SWGR 587 | Speaking Strategies


Want to learn the speaking strategies that will let you be heard? Join Elizabeth Bachman on the first of four episodes of the Visible and Valued Training Month! In this episode, she shares the three keys of strategic speaking that will amplify your voice to those who need to hear it. The world doesn’t always work in our favor, so it’s up to us to find ways and open doors of opportunities. Stay tuned for speaking tips that will make you more visible and show your value!

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Speaking Strategies That Get Results

I’m very excited to have you here because this is the first of four episodes in the Visible and Valued training month where we can talk about how you make yourself visible and show your value through presentation skills. I’m talking about speaking strategies that get better results. These are the strategies that you can use to improve your presentation skills.

If you are curious about where you are with your presentation skills, you could take our free four-minute assessment at SpeakForResultsQuiz.com. That’s where you can see where you are strong with your presentation skills and where perhaps a little bit of support could help you get the results you need and the recognition that you deserve.

This is the beginning of Visible and Valued training month, where we are having speaking strategies. The next one is going to be about writing the script then taking your script from boring to bravo, how do you spice up your presentation and engage your audience and then how to get booked because the best speech in the world doesn’t do you any good unless you have a place to give it. That will be an interview with the amazing Whitney Macduff, where you can find out how to get those speaking gigs. You can find all of this at ElizabethBachman.com/podcast. It’s coming out in the month of November 2021.

What describes you the best? Do you speak internally within an organization? Do you speak to raise your profile to be more visible so that you can be promoted or hired? Do you speak on behalf of your company to promote your company, such as sales? Maybe you speak on social issues and for pro bono or you’re not speaking yet but you know that you need to start.

I’m Elizabeth Bachman. I spent 30 years directing opera around the world. I spent eleven of those years running an opera company. I now leverage those skills to train business presenters without the podcast. I also run the Visible and Valued Masterminds, where we get together and leverage the power of the group in order to become more visible and valued.

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My intention is to talk to you mostly about strategy, the why and how to get it done. Why does it matter? Strategic speaking gets you far. It can get you funding, whether that’s direct or indirect funding. Maybe it’s funding you speak to get funding for your company who speak to make a sale. Maybe it’s indirect because as you become a better and better presenter, the more you show up as somebody in authority, the more you’ll be given more to do raises, promotions, even a better job.

Strategic speaking can also get you allies who will help you get to where you want to go. The allies who will be supporting you, having your back working with you, the sponsors and mentors that are so helpful, nobody does it alone. Strategic speaking can get you recognition in terms of promotions as we spoke or a better job or maybe you’re one of those people who watches a speaker and thinks, “I’m twice as smart as they are. Why isn’t that knee up there addressing the group?” If that describes you, come talk to me. That’s a big part of what I do with my clients.

I promised I would tell you how to get that result. You need a strategy so that you’re speaking to the right people who can help you get those results. You need a script and the right words so that you’re reaching people where they can hear you and you need a great delivery style so that you’re showing up with confidence and charisma. These all work together. They feed on each other and they work together. The main part about them is you. You are the middle.

Remember, anytime you are giving a speech where you want to move people to take action. It’s an enrollment or a sales speech. People promote and recommend people they like, trust and know. You are the key to this all. Maybe you’re presenting, you know it’s going to get credibility but you’re not getting here because you’re talking to the wrong people. This was something that held me back in my opera career. I knew I wanted to run an opera company.

For several years, I kept applying to be the artistic director or general director for a company. I couldn’t understand why I was consistently on the shortlist but never got the job. Now I know that I was marketing myself to the wrong people. I thought that being good, being well known and appreciated by my peers was enough but I shouldn’t have been marketing myself and making connections to the boards of trustees because they were the people who were doing the hiring. If I had known this in those days, I might have gone on to run opera companies around the world instead of being a speaker trainer.

