Archive for the ‘presentation skills training’ Category

Focus

Push past emotional blocks

How many times have you sat down to write a marketing piece and stared at a blank sheet of paper desperately searching for a flash of inspiration?  Suddenly you have an overwhelming urge to make a cup of coffee.  The corner of a note on your desk catches your eye and you remember a promise to phone someone.  Three or four interruptions later you are still staring at a blank sheet of paper; you are now out of time to write.

 

David Foster, known as the Hit Man for all of his hit records, said in his Success Magazine cover story that sometimes he does not feel like writing a song.  He does it anyway.  Maybe it will be good rather than great, but it will be a song.  He went on to say that he forces himself to sit down and start writing; the inspiration will come.

 

Professional writers have spoken about writing a ten page paper and throwing away the first two pages before they hit their stride.

 

The Nike slogan says it best, “Just do it.”

 

How?

 

You can reach for the ultimate comfort food – warm chocolate brownies.  Or you can stop giving yourself excuses and start working.

 

Easier to tell yourself to concentrate than to do it?  

 

Probably true, but also realistic.  Amazing how many excuses and distractions you can create when you do not want to do something, do not know how to do it, or are simply not motivated to do it.   

 

  1. 1.       Set a timer for thirty minutes and tell yourself that you will focus until the buzzer rings.  Once you actually start writing, it usually starts to flow.

 

  1. 2.      Give yourself a reward when the project is completed. 

 

  1. 3.      Ask yourself a critical question.  What do you want the audience to think, feel or do after reading the material?  Answering that question can provide inspiration.

 

  1. Who is your target audience?  Until you know the individual you are expecting to read your material, you do not know how to write in the manner in which they will want to receive the message.  Think about your target client and write as if you are speaking to them.

 

  1. 5.      What problem would you like to solve for them?  In the case of the focus issue, the problem is writers block; the goal is to get the writer “un-stuck.”

 

What would you tell one of your clients, one of your employees, or one of your children if they were hitting a blank wall on an assignment?  Would you subscribe to the “Take my advice, I’m not using it” theory?  You probably would not admit it to them.  I’ve hit the wall many times with projects.  These are the ways I solve the inertia problem.

 

Take my own advice

 

What do I want you, my reader, to think?  Think that you are not alone.  Every business person faces the dilemma of “blank page syndrome” from time to time.

 

What is the goal for you to feel?  Feel that a solution exists.  Think of the block as tissue paper rather than stone and know that you can push through to success.

 

What should you do?  Follow the Nike slogan and “Just do it.”

For more information on overcoming emotional blocks, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com

Words Linger

Words create memories – good or bad

How important are the words you put in print?  We hear about blogging, social media comments and even writing marketing copy.  Your written words are actually more important than your spoken words.

 

Spoken words may be forgotten, but the written word is permanent.  Once you hit “send” or “submit,” those words are available to be found forever.

 

Private?  Think again.

 

That funny party picture you posted as a joke is available also.  I hear some of you saying, “no, I posted in my private setting.  That posting will never be public.”  Wrong.  Regardless of the privacy setting, if someone wants to find it badly enough, they will.  If even one person re-tweets or copies the picture or text, it is now public.

 

True story

 

A young woman was so proud of her body building contest results that she posted the picture on her Facebook page.  If you know anything about those contests, you know that the attire makes a string bikini look prudish. What seems like harmless fun in her 20s may come back to haunt her.  Would you want a “nearly nude” picture of yourself on the internet for your parents, children and your boss to see?

 

Words come back to bite you

 

Be conscious of the words you write.  You are representing yourself and your company with each comment.  This is the age of the spontaneous comment.  It only takes a second to hit “send” but the results remain

 

Am I trying to scare you into not posting on the internet?  Absolutely not.  I’m posting this right now.

 

Another true story

 

Two individuals in an organization chose to escalate their disagreement into a public display.  Feelings were hurt, words were written which in retrospect should never have been said.  The repercussions are still being felt throughout the organization seven months later.  A disagreement which could have been solved quietly has mushroomed into a major disruption.  The entire organization is suffering.

