Clear, not Clever – How to Leave a Lasting Impression By Having People Understand You and Your Product

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In our B2B SaaS, technology-heavy world we overcomplicate things to the extreme. Even in that first sentence – acronyms. Then we add technical jargon, buzzwords, fancy diagrams and smooth animations.
We all believe our demos and presentation must be perfect and slick.
But when was the last time you saw a corporate slide deck and said “Wow, look at that smooth animation! I will remember this point for years to come…”

I thought so.

So how do we approach this differently?
The solution is simple: Be crystal clear. Be so clear that there is no way to misinterpret what you are saying. Ditch the fancy slides and put lines on a screen. Scary, huh? Well, let me guide you through it and try it out anyway.
Because we must – for our buyers and our prospects to be able to buy from us, we must stop confusing them.
Because a confused mind always says “no”.

In this session we will cover:
Why being clear is a superpower
Recognizing where we are being clever
Specific tools and methods to simplify complex ideas
What is the next step you should take

Lydia Vasileva discusses the importance of clear and concise communication in leaving a lasting impression and ensuring that people understand both you and your product. She emphasizes the need to avoid jargon and technical language, instead focusing on speaking the language of your audience and clearly articulating the value and purpose of your product or service. Lydia shares the importance of being clear and straightforward in explaining complex concepts and the benefits of including everyone in conversations and presentations. She also highlights the need to prioritize clarity over cleverness and to use plain and simple English to help customers understand and trust you. Overall, Lydia emphasizes that being understood deeply is a core need for everyone and being clear is crucial for success.

  • 00:00:00 The host welcomes the viewers and provides some housekeeping information. They introduce the presenter, Lydia Vasileva, who will be talking about how to leave a lasting impression by having people understand you and your product. The host encourages audience interaction throughout the session and mentions that there will be a Q&A session at the end. Lydia expresses her excitement and invites the audience to leave comments and ask questions as she goes along. She emphasizes the importance of addressing the epidemic of lack of understanding and how it affects us.
  • 00:05:00 Lydia Vasileva discusses their early career experiences and how they initially believed that being clever and using technical jargon would make them successful in sales. However, she soon realized that this approach wasn’t effective and that she was falling into the curse of knowledge, where they forgot what it was like to be new to something. She also realized that focusing on being perfect in their presentations didn’t lead to tangible results or gratification. This realization prompted her to shift their focus towards clarity and understanding in their interactions with prospects and customers.
  • 00:10:00 Lydia Vasileva discusses the common mistake of using jargon and buzzwords in an attempt to impress potential customers. However, this approach often leads to them not truly listening or understanding our message. The key to leaving a lasting impression is to speak the language of our audience and clearly communicate how our product or solution will improve their lives. She emphasizes the importance of aligning our message with the goal of making money, saving money, or reducing risk for the customer. Additionally, understanding the specific needs and concerns of the person we are speaking to is crucial. By avoiding confusion and using clear language, we can effectively convey the value of our products and increase the likelihood of closing a deal.
  • 00:15:00 Lydia Vasileva emphasizes the importance of using plain English to communicate effectively. She gives an example of how a salesperson effectively used gestures and simple language to explain a car feature called park assist, which got Lydia excited about something she didn’t even know she needed. She highlights the power of leaving a lasting impression by being clear and understandable rather than relying on cleverness or jargon. Ultimately, Lydia encourages the audience to use a niching down exercise to specify who they are helping and what they are offering, in order to resonate with their target audience and create memorable interactions.
  • 00:20:00 Lydia Vasileva emphasizes the importance of clearly articulating the value and purpose of a product or service. She provides an example of a long statement that specifies the value of a software solution for healthcare teams in England going through consolidation with other providers. Lydia encourages focusing on the “why” and highlights the benefits of saving time, reducing maintenance hours, and decreasing risk. She  suggests asking the question “so what” to further clarify the value proposition and showcase the tangible benefits to the audience. The goal is to be clear and precise in communication, avoiding being clever or poetic.
  • 00:25:00 Lydia Vasileva emphasizes the importance of being clear and concise when communicating with customers and prospects. She suggests asking the question “so what?” repeatedly to identify the impacts and significance of what you’re talking about. By addressing customers’ concerns and questions ahead of time, you can position yourself as their chosen solution provider. Lydia also recommends explaining complex ideas using simple language, like how you would explain it to a child. She shares her own experience of struggling to explain their job and how they found success in simplifying their messaging. Lastly, Lydia addresses the objection of having a complex product portfolio by highlighting the need to condense and explain the complexities in a way that is easy for customers to understand.
  • 00:30:00 Lydia Vasileva emphasizes the importance of using clear and straightforward language to leave a lasting impression and ensure that people understand both you and your product. She highlights the need to focus on the specific problems your product solves rather than getting caught up in its numerous features. Lydia shares her experience of moving away from the traditional corporate deck approach and instead adopting a buyer-focused mindset. She also discusses the benefits of prioritizing clarity over cleverness, such as leveling the playing field in customer sessions and facilitating better understanding and communication.
  • 00:35:00 Lydia Vasileva emphasizes the importance of including everyone in conversations and presentations, even if they are not the target audience. She shares a personal experience of someone thanking them for including everyone in a conversation, showing that making people feel included is essential. Lydia also discusses the benefits of being clear and straightforward in explaining complex concepts, as it allows subject matter experts to appreciate and trust you more. She highlights the personal branding exercise gained from being known as the go-to person for explaining complex topics. Being clear and concise not only benefits one’s career, but also extends to personal relationships and interactions outside of work. Lydia concludes by stating that being understood deeply is a core need for everyone and being clear is crucial for success.
  • 00:40:00 Lydia Vasileva emphasizes the importance of clear communication by removing acronyms, jargon, and technical language. She suggests using plain and simple English to help customers understand and trust you as a reliable advisor. Lydia Vasileva also offers to help viewers clarify their products and offers free one-on-one clarity sessions. She addresses a question about how to measure the success of a project, advising to ask the customer directly or conduct research to understand their specific metrics and language.
  • 00:45:00 Lydia Vasileva emphasizes the importance of speaking clearly and avoiding condescension when simplifying concepts for technical audiences. She advises being casual, helpful, direct, and honest to ensure everyone is on the same page. When it comes to involving all stakeholders in a project, Lydia explains that it’s not necessary to include everyone, but rather to focus on including those who are genuinely important and already involved. She suggests making these stakeholders feel important, included, and heard, even if they don’t actively participate. Lydia also briefly mentions buyer enablement and directs viewers to additional resources on the subject. Finally, when asked about the balance between time spent in PowerPoint presentations versus live demos, Lydia acknowledges that it depends on the product but doesn’t provide a specific answer. 
  • 00:50:00 Lydia Vasileva discusses the benefits of using live demos and whiteboarding over PowerPoint presentations. She feels that live demos and whiteboarding provide more flexibility in addressing questions and adapting to different environments. However, she acknowledges that this approach may not work for everyone and that it is important to be aware that one size does not fit all. She also mentions some comments from the audience about using PowerPoint slides sparingly and only as a support tool. Additionally, Lydia encourages attendees to provide feedback and mentions upcoming sessions and events. She expresses their gratitude for the opportunity to speak and their willingness to engage with others to continue the conversation about clear communication and messaging.

