Do you need to get better results when you make a presentation? Listen to Elizabeth Bachman as she tells you how to use Strategy, Script, and Style to improve your presentation skills. Elizabeth is THE go-to person for advanced level training in speaking, presentation skills, sales, and leadership. On today’s show, learn how to get the results you need when making a presentation, as well as some techniques on winning allies and recognition from the right people.
Watch the episode here
Listen to the podcast here
Strategies For Speaking To Get Results
We will talk about how we can get the results we need when we’re making a presentation. Whether you are speaking in a meeting, you need to convince your team to do what you want to do or you need to convince upper management to do something. Maybe you’re speaking and you want to present to get visibility so that you get promoted. Maybe you’re an entrepreneur who speaks in order to get people to hire you or you have a nonprofit and you speak to get donations. All of these are presentations that are designed to get results and the great part, the thing I love about presenting is that there are hundreds of tools that we can use to improve our chances of getting these results. I had this client once, he was an experienced presenter and he had a big important presentation to make. He was nervous and knew that he needed to work on it, but when I asked him, “Do you want to practice? Do you want to give it a try?” He said, “No. I’m too busy. I’ve got too much to do. I’m just going to wing it.” I couldn’t force him to come to a session with me. I kept offering and he kept saying, “No, I’m going to be fine. I’m experienced. I know my thing.” Yet, inside he was worried. He kept thinking, “Will they still like me? Will they still accept what I have to say? Am I still okay? Can I still do it?”
He waited and he worried until the night before the presentation happened. He called me up at 3:00 AM because he couldn’t sleep for worrying, why should I sleep? He called me up and said, “I can’t do this alone. I need your help.” We met the next day and since the presentation was that night, I gave him three things to do. Two of them had to do with the way he was delivering the material and one was a physical gesture he was doing that was sabotaging him and he didn’t realize it. That night, I got to watch him walk out in front of a packed house and nailed it. He was great. He was wonderful. He did everything he was supposed to do. The audience gave him a standing ovation and the expression on his face as he stood there and took it in made me smile so hard, my cheeks hurt. This is why I do what I do. This feeling to watch people come in and take their power like that. This is the reason I’m in this business.
That client was Luciano Pavarotti singing the role of Radames in Aida at the Metropolitan Opera. As you’ve heard, I was an international opera director for many years. I trained people to make presentations, operatic presentations that would get them the results they wanted. Now, I work with business professionals using the skills I learned in many years in the performing arts to help people who need to get results and to master a message that will bring them funding, allies, recognition or all three. I talk about funding because it might be direct funding. Maybe you’re speaking to make a sale. Maybe you are speaking to get someone to hire you or to hire your company, to engage your company. Some of my clients do nonprofits and they’re speaking to get donations or maybe it’s indirect funding. Maybe you’re speaking and you want to be a better presenter because you need to inspire your team or upper management or increase your visibility and your leadership status so that people think, “That’s someone I want to follow. That’s someone I want to promote.”
Remember that speaking in public, the way you present yourself is one of the best ways to get noticed and then later to get promoted. Allies can help you with the funding or allies can get you where you want to go. A lot of my clients don’t care about making speeches. What they want is to be heard, to be in a meeting and they’re being talked over. Have you ever felt to be talked over in a meeting, not being paid attention to? Helping allies can help you be heard, get recognized and then you get the direct or indirect funding and recognition. It’s leadership. It’s visibility. It’s, “Are you hireable? Is your company hireable? Do we want to work with you?” People buy people. People promote people. They want to know, like and trust you. A lot of people come to me because they’re annoyed. They have a message. They look up and they say, “I need to be heard. How come someone else is giving this message and I’m not?” Have you ever felt that? Have you ever sat in the audience and looked up at the presenter and thought, “I’m twice as smart as that person. Why isn’t that me up there?”Speaking in public, the way you present yourself, is one of the best ways to get noticed and get promoted. Click To Tweet
That’s what funding allies and recognition can be the results that you can get. How do we do this? There are many techniques. I think it breaks down into three things. You need a strategy, you need a script and you need a good style. What’s the right strategy for being noticed and for getting the results that you want? It might not be you. It might be that you’re speaking to the wrong people, especially if you’re speaking to promote your company or your service. If you’re not speaking to the right audience, then if they don’t think you’re relevant, they’re not going to pay attention. For instance, I’m happily married, so please don’t invite me to a presentation about how to find a good date or go on dating. It’s fine. Thank God, I don’t have to do that anymore. What is relevant to the people you want to talk to? Who needs to hear what you have to say? Finding a strategy is important. If you’re speaking within a meeting and you’re not being heard, then who are they? You know who’s listening to you. What you need is the strategy to reach them. I always say rule number one is to make it about them. Who’s listening and how do they need to hear from you? How do you need to speak to them and reach them where they are so that they get it and that they’re listening?
