Client presentations: The five major pitfalls

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Advisers spend a lot of time and resources developing client presentations, but many are making five simple mistakes when it comes to articulation and interaction.

Claudio O. Pannunzio, president and founder of US based i-Impact Group, has pinpointed how advisers can improve their client interaction and, therefore, the success of their client presentation.

When preparing any presentation, Pannunzio recommends that advisers try to copy the type of language used by newspapers to craft their personal finance columns as it is the clarity and simplicity of the language that enables everyone to understand it.

“Don’t forget the basic rule: If your audience cannot follow what you’re saying or understand what you’re offering, they won’t adopt, buy or apply it,” said Pannunzio.

Five common presentation mistakes:

  1. Failing to emotionally engage with clients

Pannunzio says that simply stating the facts can actually increase the risk of losing your audience. He recommends using a real life example, story or anecdote to accompany each fact.

“Let's say that an adviser/planner is trying to convey to the audience the concept of adhering to a fixed rate withdrawal while in retirement. This could be a very dry and difficult -to-grasp concept that often has audiences roll their eyes back. The adviser/planner could easily bring an example in which someone close to him/her — a relative — ignored that rule and describe how, by intervening on time, he/she avoided a major disaster.”

  1. Not being genuine

Don’t forget to share your human side, says Pannunzio. Sharing your own mistakes will make clients feel more comfortable and help to build a closer relationship. However, Pannunzio says, once an adviser shares these mistakes, it is important to convey the lessons learnt and how they have become an important part of strategies devised to ensure clients do not experience the same challenges.

  1. Abusing technology  

Pannunzio calls this “death by presentation”. He says advisers should avoid PowerPoint presentations with too many slides, overcrowded with dense paragraphs and small font, images, sounds, animations, audio and video clips.

  1. The omission of stories and anecdotes

This includes both work stories and personal stories, says Pannunzio, “as long as stories and anecdotes ring true to the audience and help them paint a mental picture that creates an emotional bond with the presenter”. He says a human angle is always what compels an audience.

  1. Speaking jargon

The general rule here is to stay away from acronyms that are not easily recognised.  “Advisers/planners should pay particular attention when using terminology like asset allocation, portfolio duration, volatility, and proactively provide an easier-to-understand explanation of such terminology,” says Pannunzio.

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