Most companies utilize business presentations when communicating to a group. But they can vary based on the presentation purpose. Some endeavor to simply inform or train employees, while others may determine a long-term business strategy. Still others may determine the success of a new product launch.
While all presentations provide information, presentations whose sole purpose is to educate are considered informative presentations. These may include marketing plan summaries or status reports, and generally begin with an overall mission statement or goal, followed by specifics and action plans. Training presentations also fall in this category and feature information that the recipient must learn to meet company goals. For instance, a sales representative needs to know product features to confidently sell in the marketplace.
Common in middle and upper management, persuasive presentations seek to convince the audience to support a certain viewpoint. They often first outline a company goal or problem which is then followed by a situation analysis — statements that details the current state of affairs. The presenter follows with various scenarios and solutions, featuring the pros and cons of each. In an organized manner, the presentation will lead the audience to that solution favored by the presenter using facts as well as examples from similar business situations. Such a presentation may propose that a company introduce a new product or service or expand plant and equipment. Motivational presentations are also in this category as they seek to convince the audience to act in a certain way.
Group presentations effectively communicate the findings of a team. They are informational in structure, but also seek to convince the audience to accept new strategies and programs. Several subject matter experts organize the presentation and communicate with the audience as a “tag team.” These are often used at large corporate meetings where a senior executive will present the overall corporate direction followed by a series of staff members who present detailed strategies.
Many presenters today utilize computer programs such as PowerPoint and Flash to enhance their presentations. But the simple blackboard can also augment presentations by capturing audience feedback and questions. Many employ both. Studies show that audiences remember about 20 percent of what they hear, but that increases to 50 percent if they also “see” something. Research also shows that if the audience participates in the presentation or simulates the experience, the retention rate goes up even further. PowerPoint presentations are simple, cheap and easy to edit and are an effective visual tool. Flash presentations, while more expensive, can help the audience to experience the presentation via video excerpts.
Jeff Fulton is a writer specializing in business, travel and culture. He has worked in international sales, customer relations and public relations for major airlines, and has written for Demand Studios since May 2009. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Business Administration in marketing from the University of Chicago.