In a prior blog, we shared five techniques for delivering more effective sales presentations. Recently we came across a blog post in IdeaMensch that introduced an additional idea that we did not discuss – so we’re amending our post and adding a sixth point – conversations are more engaging than presentations – talking with is more effective than talking at.
As shared in the blog, the culprit is inherent in the root of the word presentation. Information is being presented to us. We sit quietly while someone “shows” us something and “tells” us why we need to know it. Often using phrases like “it’s critical …” or “the research clearly shows” in order that the listener is aware of the importance of what is being presented. With presentations, it becomes easy to tune out. We don’t really take in all the information coming at us. And quite frankly we don’t even want to because we are being kept at arm’s length. We are being talked at … so we wait with increasing impatience for it to stop.
Conversations are simply much more engaging than presentations. There may be information that must be revealed, but it’s couched in a conversational narrative that conveys a desire for mutual understanding and comprehension. We are invited to hear what is being imparted and take it in on a personal level. It feels authentic … and real to us.
While most successful sales people are relatively good at interacting with single individuals as soon as they have a meeting with multiple people the train often jumps the track. ‘Talking to” goes way up … and “talking with” goes way down. But should it? Short answer: No.
Just because it’s a meeting with multiple people doesn’t mean you have to launch into presentation mode and start talking more. In reality, when talking with a group, each person in the audience is listening as an individual so remembering that point will automatically result in a better connection with your audience.
Now are there times in sales when you have to do a formal type presentation – with PowerPoints and perhaps, a podium. Yes, of course. But the moral of this story is too often we jump into that mode where it is not required. In many meetings and even in some formal presentations the better way is to remember: conversations trump presentations.
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