Would you believe that up to 45% of baby boomers think of themselves as entrepreneurial? What about you? Are you ready to split the scene and leave your employer in the dust? Are you ready to take charge of your own venture and have the thrill of owning your own business? Or, are you ready to start a nonprofit or advocate for one that matters to you? If so, you’ll need a proven strategy to boost visibility for your business or cause.
Here’s the proven strategy: Your willingness and ability to give public presentations could significantly boost your marketing and public awareness efforts—especially if you know what you’re doing.
Giving a short, confident, and well-organized presentation can boost visibility about as fast as anything. Of course, the key is to be confident with your message and to be well-prepared.
Knowledge and Preparation Are Essential
Unfortunately, most people have some degree of anxiety around giving presentations; anxiety can affect our ability to convey confidence. I understand this. I grew up scared speechless. So how did I address it? I initially joined Toastmasters. Then I studied speech communication and ended up teaching college speech for 25 years. In 2017, I even gave a TEDx Talk, Your Best Life at Any Age.
Even after spending most of my life developing my own speaking skills and helping others become speakers, I still work very hard preparing for every presentation I give. In general, for every minute I speak, I spend at least an hour of preparation. My preparation includes audience analysis, research, organizational development, and lots and lots of practice. My preparation helps me to feel more confident. I do my best and then try to learn from the experience.
When I give a presentation, I think about my audience. What are their needs? What message can I deliver that will help them? If you focus on the needs of your audience and think of yourself as the person delivering good news to them, then you’ll feel more confident.
Even the Most Confident Speakers Still Need to Think about Organizational Structure
I’ve worked with literally thousands of people who were either required to take my speech classes or wanted to improve their speaking skills. Sometimes students would tell me that they had no problem speaking and would ask if they could waive the requirement to take my class. Generally, these people could stand up and speak, and speak, and speak, but they said very little. They lacked essential organizational skills and were difficult to follow.
Use the Right Structure
The needs of my audience and the particular reason for my presentation generally helps drive how I organize my talks. If I want to persuade an audience to use my services or support my cause, I’m more likely to use a classic persuasive structure. One of the best-known persuasive structures for motivating an audience to take action is called Monroe’s Motivated Sequence—attention, need, satisfaction, visualization, and call to action.
Use Monroe’s Motivated Sequence to Encourage Action
Attention: Getting the attention of an audience is essential. You can start with a compelling quote, startling statistics, short anecdotes or use some other relevant approach to draw people into your message.
Need: Next, help your audience recognize that they have a need that must be addressed. I usually make a single-sentence statement about the need and then back it up with evidence. For example, your company may offer cybersecurity protection but your audience thinks they have done everything they need to do to keep themselves safe. Your job is to tell them they are not safe and then you must show them how and why they are not safe. Generally, this step will appeal to both logic and emotions.
Satisfaction / Visualization: Once you’ve “disturbed the comfortable” you can then show the audience how your service or product will address their needs. I often combine the visualization step with the satisfaction step (the solution to their problem). The visualization step is like giving people an opportunity to mentally test-drive your product or service. Usually, you want your audience to feel some relief knowing there is a solution to their problems.
Call to Action: Finally, give a call to action. Tell your audience exactly what you want them to do and when. For example, you might ask the audience to fill out an interest card with their email address. Or, you might ask them to take advantage of a free trial, or ask them to make a small donation. A good call to action is often an invitation to take small steps toward the larger goal of becoming a loyal customer or supporter.
My Call to Action for You
If you haven’t done a lot of speaking, start by looking for short speaking opportunities with friendly audiences. Get feedback. Learn, and keep going. The more you do it, the better you’ll get. You may even be able to use the same basic message for most of your audiences. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I’ve been there, done that, and have learned (and am still learning) a thing or two. Paula@boomerbestu.com