Friday, January 28, 2011

"During a live presentation, should the presenter use the actual names of the prospects in the room?" [This question comes from a colleague who asked me to post it…]

“I often give my presentations over the phone. I am able to recognize at least some of the voices in the room and associate them with their names (and usually, their roles). I do something very similar when I’m in person, only then I write the names on my paper in the seating order they are in around the table.

In my presentations, I will try to use this knowledge. When I get a question, I might start the response with something like “That’s a great question, Tom”. Or if I know from a prior call, that Sally’s group is struggling with a particular problem, when I show how our solution addresses that problem, I might call out to Sally and say something like “Sally, would something like this be of value to your team?” Sometimes I might use a name in a more generic way, such as “In this case, we’ll pass it on to Bill and Jean for the final approval”. My thinking is that all of this makes the presentation more personable, and helps “re-nengage” people to the presentation that might have been slowly drifting away into their Blackberries.

The technique has seemed to work well for me, or, at least, it has never blatantly backfired on me. However, I’m getting some feedback now from others on our team that this is not a “best practice” for presenters. They say that it is risky, you could offend or embarrass someone by calling out them personally amongst a group of their peers’/bosses. They say that it sounds unprofessional, a bit too smarmy, and that cheapens the professionalism that we want to convey. They say, at the end of the day, that it just isn’t necessary. You can address questions to the entire group, why pigeonhole it?”

Comments – recommendations?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Deep Dive Demos - Take a Breath

I often comment that demos should be “chunked” – broken up into consumable components and spaced apart with a summary and a pause before launching into the next segment.  A Great Demo! Workshop participant today noted that even with “Deep Dive” demos you still have to come up for air periodically!  Great analogy…

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Degrees of Proof

I often comment that “the best demo is…  no demo!”  Given that a demo is one of a range of forms of proof, and given that (most typically) we want to use the least expensive approach to close a sale, what form(s) of proof do you find you need in your sales cycles?  

For example:  None (good luck with this!), Reference Call or Visit, Demo, POC, POV, Evaluation, Pilot…  And what level of resources is typically required for each of these?  (And I’ve tried to list these from the least expensive to the most resource-intensive).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Too Many Panes…

In a recent Great Demo! Workshop we noted that screens with too many panes could be, well, “paneful” and confusing to consume… 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Disappearing Mouse in PowerPoint

Many people note, with annoyance, that the mouse cursor disappears after a few seconds when showing a presentation – and complain that you have to “shake” the mouse to get it to reappear. There is a fix for this…

In PowerPoint Slide Show mode, the cursor shows briefly, for about 5 seconds or so, and then disappears. This is the native operation for PowerPoint. To make the cursor show continuously, in Slide Slow mode move your mouse to the bottom left of the screen to show the Pencil-like icon (you may have to hunt a bit to find it) and then click on it. It will bring up a small menu with “Arrow Options” at the bottom. Choose this (“Arrow Options”) and then “Visible”. This should keep your mouse visible as long as you stay in Slide Show mode…

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Screen “Background” for Demos

Many people’s laptops have photos of children, pets, or favorite vacation locations as the “backgrounds” of their screen.  While sometimes interesting, they may also be distracting or even (occasionally) embarrassing for the presenter.  One solution is to change the background to either a completely neutral screen (e.g., default Windows or Mac background) or to use the customer’s web home page.