I guess things happen the way they want to but I definitely wasted years marketing myself to the wrong people. Maybe you’re not being heard. One of the things that happens a lot, especially to women is that they are speaking in a meeting internally and they’re not being listened to. There’s a lot you can do around this. I’m actually appalled that even in the twentieth century, this is still happening. We talk about it all the time and still, there are women whose ideas are not being heard. That is a large thing that I’m passionate about is helping women step up and get that credibility.

Strategy: Make It About Them

The key is, rule number one, use strategic empathy to make it about them. Who’s listening? What do they need to know? How do they need to hear you? How can you talk to them in a way that they understand this is important? If they don’t think you’re relevant, they’re not going to listen. This is what happened to my client, Elena. Elena is the Regional Manager for an international company. She’s responsible for Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Utah, Wyoming and for a lot of business. She was also, at that point, the only female regional manager.

When she found was she wasn’t being heard, she finally got angry enough to ask for help. She called a friend and said, “They made a huge mistake. I told them it was a mistake. Nobody took me seriously and now all this money is going down the drain. What can I do?” The friend said, “Call Elizabeth.” For Anna, the key was the strategy. We paid attention to who were the people that most needed to hear her, who were the decision-makers and then she leveraged her allies.

SWGR 587 | Speaking Strategies

Speaking Strategies: You should be listened to, but that’s not the way the world works at the moment. If they’re not listening, then find ways of opening the door. Ask for help until they do listen to you.


One of the things that you can do as a woman, especially if you’re the only woman is to reach out to the men who do support you and make sure that when you say something, they echo your voice. They’ll say, “Good idea, Elena. Thank you for Elena’s ideas.” If somebody else steals the idea then you can say, “Yes, that’s what Elena just said. Thank you for illuminating what she said.” One of the keys with strategy is that if you are being talked over, chances are the person who was talking over you truly did not hear you. Your voice did not register because, in some way, they don’t think it’s important enough.

They hear the idea and they think it’s their idea so have an ally echo your voice. You can also reach out to who do they listen to. If there are people you need to reach, maybe senior management and they’re not listening to you, who do they listen to, reach out to that person or people and say, “I have something to say. When I speak, will you make sure that you say, ‘Let’s hear what Elena has to say?’” Have somebody helped you? It’s helping somebody open the door for you until they get to the point where they are used to listening to you.

Another strategy we’ve used was we leveraged her location. She was based in Silicon Valley. What we did was find quotes from famous people in Silicon Valley like Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook or Elon Musk of Tesla. All those are based in Silicon Valley. She had her team look for people and phrases that they had used where they’d been quoted that backed up what she wanted to say. If then she was going to say something, she could say, “As Sheryl Sandberg said.” If they’re not going to listen to you, quote someone they will listen to in order to get their attention.

You’ve got to get their attention enough for them to hear you. The other thing you can do is do the local flavor. Elena was using the fact that she was in Silicon Valley. I have a client who is in Italy. One of the things that we’re doing is he starts conversations often by saying, “I had the most awesome ravioli. It’s my grandmother’s recipe. If anybody who wants the recipe, you should know.” When you think about Italy, you think about food and art. He will mention things that have to do with where he is in Italy and people perk up their ears because they want to hear about that awesome ravioli.

At this point, you might be thinking, “Why do I have to leverage other people? Why do I have to get somebody else to let me in? Why do I have somebody else to open the door for me? They should listen to me.” I hear this objection all the time. Indeed, if you’ve got something to say, you’re smart and you have something to contribute, you should be listened to but that’s not the way the world works at the moment. If they’re not listening, find ways of opening the door and ask for help until they do listen to you.

If you need to get something from an upper shelf at your home, you’ll use a step ladder. That’s getting help. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Many of my clients think they have to solve everything all by themselves. You’re allowed to ask for help. It’s okay until you get to the point where they’re so used to listening to you that they know this is going to be worth it.

