The Art of Presentation in a Cyber World

As a trainer or presenter you know what to do – you’ve probably been doing it for years. You know how to engage your audience, you know the body language to watch for, you know how to make eye contact and to include your audience in a wide sweep so that everyone feels involved in your presentation. You know how to stand, what slides to use, when not to use slides, you know that the tenor of your voice can be used to emphasize points and that you can question your audience to develop a point. You are confident in your subject and you know exactly what is expected of you.

So, why are you sweating? Why are you looking at your slides and wondering if it will work and whether what you are going to say is actually going to make a difference? Because they changed the goal posts! Whether you like it or not, presenting and training is taking on a new dimension – that of the cyber world.
 
The rules and the practices that work so well live are all of a sudden ‘old hat’. You will be in front of your audience, but instead of standing there in your smart suit or your jeans and tee shirt, or (for the more extrovert) in your Hawaiian shirt and hula skirt – all your delegates could potentially see is your face. And up close and personal too! Every twitch, every flick of the hair or scratch of the ear that is so easy to use as a pause in speech when you are standing live in front of your audience is suddenly brought into sharp focus. Your facial expressions are watched closely by your audience – which could number hundreds – and you give everything away.
 
Yes, it’s a different world. The use of cyber-training with technology such as Webex TM, and GoToMeeting┬«, (to name but two of the many systems out there) means that you can deliver ‘live’ training to a remote audience. And not just remote from you – they could be remote from each other in both geographical and time-zone terms. So your methods of engaging the audience have to change. You can’t rely on the internet communicating your natural charisma, unfortunately.

But good performance is good performance, and the key to ensuring success through new technology is the same as it was for live performance – practice. But there are other elements that need to change. Whereas live you may need few or even no slides, when you are presenting your ideas on the web, it is quite likely that you will need a really engaging slide show to keep the audience watching. After all – they are probably sitting at their computer, and a little note may pop up saying they have a new email from a client – and they will be highly tempted to go and take a quick peek…
 
The screen of their computer suddenly becomes your training room. They can stand up and ‘walk out’ on you with no embarrassment whatsoever! They can see you, but you won’t be able to see them and nor will the other delegates. So their exit, should they chose to make it, is relatively painless. 
 
You may need far more slides than for a live presentation, you will probably need less words but far more pictures, far more interactive elements and opportunities for delegates to contribute their thoughts and comments using the technology. Your delivery can still be interactive and you can have break-out sessions, shared virtual white-boards and many other dandy little widgets that your chosen web conferencing provider can entice you with – but you must practice. Don’t just practice your presentation – understand the technology and not only what you want to happen, but what could go wrong. Prepare alternative scenarios or additional material just in case that break-out function is overloaded, or that the server in Spain refuses to play. Above all, make sure the delegates know in advance what is expected of them – and that goes as much for live training as for training over the web.
 
Back to your performance: the tone of your voice is still important, but it will be distanced by the fact you are being heard over a phone line or VOIP. Your body language will still be important, but it will be concentrated around your face or head and shoulders. Think about your colour scheme in relation not just to your surroundings (background to the camera) but to the slides you are showing. Is your bright orange ‘confidence’ suit going to clash with the red corporate banner on the presentation? 
 
And how will your audience react? Will they gain as much benefit from this kind of presentation as they would if they were in the room with you? Having already noted that their ability to ‘opt out’ is far easier on line, just as with live training you will engage people on different levels according to their preferred learning styles. There will be some who are delighted that they don’t have to leave their desk to complete that mandatory CPD module, and others who begrudge the fact that they don’t get their day out of the office and the nice hotel lunch. 
 
Engaging your audience – and keeping them engaged – comes right back down to three key elements: content, presentation and performance. For live training I would perhaps reverse the order, but making sure that what you are saying (content) is relevant and of interest to your audience is crucial for their engagement. Make sure that the presentation method (avoiding infamous ‘death by PowerPoint TM – live or on-line) is appropriate. And finally, your performance must be convincing. You have to know your subject and be ready to respond to questions, you have to be able to improvise and to understand the differences in the media you are using to present and, therefore, how your audience will relate to you.
 
You could argue that cyber-training will never replace live training completely and I would agree; but I would also caution that as the technology develops and the ease of use improves, it is going to be a highly cost effective method for organisations to address remote audiences. Be prepared, and ready to take on board the way technology is changing how we present and train.

To Win More Negotiations, Unlock Hidden Values – Negotiation Tip of the Week

To win more negotiations, you must be able to unlock the hidden values of the other negotiator. Unless you do that, you’re negotiating against a phantom; you don’t really know what you’re negotiating against or for.

Before engaging in a negotiation, consider the following thoughts to unlock the other negotiator’s hidden values. In so doing you’ll be able to negotiate more effectively, which will enhance your negotiation efforts.

