• Scott Stiefvater

Giving online demos? This is why you should turn off screen-sharing often.

Updated: Nov 25, 2020

We humans are wired for conversations. We contain an elegant system that starts in our eyes and ears and ends in our brains. When listening to someone using both our eyes and ears, looking at them as they talk to us, light and sound are easily integrated into one cohesive experience. When, on the other hand, the light and sound come from different sources, things can get wonky.

When the visuals and the words aren't congruent

You walk your listeners through the dashboard display of your software. The words you say and the features you point to are congruent. But then you ask the listeners if they have any questions and the conversation turns toward the topic of software updates. If you continue to screen-share the dashboard, your listeners have a problem.

Even if you leave your camera on, the dashboard is full of visual goodies that pull at the eyes of your listeners. Their ears are hearing one thing and their eyes are exploring another. The mental dissonance leads them to toggle their attention – in one moment they are processing your words and in another they are processing something on the screen. And you wonder why it seems your clients and prospects don't listen well.

If respect, rapport and trust is the goal, you are the best visual.

Showing the software is important. It makes claims of benefits like ease-of-use, security and privacy much more tangible and credible. Ultimately, though, your listeners buying decision is based on gut feelings of respect, rapport and trust in you and your company.

Your face and body language, when combined with your vocal expression, create a potential for connection that your voice alone cannot. Those moments in which a listener is experiencing you, your congruent light and sound, are just as important as the features and benefits of your product, if not more. So turn off screen-sharing often, especially when what you are saying and what you were showing are no longer congruent. Make sure your camera is on. Be expressive. If you do, you increase the likelihood that you will earn the respect, rapport, trust and business of your listeners.


© 2021 by Scott Stiefvater,

(anti) Presentation Coach


Tel: 925-586-3517

San Francisco Bay Area


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