Engaging a wider audience

26/09/2013 - 07:00


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Well-developed public presentation skills enable you to connect with customers and lead your team.

Well-developed public presentation skills enable you to connect with customers and lead your team.

I’M at a corporate conference about to give my 90-minute, customised, personalised talk. I spent hours preparing it – as I do all my talks – and I’ve spent the past 20 years improving my speaking, presentation, and performance skills.

How good a presenter are you?

Do your people, your audience, and your customer want to listen to you? Or do they have to listen to you?

When you’re giving a talk or making a presentation, how compelling is your message?

Note well: You can never own the prospect, the customer, or the audience if you don’t own the presentation.

When you give a talk or make a presentation, make certain you understand:

• what your engagement points are;

• how you want the audience to walk away feeling; and

• what you want the audience to do tomorrow.

If you’re giving a speech (and you should be in order to be perceived as a leader) or making a presentation, there are some strategies and elements you must employ in order to ensure maximum attraction, engagement, connection, and maybe even sales.

1. Use genuine humour. Start with a comment or story that leads to laughter and learning. At the end of humour is the height of listening.

2. Ask poignant questions. Ask people what they’re hoping for. Make the people you’re addressing think – especially about themselves.

3. Ask intellectual questions. Talk about their experiences and yours. Show wisdom. Ask about subject matter knowledge.

4. Tell a story that relates to you and them. Real life experiences are both relatable and create incentive to take action. Facts and figures are forgotten. Stories are retold.

5. Customisation based on their real world. The people you present to only care about themselves and their issues. Focus on that.

6. Incorporate their philosophy, mission, brand, and theme. The more you do, the more respect you will gain.

7. Give five-10 major points they can walk away with and use immediately. Give ideas they can use. That’s what preparation is all about.

8. Have simple slides. Make certain your slides are easy to follow, fun, and readable. And there should only be one point per slide.

9. Very little talk about you. Not who you are. Rather, what you do and how you can help them.

9.5 End with emotion. (Maybe even ask for the sale.) Family or other concepts the audience can relate to and identify with.

At the end of your presentation/performance …

• You want the audience to react and respond. Buy, do better, do new things, applaud, or stand and applaud. The quality of your talk will be the determining factor.\

• You want the audience (or the prospect or the customer) to remember you and the moment. The only way that happens is if you perform remarkably.

• You want outcome and buzz as a result of your words, ideas, value, and inspiration. You seek a favourable outcome. So does the person receiving your message.

The ultimate goal is to have impact over time. If you are able to follow-up by getting people to subscribe to your blog or ezine, you can actually document and measure the success of your ideas, product, or service. And that feedback can drive your success if you pay attention to it.

Want a report card? Video your presentation and watch it twice. Once for the pain, and once to take self-improvement notes.

The best and toughest presentation skill lesson in the world is the one you give yourself.

Want a path to success? Commit to personal presentation skills improvement. Take a Dale Carnegie course and join Toastmasters. Give talks at your local civic association.

Not only are sales leads there, it’s also a relaxed, learning opportunity. Take it.



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