Business presentations are done to generate leads and referrals. We can use them to get people to sign up on our calendar and sometimes we may be able to sell an event or a book or other product or service. The bottom line is you do business presentations to get business. This article offers my best tips on how to deliver a better more profitable business presentation.
1. Always get more training.
Speakers must be learners. The industry changes. Each year I publish a blog post about new changes in what audiences are responding to and how to address these changes. Furthermore, great speakers are continuously honing their craft.
For example, I host the Passionately Speaking mastermind group every Tuesday evening. I share insights and give training on speaking. Every member also has access to the passionately speaking website portal where all the past sessions are available for replay. I recommend that members make a habit once a week to view an extra video or two. This keeps their head in the game. They learn more and are continually getting better.
2. Select your business topic.
At the Million Dollar Speaker Summit, I offer topics that my audience desires most. Not all topics are going to be money-maker topics. I was talking to a guy who shared his topic with me. Though it’s a good topic, it is a subcategory of a bigger umbrella that is more appealing. Thus, the bigger juicier topic is what he should be talking about, because there’s more of an audience. There’s more low-hanging fruit. So even though you’re in love with a subcategory, your audience may not quite be ready for it. Remember it’s a subcategory and it’s part of the meal but it’s not the sizzle of the steak. Ensure that not only are you passionate about your topic, but that you also have a big enough audience who is excited about it and would pay you for the service associated with it. If it’s a small little teeny weenie market, then it’s going to be difficult. Also, if it’s for a market that is broken, you may need to switch topics.
Years ago, one of my clients in the financial arena had a target market of those broke, broken and less fortunate and didn’t have any money. That’s all good because he has a big heart. But I suggested he start serving the people that have money first so that he can make money and then give back and serve the less fortunate people. If you’re serving the broke and broken up front, guess what you become? Broke and broken. Keep that in mind.
Take care of yourself first. It’s like taking that oxygen mask and putting it on your nose before you put it on your friends or even your own children. Make sure that you get paid, and then go out and do service, and give back. But you may not want to make that give-back topic your signature talk.
3. Outline your speech.
Often when I work with someone, they always want to write out their speech word for word. I let them know this is not a writing class. This is not a book class. This is not an essay class. This is a speaking class. So we take our lips and we move them. Right? And that’s what training class this is. So make sure you’re only outlining it.
An easy way to make an outline is to use an acronym. Or a set of steps 1, 2, 3, 4. You then outline your ideas and then speak about them. This is how you will become the script. You will be free.
This will give you the freedom you need to bring in stories as they come to you. I told the story about the young woman giving my book to her dad who had dementia at a recent event that I hadn’t planned on sharing it. This event was planned to the T. The networking events are right where they should be, and they’re meant to build community and build rapport. And they work. But guess what? Just like planning an event I am intentional and have my attention grabber, I build rapport and I have the meat. But I still have room in my speech that if a story comes and I feel like someone in the audience needs to hear it, I can share it. And that’s where you want to get to with your speech.
Read the audience so that you can share as the spirit moves you to share a particular story or an event or an example that maybe you hadn’t planned on doing. You can only do that when you’re free from the script, free from the fear, free from the nervousness, free from all that stuff that keeps speakers bound and so wound up so tight that they are so afraid they’re going to forget that they forget.
Here are more articles on how to get rid of the fear of public speaking:
- How To Eliminate Fear of Public Speaking Forever
- Achieve Fearless Speaking
- How to Work Through Your Fear on the Spot
- Get Over Your Fear of Public Speaking
- From Frightened to Fired Up
The bottom line is if you’re afraid you’re going to forget, you haven’t rehearsed long enough.
My rule is to practice one hour for every minute of your speech (or every two minutes at a minimum). That doesn’t mean for a 30-minute speech that you’re done after 15 hours of practice. Maybe you need 25 hours. I don’t know. There are different stages in your career. It’s no different than if you are a dancer practicing dancing, maybe you need to practice a little bit more than somebody else that’s been doing it for 20 years. It’s no different than anything. Baseball, whatever you’re trying to do and perfect. Painting, piano playing.
In the beginning, you’re going to need a little bit more practice to get somewhere, a little bit more discipline, a little bit more commitment, maybe. So that’s minimum, not maximum. You might need more than somebody else. And again, we don’t compare ourselves to any other speaker or any other person on the planet. You are exactly where you need to be when. It’s okay to say, I really like that speaker, but you don’t compare them to you because they might be five years ahead of you. Instead, hug yourself, pat yourself on the back for stepping out on stage, for practicing those 15 hours. Reward yourself. Congratulate yourself because that’s huge.
4. Start with an attention grabber.
Your audience isn’t really paying attention to you. Even though they’re looking and smiling, they’re thinking about what they want for lunch. They’re thinking about what they have to do when they get back to the office. So they’re not engaged. And the only way we can make sure they’re engaged is by getting them to do something physical. That’s why I like enrolling questions the best. Just getting them physically to raise their hand and to take some physical action. That’s the only way as speakers, we can identify that, okay, they heard me, they’re taking action, they’re answering the question.