We worked with Elena for four months for people to start understanding what she had to say. She said to me afterward, “They’re finally listening to me. The strategies you’ve taught me have become automatic. Thank you.” Elena now has a better job in the same industry. It’s because of the work that we did that got her to a position where she’s now able to make more of an impact.

Script: Use Words They Want To Hear

The next key to use is the script. That has to do with the words that you use. One of the problems I see over and over is giving too much how and not enough why. Talking too much about how and what and not about why it matters. This takes us back to rule number one. Why is what you’re talking about going to matter to your listeners? What do they care about? Use and add that in your script. What matters to them? Write down for a minute. What do your listeners want might not necessarily be what they need. If you give them what they want first, you can slip in what they need once they’re listening to you.

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What’s the problem that you solve? Most of the time, if you’re doing a promotional speech in your industry or in a group, the people who are listening are the ones who have a problem for which they hope you are the solution. Be very clear about what’s the problem that you solve and why does it matter. What phrases will they relate to? If you’re talking to somebody about the business plan, if they keep talking about the business plan and all you say is the ROI, they’re not going to relate. As you talk to your ideal listeners, clients or customers, listen to the words they use and use their words instead of yours.

This happened to my client Brooke. Brooke was a leader in a company. She talked to the finance department all the time. She loved that because Brooke is a very organized person. She loves charts, graphs and numbers. She got so popular talking to the finance department that she got a promotion. As part of this promotion, she also had to talk to the marketing department and that was a disaster.

She called me up and said, “They always used to love my presentations but these guys don’t listen and pay any attention. I can see that they’re checking their emails on their phones. What’s going wrong?” We went back to rule number one. What was it that the creative people in the marketing department cared about as opposed to what the financial people in the finance department cared about? She realized that in order to talk to the marketing department, she had to use colors and images. These were visual learners and weren’t chart and graph people.

What we did was develop two sets of slides for her. Graphs for when she talked to the finance department and color, brightness and visually interesting things when she talked to the creative people in the marketing department. It was a huge success. She’s now running her own company using principles for matching the message to the room, strategy and the words that fit her audience.

Style: Delivery Makes All The Difference

The third key is your delivery style. That’s very important. Once you have your strategy and words then how you deliver them makes all the difference. Here’s a pro tip for these days that so much of what we do is online. Pay attention to your lighting. It drives me crazy when I see so many people who have a bright room behind them and you cannot see their faces. Make sure you have enough light in front of you so that people can see your face. Make sure that the area behind you is not that so brightly that your face goes dark. This is especially important for my clients who have darker skin.

I have the good fortune of working with many people of color. This is something that we pay a lot of attention to because the camera is going to focus on whatever is the brightest thing. One of the keys is to make sure that you have lights above you at 10:00 and 2:00. If you’re wearing glasses like I do and you’re using a ring light, make sure that the ring light is not reflecting on your glasses. Pay attention to your lighting.

I have episodes with Shelley Golden, a Zoom make-over expert who talks a great deal about this. The main thing that people tend to have trouble with in terms of delivery style is nerves. Have you ever seen a presenter stand up, start to do their speech and they forget where they’re going to say, their voice gets very quiet, monotone or maybe their shoulders come up around their ears and you can tell that they’re nervous? Maybe you’ve been that person. The key to this is to go back to rule number one. Make it about them and get out of your own head.

Most of the time when we’re nervous, we’re thinking, “They’re going to think I’m terrible and they’re going to hate it. I’m going to look like a fool. It’s all about me.” Get out of your own head and make it about them. What do they need? How can I serve them? How am I asking them to be a benefit to them? Remember, no one’s going to come and listen to you unless they want you to be great. They’ve taken the time to listen, tune in or come to your speech. They want you to be awesome because they’re hoping that you’re going to have an answer to their problem.

SWGR 587 | Speaking Strategies

Speaking Strategies: No one’s going to come and listen to you unless they want you to be great. They’ve taken the time to listen, to tune in, or come to your speech. They want you to be awesome because they’re hoping that you’re going to have an answer to their problem.


