Improving virtual presentation skills takes a little time, energy and practice. CINC CEO Alvaro Erize and Terri Sjodin of Sjodin Communications share their tips at Connect Now.

Everyone’s had months to adapt to Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other virtual platforms for communicating with and presenting information to clients. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone’s become good at presenting information virtually by now.

Alvaro Erize

Sales is “both an art and a science,” Alvaro Erize, CEO of CINC, a platform for real estate leads and CRM software, reminded Connect Now attendees at a panel titled, “An Introduction to Level Up Your Virtual Presentations,” on Tuesday. The panel was sponsored by CINC.

And in order to develop more polished, persuasive presentations — especially in a world where everyone works from home — it’s important to become familiar with different systems for creating presentations and practicing in your virtual presentation space, Terri Sjodin, principal and founder of Sjodin Communications, said.

CINC and Sjodin Communications recently conducted an 18-month study about mistakes different business and sales professionals have made during sales presentations. Across the board, respondents to the survey said that making a mistake during a presentation cost them “the win, the deal or the opportunity,” Sjodin said.

So, being able to adapt presentation skills to a virtual platform is imperative for allowing your business to thrive.

Out of 12 key mistakes professionals that were surveyed reported making in presentations, the top three biggest mistakes cited were having a tendency to go into the presentation and “wing it;” concluding a presentation, but not closing during the presentation; and creating presentations that were too informative in nature and not persuasive enough.

Although winging a presentation in-person one-on-one with a client may have worked occasionally in the past, Erize and Sjodin noted, such moves can’t pass in a world of virtual presentations.

Terri Sjodin

“Now, in a virtual environment, time is not our friend,” Sjodin said. “We have a very different burden in our virtual presentations where we have to get to the point in a shorter period of time … and we’re separated by miles and miles in between.”

Sjodin said that learning to create sales presentations virtually is kind of like learning how to drive a car with a manual transmission.

“There’s just so much more to manage because you are blending that art, science and technology,” Sjodin said. “Initially it is awkward … but eventually it gets to be a lot more smooth, it’s certainly a lot more fun, and then it’s so fun that you can’t imagine going back the other way.”

Sjodin and Erize went on to explain that conducting virtual presentations in today’s world is about balancing the personal with the professional.

Using a generic digital background, for instance, can come across and strange and impersonal. Rather, individuals presenting virtually should invite their audience into their home, but work to create a professional-looking setting by being conscientious of background, lighting, personal appearance and other factors.

Sjodin gave examples of various acquaintances that have “create[d] their own in-home studio experience” that looks very professional just by playing around with different seating arrangements, camera angles or art in the background.

And when a parent experiences an inevitable interruption from a kid having trouble with Zoom school, Sjodin said, “most people are quite forgiving, but our responsibility is to address those interruptions and move [on] gracefully.”

When Sjodin conducts virtual presentations, she has a cart set up in front of her with all of her materials in it, including her laptop, so that she can move to different locations in her house as it suits the presentation’s needs.

Sjodin pointed out that none of these updates to improve virtual presentations need be an expensive investment either — all it takes is a bit of time, energy and creativity.

“It does take a little bit of time, but again, just think about the possibilities,” Sjodin said.

Email Lillian Dickerson

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