Keep those questions very simple, not complicated, or you’re going to lose them. This isn’t a teaching point. This is only a grabbing of attention. In my courses and programs, I talk about several other ways to do an attention grabber as well
Here’s an article on How to Create a Powerful Attention Grabber
5. Build trust and rapport.
We build trust and rapport through thank yous. We do that through our professional stories. We do that by calling people by name. We do that by saying how pretty everybody looks or other compliments. I may also ask, “How many people here have been to a previous event before?” Have them stand up, and clap for them. I want to praise and welcome people. There are many different techniques that you can do.
You’ve got to be comfortable with the rapport and trust-building techniques you use because your audience can sense if you’re stiff and if you’re not honestly asking how they are or care about who they are or what’s going on. They can sense it like crazy, a mile away. Thus, you need to be comfortable in your own skin. You also need to be so comfortable with your speech that you can practice it and leave it at home, drive to the event, go to the event, sit with everybody, have lunch, have breakfast, and chitchat without ever thinking about your speech again until it’s time to get it.
Million-dollar tip: Make sure you’ve practiced your speech out loud. Because when you play it in your head, it plays out differently than when you speak it. In your head, it might as well be in a different language. Because when you do that and then you get on stage, it’s going to be different. You’re going to forget things that you thought you were going to have. You’re going to be frustrated. When you say it out loud and your hearing hears it, it goes at a cellular level down your heart into your arms and you become that script and you’re less likely to forget it. So when I say practice, I’m not talking about practicing on the way there. It’s too late. Don’t even run it in your head because it’s a different program. Do it while you’re home. Get it down. You’ve got it. You know it.
Once you’ve got it then confidently give your brain a rest. When a brain is on overload, it’s going to forget, too. And I hear that all the time. Oh, I wanted to say all these things and I forgot them. If you were practicing in your head before your talk that’s dangerous for a speaker. Don’t do that. Practice ahead of time and then relax the brain so that you can come out and be who you are authentically and real.
More blogs on rapport and trust building:
- How To Build Trust and Rapport with Any Audience
- The Non-negotiable Rules of Speaking Build Rapport & Over Delivering
6. Persuasion and Influence.
It’s so important to become more persuasive as part of your speaking skillset and have the learning tools in your repertoire to rely upon.
The number one key to persuasion is to find out what they want and give it to them.
If possible go to the meeting that is before your speaking date and then ask members of the group what they want to learn. You could say, “I’m going to be speaking about X, Y, Z. When it comes to X, Y, Z, what is it that you would like to know?” For example, if I’m going to be speaking about art. When it comes to art, I would ask, what is it that you would like to know, or what’s your biggest challenge? If I’m going to speak about journaling, then I’d ask, when it comes to journaling, what is your biggest challenge? Find out what they want and you’ll be able to deliver a high-impact speech.
Of course, we can’t always go and talk to the group ahead of time. Especially if you’re presenting on Zoom that may not be possible. Instead, do some research. Perhaps go on the organization’s website, go to the event website, and try to get familiar with the type of people that they serve. You can also ask the organizer to survey the audience or for their input. And if none of that works, then make sure you know the target market you’re speaking to and what they want in general. For example, I know my target market is business owners. What do business owners want? They want more clients, referrals, and leads. So that’s what my signature talk is.
If you can’t connect with the organizer or members of the audience in advance, you then can generalize your content for your target market. You’ll want to clearly identify your target audience and establish their wants and desires. That would be based on your experience with your target market, your research, and/or your past direct questions, conversations, or surveys.
Next, determine what is their biggest problem or challenge. Then take that deeper and find out what pain and suffering is caused by that problem/challenge. For example, if someone tells me public speaking is their biggest challenge, then I’ll repeat their biggest problem, and then say, “What has that challenge cost you?” For example, they might respond, “Oh, it gives me a lot of anxiety, or I know I could be getting more clients.” A problem or challenge, no matter what it is, is always going to cost you something. I call it pain and suffering.
If your problem is you can’t sleep at night, it’s going to cause you the lack of sleep and maybe create grumpiness in the morning. So if you like sugar, sugar could cause some health hazards. So there’s always some pain and suffering attached to challenges or problems. Your job is to find out what it costs them. Ask them.
Then, you are the solution. You can get them out of their pain and suffering into a great place, that which you are promoting. So that’s how persuasion works.
7. Deliver current, up-to-date content.
You need to deliver current and up-to-date content in just the right amount. Too many business speakers want to turn on the fire hose. People get tired of that and they turn off and then you have not landed on them. And when you go into your close and the invitation to do business with you, they’re turned off because you overdid it. They can’t process all that you gave them and their head hurts. You’ve done a disservice and you won’t get any business.
People used to think less is more. Not always. Bigger is better. Well, yeah in diamond rings, maybe. More importantly, it’s got to be current and up-to-date in the right amount. If the diamond ring is so big that people want to steal it from you or cut off your finger, then it’s not the right amount. It’s a hazard now. If it’s too big, it’s not the right size and you won’t get the right results
Deliver current information, not stuff that you delivered 20 years ago. Everything has changed today, not just public speaking, but every industry. If you’re talking about real estate, it changes as fast as technology, practically. You have to keep up and stay current. People want to know what’s happening in your field. They want to know the latest.
