Archive for March, 2008

Public Speaking: Get the Most Out of Networking

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

calculatorDo the math.  When you belong to a networking org, you might spend two or three hours to get one or two minutes of air time to educate your group about what you do.  In this sense, air time is an expensive investment; yet it is often squandered.  Why?  Most people speak at a D+/C- level. 

Starting an elevator pitch with “Yeah, hi, I’m Bob and uh, um, we do insurance for anyone who owns a home . . .” and ending with ” . . . that’s about it, thanks” is simply squandering opportunity.

Why does this happen so often?  1) Most people do it; so  poor presentation appears normal and acceptable. 2) Cultivating the skills to be a dynamic presenter who commands attention and calls people to action requires effort and creativity. The payoff, though, is huge.

Let’s start here.  Your greatest loss when you present your value proposition to a group of networkers is that many are not listening.  Even a brilliant value is worthless if your audience is thinking or whispering about something else.

Before you launch into your value prop, how can you be sure that they are paying attention?

Here are some tips:

1) Avoid sitting when you speak; even if everyone before you has not stood up.

2) Stand up and PAUSE before you launch into your presentation.  Scan your audience. This may feel awkward; so what?

3) Ask, for a show of hands . . . (example: “show of hands, how many people here dislike cold calling?”) Make sure your question will apply to most; so many hands go up.  Anyone not listening will immediately snap back into the presentation to avoid looking foolishly oblivious.

The Pause, Scan, and Question = attentive audience.  You’re paying a great deal in time and money for them to hear you.  Now that they’re listening . . . 

/Tune in soon for the continuation of this topic discussion; and feel free to add your comments/

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