How to present

It’s no secret that most people absolutely fear public speaking. Twenty five percent of people have said they fear speaking in public. In any sales role, being able to effectively communicate the benefits of the widget you’re selling to a group of people is probably the most important part of the job. If you can’t do that, how do you sell anything?

DALL·E 2024-02-27 14.15.07 - An image of a Filipino sales engineer giving a presentation to an audience in a less spacious, more intimate conference room. The audience is seated a.jpg
DALL·E 2024–02–27 14.15.07 – An image of a Filipino sales engineer giving a presentation to an audience in a less spacious, more intimate conference room. The audience is seated a.jpg

As I mentioned in the last issue, most HVAC companies do a great job training their inside sales team on products, but they do a terrible job of actual sales training. I gave some tips on how to go out and get started on getting to know your accounts. This week, I thought I’d give some tips on giving presentations.

  • Know your audience. You need to know who you’ll be presenting to so you can tailor your presentation to them. Are they young engineers? All salespeople or will there be some support staff? Have they heard of you, your company, or your product? Knowing the type of people you’ll be speaking to will help you tailor your presentation so that they get the most value out of it.

  • Refine your slide deck. I could write a whole piece on slides.

  • Lay out objectives. Let them know what you’re there to present and what you hope that they get out of it.

  • Simplify. If your audience has to read your slides, you’ve failed. Slides are only meant to be visual guides. They should have on them at most, a graphic, a couple bullet points, and/or a statement. They are there to hear YOU speak. They are not there to read slides.

  • Don’t memorize. You should know the material and the order and flow of your presentation, but don’t memorize what you’re going to say word for word. You don’t want to sound like a robot. Your slide deck should be your visual cue as to what is next on your presentation. Look at the slide and then talk about what is on the slide and get your point across.

  • Have a consistent theme. Let’s be honest: we all borrow and take from existing presentations. Both internal and external. But at least make it look consistent. Nothing bothers me more than when a slide looks different from the previous slide. Same fonts, font sizes, colors, etc.

  • Watch your timing. Most humans have an attention span of about 45 minutes to an hour. Keep your presentation shorter than an hour, or include a breaks every 45 mins or so for longer presentations. You’ll lose your audience if you don’t.

  • Relax. One thing I realized is that people in the audience are generally interested in what you have to say. If you’re nervous, you generally start to talk faster, and the audience senses it. I make it a point to speak slower than I would when conversing. It lets the concepts sink in with your audience and it paces you so you can think of what you’re going to say next.

If you read or watch one thing

Sam Altman wrote a blog post on how to be successful. Sam is best known for being the CEO of Open AI but his thoughts can be applied to any field.

Getting good at communication—particularly written communication—is an investment worth making. My best advice for communicating clearly is to first make sure your thinking is clear and then use plain, concise language.

I think this is underrated. In our HVAC industry, you don’t realize how much you communicate. From a larger scale such as presentations, to even daily tasks such as email, we are constantly communicating in some form. So the better you are at getting your point across clearly and quickly, the better you are at your job. You’d be surprised at how many people love to talk just to hear their own voice.

Sam on building a network:

An effective way to build a network is to help people as much as you can. Doing this, over a long period of time, is what lead to most of my best career opportunities and three of my four best investments. I’m continually surprised how often something good happens to me because of something I did to help a founder ten years ago.

We all know how small our industry is. I’ve had opportunities present themselves just by keeping in touch with people and generally trying to leave a good impression on them.

Great piece which I encourage you all to read.


Modine Acquires Scott Springfield Manufacturing – Yet another HVAC manufacturer acquires another.

Job site photo of the week

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