Presentation Techniques From Peitho, Greek Goddess of Persuasion

I am obsessed with how the various aspects of any sales process align with the behavioral strengths that women in business naturally have. Those behavioral types manifest themselves universally in business. Carl Jung believed that every archetype, every personality, and every character that has ever existed has assumed a role that is borrowed or worn, like an article of clothing, and then returned to the wheel of time. As a sales coach, I write about female business archetypes, metaphorically as Greek Goddesses, and incorporate the various techniques and competencies in a sales role to tell the story of how to create an authentic sales process.

In the Olympic Battles of Business, Every Women is a Goddess.

Of the seven Greek Goddesses that I write about, the one that personifies and commands the sales competency of presentations is the Goddess Peitho--the Goddess of Persuasion. The daughter of Aphrodite and wife of Hermes, she was known for powerful persuasion and presentation skills. Peitho's symbol is a white dove. I am proud to share with you some of her favorite techniques.

Regardless of whether you intend to open up a PowerPoint presentation and present to a room full of people or if you plan to verbally move through some ideas for project opportunities, you are still entering a formal phase in your process. It is important that you identify which outcome you would like to walk away with prior to beginning, so that you can put that intention out there in your introduction.

One highly professional way to open any meeting, or pivot between the small talk and business, would be to include a general benefit statement in your opening. The GBS is the pivot between the initial small talk and the start of the meeting.

General Benefit Statement
The General Benefit Statement (GBS) is used to open a meeting or presentation. It follows the below formula:

1. What is great about you?
2. What is great about me?
3. How we are aligned (what do we share)?
4. What we are going to discuss today?

A General Benefit Statement for my typical (hypothetical tea manufacturer) meeting would be as follows:
Thank you for the opportunity to present to you today. (I always begin with gratitude.)
1. We are very excited to share our business with the market- leading tea manufacturer.
2. We have become the top-selling tea ingredient manufacturer due to relationships with brand icons such as you.
3. We share a passion for improving the consumers' wellness experience.
4. Today we are going to discuss what we are seeing and doing together to impact the market.

You always want to start any formal presentation by letting the people in the room know why they should listen to you. I have sat through many presentations without being told the big picture and what it means to me. Starting a presentation with this insight lets people know, "Hey, you should listen to this because I can help you understand why your competition is kicking your butt!" or, "Listen to what I am going to say because you can use this information in your meeting next week." There are various professional formulas to open and close meetings, but in all of them it is always important to tell people why this information will matter to them. Also make sure to put your intention, objectives, and purpose forth in the opening and then reiterate them in the closing. This is the frame that you put around your presentations. Below are some formulas for beginning this segment of your sales call.

Formal Presentation
Open with a general benefit statement similar to the one previously discussed:

1. Gratitude--thank them for the opportunity to share with them.
2. Introduce yourself (scripted).
3. Give the room the background of what led up to the presentation, to get everyone on the same page. If everyone in the room is already in the loop, still summarize this in one sentence.
4. What is great about them?
5. What is great about your company?
6. How do you align with each other?
7. Share what you are going to discuss (and how it will benefit
them) in three main points.

In a formal presentation, this opening statement should be followed by a summary of the agenda in three sentences. If your agenda is long, try categorizing the points into three categories.

Here is an example:
1. Thank you for your time, and especially for the warm welcome.
2. My name is Rena Cohen-First and I've been with Widget Company for the past 6 years, and in the ingredient industry for the past 17 years.
3. John from procurement was kind enough to invite us to share our latest technology with your group.
4. Widget Company is the leading and most innovative widget marketer in the world.
5. We have become the market-leading widget parts manufacturer due to alliances with leaders such as you.
6. We share a commitment to bettering the experience of the widget consumer.
7. Today I am excited to share with you some of our pipeline technologies that align with your target market, up-and-coming trends that we are seeing, and impacts that we are making in the industry.

If this is not a formal presentation, however, you should still begin in this way:
1. Thank them.
2. Introduce yourself.
3. What is great about them?
4. What is great about you?
5. What are we now excited to share with them? A bit more casual then the last version, this still sets the tone and professionally pivots into this segment.For the less formal presentation, the tone will be much more genial. However, you still need to hit all of your presentation points.

Here's an example:
1. Thank you for seeing me today. I appreciate your warm welcome!
2. My name is Rena Cohen-First and I've been with Widget Company for the past 6 years, and in the ingredient industry for the past 17 years.
3. We're huge fans of your company. What you're doing in the market lately has been amazing.
4. We've had a tremendous quarter because of our relationships with customers like you.
5. I want to show you what we have in the pipeline, so you can give me your opinion of whether what we're working on is going to be valuable to you in the upcoming year.

Order of Information
As you move through your slides, one highly polished way to arrange them is to start big picture and move to small, general to specific, or strategic to tactical. Another way to look at this would be to start with the size of the market, where we are positioned within it, who we are, why we are your best partner, and what we specifically can do for you:

1. The market is huge and growing.
2. We are the leaders in this market.
3. This is who we are.
4. This is why and how we are best suited to support you. 5. Here are some things that we can offer to you.

1. The market for widgets is $8 billion. It has grown 20 percent a year and is expected to reach $11 billion by 2020.
2. Our company is the market leader, has been so for the past nineteen years, and has remained so because of the work we consistently do in research and innovation.
3. This is who we are: our mission, our size, our history, our founders, our products.
4. Because of our particular strengths compared to your particular growing needs for resource support, we would be great partners for you.
5. Here are some things that we can do for you (examples, stories, prototypes, etc.).

The closing to a presentation should be a reiteration of your general benefit statement and an invitation (or confirmation) of next steps. A closing should also be where you gain their commitment to next steps. Confirming these next steps will be your pivot into the next stage.

A Closing GBS
1. What was discussed: Thank them for letting you share what you shared.
2. What you want (your objective): Let them know you are thrilled about the opportunity to partner with them on this project or opportunity.
3. What you will do next.

1. Thank you for allowing us to talk through our plans for the coming year. As discussed, Widget Corp has the most robust pipeline of next-generation widgets in the industry.
2. We are thrilled about the opportunity to further our relationship with your company and support your efforts in the emerging markets.
3. We would like to circle back next week to map out a plan for the three projects we discussed.


The next time that you need to deliver a persuasive presentaion, remember Peitho--my friend and yours. Know that you too are a powerful Sales Goddess.

Rena Cohen-First is a VP of Sales who has sold in the Food Ingredient Industry for the past 17 years, selling to the largest food and beverage manufacturers in the world. She has taught online business and leadership classes as an adjunct instructor, studied Professional and Executive Coaching, completed her MBA and Served in the US Army. She resides in San Diego with her two children and husband. Her goal is to show every woman that she can become a Sales Goddess in all circumstances. See more about Rena at: