Getting people to attend an event, join your group, or contribute to your favorite cause is actually a form of public speaking that looks “natural” and deceptively easy. The reality is that many of the people who are effective in persuading others to come to an event, become a member, or fork over money have usually received some kind of training.
Here are a few pointers to help you come across as inviting and influential, drawn from the world of public speaking, selling and fundraising, whether you’re doing an informal invite, trying to land a new member, or a more formal “ask:”
- Think about what’s in it for the person you’re approaching, not just for you and your organization. What are the primary benefits for them to do what you’re asking and how can you clearly and quickly convey them? Remember, they won’t care about what you’re talking about until you make your words relevant to their own interests and needs.
- Consider using either direct or indirect benefit words to support your request. Identify two or three from the lists below and weave them into your conversation. Some direct benefits include improvement, less work, money saved, problem solved, safety, satisfaction, comfort, convenience, enjoyment, less stress, increase odds of success, conquer fears, entertainment, and health. Indirect benefits you can cite are popularity, affection, appreciation, approval, belonging, friendship, prestige, promotion, recognition, and respect.
- Ask for help! I recommend that your nonprofit organization board of directors and other experienced leaders create action word models that newcomers can follow to increase the odds of success in their outreach efforts.
I invite you to share the benefit words and how you’ve used them, along with what you’ve found the most rewarding in your own community endeavors. Please include the name of your nonprofit organization. Send them to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet them @AnneMiami. In future blogs, I’ll post your shares to help spread the wealth of ideas and successes you’ve achieved, and in turn, help others obtain the results they’re seeking, too.
It’s sad to say but generally true, winning or losing in elections is not related to the candidates’ experience, resume, or grasp of the issues. A win is due to a combination of how well they speak before groups, how they appear on camera, and their fundraising power. The latter also depends on public speaking and networking capabilities.
I contend that everyone is in the same position as political candidates in their professional and community roles. We are running for office even when we are not running for elected office. Aren’t you and I frequently trying to get people to do things we want or feel are important? While we’re not necessarily going after a vote in a booth, we are seeking approval, support or some other kind of action.
The gift of gab, or a lack of it, determines if a candidate gets elected or re-elected. Most candidates and those now serving in elected positions rely on so-called “talking points” to carry on their public conversations, their speeches to audiences, and their presentations to prospective donors. These talking points —usually thoroughly critiqued and reviewed by staff and close supporters—are what they intend to say on any given topic, including potentially disruptive or negative questions.
One of the most unusual aspects of the current election cycle is the apparent lack of pre-determined talking points that one particular candidate has consistently demonstrated. I’m not going to get into the politics here! I’m just observing that some folks seem to be able to speak in a more unscripted way than others. It doesn’t necessarily make them better; they just appear more verbally nimble.
Recently I got a call to help the incoming president of an industry group who wanted to serve but who was miserable at the thought of having to speak before the entire association. He was at home in the board meetings but had never addressed the large gatherings throughout the year, nor had he participated in any of the lobbying the position was going to require.
The same day, I was also approached to work with the owner of a pest control company who found himself with less than adequate visuals and uninspiring content to share at the weekly meeting of one of his business leads groups.
In both cases, these business professionals had accomplishments and stature that made others assume they would be good speakers as well. Their own lack of familiarity with key speaking basics, however, was interfering with their ability to take advantage of the exposure their respective leadership opportunities posed.
You don’t need to let your discomfort or unfamiliarity with speaking techniques prevent you from achieving all you are destined to do! To help you get started on your next message, I invite you to download a free copy of my new E-book, “Get the Yes! Start-Up Kit.” Just click here for a limited time only.
And if you’re ready to dig in, please consider my new E-course, Your Success Kit for Public Speaking, with nine videos and a cartoon filled step-by-step workbook. Just click here for yours.
This blog is an excerpt from Public Speaking for the Genius, my new book, due out in September. Want more? You can get a 25% pre-publication discount by ordering here.
