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Closing a Deal Without Assuming a Salesperson’s Role

Contrary to popular opinion, there’s nothing inherently wrong with hard selling. If you know you have a wonderful product that should see the light of day, then by all means go and sell it hard. However, you need to be wary of the caveats and repercussions that you may encounter along the way. Make sure that when convincing a prospect of the value of your business, you remain honest and true. Also, before going around and trying to talk people into investing in your product, make sure that you’re adept enough to communicate and empathize with them.

The problem with most salespeople today is that all they care about is closing the deal. They don’t bother about being honest with the consumer. They hardly go out of their way to find out what the consumer really needs. This is exactly why sales agents have developed a notoriety so ill that people recoil when they see a salesperson trying desperately to catch their eye. The harsh truth is that being a salesperson today is synonymous to being pushy and annoying. If the economic landscape is to reach a higher bar, this stigma has to end.

The Logic Behind Using a No-Pitch Promotion

No one can change the salespeople’s reputation but the salespeople themselves. Many companies have already figured out the right ways to reach consumers without distressing them. Surely, a lot more would follow if only they knew how. If you still haven’t employed the right techniques in selling without coming off as obnoxious, here are two of the main reasons why you should change your ways now:

How to Make a Deal Without Sounding Like a Salesperson

  • To take the pressure off the audience

What seems to be the salespeople’s role today is to serve themselves and their company. However, there should be a shift in perspective. Instead of thinking of their own good, salesmen should serve customers and see how they can help alleviate their concerns. Instead of inconveniencing prospects, salespeople should strive to make matters easier and more convenient for them.

The last thing you want as a salesperson is to give the impression that you’re trying to squeeze every penny out of your customers. Shoving the product down the customers’ throat won’t make them pay for it. Put them at ease and let them be comfortable so that they can make that decision for themselves.

  • To differentiate yourself from corporate players

One of the advantages that a small business holds over a goliath is that it has an option to personalize the customer experience. Customers like it when they’re treated in a special way. This is why even big players in the business field should try to mimic the small-business model of sales. As a salesman, you should be more personable. Take your time in easing the prospect into your business. Instead of rushing to pocket the money, let the sales process unfold. If you focus on attending to your client’s needs before anything else, the deal will close itself.

How to Make a Deal Without Sounding Like a Salesperson

Four Proven Ways to Sell Without Being Aggressive

Most salesmen are torn between hard selling and using alternative sales techniques that are subtler and less aggressive. On the one hand, hard selling makes a salesperson feel like s/he has done everything in his or her power to gain a new customer. On the other hand, it is usually a turn-off to customers, and therefore, a big no-no. Fortunately, there are easy and effective ways to sell without sounding like a salesperson. Here are some of them:

1. Be transparent about your business processes

Make your business processes open for the public to see. Share every thought and effort that went into creating your product or developing your service. Tell your prospects what went wrong and what worked out in the end. In other words, lay your brand bare before them.

By doing this, you’re essentially inviting people to trust you and see you not as a business without a face but as a familiar friend whose struggles and successes they had the privilege of knowing. By being vulnerable and letting them into your business’s personal bubble, you’re giving them an invitation that they can’t turn down. The bottom line? Genuine stories sell.

2. Demonstrate what your product does

Merely talking about the product won’t cut it. To persuade a crowd of skeptic consumers, you need to let the product speak for itself. Show your prospects exactly how your product works so that they can judge for themselves whether it’s good enough to satisfy their needs. A product demonstration is a quick and effective way to tell someone just how great your offers are without actually telling them.

How to Make a Deal Without Sounding Like a Salesperson

3. Pitch at the right time and in the right place

Timing is key in every field, and it’s not surprising that it’s just as important in sales. A good salesperson can tell when it’s appropriate to approach a customer with a product offer or when it’s best to just drop it and focus on addressing the customer’s immediate concerns instead. Watch for external cues that will give you hints on whether or not a customer is open to a sales pitch. If you insist on troubling a prospect, you might end up losing a potential client for good.

4. Focus on addressing the consumer’s pain points

It only makes sense that if you let your prospects do the talking, you can’t possibly annoy or offend them. In fact, if you assume the role of a listener from the start, it’s likely for them to relax and feel comfortable around you. That said, before you make a pitch, make sure to hear out your customers’ side of the story first. Let them spill out their concerns so that you can thoroughly assess the situation. Only talk when you know that you have something useful to offer. Your proposed resolutions should revolve around their problems. Remember, the goal is to help the customers, not to take their money.

