If you want to drive to deep insights and strong team alignment, consider applying techniques that compel your audience to think with you. This is most effective when you need to have strong intellectual and emotional connections. Effectively, you need to discuss something really important.
Many of the executive presentations we deliver fall into this category.
For example, several of our clients have wanted to move their sales teams from product sales to solution sales. Intellectually this may make a lot of sense. But it is difficult.
Let’s use that situation as an example to illustrate 5 techniques that compel your audience to meditate with you as you examine an important topic. This blog post will cover off on two.
Mention audience members by name. When you mention an audience member, you change the tone. It is like you are talking to the audience members individually. Consider the difference in impact these two ways of expressing the same idea might have on audience engagement.
“We have examined the sales results and concluded our customers are interested in solving problems – not necessarily in having newer, faster equipment. Customer opportunities focused on solutions close faster and up to 30% more often.”
- or -
“Roger, I remember the two of us talking last spring. You talked about seeing how our faster equipment could really solve some tough problems for your customers – and when you talked to one of your customers in those terms, they agreed to start running a pilot right away. Today that is one of your biggest accounts. The numbers reinforce your perspective. Customer opportunities focused on solutions close faster and up to 30% more often.”
Ask questions. Whether the members of the audience want to or not, when you ask a question they mentally answer. It can be a good way to connect in a manner that gets the audience thinking and agreeing with your premise. Consider the following two options to saying the same thing.
“Customers frequently attend a meeting with things on their mind. We can use these moments to understand the solution that is really going to work for them.”
- or -
“How many of you have talked to a customer that let you chat for a moment about a new product and then tried to change the subject? Something like, ‘Listen. We could talk more about your product, but our real issue is driving out costs around some of our basic utility items so we can focus on other things.’”
Feel the difference? (Notice you mentally answered). Questions have the power to create an immediate connection between you and your audience. In the best case, you ask a question to which they have the same answer as you wanted to offer.
There are more powerful techniques. In the next blog entry we will discuss three more techniques.
- Connect around common experience
- Reference current events
- Localize to venue
You have your own techniques for getting people to engage. Can’t wait. We’re on the edge of our seats.