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Presentation MasterySelling Skills

The most embarrassing web presentation ever

I had supressed the memory of cutting off 150 people in locations from Kenya to London to Kentucky. Until today. It all came flooding back reading Dana Mattioli’s, Wall Street Journal article, reprinted in the Republic Career Builder, Caught on Camera.

Jason Walker was in the middle of presenting fourth-quarter earnings to his bosses when… popped up on his screen – and the screens of five other people…’I love you, Teddy Bear’.”

I feel his pain. Here are some tips learned along the way. If you work from a home office, these may be particularly helpful to you:

  • Know your equipment. (I had just purchased a new phone system and a new headset. I was using their company’s webinar provider and though I had practiced, I definitely hadn’t practiced enough. With anything.)
  • Practice. Practice. Practice.
  • Disable everything. Everything. IM, low battery warnings, alarms, e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.
  • Let the dog out. If you’re phoning in from a home office, put the dog outside. Kids too. Or do something with them. Everyone understands that you have a new baby; no one wants to hear it crying in the background.
  • Practice. Practice. Practice.
  • Cover the doorbell with a note that says “door bell broken – please leave packages – thank you”. Make sure you write it in every language known to mankind. Close the blinds. Turn up the lights and focus.
  • Practice. Practice. Practice.
  • Turn off your mobile.
  • Turn off the ringer from your other phone lines.
  • Get dressed. If you’re on camera, and you have a great top on, thinking that they’ll only see your upper half, think again. I promise you that someone will ask a question that will require you to move to a paper file, and the entire office will see your pajama bottoms. Or not.
  • Mute. Hold isn’t the same as mute. Don’t touch the hold button. Remember to mute and unmute when you want to talk. If you forget, don’t begin with, “oh, gosh, I forgot to take myself off mute, I just answered that question.”
  • Practice. Practice. Practice
  • Check camera angles. The WSJ article talks about a CEO with an itch. So he scratched. And thought no one could see.
  • Did I mention practice?

Oh and here’s one more.

  • Don’t type anything on the screen that you don’t want seen by everyone. A webinar company was presenting their services to me, and a sales person, his tech guy, my assistant and I were on the call. I asked for further explanation about a point that they were making – apparently something the sales guy thought any moron could understand. He types to his colleague: Is she stupid or what? Of course I couldn’t see his comment. Yet. I asked another question. In exasperation, he said, “well, just let me show you what we look at. It’s really very easy.” With that, he snapped a photo of his screen image and there, clear as day, were his comments to his colleague.

What was your most embarassing web -pas?

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