THIS WILL SURPRISE YOU (especially if you know me) Even after taking
a public speaking course you can be a lousy
presenter but still be great on the speaking stage. By lousy, I mean
that you do everything wrong technically. You dress terrible. Your grammar
and diction are laughable and you might have dandruff.
Do not think for a moment that I want you to be these terrible things.
In fact, I sell videos teaching you NOT to be pitiful technically when
you present. But I want you to see is the bigger picture. If you give
really great information that is targeted to the needs of your audience,
and you do the things that build up rapport, but fall short technically
you can still have effective skills.
Remember, I am not giving you an excuse to forget about becoming technically
better as a presenter. I am just saying that if your information is
lousy it does not make much difference how smooth you are with what
you say. Yes, there are some people that slide by because
they are entertaining, but substance and helping people come first.
When planning your presentation think about giving the audience immediately
usable information. Yes, they may need a long term plan, but if you
give people something usable and and an action plan that they can get
excited about you will have done half your job.
Half my job? ... Yes, the other half is to build rapport with the attendees.
This does not necessarily mean that they like you. This means you have
done what is necessary to make sure they trust in what you have to say
and they feel you care about them; showing them you care is an important
part of what you will learn in your public speaking course.
I told you above that it was OK to stink up the stage by being a lousy
presenter. Again, I must remind you that I am not encouraging this.
I want you to get better technically, so that your message has a better
chance of getting through. The big picture is that you must build rapport
with an audience for them to get the message.
My definition of rapport is that the audience members trust you and
that they feel you care about them. Here are some ways to build that
trust and caring atmosphere:
Know what you are talking about and admit it when you don't. BS will
not cut it with the sophisticated audiences of today.
Have some credentials. Do something, write something, record something,
help someone. i.e., do something more than talk.
Do everything you say you are going to do before the program, and do
it in a helpful and timely manner.
The meeting organizer in most cases will tell the group, or let it
be known that you walk your talk. Even if he or she does not, you will
feel great about the way you handle things and it will show.
Phone interview a cross section of audience members prior to your speaking
engagement. I cannot tell you how wonderfully this has worked for me
over the years. People cannot wait to meet you and they tell others
about the call. This really screams, 'I care about you!'
Make yourself accessible. As long as you are good on the platform,
meeting planners love it when you come early and stay late ...
NOTE: If you bomb get out quick hahahaha
Offer free follow up for the audience members via email or fax. If
you are too busy to actually answer personally, have an assistant follow
up. Do not brush this suggestion off too lightly. This is one of the
main methods to deeply penetrate an organization. The people that do
follow up for you are 'angels' in the company. They will tell you of
other events or problems where you might be able to help.
So, you can be 'lousy' if you want to, but make sure the audience trusts
you and build rapport and you will have a much better chance that your
message gets through.
What you say is half your job, connecting with the audience is the
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