Presentations for US-Americans

A presentation in front of an US-American audience needs to be short, concise and goal-orientated. Pay attention to the order of your structure! Do not begin by talking about the firm or the product history but emphasis the customer benefit. Then move on to the main aspects, results and conclusions.

After that you explain with practical examples how your product / service works. Repeat your customer benefit. At the end, underline why they ought to collaborate with you. State the customer benefit once again.

Don’t forget the concluding plea, to obtain the commission. You may say for example: “I don’t know about you, but this product makes a lot of sense to me. I think you would benefit a lot from working with us. What do you think?‹” Or you take action by saying: “I’ll give you an estimate. Look it over. I will call you next Monday to work out the best option for you.”

Your presentation always needs to emphasize the practical aspects, as Americans have no patience for long theoretical remarks. If you conduct a presentation in front of a mixed audience (CEO, experts, head of marketing, controllers) you ought to keep it more general. Offer a separate conversation to talk about details or refer to your handout.

Presentation style

Brevity is the soul of wit! Inform your audience how long your presentation will take and when questions can be asked. It is better to postpone questions to the end, so you can adhere to the designated speaking time. As soon as you realize your presentation will take longer than announced, let your listeners know. Overrunning time doesn’t usually go down too well, unless your listeners caused it themselves by asking interested questions in between. If you want to please your audience, finish early!

Whatever you do, by no means read your PowerPoint slides. Talk as freely as possible and use your slides merely as a guideline. It is often said, to be funny when presenting. That, however, requires your humor to correspond with that of your listeners. Since that can be very different from person to person, you are best advised to avoid this minefield.

Some advice: There will be situations in which you are invited to present your product or your idea spontaneously. Learn your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) by heart and score points by being able to present it easily offhand.


Columns of figures and complicated details don’t belong in a presentation. In order to impart them anyway, give your listeners a handout. Take various interests into consideration by preparing for example a separate handout for the budget planners, the technicians and the marketing people.

Johanna Marius

+49 (0)711 722 468 44
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