The goal of all communication; verbal, written, or visual is the same. We want the audience, as quickly as possible, to GET IT! They may not agree with everything we said. They may not agree with anything. But if they don’t GET IT! it’s hard to have a meaningful discussion going forward.
If you are using words they don’t understand you will quickly lose them.
Many occupations, generations of people, industries, clubs, and geographical areas use words and phrases when speaking to each other strangers often don’t comprehend.
When these words are used in a speech to “outsiders,” the message can be hard to make sense of, and sometimes misinterpreted or lost. And if someone has trouble understanding your message, they’ll give up trying and won’t “GET IT!”
Even if you are speaking to people in the same industry, some language common to you may be new to them. How long have they been in that position and what is their work history? Those acronyms and buzzwords might have different meanings in their world than in yours.
Plain simple language RULES!
Example: I work with some people in the financial industry. They’ll be presenting to prospects and customers and talk about ETFs, mutual funds, and derivatives. People are sitting in the audience, nodding their heads up and down like they grasp everything. Many don’t! They won’t work with those advisers they don’t understand. Who likes feeling stupid?
We see the Emperor with no clothes; but no one says anything.
Saying THIS to your audience early in your presentation will help them better
“My industry, like many or yours, has buzzwords, acronyms, and language many outside it won’t find familiar and may not understand. It’s my job to make sure my message is understood and I will strive to do that.
So I can best accomplish this goal I need an agreement with each of you. If you hear anything you’re not 100% sure of its meaning, you’ll raise your hand so I can explain it. (Raise your hand and continue) I am not moving forward till all hands are raised!”
Wait till all hands are lifted, then continue your talk. You have given permission to not understand and let you know.
In formal and informal presentations and in your elevator speeches: DO NOT USE buzz words, acronyms, and techno-speak.
Do that, and I guarantee: Your next presentation will be absolutely, positively– NO SWEAT!
Chris Cebollero is the ultimate host and consummate interviewer. I always learn from him!
Check out his site for great leadership skills information. ChrisCebollero.com
Thank you for joining us on the ultimate leadership podcast. And here’s your host, Chris Cebollero.
And I gotta tell you, I am so excited for today’s show. I think one of the skills that we don’t take advantage of enough is growing our communication skills. And even more importantly than communication skills is our ability to deliver public speaking and presentations. And how important is that in our career. And I think that we have to now know that this is a foundational skill that as we grow in our leadership career that we must have. And I got to tell you how I got the guest for you. Once again, we have our friend, Fred Miller, joining us again, I got to tell you that he is a speaker, he’s an international coach and he is the guy. He is the guy that I sent other people to his books,” NO SWEAT Public Speaking!” and his “NO SWEAT series,” “NO SWEAT Elevator Speech,” “NO SWEAT Q” and A,” “NO SWEAT Fear of Public Speaking.” and “NO SWEAT Introduction,” really takes you through the processes of learning how to feel comfortable. And here’s a guy that looks better in black than Johnny Cash himself.
Fred, I want to thank you for joining us on the ultimate leadership podcast, once again,
Chris is my privilege to be with you again.
And I got to tell you, I mean really, though, I mean your expertise is in this space of public speaking and really giving people the opportunity to feel comfortable in something that they say is a number one fear. And I think the first question I want to ask you is. “How important is public speaking and delivering presentations in our professional development?”
It’s right up there with breathing, Chris? I mean my, my mantra is: “Speaking opportunities are business, career and leadership opportunities.” And no one ever questions that statement. And I know your audience are leaders and leaders, when we think of leaders that they have to be good speakers and many are, but many are not. But it makes a huge difference whether you are leader or you’re just, you know, have a JOB.
I mean, most of the people who I do individual coaching, they’ll say that not taking a speaking opportunity has cost me promotional opportunities. You know, it’s a fear that just holds many people back and you can stand head and shoulders above others if you can present well, even though they’re smarter than you, even though they know the job better. If you’re a good communicator, as you are, Chris, it makes all the difference in the world. Isn’t that what you found?
Yeah, I gotta tell you, I mean, it’s one of the things that really has been the core for me. And once I learned how to speak, I found that opportunities were coming to me more often then when I wasn’t speaking. So this was really a foundational skill that gave me the opportunity to take the next opportunity, Fred. So you are absolutely right.
Well, when you’re on the lectern or when you’re on a dais with someone else, if you’re on a panel, you’re seen as a leader. People like to work with leaders. They see somebody who’s a speaker, as an expert. Experts command more money for their products and services. We like to work with experts. Let me tell you a quick story. I spoke to a real estate investor association once and the President of that association was a really good speaker. I went up to him afterwards and I was talking to him, gave him a compliment, and I said, “What’s your day job?” And he said, “Well, I’m an engineer at Boeing.” We both kind of laughed because it’s kind of a left brain activity and most left brain people, engineers, accountants, architects, they’re not, they’re not outgoing like that. And he said, “I know what you mean. He said, I’m blessed that I’m a good communicator. In fact, I’m such a good communicator that I am the team leader.” He says, “I got to tell you, every one of the guys in my team is far better at the job than I am. But because I can communicate, I’m the leader. I’m the leader.” Isn’t that a great story?
No, I think it is. And, and I think you hit the nail right on the head because being able to articulate the message or being able to give people an understanding of where you’re going or what you’re doing or how you’re going to do it, or what my responsibilities are into this process and, and the reason that we speak is we speak to inform, to educate or to entertain people. And sometimes we got to do it all three in the same presentation. And I think that we forget that. And as you now kind of lay out for us that, you know, speaking is business and career and leadership opportunities, how do we now get into this process of learning how to become a great speaker, or when we think about what this means for our career, how do we put this in a perspective to move forward to say, this is why I really have to do it.
Well, I think you have to take a look at where you are and where you want to go. Because again, some of the coaching calls I get start with a conversation very similar to I’m sick and tired of people who don’t work as hard as I do. They’re not contributing as much to the company, but they’re getting recognition bonuses. Sometimes they’re getting promotions because they’re speaking and they’re not very good, but they’re up there and I’m not, can you help me? Now, on the other hand, I remember getting a call from a very successful attorney and he said, you know, on a scale of one to ten I’m a nine. I want to be a twelve. And he knew that that difference would make all the difference in his career. He would get more referrals. You know, it’s just such a huge thing. And again, it holds a lot of people back, but I think you have to face the fear, figure out why you have that fear and then do it anyway.
And you asked about places to learn it. Well, Toastmasters is one of places I always recommend to people. Toastmasters is an international organization all over the world. Got a ton of great clubs in most cities and they have two tracks, leadership and public speaking. And my advice to everyone is to visit a number of clubs in your area. They all have their own flavor. Some are very regimented, some are kind of loosey-goosey, but find one where you’re a fit. And that’s a great place to start. Another place is, take classes. They have classes at community college. I teach one here in Saint Louis, they have them in colleges, but they really need to start it in high school. Maybe it needs starting in grade school. You know, you think about little kids and show and tell in kindergarten and some don’t want to get in front of the class. The earlier you start this, the better it is for your career. Is that where you found, Chris?