 

Once written words become public, they may be retracted, but they are not removed from memories.

 

Words linger

 

.Why is writing important in your organization?  Your marketing copy is obviously public.  It represents your company.  The image you project in your marketing materials must be positive, but it must also be honest.

 

There is a common expression throughout network marketing and other media to “fake it until you make it.”   The catchphrase was originally designed to create a feeling of success; by acting “as If” you have already achieved the desired level of success, you will trick your sub conscious into making that your reality.  The problem is that when that statement goes public, others do not know whether it is an internal statement or the truth.  97% of people fail in network marketing.  Perhaps some entered the business with a false sense of probability.

 

Be aware of the consequences of your spoken words and your written words not only on yourself but also on others.

 

For more keys to a successful spoken or written presentation, contact Elaine Love at Elaine@Elaine4Success.com or www.Elaine4Success.com.  If you want to take your communication from Now to WOW, implement this simple key.  Want more keys to success for yourself and your company?  Hire Elaine Love as your coach, corporate trainer or keynote speaker.

 

Story Telling Tips and Techniques

  1. Keep a success journal for your personal successes and another for your career successes.  Make 3 to 5

    World Class Speaking Coach

    entries every day in each journal.  Each success is a story.

Carry a small pocket recorder to jot story idea notes.  Use the notes section on your smart phone.

 

  1. I keep a note pad in my exercise area and another on my night stand to jot fast notes.  Trying to recall an idea hours later is seldom productive.

 

  1. Create a story file; you can make a file on your desktop or on paper.  No need to write out the entire story, bullet points will be fine.

 

  1. Every story should have:

Characters

Conflict

Cure – solution

Change – change in the behavior or attitude of a character

Carry Out Message

 

  1. Jot notes throughout your day of situations which make a point about helping someone or solving a problem.  These stories will help you be ready during interviews, meeting prospective clients and in social interactions.

 

  1. Hints for advanced story telling:

Tell stories in dialog rather than monologue

Incorporate 5 senses

Make someone else the hero

Head, Heart, Humor and Helpful walk away message

Then, Now and How

 

  1. Stories help you connect with your audience, not just communicate.  You only have to connect with your audience if you want them to remember you and remember what you said.

 

         Elaine Love
World Class Speech Coach
www.Elaine4Success.com
Elaine@Elaine4Success.com

        303-284-0514

Connection – The Object of Conversation

Conversations with friends

Connection, not just conversation is Key

Conversations should flow naturally and smoothly.  Relax and be yourself.  The more you are fully engaged and genuinely interested in both the topic and the person to whom you are speaking, the more comfortable it will be for both parties.

 

Key – It is called conversation, not monologue.  Both parties should be participating.

 

How to start a conversation

 

Every conversation is an opportunity for connection.  The people in front of you may or may not be your ideal client, but they may know the perfect client for you.  We are all connected to everyone else by six degrees of separation.  (“Six degrees of separation is the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made, on average, to connect any two people in six steps. It was originally set out by Frigyes Karinthy and popularized by a play written by John Guare.”)

 

Questions

 

Questions are excellent conversation starters.  Allison Graham’s article “Hate Small Talk” said, Mastering small talk will help you find common ground to create a mini-bond with new contacts. Small talk may feel trite and unimportant, but it’s the small talk that leads to the big talk.”

 

What questions can you ask which will stimulate conversation and connection?

 

  • What brought you to this event?
  • When you’re not working or networking, what do you enjoy doing?
  • How did you happen to start in your line of work?
  • What organizations do you belong to?  (social, professional, service)
  • What are your vacation plans for this year?  (or holiday plans)
  • Name something positive which happened to you lately.

 

If the conversation lags but you really do not want to end it, be creative.  You know what interests you; keep moving from topic to topic until you find what interests them. Establishing common interests creates connection.

 

Appreciation

 

Comment on an attractive shirt or tie for a man or a blouse or shoes for a woman.  Be genuine.  Men like to be complimented on their attire as much as women do.

