Ep. 250 INTERVIEW – Mario Pici

by | Sep 9, 2021 | Podcasts

Tech Tips for Effective Virtual Meetings – INTERVIEW with Mario Pici to help you find best deals on quality equipment, avoid mistakes, meet the challenges, and  understand best practices for virtual meetings. 

Voice over:

Get ready for an unfair advantage over your competition. This is The Sales Edge podcast. Where globally recognized sales expert and trainer Joe Pici helps you sharpen your skills for booking more appointments and closing more deals. And now here’s your host Joe Pici.

(JP):

Welcome to the sale, says podcast, Believe It or Not. Number 250. I don’t know about you, but I’ll tell you, I’ve had to learn more in the last two years about Hold meetings virtual presentation so we brought an expert. But first, let me tell you that this is the sales, his podcast podcast number 250 is sponsored by Pici and Pici, which is a speaking coaching training consulting company and our specialization is helping our clients recapture lost Revenue, get in front of your target market, close more business and sell more virtually.com. That’s our web platform, which is a membership site, which is growing. And we’re excited about that, which is every Thursday night. I’m out there live with a group coaching Group Training. There’s e-courses a massive ecourse. Getting ready to roll out in two weeks on the complete sales cycle, there’s links to this podcast as well as downloads. But today, we’re excited actually. The brainchild for this podcast was my son, Mario Pici, and he is more than an expert in a whole world of effective virtual presentation. So Mario, I’d like you to tell the audience what you do and just where you where you’re working, as far as giving some background.

Mario Pici (MP):

Well, I really appreciate the opportunity to be here. I happen to be the manager video design at the largest event technology company on the planet. Right now. It’s a great opportunity for to be on the front lines of what’s happening because of the pandemic. So, you know in my industry what’s really happened is We went from being primarily a live event company to having to serve the greater portion of live virtual events that are taking place in the marketplace right now. It’s been a very difficult transition because a good deal of us have been in live events for so long and those in on their own are very complicated. We do everything from concerts to corporate events product, rollouts exhibits, anything like that. And it along with that comes a long list of complications all on its own. So when the pandemic hit our industry, we were one of the top three Industries impacted because essentially our business was deemed illegal and almost every country on the planet overnight. So the vast Majority of our labor force worldwide stopped having work, and we also had to really discover a way to create a demand for our services in a virtual environment. Despite the fact that the vast majority of the people in our industry had no previous experience with virtual events. So it’s been a very challenging 20 or 21 months, but it’s Been an amazing opportunity to serve a new clientele, and also, develop new products and services that are going to help future-proof our industry, right?

(JP):

Well, because of the scope of what you do, which is large, but I still think that scope shrinks down to the individual person when it comes to Virtual presentation. So, first thing I’d like you to kind of T up for some of these folks. What are some Practices, whether it’s a small company or a large company that they can really execute in doing virtual presentations.

(MP):

Yeah, I think that’s a, that’s a great question. There are a lot of best practices had that we’re all learning over the last 20 or so months. I think by and large it starts with the individual but a few of the things that we’ve seen the big mistakes that are made out there first off. And this, I’m going to have to get technical because everything having to do with this gets gets technical, but you really need to have a wired internet connection. That is the Number one issue that we run into across the board. Wi-Fi is great. And it’s it’s a wonderful way to walk around your house and have internet on your phone. It’s a terrible way to try to present virtually. So highly recommend that you have wired internet. The second big thing is, if you have other people that you live with and in your home, get them off the internet while you’re presenting, especially your children if they use gaming systems, gaming systems, and Particular, whether that’s a computer and Xbox or Playstation, whatever it is, they tend to create a lot of noise on the network. So even if you have plenty of bandwidth, it can create interruptions in your connectivity for your virtual presentation. Those are two really big ones. The other ones that I would point out our microphone and and headsets. So microphones are really important. Obviously, you know, if you’re going to do a presentation, It’s really important that people can hear you clearly, but even more than that, it needs to be something that you’re comfortable working with because of how things are right now in the past you would have had a technician with you and a live event. That is an expert’s, a subject matter expert. That’s able to wire you up correctly. Put a piece of professional equipment somewhere on your body and we don’t have that right now. Right now people have to stay distant. Aunt, in addition to that, you’re in your home and a technician, isn’t there? So it’s really important that you’re using something that you yourself are comfortable being able to set up utilize and troubleshoot. So I think that’s that’s a huge piece on the microphone side. Another piece would be using a headset. So one of the things that we deal with is when I’m speaking your Speakers are actually pumping out audio. So that way you can hear it. A lot of times that can feed back into your microphone and create interruptions for the other guests. So highly recommend that you use headphones or some sort of headset in order to eliminate some of that. So those are really The Big Three that we run into the most most often.

