The three most important persuasion tools any speaker or salesperson can use are stories, questions and visuals. Imagine the power if you could put those three together?
Last September I wrote an article about how to use questions to get the buyer to tell you their story. It works great during a sales call because it guides the listener to tell you a compelling story that makes your solution their idea. In effect, it gets your listeners to tell you what you want them to hear.
In this article, we’ll take it to another level by adding the third tool—visuals.
You can put all three tools together into an irresistible combination by using a whiteboard or flipchart to create the visuals in real time during your presentation. If you do it right, you can get the customer to show you what you want them to see.
At their best, slides are wonderful for conveying visuals, and can also be used to build a compelling story. Yet even the best slide presentations have a bit of a “take it or leave it” whiff about them.
The key difference between a whiteboard drawing and a presentation is that it is created in real time, sometimes with input from your listeners. This does several things for you:
What are some of the ideas that are best suited for interactive visuals?
You don’t have to completely cut the slide umbilical cord. There’s no law that says you can’t blend both approaches. You can show some slides, blank out the screen and draw a picture, go back to the slides, and so on. If you’re game, go back through one of your slide decks and see which slides can work better as whiteboard drawings.
If you’re like me, your lack of artistic talent or poor handwriting may deter you from trying it. The key point to remember is that it’s not about being pretty, it’s about being effective. Anyone can draw stick figures, arrows, boxes, and circles, and those are usually enough to get your point across.
Having said that, you definitely need to practice drawing the visuals you want to use during your presentation. Practice will help you ensure that you can draw a recognizable picture at the rate of normal conversation, while still maintaining focus on the audience. It will allow you to figure out and control the timing of the presentation as well, and to coordinate your questions with your visuals so you build a smoothly flowing story.
If you want to learn more about using interactive visuals, I can strongly recommend The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam, and Visual Meetings, by David Sibbet. Both these books have got me so inspired that I’ve started filling up a notebook with rough (but steadily improving) doodles and pictures.