Learning from my students...4 tactics for winning presentations

Tufts TEC Graduates 2019-2-2

At Tufts where I'm a professor for two courses-"Entrepreneurial Marketing" and "The Science of Sales", a decade plus later, I have the luxury of bringing back our alums from these courses who are now experts in their own fields at their companies to teach portions of our 13 week semesters. 

The exciting results are...

  • immediate relevancy for my students in a "Tufts-Teaching-Tufts" community network
  • deep, very current and directly relevant experience from experts working in the real world
  • direct connections and guidance for potential internships and jobs

...and, for me, it's the human and very personal pride to see these still young 30ish year olds come back to this course and provide deep expertise, and in many cases-like this past Wednesday-much more than I could provide.   Wednesday, we were visited by two returning alums, who have lectured in this course many times before:

  • Brian Bresee, Hubspot Director of NA Partnership Sales, who teaches the fundamentals of Inbound Marketing and specifically blogging.  I'll introduce this exceptional sales leader and instructor to you next week in a separate blog on "the Science of Blogging" which to us is the #1 most effective marketing tool for lead gen.  Just as example of how "real-world" this course is, all of our students must be Hubspot certified in order to receive a grade. 95% achieve certification before the semester starts.  
  • Zach Merchant. a WUSA Reporter in Washington DC and a law student at Georgetown.   Zach and I met in class, and we have become close friends as his career moved from being "a cub reporter" for a local newspaper in Arlington, MA, to a reporter and TV anchor in Macon, Georgia, and most recently to become a TV reporter for this large CBS affiliate. 

    And this week, Zach shared with us his perspectives on presenting and delivering content since our students will deliver their full marketing plans for their projects at the end of the semester.  40% of their grade is provided by the senior management of their host companies, so we want to make every component of their plans count including their weekly updates and 90-minute final presentations.  Obviously, they will use these same skills learned in this course in marketing themselves.

4 Key Lessons from Zach merchant...

 Zach Merchant TV WUSA reporterZach's overarching advice for success in presenting anything... a 90-second TV clip, a complex project to your bosses, a speech to any audience, or yourself in an interview is, not surprisingly...

"you need to tell a good story!".

#1. "Know the Core" of what you need to say
Define that number one point that you must deliver in whatever time you have and make absolute sure that that core topic or idea is delivered succinctly and powerfully and does get confused or misunderstood because you want to deliver too much.

#2. "Make Moments out of Elements"

Focus on the best moments that you must deliver. What are the absolute "best parts" of what you need to deliver within "the element" of a 45-minute presentation or a one minute meeting with a prospective client or a hiring manager?  Know all of the elements (the entire architecture of what you have) and make lasting moments so that the listeners want to hear more.  Zach added here to also fully understand your weak points and be able to adapt or respond to those.

# 3. "Do I have what I need?"
After weeks  of research, preparation and formulating plans, make sure that you are meeting the objectives that you set out or were given at the beginning.

#4  "Be authentic!"
Be true to yourself in what you are delivering since people are real and not static audiences, classes, bosses or any third person identifier.  People are real people, and, especially today, they want to meet and learn from other real people.  Given the environment we work and live in today, in any media, in any presentation, in any job interview, if you are not authentically yourself, it will show through.

Thanks, Zach for your advice to our students, and it's also great advice for all of us as Sales & Marketing professionals just settling in this morning on the last work day of February and now two thirds of our way through the first quarter of our business plan.

Have a great day selling today!

Jack Derby, Professor & Sales Coach


If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board for Sales, Marketing or business planning, just connect with me at any time.  Text or email me, and I'll quickly set up a call.  I'm a pretty good listener. 

Obviously, no cost for a call or two; just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.






Tags: sales effectiveness, marketing effectiveness, business coaching, how to close sales, meeting networking, sales management productivity, delivering great presentations