News reports about the latest app craze – Pokémon Go – including a quote from two college girls saying that wanting to play the virtual game enticed them to leave their freshman dorm in search of new people – make me wonder: What will connecting through words look like in the future?
At the business level, a prospective client asking about developing team communication tells me a division of her company reports to a senior manager in a distant state – by phone or online viewing. The manager only visits in person once a month. Instead of flying people together for conferences and training, I’m seeing more and more enterprises trying to save costs with online meetings, even presenting awards this way!
To help you get the best possible outcome in your interactions with your team, clients and networking, here are a few techniques that I believe will prove timeless, whether you are virtual or in person.
- If you have not yet downloaded your free copy of my new e-book, “Get the Yes Start-Up Kit for Convincing Presentations,” please click here to get yours! https://www.speakoutinc.com/get-yes-start-kit/
- Use the C-L-E-A-R formula to optimize your conversation when conflict or discomfort seems to be obvious:
C – Call the person by name to personalized the interaction. This human touch can soften a harsh tone that may have come into the dialogue.
L – Listen without interruption. For many of us, this task is excruciating, because our urge to interrupt is strong! By allowing the other person to get everything off his or her chest means you’re assisting in clearing the air.
E – Empathize with whatever was said. Even if you don’t agree, say something like: “I can see you are upset/angry/disappointed with this situation.” Or, “I hear how frustrated you are with this situation.” Avoid the urge to start solving the problem without empathizing first because the purpose of this step is to establish rapport, vital to opening up the channels of communication.
A – Ask questions. Use the journalist 5W’s and H. What happened? Who is involved? When did this occur? Where was the action? Why do you think it’s going on this way? How do you think it can be resolved? How much time or how much money do you think it will take?
R – Review what you heard, recommend a solution if appropriate, repeat the process. Sometimes you need to continue and repeat the CLEAR formula because the emotions are too strong for a one-time trip to clarity. In other instances, your insight to a solution may be just what is needed. The key is to be as tuned in to what is being said – or not said – as possible.
Let me know how this formula works for your communication, whether virtual or face-to-face. And don’t forget to download your complimentary copy of “Get the Yes Start-Up Kit for Convincing Presentations” by clicking here: https://www.speakoutinc.com/get-yes-start-kit/ And get your pre-publication discount for my new book, Public Speaking for the Genius, by clicking here.
“Put the knife down.” That’s what I was advised after a tense conference call this week.
When it comes to putting together and delivering a good presentation or speech, to building our business, or to achieving a specific goal, we can be on the edge and not even realize it.
How do you know you’re acting in a way that may not be healthy or may be sending out energy in a way you don’t intend? How do you sort out what feels as if you need to step on the pedal versus backing off for a needed perspective, or more critically, the necessary air – to breathe – to make the right decisions?
The clues seem to come from close friends and family who see you hitting your head against the wall and not accepting the fact that there is another way to gain entry to the other side.
As I continue to heal from the loss of my dear husband, I am reminded of how we need to choose our paths considering both mind and heart. You may be facing some other kind of loss or disappointment that is interfering with your ability to rally yourself.
Regardless of what we’re facing, I believe it’s up to us to learn how to “let go of the knife” that drives us sometimes to keep attacking new challenges instead of embracing them. We need to find a way to heal ourselves, love ourselves and go forward.
When you are public speaking, you are out there, essentially naked with respect to shielding your emotions, until you acquire the skills to control both your words and your feelings.
With study, with practice and with commitment, of course, you do feel less vulnerable and more in control. That’s part of what I’ll be teaching you in my new 4-part Business Speaking E-Course: Go from Ordinary to Dynamic that starts next Wednesday, May 18th. You are welcomed to click this link to find out more and to register at our special rate. Click here.
This post is the last in a series designed to make a powerful leader and speaker out of the shy but intelligent introvert types and to help other experts become even more effective whenever they speak.
If you haven’t read Parts 1 or 2 yet, you can do so here:
Now it’s time for you to fill the Ultimate Public Speaking Blueprint with your ideas.
