The four keys to speaking success in any environment

By Mark A. Vickers

Whether you are presenting in a meeting or conference, or speaking to a customer or staff, your ability to speak effectively and strategically will determine your success.
Have you ever listened to a salesperson and wondered: “When are they going to stop talking?”
Have you sat through a presentation and wondered what it was about and why you should care?
If so, you have witnessed a speaker who was not being strategic.
Being a strategic speaker means being focused on helping people, having a plan, and being prepared in order to be more successful.
There are four keys to being a strategic speaker and getting to your G.O.A.L.

Anytime you speak, what is the goal or intent of your presentation or discussion?
If you are selling a car what is the goal of your discussion with the customer?
You probably said: “To sell the car.” But the question really is: “What does the
customer really need?”
While they do need a car, what they really need is a reliable way to get to work, or a safe vehicle to transport their six-year-old’s soccer team. So, the real goal of your presentation is to help them believe you have a solution to their problem.
Always be asking: “What do they need?”

Are you underestimating the value of the first few sentences you say?
The first 30 seconds sets the stage for everything else. Get them engaged and thinking about their situation.
When you are buying a new car, what is the first thing you hear from the salesperson?
“Looking for a new car?”
“Looking for a mini-van?”
There isn’t any engagement or power to these questions.
What if the salesperson met you on the lot and asked:
“That’s an awesome car, what do you like about it?”
“These vans are great; do you need that space for family or friends?”
These questions quickly engage and get the other person talking about themselves and what they need.
Now, you may be thinking; “I need to build rapport first.”
I agree that building rapport is important; it just needs to happen after you engage them.
Look at your opening from “their” perspective: Would you be engaged?

Assisting them
When presenting there is a benefit to you, however your audience doesn’t care about you, they care about what’s in it for them.
When your focus is on what you want, they will feel that you are “selling” them as opposed to helping them.
In my own business it amazes me that the more information and support I provide without expectation, the more my customers respond.
Developing a mindset focused on serving others will help you position your presentation strategically, engage them faster, and lead to more success.

Linkages are the questions and statements that tie your presentation together.
Everything you say must have a purpose and you should always know what you are going to say in different situations because “Wing-it” is not a strategy.
When you develop a “Go To” library to use when presenting, you will improve your flexibility, responsiveness, and success.
As a starting point determine:
– Key information you need to share
– Key emotional triggers
– Information gathering questions
– Thought provoking questions
– Comments to get them to ask a question
When you practice and refine your library, you will find that your effectiveness increases in all situations because you are now prepared to speak strategically.

These four keys provide the framework for strategic speaking and success.While it will take time to change your approach to speaking, the benefits will be dramatic.
Speak with power, or be forgotten.

By Mark A. Vickers

MarkVickers-011After 20 years in corporate IT, Mark followed his passion for supporting professionals as a Certified Professional Coach and a Certified World Class Speaking Coach. As an author and award winning speaker Mark now works with business owners, executives, and their teams to achieve superior performance through improved communication skills in all aspects of their business.

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