The approach to sales described here isn’t new or farfetched. In fact, it has been used by top marketers for many years now. However, until every salesperson learns how to use the methods of soft selling to better attract and gain customers, the reputation of the sales world will be stuck in the dead zone.

 

Resources:

Charles, Jeff. “5 Easy Ways to Sell Without Being Pushy or Obnoxious.” Small Biz Trends. August 31, 2015. smallbiztrends.com/2015/08/easy-ways-to-sell.html

Flynn, Pat. “How to Sell Without Selling: The Art of No-Pitch Promotion.” Smart Passive Income. May 20, 2014. www.smartpassiveincome.com/how-to-sell-without-selling-the-art-of-no-pitch-promotion

Gregory, Alyssa. “12 Tips for Using a Soft Approach to Make the Sale.” Sitepoint. June 22, 2010. www.sitepoint.com/using-a-soft-sales-approach

Iannarino, Anthony. “Don’t Mistake Selling for the Hard Sell.” The Sales Blog. May 28, 2010. thesalesblog.com/2010/05/28/don%E2%80%99t-mistake-selling-for-the-hard-sell

Nornberg, Vanessa M. “3 Ways to Tell When a Customer Is Ready to Be Sold.” Inc. August 8, 2014. www.inc.com/vanessa-merit-nornberg-nornberg/3-ways-to-tell-when-a-customer-is-ready-to-be-sold.html

Verrill, Ashley. “How to Sell Without Sounding Like a Salesman.” Scott’s Marketplace. July 17, 2013. blog.scottsmarketplace.com/how-to-sell

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WWE and Marketing: Exploring the Common Ground Between

Pro wrestling fans are everywhere. They’re prolific on social media, where they talk incessantly about their shared interest in sports entertainment. This community of fans is among the most unique and united in the world. In fact, the bigger part of them call themselves the “WWE Universe.”

World Wrestling Entertainment. WWE. It’s a name every digital native has heard before, regardless of race, social status, or personal preferences. Kicking off as a gimmicky show in the 1950s, the WWE is now regarded as an entertainment giant. It’s a billion-dollar industry with $700 million in annual revenue and fans in 180 countries. The company delivers content 52 weeks a year in 25 languages to almost 650 million homes worldwide. Indeed, no one can ignore the WWE’s encompassing reach. Its influence is so strong that the pro wrestling industry is equated with it.

As an entertainment powerhouse, the WWE has transcended generations. It has certainly left an indelible mark on pop culture. To many, it’s more than just a brand but a way of life.

Marketing Lessons from the Squared Circle: Storytelling

Marketing Lessons from the Squared Circle

What many businesspeople don’t realize is that some marketing lessons can be found in the unlikeliest of places. We’re talking about the wrestling ring. Brands who want to be as successful as the WWE should follow its footsteps by using progressive marketing tactics and public relations strategies.

By looking at the pro wrestling industry from a marketing perspective, you’ll uncover secrets that you can apply to your business. Here are some of them:

1. Storytelling must sit at your brand’s core.

The WWE calls itself “sports entertainment,” so it’s not really a legitimate sport. All matches are driven by predetermined storylines, and most of what happens inside the ring are choreographed. The business relies heavily on developing great personas and crafting winning storylines. In essence, the squared circle is where athletics marries theatrics.

Since storytelling lies at the core of the WWE, they market each superstar’s brand individually. Everyone gets his or her own entrance music, ring gear, signature pose, signature moves, and even a unique moniker. For example, when Bray Wyatt makes his entrance, people take out their flashlights and wave them through the air. When AJ Styles performs, fans pray for an Ushigoroshi. If none of this makes sense so far, perhaps you’d be familiar with John Cena, the grown-up man famous for his denim shorts, or The Undertaker, who’s always menacing in his Dead-Man costume.

But how exactly does this translate to your business? It’s simple: tell an authentic story that will make your audience care about your product. Give meaning to everything you do so that your audience will have a reason to invest emotionally in your brand. The only way to differentiate yourself from competition is to constantly bring something fresh to the table.

Marketing Lessons from WWE: Audience Dictates What Comes Next

2. The audience dictates what comes next.

What the WWE has that you should have too are data-driven storytellers. The company listens to fans to determine what to do next. As WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon said, “Our fans are the secret to our success. They tell us what they like by cheering; they tell us what they don’t like by booing; and worse, they tell us what they don’t care about by being silent.”