 

Mentioning a special award or accomplishment they or a member of their family has recently received is always a positive.  If you can take a photo of them receiving the award or a clipping from the paper and enclose it in your personalized printed note card, it makes a memorable gift.  Your thoughtfulness creates an emotional connection.

 

One of my clients gave me a gift of notepads with my company logo on them as a Thank You gift.  PrintPlace creates custom printed notepads.  These pads become a constant reminder of the appreciation of the giver and a reminder of the high quality of the printer.

You only have to connect emotionally if you want them to remember you.  People remember how you make them feel more than they remember your words.  Note cards create emotional connections; thoughtful notes are excellent follow up reminders of your conversation.

 

What Not to Say

 

Avoid Foot in Mouth Syndrome

 

Intense discussions about work, politics, religion or sensitive social issues are taboo – totally unacceptable.

 

Don’t always have to be right.  I once dated a man who said he was “often wrong but never in doubt.”  Even if you know you are right, this may not be the time to push the issue.  You will not win points.

 

When is it Time to Move On to the Next Person?

 

Body Language

 

Shifting feet, glances around the room and disengaged behavior in the conversation all say “It’s time to move on.  This conversation is over at this time.”

 

Smooth Transitions

 

If you are the one who desires to move on, offer to introduce them to “Ms or Mr X.”  It is a smooth transition and will most likely be viewed as helping them.

 

If you have made a solid connection, ask when they would like to get together for a cup of coffee and continue the conversation.  This is the perfect time to offer your business card.  Pull out your smart phone and coordinate calendars for your follow up meeting.  Make a note of the follow up time, date and a conversation note on their business card.  Ideally, they will make a similar note on your business card.

 

Be conscious of focusing genuine attention on them.  Ask engaging questions, make eye contact, give a firm but not crushing handshake, confirm common values and interests, listen and be appreciative.  Remain aware of body language both positive and negative.  Connect emotionally.  Make a smooth transition out of the conversation just as you made a smooth transition into the conversation.

 

 

 

 

Competitive Advantage or Perish

Product benefit list

Your competitive advantage is your quality, value, delivery or service.

Marketing is designed to present your competitive advantage to your target client.  When you know what problem your product or service solves, your research begins.  The next step is to determine who has that specific problem and how can you reach them.

Do you have an excellent product or service?  Why isn’t the world beating down the doors to purchase from you?  The answer may be your competitive advantage.  What is a competitive advantage?

There have always been a plethora of companies who offer similar products and services.  How many brands of toilet tissue, orange juice or automobile tires are in the marketplace?  If you are in a niche market all alone, fabulous; however with the access to the internet, your competition could be anywhere in the world.  Ideally you will develop some positive variation of the business which would make customers choose your product instead of your competitors offering.  How do you do that? You create a competitive advantage.  Your competitive advantage may be changing the quality, value or delivery.  Your advantage could be your customer service, your speedy delivery, or even the convenience of purchasing.  If price becomes your only advantage, beware.  One price war with a large company and you could be devastated.

BI (before the internet), the majority of your competition resided within less than 100 miles of you.  Now you either compete on a massive scale or pack up and head home. At one time speech coaching was a face to face customer basis.  With the arrival of Skype and web cameras, your speech coaching client could be in France.

Your advantage should change the behavior of the customer.  Entice them to want to come to you and do business with you.  How do you do that?  Offer a benefit to them.  Spend some time speaking with them and discover the problem they would pay to have solved.  Once you know their pain, you know exactly what product or service to offer from your product line which will solve their problem.  They can’t and won’t purchase from you until they know what you have to offer.  Job number one for a company is to be certain their target market knows what they have to offer.

How can you extend your reach to “touch” more customers?  Enlist your employees in the process.  It is in their best interest for you to be successful.  Pay checks do not continue to flow out from unsuccessful companies.  Offer unique incentives to employees to assist in promoting the company.  Supply them with the latest marketing promotional materials; keep them informed and “in the loop.”

