Want to grow as a trusted advisor?

Are you a trusted advisor?

If so, hang with me here a bit…sometimes a poll is the worst thing you could do.

This week I had the privilege of doing a 90-minute session for a private client’s 150-rep annual sales meeting, and as I await a connecting flight I’m reflecting on some of the successes and failures of my 90 minutes with them yesterday.

Let’s start with the failure.

I often do an exercise with a webinar audience where I work with one participant whom I unmute while everyone else does the exercise at their desk (it’s how you manage with 400 people on the line). Given that it’s been a really popular exercise, I decided to use it during this in-person meeting.

Except that I didn’t think ahead (we’re all learning and growing, right?)?

When I asked 150 people to do the voice exercise (in a room) what I normally have one person do (virtually while others do it on their own), the room was so loud they couldn’t hear themselves.

Roger = Fail.

On the other side of the ledger, one of the many little successes I had with this crew of sales reps was saying, “I don’t know about you, but I’m not pushing a poll when I’ve got four people on the line for demo.” 

They laughed.

Interpretation:  We’ve been told that “the way to engage your virtual audience is to push a poll at them because this shiny feature is cool-beyond-telephone-alone and it’s what we do in web conferencing to engage people to be engagingly engaging.”

What they related, to, however, was that their web conferencing environment (Adobe Connect, in their case), has all kinds of ways to interact with and engage beyond just a poll. I illuminated a number of those, and the lightbulbs went on…”This could be waaaay better than a plain telephone call.”

Here’s a challenge for you:

What’s the difference between…  …a conversation and a meeting? …a meeting and a sales demo?  …a sales demo and a training session or workshop? …workshop and a broadcast?

If you don’t know, there is ZERO shame in saying, “It’s time to figure it out.”

Your next big opportunity to create value, however, might just be in being the go-to person because, even if you’ve only done ten “webinars,” you’ve done 900% more than the person who’s done one.

Richness in life is in the details. The strong oak-vanilla finish of that merlot you just sipped. The way your kid just said something a little smarter today that they said it yesterday. The “aha!” you found when analyzing data for the quarterly business review that nobody else caught.

When you start to see the subtle-but-important differences in how people communicate in different situations, you’ll get better at helping them in ways they haven’t thought about yet.

Sales people don’t push polls at people when they can just ask the three others on the call their opinion. Trainers realize that there’s more to imparting knowledge and changing behavior than giving a quiz. Marketers realize there is more to creating and advancing a pipeline than getting an email address.

The richness of live audio-visual communications at a distance is that there’s not a right-or-wrong any more than in any other version of communicating.

Which is exactly why I say, “You have to use a poll in your web conferences every 5 1/2 minutes. It’s the only way you’re going to “engage” your audience.”


Help others dissect communication and behavior. You’ll get better at helping them adapt to web conferencing/casting tools…and become your tribe’s trusted advisor for virtual presentations. 

1 Comment

  1. Donnie Bryant

    Smart article, Roger.

    You’re one smart cookie!

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