You know, and I think that you’re absolutely right and, and if it’s a skill, like any other skill, I mean, what’s the one thing that you did the first time, Fred, that you did absolutely great? I mean there were mistakes, there’s challenges, there’s hurdles. And then as you develop the skill and polish the skill, you get to be more comfortable. And you mentioned your class and something that I’ve wanted to tell you is I want to get over there and take the class because I’ve been speaking since 1986. But that doesn’t mean that your growth within the speaking responsibility ends. You know, you’re always picking up something from somebody else and you’re always, you know, how somebody delivers and their questioning techniques and how they involve the, you know, the, the audience or you know, what’s the great, the best way to transition from one point to another. But you know, you talk about it from the standpoint of growth in business and advancing careers and you mentioned entrepreneurs. But I really want to be more specific as I’ve heard entrepreneurs say that they don’t need to know how to speak in public and what are you going to tell those people friends
Really! Well, do you want to be a successful entrepreneur or not? Now maybe can hire somebody as a spokesperson. I mean I, there are some people who own companies and they had somebody who was at outgoing professional speaker type, but I think he got to do yourself. People want to see the leader. People want to see the person who has that backstory of how they started the company, the struggles they had. And it’s all about the stories. I want to segue right back to something you just said, Chris. It is a skill you can learn.
And I’ll tell you a story. A number of years ago I got a call from an OBGYN. She was in New York, coming to Saint Louis, and was going to be associated with one of the big hospitals here. Terrible fear of public speaking. I mean, I could hear it in her voice and she told me and she said, this is really a challenge. I’m going to have to present to my colleagues who are physicians. I’m going to have to teach a class. Can you help me? And I said, “Well, I don’t know, doctor, can I ask you a few questions?” And she said, “Sure.” And I said, “You’re an OBGYN. That means you deliver baby boys and baby girls, right?” And she said, “Yes.” I said, “Well, let me ask you a question. Have you ever delivered a baby public speaker? And she kind of chuckled, and said, “No, no, I don’t think I have.” I said,”Let me ask you another question, doctor. You’re a physician, you’re an adult, you’ve dealt with death, it’s part of life. Do you know anyone who’s passed away giving a presentation? And she kind of chuckled again, said, “No, I don’t” And I told her what you just said, Chris. I said, “Well, you’ve just proved my point. There is not a public speaking gene we’re either born or not born with. It’s a relatively safe activity to engage in. So somewhere between birth and death, it’s a skill you can learn. You weren’t born knowing how to drive a car, ride a bike, use a computer. I said, you went to medical school doctor, you’ve done tougher things.” So it is a skill that can be learned and you just have to figure out why you have that fear and then you just have to face it and you take class. Then you made another great point, Chris farriers a great thing, you know Bill Gates said, I think it was about six months ago. He said,” If you get it right the first time, you don’t give a second thought” and that’s, yeah, I love that quote.
That is good.
Because what happens, you screw up, you get ticked off, you calm down, you realize what went wrong and you fix it.
There’s a guy I used to follow in the New York Times business section, Bryan Adams, and he had a column called the corner office. He interviewed very highly successful executives and he wrote a book. One of the things he found that they all had in common, Chris, they were not comfortable unless less they were uncomfortable. They knew that’s where the learning begins. Easier said than done, I’m sure. I know I’ve been in that spot where I’m thinking, oh my gosh, this is horrible. But when you think back, that’s how you learn, right?
That’s where the reflection, you reflect on what’s going on and you figure out how do I grow? How do I not put myself in the same situation? Or if I’m in the same situation, how do I react differently? Now, I’ll tell you this, Fred, and you probably know this as well. There are some times you may find yourself in that situation, again, and you may react the same way. But again, it’s just the point of saying, man, I did it again. So you may not get it the first time. You may not even get it the second time, but it’s that learning process that when you’re in that situation again and again and again, you react differently each time. And that’s what gives you your growth and development. And you know, when we think about speaking and it comes from, you know, even from being a business owner, because you talked about, you know, uh, speakers for leadership and speakers for public speaking. You know, from a business standpoint, you know, you’re going to be speaking all the time to your customers and, and you may not think that is, that’s a presentation skills, but you’re really trying to give them the, the solutions to their problems that they’re coming in. People don’t buy products and they don’t buy services. What they buy us solutions. And by you presenting yourself or your business or you know, those solutions that you have to them, you’ve got to be able to communicate that well, effectively, and kind of get them on board with that message to say, you know what, this person does have the answer to my problem.
Well, that’s an excellent point. In fact, going back to Toastmasters, my first meeting, someone came up to me and said, “If you have the ability to speaking from a group, even if you never do it will improve your one on one.” And the next day I was in the coffee business. At the time I was down at Anheuser Busch, I was speaking of three ladies about getting my service in there and I could just feel I was connecting better. So you’re right, it’s a mini-presentation. Giving an elevator speech is a speaking opportunity. It’s a min-presentation. And a lot of people panic about that. And if you can’t tell people what you do, it’s toast! Yeah, it’s a hungry dog that doesn’t wag it’s own tail. You’ve got to be able to give a great elevator speech and you have to know how to speak or your career. career will suffer. Absolutely.
No, I agree with you 100% and when you talk about that elevator speech, it’s something that people don’t have and they don’t prepare. And you’ve come up with a method, and I know we’re kind of getting off the topic of what we’re talking about, but maybe you can touch on it a little bit. You’ve come up with a really easy way to help people develop that elevator speech and maybe you can give them just a couple of tips.
Well sure. Thanks for asking a build it by the floor. One floor at a time. Everyone doesn’t want to go to the top floor with you. You may not want to start on the first floor. You may want to start on another floor and go down. And also let’s, let’s talk about, there’s two audiences for the elevator speech. There’s the group and that’s the situation where you attend a social function, networking event, or a seminar and the leader says, uh, you know what? Before we get started, we’re, we’re going to go around the room. When it’s your turn, stand up, tell us who you are, what you do, give us your elevator speech. Clarity is not optional. Everyone should know exactly what you do and they make a decision. Either, I want to talk to Chris right away. I need that leadership training or I don’t need that. But if I ever do. I’m going to talk to Chris. But just as important, I know Chris does and my radar is now up. And if somebody says, hey, we need some leadership training in our company, I’ve going to give him Chris’s name and they’ll both be thanking me.
Now, there’s also the elevator speeches that we give one on one and that might be, and I’m sure you’ve done these, Chris, somebody says we have a speaker at 10 o’clock arrive early and network. And most of elevator speeches are one on one. Well, the added goal there, in addition to the three we just mentioned, is to disqualify. Everyone’s not prospect for what you do. You’re not going go buy from everyone you’re talking to. So you don’t want to waste major time on minor possibilities. Disqualify! Makes sense?