Once the customer knows you have the solution, it is a matter of selecting the ideal solution from your product arsenal to solve their problem.

Your competitive advantage must do something positive for the product or the customer.  Be specific about the benefits of your product.  Carefully avoid listing features; describe benefits.  A lady sat at my kitchen table recently attempting to sell me her line of skin care.  She recited a long list of ingredients.  Ingredients are features.  If she had said, “Elaine, use this face cream and it will reduce your wrinkles by 30% in 10 days.”  If she had given me that benefit, I would have purchased on the spot.  People buy on benefits, not features.

It is not truly a competitive advantage until your employees or customers take action.  Children react on rewards or penalties.  Employees and customers follow the same pattern of reacting to consequences.

Conduct interviews with current customers, past customers and potential customers.

What do they like?

What do the not like?

What would they like to have but do not have at this time?

What would they pay to have which they do not have right now?  You may be asking yourself what is the difference in the last two questions.  The difference is a “nice to have” which they may or may not be willing to purchase at this time or a “need to have” which they will absolutely pay for right away.

Competitive advantages are improvements in quality, value, delivery or service.  What is your competitive advantage?  If you don’t know, start creating one.

For more information on competitive advantages, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com.

Empathy or . . .

Do you have empathy or sympathy?  Your mind may be questioning why this is important or what it has to

Be approahable

People do more for those they know, like and trust.

do with business.  Why do you need either one in your career?

Sympathy is feeling for someone.  You might sympathize with a co-worker who has the flu or even a more serious illness.  You could sympathize with someone who experienced a traumatic car accident.  You feel for the person but you cannot totally relate to exactly how that other person may feel.  You have sympathy but not empathy.

Empathy is feeling with the person.  If you have personally experienced a major illness or suffered a serious automobile accident, you may be able to feel with the person.  You know more about how they may be feeling because you experienced a similar situation.  Empathy is feeling with the person.

What does this have to do with business?  Placing yourself in the mindset of your customer will help you know what they may need in a given situation.

When the economy took a sharp nosedive in 2008, retirement portfolios were adversely affected for far too many people.  If you were one of those whose 401 K became a 41K, you can certainly empathize.

Doing your best to put yourself in your prospect’s situation or your employee’s situation can ease the tension.  People always do more for those they know, like and trust.  It is so much easier to know, like and trust someone you feel understands you and cares about you.

That does not mean a mutual pity party; it means you both relate to the situation so you can search for mutual positive solutions.  You can empathize with each other and help each other pull up and out of a tough situation.  “Thanks for understanding” builds much more goodwill and positive energy than “You don’t know what it’s like.  You have no idea what it feels like to be in my situation.”  Heavy doses of sympathy will not bridge that gap.  Only empathy will truly ease the chasm between you.

Strive to empathize not sympathize and your relationships will significantly improve.

If you desire to improve your life, build your personal and professional relationships.

For more information on relationships, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com.

Relationships

Elaine Love, author of Emotional Ice Water

If you are ready to get out of your own way, you owe it to yourself to read this book

In the book Emotional Ice Water, the tag line reminds us that it is not about what others say and do but what we think, feel and do.  These words of wisdom relate to all aspects of our relationships.  Yes, your reputation may revolve around the opinions of others, but our self-image and our self-esteem must be solidly rooted in a healthy self-confidence and belief in our self-worth.

If we do not believe in ourselves and the value we bring to our relationships, how can we possibly expect others to believe in us?

Picture a salesman walking in to a meeting where his job requires him to effectively present his product.  If he does not believe in himself or his product, it would take a small miracle for him to be able to present with confidence and conviction.  Image the salesman’s inner dialogue.  If he is saying, “This product is far too expensive for their budget.” Or perhaps his or her thoughts are “I wish I had my sales manager here to demonstrate this product.  They do a much better job of describing the features and benefits than I do.”  These self-doubts and lack of confidence in the potential positive outcome of the presentation absolutely transmit to the customer.  Consciously or unconsciously, the doubts manifest; even a semi-aware customer picks up on the negative vibration.

