Chris Tse is an accomplished entrepreneur with a booming business. His company, Blitz Conditioning Inc., is just five years old, but the local personal training studio already has a client base of about 300 people and twelve staff members, thanks to Chris’ perseverance and business acumen.
But building a successful company from the ground up isn’t the only thing that Chris does. He is also an accomplished public speaker and Prezi creator. In fact, presentations are a key part of his business strategy. His prezi, “Taking Your Online Business Offline,” has racked up thousands of views since he shared it on social media, and he regularly presents to a wide variety of audiences as a means of promoting his brand.
We sat down with Chris to learn a little bit more about why he chose Prezi as his presentation software of choice, and how he goes about building his presentations, whether he’s lecturing to a crowd of personal trainers or speaking in front of a room full of marketing professionals. Here’s what he had to say:
Let’s start from the beginning—how did you first discover Prezi?
I used to be involved in research at a university, and I first saw Prezi when one my colleagues used it to give a presentation. Instead of the standard format, they were using this new tool—it was really interesting, because the tool triggered a lot of discussion in academia at the time.
When I started up Blitz the business five years ago, I switched from slides to Prezi, because Prezi seemed to flow really well with how I give presentations. It made more sense to me than to go through a linear PowerPoint deck or some other similar software. I found that when I was marketing stuff, Prezi was much more visually entertaining for my audience. Old-school presentations are so mundane and boring that I really lost a taste for them.
What kind of presentations have you been giving since starting Blitz?
I present to a diversity of crowds. There is the business crowd—Blitz is seen here as one of the more successful models that has used social media to build a client base, so I give talks about how to build your online presence as a brand. I have also given quite a few presentations at our local technical institute with other personal trainers or with academics; they tend to fall in love with my prezis, because they visualize my information in a way that just makes more sense. Whenever I have a conversation with somebody related to personal training, I end up using one of my prezis.
What are some of the things you keep in mind when building a presentation for a more business-focused audience versus an audience of personal trainers? How do you go about customizing your messages?
First and foremost, I pay attention to the visuals. Understanding how a presentation looks on a laptop versus a large screen—depending on where you’re going to be presenting—is key. Making sure that my visuals aren’t too flashy for your audience is also very important to me.
For the business crowd, I like to show sample cases that stand on their own as individual stories but that work together as a whole, as well. With a more academic audience, I need to ensure that my presentation follows a very logical flow. I like to model my presentation after what the audience wants to hear me say. I’ve seen people—particularly in academia—do the opposite, where they build a presentation that is all about the design rather than the content; the problem with this approach is that people are so amazed by the platform that they spend more time talking about the prezi than the ideas in the presentation.
How has giving these kinds of presentations had an impact on your business? Do you recommend that other entrepreneurs develop a public speaking program?
Becoming known as a thought leader on multiple fronts—the social media marketing, along with the wellness and personal training—has been massive for my business. We’re not a one-trick pony that just does fitness education; we can talk about how we market our trainers, which allows us to tap into a whole new audience. People who are learning to be personal trainers in classes get really excited when they see that there’s a difference between how our organization markets and gets business compared to others in the area—which gives us a competitive edge.
Plus, using Prezi for all these presentations shows that we’re not a conventional company; we have that natural, visual appeal.
What’s the story behind your prezi, “Take Your Online Business Offline?” Did you expect it to go viral in the way that it did?
I first posted that prezi on our Blitz Condition website—it was for a social media conference we were attending. We shared it on Twitter, and I think the Prezi Twitter account retweeted it, adding that it was a great use of an existing template. It seemed to gain quite a bit of traction after that, with lots of people sharing it on social media.