It’s something I go over with my coaching clients in detail to make sure their speech or presentation connects with their audience and results in a positive response.
Right now, I’ll give you a quick overview how it works.
Know Everything About Them
Keep in mind that your goal is to tailor your message to your audience, using what you’ve come up with during the brainstorming session.
So first, you need to consider who will be present in your audience.
What are their passions, beliefs, fears, and desires? What are they missing or concerned about that you can provide?
Try to answer these questions. Use relevant ideas from your list to address your audience’s motivators.
I usually go much deeper when preparing for a presentation during a strategy session with clients, but these questions will give you a good starting place to get a handle on your audience.
The Perfect Structure For Your Speech
Secondly, you’ve got to give a structure to your message.
Every good presentation consists of four core elements, and I’ll walk you through how to fill these elements with high-quality content.
Start with a compelling opening.
Begin with a bang! What do you know about your audience that you can employ to gain attention at the outset?
You can use a good story or a commanding fact, or one of the four other techniques I teach my clients during our strategy sessions.
(2) Next, venture into the pre-body summary.
Here you summarize what you’re going to talk about while teasing the audience with benefits, intriguing statements or raising concerns about potential problems they may be having.
(3) By now the audience is ready and excited to hear your main ideas, and that’s exactly what you’re going to deliver in the body of your presentation.
Give them your best reasons, stories, solutions, options, and other triggers. Keep your content intense and vital. Be charming and humorous, depending on your audience and goals.
(4) And finally, close with a… you guessed it, close.
Summarize the most persuasive or benefit-driven points you’ve shared. Most importantly: ask for action.
Now’s the time to get your audience to do what you wanted them to do in the first place. If you don’t ask, of course, nothing will happen!
Well before it’s time for you to present, practice your presentation multiple times. Break it apart in pieces. Perform the message aloud, before a mirror, camera, friend or coworker.
Your Turn To Lead And Grow
When you approach your presentations by following the guidelines in this blog, you can count on a positive outcome. It may even surprise you how quickly giving a good speech or presentation can change your life!
Take my client Juan for example who I described in a previous blog. He scored a $109,000,000 contract that was due, in part, to learning to give impressive speeches.
He was a shy, introverted tech type before consulting with me, and now he delivers great presentations and persuades like a born speaker and leader.
If you want me to personally help you go through the content development process, overcome your fear of the stage, and make yourself a great public speaker and leader, let’s get together for your free first strategy session.
Just click the link above and let me know.
But please act soon because my schedule only allows me to develop your ultimate public speaking blueprint in the next 14 days. After that, I’ve got clients lined up for paid personal coaching sessions.
You CAN Avoid the 5 Biggest Speaking Mistakes Leaders Make!
I invite you to watch my video, a live recording of “How to Avoid the Five Biggest Speaking Mistakes That Leaders Make,” presented to the Florida International Bankers Association – FIBA Chats recently in Miami. Just click here.
This is Part 2 of a 3-Part Series. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, read that first:
No matter what your level of confidence may be right now with respect to public speaking, no matter how much experience or how little you have, you, too, can deliver a passionate speech that gets you a standing ovation and new prospects for your business. Or followers and donors for your cause.
How do I know? Because I’ve seen this transformation happen time and time again with my public speaking clients.
It’s All On You…
What’s especially relevant here, as you’ll soon see, is this ability to do public speaking well has nothing to do with your character or whether or not you’re an introvert.
Because delivering passionate, persuasive, and impressive speeches depends only on your approach and willingness to practice.
To get to your mountain top of speaking success, it takes accepting the fact that success-or failure-is in your own hands. It’s not a matter of birth or personality.
If you need some proof to believe that, please check out the first blog in this series, where I shared the experiences of my public speaking client, Juan, who scored a $109,000,000 contract after developing his leadership speaking skills and team… even though he is a soft-spoken introvert. (Click here for this blog.)
But for now, let’s just say you are willing to believe me and in your own potential. You can see yourself as a powerhouse on stage, capable of influencing your audience and obtaining the outcome you’re seeking.