The WWE conducts extensive analyses to determine what appeals to their target market. They use quantifiable means of measurement to construct portraits of fans based on variables. You should do the same in your business. Gauge your audience’s sentiments so you can provide relevant content. Know what makes them tick so you can please or surprise them at will.

3. Digital media is the king of communication.

The WWE’s social media team is composed of only ten people, but that doesn’t hinder them from performing at the top of their game. In fact, the WWE garnered three Shorty Awards in 2014 for its innovative use of social media, YouTube content, and mobile apps. Podcasts are also a good form of content to promote the WWE brand, and so are YouTube videos. However, what really pushed the company to the top is its own streaming service, the WWE network. Reaching over a million subscribers in under a year, the network has inflated WWE’s international popularity.

So, what’s in this for you? As you know, social media is a must for all brands. You can use different digital platforms to appeal to your audience’s emotional side. Provide sneak peeks into behind-the-scene actions, and give your followers something to hold on to. Interact with them the way you would with a friend. Also, try to create a medium of your own—a company blog, for instance—to cultivate a loyal customer base.

Marketing Lessons from WWE: Adapt to the Changing Times

4. Adapt to the changing times.

If there’s one thing the WWE got right, it’s that they constantly evolved with the times. One of the most important decisions they made was the improvement in the portrayal of women. Until recently, female wrestlers or “divas” were considered accessories—no one took them seriously. When the Four Horsewomen came, however, women’s wrestling was revolutionized forever. Instead of “divas,” female wrestlers are now called “superstars,” like their male counterparts.

Another progress they made was the blurring of the lines between kayfabe (i.e. the fiction that happens in the ring) and shoot (i.e. reality). Before, it was considered a sin to break kayfabe, but today, the injection of reality in storylines makes the turn of events more interesting. Fans love the gray area where reality meets fiction.

The WWE’s adaptive nature enabled it to reach audiences outside its demographic. From a majority of male audience, the company’s viewership has now grown to include kids, females, and non-sports fans. Its versatility opened huge opportunities for mainstream sponsorship deals and merchandise sales.

So, what has this got to do with your brand? Obviously, you can take this lesson of versatility and apply it to your business. You can’t keep playing the game unless you constantly find ways to be relevant. If one thing doesn’t work, try another. Don’t stop until you succeed.

5. Nothing sells better than passion.

WWE superstars are just people living their dreams every day. For most of them, pro wrestling is life. They joined the WWE because they were fans as kids. You’ll rarely see a lifeless superstar in the ring—everyone shows charisma in his or her work.

A notable superstar who has entertained the crowd for the last eight years is Naomi. Like others before her, she has given her sweat and blood for the business. When she won her first WWE title in 2017, the crowd erupted into chants of, “You deserve it!” When she had to relinquish it only nine days later due to injury, the crowd again erupted into a reverberating, “No!” The WWE Universe empathized with Naomi because she was a passionate and talented worker. It was what gave her story a genuine touch.

Like the WWE superstars, your brand should exude charisma in every possible way. You should communicate a certain energy to your audience—an infectious aura that will draw them closer to you. Remember, if all else fails, passion will carry you through.

In today’s business environment, brands are constantly wrestling for attention. In order to thrive in your industry, you must look for new ways to keep your title. Look for inspiration in unexpected places, and you might just find true gems that will make you an undisputed champion in your field.

 

Resources:

Cooper, Lana. “4 Lessons Digital Marketers Can Learn from WWE.” Seer Interactive. August 21, 2015. www.seerinteractive.com/blog/4-lessons-digital-marketers-can-learn-wwe

Evans, Zachary. “How the WWE Has Retained Its Marketing Dominance.” Spin Sucks. August 1, 2016. spinsucks.com/marketing/wwe-retained-marketing-dominance

“Company Overview.” WWE Corporate. n.d. corporate.wwe.com/who-we-are/company-overview

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The Importance of Eye Contact During Presentations

When you look people in the eye, you establish rapport. You make an impact. You send a compelling message. A sustained and purposeful eye contact is crucial in public speaking because it gives you a chance to create a good impression. It can mean all the difference when you’re trying to get the audience on your side. 

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Why You Should Meet the Audience’s Gaze

The audience is an important element in public speaking. A presentation will lose its purpose if there are no spectators to validate it. This is why you need to make your speech worthy of your listeners’ time. You can do this by establishing a connection with them through eye contact.

When you meet your audience’s gaze, you’re essentially showing them interest and respect. You’re acknowledging their presence. You’re making yourself relatable and accessible to them. Eye contact can make you vulnerable—and that, in turn, can make you seem more human to those whom you’re trying to reach.

