As many of you know I “speak from the hip” so to speak.
I pride myself in being a non-linear speaker who usually ends up talking about what is shooting 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 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.
In a few weeks I will be driving to Ft. Lauderdale to serve as the Closing Keynote Presenter at this years CLIA cruise3sixty conference. I am very excited about this and looking forward to it. I have 40 minutes to “change the world.”
I will assume my starting position with empty hands and no need for supportive slides or a teleprompter. I will take a deep breath and look out at the 1500 people who will be poised and prepared to say in unison, “Who is this guy?”
I will begin to speak and only time will tell what will happen in the following 40 minutes. I will become a human dartboard and hope that the audience finds no immediate need to cast any darts in my direction. Again, only time will tell.
But this is not the lesson. Moments ago, I just completed writing six pages of my speech. I gave the entire speech to myself on paper complete with smiley faces and double exclamation points. Now, I allow those pages to “breath.”
I will then go back and rewrite the entire speech, editing, adding and tweaking where necessary. Again, I will allow a breathing spell before rewriting my speech a third time.
Once comfortable with it, I will read it to myself a ten or twenty times before feeling that the ideas and sequence is being internalized to memory … sort of. Then, I will cast my fate to the wind. I will deliver my talk without any notes, crib sheets, slides or support.
I will have prepared as best I could and concentrate on having fun. As my college football coach reminded us every Friday afternoon, “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 trying to tell us. The hard work was over. It was time to play some 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!”