Posts Tagged ‘Public Speaking at Networking Events’

Public Speaking: Networking Events and Incentives

Monday, May 11th, 2009

While you speak at a networking event, do you expect your audience to be conjuring referral possibilities for you? Depending on the event, in most cases people are not doing so.  Why?  Most people are ineffective networkers because they don’t live the “givers gain” philosophy.  Many of these people aren’t even listening to your message. They are thinking of what they are going to say when it’s their turn to speak, or perhaps they are pondering lunch.  The best networkers WILL listen, but since they are so well connected, there is probably a list of trusted referral partners they already have in your field of expertise.

There is, however, still great benefit to public speaking at networking events as long as you keep in mind the following secret:

People respond to incentives

After you’ve caught their attention using this type of power opener, you must show them how it is in their self-interest to consider who they might know to help you.

Here are some ideas that I’ve seen work at BNI and other networking groups:

1)  Refer a wedding to us and you get a romantic overnight stay at our hotel.

2) When your prospect brings up a price objection use this tactic: “If I can show you how to save that much money off your operational expenses, would you be willing to use that savings to invest in my solution?” This is Ben Hall’s (OverVIEW) strategy.

3) For every referral that turns to a sale, we will give you $100.

4) Everybody take out a piece of paper and write down the names of small restaurant owners to whom you would introduce me.  As a thank you, here is a small box of Godiva for each name you provide me.

I understand that some readers will contest: “but networking should be people just trying to help oneanother.  There is no need for incentives.” Okay, agreed! That would be nice, and there may be SOME groups that live that philosophy.  In general, however, if you want people working for you, never underestimate the power of personal incentive.

What creative ideas do you have to incentivize others to search their mental databases for referrals to help you build your business?  Please share so that our readers can get the most out of their public speaking at networking events.

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Public Speaking: Handling Blunders

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

What to do when things go wrong public speaking?  We all make mistakes – especially those of us who take calculated risks.  Sometimes we fall flat on our face when we present.

As promised in my last blog, I will share with you my experience of going out on a limb and crashing to the ground.

I was public speaking at a networking event: our Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting.  I was asked to talk a bit about the power of persuasion; so I thought it would be fun to do three effects that illustrate how we can influence others.  In my experience, I hit these demonstrations 98% of the time, and they are impressive because they really depend on the interaction between me and my audience members.  

The first demo, which was an optical perception effect always works – no problem.  But the second, which I was influencing another person to “randomly” select a color, completely failed.  I understand why it happened, and I’m confident it won’t happen again . . . but, there I was before 80 of my peers with a demo gone awry.

It was quiet.  How do I handle this?

1) I reminded the audience that this was not a “trick” but real psychology at play.  

2) Then, I used the fact that I missed to INCREASE the intensity level.  I said to the audience, “now, there can be no option for failure on my next demonstration; in fact, if I fail I will breakdance right here at the center of the dance floor, because nobody is leaving here without being entertained.”  This broke the tension and created laughter.

Ultimately the final and most “impossible” demo worked (thank God).  I received an enthusiastic applause and as Shakespeare says “all is well that ends well.”

At the end of my presentation, a potential Chamber Member and national speaker approached me and asked to buy my CD on the Power of Persuasion.  That felt good.

Here is what I learned: Taking risks is important if you are going to grow, but putting the riskier material in the middle makes a great deal of sense.  Put your solid material at the beginning and end because that is what people remember most.

Whenever you fall on your face, get up, and if necessary make a quick acknowledgement, then move on as if nothing happened.   A blunder shows the audience that you are human, but how you handle it can make you even stronger than if the blunder had never occurred.  Use it to your advantage.

Handling public speaking blunders is never easy, just try to make it LOOK easy by keeping your composure and you’re audience will appreciate your poise.

p.s. Yes, had I missed the second demo, I would have doffed the coat and tie and provided old-school break dancing entertainment.

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Public Speaking: Connect With Your Audience

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Undoubtedly, you’ve attended networking events at which a sponsor was afforded five minutes to speak publicly about his company.  How often do you remember what the sponsor says?  In most cases it’s not that you don’t remember, it’s that you were not listening in the first place.  Not your fault.

I recently attended a Chamber event honoring high-achieving high school students.  The sponsor stood behind the podium and disseminated his information about his company.  That’s all he did.  He transmitted, but few received.  He did not connect with and communicate to his target audience.  How do I know?  I observed the audience members’ roaming eyes.  What this meant for him was that he squandered a paid opportunity to be memorable.  Lack of public speaking skills = waste of time and money.

He did, however, have a nice idea for giveaways.  They were matchbox cars sporting his logo, and inside one of the boxes was a $20 bill.  At the end of the presentation, you can bet everyone was looking inside their boxes.

Here are two simple things he could have done to have greatly enhanced memorability through public speaking:

1) Step out from behind the podium and into the audience.  This would have recaptured the attention of the audience. They would have LOOKED at him.

2) Announce at the open that one of the the audience members would be randomly selected at the end of his presentation.  All the person would have to do to win a crisp $20 bill would be to answer a SIMPLE question about his company.  Now they would have LISTENED to him; not really for the $20, but more because they wouldn’t want to be publicly embarrassed by not being able to answer a SIMPLE question.

When public speaking at a networking event, little things mean a lot.  Most people simply transmit information to very few tuned-in receivers.  But, by mastering public speaking skills, you can connect with and communicate to an audience that will REMEMBER you and your company.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Share your comments and questions here . . .

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Public Speaking: Tip for Networkers – Story Telling

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

When you engage in public speaking at a networking event, there are certain techniques that can set you apart.  One is to tell an interesting story about how your product/service helped save someone (similar to your audience members) from losing money, time, peace of mind, etc.

Here is an insider tip one of the pros shared with me.  He pointed out that at networking events, the better public speakers tend to tell stories about how they helped their clients, and how great their clients felt about the experience.

My friend pointed out that this technique was stellar when the speaker was trying to sell directly to his audience members.  However, in many cases, the speaker is not shooting for a direct sale to audience members but rather a referral to someone the audience member knows.

In this case, he argued, it is better to tell as story about how “Bob” referred you to his client.  Talk about how you solved the problem for Bob’s client and how you saved him money.  Then talk about how Bob looked like the hero to his client, which solidified HIS relationship of trust with HIS client.

For those who present at networking events, this is a compelling argument.  Now, instead of an audience member thinking “yeah, but I don’t need a home inspector”, you have her thinking “I think my client John mentioned he is moving back to MA, I wonder whether he’d need a home inspector?”

The difference between the good and great is found in nuances such as these.

Next time you have the opportunity to speak publicly at a networking event, keep this subtlety in mind.

I’m sure you’ve heard some fatal and fantastic public speaking at networking events.  Share your experiences here!

Watch my video on public speaking and story telling.

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