It sounds hard for it, but you gave us an easy for me to really kind of learn that process. But going back to what we were talking about, I wanna, I wanna bring this, you know, the leaders into this group now. So when you think about being a successful leader and you talk about your ability to talk to your workforce or to, uh, interact with your peers, or maybe that big day comes,Fred, and you have to stand in front of the leadership team and give that presentation on a new project you want to start to lead. I mean, so when we think about the importance of this for the leader, how does it help them grow professionally to have the ability to conduct all these speaking opportunities?
They’ve got present their goal and they want their people to buy into it and they want their people to feel that they’re a part of the team. That this is a team effort. And if you’re seen as a wimpy leader, which you might be seen if you can’t communicate well, that’s going to affect things. Actually, I had a guy call me earlier this week. He’s going to come in next week from quite a distance. And that he told me the story. He was speaking to all of his people. He’s got a large company, 90 locations, and he say he froze. He was giving a presentation, just kind of froze, fumbled through it, and he knows that that affected that the perception of his people had upon him as a leader. The fact is we expect leaders to be good presenters. Again, we talked about this earlier. Some are, some are not, but you want to be presented as the person with the confidence in your competence. If you say, this is where we’re going, they believe you. It’s all about that. Buying into what you say as the leader.
You know, one of the things that I think people forget is that there are methods to being a good speaker and having an instructor methodology course. I mean the course that you teach at the college, Fred, and you know the books that you write really kind of talks about the science of speaking. And I think that once people learn the science and they understand that it’s something that they have to learn to do, it’s not like, you know, we don’t just get up there, you and I and give good presentations. I mean there’s preparation and there’s, you know, learning how to transition and there’s the questioning and all the things that we need to know. Plus we even talk about the adult learner and there are just so many steps in the science that when it becomes the art, without knowing the science, you can’t paint the picture to that successful presentation. And if folks want to be able to learn the science, I mean, what’s the best way they can do that?
Well, I think you made a good point. There’s two components to a presentation. There’s content and delivery. Content is the message. Delivery is presenting. Delivery trump’s content. You could have the greatest content in the world. You could be the world’s leading expert. But if you can’t deliver that content in the mayor that educates, entertains and explains what you just said earlier, they’ll never GET IT!. And the bottom line with all communication, Chris: Visual, written or spoken as the same. We want the recipients as quickly as possible to GET IT! They may not agree with everything you say. They may not agree with anything but they don’t GET IT! you can’t have that conversation going forward. And it’s knowing how to present that content. And a good analogy is the structure of a speech is like the recipe for a great cake. There are specific ingredients you add in specific amounts at specific times. You do specific things to them and you get a great cake. And that’s all the challenges people have. Sometimes they all know that structure and they’ll go down one bunny trail, then another bunny trail, then they’ll circle back and people can follow it. So it’s knowing that structure, learning it. And then, to your point, practice, practice, practice. I coach people for Ted talks and the rule of thumb we have is one hour of preparation for every minute of presentation. And that’s conservative. Somebody said that’s an awful lot. Make the analogy about athletes. The amount of time that a professional athlete actually spends playing their sport, it’s infinitesimal to the time they spend working out and practicing. Isn’t that correct?
No, I think you’re absolutely right. And I’ve never heard the one minute for every hour. I used the rule of thumb is four hours of preparation for every one hour of talk. But regardless of which methodology you use, preparation is important. And one of the things you said I want to touch on, I don’t want to gloss over is I’ve had people, you talked about content vs, delivery. I’ve had people that have been in my audiences that have come up to say to me, “I don’t agree with your message, but I love the way you presented it.”
What a compliment!
You know what I mean? And it really was, cause when they said that I was a little bit, you know, I didn’t agree with your message and not everybody’s going to agree, but if you can entertain them, if you could kind of keep them involved in the discussion. Otherwise they’re just going to look at their phone. They’re going to look at their brochures, they’re going to get up, they’re going to walk out, but he stayed to listen. So I agree with you in polishing the skill of how you’re delivering. The message is really what kind of holds people in. But no, you’re not going to make everybody happy. And I want to touch on one more thing, Fred, before you go, because every time I have you on, it’s important that we talk about it. How do people deal with the fear of public speaking? We know that they’re going to have it. I gotta tell Ya, after all these years, I mean 1986 I got an instructor certification in the United States Air Force. There are times when I look out into audiences and it still gives me butterflies in my stomach. So I think people think that that fear is going to go away. But I think moreover, how do people deal with that fear to get the message out and it not handcuffed them, not getting that content out to the audience that’s listening.
Well, first of all accept that you’re going to have that fear and you don’t want to get rid of it completely. What you want to do is take that fear and put that energy into your presentation. A..
A Blank slide immediately takes the attention off
the screen, and puts it on the presenter.
There are two components to a presentation:
Content and Delivery.
Content is the message. Delivery is presenting that message and it outperforms content.
Delivery has two parts: Verbal and Nonverbal communication. Nonverbal beats verbal.
The audience believes what they see.
Use black slides or have a remote control that will blank the screen.
When the audience sees a black slide, they look at the speaker. Gestures, facial expressions, and other body language should be an integral part of conveying the message.
Slides, and the images they contain, should reinforce and clarify the material being presented. By themselves, they are not the presentation. The spoken words, combined with verbal and nonverbal communication, is the presentation. Slides and other props enhance the presentation and help the audience GET IT!
The image on the screen strengthens the message. This is a good thing because people learn, to varying degrees, in different manners: by hearing, seeing, and feeling. Providing more than one of those mediums increases the chances they’ll GET IT!
If the speaker is just using slides and doesn’t have the audience looking at them, they might as well have a quicktime video going.
There are times to see the image and listen to the speaker, and there are times to focus solely on the person delivering the presentation.
Unfortunately, many people who use slides in their presentations forget this. Perhaps, because of a fear of public speaking, they present this way. They show slides with pictures and bullet points and read the text to the audience. They might as well put the show into automatic mode and leave the room. This is not the way to use a visual aid like PowerPoint.
PowerPoint is a prop, a visual prop. When props aren’t being used, they should be placed out of site. This is why the presentation screen should sometimes be blank.
Follow this advice for blanking slides in your presentations and I guarantee they will be absolutely, positively – NO SWEAT!
You’ve experienced this, haven’t you?
Immediately after the speaker closes their presentation, the emcee takes the microphone and says,
“Thanks for attending the event today. Drive home safely.”
That’s memorable, isn’t it? NOT!
Ending a program like that is underwhelming. Unfortunately, this anti-climatic way to a close an event after a great message from a speaker, is often the norm. It’s done this way because no one, especially the emcee, thought about a better way to end the event.
Great News – There is a better way! The AFTER-Duction is the professional thing an emcee should do, but they usually need help from the speaker. It should be given to them and reviewed with the host before presenting.
Just as the presenter should write their Introduction, they should also compose the AFTER-Duction. This is what the emcee should say after the speaker closes their presentation. It should be written as if the master of ceremonies wrote it and delivered in the same manner.
