presentations which made the service seem both simple and accessible. The company came to see me, and my management team, at short notice to present their service and I liked the support and advice that I received about maximising the results from the applicant.

Managing Director, Leisuresec plc

Since joining DSGi, Rob has been a supplier of permanent staff and has performed to an extremely high standard, successfully filling 98% of roles he has worked on. If anyone is looking for a good sales and marketing based consultancy with an informal yet professional approach, I would recommend Rob.

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Aaron Wallis has continuously provided us with suitable candidates that have been proactively sourced. Having used countless recruitment companies, Aaron Wallis are the only company that I can count on to deliver.

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Darren at Aaron Wallis was really encouraging and helpful. He was very responsive and regularly made phone calls to explain the job opportunities available, and guided me through the application process.

A. Brown, Candidate

Excellent service, very professional and friendly, would and have, recommended Aaron Wallis.

E. Heley, Candidate

The detail put into the preparation for interviews and the detail of the job description was first class. Rob and Simon in particular are amongst the best I've ever dealt with.

K. Peacock, Candidate

Aaron Wallis is an outstanding recruitment agency specialising in high calibre sales positions. I was working directly with Darren Dewrance who went above and beyond my expectations in sourcing me my perfect role. I was kept in regular communication with Darren and he worked extremely hard to secure my dream job. Highly recommended and Thanks Darren for all your expertise and hard work.

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L. Knowles, Candidate

A great recruitment company to work with. Excellent experience with Aaron Wallis through the entire recruitment process. The team was really professional and extremely helpful. Darren was a pleasure to work with. He was friendly, supportive and gave me great advice. Thank you very much!

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T. Ashbourne, Candidate

I can honestly say that the time and expertise you gave me was way beyond any other recruitment consultant I dealt with. You are a rarity in your industry.

S. Akers, Candidate

Aaron Wallis (and in particular Rob Scott) have been fantastic throughout the recruitment process, and even a few months down the line, still continues to care. Rob clearly cares about each individual and has a wealth of knowledge and expertise, which shows in the work he does. Each candidate is not just a number, and the support received from Aaron Wallis has helped me get a career which I truly enjoy.

M. White, Candidate 

Sophie contacted me about a role explained the details clearly and made sure I was ready for the interview. She kept in touch every step of the way till I started the job. Thank you Sophie for a great experience.

S. Powell, Candidate

Simon was knowledgeable on his clients history, background and what their requirements were and he worked around time zones, holidays and a pandemic to get the right result.

J. Tooze, Candidate

I have to say coming across and having dealings with Aaron Wallis proved to be very successful. Being highly experienced did not seem to count for much during my job search bit a conversation with Robert Scott gave me a real confidence boost and enabled to get a position at the age of 63. Great service!!!

D. Burgess, Candidate

Wanted to say a huge thank you to Simon Bonner who has just helped me secure my new role. He was one of the most professional recruiters I have ever worked with.

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Very good advice and support was given during the course of the interviewing process. Potential job seekers would be well advised to use this company whilst looking for their new career.

R. Speakman, Candidate

Wanted to say a huge thank you to Simon Bonner who has just helped me secure my new role. He was one of the most professional recruiters I have ever worked with he was supportive really quick at replying and really put me at ease.

J. Marcinkiewicz, Candidate

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A. Callaby, Candidate

Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment are a very friendly and professional recruitment organisation who listen to your needs, work with you and act on your behalf which sets them apart from many of their competitors who in my experience are willing to throw anything at you. We discussed my history, my preferences and my wishes - one opportunity was introduced. It was perfect. I start at the end of June.

R. Buckley, Candidate

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K. Craggs, Candidate

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S. Bartlett, Candidate

The staff at Aaron Wallis were fantastic. Throughout the process, they maintained excellent communication and I always knew where I stood.

M. Owusu, Candidate

The most professional recruitment agency I've ever worked with. Robert Scott was extremely proactive and send me a detailed briefing before each interview, ensuring I was well prepared.

D. Bermant, Candidate

The service provided by Aaron Wallis has been just great. I was constantly informed about what was going on with the process interview and the agent has always been supportive and kind to me.

L. Colagrossi, Candidate

Less than two weeks after joining Aaron Wallis I was offered my new job. I got a £10,000 rise in my basic salary, car allowance, a laptop and many other perks, which will help to further my career. I definitely would not have found my dream job without the help of Aaron Wallis.

C. Hoy, Candidate

Rob was really helpful when I was putting together a presentation for the second stage interview. Overall their communication was great and kept me updated of any progress

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G. Thompson, Candidate

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P. Fitzsimons, Candidate

Fantastic customer service, communication was brilliant, happy polite people to talk to, made everything a lot easier and smoother. Thank you for all your help getting me back in the work force, Keep up the good work :-)

K. Everitt, Candidate

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K. Pearce, Candidate