Years ago, in an excellent course my team and I learned some great presentation techniques. Two of them almost never got used; apparently because the presenters were uncomfortable with them. Let’s have a look at them, the reasons we hesitate to use them, and the power when we do.
1) No One Else
2) What Do You Think?
We’ll look at Number 2 here.
(This article is written in context of a presentation, or demonstration, done for the purpose of selling.)
Years ago, in an excellent course my team and I learned some great presentation techniques. Two of them almost never got used; apparently because the presenters were uncomfortable with them. Let’s have a look at each of them, the reasons we hesitate to use them, and the power when we do.
2) What Do You Think?
This technique is a second-level closing when you want to continue discussion after a presentation or demonstration. When you’re finished your presentation, ask the audience, “What do you think?”
The toughest part of this one is keeping quiet.
The second toughest part is keeping your team quiet!
We just aren’t comfortable with silence. But what a great opportunity to get immediate, uncensored feedback. If you didn’t have rapport during the presentation you may not get a fast response to this. and sometimes someone will say we need to digest & renew before we comment. That’s fine. Also might be informative.
So why don’t presenters ask this question? I believe it’s the same as the reason we don’t say “Only We”:
We fear these things happening:
- What if no one says anything?
- What if the answer is negative?
If no one says anything you can prod a bit – ask the project leader or senior person in the room. If there’s absolutely no response, it’s OK. Nothing works every single time. But give it time! The audience doesn’t like silence either. They’ll probably try to fill that silence with an answer.
If the answer is negative, you have important information you didn’t have before. Most people won’t give you negative feedback in public; but, if there is negative feedback coming, you WANT to be able to address it in front of the whole audience, usually. Handling objections is a key part of selling; so you’re probably able to handle it. If not, you can get back to them. But get back to everyone. This is much better than leaving your presentation happy, only to learn there was a big problem you didn’t get a chance to address.
What can we do to make us confident asking this question that is a potential source of valuable information?
- Do the necessary work.
Be prepared to handle objections.
Anticipate what those might be, by truly knowing your audience’s needs, requirements and current situation ahead of time.
Objection handling is a skill itself. Your sales management may already have given you tools to build that skill. Use them.
- Strategize as a TEAM
When preparing for the presentation, set a strategy with the other people involved in the presentation or opportunity.
Tell them you’re going to ask the question.
Plan how each team member should respond to silence or a negative response.
- Know Your Strengths and Use Them
Maybe Bravery is one of your Signature Strengths. Lucky you in this case. You’ll find this question easier than some others will.
If Bravery is not high on your Signature Strengths, maybe Creativity is. Then find creative ways to ask the question; and more important creative ways to handle the possible silence or negative feedback.
Take the Via survey here and learn your signature strengths and how to use them.
Be brave at the Front of the Room. Find out what people think. It can be extremely useful information.