An example of one of my AFTER-Ductions is HERE.
The AFTER-Duction serves several purposes:
It thanks the speaker for attending the meeting and their presentation.
Reinforces something of value from their message.
Helps, where appropriate, the speaker sell additional products and services.
This is important because a presenter often reduces their fee with the anticipation of selling their wares.
The verbiage, where relevant and appropriate, could be:
Thank you, (Speaker), for a super presentation and message!
One of my takeaways, and something I’m going to put into practice, is ________.
I’ve asked (Speaker) to stick around for awhile after we adjourn.
He’ll answer any questions you still have.
Don’t forget to give him your business card for his Free ________.
I suggest checking out the books and CDs he has available.
If you ask nicely, I’ll bet he’ll be glad to autograph them for you!
You might even want to get a selfie with ________.
Now would be a great time to sign up for his upcoming ________.
All the above statements are better coming from the emcee vs. the speaker.
The audience doesn’t often like a speaker hawking their products and services from the stage.
Having the host do it is akin to an endorsement!
Of course, you better have great ‘stuff’ and have delivered an excellent presentation with solid value to the attendees. Ask permission before the event to display products for sale. Don’t consider it a ‘given.’
Being the Master of Ceremonies is a Speaking and Leadership Opportunity. Too often, those in this position aren’t as adept with the role as they would like to be, or think they are! Writing your Introduction (One of my Introductions HERE) and AFTER-Duction will help and benefit them. Just as a great Introduction puts the spotlight on the emcee and makes them look good, the same will happen when they deliver an excellent and relevant AFTER-Duction.
These won’t be the final words from the emcee.
They will be thanking the host, helpers, sponsors, etc. and making announcements relevant to the organization. The AFTER-Duction will reinforce the value the presenter brought to the event and spotlight those responsible for organizing it and sponsoring organizations. All good outcomes for an event!
AFTER-Ductions can add enormous value to your presentations!
Incorporate them in your presentations and they will be absolutely, positively – NO SWEAT!
He is the consummate interviewer and an expert consultant on how to get high value clients and sell more of your professional services.
Here is the text of that interview.
Jim: Coaches who make dynamic presentations to trade groups or conferences will build their business faster than those who don’t. But a lot of coaches help to just survive in front of an audience instead of thriving on stage. How can we get past all that and deliver awesome client generating presentations? That’s our topic for today’s episode of the High Income Coaching Podcast.
Jim: Welcome to all my Coaching Connector friends. This is Jim McCraigh. We are going to crush some of the things that hold people back when they do client generating presentations. People hire Fred Miller because they want to improve their public speaking and presentation skills. Fred teaches people how to develop, practice and deliver knock your socks off presentations. Fred, thank you so much for coming today.
Fred: Thank you, Jim, for having me. It’s a pleasure.
Jim: It’s great to be with you again, too. I think it’s probably been over a year now since you and I got together for another podcast and that turned out to be really popular. You’ve been doing this for a long time, but I’m curious to how you got started as a speaker.
Fred: Well, it’s a great question. I got stared as a speaker by watching a lot of speakers. I grew up in the era and I think you did, too, Jim, when Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy and Les Brown and a bunch of these guys would have big events and they would travel the country and there would be all these speakers and I just loved watching these guys and it gets so psyched up watching them and you’re thinking to yourself, maybe I could do that. You saw how powerful it was and then joined Toastmasters. I was in Toastmasters for I guess 25 years or so and just decided the time was right. I wrote my book, my first book in 2011 and I just love doing what I’m doing. Because what I’ve found, and, and you know this, Jim, because you are a speaker, is that speaking opportunities or business career and leadership opportunities. That fear of public speaking and holds a lot of people back from taking, making those opportunities.
Jim: Well, you’re absolutely right about that. I, I remember my first speech, I think I was petrified and it was to my own people. I was in a corporate environment and I eventually got past that and I got past it because I talked to people like you. And people who encouraged me and people who would give me some sort of guidance towards getting there and I ended up doing a lot of professional speaking and I still do. If you pay me enough, I’ve raised my fees, but I’ve heard you say that you think that a great presentation is like the recipe for a cake. Can you explain that
Fred: Sure. There are specific ingredients, you add at specific times in a specific manner. You do specific things to them and you a great cake. That goes hand in hand with delivering a presentation and one of the fears of public speaking is people don’t know the structure of it. They’ll repeat themselves. They’ll go down some bunny trail that has nothing to do with their presentation . They’ve got to have that structure to the speech. If you have that structure and you know it, that’s one of the things that will lessen that fear of public speaking and it’s also one of the things that will engage your audience because if you do it correctly, they know what’s coming. They’re anticipating and, hopefully, they want to hear it.
Jim: There is obviously a tremendous amount of value in being able to speak to a crowd, but there’s different kinds of speeches. There’s talks that are designed to generate leads. There’s talks that are designed for other purposes. Where should somebody start if they decide that, look, I really want to, for example, generate leads. I’m a coach or a consultant and I understand that this can do great things for me, but I have no idea where to start.
Fred: Well, first of all, you got to decide what you’re going to talk about. You need to really define who you are and what your topic is. It’s got to be a bullseye and I’ll give you a great example. I heard a lawyer a few months ago talk and he said, I’m an attorney. I’m a contract attorney. I do land contracts, real estate contracts, business contracts. That’s what I do is contracts. People would say, “Well, I’ve got a traffic ticket.” I don’t do that. I do contracts or,” I think are going to get a divorce.” I don’t do that. I do contracts. You want to be known specifically for one thing. That goes hand in hand with give me a good, great elevator speech. Once you decide what the topic is going to be, because you can’t be all things all people develop a signature presentation and then give it to as many people as you can go. It’s great to give them the chambers of commerce, Optimist clubs, Kiwanis clubs, wherever you can because you want somebody sitting in the audience thinking. “That guy knows what he’s talking about. I mean, he is really good. He’s an expert and if I ever need that product or service, I’m going to talk to him and my radar is up and if somebody ever says, “Hey, I’m looking for a guy who does whatever that is,” I’m going to refer him because you want people know exactly what you do easily. It’s your passion because passion trumps everything.”
Jim: Well, I think you said something there. I want to explore a little bit further. You said a Rotary and other groups like that. Kiwanis clubs, Lions clubs. Somebody might say, “Well, look, I’m a business speaker and I have corporate clients and why would I waste my time doing those kinds of groups.” I’ll give you an example and it’s the way that I started out. I used to speak anywhere that would have me, Fred, I don’t care who it was and isn’t that a way to get started in develop yourself in what I would call it, low liability type.
Fred: Oh yeah. And you never do it for free. You do it for fee waived.
Jim: Well, thank you for that. I appreciate that, and lunch. I got a lot of lunches.