The strategy was a big thing that we used with my client, Anna. She’s a regional manager for an international company and she’s responsible for a huge territory, basically the whole West Coast of the United States. That’s a lot of money. That’s a lot of business that she generates. It’s an old company and she was the only female regional manager. She was the only woman. She’s friendly. She’s soft-spoken. She doesn’t want to push and she found that on the conference calls, she wasn’t being listened to. People weren’t paying attention to her. They were talking over her or sometimes she would make a suggestion and no one would listen. Five minutes later, somebody else would suggest it as if they thought of it. I don’t know if you’ve ever had that one, but that happens a lot and it’s infuriating.
There are strategies for dealing with it. What we did was we sat down and analyzed who were the decision-makers, who are the people who needed to pay attention to her, and then devised a strategy where she could leverage her position in California to be listened to. If they weren’t listening to her directly. Some of it was the way she was saying it, but some of it was to get them to pay attention to her as somebody important. For instance, she’s in Silicon Valley. I said, “Come up with some things that Mark Zuckerberg says about Facebook or Jeff Bezos or some of the famous big CEOs in Silicon Valley.” You can say, “I heard Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook say this or I heard somebody say that.” You can practice, you come up with some sound bites that came from somebody that they will listen to. They’re not going to listen to you. Have somebody that they will listen to. Find a quote that’s going to illustrate what you want to say and then use that. We worked on that for about four months and by the end of it, people were listening to her. She was able to say the thing she needed to say because they were paying attention, but she had to have a strategy to get their attention. We did a lot of other things in terms of script and style, but it was a strategy that made the difference.
The second key is the script. The language that you use will reach the people who need to hear from you. You’ve got to reach people the way they’re ready to listen. One of the problems that happen all the time, especially with people who are smart, they know a whole lot about something complicated. They’ll go on and on about how to do what they want to do and forget to talk about why. This is one of the things that speakers who are trying to sell a product or sell their services fall into all the time. It’s a trap. The thing is, why should they care? Why do they need to know this? To tell you the truth, this is sales 101 and speaking are sales. It’s selling the benefits, not the features. Sell the sizzle, not the steak. Yet it’s easy to fall into that, especially if you’re an expert and if you’re good at what you do. Go back and pay attention to who’s listening and what do they need to believe? What’s in it for them? Rule number one, make it about them as you do this. If you’re talking to two people who need to hire you or hire your company, you have to address them where they are. What do they want? What’s the problem that you saw? It may not be what they need, but what’s the problem that they think they have? What is it that has made them come to this sales conversation or this speech? What do they hope you can do for them?
Once they’ve hired you, you can give them what they need, but you’ve got to address what they want first. The key to the words and the script is selling the sizzle, not the steak. The other thing that is part of this is strategy, script and style altogether is because it all meshes together. Once you have a script, once you have something that’s going to work for you, you want to augment it then. When I work with speakers, we have seventeen speaker keys that we add-in. You don’t have to do it all at once. If you’re talking to the same people every day and your content changes such as inside a company, you don’t have to do it for everything. If you have an important presentation, take the time to get the script right, get your presentation right and use these techniques.
This is something that my client, Brooke, did. She used to speak all the time to the finance department, to the accountants in her company. She was an organized person. She was all about lists. She got promoted and she had to also speak to the marketing team. They didn’t get it. The accountants loved what she did. She would do short presentations to them that was full of numbers, full of lists, full of graphs. When she tried to do that with the marketing team, they were creative. They didn’t get it. They absolutely zoned out and they didn’t do what she needed them to do. She called me up, “What’s going on? How am I doing this wrong? Why is it not making sense?” We analyzed the people that she was speaking to.People buy people. People promote people. They want to know, like, and trust you. Click To Tweet
This is a strategy and script together. We realized that for the creative, she had to add more visual things. She couldn’t just make lists. She had to take pictures. These were people who were visual learners and they zoned out when you told them about files, charts and graphs. Even if she had a chart and a graph, she would use a metaphor. Brooke changed the way she delivered things. She used the same information, but she did it more with pictures and also interactive things so that people could look, respond, and talk to her more. The marketing team did what they wanted. It’s one of the things that I find with people, I mostly work with smart, experienced speakers who are getting some results but need to get better ones.
