Reading Remote Audiences: Openers and Introductions

Reading Remote Audiences: Openers shows you the best openers for your remote demos. We don’t discuss 2020 events in our regular content, but clearly reading remote audiences is in response to sales teams, and the world at large, going remote. The remote transition placed strains on families, identities, teams, and organizations. One of the underpinning values to all communication in demos and presentations is always meet your audience where they are at.

Meeting an Audience, Where they Are

If you do not know where an audience is at, do research as to who you will be demoing or presenting in front of, and be aware of variables that may be in the foreground of the presentation. From a misguided attempt at small talk to a joke that lands really flat, you have less time to relate to an audience than you would in person, so your discovery is critical.

There are three critical discovery areas we pay extra attention to in a remote demo. Since you will not be visiting their HQ or meeting them in person, there is a huge amount of information you will be missing out on. These are the top items that can ruin a remote demo if you do not run discovery first.

Industry Health– know the relative industry health and know how your products are solving particular problems within their industry

Organization Health– know the health of the organization and whether your product introduction will reduce heads.

Personal Background and Demographics– if you can, find out exactly who you are demoing to. Whether they have children, what their basic demographics are, and where they are located for advance discussions or questions.

What can go wrong if I don’t run background?

  • Your SaaS Software may be solving a problem that means less of a headcount. Tread very lightly when discussing ROI, that body the software replaces could be someone’s friend.
  • If a member of the audience is displaced from a wildfire or there are extenuating circumstances, and you neglect to find out where they are, you may not want to mention current events.
  • If a person has a disability and you have not accounted for the fact that your set up is not accessible.

Opening with Empathy

  • “First, is my set up accessible to the audience?”
  • “What is most distracting in your set up right now?”

Opening with empathy and meeting the audience where they are is first a question of accessibility for remote presentations. Show the audience that you are putting their needs first by inquiring about audio quality, subtitles and captions, and if anyone has visual impairments. Then, share something that makes you vulnerable and encourage opening in that way. The example we used was challenges we all share and this is to get everyone on the same page, then move to intros.

Value Based Introductions Leading to Value Based Features

What is a value based introduction? A value-based introduction is something that does not relate to work but does relate to present circumstances. For example, ask what the biggest challenge of remote work for each member of the audience is. Guess what? That is not small talk. When you have someone presenting a mini-narrative of their experience, they share their values and inadvertently. When the audience offers more information to you, you can gauge how well they will be observing your presentation. Choose a value-based introduction that does not feel like a sales exercise, but instead is pleasant small talk. This generates feelings and offers insights into potential obstacles to your presentation.

Once you have introductions, know the obstacles you face in your remote demo or presentation. Then get your audience firmly on the same page and deliver the features and the values quickly. We have much more content on delivery of values here, and is applies in person or remote demo environments. Our content prior to 2020 focused on keeping demos light and tended toward superficial connections. We also recommended delivering value over empathy-building and audience deep reading. In 2020 with the advent of mass remote demoing, we coach for empathy, connection, understanding, and value throughout.

An empathetic opener, value-based introductions, delivery of value-based features, and then next steps talk can close deals with remotely. If you would like to learn more about closing demos remotely, reading posture and gesture, and prosody, read on our links. We welcome your comments and look forward to sharing more.
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