5 Steps to Make Your Next Presentation or Sales Pitch Perfect

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For more than 15 years, I have become a trusted adviser and educator working with mid-market to global organizations providing sales training, change management, as well as user adoption strategy services. In that time, I have successfully conducted countless presentations and sales pitches to audiences as small as a single decision maker to conducting in-person classroom training to as many as 450 sales associates in a single day.  If I were to simplify the basis of my work, I would contribute much of it to the ADDIE Model.

How did you start your last presentation or sales pitch?  Did you jump straight into creating a slide deck?  How long did it take?  This approach is quite common and often results in a death by PowerPoint experience for your audience.

In this week’s post, I’ll share with you how I used the ADDIE model in the design of a recent class I taught as a guest lecturer at the University of California San Diego.  This 5 step approach is the key to perfecting your next presentation or sales pitch.

The ADDIE Model

Initially developed for the U.S. Army by Florida State University in 1975, the ADDIE Model is a well-known instructional system design (ISD) model that is traditionally used by educators and instructional designers.  The five phase method – Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation- represent a set of dynamic guidelines that can be applied in a number of ways.  ADDIE can be used for developing a single presentation, designing an entire training course, to effectively tracking the progress of a project such as the deployment of training program.


SmartDraw Tip: To create this diagram, I leveraged an existing template.  In the Left Panel, navigate to the Marketing Charts Category.  Select the Interrelationship Diagrams Sub-Category.  Click the Interrelationship Diagram-1. Modify the diagram as you see fit.

ANALYZE the Audience

During the analysis or discovery phase, the goal is to gather information to make your presentation or pitch relevant to your audience.

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What are the measurements of success?
  • What are the goals and objectives of the presentation or pitch?
  • What are the desired outcomes in terms of knowledge, skills, attitudes, or behavior?

The amount of information gathered during this phase may vary.  When the professor from UC San Diego and I were coordinating the lecture, our schedules posed a challenge.  As result, we resorted to a series of phone calls and emails.  In an effort to gather as much information as possible, I shared the mind map below with the professor.

Guest Lecture Planning Mtg1

SmartDraw Tip:  To modify the color scheme or theme, you have the option to manually apply different fill colors or apply a theme to the entire diagram.  To apply a pre-existing theme, navigate to the Home Ribbon.  Select the appropriate option in the Theme drop-down menu.  The theme will automatically apply to the diagram.

As the Director of Learning & Organizational Development, I oversee our Professional Services division.  In my role, I will conduct what is referred to as a Discovery Meeting as part of our End User Education and Adoption program.  Essentially, this meeting is intended to complete the Analysis phase.  I will send the below mind map in advance to allow the client time to prepare as well as level set expectations for the meeting.  In addition, I will also brand the mind map to the client’s corporate colors as demonstrated the branding of the mind map above.


DESIGN Your Selling Points

The design phase encourages you to specify your selling points or learning objectives – depending on the type of presentation you’re designing.  The focus of my lecture was to demonstrate how technology can enhance patient care on an individual level.  Patients can have a positive impact on their health through the use of everyday tools such as my smart phone.  To learn more, go to Diabetes Control: Lower Your A1C in 90 Days.

Here is one of the planning diagrams I used not only the design my lecture but as a deliverable for the students immediately following the class.

TechnologyandPatient Care

SmarDraw Tip: To create this diagram, I leveraged an existing template.  In the Left Panel, navigate to the Marketing Charts Category.  In the Circle Spoke Diagrams Sub-Category, select Spoke Diagram (7-piece).  To insert a photo opposed to text, select one of the circles.  In the Insert Ribbon, select Picture. In the Add Picture dialogue box, click Replace Text.  Browse to select the appropriate picture, click Open.  To position the picture, simply double click on the picture and a menu will enable you to make changes as needed.

DEVELOP Your Diagrams & Content

Once you’ve completed the first two phases of Analysis and Design, the development of your presentation comes naturally.  Here is a traditional formula that can be used to create any presentation or pitch.

Presentation Formula

Since the university’s classroom computer did not have SmartDraw installed, my plans of conducting my presentation directly from SmartDraw were modified.  Instead, I simply exported my diagrams into a PowerPoint presentation.  Here is the outline of my lecture that I also printed out and used as my lecture notes.

Lecture Outline_Speaking Points1

SmartDraw Tip: Since I was unable to present my diagrams directly from SmartDraw, I simply exported them to PowerPoint following the mind map above.  Select the appropriate diagram.  In the Presentation Ribbon, you have the option to customize the diagram’s sequencing or animation by using the Sequence drop-down menu.  Prior to exporting the diagram you have the option to include the animation in the PowerPoint.  If you would rather not, simply de-select the Include Animation check box.  Click the To PowerPoint control and the diagram will appear at the end of the deck.  


During the implementation phase, the plan is put into action.  Throughout your presentation or pitch, it’s inevitable that you will gather further insight into the needs of your audience.  No matter how much you prepare, you will not be able to anticipate every one of your audience’s needs.  Yet, as a best practice its good idea to provide some type of deliverable or take-away.

When you’re conducting a PRESENTATION, provide items such as:

  • Reference materials such as a user guide
  • Job aides such as tip sheets for quick reference
  • Access to the actual presentation deck and other visual aides
  • Your contact information

When you’re conducting a SALES PITCH, provide items such as:

  • Information matrix outlining the various types of products or levels of service
  • Synopsis of the selling points outlined in the presentation
  • Details for next steps and action items for both parties
  • Your contact information

EVALUATE and Learn From the Experience

The evaluation phase consists of two parts: formative and summative.  The formative evaluation takes places at each stage of the ADDIE process.  It is noted in the model diagram as “revise.”  The summative evaluation can be formalized by issuing an evaluation form. Yet, a more informal and common approach is through the reaction or verbal feedback provided by the attendees.

When I taught the class at UC San Diego, it was evident that the students were new to SmartDraw and were anxious to learn more about its features and functionality.  As a follow up to my lecture, I provided my deck as well as a number of resources (see below) to the attendees.

Recommended Sequence of Viewing the Resources Provided

How to Get Started1

Website Highlights: Online Resources of Medical Related Diagram Templates Click to download Website Highlights.  Note: The pdf includes live links to the actual resources for your convenience.

SmartDraw Website Highlights_UCSD

SmartDraw Quick Reference Guide Click to download Two-Page Quick Reference Guide.

QRG tipsheetsSoftware Highlights: Medical Related Diagram Categories & Sub-Categories  This mind map outlines all of the templates related to the medical field.  In addition, I included a “SmartDraw Element Hierarchy” to explain the parent-child relationship among the categories to further their understanding as to how the system is organized.

Software Highlights_UCSD