There are other reasons why eye contact is crucial. 

Meeting the Audience's Gaze

1. To establish connection

One sincere look in the eye and you can communicate to the audience just how much you care about their thoughts. A sustained eye contact is an invitation to turn your talk into a conversation. It creates a bond between speaker and listener—a connection that is reassuring to both parties.

2. To improve concentration

A large room full of people can ruin your concentration. By limiting your focus to just one person at a time, you can calm your nerves and clear your mind. Don’t let your eyes wander around the room lest your ideas get all muddled up. Keep your eye contact steady so you can concentrate on your message.

3. To project authority

Have you ever spoken with someone who averts his gaze every time he talks? It’s not surprising if that person gained little, if any, of your respect. No one can blame you if your thoughts stray while that person talks to the floor.

With eye contact comes authority. So if you can’t look people in the eye, you can’t expect them to believe your words or agree with your views. The eyes can communicate confidence and conviction—two things that you won’t be able to project unless you look people squarely in the face. 

4. To facilitate engagement

People will feel welcome to participate when they see you scanning the crowd. They’ll be at a liberty to nod, frown, smile, and raise their brows. If you look at them long enough to create a bond, you’ll find a spark of recognition in their eyes. In that precise moment, you can transform them from being passive receivers to active participants.

What You Can Learn from Professional Speakers

Presentation gurus should know what makes or breaks a presentation, and all of them agree that eye contact is a big determiner of a successful speech.

Learning from Professional Speakers

1. See your audience as individual listeners

Before you speak, take a moment to pause and scan the room for friendly faces. Connect with distinct listeners whom you feel are willing to engage with you. Forget yourself and focus on one audience member at a time. You’ll be more conversational and confident if you do so.

2. Involve everyone in the conversation

Don’t play favorites. Instead, connect with as many people as possible. If you’re dealing with a large crowd and it’s impractical to make eye contact with everyone, divide the audience into sections and just choose one member from each group to connect with. The people in his or her area will feel included even if you don’t look at them directly. Just remember to randomly shift your gaze from person to person. Don’t follow a pattern; otherwise, you’ll come off as unnatural and predictable.

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3. Sustain eye contact long enough to make a connection

 How long does it take to make a genuine eye connection? According to Toastmasters, a global organization dedicated to developing public speaking and leadership skills, it takes no more than five seconds to establish proper contact. Five seconds is usually the time it takes to finish a thought, so there’s minimal risk of losing your focus if you follow this tip. Also, five seconds of sustained eye contact can slow down your speaking rate.

4. Avert your eyes when a person grows uncomfortable

Not everyone appreciates being looked at directly in the eye. While it’s true that eye contact is a universal communication signal, there are certain exceptions that you should consider. Some cultures and norms find eye contact offensive under certain circumstances.

For instance, in Middle Eastern cultures, it’s considered inappropriate for people of the opposite sex to look each other in the eye, as that can denote a romantic interest between them. In Asian cultures, however, eye contact is seen more as a sign of disrespect, especially when the contact is made by a subordinate to his or her superior. This is because most Asian countries are largely authoritarian. For African and Latin American cultures, eye contact is interpreted as a sign of aggression and confrontation, since these societies uphold a strong hierarchy.

Julia Minson’s words are fitting for this situation. She reminds speakers “to keep in mind that trying to maintain eye contact may backfire if you’re trying to convince someone who has a different set of beliefs than you.” Minson is an assistant professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Final Advice: Practice Makes Perfect

If you’re not used to it, making eye contact can be challenging. You’ll feel exposed and vulnerable while staring into someone’s eyes. But nothing can be fixed with constant practice and application. Try to look people in the eye every time you communicate, and sooner or later, you’ll get accustomed to the peculiar sense of connection that comes with it.

Why Simplicity Wins When it Comes to PowerPoint Slides

PowerPoint slides play an important role in successful presentations.

Before you load your deck with information, take a step back and approach the task with scrutinizing eyes.

As we’ve mentioned before, your slides should serve as a visual aid. What you present to the audience should contribute to the delivery of your core message.

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Most of the time, presenters tend to create PowerPoint slides that are overloaded with too much information. Instead of using their PowerPoint deck as a way to highlight main points, it becomes the focal point of the presentation.

According to research, this becomes a problem for both you and your audience.

Presentation science: Why simplicity is crucial to PowerPoint slides

In a study conducted by Christof Wecker, it was concluded that overloaded PowerPoint slides distract the audience from listening to the presenter’s explanation.