Why it’s important to unlock someone’s hidden values:

Have you ever told someone how good a deal they were getting because they’d make/save more money, look better, feel stronger, etc.? All the while, they were thinking, none of that matters to me. While making your pronouncements, you were blowing it (i.e. getting farther from a deal than closer). Unless you’re playing to someone’s strong suit (i.e. unlocking their hidden values), you’re playing weakly.

Knowing someone’s value proposition allows you to be more targeted with your offers and counteroffers. It also allows you not to stray into territories whereby you might make an offer that’s detrimental to your negotiation position. In such a case, you might give away something for almost no return.

Points to consider:

Everyone doesn’t think like you nor do they think like some that you may assume they think like. Thus, you must understand, by asking, what is of importance to the other negotiator. Such questions can be positioned as:

  1. What would you like to come out of this negotiation with at minimum and maximum?
  2. Why?
  3. What are you willing to forgo or give up to obtain the minimum and maximum that you’re seeking from the negotiation?

The answers to just the above 3 questions alone will give you a wealth of insight about the other negotiator’s hidden values.

What to be mindful of:

All negotiators will not readily expose their value system. They want to know yours first. That could create a challenge. If you experience that in your negotiation:

  1. Be mindful of the negotiator style/mindset that you’re dealing with. Some negotiators are very tough negotiators that don’t want to let you know what they value most in the negotiation. Their fear may stem from them thinking you might take advantage of them. If this is the case, assuage their fears by being open and above board. You can convey such sentiments through your words and add more meaning to them by exhibiting body language gestures that add value to your words (e.g. hands above the table, no large sweeping gestures that might indicate a grandiose perspective, speaking at the same pace and speed as the other negotiator, etc.)
  2. All negotiations are built on trust. Thus, the quicker you can establish trust, the more trusting both of you will be of the other. Therefore, always attempt to establish trust as quickly as you can in a negotiation by giving away as much of your position as the situation warrants. You can enhance the process by letting the other negotiator know the perils you’ll face if the negotiation is not successful. Just be cautious about what you disclose related to the impact it’ll have on your negotiation abilities going forward (i.e. don’t give too much information too soon).

We’ve all been trapped in negotiations that appeared to be headed for doom and realized that such was occurring because we were not addressing the other negotiator’s values. After reading this article, you’ll be better prepared to unlock the hidden values of the other negotiator. That will accelerate your negotiation win rate… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating.

Just Exactly When Does A Negotiation Start?

While working with one of my sales negotiations students the other day I was asked a great question that I don’t often hear. The student had reported that she was feeling frustrated because she was working on a number of deals and when it came time to negotiate, the actual negotiations seemed to drag on forever. “Isn’t there a better way?” she asked. Turns out that there is…

Start Before You Start

If you want a sales negotiation to go quickly, then you need do everything possible to make the actual negotiation just a formality – work everything out before you sit down at the table. Sound impossible? It’s not.

A negotiation actually starts long before the first negotiation session. Chester Karrass, the godfather of negotiating, believes that it really starts when you first make contact with the other side of the table. What this means is that yes, a negotiation can extend over a very long time; however, that doesn’t mean that the actual process of negotiating needs to be lengthy.

The Power Of The Before Time

All too often, what sales negotiators don’t realize is that every moment of contact with the other side of the table is vitally important. When you are interacting with the other party and the negotiations have not formally started, this is exactly when the most valuable information can be learned.

If you are the one doing the buying in a sales negotiation, then this is the time that you can observe the salesperson on the other side. You make casual inquiries into such critical items as how they price their products, who has already bought the product, how the salespersons year is going, where they rank in their organization, etc.

This pre-negotiation time is just as valuable if you are trying to sell something in a sales negotiation. You can determine if this is the right person that you should be talking with, how much they have to spend as well as who really controls the money.

The Gift Of Gab

One of the most important things that you can use the early encounter time to do is to create a relationship with the other side. Ultimately, during any sales negotiation there will be a certain amount of tension on both sides of the table.

If you’ve been able to use your pre-negotiation contact time to develop a relationship with the other side of the table, then you’ll be able to quickly diffuse any stressful situations that pop up.

What All Of This Means For You

Novice sales negotiators don’t realize that a sales negotiation really starts long before either side sits down at the negotiating table. The process of reaching a deal really starts when the first contact is made.

Using the informal interaction time to explore where the other side of the table is coming from is a great way to use this opportunity. Taking the time to build a relationship with the other side will also pay dividends later on in the process.

Smart sales negotiators use all of the time that they have to move closer to reaching a successful agreement. They know that the time before negotiations start is very valuable and if used correctly, then they can make the outcome of the negotiations a foregone conclusion…