This Is How You Forget About Pressure
What comes next is proper preparation. Here’s how you start:
You’ll need to find out what motivates you, what your passions are, and exactly what is it that you want to achieve with your presentation.
Focus on the issue you’re going to talk about, and make sure it’s truly important to you. If you already know it’s important to you, you’ll still need to remind yourself. Go through all the reasons and everything you feel about your topic.
In other words, it’s vital to get fired up and ready to convince people to stand with you.
This soul-searching exploration is an often overlooked, crucial step that helps transform even the most insecure, soft-spoken introvert into a confident, persuasive leader. Often, this process is not easy. But during our strategy sessions, we put a lot of effort into coming up with the best ways to get you fired up, so you can begin to do it on demand!
Once you’re ready, take note of what got you there and how it feels. You’ll use this insight later to get back into the same state before your performance.
Laying The Foundations Of Your Speech or Presentation
Next, you’ll need to write everything down that’s on your mind. My clients love this part of our session!
At this point, you’re not writing a message. You’re just writing a long list of reasons, stories, data, and emotions that will help you get your point across. Don’t judge what whatever comes to mind! Let yourself write it down. And don’t worry about grammar either.
Now, if you’re really passionate about your topic, your list of potential material will be long.
Maybe you’ll be surprised how persuasive some of your points already are, but don’t fall in love with your list just yet.
Because the next thing we do at our strategy sessions is trim and cut this list down mercilessly.
We want to fit it into the Ultimate Public Speaking Blueprint.
And I’ll cover the steps of the Ultimate Public Speaking Blueprint in the next part of this series.
Get My Help With All This
Until then, if you want me to personally help you go through this process, overcome your fear of the stage, and make a great public speaker and leader out of you, let me know when you’re up for your free first strategy session.
Simply click the link above and you can set the date and time that’s convenient for you.
This post is Part 1 of a 3-Part Series. Not only are you going to get more proven speaking techniques in this new blog series, I’m also going to show you exactly how one hard-working client achieved success in this real life case study example.
Meet Juan Diego Calle
As the young, introverted founder of a technology company (.Co Internet SAS), Juan had to deliver an important speech at the international Internet conference (ICANN) in Cartagena, Colombia, with 1200 delegates expected from 200 countries.
His company had just landed a contract from the Colombian government to market the country’s Internet domain extension, .co, as a direct competitor to the well-established .com.
Juan was tasked to educate, entertain, and inspire the various factions in attendance, while delivering his company’s message.
Only problem was, Juan had never given a speech before.
So he decided to reach out and take advantage of my private coaching sessions.
I’ve got to admit, I’m really glad he did!
The Humble Beginnings…
We had seven weeks to go.
That’s not a lot of time to master a new skill – so we had to act quickly and thoughtfully.
First, we developed the content. I asked Juan all sorts of questions and we brainstormed the best ideas to present, not caring about the presentation’s length for now.
Then we simplified the concepts and tailored our message to fit the audience.
The biggest hurdle was to compress everything we’d come up with into the seven minutes Juan was allocated for his presentation. Fitting all the strategic information into just seven minutes alone took hours of effort and countless tough decisions to complete.
But once we finished, Juan knew exactly what to say in his presentation.
Getting Ready To Speak Up
It was time to work on how he was going to say it. By now, we only had a couple of weeks before the big day.
Juan worked extremely hard to master the message and its delivery. I also helped him fine-tune his non-verbal communication skills.
Soon he started to deliberately use his hands to further his point, pause for effect, and smile periodically to avoid looking stern.
It might seem easy in retrospect, but believe me, it was extremely challenging work. The stakes were high, the pressure constant, and the deadline ever closing in on us.
For one rehearsal we used a large, empty auditorium at a nearby university with a podium and microphone so Juan could get used to the setting. It also let me help him remain confident on stage with a small mindset trick I teach during my strategy sessions.
Looking back, preparing Juan for his big speech was intense and at the same time, really fun.