Because the participants were shown slides loaded with information, the attention of the audience is split between two things: struggling to keep up with what the presenter was saying, or reading the slides and ignoring the explanation.

Their concentration and ability to absorb information became compromised.

In cases like these, Wecker noted that it might be better to just present with no visuals at all. However, the real solution is creating simpler and more concise slides. All you have to do is focus on the most basic and crucial points of your content.

When your slides highlight key takeaways, you can help the audience reach maximum information retention.

As social science blogger Eric Horowitz wrote to explain the study:

Wecker found that the suppression of oral information was correlated with the subjective importance a person placed on slides. In other words, slides interfere with the retention of oral information because people often judge information on slides to be more important.

Tips and tricks: Making PowerPoint slides that work

That said, it’s easy to see why your overloaded PowerPoint slides have been putting audiences to sleep. To keep your presentations comprehensible, make sure that your visuals remain simple and straightforward. There are many ways to achieve simplicity in PowerPoint design. Here are just a few of the most basic tips:

  • Draft your ideas before attempting to make a PowerPoint deck. Outline the points you want to make and lay them out in a storyboard. This will give you the opportunity to arrange your presentation properly and edit out unnecessary details.
  • You can keep your slides minimal by limiting your use of text. Examine the content you have and try to get your point across in quick and simple sentences. Images can also be used to describe ideas that are a bit more complex and might require longer explanations.
  • Some PowerPoint features can also help keep your slides streamlined and simple. You can use PowerPoint’s Note section to keep detailed explanations out of your main slides.
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References:

Add Speaker Notes to Your Slides.” Office Blogs. Accessed January 8, 2015.
Create a SmartArt Graphic.” Office Blogs. Accessed January 8, 2015.
Horowitz, Eric. “Why You Need Concise PowerPoint Slides – Peer-reviewed by My Neurons.” Peer-reviewed by My Neurons. February 18, 2012. Accessed January 8, 2015.
How to Organize Your Ideas with a Presentation Storyboard.” SlideGenius, Inc.. September 1, 2014. Accessed January 8, 2015.
Visual Simplicity Is Captivating in Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc.. September 30, 2014. Accessed January 8, 2015.
Wecker, Christof. “Slide Presentations as Speech Suppressors: When and Why Learners Miss Oral Information.” Elsevier 59, no. 2 (2012): 260-73. Accessed January 8, 2015.

 

Featured Image: D Sharon Pruitt via Flickr

Olympians Can Teach Presenters a Thing or Two

Olympians are no ordinary athletes. They embody the qualities of an essential role model; an individual who represents their country and values in a positive and inspirational light. Not only are these characters unbelievably talented, but they are also a true description of a genuine champion.

With Sochi 2014 quickly approaching, Olympians from all corners of the globe will join together in Russia competing in various winter sports such as skiing, figure skating, snowboarding, and hockey. These athletes have devoted their months, and even years, to rigorous training and practice. Their hard work and dedication will soon pay off as the XXII Olympic Winter Games becomes their time to present.
sochi-2014-logo
Embracing the qualities that are associated with hardworking, well-respected Olympians will allow you to become a more effective presenter in the long run. Whether you’re speaking in front of a board of investors or pitching a sale to potential clients, perseverance and dedication will set you apart from the rest and allow your presentation to become effective and memorable.

There are a few questions to ask yourself before you step out on the ice or snow and present. These are the vital traits and questions Olympians from all backgrounds share in order to become gold medalists. Prior to your next PowerPoint presentation give yourself a few minutes to ask yourself these winning questions.

Have you trained adequately?

Olympians dedicate their entire lives in preparation for the big games. Long hours of training, dieting and exercise become their daily routine. A question to always ask yourself prior to your presentation is: How well prepared are you? Here are a few other guiding questions:

  • Will my audience be able to understand my main points?
  • Is this presentation marketable?
  • Does my pitch flow accordingly with my slides?

Do you have a strong will to win?

Olympians must have a passionate desire to go for the gold and win; take this mentality and apply it to your presentations. Though you may not necessarily, “win”, a gold medal you should have an aspiration to be the best, and be

Though you may not necessarily, “win”, a gold medal you should have an aspiration to be the best, and be your best. Your competition may not be visible at the time, but the audience will surely be comparing your presentation to other’s they’ve witnessed in the past.

Are you willing to accept the challenge?

