Thursday, October 24, 2013
Public Speaking: What Is The Bottom Line?
If you desire to be a public speaker, then you have a goal that needs to be met if you are going to be successful in your career. I am not talking about the wedding toasting, the valedictorian speech, or a travel presentation to a senior citizens group. I am talking specifically about the persuasive presentation. Your goal with this type of presentation is to satisfy the needs of your audience. They came to hear you speak for a reason. Whatever their issue, their problem, or their pain, your job is to ‘ease their pain.’ That is the bottom line. Yes, you want to give a dynamic speech or presentation both in content and delivery, but you must first understand their pain. And the only way that can occur is if you know your audience. Talking to a group of babyboomers about saving for college is a waste of time since their kids have already finished college. Likewise, discussing Medicare to college students is a bit premature and not going to be a topic of interest to them. Your priority is to understand the specific needs of your audience and then satisfy those needs. If I am talking to aerobics instructors, my topic will be on vocal abuse and what they can do to both eliminate it and prevent it from happening again. Why do I know that this will be of interest to them? Because I know it is the #1 injury for people in that profession. By satisfying their needs, I know that some will respond in kind to what I can offer them. And, that is either a product, a workshop, or corporate training. How can you ‘know’ your audience? By questioning your host, researching the group or business on the internet, and/or talking to other speakers who are familiar with that audience. Will it be a male, female or mixed group? What are their ages? What are their backgrounds, education, interests, etc. The more you know, the easier the audience. To have a career in public speaking, you will need to support yourself by either booking more engagements and/or selling a product, a service, or an idea. But the ‘sales’ of you or your product is not your first priority. Your first priority is to solve their problem. If they see that your only interest is taking orders at the back of the room, then you have failed in your objectives and your career will be short-lived. The bottom line is not how much money you can make but what you can do for your audience: satisfy their needs and they will satisfy yours!