Part 1 and Part 2 of this series revealed our secret ingredients for successful SKO keynote speakers and SKO soft-skills training sessions. We discussed vetting and aligning your keynotes to your strategic initiatives and the importance of coaching your executives for impact and effectiveness. We also covered why an SKO is strategically the best time to upskill your sales organization and the importance of not being overrun by breakout session requests from departmental leaders. But, informative breakout sessions are crucial to the knowledge transfer of departmental initiatives. In this final segment of our three-part series on Sales Kickoff Success, you will learn how to maximize the effectiveness of every breakout session speaker.
What's the Goal?
SKO breakout sessions come in many flavors. Some are designed to be primarily informative and are often delivered by internal personnel. The second type of breakout session is designed in a workshop format for training purposes. Others are designed to inspire new thinking and ideas. Make sure the leaders of every breakout session start with the stated goal of what they expect the audience to gain by attending the session. Don't settle for general responses such as "attendees will learn the new features of the upcoming release." Make your breakout presenters complete their goal by performing the "so you can…" exercise. "… So you can articulate the value of the features contained in the latest release to your prospects." (Pro Tip: KEEP GOING!) "… So you can differentiate our solution from competitors… So you can close more business in competitive situations… So you can achieve quota faster than ever before."
Tell a Story
Every style of breakout session needs to tell a story. "Informative" breakout sessions that contain dozens of slides with bullet points, numbers, graphs, quotes, visuals won't be seen as informative. The information will be lost shortly after the session. If, however, the informative style breakout session gathers, organizes, and delivers the information in the form of a story that opens the audience's mind, it will give them associations that will help them remember the information. At 2Win, when we deliver skill-building breakout sessions for clients, we wrap the skills around a story that is often remembered for years.
As I wrote in the blog titled "The Secret Ingredient To Successful Business Storytelling: Presence," this is how I want an audience or individual to perceive me as I walk off the stage or out of a virtual room. Presence isn't about ego but rather about being intentional. Suppose one of the leaders from the 2Win management team is delivering your sales team a session that challenges them to rethink the status quo and provide new ideas that will enable them to achieve their professional goals. In that case, we will inspire curiosity and motivate to the new paradigm. Our intentions will be backed up during the virtual presentation with our expressions on camera, our vocal inflection, our movement, our planned use of engagement tools such as polling and chat, and a plethora of additional virtual presence techniques. Some clients hire us for the sole purpose of coaching their breakout session leaders to new levels of presence.
The #1 Breakout Session Crime "Any Questions?"
Do not let your breakout session leaders end their presentation with the slide that says "Any Questions"? And, don't let them appease you by changing that slide to "Q&A"! Your presenters should be encouraging questions throughout the session and continually monitoring chat. They should respond to questions at planned points in their session. The end of the presentation should be the closing of the story they started at the beginning and conclude with a clear call to action.
Call To Action
Every breakout presenter should be challenged to produce specific calls to action to conclude their presentation. These CTAs should lead the audience to the steps they should take to achieve the goals of the presentation. Thus every effective breakout session begins and ends with concrete, achievable, valuable goals.
Informative, inspiring, and tangible breakout sessions are the pillars of a successful SKO. Help your SKO session presenters bear their portion of the weight of your team's goal achievement and your strategic initiatives. If you'd like more information on how to win can help your breakout session presenters accomplish the goals of their presentations, click here.