6 Powerful Tips To Successful Public Speaking

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Public speaking ranks right up there with death in terms of the things we are terribly afraid to do. Whether it’s the fear of being watched closely by others, or the insecurity and self-conscious feeling of slipping up during the presentation, these six tips will help you give a polished, professional speech that you (and your audience) can be proud of!

1. Know your audience. This is the single best piece of advice for delivering a presentation that really hits home. What are their interests? Their backgrounds? Why are they coming to hear you speak or present? What ideas do you have to share with them? Approaching your speech as more of a “me-to-you” discussion rather than a full-blown broadcast will make it more manageable (and less stressful) and easier on you.

2. What do you want your audience to do as a result of your speech? What’s really at the heart of your presentation? By concentrating on the end result rather than slogging through the beginning, you can create a powerful punch that drives home your message instead of rambling on and losing your audience’s interest (or missing the point entirely!)

3. Share a story. In public speaking circles, this is called a “hook” �” something that gets your audience’s attention and makes them sit up and listen. Start off by asking questions or sharing an experience you had. People like to be active, rather than passive listeners. By giving them something that they can identify with, you’ll find that these people are, in essence �” just like you! And that makes giving a presentation a whole lot easier. Just be sure your story has a beginning, a point, and an ending. There’s nothing quite as bad as telling a story to an engaged audience and then forgetting why you told it!

4. If you’re selling a product, focus on the benefits instead of the features. People would much rather hear WHAT a product can do for them than HOW it does it. Narrow down your product’s features until you get to the core of how it solves a problem. If you need help with figuring out the difference between a feature and a benefit, ask yourself “So What?” For example, if you’re selling a vacuum cleaner that has a hypoallergenic filter, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and ask yourself “so what?” The answer would be something like, “It picks up dust, mold and pet dander”. Again, so what? Answer, You’ll feel relief from runny nose and sneezing plus itchy, water eyes. Now THATs a benefit!

5. Don’t lean too heavily on media to make your message clear. PowerPoint presentations are great for making specific points, but they can be overwhelming �” or downright boring. Instead, give your audience something to DO by providing them with fill-in-the-blank flip charts or “team activities”. These help reinforce and emphasize your message in ways that a computer presentation simply cannot.

6. Above all, make sure your speech ends in a way that reiterates the beginning. Too often, speakers get carried away with the details and leave their audiences asking, “What was the point of all that?” People naturally digest information in “chunks”, so focus on the big picture rather than all the pieces. If the details are just as important, save it for an after-speech handout that the audience can take with them and read over at their leisure.

If you keep these six tips in mind, you’ll not only have an easier time overcoming your fear of public speaking, but you’ll have a very appreciative audience who will in turn be more receptive and eager to try your product or service. Go get ‘em! All Managers Are Customers Too Whatever business you are in, you will find that there is one key cause of your success.

How your customers experience your business and service.

Many departments and companies have processes in place for assessing their services to their customers. However very often the measures in place don’t reflect what the customer perceives to be important. They don’t reflect the true benefit and often processes which suit the business, are not customer-friendly, however much they suit the internal needs. What has the customer experienced? In addition, the key for an excellent customer experience is in the relationship between person/department/company and their customer. I had a new washing machine delivered recently. It arrived the day and time slot the company stated. Great! If the company measures ‘did they deliver when they stated they would’ they would have a 100% service. The managers will be proud of themselves!! However, what they didn’t measure was my satisfaction. The delivery driver was the most miserable person I had met in ages. He obviously wasn’t passionate about his job. He left muddy footprints on my carpet. So was I happy? No! They may have delivered on the right day/time but my overall experience was poor. Will I be using the same company again? I doubt it. Do the managers of the company know? No! They think they are providing a fantastic service because they are only measuring their processes, which suit them internally. One of the keys to creating an excellent customer relationship is the interface between the customer and their point of contact within the company. One way to avoid this issue is to ask your employees what gets in the way of making the very best of relationships with their customers. What do they need more of (as well as less of) to deliver exemplary customer service?

Another valuable way to approach this is to ask your people what they find works well for them when they themselves are customers, as we all are, elsewhere. What was good about it and what did they think could have been done better. Also, ask the customer! What was the experience like for them? You could ask them to complete a questionnaire. However, a great way would be to ring them a few days later. Finally, experiencing the customer journey through their experience is probably one of the most value-creating actions that can be taken.

For employees to watch, listen and even act out the experience of one of the customers they would normally be serving, is a very enlightening role they can play.

This can be achieved by taking them out of their usual working role, for a while, and getting them to watch or listen to what happens when their customer starts the interaction. They then really share the experience and start to notice how things could be different.

If that can then be brought into a discussion forum where several share their experiences and propose changes, there are the ingredients for continuing progress and change.

Most employees want to do a great job. They want their customers to leave satisfied, thrilled even, wanting to do business again in the future.

Enabling your people to spend time getting all the pieces in place for their customer, really understanding how to meet their needs fully and even exceptionally is a way to get them motivated and excited to be part of your team. It builds team spirit and morale.

Using the capabilities of your own people, to give better service through sharing their thoughts and ideas, is a valuable exercise – and one, which creates untold value in your business for the future. It is easy to establish such a way of working. Be the person to instigate such an activity. Make sure you implement some of the ideas suggested. Track the benefits as a result. You will be seen as the manager who ‘makes things happen’.

Andrew Rondeau transformed himself from a $4 an-hour petrol-pump attendant to a highly successful Senior Manager earning $500k every year. Discover How to Maximize Your Income and Minimize Your Effort by receiving Andrew’s free e-Course and report: http://www.greatmanagement.org/

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