Don’t let your public speaking skills limit your potential

Finding your voice – could be the easiest way to accelerate your business or careers success.

Whether you are a business owner or executive trying to get ahead, your success will be severally limited unless you can master the art of public speaking.

Standing out from the crowd is an essential element of success for people and businesses alike. Public speaking is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to stand out in the crowded market place.   Whether it is how you speak at meetings or getting a speaking engagement at trade conferences.

Some people love public speaking, others dread it… but whether it’s speaking to conferences, sales calls or just plain networking and major meetings; it is clear that even to day in the digital age you need to master the art of speaking to get ahead.

Only 7% of message impact comes from the words we use. The rest from the way we deliver it.  The way that you deliver “your words”, comes from how we process things internally and can be reprogrammed.

To develop confidence and passion into your speaking here are a few tips:


Personal brand – Consciously own a style

Too often the inexperienced speaker will put on their “speaking voice”, inadvertently becoming someone other than themselves on stage. Generally that “speaker voice” is a poor version of you and they are selling you short. Save the being someone else to the professional actors. The easiest person to be is you.

Get clear about who you are and what your personal brand stands for. Develop a written list of key characteristics of your person brand, values and style in your normal non-speaking business life. Then use this list to encourage and challenge yourself to be that on stage. Remember being “consciously competent” is the step in learning before “unconscious competence”.

If you work for a corporate do not loose your individualism and personal brand completely to the company brand. For “owner managers”

Use a topic you are passionate about to start

Ask yourself “What part of my topic am I most passionate about?”  Use this in your opening, if you are truly passionate about it, your body will change its physiology and you will become alive on stage.

Stand for something: Have a few “soap box” topics

Have a few pet topics that you can speak on, so that given short notice you always have something to talk about. Make a bold claim; debate is one of the most powerful ways to engage audiences.

Just Do it

Yes nothing will get you better at speaking than practice. Take every opportunity to practice. Start by always asking questions at conferences and large meetings. Hunt down speaking opportunities; industry associations are a good place to start.

If you lack speaking opportunities join a toastmasters club. Toastmasters provide a friendly and inspirational environment to learn and improve every week. I personally got a lot out of attending a club for a while and was blown away by the relaxed format and inspiration speeches I heard.

Get Help

The quickest way to improve you learning is to get some one on one coaching and critique.

Basic steps to finding your voice:

  1. Personal commitment to fix it
  2. Process of creating a conscious personal brand – and using it as a strength in presentation style
  3. Learning some mechanics / tools of delivery that are compatible to you
  4. Creating the message to deliver for the voice medium.
  5. Personal coaching on all above – including follow up coaching

At GMC we help business owners and executives who want to “find their voice” in the business environment,  helping you discover what to say and how to say it. Unlike traditional speaking coaches we get business and business people – and come from a business perspective rather than entertainer or actor mind-set.

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Creating Powerful Succinct Messages That Sell

Succinct communication wins every time in this instant time poor world – whether the end game is selling a business, an idea, a product or service or just communicating a plan of action.

“It’s not what you say, it’s what they remember and can be bothered to pass on”

The best material delivered in the wrong manner will go nowhere. Most people make their pitches too vague, too long and too boring. Hence they never get passed onto target audiences and never go viral.

Below are my top 5 communication tips for sales and investment pitches – whether it’s an elevator pitch, full blown sales proposal or coffee with a potential investor.

1: Earn your audience’s attention (be engaging)

Open with something that gets their attention. Remember that only 7% of a message’s impact comes from the words, the rest comes from body language 55%, and tone of voice at 38%. Passion and confidence cannot be faked, equally so the format of the written word matters.

Don’t forget to excite the sensors – Props (physical things) are great memory hooks. Smell and taste are often forgotten.

2: Be Succinct

Use sound bites (10-30 second statements) and headline concepts.

Think like a journalist – what would be your grabbing headline and how can you compact the main message into the first min of your presentation?

Use the inverted pyramid of information – basic journalistic tool.  The power of a message is inversely proportional to its length (less is more).

 

In creating effective messages you need to decide what not to say.

Changing the order of your sound bites is the easiest way to improve it’s impact and effectiveness.

3: Contrast is the best conversion tool (life before and after)

Illustrate your value proposition by contrasting what the customer’s life will be like before and after they have purchased, or with and without your product/service.

Make it simple black and white, not a million shades of grey.

4: Always quantify gain (be specific)

Be specific in what you say, if it’s faster – how much faster? Use this with contrast. Likewise do not use vague descriptions eg “a customer…”, name them, be specific it has greater impact.

5: Customer stories win minds and get results

Short relevant and concise, quantified customer stories using contrast provide the most efficient way to give others a message they will empathise with, process and pass on.

Research by the “sales brain team” showed the following results to the effectiveness (probability of closing a sale) of 4 different proofs of value:

1: Customer Case (80%)
2: Demonstration (60 – 100%)
3: Data (20 – 60%)
4: Vision (10-40%)

Read the Book “Neuromarketing”– “Selling to the old brain” …. Best book I have ever read on sales.  http://www.salesbrain.com/

“WIFM  – What’s in it for me”

The golden rule for all communication is: “always use your audience’s language of success”, not yours. Work out what is the highest gain for your target audience (financial, strategic or personal gain)

Your first goal is always to excite interest in the outcome (the WHAT). When the audience get the relevance of the outcome they will ask the HOW questions. At this point you have them baited. The How (the technology or process) is your domain, not your customers, they just want a result.

Too often business people attempt to sell their business by talking about their product or craft rather than the “true value/outcome” the client is seeking. This is your language not theirs.

Avoid “The curse of knowledge”

Insiders are the worst at reviewing messages for external audiences, they are handicapped by knowing too much, assuming.  Use an experienced external advisor to help extract your core messages and test their impact for first time listeners.

More on this topic: see other www.succinct.co.nz blog posts on this topics in the GMC top tips:

–       “Link between simple strategy pitch and success
–       “Value propositions revisited
–        ” 90 sec Elevator Pitch

Check out www.Succcinct-Stories.com we can help you prepare your next marcoms brief, test your sales or investment proposal or just help you get your elevator pitch sorted.  This also holds true to how you communicate your business strategy and plan to your stakeholders and team to get engagement.