Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida business
How to beat the fear of public speaking
Our online and social media centric world makes it all too easy to sit behind a keyboard or mobile device to market your offering. But, sometimes you need to actually look another human in the eye to sell your product or service.
And, sooner or later it’ll be to a room full of people.
You represent your business in all kinds of ways that requires human-to-human contact. Maybe it’s a presentation to a few decision-makers of a prospective customer. Or, you're delivering a talk to an industry association. It could be that you’re addressing a networking group.
Like it or not, getting in front of an audience from time to time is essential for your success. The better you are at speaking to crowds and the more often you do it will make a big difference.
Yet, for most people public speaking is easier said than done. You’ve seen the surveys -- seventy-four percent of the population suffers from speech anxiety. In fact, fear of speaking ranks above dying!
Here’s the rub: It’s hard to wow people through a cold computer or smartphone screen. You may have the greatest product or service and the most logical reason possible as to why people need to buy, but that isn’t always good enough.
To really connect you’ll need to teach, persuade, and present your ideas with conviction and confidence -- and do it not just one-on-one, but to the biggest crowd you can imagine. This is true for business-to-consumer retailing as much as it is for business-to-business marketing.
Here are some tips on how to enter the "no fear" speaking zone and wow your audience.
Start with a story. Storytelling is the original social medium and humans’ brains are wired for it. Unfolding a story is an easy way to begin a speech or when introducing yourself at a networking event. Organize your topic and information around a storyline and you'll find it easier to remember your talk and your audience will engage more with your message. Set a scene where people can see themselves reflected in your story, ultimately tying the story’s outcome to your company’s value. Make it fun. Make it human.
Build a message using the power of three. The human mind can process about three pieces of information at a time. Only use the three most important benefits of your offering as the basis for what you say. Reinforce these messaging points with your opening story, statistics, and examples. Think in terms of a message map -- Twitter-friendly headline supported by three key benefits, each of which are strengthened with a fact, case in point, or personal experience.
Speak from personal knowledge. Personal experiences allow the audience to connect with you. Normally we avoid talking about ourselves in marketing and focus on the customer. However, in public speaking it's necessary for your audience to like and know you so that they are receptive to your message. People will resonate with what you have to say when you open up to them. It helps people relate to you and demonstrates your understanding of the issues -- and solutions -- surrounding their world.
Learn from the masters of public speaking. There are many time-tested techniques and strategies that great public speakers have become skilled at. Search YouTube to find and view some of the greatest speakers of modern history -- Will Rogers, Steve Jobs, Simon Sinek, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy to name a few. Listen and watch these top communicators open their talks, change hearts and minds, persuade people to take action, and deliver powerful closing statements. Adapt a few of the techniques you like to fit your style of presenting.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that people do business with real people, not just a computer. You still have to get in front of other humans from time to time.
Whatever the situation, being able to speak in public is essential to success. Your voice speaks volumes. Your eyes speak volumes. Your gestures speak volumes.
All it takes is a little confidence, a lot of practice, and a few time-tested techniques and strategies to be a great presenter to groups of any size.
What’s your favorite technique or story for speaking in public? (Your thoughts are welcome - comment below.)
Ron Stein is President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com) and the author of the Rapid Impact Marketing & Selling Playbook. As a speaker, coach, and consultant he works with small business owners helping them to accelerate the path between their vision and the actions needed to reach, win, and keep customers. Ron is the creator of the FastPath to More Customers Now! 7-step marketing system based on more than twenty years as a successful business owner, corporate CEO, business development executive, and salesman. He is also a mentor at two nationally recognized business accelerators. Ron offers one-on-one and small group mentoring, conducts seminars, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com.