In a recent mastermind meeting I shared some reasons I felt I was having success using Zoom in my training and speaking business. That’s when Dave Saliaris commented that he didn’t know anyone who put so much effort into preparing for the events beforehand.
I took that as a big compliment because I practice what I preach. I use a lot of pre-suasion to set the stage for successful training. Most of what I do to prepare for Zoom sessions is similar to what I would do for live events but I think it takes on more importance because making a connection is critical now that we cannot connect in person. I’ll share a few things I do before, during and after training that might help you have more persuasive Zoom events.
When I get ready to speak or train I do whatever I can to find out who will be in attendance. Then I make it a point to connect on LinkedIn with as many as possible before the event.
I recall a training attendee many years ago telling me he thought it was really cool that I reached out to connect before the training. He said a good number of trainers will do so but only afterwards. I realized what I was doing helped me stand out in a good way.
My study of influence has taught me it does much more good to establish a connection beforehand because it gives people an even greater reason to pay attention to what I have to share.
When I reach out on LinkedIn I always do so with a personal message that might read something like this:
I saw your name on the list of attendees for the upcoming the training event I’ll be leading for XYZ Company in a few weeks. I look forward to working with you. Until we meet, let’s connect on LinkedIn.
If someone connects and replies with a message, I always reply back. I believe in putting “social” back into social media. If someone connects but without a reply I will try to initiate some conversation with something like this, “Thanks for connecting Pat.”
Oftentimes the client will ask if there’s anything they can do before the training to make it more effective. This is when I’ll send them the link to a short podcast and ask that people listen to it beforehand. Doing so gets people familiar with me, my voice and the material that I’ll share. Having done this, what I share during the presentation is somewhat familiar so there’s a knowledge base to work from.
Getting autographed copies of my book to people days before the event is hugely helpful too. Books are viewed as gifts and engage reciprocity. My ask at the end of the presentation or training is simply this – “I have one thing I’d like you to do now. Read the book. The sooner you do so the more what you learned will stick.”
Many things I did during live events are even more important during Zoom sessions because maintaining people’s attention is paramount. Here are some things you’ll want to consider for your next Zoom event:
– Breaks: I usually go 50 minutes with a 10 minute break every hour, no exceptions. People need time to decompress.
– Breakout Rooms: I use these as much as possible because people will share more in these rooms than in the bigger group. In addition, it creates a change of pace which is needed when staring at a screen.
– Size: Whenever possible keep training to no more than two dozen learners in order to have breakout rooms of 4-5 people.
– Presentation: Visuals are more important than ever to keep people’s attention. DO NOT put up a bunch of bullet points. Use more video if you can.
– Animation: You have to get intimate with your camera and be more animated if you want to connect with learners on the other end. Think about how newscasters come across. It seems as if they’re sitting in your living room talking right to you but they’re staring into a black box. You need that kind of connection with your audience.
Within days after an event I circle back to the people I connected with on LinkedIn. I do so to thank and to encourage them. Most come back with very positive comments about the training so they’re starting to persuade themselves at that point.
Whenever possible I reach out again around 30 and 90 days after the event. I usually ask if they’re having success implementing what they learned. If they said they read my book I’ll ask if they would write an Amazon review.
I love being in front of a live audience but it’s not in the cards right now. But, that doesn’t mean growing people’s skills for success and happiness stops. Whatever tools allow you to help people, learn to use those tools for all their worth. If you do this well you’ll have people saying, “Wow, that was so much better than I expected.” When that’s the mindset, you have a winner on your hands.
To Do This Week
Whether you present, train or lead meetings, what you do before, during and after is more important than ever because of the upheaval we’ve experience. The more you can do to make your events stand out the better you’ll do. Give thought to some of the ideas I shared and how you might incorporate them into your next event.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An author, international trainer, coach and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the planet on the science of ethical influence.
Brian’s book, Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical, was name one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority! His LinkedIn Learning courses on sales and coaching have been viewed by more than 100,000 people around the world!