The Not-So-Humble Results
Of course, we could only consider our job truly done once he finished his presentation to a standing ovation. I felt like a proud Mom watching him present on livestream, and hearing the burst of thunderous applause when he stopped speaking.
But more importantly, thanks to this experience, Juan gained confidence in his public speaking and leadership abilities. He has become a respected and sought-after speaker at key Internet and business conferences around the world.
Not bad for a couple hours of effort for several weeks, is it?
Well, then consider that in the spring of 2014, Juan Diego Calle sold the company that he had first talked about in Colombia to Neustar for $109 million.
In contrast, my coaching had cost him only a fraction of that. Talk about a high return on investment!
Now, I’m not saying I can make a millionaire out of you… but developing your public speaking and leadership abilities will certainly help you become more successful on your journey.
See, that’s exactly what I help my private coaching clients achieve. And for the next couple of days you can reserve your spot for a strategy session with me.
But please act quickly, as my schedule only allows me to do this for the next few weeks.
Here are the next two posts in this series:
Get Tips to Capture Their Attention When You Begin Speaking! Click here to enjoy this free excerpt of How to Open to Keep Their Attention on You and Not Their Phones, a workshop Anne B. Freedman recently provided the Fort Lauderdale Chapter, National Association of Women Business Owners.
Three western states in the past month. Three magnificent sets of mountains, rocks and terrain in Nevada, California and Arizona. Three conferences with different groups, but surprisingly, the issues and dreams were remarkably similar.
What I found participating in sessions for authors, entrepreneurs and business organization leaders were the following common themes:
- How do I best make my book, business, product, service, or organization stand out from the pack?
- Social media is overwhelming, and I know I need to use it, but how?
- Where should I spend most of my time to be effective and profitable?
- What’s the secret to getting people involved and willing to help promote me or my group/cause?
- How do I deal with those negative folks who undermine what we’re trying to accomplish?
In future blogs, I’ll do my best to share answers to some of these communication challenges, sharing what I learned at the conferences.
One of the highlights for me was my first ever early morning hike up a mountain trail in Phoenix. I almost never do anything at 6:15 a.m. except maybe go to the airport to catch a flight. Morning is not my favorite time of day.
Since it was really 8:15 am Eastern time for me, I decided to join a dozen other brave souls and climb up some charcoal gray rocks overlooking the city, just before the sun came up. We used the light from a cellphone to help us see where we were walking.
It was a perfect example of the ideal team communication and bonding. The experienced hikers (including two stalwarts from Bank of America), went first, planting their feet firmly in places where they could easily ascend the rocks. They made it look simple. It really wasn’t! Even by following closely and trying to put your feet exactly where these other knowledgeable folks had been just a few seconds ago, I soon learned there was also the question of balance. Or the lack thereof.
Even though I consider myself in reasonable shape – I walk almost daily for two miles around my absolutely flat Miami neighborhood – I confess that I did start to get winded about two thirds of the way up. A few of us were reaching our peak, albeit not the mountain’s! So the local leader stayed with us, kindly urging us to catch our breath, admire the cactus-filled scenery and watch the glorious sun coming up. It truly was one of those “in the moment” experiences I’ll never forget. (Let me recommend my dear friend Achim Nowak’s new book, The Moment: A Practical Guide to Creating a Mindful Life in a Distracted World.) And I know I want to go hiking again!
Bottom line, with every new move you can expect some resistance and a few faltering steps. That doesn’t mean not to go ahead! Be open to accepting advice from those who have traveled your route before, and at the same time, keep pushing yourself forward. With persistence, you’ll find the way to your own remarkable future.
Imagine your closet so stuffed with shirts, pants, shoes, and jackets — and for ladies, also dresses, skirts, purses and scarves — that you cannot see well enough to find anything to wear!
When a speaker or leader crams every possible piece of data, too many examples, multiple images and valuable but untargeted information into their presentation, no one walks away better off than when they arrived.
As I promised last week, the second of the five biggest speaking mistakes that leaders make is the failure to organize their content. (For all five, click here to register for my free one-hour webinar on Thursday, 12 noon or 7:30 pm.)