Fred: Yeah, a lot of lunches and sometimes, you never know. Ask, “Do you have somebody might sponsor it or maybe one of your members has a restaurant.” I could get a gift card, but I will tell you this. You will learn three ways. You learn by observing. You learn by practicing, but most of all you learn by doing so. Every speaking opportunity is an opportunity to improve your talk. I have never done one that I’ve practiced or come out of that having learned something. And if I haven’t practiced enough where I gave him that had not given that talk in a while, I’ve learned something so you can always improve what you do and you never know who’s going to be in the audience.
Fred: Now at a certain point, to your point, you don’t do it for free. I mean, I’ve told people, “My pro bono bucket is overflowing.” I do work with Ted talk speakers. I do work with unemployed and underemployed people. At a certain point you can do that, but if you’re just starting out, you want to get out there and speak because the learning is in the doing.
Jim: What about toastmasters? You mentioned that you were in toastmaster.
Fred: I love toastmasters is an international organization. They have clubs all over the world. Many clubs in most towns. They have two tracks. Basically, leadership and public speaking. They have a path you follow. But my advice has always been this, Jim, visit clubs. Visit as many clubs as possible because while they’re all good, they have their own little idiosyncrasies. Some are very structured, some are loosey goosey. Personal story. It’s all about stories and speeches, so personal story. The first club I joined, I think they all belonged to Mensa. You know the High IQ organization. I know. Shame on me. It ook me six months to figure it out. I wasn’t a fit and I dropped out and six months later and think, no, no, I got to find the club that I fit into. I want to do this. So my advice is always to visit a number of clubs and find one you fit into. I was in 25 years since I published my book. I’ve had the privilege of speaking to lots of clubs, regional conferences they’ve had. It’s been a great experience. I always recommend toastmasters.
Jim: What’s been the effect of your going out and speaking about your book, how has that worked for you?
Fred: Having a book and being a speaker makes you an expert. People perceive an author as an expert. Here’s a suggestion. I give this all the time. Even if you don’t have a book yet, you have a book inside of you, right? Of course you do. So when you write your own introduction, and that’s extremely important. Always write your own introduction as soon as you get that speaking opportunity. One of the things to include is, “And the title of his upcoming book is.” Let me tell you a story. I’m in front of this huge chamber and the guy’s reading my introduction. He says, “And the title of his upcoming book is, Oh my Gosh, you have a book coming out?” and he looks right at me. I go, “Yeah.” He goes, “Oh, that’s awesome! It is awesome!” So I always tell people. Now, you can change the title of the book. You didn’t tell them what it’s going to come out. And once you publish the first book, “The title of your first book is,” and people say, “Well, what’s the second book, Jim? ” You go, Oh, I would love to tell you, but my attorney and my publisher had me sign all these nondisclosures I’d be killed if I said anything. But that perception of being an upcoming author is huge. Does that make sense?
Jim: Yeah, absolutely. I think from an early age, we learn in school that we are supposed to believe what we read. I absolutely know. I believe that it just comes to what I call CIA, credibility in advance. Before you step on that stage or before you try to convert somebody into a client, you’re building credibility. I like your idea about creating your own intro.
Fred: Oh, you have to. That’s the problem, Jim. The guy who’s going to introduce you is going to grab your bio. The fact that you went to. I’ll take myself: The fact that I went to University of Missouri, that I’m married, I’ve got two kids, four grandkids. That’s what they’re going to say. It has nothing to do my presentation. You write your own introduction. As soon as you get that speaking opportunity, let the person know it’s your responsibility to write it and it covers three things. Why this subject, why this speaker, and that’s your credibility and why now. To the point you just made, you make this as awesome as possible about you because when the third party reads it, yeah, mine has things like, well, he’s in it. He’s an international speaker, he’s coached people all over the world. His book is bought in many countries. It sounds like big stuff. If I were to get and say, “Hey, you know, my book was bought over in England and somebody in Australia,” let’s go sound like I’m bragging. So it’s a third party saying these great things about you. That introduction should be like the king’s trumpeters announcing the king is coming. And one of the things we’re going to talk about, how to engage your audience. Well, if that introduction is a good one or great one that you write. Well, that’s going to make the audience say, hey, I want to hear this, this sounds dynamite. Plus you’re doing a great favor to that emcee. He may not be a guy wants to read this kind of thing. He may have been picked for the job and if you write a great introduction that can make him a hero because it’s a speaking opportunity for him.
Jim: Oh, you’re so right, and if you leave them to come up with their own, you will always be sorry.
Fred: Oh yes.
Jim: I’ve had a couple of those and even when I gave them the right thing, they just decided that they were going to go on their own, but that’s part of the foibles of doing this and that leads me to the next thing. As a speaker, and I love your idea about practicing not in front of the mirror, but getting out and speaking to all these groups because it gives you this confidence in front of a group that when things like that happen, then you are in control of the room and you can recover., right?
Fred: We’ll take that a step further. If you’re the speaker, you’re in charge of everything. Bring all your own. I bring the. I’m a Mac guy so I bring all my own adapters. I bring my own remote. Nobody wants to hear that the AV guy didn’t show up or that the batteries ran out of the remote that they’re going to hand you. You’re responsible for everything. So you write your own introduction, and let me just make another point because it’s really important in your opening. One part of your opening is to tell them how you’re going to handle questions. So in my opening I will say, I’m going to talk about this, this and this. I have time set aside after each of those sections for a few questions just on that topic. I have time set aside the end for questions. Then I’ll conclude my presentation. That way you’re not interrupted. How many times, Jim, have you been to a presentation and the speaker goes, oh my gosh, I’ve got 15 slides and five minutes left. Okay, everybody, hold on, watch, click, click, click, click. You’ve got to control those questions. Those can destroy a presentation. You get up and start speaking. Jim, what if the ask you a question about your third to last slide. But if you’ve had an upfront contract with them in your opening and you tell them how you’re going to handle it, that’s not a problem. And for the one or two people who may raise their hand. I’ll say, “Do me a big favor. Write that down and if I don’t answer when it come to the Q&A, be sure to catch me afterwards. We’ll figure it out. Thank you very much.
Jim: I agree. I’ve seen the opposite, too. Maybe it’s not the opposite. I saw a speaker once who was supposed to be sharing their time with the speakers that followed them and it was a limited amount of time and this person went on and on and on. I remember the meeting planner in the front road jumping up and down, waving her hands and the guy was oblivious to it and the woman that was supposed to follow him, she was turning red. Terrible. She was going to end up with 15 minutes. Starting and stopping on time is paramount too, right?
Fred: Oh, it’s huge. Stop a little bit before is okay, not too much because it throws off the program. But you’re right, you go into somebody else’s time, shame on you. And managing those questions is one of the keys because people don’t manage questions well. Don’t just let people start asking questions. You can’t do that. You tell them when you’re going to do it. Another big point is that you close after the questions. Your opening and closing are the book ends of your speech. There’s something called the law of primacy and recency. The audience best remembers the first and last things you say and do. It’s more the last thing. So the last thing I say and do as a speaker, is the first thing you’re going to remember. And the reason why to have your closing afterwards is, what if you do it the traditional way? traditionally I finished my speech. You’re a great host, Jim. You come up say, “Oh Fred, that was dynamite. Can you stick around for some questions?” That’s how it’s done usually, right?