My client, Sally, runs a manufacturing company. She’s one of the few women in manufacturing and she had to give a speech at a National Convention. She knows a lot about manufacturing, although as a woman she constantly had to prove it. The problem was she couldn’t get to the people who used her specialty. The part she specialized in were people who were a few layers down in the hierarchy. She couldn’t reach them. The audience, she was speaking to, some of them were managers, but a lot of them were supplier diversity types, human resource types. They didn’t understand what she was talking about. What we had to do was devise a speech that would appeal to both. There was a language for the manufacturing experts. There was a language for the HR and supplier diversity people.
We started out with a question. She said, “Everybody, raise your hand if you get dirt under your fingernails if you work with the machines.” About six people did. Then she said, “Raise your hand if most of your job is on your computer. If you never get your fingernails dirty.” They laughed and most of them raised their hand because they weren’t working with the machines that she fixed. What she did was to combine them. Here’s a great trick. If you have to do technical information and you’ve got people who are listening to you who are not technical experts, say both. Use a metaphor and you want to say the technical thing, say the technical phrase. This is what Sandy did. Putting it together by using the technical phrase. The experts knew what she was doing, but the metaphor, the stories, were what people remembered. Sure enough, by the end of that conference, she had six interviews lined up with companies that had never paid attention to her before.
The third key is the delivery style. Your delivery style is important. Back in the ‘60s, Albert Mehrabian did a study and said only 7% of what people perceive about you comes from your words. The other 93% is who you are in the room, how you look, how you deliver the words. Your delivery style is crucial. The problem with this is that a lot of people get triggered. Anytime you are promoting an idea, you’re trying to get people to do something or you’re promoting a program, a product service, it is a sale. A lot of people get scared. Have you ever seen a presenter who gets out there and they’re all excited about talking about what it is they do and the cool things their company does? They get to the point where they have to ask for the appointment, ask for the money, ask people to invest, hire them, talk further. They get all scared and the face drops and the voice gets monotone. Have you ever seen that? I have thousands of times.
The key is rule number one, make it about them. The truth is if you’re nervous, if your nerves are getting in the way of you having a comfortable delivery style or if stress is making you not show up the way you’d like to show up, chances are it’s because the voices in your head are saying, “They are going to think you’re stupid. They’re going to think I don’t know what I’m going to do. They’re not going to believe me. They’re not going to like me. I’m not going to make this sale. I need that money.” All those voices in your head, the gremlins I call them, are probably from childhood. They’re probably not real, but they do get in the way. I don’t know about you, I don’t have a voice. I have a whole choir. Often, it’s in my mom’s voice. That’s even worse. When the voices are all shouting at me, I’m stuck in my own head. I’m not paying attention to who’s listening. It’s not about them. The key is to think about them, where they’re going to go? What do they need? Transfer your focus out. I have a lot of techniques for that. Remember, if they’ve come to listen to you, they want you to be interesting. They want you to be wonderful. Make it about them. Try to tell the voices in your head too, “Thanks for sharing but I don’t need you now.” Your presence, your charisma, that’s what makes people listen.
My client, Maria, is the CEO, executive director of a nonprofit. Her problem was that whenever she got nervous, she would look down and the color would drain from her face. She’d start to mumble. Her words were great. Her cause was important, her strategy was good but she wasn’t convincing people. She had the opportunity to make a short presentation at someone else’s event, not hers, but at an event that was full of people who would be perfect donors for her. We worked together. We worked not so much on what she had to say, but on how she said it. After we had worked on her delivery style, she went off, she did the speech, it was in another city. I couldn’t be there to support her. She wrote to me afterward and she said, “It was great. I only had five minutes and I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I focused on the techniques that you taught me. I did what you told me to do. My team said afterward, they’d never see me so grounded. They’d never seen me so compelling. Best of all after the event, we got $18,000 worth of donations from 30 people in three minutes. It was great.” This is how having a great delivery style, how having charisma and presence can make a difference.
There’s so much more I want to talk about. I’m excited that you have joined me for Speakers Who Get Results. Please tune into our other episodes. If you’re interested in improving your presentation skills, go to our free assessment, www.SpeakForResultsQuiz.com. You can take a quick assessment that will show where your presentation skills are strong and where you might want a little bit of support. What that comes with is if you’re interested, you could have a conversation with me about what you need and how to get tailored specific support for your situation. I’d like to leave you with one thing I’ve been saying all along, any presentation is sales. Sales are like sex, nothing happens until somebody gets excited. If you had fun, if you’re excited, please share this episode. Give us a good rating. I’ll see you on the next one.