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Tips for the presenting salesperson Part I: Know the room

We all remember from our school days and how the teacher would call on us to answer a question – We all got used to it but if we were unprepared it probably caused some anxiety (to say the least!).  Now as adults, and selling-presenters, are we letting the memory of that anxiety stop us from assertively engaging our audiences?
Its a good idea to put aside these concerns and try and actively communicate with your audience for a number of good reasons:

1) See who’s interested : Periodically asking questions can be an excellent gauge of who is paying attention, who is a champion and who may be uninterested. By knowing how people respond, in real time, to your presentation you get some interesting insights that could help you close.

2) Check yourself :  It’s possible you are talking too fast, or more commonly talking “past” your audience.  Check with them and sincerely ask them if they are following – the answers may cause you to change volume, pace or even content.

3) Make it fun:  Creating conversation is key.  More people talking – especially people who know each other better than they know you is almost always more stimulating than listening to one speaker.  Getting participation is an excellent way to give your presentation a more exciting dynamic.
Often, if your product/service is a good fit, you can listen to the room as your audience will begin to sell themselves.

4) Vet the haters: This one is probably most important: people like to talk but people really like to gossip.  If you don’t create a dialog during your presentation and potentially expose some of the negativity it will only build up for the discussion after – a discussion you won’t be a part of! It’s human nature to be cynical and you want to nip that in the bud. Better you handle an objection live, in the room, than it comes out later where you can’t hear it and it snowballs.

Next blog – some ideas on opening the conversation when presenting.

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