(JP):

Was funny because about eight months ago. I was actually on a I teams virtual meeting with the executive president of one of the largest insurance companies in the world. And because he your great coaching. I have a modem, your mom across the house. Has a modem and everything we do is on direct line. Well, here he is. He is the executive president of one of the top three largest insurance companies in the world, and he’s running his meetings in Wi-Fi. And my stuff was great and his meeting dropped out four times. We wound up doing the meeting over the phone. So it’s exactly. Right. So, in your experience, okay, doing this. Do you find yourself having to coach some of the presenters on how they can be better presenters or keep the attention of people that are on maybe a zoom or WebEx or a teams?

(MP):

Yeah, we actually have to teach our technicians now to coach up presenters, but there’s only so much that we can coach up in the two, three, four, five minutes that we have prior to someone going live or being recorded in addition to that their technicians, they’re not personal coaches. So I think across the board. It’s really important that you understand the platform that you’re going to be presenting to. So Whether it’s Zoom team. You shouldn’t be focused on the technical aspects that are happening there. You should be comfortable with those platforms. We’re all having to use them a lot, and your focus should be on your presentation. And on your audience, just like it would be if you were in person. The number one coaching point that we give our presenters is treat this as if you are in person, even if you’re not right for you to treat this as if you’re on stage, so if you make a mistake battle through it, and we’re all in this and Together. Right now. Everyone is facing a lot of the same challenges and if you are on stage and you messed up, you would have to keep going. So by and large, that’s that’s a huge coaching point that we tend to give. And I would reiterate, is your presentation should be well prepared in advance. You should have your timing down. This is a huge piece because a lot of people don’t practice what they’re going to talk about. And then the timing is way off and in a virtual environment even more. So than in person in person, we can set a moderator up on stage but it’s a little bit more relaxed in a virtual environment. Sometimes. There are very specific timings for specific presenters and it’s more like The Gong Show when it when the time is up, you’re out. So, right, sure you’re prepared for that.

(JP):

You know, it’s funny because, you know, Our, this is a speaking training and coaching. One of the things that we harp on is start on time and end on time, and it’s amazing because, you know, when people stop speaking, they lose their minds, they start to ramble. They just talk and they have no consciousness of that. That time frame is is a finite thing. You have to start on time and end on time and then the live setting your right? You can do something about it. You can send somebody out front and give them a five-minute. All been a virtual environment, you know, I was on an awards thing, the other night in our Global gurus award Summit and it was funny. You could tell the people that were experienced in Virtual presentation and the ones who weren’t, because the Warrens who weren’t always wear long winded.

(MP):

Yep, a lot of times we try to prevent we try to provide timers but it depends on the type of package that’s been selected. So there’s actually quite a few packages where an on-screen timer is not available and that just this comes down to budget and it comes down to technical abilities. If you’re presenting into more of a traditional General Session type of environment, then you probably would have a timer on screen but if you’re Presenting into more of a breakout room, chances are or like an exhibit. Chances are, you’re not going to have a timer? So it’s really important that you, you’re well aware of how much time you have. And a good deal of them are not just you by yourself either. A lot of them are now panels great and you have to be cognizant of everybody’s time in that group.

(JP):

So let’s let’s talk. Let’s get away from talking to the big corporate. ER, for example, now you’re talking to entrepreneurs, you’re talking to that business owner, that all of a sudden he finds himself. Having do virtual sales meetings. He finds Himself having do virtual sales meetings. He finds himself having to you know on board people. Virtually. What do you say to them if you’re coaching em.

