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Q1 : Hi John,

"I'm a guy, and 80% of my sales calls involve an all-female
audience. It's a little strange. Any advice?"  

- Barry from San Diego

Q2 : Hi John

"I'm a female SE working in an almost exclusively male
environment selling solar technology. This is challenging to say
the least! I'm looking for any ideas to help me.

- Gayle from the UK
Hi Gayle and Barry,

I decided to answer your questions together as they are really the
same question from different gender perspectives. Even in our
now supposedly enlightened and more politically correct times
there are still differences between the sexes and you
need to be
aware of them in a sales environment.
The first piece of advice is
for you to acknowledge the situation you are in when presenting to
an all-male or female audience and adjust your presentation
accordingly. However - you need to remain true to your own
personality and don't "fake it". Men need to show respect towards
the female audience and women should not get thrown off course
by the outward lack of emotions from a male audience.

Specifically for women presenting to men.
(Approved by my
daughter who is an SE!)

1.  Stand up and be heard. Make sure you can be seen and heard
by the audience. If you are behind a lectern - move away from it. If
your demo involves sitting behind a laptop, regularly get up and
point to the screen or white board.

2. Don't expect large and outward displays of emotion. We're
guys! Adjust your presentation so you are not relying on this type
of feedback.

3. Be a
"professional". At the risk of being accused of sexism -
don't be too girlish. Sadly you need to be very aware of what you
say and how you say it, and also of what you wear.

4. Get to the point about 20-30% faster with men than with women.
It has to do with attention span - you are probably aware of this in
your personal life.

5. Seek out advice from any trusted male friend or relative about
what they like and dislike about female presenters.

Specifically for men presenting to women.

1.  Avoid humor unless it is self-directed. It's not that you are not
funny or that your audience has no sense of humor - it's different.
The usual one-liners will usually fall flat.

2. In general; sports metaphors, warfare or fast car analogies
won't help you.

3. Be yourself. If you are an expert, it will come across in your
presentation and subject knowledge - do not brag.

4. Don't forget the facts. Although emotion will count for a little
more with women - facts are still facts. Lay them out in a logical
and simple fashion.

5. Seek out advice from any trusted female friend or relative about
what they like and dislike about male presenters. You will be
surprised what you hear!

Good luck. Remember if you show a professional manner and are
proud of yourself and your solution and show a little passion and
enthusiasm it won't matter who you present to.