It took me eight months to make my first sale in a high end network marketing company.  Was it the product?  No.  Was it the fault of the company?  No.  Perhaps the blame rests at the feet of my enroller (upline).  No.  The problem centered solidly on my shoulders.  At that point, I did not have confidence in myself and my sales ability.  I was not building a relationship with the prospect.  My lack of confidence in my abilities provided more of a hesitation than an incentive to purchase.

After serious study and personal development, eventually the sales flowed in abundance.  At one point, the results were over $57,000 per month.  What made the difference?  The difference maker was learning to build relationships.

So are your minds asking, “How do I build relationships?  Tell me, I want that level of income.”

Relationships are built by focusing on the prospect.  What do they need?  What is important to them?  How will the product or service benefit them?

When the attention is focused on the benefit to the other party rather than on an attitude of “What is in this for me,” the relationship builds.  When the relationship solidifies, the resistance lowers.

Relationship building is essential in every aspect of life.  Personal relationships deepen when you care more about the other person than you do about yourself.  Do you enjoy having the people you care about demonstrate that they care about you?  Of course you do.

Business relationships work the same way.  Do you enjoy being sold, pressured or manipulated to buy?  No.  People always buy more from those they know, like and trust.  A trusting relationship encourages more interaction.  The tendency is frequently to run from those we do not like or trust.

 

If you desire to improve your life, build your personal and professional relationships.

For more information on relationships, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com

Equality in the workplace

Are women really equals in the workplace?  No.  Have women made progress?  Absolutely.  Women have achieved significant advances since the discrimination they faced two decades ago; however, the struggles continue.  Women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man with equal qualifications earns.  Even though women now comprise 46% of the total U.S. labor force as contrasted with 20% in 1900, the wage disparity continues.  “The more education a woman has, the greater the disparity in her wages,” according to www.collegetimes.tv/10-surprising-statistics-on-women-in-the-workplace. Progress, yes, but equality is still a dream for the future.

“In our civilization, men are afraid that they will not be men enough and women are afraid that they might be considered only women,”  This quotation by Theodore Reik in Esquire magazine (Reik cited in Merriam-Webster, 1992, p. 268) still depicts the role of men and women in the workplace today.  Females look, think, listen and communicate differently from males.  Business would run much more smoothly if success were based on the job performed and not on the sex of the performer.  However, the interaction between the genders is no so simple.  Gender contrasts in communication styles, attitudes, experiences and behavior automatically bring the propensity for conflict into the workplace.

The conflict, intentional or unintentional, is exacerbated when the individuals interact with sex-trait stereotypes firmly in place.  Conflicts do not exist in the abstract, they exist between people.  Neither the male nor the female management style is always appropriate.  The situation may intensify when one person misinterprets the intention of the other.  “What you heard is not what I meant.”  We each interpret words and situations through our own experience and psychological filters.  Men and women do not think or act exactly the same; hence, the inevitable misunderstandings.  Effective conflict management depends on shared communication.  Sharing information will be more successful if he understands what she said in precisely the way she meant it and she understands his intent in his words and actions.  Rarely does a high level of understanding occur even with the same gender.  Add the complexity of sex-trait stereotypes and the situation intensifies.

If a man declared, “David, you’re first,” he would be commended for his direct authoritarian manner. His declaration would be an exhibition of decisive leadership.  If a woman said, “You’re fired,” she would be described as heartless or worse.  Add the complexity of a man firing a woman or a woman firing a man and sex discrimination rears its ugly head.  Each situation now becomes more complex.  Why?  Women have progressed from the television days of “Father Knows Best” and “Leave it to Beaver” in the 1960s; however women are still described as emotional and sentimental.  Women would be expected to deliver the message in a gentler, caring manner; men would be expected to be more direct.

