Posts Tagged ‘speaking tips for networkers’

Public Speaking: Present First or Last?

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

When public speaking at networking events, your objective is memorability.  You have heard that when given a string of numbers to memorize, people overwhelmingly recall the first and last.  Much of the middle is forgotten.  The same holds true with life experiences.  For example, I’ll never forget the first professional training I delivered, and of course, I remember the most recent.

Apply this to public speaking at networking events.  Given the choice it is best to go first or last.  I believe going first has the greatest advantage because people have not yet “spent” their scarce attention span. Their crisp minds await the first imprint.  Going last can be effective especially when there is a mixer following the event.  Your words, if delivered powerfully, will linger in their minds, which will provide an easy lead-in for conversation.

Some caveats:

Going first: Late arrivals can severely detract from your presentation

Going last: At longer meetings, attention-span burnout can render your presentation inconsequential.

Tell me what you think . . .

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Public Speaking: Magic of Telling a Story

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

As seen in the video above, telling a story works. Here is a great idea from Lisa Braithwaite to ensure that you not only capture their attention but retain it until the end.

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Public Speaking: Important Networking Skill

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Few skills are more important to the networker than public speaking. After years of studying the little things that make presenters appear confident, I have found some common denominators.  Here is one nuance that will set you apart and ensure your audience 1) pays attention and 2) perceives you as confident.

Typically, at some point during a networking meeting, each member of the group has an opportunity to stand up for a brief introduction.  

Keep this in mind: rushing makes you appear nervous and lacking in authority.

What do I mean by appearing rushed? The person before you just finished her introduction, and you immediately stand up and launch into yours. This gives you the appearance of diminished confidence. In addition, few will catch you name and company.

Want to APPEAR confident and have people catch your name and company?

Here’s how:  The person next to you finishes her presentation.  You wait until she is seated. Then, at a MODERATE pace you stand and move behind your chair.  Push your chair in, pause for a second or two, and state your name and company a bit more slowly and clearly than you normally would.

Why does this work?  

1) You need to create some time gap between you and the preceding speaker because the group requires a few seconds to process what has just been said.

2) The experts on persuasion agree that moving at a moderate pace – almost taking your time – exudes confidence.

3) By getting out from behind your chair, you create presence and give yourself mobility.

In many cases, the true difference between those who speak with impact and those who lose their audience is in the nuances.

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Public Speaking: Tip for Networkers – Maintain Attention

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

The greatest challenge for people speaking at networking events is that many members of the audience don’t live the giver’s gain philosophy; so they are only marginally interested in what you have to say.  As a result, many do not pay attention and, accordingly, won’t be able to pass you a referral.

We’ve spoken about power openers to force them to pay attention, but now, as you speak you need to maintain their attention, particularly in a longer presentation.  Clearly, having a well-conceived speech is most important, but here is a quick trick, that again forces people to keep alert to what you are saying:

After making a simple point, randomly call on a name and ask that person for an example.  For example, you are a therapist and you just touched on two common injuries, then you look to see who may be zoning and ask, “Joe, which do you think is more common?”

Just one question like that and the rest of your audience will pay closer attention to you because nobody wants to appear not to care about what you are saying.  People are serious when it comes to their own appearance in a group.  Use that to your advantage

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Public Speaking: BNI sixty-second commercial

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

stopwatchWhenever you are public speaking at a networking event, your greatest challenge will be getting people to pay attention.  While most will feign attention, very few actually listen intently.  Some will even whisper to one anther while you talk.

We’ve covered some power openers in this blog, but I think the most powerful method is to FORCE them to pay full attention.  How?  Make them DO something.  Here are some examples:

Home Inspector: Everybody take out a pen and piece of paper.  Write down the top three reasons you think you would need a home inspection . . . 

Eye doctor: Everybody stand up cover one eye and try to read the word on this card

Mortgage Broker: Everyone take a quick guess at how much a decrease of 1% can save you on a monthly mortgage of $200,000.  Write down your answer.

Acupuncturist: Everyone make a fist.  It’s very simple right?  How many muscles were activated in making that fist?  Write down your answer.

Attorney:  Everybody grab a pen and write down what you think is the biggest legal liability you are likely to face in your life.

Financial Planner:  Everybody fold your hands in front of you like this. Close your eyes and imagine what it would mean to your lifestyle to be completely debt free.

You get the idea – all these FORCE your audience to pay attention because it would be too conspicuous to whisper or zone while everyone else is following along.  In this particular way, adults are like Kindergarten children in that having them physically do something forces them to mentally focus.

Use this trick with your networking presentations and your BNI Commercials.  You will quickly recognize how easy it is to get everyone to focus on you.  They can’t give you referrals if they don’t understand what you do, and they can’t understand what you do when they are not listening.

