Sales Management Digest

Boost Your Likeability during Sales Presentations
Heather Baldwin
Chances are you know a sales professional who has a great message but can't seem to nail the presentation.

Personality traits and the attitudes of speakers either attract or repel audiences, sometimes even before they've started their presentation, says author Dianna Booher. In her book,  style=Speak With Confidence! Powerful Presentations that Inform, Inspire and Persuade, Booher offers the following tips to increase your likeability factor with audiences.

Establish integrity through a third party. Ideally, you want everyone in the audience to know firsthand what an honest, likeable person you are. But your next best option is to establish your integrity through a person the audience trusts. Convey that connection early, either by having the person make the introduction or mentioning it during your opening remarks.

Sprinkle humility among the expertise. Sure, you need to know your stuff if you expect to close a sale, but you don't need to be arrogant. Acknowledge expertise among your audience, use a little self-effacing humor now and then, and be sure to credit your information sources and any ideas borrowed from others.

Demonstrate goodwill and a desire to give value. "Consider every presentation you make a commitment to give something of value," says Booher. "Audience members have to believe that you have their best interests at heart, have not arrived on the scene with the intention of boring them, and are giving information designed to help, not hinder, them." In general, audiences are not impressed that you know what you are supposed to know. Booher adds, "They are impressed that you are willing to help them know what you know."

Meet people individually before the presentation. Introduce yourself to people in the audience and ask them about their expectations. Such a move communicates that you are aware of each audience member's individual presence and don't view them all as simply a group. It shows that you care about their concerns and expectations and enables you to build rapport while giving your audience a chance to see you as a regular person. It also lets you learn some names, which you then should use during your presentation.

Say thank you. Several years ago, conventional wisdom held that speakers should never thank an audience. But a genuine, heartfelt thank you communicates your appreciation for their time and, as a result, always builds rapport.
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