Fred: So I’m taking questions and I’ve got for one or two more. The last question is when Bobby raises his hand and Bobby says, “You know, Fred, that thing you said about practicing in your mind’s eye. You’ve got to be kidding me. What a bunch of garbage! Wasted my hour today.” Well, time’s up. Everybody gets up to leave. Last thing they heard, first thing, you don’t want that. That’s why it’s real important. Take your questions before your closing.
Jim: So, you raise a really good point there. A lot of people work on their opens. They get that down, they memorize it, and then they launch into the rest of their speech. But I don’t think a lot of people really work on that close.
Jim: Probably more important, maybe.?
Fred: Oh, absolutely, because the last thing you say and do is the first thing I remember. But when it comes to practicing and you remind me of this. You do want to memorize, but you don’t want to say it like you’ve memorized, but you want to have your opening down pat and your closing. But when you’re practicing, you want to also practice on the sticky spots. We tend to avoid those. Maybe you have a spot in there with a couple words that are hard for you to pronounce well. Either change the words, learn how to pronounce them or leave it out. But we tend to practice on what we know really well. So, to your point, everybody’s got their opening down, but something that will practice on their closing, but also sometimes they don’t practice sometimes on the body of their speech. If there’s a sticky spot, which we all try to avoid, it’s not gonna work.
Fred: Now, while we’re talking about practicing, let me throw this out. One of the great ways to practice is to use your either your iPad or your computer. Record a video, record yourself video, and try to get full body because nonverbal communication trumps verbal. The first time you go back to the video, turn the sound off. Just watch. Are you twitching? How’s your posture? Do you have anything that could be distracting to the audience. The second time turn it around and just listen. How’s your cadence? How’s your inflection? Do you have any ahs or errs? How has your enunciation and pronunciation? Third time you go back to a video, watch the audio and video because you’ll see and hear what the audience sees and hears. The fourth time have a trusted friend next to you and let them look at it because we all have blind spots.
Fred: You may think you’re better than you are in some things and you may miss some things. So have that coach next to you the next time you look. That is a fantastic way to practice. In fact, sometimes I will coach people and they’ll be across the country and rather than doing that live, I’ll say, do a video and then put up online. I’ll critique it. Well, if they’d done this, they’ll never put up the first video. He’ll put up the fourth or fifth, which is much, much better than I would have been if they didn’t do that.
Jim: I like that idea. I had never thought about turning the sound off.
Fred: Well, if you go back to the last presidential debates, I mean, look at Jeb Bush, “I want to be president.” Give the guy five gallons of Red Bull, he didn’t want to be there. Hillary, so scripted. There’s a, you can almost see a lawyer in one ear and a PR person in the other ear she’s scared of death the camera is going to get some sound bite. Bernie, all over the place and Trump, don’t get me started, but Trump – Authentic! Absolutely authentic and that’s what people love. And a good presentation should be like we’re having here, Jim, just conversational.
Jim: One of the things that I wanted to get to today was the reason why coaches might be doing these presentations anyway and what I’m talking about is how can we convert the people in that audience into clients. What has worked for you or your clients? Take us through that process.
Fred: Well, I think it’s a regular marketing campaign. I blog every two weeks and I will send out an email marketing program that kind of little teaser to that blog and I’ve built up my list. I’ve got thousands of people on my list. One way to get those names when you speak is to giveaway something free. When I speak. I say, “I’ve got two gifts for you. I have an elevator speech template and a speaker’s template.” I’ll put up a picture of them on the on the slide show and say, here’s how you get it. Email me, do it right now. Fred@NoSweatPublicSpeaking.com and I’ll send those to you. Well, when they do that, I’ve got their name and email. I also, on my website on linkedin and on facebook, I’ll do the same thing and they go to a landing page. I’ll have free speakers checklist or free infograph, 11 ways to lessen the fear of public speaking. When they go to that landing page, they put in their name and email address. That’s all you want to ask for. You won’t get anything more and I get their name and I’m gradually dripping on them so I am top of mind when they’re looking for something like that. Now, in my email, I’ll always have that little teaser for what my blog post is, but also have a couple other things. I’ll have a link to my books and I’ll have a link to coaching. With the email marketing program I use, I know who’s clicked on it and how often they’ve clicked and I will email those people and say, “Jim, I notice you got my last email and you clicked on coaching. That usually tells me you’ve raised your hand and want more information. If that’s true, let’s schedule a conversation. If he did it by mistake, that’s okay. Let me know so I can close the file.”
Jim: I like that and the reason why I do, Fred, there’s what I call the open and closed window theory. There are certain number of people who come to your presentation that may need your help today, but the chances of that are pretty small. But that window is going to open up some time in the future. Maybe they wanted to get started speaking. Maybe they want to get better. They’ve been doing it for awhile and they realize they need to improve, so by capturing their contact information and getting them into an email funnel or drip, like you said, that enables you to be there, top of mind awareness, when they are ready and I think that’s a really good point you made there.
Fred: Well, it goes back to the thing of no pain, no sale. They’ve got to be hurting bad enough. Nobody who’s ever contacted me, after we’ve started a conversation, I never get somebody saying, well, you know, it was just a slow day on might be a great idea to improve my public speaking. No, they’ve been thinking about it..
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JANUARY 11, 2019
We perceive people who speak well to be EXPERTS.
We like to work with experts.
Experts command more money for their products, services, and expertise.
One of the questions people often ask me about Public Speaking and Delivering Presentations is, ‘Why?’
Why get up in front of an audience, sometimes filled with ‘important people’ you don’t know, or perhaps and maybe worse, friends and family, and possibly make a fool of yourself?
Why volunteer to deliver a presentation to bosses and coworkers? That activity usually puts an extreme amount of pressure, and a huge spotlight, on you!
Whyaccept an invitation to be on a ‘Discussion Panel’ where you will be sitting with people where your experience and expertise may be less than theirs and risk having what you said challenged in front of an audience?
Why offer to be the Master of Ceremonies for an event you know will be well attended and possibly have media coverage?
Why walk to a public microphone, and ask a question, in front of the entire audience, to someone who just delivered a presentation?
Whygo to networking events, social functions, and seminars where you know someone will ask everyone to, “Please stand up and tell us who you are and what you do? Give us your Elevator Speech.”
We perceive really good speakers as Experts. We like to work with Experts.Experts command more money for their products, services, and expertise.
The Research Shows:
“Speaking Opportunities are
Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities!”
People who take and make Speaking Opportunities;
Grow their Businesses.
Advance their Careers.
Increase their Leadership Roles.
Let’s take a closer look at that statement.
Entrepreneurs who speak to civic groups, at association meetings, and other events, present themselves as Experts and leaders in their industry.
Being ‘on the program’ and ‘at the lectern,’ impresses people.
Delivering great presentations increases the credibility of the presenter and their company.
