Thursday, September 22, 2011
Infomercial or Speaking Engagement ... You Be the Judge
Today's lesson is about speaking or more specifically bad speakers. Since I constantly network I have seen my fair share of bad speakers. I've also been privileged to see some great ones too. So I feel fairly confident I can tell the difference and provide some advice to those who wish to become a speaker. The number one rule of bad speaking is to start selling them something less than five minutes into the presentation. In fact, if I can impart any advice at all, here it is: don't try to sell at all. Now many of you are scratching your heads and asking, "Doesn't that defeat the purpose?" No! You will still end up with sales for your services or products (that is, if you do a good job), but the truth is nobody wants a hard sell. Sometimes your audience doesn't want to hear your pitch at all. Your audience came to learn something, possibly be enlightened, and walk away feeling like their money was well spent on an interesting networking event. When you either immediately begin selling or spend the last 10 minutes of your 20 minute presentation selling, you turn people off. I recently saw a speaker who within five minutes of her presentation started down the "infomercial" path and told us her prices for services. What did I do? "Oh, wow! Where is my iPhone? Hmm ... I need to check my messages. Oh, and I need to leave ... I mean use the bathroom." That is what your sales efforts will do -- not engage your audience.