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Got a minute? If you're a busy manager, that's about all you have. That's why Carla Cross, management coach, speaker, and author, has created this blog just for you, with ready-to-use tips to master management through people.

Archive for sales meetings

audience sleepingHave you ever been at a meeting that was absolutely painful to sit through? I just experienced that, and I could hardly wait until it was over. But, with a few guidelines, no meeting need be pain-provoking!

Tip: These guidelines work, too, for any presentation.

I’m Only Giving My Report—I Don’t Have to Have any Presentation Skills….

Why should you read this? You aren’t a professional speaker. You don’t even do presentations. You just give reports. You don’t need any public speaking skills. That’s what you think!  There are presentation strategies for giving reports, and, when you don’t know them or use them, the example is a painful experience for the attendees. So, whether you’re an agent, a manager, an assistant, it doesn’t matter. When you get up in front of people—even for a report—you owe it to your audience to be professional.

Why Prepare to Make a Report?

As with many meetings, this painful meeting consisted of reports from 8 different people. Now, I know most people regard giving a report as getting up and reading the 3-10 items on their report. Not! You need to prepare for that meeting—whether or not you are a professional speaker.

The 3 Deadly Sins in Giving those Reports—and the Remedies

1.      1. A deadly start

In this meeting, two of the 5 reporters started with ‘so’. In fact, I counted 25 ‘sos’ in one of the reports!  One of the reporters kept saying that she was not prepared because she didn’t know she didn’t have another meeting to lead after this one. Who cares?

The remedies:

Start your report without the ‘so’, the ‘uh’, or any of the filler words. Practice your first few words. Make sure they lay out what you’re going to report in a concise, friendly manner.

Stop the excuses; the audience doesn’t care! Avoid ‘we got a lot to cover’, ‘I haven’t much time’, or ‘I’m not prepared’.

2.     2.  Taking too much time

The remedy:

Practice your report and ‘time’ it. Then, add ½ more time. Why? Because you have to get set up and ready, you may have audience questions or interruptions, etc. No one ever shot the speaker for finishing early…..

3.      3. Wandering around in a vast wasteland of information

The remedy:

Write out your major points. There should be no more than 3-5. Practice not wandering off your point. Speak in concise sentences, with commas, not periods!  

Ask yourself: What do you want the audience to remember? Make these points memorable. Leave out the rest!

If you have more to say and no more time, make a handout with all the information.

Train Everyone to Make Better Reports

If you’re in management or in charge of any meeting of any time, your attendees will love you a lot more if you coaching your meeting participants in the 3 areas above. You’ll get better attendance, a more attentive audience, and will create a much more pleasurable meeting!

What are your pet peeves in meetings?

When you’re in front of a crowd–a group– or even one or two people, do you put them to sleep or are you scinttilating? If you’re presenting in front of 2 or hundreds, you must wonder at times whether your delivery is interesting. Too often, we drone through the subject, stop to tell a joke or two, and just trudge through the trenches of information until the clock tells us to stop!

Students Nodding Off Is a Sign…

Are your students nodding off as the day goes on? Do you frantically wonder how to keep their attention—all day? The answer is not what you think it is. Recently, I taught my Instructor Development course to real estate professionals and affiliates. I’ve taught this course for about fifteen years. Here’s the biggest mis-conception students come in with:

If I just learn how to be a more captivating speaker, I can keep the students’ attention for hours on end.

NOT! In today’s frantic world, the person in front of everyone cannot hope to hold students’ attention for more than 10 minutes at a time! If you think I’m wrong, just count the number of commercials in a TV break. These commercials are down to about 15 seconds apiece. The images go by so fast you can scarcely count them. In fact, we’ve become a society of easily distracted, multi-tasking, not very focused beings (watch pedestrians—or drivers—in action with a cell phone…..).

The Focus Doesn’t Have to Be On You at All Times

So, what are you going to do to ‘hold’ students’ attention? You are going to implement some teaching methods called

alternative delivery methods

Alternative delivery methods: all those methods used to teach that are NOT lecture. Examples: Town hall, task force, case study, role play, action plan.