(MP):

Okay. Yeah, that’s it. That’s a great question. So a little bit of a different environment in that situation. I think it’s really important. Once again, that you’re really comfortable with the equipment that you’re using. Your focus should always be if you’re if you’re selling on on selling and not on the technical aspects. So, if you’re not comfortable with zoom or teams or whichever platform, you’re going to use get more familiar with it. There’s lots of videos on YouTube that can train you up on some of the more technical aspects to those to those platforms. And some of them are quite Dynamic and and you can find a lot of functionality and features that can help you in your specific neat, you know, use case.

But if you’re going to be in a one-on-one environment, I would say, first off, make sure that you don’t have distractions in your background, both physical and around you. So, if you have kids, if you have pets, those can be an enormous distraction to other people that are trying to listen to you. And if you appear distracted, you’re going to completely lose that person. That’s, it’s very obvious when somebody has

A distraction in their environment and everyone else that’s on that call can see that and it becomes a distraction for everyone. So, I would, I would say you really want to make sure that your surroundings are. Well planned out. I find personally that calls need to be planned for specific times of the day. When I know that there aren’t going to be a lot of distractions. So I think that’s a again, a case-by-case basis, but for me, personally, I find that. Scheduling for specific times when I know, okay, every Tuesday from 10 until noon that time is blocked out. So anyone else that’s in my environment must must know. Hey, we got to be quiet during this time.

(JP):

Yeah. Well, I got a question for you and my partner, your mom. And I have a difference of opinion on something. And it’s not a right or wrong thing, and there’s no controversy here, but I’d like, Your opinion. I like a flat background with no distractions. No bookcases. No footballs. No things for people to be looking past me. She thinks a background even some of these fake backgrounds that you can buy have more appeal to it from a business standpoint. What do you believe?

(MP):

Put me on the spot between In my bed, so I won’t hear this one will edit this out. There’s I think it really revolves around your own personality. Number one. Number two. I think a lot of it has to do with who your audience is, you really need to be aware of who your audience is. So if your audience is a big corporate environment and you have a bunch of pop figures and you know, Star Wars action figures and things like that behind you.

Maybe that’s okay. But in a lot of a lot of cases that would just be super distracting. I will point out that from a technical aspect. A lot of these Services now, have virtual backgrounds available. So you’re able to virtually change. What’s behind you? I will tell you that it’s one of our points to have people shut those off. They don’t look very good. They can be very distracting. If you don’t have perfect lighting and a green screen. They’re going to get kind of block. He and distracting. So we generally tell people to shut that off. It’s much more. It’s much better to have a natural background behind you, then something that’s going to be overtly distracting. I tend to like to have a little bit behind me. So that way there’s a little bit of depth so that it creates a little bit of an environment. But I think it’s just a case by case. I would, I would warn against having something that’s way busy behind you though.

(JP):

Yeah. I was on a Business call it would this was a business meeting only and there was so much on the guys bookcase behind him that if I would have been a different personality type. I would have a hard time focusing on him. Absolutely, you know, and and so I guess there’s a middle-of-the-road thing and I personally like nothing, I like just a flat wall because I want people to focus on the message, but everybody has different So there is no right or wrong. Here. But the keep the distractions down, right?

(MP):

Absolutely. One other thing to keep in mind on this too, is on different environments. Different portions of the screen will be used. So, in this particular platform, only half of my screen is actually half of my camera is being used. So if I have a corporate logo that’s built into a virtual background, or if I have a piece of signage behind me that had branding it would be getting cut off. So, I think a lot of times people think oh, well, it’ll just be seen because It’s visible with my camera, but that’s not necessarily the case because we don’t know what is going to happen with that footage once it’s actually being recorded.

(JP):

Well, here’s a an out of left field question because you you are the Brain Trust behind our podcast which today you’re on podcast. 250. So congratulations to you, too. We’re excited about the growth. But what happens in podcasting most of the time even If you’re in a formal business setting or if you’re in your home office or whatever, it’s outside noises that you always have going on. Somebody decides, you know, you’re in a you’re in a corporate building but the guy starts cutting the grass. Yep. Is there any type of technology that can be used to shield some of that outside noise?

