Salespeople and prospects don’t always see eye to eye, but there is one thing they typically agree on: On-line presentations have all the sizzle of a week-old soda.
The problem is that most sellers are used to adjusting their content for each prospect, but rarely adjust the way that they deliver that content. And while this may get you winning results in live presentations, using the same delivery techniques and tools for your web presentations will have buyer’s hitting the snooze button.
Many sellers and buyers have simply lowered their expectations for virtual presentations, but that’s ultimately not a solution. That’s an excuse. The good news is that an exciting on-line presentation is possible. It can be achieved by applying many of the same tools an actor uses when transitioning from performing for a live audience to performing in front of a camera.
Adjusting From a Live to a Virtual Audience:
Imagine a stage actor who is used to working in the theater in front of a live audience, suddenly cast in a television show. And rather than adjusting to this new medium, this actor continues to use the same movements, vocal style, timing and delivery that he used on stage. After all, it worked for him there! What happens? The actor BOMBS! The audience is confused, irritated or bored and end up changing the channel, vowing never to watch that show again!
In order to gain and hold the attention of a virtual audience, actors have to make adjustments in their style and master new techniques. Why? Because the actor no longer has a physical presence to hold his audience’s attention, the stage is much smaller, the timing much tighter and the audience knows that the actor can’t see him! If you want to gain and hold the attention of your virtual audience, you need to adjust for these same factors in your presentation as well.
5 Tips to Take Your Web Presentation From Boring to Exciting:
1. Talk to one person at a time. It’s easy to feel disconnected from your audience when you can’t see them. Unfortunately, your audience quickly picks up on this and disconnects even further. You can counteract this by focusing on one person at a time in your mind’s eye and directing your words to them. Really see that person. Imagine their reactions and leave room for them. Put a photo of them up on your wall if that helps you.
2. Be Visible. People respond to faces. The more you can make yourself “real” and not just a disembodied voice, the more “live” you will appear. If you doubt this, think about how easy it is to turn down a salesperson on the phone vs. in person. Using a webcam is the best way to increase your visibility. At the very least have a credential slide with your photo on it and put it up during breaks or Q&A.
3. Leverage your voice. I’ve talked about the importance of vocal quality but nowhere is it more critical than in a virtual environment. Remove the physical element and your voice carries the weight of your presentation – multiplying the negative impact of a monotone, unclear or unpleasant voice. As your primary communication tool, you need to make sure you are in your best possible voice. Need help? Check out the Sales Warm-up Tips on my Website.
4. Plan interaction. We’re quick to blame a lack of interaction on our audience — “they weren’t paying attention,” “they were on their smartphones” — but interaction is not your audience’s responsibility, it is yours. And it doesn’t just magically happen. Plan a few interactive moments every 5-10 minutes, whether it’s questions, a quiz or a white-boarding session. Whatever you choose, just make sure you have a plan and that it includes plenty of variety.
5. Rehearse with technology. In their rush to get in front of prospects many sellers take shortcuts when it comes to planning and practicing a presentation. This may work out okay when presenting live, but online this can spell disaster. While technology offers many benefits, it also offers many opportunities for things to go wrong. Not taking the time to rehearse can cost you your audience. Worse, an audience may associate a shoddy production full of mistakes with you, your company or your product or service.
Good news: A virtual presentation doesn’t have to mean nap time for buyers. Better news: You can start leveraging the tools of the performer and communicate virtually in a more exciting and impactful way with prospects today!