Give your Students some Credit

People who lecture their way through a day (or days!) either

  1. Just don’t have any repertoire of alternative teaching methods


2. Just don’t think the students can be involved with theirs and others’ learning

How to Teach through Student Involvement

Instead of talking through each point you have on your PowerPoint slide or in our outline (boy, is that riveting!), use town hall, task force, case study, and role play to teach. To do that, you’ll need to take an Instructor Development course to learn those methods, and practice using them in class. (It’s also great to watch the instructor demonstrate those methods with you as a student, too).

Note: To find out when my next Instructor Development course is, go to  If you’re in Washington state, and can’t attend a live session, you can take the Train the Trainer course and get 15 clock hours and gain the qualification to become an instructor of clock hours in Washington state.

You’ll find your students know much more than you think they do about what you’re teaching. You’ll be able to clarify points of concern, use the talents in your class, and actually provide a stimulating, active learning environment. The result: your students will be energized all day.

Get Dozens of Training Tips to Polish your Training and Speaking

If you’re leading meetings, facilitating training, or speaking, you need this comprehensive training tool. It shows you how to keep the audience’s attention, how to enhance your training style, how to involve your students, and even how to create a workshop–from scratch. Check it out here.


Is There a Webinar in your Future?

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Is a webinar in your future? Everybody and their brother is doing webinars. I just finished doing a ‘live’ Instructor Development Workshop, and there was interest in webinars. So, I thought I’d write several blogs about them. Here goes. Enjoy!

Should you become a webinar ‘maven’? If you’re a

  • Trainer
  • Coach
  • Manager
  • Team leader
  • Salesperson

you may want to consider the ‘delivery method’ of a webinar. What can a webinar do for you? It can

  • Inform
  • Introduce
  • Sell
  • Increase your image

In this series, I’ll take you through the

  • Basics of webinars
  • The most common webinar mistakes
  • Some technical aspects of webinars—software, etc.
  • How to create your webinar

What can’t a webinar do? It can’t

Change people’s behavior (it’s not training. It’s education). Webinars are not the magic training bullet we’ve wished for. There are limited objectives you can accomplish by doing a webinar. (We’ll investigate this more later).

Of course, the upside of a webinar is that

  • People don’t have to travel to get to the ‘event’
  • It’s very cost-effective
  • It puts you in front of new audiences
  • You can make it ‘evergreen’ (record it and share it)

Some Basic Choices to Make Before You Start

  1. Your vehicle

Which company will you use to deliver your webinar? There are over 100 companies today offering some type of ‘screen sharing’. They range from free to $100+ a month. The free versions companies tout are for a limited number of viewers (usually 5-10). After that, figure on paying for the services. Among the most popular services are GoTo Meeting, WebEx, and BrightTalk. Whatever you choose, pick a service that will be easy for you! Getting caught in the technicalities while you are trying to be a sparkling presenter is death by webinar.

  1. What’s your message?

Decide on your topic. Is it something that would lend itself to a webinar? To find out, study webinars you’ve attended. Do some seem too wishy-washy to have been worth your time? Are some so full of facts and figures you snooze off?

Now, decide on your objectives. In other words, start with the end in mind. To write your objectives, start with this sentence,

As a result of this webinar, attendees will____________________________. Examples of objectives for a business planning webinar could be:

  • Understand the ‘flow’ of the strategic business planning process
  • Be able to differentiate between a vision and a mission statement
  • Be able to pinpoint 3 areas of concern about their business from the previous year

After I’ve written my objectives, I know the basic structure of my webinar. I can prioritize those objectives and start arranging my webinar in the right presentation order.

Your Topic: Overview or Detailed?

Is your topic an overview, or is it more detailed? Decide on the scope of your topic, and your objectives, before going further.

Common webinar mistake: Either being so ‘global’ there is little information, or being so detailed you lose the audience in facts and figures.

After deciding on your desired delivery company, and drafting your topic and objectives, you’re ready for the next step. In the next blog, we’ll discuss best presentation methods–and common presentation mistakes.

A Resource for You

To get more information on creating courses with objectives, see The Ultimate Real Estate Trainer’s Guide. Not only for real estate presenters, this guide provides a step-by-step process for putting together a presentation (not just webinars), and dozens of presentation tips.

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