Thursday, June 23, 2016

Presentations Come Across Best in Plain English

Recently, I covered a professional industry conference. It was enlightening. It was frightening. This isn't a breakdown of the research presented; this is me talking about the speakers.

What Did She Say?

I'm not knocking the speakers in general; some great information was presented in Plain English (my favorite language). Unfortunately, in a few sessions the most valuable insight was nearly suffocated by a thick layer of Corporatese. One speaker - not making this up! - dropped all of these gems in less than two minutes:
  • " understand the magnitude of the impact..."
  • "...redesigning the roles to increase continuity..."
  • "...setting the expectation to step out of that role..."
  • "...excited about getting back to basics..."
  • "...a multidisciplinary sacred space..."
  • "...a different framework to see how to create engagement..."
My head was spinning and more importantly, my deadline was looming. See, I was covering the conference as an industry blogger. I was paid to be there to help one of the presenting organizations promote its brand, products and services. 

While it should have been a cakewalk for me and a big win for the presenting organizations, I was sweating trying to come up with good material. At the risk of stating the obvious: if your speakers aren't presenting clear and useful information, you're not going to get the biggest bang for your PR budget. 

Speaking Opportunities are Content Gold

Besides being a PR opportunity, anytime you speak to someone about your company, products, or services, it's a chance to sell! Also, it's content. (More on that coming soon...)

So, here are some (rather fundamental) suggestions to make better use of those opportunities:

  • When you are speaking and would like your main topic points to be repeated and/or discussed, make them clear. 
  • When you are promoting a product and/or service, make sure your reps KNOW the talking points and REHEARSE them. (This goes for any and all of your reps. "Talk is cheap" does not refer to corporate speaking! When your reps have the floor, and/or the ear of the media, that's an extremely valuable opportunity, and if you/they waste it, it's money - and potential sales - down the drain, out the window, and off to the next conference...)
  • If you are speaking and do not want your main topic points remembered or discussed, perhaps you should re-evaluate the reason for your presentation...

Communication can be a beautiful thing and a powerful sales tool - public speaking in particular. Although it comes naturally to very few people, it's easier to learn than juggling knives, and I think it's a lot more fun

Need help developing some talking points for your sales staff? Want a few tips and a practice partner before your next trade show or other speaking event? Words are my business. Please get in touch. 
 ---------------- Are you a do-it-yourselfer? That's ok - if you do it right. My advice: join a local Toastmasters' club and a pick up a helpful book on the subject. My favorite is What To Say When You're Dying on the Platform

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