seen and heard

Seen And Heard: Business Communication Skills

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Authored byBridget Burley

No matter where you are in the B2B world, good communication is vital.  You can’t sell your new product or service without keeping your audience interested and engaged.  You certainly can’t convince anyone your solution is innovative if you can’t convey its advantages.

Communication is the core of our business. We’ve written about it a lot. Check out some of our top tips for being a good communicator in B2B.

Present Like a Pro.

We compiled a simple checklist for preparing a presentation to ensure success.  While you might not have hours to rehearse a presentation before you walk into a meeting, there are other things you can do to be ready:seen and heard

  • Glance through your deck for just two minutes. Did your main points stick out? Were you tempted to keep reading?
  • Let your slide titles tell the story. The body of the slide can provide the details.
  • Visually emphasize your points. Space them out. You don’t want a slide with a wall of text on it.

Think your deck is ready to present? Check out our full checklist for business presentations here before you send it out.

Engage your audience.

There’s a reason people listen to TED Talks just for fun: the presenters are incredibly skilled speakers. They can captivate the audience and keep people engaged for 20 minutes, which would otherwise be far too long for an online video, according to AdAge’s best practices.

How can B2B tech professionals and researchers keep audiences similarly engaged?

The best presentations have several things in common:

  • Telling a story that relates your presentation to the real world.
  • Highlighting the conflict then making your argument.
  • Using a dramatic narrative structure to highlight powerful quotes.
  • Giving context. Don’t just tell the audience, put them in the scene.

You can also read Akash Karia’s book, TED Talks Storytelling: 23 Storytelling Techniques from the Best TED Talks, for more on how to on give a fantastic presentation.

Talk With, Not At.

Have you ever been invited to an online presentation and immediately dreaded it? Online presentations that suck are all too common in B2B.

Roger Courville, known as the “Michael Jordan” of webinars, told our CEO what he likes and dislikes in his online presentations. Some of the main takeaways from our interview:

  • Learn to avoid talking at people. Start talking with people.
  • Interaction should be the very first thing you do – offline and online.
  • Presentation decks make crappy documents. Documentation decks make crappy presentations.
  • If you wouldn’t do it in an in-person seminar, why would you do it online?

Want more of Roger’s insights? Check out the full podcast episode on our blog or on iTunes or Stitcher. You don’t want to miss these online presentation tips.

Tell a Story.

You probably won’t be researching things like historical controversies and tight-rope walkers. Still, that shouldn’t stop you from keeping your audience interested.

In our blog post, Riveting Research, we discuss some top tips about crafting a story from your research findings.seen and heard

  • Learn from the top documentaries on Netflix. Even if they don’t have the most interesting subject, they still keep their audiences enthralled.
  • Title your piece about the tension in the story behind your research.
  • People read research to learn. Make sure you don’t just rehash what everyone already knows.
  • Entertain your audience or they won’t care what you have to say.
  • People love a controversy. Learn from people you disagree with.

The easy part of research is creating it. You need to package your insights in a way that makes people care about what you’ve learned. The best way to do this is to create a story and give your audience a reason to care.

Turn Conflict Into a Catalyst.

Researchers aren’t the only people who have to give bad news.  Whether you’re talking to a client or your boss, not everything you say will be butterflies and puppies, but you can always have a positive spin.  Instead of putting your head down and hoping the audience doesn’t notice, acknowledge the issue and provide a solution.

Here are some tips on telling people what they don’t want to hear.

  • Be straightforward with your audience.
  • Don’t let them blame you if it isn’t your fault. People will be defensive, but you are just telling them the facts.
  • Use data to prove your point.
  • Stay focused on communicating necessary information. You can be sympathetic later.
  • Tell them the disaster you’ve helped them avert by alerting them to the problem now.
  • Find the positive. If you can offer a solution to the problem at hand, things will go much smoother.

When you conceal bad news, you allow other people to create the story. Instead, you should be controlling the narrative. Avoid audience panic and blame by coming prepared with directness, data, and possible solutions.

We wrote an entire post on researchers giving bad news, check it out the next time you have to deliver a difficult message.

Be a Master Writer.

Choose your words carefully.

Writing is incredibly powerful, and you need to know how to do it right.  While creating clickbait-fueled headlines to drive people to look at your site, the message itself is what causes people to go further with you and become clients or valuable partners.

  • Show your passion in your writing and your audience will be passionate too.
  • Keep it short and leave the academic speech at home.
  • Though you’re writing to a professional audience, remember that they are human. Don’t be boring for the sake of showing off.

Brush up on your writing know-how with our blog post about convincing content.

Keep your eye on the prize.

When the goal is sharing information, your goal may not necessarily be to get as many social shares as possible.  For content marketing, you need to look at metrics beyond how many shares you got on Facebook.seen and heard

Is the goal to go viral or to get quality leads? These are two separate things. Sure, it’s great to create a viral post, but it doesn’t matter if no one fills out the “Contact Us” form or makes a purchase.

Ask yourself, does it sell? Use our comprehensive guide to content marketing and assess yourself. Make sure your content is on track to fulfill goals, not just your ego.


This post is brought to you by Cascade Insights. Want more genius B2B revelations? There are lots of ways to follow us. Have a business problem you need market research to slay? Give us a call at 503-898-0004.


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