By Bryan Flanagan Sales & Presentation Skills Educator
It’s been said that your mind is a wonderful yet fragile contraption—it begins to function the moment you are born, and it ceases to function the moment you stand up to speak. I’ve taken principles from our two-day Effective Business Presentation Skills course and applied them to in-dealership customer interaction, as a form of public speaking.
There are three key factors in making an effective presentation: the visual, the verbal, and the validation. In this first of a three-part series, we will address the visual. Let’s briefly touch on each of the five vital skills within the visual area.
This skill area is all about dressing appropriately for the occasion. Follow dress code, and when you are with customers, don’t pull at your sleeve, adjust your watch, tug at your belt. Your clothes should be “silent.”
Maintain a good stance. You should begin with your feet evenly spread and with your weight evenly distributed. Stand, or sit up, straight, with shoulders squared to the individual.
These include body, arm, and hand movements, which allow you to express yourself and convey meaning. Keep in mind that animation and gesturing are different: animation is movement, whereas gesturing is meaningful movement. Your gestures should impact your message, make it memorable, and make it easy for the customer to follow the conversation. Gesture opportunities include numbers, comparisons, directions, and action verbs.
4. Eye contact
Eye contact is vital to successful customer interaction. Maintaining proper eye contact conveys that we are confident in ourselves and in our subject matter. Effective one-on-one eye contact should be based on the customer’s comfort level. For example, if his/her eye contact is short, you should respect that and make limited eye contact.
5. Facial expressions Dr. Albert Meharabian claims that 55% of a face-to-face interaction is communicated via your visual areas. Implementing the skills listed above will have a profoundly positive impact on your customer interactions and therefore, the bottom line.
This last skill area allows you to set the tone and mood of the meeting. Facial expressions allow you to show your normal emotions and should match what you are verbally telling your customer.