As many of you know I “shoot from the hip”—so to speak.
I pride myself in being a non-linear speaker who usually ends up talking about what is passing through his mind at the moment. This is both good and bad. It is what it is.
I can assure my audiences of one thing, they can’t finish a sentence for me because where they think I may be going with my current thought may not be where I end up. Follow me?
That being said, I thought I’d share this with you…as it crosses my mind. Once upon a time, I was preparing to travel to Ft. Lauderdale to serve as the Closing Keynote Presenter at some conference. I was very excited and looking forward to this particular event. I had 40-minutes to “change the world.” I had done my homework and was very confident that this would prove to be another good “show.”
I would assume my starting position with empty hands and no need for supportive slides or a teleprompter. I would take a deep breath and look out at the 1500 people that would soon be asking themselves in unison, “Who is this guy?”
I would begin to speak, and only time would tell what would happen in the following 40-minutes. I would become a human dartboard and hoped that the audience found no immediate reason to cast their darts in my direction. Again, only time would tell.
Today’s lesson is coming. I completed writing six pages of my speech. I gave the entire speech to myself on paper complete with smiley faces and double exclamation points. Then, I allowed those pages to “breathe.”
I planned on going back to rewrite the entire speech if necessary. Again, I would allow a breathing spell before rewriting my speech a third time.
Once comfortable with it, I read it to myself ten or twenty times before feeling that the ideas and sequential positioning was being internalized to memory…sort of. Then, I would cast my fate to the wind. I would deliver my talk without any notes, crib sheets, slides or support. Just me and my message to a room full of strangers.
I had prepared as best I could and began to concentrate on having fun. As my college football coach reminded us every Friday afternoon before the next game, “the hay is in the barn.”
Back then the team (me included) had no idea what the old guy was talking about, but now I know what he was telling us. The hard work was over. It was time to play football.
And so it goes with your “speeches” or presentations with prospects and clients. Perhaps you should begin your preparation by jotting down your thoughts and areas that you wish to address. Polish this document a tad, and then practice the content.
When a prospect enters the arena, you will be prepared and ready to deal with just about anything that pops up.
This is how professionals do it. This is how you do it. This is how overnight successes do it…with hours of focused practice.
PS.-To this day, one of the biggest slurs one can receive is when somebody suggests that “you would be good at sales because you have the gift-of-gab.”
Having been reared in the Garden State of New Jersey, I will share with you our translation to this observation.
“You would be good at sales. You are full of crap!” Not you. Not me. Not us.
Mike Marchev freely shares his experiences, strategies and observations with travel professionals in an effort to keep them on top of their game. For a complimentary copy of his 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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