Presentation Materials- Checklist Week 4

Presentation Materials- Checklist Week 4

Date: December 02, 2008

First Impressions are Everything

Last week’s focus was on conducting market research. This week, we will discuss the importance of quality presentations.


First impressions are extremely important. Psychologists say first impressions have a “primacy effect”. The “primacy effect” in essence is the base for all impressions moving forward. So, if you make a bad first impression, all future opinions will be influenced by the first negative impression.

Solomon Asch, a famous psychologist, performed an experiment in which he provided two groups of students with a list of character traits of a speaker prior to his arrival.

The first group was given a list that described the speaker with ‘cold’ traits while the second group was given a list describing the speaker with ‘warm’ traits.

Upon the completion of the speech, the students were asked to describe the speaker as either cold or warm. Overwhelmingly, the students of group one rated the speaker as “cold” and the second group overwhelmingly rated the speaker as “warm”.

The significance of the experiment was that each group had listened to the same speaker give the same speech. It demonstrated the impact that first impressions have on an individuals view whether it is a reference someone has made, a cold call, or a letter you have sent.

This factor is extremely important for inventors to realize. Keep it in mind throughout getting a product to market. Not setting a proper first impression can hinder your progress significantly.

For Example:

  • A product development executive receives a hastily recorded and unplanned voicemail about a ‘great idea’ and never returns the call.
  • A customer sees a poorly packaged product and questions its quality in a split second leading them not to buy. The packaging is later improved – the customer still questions the products quality.
  • A potential buyer receives a package with unimpressive materials – she never opens the presentation.

These types of situations happen on a daily basis for many inventors. While a product may be of high quality, many inventors forget that their behavior and presentation has a large impact on whether that quality will ever even have the opportunity to be evaluated.

EVERY interaction is a presentation. You should have verbal ‘material’ prepped for plan phone calls and tangible materials for group and individual presentations.

Let’s use a man named “John” who has invented a new flat tire repair product as an example.

John calls a potential distributor and leaves a voicemail saying, “Hi, this is John. I found you online and I have a product you are really going to be interested in, call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx and I’ll talk to you more about it”. Do you think John will get a call back?

The chances are that he will not. Contrast that with a voicemail discussing the same product such as this, “Hi, This is John Williams from Tire Doctor. While conducting research, I found that your company is the largest distributor of fix a flat online. Our team recently received a patent on a new version of fix a flat which has shown to fix up to 50% larger holes and holds for 4x as long making it the strongest and longest lasting product on the market. Additionally, the product is produced at a fraction of the cost allowing for us to provide larger margins for our distributors. Please call me at your convenience at xxx-xxx-xxxx to further discuss a potential partnership”. Will John get a call back?

The chances that he now will get a call back will go up exponentially. He has, in his ‘first impression’, demonstrated higher value, intelligence, and courtesy.

Additionally, if you get a call back but have poor presentation materials it is likely you will be working uphill against a force you could have avoided. Presenting your product deserves a good amount of time and thought.

Your initial presentation should be no longer than 10 pages in length in size 14 font (people will not read what is hard to read). The presentation should talk about your products features and benefits and should ALSO emphasize the benefits to them whether it is a distributor or a direct retailer.

If you are interested in personal hands on services to help position your product for presentations to potential buyers, feel free to email me at for further consultation.

This week: The importance of quality presentation materials

Next week: How to get manufacturing quotes

About the author of this article:

Lindsey Yeauger is the Director of Communications for Idea Buyer LLC, a new product development company that owns and operates The Online Marketplace for Intellectual Property. The site gives inventors the opportunity to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers. You can email her at