I participated in a web-conference at work today with a potential new email service provider (ESP). The ESP company provided a live demonstration of their software online via GoToMeeting.com. The technology they used is not new to me as I have participated in live webinars and online software demonstrations before. What was new, though, was my appreciation for the preparation the presenter must have gone through leading up to our meeting today. I couldn’t help but wonder if the presenter had read Lori Reed’s blog post 10 Lessons I Learned From Delivering My First Synchronous Learning Session.
Lesson #1 – Plan, develop, practice, then plan some more. It was apparent that our presenter had done all of these in advance of our meeting. Well, maybe not for our exact meeting, per se, as this training is something she provides to any company who is evaluating their service. She had obviously done some work to tailor the presentation for us by having our logo image available to drop into her demonstration of creating an email template. She also had multiple browser windows open to allow for easy movement from one to another as she showed us different features of the product, including how easy it is to bring in copy we have on our website.
Lesson #3 – Silence is not golden! Our presenter may have taken this one a bit too far, as it was sometimes hard to “cut her off” when we had a question.
Lesson #5 – Have a producer. It wasn’t exactly a producer, but she did have a colleague on the conference who was able to answer more sales-related (vs. product-related) questions.
Lesson #8 – No one knows when you make a mistake, so don’t call attention to it. Actually, I could tell when she made a few mistakes, such as when she highlighted our logo and replaced it with our website’s url instead of embedding the link in the image, but if that was the biggest mistake she made all day, she was way ahead of me. As Reed suggested a presenter should do, our presenter just rolled right on with her next point as if there had been no hiccup at all.
Lesson #10 – Have fun! It’s always an added bonus when the presenter gets you as excited about the software as she is.
In Reed’s post she writes, “It’s about the people and the learning and not the technology.” In the case of our web-conference today, it really WAS about the technology, but considering I will be the main point of contact for our company with any new ESP, establishing a relationship with the people and knowing they understand how to guide you through the learning of their product is key to having them get my recommendation.