Give them the good stuff. Don’t be stingy. They can’t do it without you anyway. They’re going to need to call you. You’re not going to tell them the how. You’re just going to tell them the what. What’s current? What’s up to date? What’s the latest and greatest?
I speak all the time about what’s the latest and greatest in public speaking and putting on events. But I’m not expecting you to go tomorrow and put on an event. However, I do expect that when the time comes, perhaps, maybe you will work with me to help you because you know I know what’s happening in this industry. I’m not telling you everything there is. That would take hours and would overload you. Share current, up-to-date information in the right amount.
In a thirty-minute talk, you can cover five to seven points. That’s what the audience can manage to absorb. They should be five to seven educational pieces, principles, or what I call “pieces of meat.” Don’t try to do ten and obviously not a hundred. If you have fifteen or twenty minutes, you’ll want to cover three to five main points. For your 1-minute and 5 minutes speeches, you cover ONE main point. You need to have enough time to go deep, build rapport, tell a story (or snippet of a story), and have adequate time for your invitation.
For speeches with different lengths, we take out pieces of meat. Like my story where I share my mom would give me bologna sandwiches when I was five and she put one piece of bologna between two pieces of wonder bread. And it’s a wonder I’m alive today. But if she didn’t put that one piece of meat in there, I would know. I would notice and it wouldn’t be good and I’d feel cheated.
Therefore, even in your one-minute speeches, you need to give one piece of meat. Do not just give a commercial. Those who don’t give any meat, are passed off by their audiences because it’s a commercial. It doesn’t position them as experts. It doesn’t give them any credibility. When you give that one piece of meat, you’ll establish credibility and they’ll come up to you after the event or after Zoom.
8. Add stories.
You always want to add stories. There are four types of stories that you can add to a speech.
You can learn all about The Four Stories Every Presenter Must Master in this article.
You won’t use all four types of stories every time you speak. In a 30-minute speech for example, you’ll have time for three stories. The longer time you have, the more stories then you can get all four.
The one story that you should have in every speech, no matter how tiny or big it is your professional story. Even if you only have a minute, always include your professional story. You want to use this story because it earns you the right to be talking about what you’re talking about. It creates credibility. It’s not your life story. It’s how did you get to be the expert that you are today.
With a little more time, then you put in success stories followed by stories with a lesson. And the last one to include is emotional stories. Funny stories and heartfelt stories often go hand in hand with the story with the lesson. But sometimes you don’t have a lot of time for a story with the lesson. So you might do a quick funny story because funny equals money. Furthermore, funny opens the heart and opens the pocketbook. I’m not saying you have to be a comedian or jokester, but funny things happen to all of us all day long. You just got to remember them and capture them and go. Test your stories when you’re in casual conversation to see if they giggle or laugh, then make a note to keep that and develop that into a speech. If it doesn’t get a laugh, if it falls flat, you forget it and go next and get another one.
You can use the same stories over and over again. My clients have heard my camel story probably 50 times. I have the same stories because they’re good and enough people haven’t heard them. And I’m going for acquiring the business of those who haven’t yet heard it. Don’t think, I’ve told it and this audience isn’t going to like it. They actually like it because they’re familiar with it. My clients love my camel story and they won’t be tired of your stories either as long as you tell them properly. Take them on the journey with you. I never get tired of hearing people’s stories. It’s like when you watch a movie over and over again because you just love the storyline.
9. Make an invitation.
The biggest mistake most business speakers make is that they don’t do an invitation. If you’ve done the previous steps, by the time you do an invitation, you’re audience is ready to accept that invitation. Most speakers miss this. They come to the end of their speech, and just ask, Are there any questions? Then, there are no questions. They say, “Thank you,” and walk off stage. They are left scratching their heads wondering why they didn’t get any business, why they didn’t convert.
There are several different invitations that you can do. You can sell or you can just ask them to sign up for a discovery session. You can do a raffle and have them collect the cards. You can just say, if I’ve inspired you, come and talk to me. You can fundraise from the stage. You can sell a physical product or enroll people into some free event. And having people opt-in to a free event works really well for a two-step close. Step one is the free event. Instead of closing them right there at an event you’re speaking at, invite them to a free event and then close them there when you’ve got a captive audience. It works like a charm. That’s a million-dollar idea.
Here’s more on how to make an invitation from stage.
10. Practice creates confidence.
I bring this up again because practice creates the confidence that you need to deliver a well designed and a speech that converts and opens the hearts of the listeners. It takes a lot of practice to do that and a lot of stage time.
How to have the greatest impact with your business presentation?
Are you practicing? If not, I invite you to join my Passionately Speaking community or upcoming program. Let’s talk about how to work practice into your schedule. I promise to inspire you into action. I want your message to have the greatest impact and change the lives of those who are praying for you to solve their problems.
Book a complimentary session here with Arvee: https://calendly.com/arveerobinson/30min