Today we are going to talk about public speaking for consultants. You are a consultant and you finally got the opportunity to speak in front of prospective clients. This is a chance to communicate with people who want to hear what you have to say. Let’s talk about how to get the most out of that opportunity. We are going to go through a lot of content in this article, so get ready and focus.
Be clear about your end result. Whether your goal is to secure a client, secure a referral, secure a partner, establish thought leadership or whatever else it may be, articulate that goal for yourself. Write it down on your presentation scripts. Make sure you are clear on the result you expect to accomplish at the end of your presentation.
Focus. The next step is to focus on the people in the room.
Don’t overwhelm – unless you decide to. The first rule you should keep in mind is not to overwhelm them… unless it is on purpose. If your intention is to overwhelm the audience with information to show how broad the topic is (and how bad they need your help) that is a good strategy. However, if you find yourself rambling, sharing side stories, and giving too much detail, then you’re overwhelming in a way that is not helpful. Think about the end result and decide whether you should overwhelm or not.
10% love, 10% hate, 80% sway. The second rule to keep in mind is that 10% of the people in the room are going to love you, 10% are going to hate you, and the remaining 80% can be swayed in one direction or another. With that understanding, speak to the middle 80% and sway them. Be careful here: don’t try to sway them to work with you, sway them to make a decision. Help the audience decide whether it’s smart to work with you at this particular point in time. The last thing you want are poorly qualified clients in your mix. They take up more time than you have to give them. Sway the 80% to make a healthy decision.
Maintain their attention. Ask a question, stop, and wait for an answer. Let your thought provoking questions sink in and allow your audience to provide a response. Also be careful of reading your slides and focus on the story you are trying to tell. People like to hear stories, so have one core story that connects through all the slides. Add an impromptu element and show some life. It’s amazing what my clients reveal after they get off the word-for-word script. Talk honestly about what you do and you will perk up and come to life.
Have a call to action. Whether you want them to buy, take a trial, call, refer you, or follow you, challenge the audience to do something. You only have their attention for a finite amount of time; ask them to do something attached to your desired end result.
This is a great way to think about speaking in front of an audience before you actually get in the room. However you decide to design your final presentation, make sure that your content provides value for both you and your audience.