Not only does this lead to new business, but it reinforces in clients’ minds, they made a good decision to work with that company.
Businesses, Associations, and Organizations like to hire and promote people who communicate well.
Those individuals, when speaking on behalf of their company, give audiences a favorable impression of themselves and the firm they work for.
Favorable impressions lead to sales and grow revenues.
Presentations are delivered internally, also.
Management knows information will be presented to personnel in a professional manner that’s easily understood by all.
Those coworkers will be inspired and, in many cases, emulate the skills of the person who presents well.
Leaders should be excellent communicators. Individuals with this skill are called upon more often than others to:
Represent their employer at outside events.
Speak at other meeting they attend.
Lead internal gatherings.
Take the platform to promote their ‘platform.’
I present this hypothesis whenever I speak, and it’s never been challenged. Most of you are thinking, “Of course not, what’s to challenge?”
Why then, do so many avoid Speaking Opportunities?
If you are one who doesn’t raise your hand when asked to take Speaking Opportunities, you have an answer. That response is probably, ‘The Fear of Public Speaking.’
This fear, often listed as one of the greatest people have, holds many back from reaching their potential.
My research found it is an ‘Equal Opportunity Fear’ that doesn’t care about a person’s age, education, or occupation. I have coached people ranging from doctors to CEOs to a father of the bride-to-be. The thought of toasting the newlyweds started him having anxiety attacks the day his daughter got engaged!
Presentations are delivered all the time.
Internally and externally.
In front of large audiences, small ones, and one-on-one.
Formal and informal.
Most of them are underwhelming!
The ability to present confidently in front of an audience, even if one never does will improve their one-on-one communication. Everyone does that!
‘The Fear of Public Speaking!’ is worth facing and lessening because the Rewards will outweigh the Pain.
Many conversations with coaching prospects begin with them saying something like:
“I am sick and tired of people who don’t work as hard as I do, who don’t contribute as much to the company as I do; getting recognition, bonuses, and sometime promotions because they are Speaking! They’re usually not very good, but they are doing it and I’m not. Can you help me?”
I vividly recall a client sitting in my office and saying, “I have lost promotional opportunities because I did’t take or make speaking opportunities.”
People having a ‘Fear of Public Speaking’ are not alone. Seventy-five percent of the population, to one degree or another, has it. There is even a word for it – Glossophobia. It derives from the Greek – glōssa meaning tongue, phobos – fear. The important thing to note is it is a ‘Word,’ not a disease, and it can be managed!
The first step is to acknowledge you have the fear. Find out why you have it. Then take steps to control it. Getting rid of the fear of public speaking is not the goal. The objective is to take that nervous energy and put it into your presentation! A presentation without energy is B-o-r-i-n-g!
Take this information to heart and develop a ‘Signature Presentation.’ Then, take and make all the Speaking Opportunities you can!
Fred E. Miller is a speaker, a best selling author, and an international presentation coach.
His books, “NO SWEAT Public Speaking!” and “NO SWEAT Elevator Speech!” are bought world wide, and have rave reviews on Amazon.com.
This is what the master of ceremonies says before the speaker takes the stage. It is not only an integral part of your presentation, but extremely important.
Typically, the person writing that Introduction, be it the emcee or someone they’ve delegated the task to, will search the internet for your name and grab something that looks like your bio. That information will be used to compose your Introduction.
Using myself as an example, it might go like this: “Our next speaker grew up, and still lives, in St. Louis, MO where he went to University City High School.
After graduating from the University of Missouri in 1971 with a degree in Business, his first job was selling for the Packaged Soap and Detergent Division of Procter & Gamble.
He did this for less than two years before becoming a serial entrepreneur, with most of his career being in the Office Coffee Service Business. He has owned, or been a partner in five enterprises.
Our presenter has been married for over forty-five years and has two children and four grandchildren.
His talk is titled, ‘The Fear of Public Speaking. Why we have it and Nuggets to lessen it.’
Help me welcome Fred Miller!”
That Introduction has absolutely nothing to do with any of my presentations. In fact, there is a disconnect between it and all my talks. Who would be excited about hearing my message after those words? No one!
The Introduction is not your bio. No one cares where you went to school, what hobbies you have, or the number of people living in your home.
The Introduction sets the stage for what is to come next. It should be like the king’s trumpeters letting those in attendance know something special is about to take place.
After the emcee introduces you, it is time for you to deliver a strong Opening.
It’s speaker’s responsibility to write their Introduction and it should cover three things:Number One: WHY this subject?
It should be relevant to the audience. People ask themselves, “What’s in in it for me?” The Introduction should answer that question.
In formulating your Introduction, consider this: People will do more to avoid pain than seek pleasure.
Number Two: WHY this speaker?
These are your credentials and don’t be modest when writing them. The audience wants to know Why this speaker was chosen to talk on the subject.
Why should the presenter be trusted and believed?
The audience is investing time, sometimes money, and definitely opportunity cost.
Opportunity cost is: ‘I could be doing something else right now. Why is that person presenting? What gives them the right to talk on this subject?’
It’s far better to have a third party, the emcee, touting your experience and expertise on the topic than you. No one likes a braggart.
If you must introduce yourself it is called a ‘Credibility Statement’ and must be ‘toned down’ when being delivered.
Number Three: WHY now?
What are specific reasons this subject is being talked about at this time?
Your name, for the first time, should be the last thing, before taking the stage, the audience hears.
“Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities!”
As soon as a “Speaking Opportunity!” is received, you should inform the person in charge you will be preparing your Introduction. That document should be sent ASAP so no one spends time and effort composing one. If someone does, they’re liable to become emotionally invested and less likely they’ll use the one you supply.
The Introduction should be provided, so it’s easy to read, in large type. Highlight words to be emphasized, places to pause, and, if necessary, phonetics to correctly pronounce unfamiliar terms and names.
Important: This is also a “Speaking Opportunity!” for the person who will be serving as emcee. It may not be their forte and could be something they dread. The Introduction you’ve composed, and coaching its delivery, will make their task easier. Your goal is to make them a star!
If you can use humor in your Introduction, it’s a plus! Right after there is laughter is when you have the attention of most in the audience. Those watching and listening are cued to await another bit of wit. Those who missed it, and we have the attention span of a gnat, are upset they missed the quip and immediately focus on the person speaking. (Use that tip when developing your presentations, also!)
Example: DOWNLOAD One of my INTRODUCTIONS. (I suggest reading it before proceeding.) It is the result of a lot of hard work and many revisions. I still tweak it, now and then, for some audiences. For instance, the “Coffee Humor” is foreign to most high school students, and is it out.
Note how delivery instructions are included and colored text used for emphasis.
Following the above formula, let’s break it down.Number One: WHY this subject?
“Many find climbing the career ladder, or succeeding in one’s own business, usually means doing some speaking in front of groups. It’s a huge credibility builder.
However, because of the Fear of Public Speaking, it’s an activity many dread.
It consistently ranks as one of the most common fears people share and holds many back from reaching their potential.”