Gender expectations may be partially responsible for the male view of the effectiveness of women in management.  Even though women have made significant progress since Arliss (1991) said the several studies indicate that women are seen as less competent managers, particularly in the judgment of male subordinates.  Are women truly less competent?  I think not.  The male perception may remain firmly ingrained in corporations; however, that does not make it a fact.  Women are fully as capable as men.  Women simply exercise their own style.  Margaret Thatcher’ quote in People magazine saying, “If you want anything said, ask a man.  If you want anything done, ask a woman” still resonates with many women today.  (Thatcher cited in Neely, 1981). Asa Baber echoed Margaret Thatcher’s sentiments with her own endorsement of female capability.  “Every female executive I know works hard. Look, it’s simple.  They’re on trial.  They know they’re setting a precedent.  It’s a lot of pressure” (Baber, 1992, p. 125).  Take a serious look at the accomplishments of Elizabeth Dole as Director of the Red Cross, Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice.  Male and female management styles, conflict resolution styles and personalities may be vastly different; however, each has an important place in the modern workplace.  Each gender has the opportunity and yes, obligation to learn the strength and effectiveness of each other’s style.

For more information on conflict management, management styles and gender differences, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com.

Deer Lessons

What do you do when you have a challenging or a lonely day?

 

If you are like me, you do something active.  Living in beautiful Colorado offers so many options.  My favorite daily activity is a ten mile walk.  Little Red Riding Hood walked through the woods to grandmother’s house.  During her walk she encountered the big bad wolf.  In my Colorado neighborhood, the wildlife is more likely to be Bambi’s cousins.  Several days in a row a doe and her tiny spotted fawn would be munching on the bushes next to the trail or gliding gracefully across in front of me.

 

Just the sight of the big brown eyes casually observing me would lift my spirits.  There were times I would stop and gaze quietly at her.  She would stop eating and look back without the slightest fear.  Deer must have amazing powers of perception to know when they are not in any possible danger.

 

What does an encounter with deer have to do with lifting your spirits?  First it is the gentle meeting with another living being.  For some people it may be connecting with others on Facebook to extend a greeting, offer a word of encouragement or post a funny picture.  Perhaps make a phone call to a friend you have not spoken to for awhile.  What about the lost art of writing a cursive note to say thank you. (Cursive is such a lost art that my Microsoft Word Thesaurus did not recognize the word.)  When you do something good to make someone else feel acknowledged, appreciated or amused, you not only brighten their spirits but also your own.

 

Depending on your circumstances, getting outside in the fresh air, gentle breeze and soft grass can be refreshing.  Have you considered listening to your favorite music, reading a short inspiration or humorous passage or even reading a chapter in a book?

 

No matter what your preferred method of relief from a challenging or less than enthusiastic feeling, the answer is to do something.  A deep dive into a bowl of chocolate or the snack machine may feel good for a minute or two but the consequences on your waistline and hips last much longer.  Choose your individual preference, but do something.

 

“It is not about what they say or do.  It is about what you think, feel and do.”  This quote from the cover of Emotional Ice Water becomes either a gentle reminder or a kick into action.

 

For more information on maintaining a positive mental attitude, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com

Now to WOW

Results For Life LLC

Elaine Love

Preview chapter of new book Now to WOW.  Q & A – Are you ready?

Congratulations!  The audience loved your presentation.  They were e

ngaged, laughing at the appropriate times, taking notes and they were not even checking their smart phone for messages.  You scored a hit!

 

It is now reaching the wrap up time.  You have an outstanding closing story which ties all of your points of wisdom together in a powerful walk away message.

 

Amazing, but many speakers ruin a fantastic performance by ending with Questions and Answers.  Have you seen speakers end with Q & A?  Unfortunately, that practice is more common than the exception, especially with less experienced speakers.

 

As a normal procedure, my room host is requested to notify me ten minutes before the end time and then five minutes before session conclusion time.  This room host was an experienced Toastmaster; an excellent five to seven minute speaker.  She flashed the ten minute flag, so I gave a quick wrap- up and opened for questions.  When the five minute flag appeared, it was time for the powerful conclusion story and feedback sheets.  Then the shocking words she uttered next disrupted the flow, “Ok, Elaine now you have ten minutes for Q & A. I saved time at the end for you for questions.”  “Oh, no” or something perhaps a bit stronger flashed through my mind.

