Public speaking – be that leading a seminar, presenting a workshop, or delivering a keynote – can be one of the most rewarding experiences, as well as a very profitable venture when it’s done right. The key is to consistently present ourselves as professionals who are worth the (high) fees we charge, leaving our clients no choice but to invite us to present over and over again and/or hire as for our coaching (or consulting) services.
Public speaking does not always necessarily mean standing up in front of a crowd, though that’s how we think of the term most of the time we hear it. Yes, you can deliver public workshops, keynotes at events, OR deliver webinars or teleclasses presented online or by phone (or Skype). Either of these will connect you to your audience in ways that No other marketing strategy is able to.
Here are ten tips that will ensure that each time you speak you elicit a smashing success and sell your services easier from the stage:
- Dress for success!
While this might seem an obvious one, I regularly encounter speakers who majorly under-dress or (some) overdress. The thumb of rule is, of course, better be a tad overdressed than under-dressed.Your audience wants to look up to you and good “packaging” will enhance your image tremendously. When unsure, contact the organizer and find out what is the expected attire for the speaker(s).* – if you present a webinar or teleclass, yes, this might seem unimportant; though I found that if I dress professionally to deliver my webinar/teleclass, I also act in line with with how I’m dressed… You can deliver a professional presentation in your PJs? All power to you 🙂 – The key is to find out what works for you, ten do it!
- Notice your tendency to use unnecessary fillers!
Your audience decided to invest time, and ocasionally (lots of) money into listening to your presentation. Make sure to show your respect by not wasting their time with a presentation filled with uncomfortable nervously repetitive “noises.”It can become really annoying when a speaker is uncomfortable with pauses in between sentences or while thinking, and fills those gaps with “Ahhh..,” “Mmm…,” or other sounds. Another, almost equally, annoying fillers are the constantly repeated “You know what I mean,” “You see what I’m saying,” and other constantly repeated fillers.There are two good ways to raise your awareness about these fillers:
a) record one (or more) of your presentation(s) and listen with an ear for the filers you use (if any);
b) Join your local Toastmasters International club – they are really good about helping you break your filler habits. (I had around 60 “Ahh’s” and “Mmmm’s” in my first speech I delivered at Toastmasters. By the time I gave my 7th or 8th speech I had zero fillers.) Once you are aware of your tendencies of using certain fillers, you can consciously take steps to eliminating them.
- Develop a great intro and closing!
….and practice it till you can say them forward and backward even in your dreams!There are only few things screaming “I’m not a professional” than someone starting their presentation with excuses (“Oh, sorry, my PowerPoint doesn’t want to co-operate” or “Ey boy, my notes got all shuffled up, just bare with me for a sec”) or some other weak mumbo-jumbo.Instead, start your presentation with a quote, an intriguing question, humor, or a short story, or even magic; then link your intro to the topic of the day.Close your presentation by bringing up elements of your intro and build to a strong finish to elicit your well-deserved applause, OR to build towards building a desire for your product or service.One of my favorite closing technique is the short suspense story that I start in the intro of my presentation – a story that I know that will captivate my audience; then without finishing my story, I link it to the topic of the day…Then as I inch towards the closing of my presentation, I bring up again the suspense story, make some remarks that bring some parallels of the story and the topic we just discussed; and this time finish my story with a powerful and often dramatic or inspirational ending.*** (If you are holding a Q&A session) Have a second closing prepared!
After a speech or a presentation usually comes a question and answer period. Once the questions stop coming, it is best to end on a strong note. This is a great time to get your “last word” in – that is, your prepared powerful second/final closing remarks.
- Keep eye contact with your audience!