00:55:00 ILydia Vasileva discusses the difficulty of keeping complex products simple and understandable. She uses the example of VMware products, which can be extremely technical and complicated. Lydia’s approach is to focus on answering value-based questions to prove the capabilities of the product without getting into the technical details. She believes that the main goal should be to convince and inspire people rather than dwelling on technical specifications. Lydia also mentions that they don’t feel the need to enforce their approach on their teammates but instead lead by example. Overall, the speaker emphasizes the importance of understanding the value and problem-solving aspects of a product rather than getting caught up in technical details.

About the Presenter

Lidia Vasileva

Sales Engineer VMware

My greatest belief: all things complicated can and should be made approachable and simple to understand. Or better said:
“…the height of sophistication is simplicity” – Clare Boothe Luce, 1931
Why watch my sessions?
I have a history of successful DEMOFESTx in London, UK with
presentations with my live session: “Standing out” is the Most Important Skill that Nobody Teaches Pre-sales Engineers
I’ve made a huge impact on the Solution Consulting world with my co-hosting of The Social Sales Engineer Livestream – where we highlighted different elements of the career and share the spotlight on key figures in our field. I’ve also had multiple podcast guest appearances to discuss Solution Consulting or Network Engineering.
You can find my oversharing mainly on my LinkedIn and Twitter. I practice learning in public. I regularly share discoveries or thoughts to give back to the communities that help me.
You can also find more about me on
I am also leading the most ambitious Solution Consulting project out there, join and make your voice heard on
When I am not fangirling about all things Solution Consulting, you can find me nerd-ing out on various topics. Those include but are not limited to tabletop and video games, roleplaying (Dungeons & Dragons), painting, fictional writing and any sort of crafting that I can fit in my office.

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