 

Why is that such a disaster?  All it takes is one rouge, off the wall, off the subject question and the audience walks away with that off topic thought in their mind instead of your powerful walk away message.  Ending with Q & A can destroy the entire mood of a perfectly delivered presentation.

 

The room monitor had taken liberty to adjust the timing.  Though her intentions were probably in the right place, her actions were surprising and not helpful.  So what did I do?  You can bet I informed my room monitors in all future presentations not to change my timing instructions; they were informed that Q & A will come before the closing story.

 

Now that you know when to conduct Q & A, the question is how do you handle Q & A?  Set the expectation in advance by informing the audience that there will be a time for questions prior to the closing story.  Why tell them a closing story will follow the questions?  Some may depart immediately after the questions assuming that is the end of the session or they will start wrapping up their notes and gathering their materials, causing a disturbance during your powerful closing story.

 

  1. Set the expectations as to the number of questions you will take or the amount of time allotted for questions.
  2. A timely pause serves as impact; however, asking for questions and being met with an uncomfortable silence generates a negative impact.  Asking closed ended questions such as  “Are there any questions?” or “Do you have any questions?” may generate a “no.”  Try asking “What questions do you have?”  This approach leaves the answer open to a valuable question rather than a yes or no answer.  Now they start to think of questions.
  3. If no one speaks, try saying, “Asking the first question may be difficult, May I pose it myself?”  “You may be wondering about _______________.”  (Insert a frequently asked question.  It will break the tension of being the first audience member to speak.)
  4. Not everyone in the audience may be able to hear the question.  Rephrasing the question affirms the person who asked the question and makes them feel heard and understood.  Rephrasing also helps others hear the question as well as the answer.  Rephrasing also gives you a few seconds to formulate your answer.
  5. Preparing your speech is extremely important.  Even though you prepared with the intention of not leaving the audience hanging on any point of wisdom, there will usually be a few questions.  Doing your best to anticipate those questions in advance will assist you in formulating clear, concise answers to the questions which do arise.  Give brief answers in order to allow time to answer more questions.  If the answer will be extremely lengthy, arrange to meet the audience member after the session.
  6. Select questions from each section of the audience: front, back, sides, center and all four corners if possible.
  7. When someone asks an especially astute question, acknowledge it.  It is better to recognize an excellent question than to say good question to everyone who asks a question.
  8. Once in awhile you may choose to ask for confirmation that you totally answered the question they were thinking.  It is possible for you to interpret a question differently than the person who asked the question was intending.  Saying, “Did that totally answer your question” or “Does that make sense to you” can be asked when you detect a puzzled expression on the questioner’s face.  It builds your credibility to care about the audience.
  9. If your response has multiple facets, indicate that you will be giving a three-part response.  Detail carefully each strategy, technique or step in your solution.

 

Answering questions carefully and as thoroughly as possible within the time frame builds your credibility.  Letting the audience know in advance how many questions you will answer or how much time you will dedicate to questions sets parameters and honors their time as well as yours.  If they have more questions than the allotted time, invite them to join you at your sales table or walk with you to your sales table.  Doing so will honor them, continue the conversation and also bring them to your products.

 

In the words of the esteemed Patricia Fripp, first female president of National Speakers Association, “last words linger.”  Q & A can enhance an excellent presentation or destroy the walk away impact depending on how the question portion of the presentation is handled.  Insure that they are leaving with your powerful walk-away message.  Let the last words lingering in their minds, be your message.

Thus is a sample of the value to come.  Also on tap will be Industry Specific workbooks and audio.

Elaine Love

Tiger in High Heels

For more information on visionary leadership and positive impact presentations, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com


 

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”Elaine spoke to our top leaders from 8 states, she gave us new and positive ways to connect with people
which is EXACTLY what we wanted. Thanks Elaine”
-Tom Fajardo, State Farm