5 things you need to know for your presentation success

This past Wednesday was the last class for the semester. 

What now remains are the final presentations from the six teams of juniors and seniors to the management of their respective companies.  This is a very demanding course in which I, my four TAs and seven outside lecturers, all alums from this course, provide deep technical content on the science of marketing structured around the student teams delivering full marketing plans based on the objectives provided by their companies.  The TAs and I provide 60% of the project grade while the senior management provides the remaining 40%.  For me, it's a perfect blend of introducing my students to the real world of business structured on the same sales and marketing principles of "Process-Tools-Technology-Math & People" that we use in our consulting practice.  If you're interested in participating in a marketing project for the fall semester, just connect with me.  All of this blends together perfectly with the added benefit that my students are able to select from 40-50 job offers each semester mostly from prior alums from this course.  

zach merchant-2This past Wednesday given that we are now only one week from the final 90-minute presentations, I asked Zach Merchant to return to the classroom and provide us with his experience and instructive takeaways on making the most impactful presentations.   Zach and I met in class in 2016, and among his other skills and experiences, I was drawn to the fact that he had become an intern (the classic "cub reporter") for a tiny newspaper in the same town where I grew up.  We've become close friends, and during his years as a reporter and fill-in anchor for the leading media station in Macon, Georgia, it was not unusual for me to watch film clips of Zach reporting from the field in hurricanes and other major activities. 


We discussed careers, which is very common for me with my alums in their 20s, and as a result, Zach moved to Washington to become a reporter for WUSA while pursuing his law degree at Georgetown, a perfect background for an investigative career in broadcasting.  

By this time in the semester, my students have received 100 plus instruction points on speaking and delivering powerful presentations.  They've each individually presented to the entire class.  They've delivered case studies and multiple progress reports as teams.   As a result, Zach this Wednesday provided the perfect combination of presentation strategy and tactics as experienced by a professional.

Zach's Summary Points

1.  What do I actually have?

Before jumping into constructing the actual presentation, step back, and lay out all the material that you have assembled and take inventory of all "the elements" of what you want to report on.

2. What's the core message?

This is what the elements add up to. It's the conclusion that's supported by all the evidence ("the elements"). It's what you want your audience, above all else, to remember

3. Use elements to make moments!

Take your audience on a path from the beginning to a conclusion with memorable moments throughout, all supporting your core message in one way or another

  • Don't hide elements that point in a different direction.  Be honest with your audience!
  • Showcase the best elements
  • Try to turn your less interesting elements into something memorable

4. Check in when you've finished your draft-did you get where you intended to go?

Your presentation should be a clean logical chain from introduction to conclusion, supported by your evidence all the way!

5.  Say and show the results in an engaging way

  • Be human and talk to "people" not "an audience"
  • Be creative-use graphs and photos, not just words

Thanks, Zach, for proving once again that our best students, just like our best employees, provide us with the best talent for efficiently and effectively moving ahead and rapidly scaling whatever we're planning!

Have a great day selling today!  Enjoy what looks like a superb weekend where I will be deep into my Vermont woodlot cleaning up the winta' debris and testing out my new Ryobi battery-powered chainsaw.


Jack Derby, Tufts Professor & Sales Coach Your well-planned 2022 Sales Plan that you rolled out at your January sales kickoff now needs a tune-up. It's time to plan on taking a day with the team during the first week of May and walk through the details of your tactical plan for the balance of Q2 into Q3.    Here's our 2022 guide to help.  At any time for some quick ideas of what to do for that day, just connect with me!  There's no cost to a call or two, plus I love listening and talking about sales. 

Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts. 






Tags: closing sales, Tufts marketing projects, free marketing projects from universities, student intern marketing projects, how to write a marketing plan, marketing planning, writing sales plans, delivering great presentations, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2022businessplansuccess