Let us know how these techniques work for you and please share suggestions you may have.

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Public Speaking: Tip for Networkers – “I” vs. “You”

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Here is a quick tip for those who do public speaking for networking:

After you’ve written your presentation do a search for the word “I” and a search for the word “you”.  The latter should appear far more than the former.  In reality, however, most presentations are “I”-centric. After all, it is how we grew up.  Children use the words “I” and “me” so often because they must.  Successful networkers reverse that model and continually speak about “you”.

Why? Other people are far more concerned with themselves than they are with you. Talk in terms of “them” and they will listen intently.

In addition, this tip for public speaking for networking lends itself nicely for developing marketing copy.

Give the word search a try, and you’ll find that your networking presentations capture and retain far more attention.

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Public Speaking: Tip for Networkers – Forgettable vs. Memorable

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Here is a quick tip for those who network and engage in public speaking:

In many networking situations you have the opportunity to stand up, introduce yourself and communicate what you do.  Let’s take a typical group of 30 networkers in the room and assume that they do not know one another.  Here is the likely scenario:  About five members of the audience will diligently take notes, another ten will listen pretty intently, and the rest will be thinking about what they are going to say when it’s their turn.

This means that you have an opportunity to be memorable to an audience of fifteen.  Since these people will likely leave with your card in hand, it is vital that they can match up the name on the card with your face.

Here is the biggest mistake even excellent public speakers make when networking:

AS they are standing up, they begin one long sentence that sounds something like this: Goodmorning I’mFrankDameliofromTargetIntellect and I help people . . . 

The problem: even the notetakers have a hard time picking up your name and company.  I see it happen all the time – people whisper “what did he say his name was?”

The solution: stand up, pause a moment, say “good morning” and pause.  Sometimes nobody will answer, in which case you say it again with a smile and pause.  The pause will cause everyone to look at your face. 

Now that they are looking at your face, say your name and company a bit more slowly and more articulately than you normally would. “My name is FRANK DAMELIO and my company is TARGET INTELLECT.

Implementing these subtle changes will instantly move you from forgettable to memorable.

Next time you have the opportunity to watch people public speaking in a networking scenario, take note of how many squander the opportunity to have others hear and internalize their name and company.

Share your examples of either strong or weak openers right here . . .

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Public Speaking: Entrepreneurs – Top 5 Tips

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

It’s cheap and delivers results!  Many entrepreneurs don’t have budget for radio, TV and print advertising; so they invest in networking.  There are tons of great networking organizations that are affordable and effective.  Everything comes at a price, though, and in this case – networking consumes a great deal of time.

How do you ensure you get a good ROI?  Take every opportunity to present before networking and civic organizations such as Chamber of Commerce, BNI (Business Network International), Lyons Clubs, Rotary, Kiwanis, etc.

Public speaking alone, however, is not enough to ensure results.  Entrepreneurs need to have strong presentation skills.  Here’s why: When an entrepreneur speaks publicly, the audience assumes a relationship between the speaker’s ability to deliver a great product/service and his ability to deliver a presentation with confidence.  Many in the audience assume that if the presenter does not speak with confidence, he may not be competent in his core expertise. Conversely, if an entrepreneur speaks to the audience’s challenges and aspirations, and he does so with confidence and enthusiasm, many will assume that he delivers not just great presentations, but also great products/services.  While this is an unfair assumption, we all know the power of perception.  

Getting back to ROI, in many networking situations, you will spend hours of time to earn a few minutes to stand before a group.  We have already discussed some tips for maximizing those minutes.

Here are your Top Five Public Speaking for Entrepreneurs Tips

1) Build confidence by memorizing your opener and closer.

2) Power openers:

a) Pause for seven seconds.  They’ll pay attention.

b) Give them a starling fact.  You may then ask for a show of hands “how many believe that?”

c) Avoid rhetorical questions: “How many people here would like to save money?”

3) Relate what you do with a relevant story.  Show them how you helped someone like them to overcome a challenge or achieve her goals. For better or worse, most people are more moved by stories that stats.  

4) In your power closer, have a call-to-action.  “Show of hands: how many people here would benefit from 10 more tips on . . . ?  Great, those of you with your hands up, please take out your business card and pass it along to me.”

5) When other entrepreneurs are speaking, look at the audience.  How many people are really listening?  If the speaker is “average” it is probable that very few are really paying attention.  If the speaker is stellar, then many will be engaged.  When you see an audience engaged with the presenter, note what she is doing that others fail to do.  Every time you network you will be learning more secrets to being that stellar speaker and earning a great return on the hours you invest to speak for a few minutes.

There you have it.  Five simple tips for entrepreneurs to maximize public speaking opportunities.

For the networkers reading this entry, we’d love to hear your stories of great or abysmal entrepreneurial performances you’ve witnessed.

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