Getting the word out about what you do is important. That is why it is necessary to learn to speak to groups of people about your unique offering and to get your message apart clearly.
First of all one needs to select the groups that you speak to with care. There are only so many hours in the day so we must spend our time wisely. I spent 12 years as a Pastor but when I entered into the realm of business I could no longer spend 20 hours a week in front of a church giving out spiritual messages. This was not the demographic that I needed to reach for my business. As a mother I had been part of several women’s groups and organizations over the years, but again these groups of people would not suit my needs. My business was about offering a service to professionals and to entrepreneurs. Where would I find that market?
What is your business? What is your service? What are your products? Who is your target market? Narrow that down. Be as specific as possible. Know your specific demographic. Then craft and create a message around that target market appealing to those individuals. Once you have a message you will want to look at every speaking opportunity asking yourself the question, “Will this group of people consist of the market that I am after?” There is no point in spending many hours at the wrong venues. It is not a worthwhile practice.
Once you are in the right location you must also consider how to bring your message across the most effectively. People have different languages that they communicate in and that effects how they receive information. The main three are kinetic, auditory, and visual. Whenever possible you want to engage all of these people during your presentation and as often as possible throughout your presentation. Here are some quick tips to get you started.
Powerpoint – A powerpoint presentation can engage people who are auditory and visual. It helps you stay on focus with your message but also consider your movements during the event. Are you going to stand in one spot or can your move a bit to keep them focused on you as you talk? How much movement is the right amount? Movement just for the sake of movement can also be distracting. Practice before presenting.
Hand-Outs – Use hand-outs. This gives people a take-away so they feel that they got more value out of your talk and it also gives them a way to reconnect with you later.
An Activity – Stimulate people with some exercise that gets them moving, engaging, or interacting with others. Kinetic people love to use their hands, but you must keep the activity simple for everyone’s benefit. Be aware that not everyone likes to be touched. Think through what the responses may be and do some brainstorming with someone else in your industry to get the best benefit. Activities can cause brain stimulation and cause people to later think back to your presentation with great fondness.
Chocolate – If you are one of several speakers, consider using chocolates as an addition to your handouts. Chocolate stimulates memories that are usually endearing. People remember events and have associations of memory around certain flavors and for most people chocolate brings forth positive thoughts. If you want to be remembered with fondness, consider using chocolate.
One final thought on speaking to groups. Keep in mind your time. If you have 20 minutes then keep it tight to 20 minutes. If you have practiced you know your delivery time. If you have a 40 minute presentation or a day event you will want to break things up to keep people engaged. Remember that the brain can only absorb what the butt can endure!
Kerry George is the owner of the Canadian Imperial Business Network which is currently the largest business network in Alberta and rapidly expanding across the country. She is a serial entrepreneur/author and speaker with a zest for life and a passion to help others succeed in increasing their potential and their bottom line. Kerry has several publications and blogs that you can follow and welcomes most interaction online.