Most people will relate to those words.
Number Two: WHY this speaker?
“If you have this fear, or just want to be a better presenter, our speaker has a message for you.
His books, “NO SWEAT Public Speaking!” and “NO SWEAT Elevator Speech!” are purchased internationally, and have rave reviews on amazon.com.
He has been interviewed by local, national, and international media.”
My credibility is established with the above verbiage. In the minds of many, being an author is a BIG thing. We perceive speakers and authors as EXPERTS. We like to work with EXPERTS, right?
If you haven’t written a book, you have one inside you, correct?
Here’s a suggestion: Include it in your Introduction this way. Say, “The Title of his/her Upcoming Book . . .”
That statement can enhance the perception of you as an EXPERT.
There are a number of other statements that can answer the question, “WHY this speaker?
Years in an industry.
Certifications and degrees.
Number Three: WHY now?
What are specific reasons this subject is being talked about at this time?
“If you have this fear, or just want to be a better presenter, our speaker has a message for you.
The title of your talk and your name, for the first time, should be the last things, before taking the stage, the audience hears.
“The title of his talk is ‘NO SWEAT Public Speaking!’
Please help me welcome – Fred Miller!
Now, I walk to center stage, pause, and deliver my Opening!
Follow this formula for writing your Introductions and I guarantee your next presentation will be absolutely, positively – NO SWEAT!
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The immediate goal of your elevator speech should be clarity and understanding. Everyone who hears it should know exactly what you do or what job you are seeking.
We’ve all been there: You go to a networking event, social function, or seminar and the leader says, “Before we get started, let’s go around the room. When it’s your turn: stand up, tell us who you are and what you do. Give us your elevator speech. “Alternatively, you’re at a gathering where the instructions were: “Arrive early and network!”
An elevator speech is a personal infomercial that succinctly answers that question. For many, responding to that query, be it in front of a group or one-on-one, is a struggle. Some people merely give their name, the name of their company, and the products and services they offer. That’s pretty standard, but not very inspiring. If they are seeking a new position, they often awkwardly give their name, years in an industry and job they would like. Again, typical fare for this question, but not exciting.
That’s a problem. It’s a problem because the research shows: “Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership opportunities!” People who take and make “Speaking Opportunities” grow their businesses, advance their careers, gain leadership positions, and get hired for great jobs. An elevator speech is a mini-speaking opportunity! Bottom line: Everyone needs a great elevator speech!
The ultimate goal of an elevator speech
All elevator speeches have the same ultimate goal: A conversation.
A conversation with someone having a sincere interest, for themselves or someone else, in your products and services.
Those wanting that conversation want details.
How much does your product or service cost?
What are the terms?
How long has this product or service been available and what is the track record?
Is there a guarantee?
How is the product or service delivered?
Other pertinent questions specific to their needs.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a job.
What specific company, companies, or industry are you looking to land in?
What is your experience in this, or related fields?
What specific skills do you possess that make you a viable candidate for this line of work?
That conversation may not be with the person who heard your elevator speech. It could be with someone referred by someone who heard it. That’s one reason the Immediate Goals of an elevator speech are critical.
Immediate goals of an elevator speech
The goal of all communication, verbal, written, or visual, is the same. We want the audience, as quickly as possible, to GET IT!
The immediate goal of your elevator speech should be clarity and understanding.
Everyone who hears it should know exactly what you do or what job you are seeking. Then, they should be able to tell others precisely what you do.
Clarity is not optional. Don’t be clever with words or phrases that can’t be interpreted immediately. Use plain, simple language, avoiding buzzwords, acronyms, and techno-speak. You won’t impress people with words they don’t know. You’ll lose them!
If they don’t get it, they’ll never be a prospect nor will they ever refer you.
There are three possible outcomes:
Number 1: People hearing it want to talk to you right away. They want to have a conversation and get details.
Number 2: They don’t need what you offer, but if they ever do, they would be very comfortable having that talk with you because you’ve established credibility and presented yourself as an expert.
Number 3: They know what you do. Their radar is now up, and if someone ever says, “Hey, I’m looking for this product or service or someone to do this kind of work,” they’ll think of, and refer, you.
DIS-qualifying is important!
When networking one-on-one, usually before a scheduled program or, perhaps, at a party, one specific goal is to dis-qualify! Everyone is not a prospect for the products and/or services you offer.
You are not going to purchase every product and service someone tells you about.
When networking, an important goal should be:
“Don’t waste major time on minor possibilities!”
I was attending a chamber event, where people arrived early to network. As typically happens, people were introducing themselves to others and giving their elevator speech.
One attendee was lady who sold replacement windows for older homes. She had a pretty good elevator speech for presenting to a group of people. It was easy to understand what she was selling. The product has an excellent reputation, and the firm she worked for had been in business for a number of years. If I was a prospect for replacement windows, or knew someone in the market for those, I’d feel comfortable having a conversation with her or making a referral.
Many attendees were not prospects for her product. They made be renters, recently purchased windows, or live in a newer home where the original ones are great. Additionally, I knew the line of windows she was selling was very high end, quite expensive, and definitely not in every homeowners budget.
Delivering her entire elevator speech to people who have absolutely no interest, or not likely to purchase her windows, was wasting their time and hers. Sure, they may know someone who may have an interest, but time is a precious commodity when networking before an event starts.
A good one-on-one elevator speech will quickly dis-qualify someone.
The “EXPRESS Elevator Speech” will do that!
It starts with asking a question. Start by answering that question by asking one.
Give your WHY. Simon Sinek says, “It’s not what you do, but why you do it.”
Ask another question.
I speak, coach, and write about networking, public speaking and presentation skills.
The following is my Express Elevator Speech. Put the verbiage in your world.
“Thanks for asking what I do. I’m going to answer your question by asking you one. Have you ever been an audience, watching and listening to a speaker and you think to yourself: ‘Boy! That guy is good! I mean, he is really good. He’s articulate, authentic, very entertaining. Obviously, he has a passion for what he’s doing and I’m getting a lot out of this presentation. Man! I wish I could do that.’
I’m the guy they hire to develop, practice and deliver presentations like that.
The fact is, everyone who hires me knows: speaking opportunities are business, career, and leadership opportunities!
You probably don’t know anyone who wants to improve their networking, public speaking and presentation skills, do you?”
Now that elevator speech will get their attention! It has clarity and it ends with impact.
In addition to being used one-on-one, the EXPRESS Elevator Speech can also be used when delivering it to groups. This is especially true when time is a consideration.
Use this formula for developing, practicing, and delivering your EXPRESS Elevator Speech and I guarantee the next one will be absolutely, positively – NO SWEAT!
Fred E. Miller is a speaker, a best selling author, and an international presentation coach. His books, “NO SWEAT Public Speaking!” and “NO SWEAT Elevator Speech!” are available on Amazon.com. His website, NoSweatPublicSpeaking.com, has hundreds of articles and videos to help you be a better public speaker.