More and more often now, I am working with people and doing presentations over the phone and the web. This is very convenient both for me and for the buyer/audience. Many buyers report they would rather get introduced to a product or concept this way versus the traditional face to face meeting, as it takes less time and is less disruptive.
But, with this convenience comes risk. Number one is that you can’t observe what’s going on in their office. Unless you create a very interactive conversation they will most likely check out. They will:
– Check their email
– Browse the web
– Clean their desk
– You choose
Additionally you can’t see their expressions or the nod and shake of their heads. It is hard to know how your message is being received. And yet as I have participated in many of these I observe, the subject matter expert (SME) gets on the phone and then they spew. They broadcast; facts, data, processes and information and rarely do they take a breath to check and see how the audience is doing. Don’t get me wrong, many of them are polished, they are well versed in their material and they are articulate. But, they are “presenting” not “engaging”.
This is so important. When I am with a (SME) I will brief them letting them know, that I will interrupt and I will ask questions and that I will be calling on the audience because, I want them engaged.
So what can we do to help?
- Educate your presentation team on interactive presentations (ask questions, call on people, check in with their feelings).
- Check your software – Many of the tools give you a symbol, (a red exclamation point in some), to say John is not on your screen anymore.
- Pause occasionally to let them catch up. Then ask individuals what they think about the last point, how it might apply to them and so on.
If you engage your audience they pay closer attention and if they are more engaged, they are more likely to respond in a positive way to your message.
Good Luck out there,