Join the circle. The stakes are high in speeches and presentations, so take the following guide to heart. then have fun
The art of public speaking at a trade convention is like playing with fire. While a flame can cook your food, heat your living room, and add beauty to your life, it can also set your house on fire.
Likewise, speaking at trade events offers you a tremendous opportunity to grow your sales – or disaster.
This idea came to me through reader Marilyn Hawkins, a public relations consultant and marketing advisor at Ashland, Mineral.
During a recent trade convention, she attended a session with two case-study speakers: One speaker connected very well with the audience, while the other closed the connection completely.
As a regular speaker myself, I’ve taken Marilyn’s observations and added my feedback to outline what works and what doesn’t (what we might call “backfired”); this is an attempt to help you with her presentations.
No matter what situation you’re in – the keynote, the luncheon speech, or the sales pitch – use these tips to further make your pitch more effective.
Remember, at a general trade convention, the audience’s motivations differ from those of your typical prospective customers. Not everyone in the audience is a buyer of your offerings, not even someone who influences your offerings.
Many simply want to keep up to date with news or developments in technology. Or perhaps they need to present permanent education certificates. Worse yet, they may just want to get out of a day’s work.
Therefore, forget your standard sales presentation. Rather, think about educating your audience and setting the precedent that you are a credible source of information on your subject of expertise. As Marilyn said, “You are there to teach, not preach. “
Obviously, the long-term goal is to sell more, but for the event, make it a goal to be perceived by the audience as the go-to person in your industry.
In the short term, if attendees leave your presentation thinking, “Shit when I need to buy a new so-and-so, Sheila (or Susanita or Pablo), is the one I’m going to call,” you’ve scored a hit. Even if they don’t buy from you, they can refer their friends or acquaintances to you.
The “design” of your speech is essential, so give it some serious thought.
Lay out the areas you want to cover, how much time you should give each, the order of your topics, and how you will open and end the talk. Each component is of paramount importance.
Everyone suffers from having to open the speech. Marilyn suggests the standard devices – stories, jokes, anecdotes, examples, and provocative statements.
The opening needs to interest listeners without overwhelming them. I recommend that you spend at least 25% of your preparation time developing an opening that will engage your audience.
Don’t get into the gist of your presentation too quickly. Audience members need to know her before she attacks them and they can trust her. Until they’re comfortable with you, they’ll see you more as entertainment and look at your ideas with skepticism.
Still, don’t waste too much time getting to what they all came to learn. A good rule of thumb: Allow five minutes for your audience to get used to your speaking style and timbre of voice before you get into the gist of your speech.
Cover only a few crucial points per hour. Speakers who give talks like “87 ways to get blah blah blah” tire the audience mentally. If you must give this type of a dissertation, group those 87 forms into no more than 6 or 7 main areas.
Remember, listening is like eating. Most of us don’t go to a restaurant and bite into 87 different dishes. We like variety, but we want our food organized.
In the same vein, the audience wants a lot of information, but they want it structured in a way that they can enjoy and assimilate.
Give enough arguments before each crucial point. Don’t jump from peak to peak like an ibex. The intensity will tire the attendees.
For each main point, imagine that you are leading the audience to the top of a large hill, going back and forward another point, and so on to your next main point.
Your tone of voice is a reflection of your attitude, so don’t take yourself too seriously. A little humble humor will go a long way in establishing mutual understanding. As I like to say: no one can relate to a know-it-all.
When I speak, my intention is to share my sales expertise, but also to learn from the experience of the attendees. I think someone in each of my audiences has a story or comment that enhances my presentation.
Don’t worry about speaking perfectly. Once, during a presentation, I forgot a keyword and the name of a famous person. I had to ask the audience for help. People were more than willing to give me a hand.
I told them later: » Hey, I can’t bring all the words. You have to bring a certain amount, too.” They laughed, and we all had fun together.
Avoid getting into the “ killed by PowerPoint ” category. If you must use it, keep the number of slides to a minimum, with a few words on each slide.
Leave your audience a summary. Include an outline of your conversation, some information about current trends, an overview of product categories, and any technical or supplementary details.
Remember, if you mention other sellers, don’t disparage or badmouth them.
Put your contact information in the header or footer of the handout. This reinforces the idea that you are a major player in your industry and can be consulted for any question regarding your specialty.