by Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE
Some presenters are silly enough to think that if they talk longer, they are giving more value or getting their point across more effectively. Actually, audiences of any size from 5 to 500 are eager for content presented as efficiently and memorably as possible.
Here are eight tips to make your message memorable.
1. Build rapport
2. Make your message sound valuable
3. Remove the fluff and filler
4. How long do you have?
5. Who is your audience?
6. What is your key idea?
7. Don’t be polite…get to the point
8. Logic sells, but close on emotion
When building rapport with our audiences, we need to emotionally and intellectually connect. Think of it this way: logic makes you think, emotion makes you act. You intellectually connect with your logical argument through specifics and statistics. Perhaps charts and diagrams. You emotionally connect through eye contact, stories, content that creates a visual in the audience’s mind, and “you”-focused rather than “I”-focused language. This is incredibly important if you want to sell your ideas, a product, or service.
Make your message sound valuable.
How valuable does your message sound? Here’s another way to look at it. Rehearse a presentation and time it. Or if it is very important, consider transcribing it. Just for fun, consider the financial impact of your proposal, or the investment of your prospect, and divide by the length of your presentation. This gives you a dollar value for your words.
Remove fluff and filler.
Naturally you want to remove all the unnecessary fluff and filler. For example, avoid clichés like “each and every one of you in the room.” How often have you heard presenters say that, adding nine unnecessary words? When your message is clear and concise, divide by the amount of time needed to deliver your presentation. Notice how much more valuable each word has become. Make every word count!
Here is a real-life example:
One of my friends was a sales manager at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. He was a great salesperson one-on-one, but now he was facing a group of ten. “I’m very nervous,” he confessed. “How do I sell to so many people?” A professional association was debating whether to bring their convention to the city.
How long do you have?
“Let’s step backwards,” I said. “How long do you have for your presentation?”
Who is your audience?
“Who is in your audience?”
“A convention committee.”
What is your key idea?
“And what are you actually ‘selling’?”
“Well, it isn’t the Fairmont because if they come to San Francisco, they’ll definitely use our hotel. I guess I’m selling San Francisco because they are seriously considering San Diego.”
Then I asked him a question that rarely gets asked: “How much is it worth to the Fairmont Hotel if you get their business?”
“Half a million dollars,” he said.
“Mmm,” I said, grabbing my calculator. “Let’s see. Half a million dollars divided by seven minutes—that’s $1,041.66 a second, even when you pause.”
I asked him how he would start if left to his own resources. The sales manager took a deep breath and began, “Well, ladies and gentlemen, I hope you’re enjoying our hospitality. I know…” and he was off on a stream of platitudes.
Don’t be polite…get to the point.
“You’re polite,” I told him when he finished, “and that’s not a bad habit, but you don’t have much time. They know who you are because you’ve been entertaining them. They know where you are. Make it about them.
“When you begin, why don’t you say:
‘Welcome and thank you for the opportunity to host you. In the next seven minutes, you are going to discover why the best decision you can make for your members and your association is to bring your convention to San Francisco and the Fairmont Hotel.’
“Now that is seven ‘you’ or ‘yours’ and one ‘Fairmont.’ (Watch the ‘I’s.)
‘San Diego is a magnificent destination, and you should definitely go there in the future. However, this year you should come to San Francisco because…’ and list the specific reasons.
“This is an emotional opening because it’s ‘you’ focused. And because you never knock your competition, you’re acknowledging that San Diego is fabulous. You’ve connected emotionally with your audience, and the logical specifics connect you intellectually.
“You may argue that those polite opening comments are necessary because the audience is still settling down and not focused on you. This may be true, but don’t let it be an excuse. Go to the front of the room and wait until you have their attention, maintaining a strong, cheerful gaze and willing them to be silent. If needed, state the opening phrase of your comments and then pause until all eyes are focused on you, awaiting the rest of the sentence.
Logic sells, but close on emotion.
“Continue your presentation with logical incentives, but end with emotion. Remember that last words linger, and your goal is to be memorable.
‘Imagine years from now when your attendees are sitting around a convention lobby reminiscing about the best conventions they’ve ever attended, and they talk about their experiences in San Francisco at the Fairmont. And you’ll know you were part of that experience because you were on the planning committee.’”
You now have eight tips that add value to your words and make your message memorable. Use my friend’s model of how to emotionally connect in the beginning and end of a presentation and intellectually connect in between. Plus, you will be making your words sound more valuable.
Good luck! Persuasive presentations give you a competitive edge.
Why not come to Lady and the Champs How to Speaking Conference February 16-17, 2013
Patricia Fripp, Darren LaCroix, Ed Tate, Craig Valentine, Mark Brown are World Champions Edge partners and presenting at Lady and the Champs 2013.