Just as you tackle organizing a closest, where you can separate your clothes by color, seasons, work versus play and other differentiators, it’s best to categorize your content in a way that makes it easy for you to build your message. Once you’ve decided what is really essential to include, and you put your facts, examples, stories and comparisons into categories, the next step is to create a structure.
Here are the four elements that go into a well-organized presentation:
- A compelling opening, where you grab attention. Alas, many folks just start talking, never giving any real thought to their opening statement. A commanding fact or an engrossing story are two of six ways you can begin with a bang!
- A pre-body summary, an intriguing overview of what you’re discussing. From my experience, most people overlook this critical step. They jump from the opening right into the body. The overview can be one of the most challenging sections of a message to write because you don’t want it to be merely functional, too complex or simply boring. Weave in benefit words or pain words, hinting at what’s in it for the audience to listen to the upcoming information.
- The body – your main ideas, usually a maximum of three. Here’s where the categories you devised earlier are applied. All of the five formats for organizing the body ultimately boil down to the most basic: Tell them what you’re going to tell them (The pre-body). Tell them your ideas. Tell them what you told them (The close).
- The close – with a summary and a strong call for action. You know that if you don’t ask for something, nothing will happen! At the same time, you often hear a speaker or leader drone on and on, finally wrapping up with, “That’s all I have to say. Are there any questions?” Take the time to figure out how you want to end your message and exactly what you want as the outcome.
For more on organizing your message and how to avoid the other four most common speaking mistakes that leaders make, I urge you to join my free one-hour webinar on Thursday, 12 noon or 7:30 pm. Just click here for more information or to register.
Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate!
We’ve all seen people who seem to transform in front of our eyes – in good ways and terrible ones – when they get up to speak.
Think about the truly quiet and unassuming folks who stand up and suddenly become commanding, passionate spokespersons for their cause or organization. What is going on? These normal introverts have mastered techniques that enable them to project a confidence and professionalism they may not seem to possess at other times, just as a good actor or actress is able to do.
Helen Hayes, a world famous actress from the last century reportedly threw up before going on stage, every time. Music star Barbara Streisand is known to be exceptionally shy and hates to perform in front of live audiences. Yet, both women learned to overcome their natural tendencies and gain international acclaim for their artistry.
On the other hand, we’re surprised at what happens when an outgoing, charming individual in small groups is called to the podium. Once there, this poor soul turns bright red, starts to stammer, and looks terribly uncomfortable. He or she can barely get the words out.
What is going on here?
Fear of failure, looking foolish, and other “f” words create the anxiety that usually shows up uninvited when you speak in public. Anxiety can override your expertise, intelligence, experience, peace of mind, and well-being. But it is not a permanent condition!
I encourage you to attend my new, free webinar, “Get Rid of Anxiety in Your Leadership Speaking,” on Thursday, November 19, 12 noon ET or 7:30 pm ET. For more information or to register, please click here.
From my work with thousands of clients, I’ve grouped the anti-anxiety techniques into three categories: body, mind and mouth.
Your body can be your friend or foe, and you can learn to control its behavior with the right pre-speaking practices. For example, one recommendation is to create a “no caffeine” zone around yourself for two to three hours before an important presentation. You don’t need any more stimulation to perform well, right?
Your mind can fill with demons from the past, self-doubt and unkind thoughts. You can counteract these tendencies with practice and determination. Some of the new mindfulness approaches that are updated forms of meditation may help you.
Your mouth can seem to have a “mind” of its own sometimes! You can take charge of your words and voice through a combination of developing the right message and how deeply you practice.
For a limited time, get your free copy of Anne B. Freedman’s new E-book, Get the ‘Yes’ Start-Up Kit for Convincing Presentations: How to Turn Your Ideas into Compelling, Engaging Points. Put yourself on the fast track with this simple, fill-in-the-blanks approach to turning your brilliance into memorable content. A $6.95 value. Click here to claim yours now!