My client, Mitra, used to get terribly nervous whenever she was looking for large donations. She’s the general director of a wonderful, small nonprofit that was doing good work. She was used to getting donations of $25 up to $100. She was very comfortable asking for that thing. When it came to asking for a larger grant, she got very nervous. She would flub and forget what she wanted to say.

She got all flustered and sabotaged herself and she lost several opportunities. She called me up and said, “Can you help me?” I had helped her with some speeches before. She said, “I have a specific opportunity. One of the people on my board has set me up with a senior partner of a major law firm. They’re interested in sponsoring and giving us a grant. I don’t dare blow it. Can you help me?”

What we did was we reframed the offer in her mind. She was thinking, “I’m going to be asking for $20,000. What am I going to do? That’s so much money.” It was to her and her small nonprofit but for the law firm, it wasn’t bad. They could manage that. She focused on how sponsoring her nonprofit was going to make the people in the law firm feel good about themselves. It was going to be great publicity for them.

As a matter of fact, giving her this grant was a gift. The day she had to go and make the presentation, we were supposed to meet in Downtown San Francisco. I went with her and the meeting was on the 29th floor of the skyscraper. We stood outside the skyscraper and I made her say, “This is my building. This is my territory. I am bringing a gift.” When she could say that without trembling, we walked in. In the lobby, she said, “This is my lobby.” We got in the elevator, “This is my elevator. I am bringing a gift.” We got out on the 29th floor and she said, “This is my floor. I’m bringing a gift.”

I wasn’t able to go with her to the interview. I told her to pause before she went in and extend her energy into the office and say, “This is my office. They are my guests and they are going to love the gift that I’m bringing them.” She came back out and she had a pledge for twice as much as she had asked for. It was a huge success. She wrote me a lovely note afterward to say, “Thank you, Elizabeth. You believed in me until I could believe in myself and that made all the difference.”

To review, you need the three keys of strategy, script and style. We’ll be talking about this all in the month of November 2021, the Visible and Valued training month. This was about strategy. Our next episode is Writing a Script that Wows. How do you find your ideas and write your script? From that, we have From Boring to Bravo: How to Make Your Script Better Once You’ve Written It and How to Get Booked as a Speaker. You can find all of this information at ElizabethBachman.com/podcast. If you’re curious about how presentation skills are, you can take our free four-minute quiz at SpeakForResultsQuiz.com. This is Elizabeth Bachman. I’m so glad you joined me. Be sure to tune in. I’ll see you.


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About Elizabeth Bachman

Elizabeth Bachman is THE go-to person for advanced level training in Speaking, Presentation Skills, Sales and Leadership. With a lifetime spent perfecting the art of presenting, she helps high-level clients master a message that brings * the Funding they need, * the Allies they want and * the Recognition they deserve.

A sought-after speaker and strategist, Elizabeth works with leaders and influencers who need to become concise and compelling presenters. She helps them present as smart, down-to-earth, loose, friendly—even funny—and still be taken seriously.

Elizabeth has directed such luminaries as Luciano Pavarotti & Placido Domingo in more than 50 operas around the world, giving her a wealth of tools to help business professionals become respected presenters. Fluent in 5 languages, she is adept at working with presenters from many countries, bringing her global experience to her clients.

Elizabeth is an award-winning contributing author to the international best-seller “Messages That Matter,” as well as the creator of “How to Get Booked as a Speaker: Taking Your Show on the Road” – the ultimate guide to filling your calendar with lucrative speaking gigs.

Elizabeth has been featured in numerous media interviews alongside – among others – business greats Dr. Ivan Meisner, Dan Kennedy & Steve Forbes.  She presents regularly at such corporations as Bank of America, McKesson and Turner Construction as well as the National Association of Women Business Owners, Small Business Global Summit, E Women Network, and many more.

Founder and Artistic Director of TOP Opera, a summer opera training program in the Austrian Alps, she continues to give back to the opera community.