One of the biggest difficulties of novice public speakers is keeping eye contact with the audience. However, this is a very crucial element if you want to become a great speaker…When a speaker keeps looking above the audience’s head, the ceiling, the floor, etc., after a while the audience starts wandering “Who the heck is this guy talking to?”The easiest method to keeping good eye contact with your audience is by finding one smiling or friendly face and keep eye contact with that person during the first few minutes of your presentation… Then as the presentation moves on, start making eye contact (for a second or two) with some other audience members – looking for other smiling or friendly faces – and always returning your eye-contact to your first smiling, friendly face. Then once you find another encouraging audience member, start keeping eye contact for some time period with this second person, while also wandering away to make eye contact with other audience members for a second or two… slowly slowly FANNING OUT your eye contact till you win over most of the crowd.By following this method, you’ll find yourself more and more connected to your audience and notice that your message will flow much more smoothly… And most importantly, your audience will fill like you engaged them – you talk to them, NOT At them.
- Don’t overwhelm your audience with too much information!
Do you want your audiences to leave with a sense of “This was great! Today I learned something!”? Then narrow down the information you want to present in a way that will not overwhelm your audience.Ask yourself “What is it that the audience really wants to know about this topic?” Then break down that info into chunks that will fit the length of your presentation. At the end of your presentation give your audience information on how they can learn more about the topic – hopefully, by buying your book(s), tapes, CD, home-study course, join your group coaching, etc.
- Avoid PowerPoint blunders!
- Build your presentation in an easy to follow format!
Whether you are using PowerPoint, flip chart, or other methods to stay on track and to keep your audiences on track, make sure that you tell them in the introduction what points you will cover, then stick to the “plan” as close as possible. An easy way to accomplish this is by giving out handouts where participants can follow your train of thought. One of the most effective ways would be to have the main points spelled out on the handout, then have a few fill-in-the-blanks type of content under each particular point you’ll cover. This strategy helps participants pay more attention and stay more engaged in your presentation.
- Time yourself!
When you practice, time each segment of your presentation and prepare a little cheat sheet (a 2 x 4 card, for example) that you will keep in your sight while you speak, right near a timer or watch. Whenever you’ll look at your “time-card,” you’ll always know if you are on track. If you are running out of time, speed up or skip parts of your presentation and conclude with your rehearsed closing, just in time… just like a pro, leaving a few minutes for Q&A session (if you planned for that).
- “Ask” for the applause!
As I sit through beginner speakers’ presentations, I often notice a common mistake: ending on a low note and not eliciting applause; or not leaving a call to action. As speakers we want to know that we did great, and the way we do that is by allowing the audience to express their satisfaction by a stormy applause OR by buying our products at the end of the room.An easy way to accomplish this is by ending your presentation with a well-rehearsed closing (see point 2 above), bringing it all together, and perhaps giving a last great quote or some wisdom related to the topic. Then pause and give the audience a chance to react to your closing.*** If your goal is to sell at the back of the room, asking for applause should NOT necessarily be your goal. Mention powerful stories throughout your presentation on how you helped others transform their lives, overcome challenges, or accomplish grand goals (build up excitment and desire to know more about your service or product); then at the end let your audience know how they can get more of you, through your Home Study Course, Coaching, Group Coaching, etc.
- HAVE SPECIAL OFFERS – Collect Your Audience Members’ Contact Info!
Business Success boils down to a few basic things:
– RelationshipsWhen you get to speak in front of an audience, you almost instantly generate credibility. Now that you got that, build on it…!Work on developing Trust & Relationships with your audience members. Make sure to engage them to stay in touch with you even after your presentation. Offer them a Powerful freebie – an irresistible offer – such as refer your audience to an E-course that they can sign up for on your website, or even better, pass out a sign-up sheet and let them sign up right there on the spot. Offer them an infoGraphic that’s available to download from your website… During the presentation, mention related articles available on your website (which each should include special offers and/or calls to action as well). Talk up your book, if you have one. No matter what your special offer is, the most important thing is to have one that results at minimum in capturing names and contact info.
Implement these 10 steps into each of your presentations and you’ll find yourself growing a tribe of followers and generating more paying clients than you can handle – a great problem to have, right? 🙂
© Copyright E.G. Sebastian, 2014. All rights reserved.
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