Whether you’re pumped or dreading your presentation, you, the speaker, must answer these 3 questions in order to engage your audience.
🎯 Question #1 to create buy-in ➜
Do you know what you’re talking about?
You answer, “Of course!” But, does your audience know that you know?
Tip: Share your credibility through stories. We call this “credibility sprinkles”.
Ex: “When I spoke to 900 home inspectors in California at their annual association meeting I asked them what ‘BS’ stood for and they shouted out ‘better service!’”
🎯 Question #2 to maintain buy-in ➜
Do you care about what you’re talking about?
You do not need to be a raging extrovert. In fact, introverts make great speakers.
Tip: You show your passion for your subject through your nonverbal actions.
Do: Smile, have good posture, exhibit effective eye contact.
🎯 Question #3 to go beyond buy-in ➜
Do you really know who you’re talking to?
Tip: Gather your intel.
Find out: Where is their pain? What makes them tick? What are they good at? Who competes with them? Where can they improve? What defines success for them? How knowledgeable are they about your topic? Experience range?
🎯 Your audiences are distracted, tired or deadline driven. AKA: Overwhelmed. Do them a favor. Nail these answers in order to share your value.
“You’ve run a very popular and expensive restaurant – that has your name on the door – for over 16 years… and it’s a competitive market here in Dallas. What do you attribute your success to?” asks the Dallas Morning News food editor to Dean Fearing.
Dean replies, “There are 3 components. First, consistency. We serve great food every day. Second, personability. I decided that I’d greet our customers at every table on a daily basis. I’ve done this from day one. Third, a great wait staff. We have a wonderful team at Fearing’s Restaurant.”
The parallels between Fearing’s top rated restaurant and 5-star communication skills
Consistency. Just like the expectations you have for a fine meal when entering a fine dining establishment, your team/board/stake holders expect you to communicate compelling content with clarity and confidence on a consistent basis.
Personability. You do business with people you know, like and trust. Let’s drill down on the word “like”. Be likeable, like Dean Fearing. Communicate with respect, listen with genuine interest and create an atmosphere of good will.
Leadership. Whether you run a billion dollar organization or you’re a solopreneur, you and your company represent and communicate your brand.
Once a year my daughter and I have an all-day spa date and one year we went to the Ritz Carlton. We began our day having lunch at their restaurant, Fearing’s. As we ate our delicious lunch, guess who came over to chat? Chef Fearing.
“Keep in mind that simple does not mean effortless,” states Eric Kim, a NYT cooking columnist & bestselling author of Korean American: Food That Tastes Like Home, in his article The Secret to a Better Green Salad.
Eric Kim’s comment has broader implications.
He’s also sharing the secret to a better speech! Simplicity is defined as the quality of being easy to understand.
You watch a presenter and you think, “That looks easy.” You might even believe, “I can do that too.” And… you can. We’ve worked with many professionals on how to present material in a way that looks easy while also being impactful.
Your recipe to appear effortless as a speaker ➜
Practice out loud (not in your head) to a live human being (not a dog). You think I’m kidding about the dog? Articles suggest that it’s easier to rehearse to Buttercup, your bull dog. No… it’s distracting, but I digress.
Know – exactly – how you will start and how you will conclude. Be able to say your beginning and ending even if I woke you up in the middle of the night to do this exercise.
Understand the nuances of your audience. Speak directly to their interests and concerns.
Use good stories, examples, metaphors and humor that make your message sticky. We call that “Velcro”.
Time your remarks and stick to your time limit given.
Be able to solve their issues or move their conversation forward. Otherwise – don’t do the presentation.
Have a clear message with a “return on investment” for your audience. This is your Presentation Currency 💰. You are selling the commodity called “time”. Is it worth their time to listen to you?
The secret to a better green salad ➜
I start with the best ingredient: organic lettuce grown by Jim Reisman @ our Star Ranch . For the rest of the recipe follow Eric Kim @ericjoonho !
Even before the pandemic the emphasis has been on digital communication. During the pandemic you may have experienced minimal conversation especially in person.
Now you might be feeling the pain of resuming small talk back in the office.
Jim and I meet in-person with our financial advisor group after two years of periodic virtual meetings. I find myself saying, just seconds after sitting down, “Ok, what’s our plan? Do we need to review, reframe, revisit…?”
Tommy replies with a smile, “First… how are you? What’s going on with your work and family?”
Oh… that’s right … I forget the chatting part of our visit.
What is the value of small talk?
According to Fast Company, “From the polite chitchat among coworkers that eases the start of a stressful meeting to building powerful bridges at networking events, small talk has always been an important ‘social lubricator’ that builds trust and relationships across cultures—even more so for early-career professionals after graduation.”
Is small talk a waste of time?
You might say “yes”. Covid created a time warp. Namely – 30 minutes is the new hour. You’re busy, stressed and want results… now. You only have so much Attention Economy.
Small talk is not a waste of time.
Think about an interaction you’ve had with a barista. Smiling, making eye contact and exchanging a few sentences while ordering your Venti Chai has been found to boost happiness and feelings of belonging.
A quick chat with someone you barely know can uplift your mood or avert feelings of loneliness.
A few brief interactions help gauge the mood of a room and the tone of a discussion.
Professionally, small talk presents opportunities to get to know and hear your clients. You may learn something new about the customer that you can then use in later conversation, or one interaction may turn into someone signing a deal with your company.
Most of all … according to psychologist Susan Pinker, social interaction (including small talk) is the #1 secret to living a longer life.
So, how are you? What’s going on with your family and friends these days?