Friday, September 28, 2007

Perilous tedium; the downside of not being face-to-face

Irony struck during a webinar earlier week. Shortly after posting on the benefits of face-to-face communication, I was subject to an hour-long lecture from a senior sales person at a vendor, who both shall remain nameless. The pitch of his voice did not vary more than a half step or so. (Bueller?...Bueller?...Bueller?) The sad part was, despite the awful presentation, the product is one of the tops in its area, and looks really effective. If this person had been with us in the room, he could have seen some us coming close to nodding off and definitely would have been able to see a lot of non-verbal cues to speed things along and be more lively. If the sales person is this flat, I'd rather hear from a technical-side person who might use a little jargon, but would show some genuine passion about the product.

There were two other problems. One was the failure to "teach the problem" at the outset of the talk (this is a basic technique of change management, but also valuable in this context.) In other words, show us why we and our clients need this product (the answer is simple--all are overwhelmed by email and the other news sources, and there is too much pushed out without a way for to turn off the spigot). The other was the fairly slow pace of images. Staring at one slide for the first 15 minutes was not a great way to start.

So that's three lessons in one hour. Just not the ones the vendor wanted to impart.

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