(MP):

Yeah. Soundproofing is an excellent choice, especially if you’re going to be doing a lot of Options, if you’re going to be selling a lot and that your primary vehicle is going to be virtual for the time. Being soundproofing is very inexpensive. If you can go to Amazon, there’s lots of websites that have excellent soundproofing tiles or blankets and I think they’re the really useful because it can help to Shield out some of that noise. With that being said, if someone’s Then grass right outside the window where you’re sitting. There’s only so much that can be done. Yeah, that also goes into some of the planning out those time. There’s times that you’re going to make yourself available as well.

(JP):

Yeah, I find myself, if I’m doing an individual podcast myself. It’s about four o’clock in the morning when nobody cuts grass. Yep, but thanks to your coaching. I mean, I’m here in our studio and most of the walls are covered by that soundproof Carpeting and and it has Change sound of our podcast, as you know,

(MP):

Yeah, absolutely. It helps to cut down on the Echo and also to eliminate some of the noises from around the house. From the kids. Are, there were, you know, someone’s outside, cutting the grass.

(JP):

All right. So let’s look at what we’ve covered so much on these virtual presentations. We talked about some of the equipment, right? Was it, is there anything else you want to talk about with equipment?

(MP):

As far as equipment is concerned. I think you do want to have a dedicated Microphone, there’s a lot of good ones out there if you want to keep it very simple. USB based microphone is totally fine. They aren’t going to be as dynamic as a more traditional microphone. Both of us are using more traditional microphones that are running into a converter. There are a couple of really good ones out there and we can certainly consult with with people as far as the best ones to use. But I would say that it’s It’s really important. Once again that you’re familiar with the equipment that you have. So whether it’s, you know, just a USB mic that you got to Best Buy or if you want to do some research and track down a higher-end sound. It’s certainly easier to set those things up today than it’s ever been in the past. And then again, whether you’re wearing big headphones in ears or Bluetooth headset, very important that you’re using a type of

Headset. To reduce some of the loop back of audio.

(JP):

Good, we’ve covered some of the mistakes in challenges and some of the best practices. We begin to wrap this up. Is there anything else you’d like to share with the audience about being more effective with virtual presentations?

(MP):

I think from a virtual presentation standpoint. I think right now the most important thing is if you’re going to do one-on-one trainings be on time, of course, make sure that you’re familiar with the equipment and the technology that you’re going to be using, make sure they’re up to date. That’s another big thing as zoom and a lot of these platforms send updates with regularity. You want to make sure those are up-to-date.

Piece that I would say is no, your presentation. Hands forward and backward. A lot of times. There’s going to be distractions on the other person’s side. So we run into this all the time where one of the presenters has to get up and leave or someone has to you know deal with an issue that’s happening in their house because right now everything is so informal. I think the better, you know, your presentation, the more you’re going to be able to keep moving and not lose where you were. Were when those distractions take place because they almost certainly will.

(JP):

That’s great. Well, Mario, if somebody wanted to consult with you and they were serious about saying, you know, they wanted to consult with you about maybe equipment that best practices. How would you want them to contact you?

(MP):

Yeah, the easiest way to get in touch with me is via email. I by email Mario[email protected] I do some Consulting work. I have to warn you that I’m a very busy person, just like everybody else dealing with this right now. However, if you do send me an email there, I will. I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can.

(JP):

Well, thank you. This has been great. So hey team, thanks for being here at the sales is take out your phone, put in your text box. The word sales, edged one word, text it to five, five, six. Seven, eight. That’s it. Going to

Voice over:

Thanks for listening. New episodes will air each Tuesday and Thursday. So make sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts and give us a five star review. The Sales Edge is sponsored by Pici and Pici Incorporated. A firm which provides training, consulting, and keynote presentations. Empowering corporations and individuals to attract and retain quality clients, for higher revenues and growth. Make more money in sales, speak with Joe in person by calling 407 947 2590 or visit www.piciandpici.com

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