A few weeks ago I attended the “How to Make an Impact” workshop with Ed Percival from www.edpercival.com.

It’s a two day workshop and the main goal of the training is to learn how to use my voice and body language as an instrument to connect with my audience and for me to leave an impact with my clients after each sales meeting.

We are started off at the workshop giving a short introduction of ourselves. We are being recorded during each exercise and are then invited to watch the tape after and receive expert advice from Ed Percival and his assistant on how we have done during each presentation. The exercises are all geared towards showing more of our personality!

I am doing really well, the first exercise is fun having to introduce myself. The feedback I receive is that I’m very fun, enthusiastic and energetic and it’s easy for me to keep the audience engaged. Watching myself on video feels strange and is fun at the same time, I’m actually surprised how fun and engaging I am. At this point I’m thinking – wohoo this is going great!

On the second day of the workshop it’s time for the last exercise, a 10 minutes presentation and if we want we’re allowed to use power point slides to back up our presentation. The idea however is to limit the use of slides during the presentation – the lesser slides the more of an impact!

Having used a power point presentation consisting of 70 slides in the past when going on sales appointments to make sure we cover every aspect of our product and manage our clients expectations at the first meeting, shrinking my presentation down to 23 slides feels like a major achievement and actually quite nerve wrecking, as I realised how strong my attachment is to the slides! I’m not sure if that’s down to the fact that I’m a cancer as star sign and we’re suppose to be quite attached to “things”? I find it always hard to throw away my old clothes too 🙂 LOL!

Ahem – anyhow back to the story, so it’s my time to shine now and I’m starting to present. I can feel how anchored I am to my previous way of presenting the slides and how difficult it is for me to use the slides and present them in a new structure with limited slides available and speak freely. I can feel that this exercise is far more difficult than the other ones, as my mind is focusing on the content of the slides and what I’m supposed to say and in what structure and I’m losing touch with the audience!

It’s time again to watch the tape and to receive feedback. This time I can see a noticeable difference in my energy when watching myself on the video, I’m less enthusiastic and less energised and I’m focusing on the slides. The feedback is that my personality is less alive and I’m less expressive when I’m using slides, as power point slides take away my focus from establishing eye contact and rapport.

So I make a conscious decision NOT to use power point slides during any in person meeting with a client – anxiety comes up!

A week after the workshop I receive an enquiry from a new 5 star hotel in London. I’m meeting the Marketing Manager of the new hotel for my first sales meeting where I’m not using my slides. It’s a few minutes into the presentation and I’ve just finished sharing our story about how we found our business intent and mention that our intent is “to set our clients free – so they can focus on what they’re good at”. I’ve never told that story to any client before during a sales meeting, but being on the workshop I’ve learned that story telling is a great way of making people remember you i.e. the more stories you tell, the bigger the chance of them remembering you!

All of the sudden the Marketing Manager of the hotel stops me half way into the meeting to say “I can see you’re a very good sales person and I want to be set free”.

WOWZER!  Hearing those words from her gave me goose bumps in that moment!

Never before have I had a client say to me that they think I’m a great sales person and never before have I had a client use our personal intent in that way and say “they want to be set free”. It felt really powerful and good and it reconfirmed everything that I had learned in the “How to make an impact workshop”.

The 3 key learnings I had from the workshop that really changed the way I interact with our clients during sales meetings now are:

“People don’t buy from slides – the buy from you”
 What I’ve learned from Ed during the workshop, is that limiting the use of power point slides during any one to one meetings or even not using them at all means “there’s more of me available during the meeting”. Focusing on slides takes me away from being in the moment with my customer or whoever I have on the receiving end. Listening to our customers, focusing on their needs and creating that magical relationship is more important than the slides and the content I might have “rehearsed” when using those slides! When listening to my clients, I find that I know exactly what I need to say without the use of slides and I can focus on what my client really needs to know in that moment and not what I think they are going to ask or say before the meeting. I find that although I’m selling the same product at each meeting, the questions asked are always different and hence I realised it works best to adopt my approach and focus on giving our clients only the information they need.

“Painting a picture”
As most of us have learned, some people are more visual, some people are more auditory and some people are more kinesthetic, meaning that visual people like to have slides and images to support what’s been said, auditory people learn by hearing sounds and words and kinesthetic people are feelers, they like to experience and feel things. My first thought was that if I’m not using slides, I’m going to lose the attention of the people who are visual. However Ed proved me wrong. He said that I don’t need slides to paint a picture, I can do this with words too! So where normally I would have used a graphs or images in my presentation, I am now describing that image with words instead! It really works!

“Emotions win over logic”
What you say doesn’t matter as much as how you say it; it’s your state, personality and the emotions you evoke in the people when you present that matter. Ed shared a statistic which said that 60% of our state is important, 30% of our structure and 10% content during any presentation or meeting. Meaning that our brain makes decisions first emotionally and then logically. So I found it useful not to focus on my content and focus on my state instead to make sure I’m feeling confident and ready for success! Success doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to convert that lead, but it means success in the sense that I’ve presented our product well, given the client all the information they need to make a sound decision whether our product will be a good investment, provides long term success, adds value


last but not least

sets them free so they can focus on what they’re good at!