There’s an ever growing challenge on the horizon that is threatening sales effectiveness in the area of sales messaging. It’s the prolific expansion of web meetings and presentations. Getting on-line to present to a faceless group of people as you stare at your computer and talk into the telephone is a daunting task for sales people who have come to rely on their abilities to present in front of a customer, face-to-face.
You need a different perspective.
Many of the charming, personal techniques you use in-person go out the window. You can’t just think about you — the author of the presentation. You need to re-think the perspective of the person on the other end of the presentation. How is this coming across to her and her colleagues?
In one of my favorite movies, “Dead Poets Society,” the instructor, played by Robin Williams, challenges his students to break out of the traditional approach and view their work from a different perspective.
It’s the same with your online presentations. You need to think about the impact on the audience on the other end. They are staring at their computer screen, waiting to be inspired and pulled away from doing their email.
Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran of online messaging consider these 5 tips and take advantage of the opportunity you have to inspire your audience.
1.Don’t rush in to your slides or demo. Do something different, first, to grab their attention. Then take some time to establish rapport. Ask some questions. Get your audience talking. One of the biggest mistakes people make when doing web-based presentations is rushing into “presenter mode” and not having a conversation with the people on the other side.
2.It’s NOT about your solution. Often, not knowing your prospect’s needs can lead to information dumping. Make sure that your solution, technology or capabilities are proof points to the message you’re going to convey, and are not the entire presentation. Your presentation should reinforce no more than three key, customer-focused messages; even if the presentation is a technical demo. Make sure what you’re showing is relevant to the prospect’s needs.
3.Visual cues set the pace. The pace of the presentation is not determined by how quickly you talk. It is determined entirely by how quickly you move from slide to slide. If you leave a slide up for over 60 seconds, without any visual changes, the customer perceives the presentation as slow and boring. Make it invigorating by changing visuals, often. (For an example see the video at the bottom of this article.)
4.Use more photos and videos. A picture’s worth a 1,000 words and will help tell your story. Use large photos, not clip-art, to support and tell your message. A great picture or rich graphics will grab the attention of your customers on the other side of the computer and will keep them engaged with your message. Sites like http://www.freefoto.com are great resources to search.
A movie clip or commercial that reinforces your message is a great way to grab attention, too. A well placed video will connect with your customers and go along way in supporting your message.
(Not all web presentation vendors support video and some just don’t do it very effectively – so verify, test and practice ahead of time. Also, there are copyright laws you need to abide by, so check with you legal department. Make sure you always check the usage rights, so you’re not violating copyright law when using images and videos.)
5.Use more slides. Really, MORE slides?! Notice it doesn’t say more content! Rather than having a slide with 4-5 messages and “sitting on it” for 5-10 minutes while delivering, have only one key thought per slide supported by an image. You’ll increase the number of slides, but you’ll make it easier for your customers to connect to your message and remember it. (You can even try having one word per slide, check out the video at the bottom for an example.)
Don’t get caught into the mundane, traditional and predictable. Be different.
Food for Thought: An inspirational example
Watch this presentation, pay attention to the delivery style, not the content, and think about how it differs from what you’re doing today.
Very different than your typical presentation, isn’t it? Did you notice any techniques you may be able to use in your next online presentation? I’m not suggesting you should start presenting exactly like this! But this quick and witty delivery style is very effective at keeping attention and transferring information.