Hear, Hear

By Heather Baldwin

Wouldn’t it be great if every time you had to do a presentation your entire audience filed in at once? Unfortunately, that’s rarely the way it happens. You get a person here, two more people there, and you’re left filling the time between the arrival of the first person and the start of the presentation.

Well, you can’t control your prospects but you can certainly control the environment, says Art Feierman, founder of Presenting Solutions in San Clemente, CA. Consider using audio to snazz up those prepresentation moments. Used in moderation (and that’s key, says Feierman), audio can be a great tool to quickly engage an audience. Feierman often uses it while he’s still setting up equipment for his presentation. He runs a one-and-a-half-minute corporate-demo video accompanied by a jazzy beat to get prospects energized and learning quickly.

“Our name is up [on the screen]; theirs is up there, and even if I’m still setting up, I’ve got their attention,” says Feierman. “Truth is, five people aren’t going to walk in all at once and bang! the meeting starts. People are going to filter in. Once the first person comes in, though, you’re being judged, so you need to project professionalism, create the tone, build rapport.” Audio can help do that because “things are going on and they’re engaged, even with just a basic intro as to whom you are and why you’re there.”

If nothing else, it will set you apart. When your customers walk in and you’re playing an introductory video with upbeat background music, it sends the message that this presentation is going to be different. That alone is often enough to energize someone who may have spent the past few days sitting through slide after slide of PowerPoint bullets.