Just as Olympic medalists overcome challenges during training and during the actual games, be prepared to accept any faults that may arise during your presentation. You might have a difficult question from an audience member or just a hard subject to tackle, in general, but going into the presentation with the mindset that things could, and may, go wrong will allow you to be better prepared.

You might have a difficult question from an audience member or just a hard subject to tackle, in general. But going into the presentation with the mindset that things could, and may, go wrong will allow you to be better prepared.

Are you Inspirational?

We’ve all be inspired by Olympic medalists such as, Gabby Douglas or Apolo Ohno, who’ve fearlessly decorated themselves with gold medals over the past years.

Learn from athletes like these, how can you inspire your audience? What makes your message different? What can you teach your audience? These concepts can push you in the right direction to be memorable, a concept that is crucial in presentation giving.

 

References

Sochi 2014.” Olympic.org. Accessed January 15, 2014.
Why Your Presentation Needs to Be These 3 Words.SlideGenius, Inc. January 5, 2014. Accessed January 15, 2014.

Remapping the Self: A TEDx Talk with Erika Casriel

How does one define themselves? Why is it that we tend to think our judgements and ideas surpass those around us; and why do our emotions play a part in this? Psychology journalist Erika Casriel discusses new developments within the neuroscience field in a describing a new concept titled, “conciocenterism”, an idea she presented with TED, an organization that broadcasts “ideas worth sharing”.

SlideGenius developed her TEDx Presentation which you can watch here.

Some of Erika’s presentation ideas about this revolutionary notion of “conciocenterism” included concepts such as, instead of thinking of ourselves as the center of the universe we must challenge ourselves and see the more rational sides of our emotions and actions. Her theory challenges us to step outside ourselves and silence the illusion of the “little man inside our mind”. She provides a great analogy stating that instead of seeing ourselves as the lead actor in our life we should place ourselves within the audience position as well; therefore not letting irrational emotions and single minded judgments get the best of ourselves but to look at the bigger picture.

This idea of drifting away from egocentrism can also be tied back into giving a presentation, as you as the presenter must see both sides of the picture in order to connect with your audience by allowing them to see your inner thoughts as well.

References:

Casriel, Erika. “Remapping the Self: Neuroscience Gets Personal.” Lecture, Navesink, January 1, 2013

Why Your Presentation Needs to Be These 3 Words.SlideGenius. January 5, 2014.

Honesty is the Best Policy

liarNothing stops a public figure’s momentum dead in its tracks quicker than being called out for misleading or flat-out lying to the public. In a professional setting, credibility will go right down the drain when our honesty and integrity are put into question.

Like our scolding parents always told us, lying is wrong, right?

So as far as why you shouldn’t lie to or mislead your audience, it’s pretty simple. Not only is it morally incorrect, it’s not worth the risk.

The how to be honest is a bit more subjective. You hear phrases like, “put the right ‘spin’ on that information,” that hint at manipulation, but learning how to be honest and remain likable is all about providing context.

Let’s look at Robin Hood as a good example of providing context.

robiinView #1:

Robin Hood is an outlaw and a thief who robs unsuspecting victims in the woods.

When you state just this aspect of the situation this Robin Hood character doesn’t sound like such a great guy, but when you give the situation a bit of context and perspective, it doesn’t seem so bad.

View #2:

Robin Hood is an outlaw and a thief who robs unsuspecting victims in the woods, but they are always members of the exploitative monarchy and Robin Hood gives all of his bounty back to the starved, impoverished poor. He’s also a pretty snappy dresser.

Neither statement was a lie, but the second statement framed a compromising fact with the necessary, and it is the true context that allows the audience to understand Robin Hood’s motives and actions.

This lesson can be applied to any presentation in which you’re obligated to present information that your audience may interpret negatively. For instance, say you’re presenting a disappointing quarterly report. There’s nothing you can do short of flipping the line graph upside down and outright fudging the numbers to make it look positive. Instead of going into the presentation and stating, “revenue is down 40% and 10% of our clients left.”

Instead, admit the negatives, but put them in some perspective. Sure, the depleted revenue is a disappointing outcome, but this is a very key transition period for the company. We went through a great deal of change this quarter, and a few bumps in the road should be expected.

While admitting the bleak negatives in a presentation can be difficult, it’s important to show your confidence levels to your audience. Remain positive and self-assured. If you act defeated by the awful quarterly report, the audience will take the news all the harder.

To circle back to the most important aspect of honesty, straightforwardness and owning up to the hard-to-face facts will always earn you the respect of your audience and colleagues. Approach and embrace this aspect of presenting to them head on and you’ll be all the better for it.