Last Friday, I spoke at a Connections Networking meeting in Santa Rosa to a group of women entrepreneurs. The subject was, “Your Big Mouth: Your Most Powerful Marketing and Public Relations Tool.”
Since I created all this juicy content for this speech, I thought I’d share it with you here. I’ve broken it up into three installments, but if you want to hear a recording of the actual speech, you can! It’s located at the end of this post.
Now that you know the impact public speaking can have on your marketing and public relations plans, what are you going to talk about? How do you design a 20-minute speech that will represent you well, show your expertise and richly benefit your audience?
Whatever you choose to speak about, here is a good rule of thumb: Give your audience something they can put to use that day. Give them information, tips, tools, whatever, that they can use to make a change, to move them closer to where they want to be.
It doesn’t have to be complex or profound. It can be very simple. For instance, if you’re a nutritionist, you could tell your audience to drink an additional glass of water every day. Or three tips on how not to get sick on an airplane. If you’re an esthetician, it could be as easy as telling your audience to use sunscreen.
Give, give, and give good, usable information. In fact, think of your speech as a mini-training. What can you teach your audience that will allow them to make a change that will benefit them? A change they can start to make today?
Go deep, not wide. What I mean by this is, dig deep into one or two points rather than shallowly skip through 17 points. If you have 20 minutes, you have enough time to dig deep into one or two points, maximum. Maybe three if you push it. But why push it?
Your audience needs time and repetition to really digest and integrate what you are telling them. You already know what you know, but your audience may not. So, take the time to flesh out each point you make by using examples, stories, statistics, and anecdotes. Give people a lot of ways to get your point.
Anytime you can use a story to illustrate your point, use it. People love hearing stories, and they can more easily take in information when it comes in the form of a story.
I have a client who speaks on the driest material imaginable. Budgeting and cost analysis. His presentations are full of graphs, charts, and long columns of numbers. What a snooze fest!
But he enlivens his presentation with these great stories of his experiences in working with people, stories that sound like excerpts from a soap opera. These stories illustrate his point while keeping his audience awake and amazed.
Another way to illustrate your point is with a demonstration. Another client of mine is a hair stylist, and she did this fun yet highly informative talk on how to talk to your hair stylist. She asked for audience volunteers to role-play an imaginary conversation, making her points all along the way.
Invite audience interaction. How can you include them, get then involved in what you are talking about? This could be as easy as posing a question and having each person turn to the person next to them and talk about it for a few moments. Or you can use props, toys and handouts that become part of the party. Tom Antion is famous for having some kind of toy or gizmo at each person’s place that he effortlessly ties into the theme of his presentation.
Whatever you choose to do, do it your way. I can throw out ideas and suggestions, but you need to create a presentation that works for you as well as your audience. I may love using audience volunteers, but that might not sound all that great to you.
Always ask yourself this question: How can I offer this information in a way that would be outrageously fun for me? Let go of all the rules and suggestions and instruction, and ask yourself, “How can this be outrageously fun for ME?” Because if it’s fun for you, it will be fun and enthralling to your audience. And when you tune in to your sense of fun, you are tuning into your own creative juices and your natural confidence.
My client Sheila was so nervous about an upcoming presentation she had to give at an industry conference. She hadn’t done any public speaking for so long, and this was an incredible opportunity for her to establish herself as an expert in her field, and she was really scared of blowing it.
To make matters worse, the conference organizers demanded that all presentations follow a specific format that was highly restrictive and left no room for creativity or imagination.
I told Sheila to just forget about all the rules and regulations for now, forget about the prescribed format, and just ask herself, “How can I present this material in a way that would be outrageously fun for me?” As she sat with that question, she came up with a great idea that involved a ventriloquist dummy and some outlandish costumes. From there, she was on her way to creating a presentation that she couldn’t wait to give. And, yes, she was even able to make it all fit within the limitations prescribed by the conference.
We forget that self-expression can be fun. When we were kids, we knew that instinctively. We sang and danced and play-acted our days away, recruiting our friends to play along. I used to make my father sit through my created-in-an-instant musicals, filled with bad dance moves and questionable scriptwriting, but I was having the time of my life.
What kinds of self-expression did you love most as a kid? What venues of self-expression do you most enjoy now and how can you incorporate them into your speech? If you love to talk endlessly with friends, then you’ve got it made. Just get up there and chat away. If you love to draw, you can use flip charts, or create your own vaudeville-type announcement boards that announce each point as you present it. I love to sing, so if I can incorporate a song that ties into my speech, you can bet I’ll sing it!
In the next installment, we’ll talk about some more ingredients you can use in your speech that will make it fun and powerful for you and your audience.
Here’s the audio file of the speech I gave last Friday, August 17.