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public speaking

Public Speaking Coaching & Sales Enablement 1024 588 Lisa

Public Speaking Coaching & Sales Enablement

Why a Public Speaking Coach Is Essential to Sales Enablement

When we think of public speaking training, most of us imagine preparing for a conference, an all-hands meeting or TED Talk. And although training and preparation for these arenas are vital, these are not the only places public speaking skills can make or break your performance.

Here are a few areas a public speaking coach can help with, whether you are in front of a decision-maker, buyer, or board of directors:

Managing Nerves
A well-trained coach knows exactly how to help you identify the thoughts that trigger stage fright. Even in its most mild form, stage fright causes an adrenaline rush which makes appearing confident and on message very difficult. After identifying what thoughts cause your nerves to go haywire, you must have a system in place to eradicate this—before it takes hold and causes you to be thrown off your game.

When Natural Charisma Is Not Enough
Many salespeople rely too heavily on their natural charm and personable approach. What happens when you are faced with a decision-maker whose blank stares and impenetrable demeanor give you nothing to work off of to create the rapport you are so used to having? Are you thrown off and flustered? Do you give up? Your mindset is everything in these moments. A great public speaking coach likely has drama training under her belt and can help you enter any meeting with achievable goals and objectives you can meet regardless of whether or not you feel rapport is being built.

How To Be Clear and Concise
Even the most experienced sales teams I’ve worked with in San Francisco and Silicon Valley struggle with how much information to give in a presentation or pitch. I will ask my clients: “What does the buyer need to know to help them make their decision?” Stick to the bare bones and do not get bogged down with details. If they want you to elaborate, they will ask questions.

Use of Word Stress, Imagery and Pauses in Your Delivery
If you want a potential buyer to hang on your every word, be drawn in by your descriptions, and remember what you’ve said, these are the techniques you want to employ. A public speaking coach is used to creating, co-creating, editing, and directing scripts. We understand which words are the most impactful, where to pause to give the listener time to take in the message, and how use of imagery excites audiences. 

Imagine the opposite occurring: You are the buyer and the seller of a complicated product is speeding through the description without pausing. Or perhaps they are leasing a building with a beautiful view but skip the description of the scenic view that would greatly improve your chances of buying it. Or a seller uses minimal word stress so their delivery becomes monotone and you begin thinking about your next appointment.

In my coaching practice, I have found these are common mistakes and the solutions are often overlooked by sales professionals. A simple road map of where to pause and what words to stress can quickly lift your delivery from average to master public speaker with maximum impact.

To Sum Up

Not only do we want to make a sale, but we also want to feel we are at our best when we do it. We want to be calm, fully present, and impactful. This requires the similar training and tools that actors and public speakers use. Taking the time to develop your speaking skills is a must if you want to hit it out of the park every time. These are just a few of the reasons why a public speaking coach is essential to sales enablement.

Public Speaking: a step by step program to get you started! 1024 576 Lisa

Public Speaking: a step by step program to get you started!

Public Speaking: a step by step program to get you started!

“I’ve always wanted to do this. I finally decided to not hold myself back” I often hear this statement and many others like it spoken within the first few minutes of my private coaching sessions.

Public speaking can intimidate even the most extroverted personalities. It’s no wonder given it’s not something we are trained in and not faced with until we are required to deliver a speech — sometimes without much notice. Speaking in public is a broad topic that is not limited to professional speakers, speaking at team meetings, to a board of directors or other professional engagements but also at weddings, graduations and other social events.

If you are stepping out of your comfort zone to take the stage for any reason, here are some proven tips you can apply to reduce nerves and deliver with impact:

Acknowledge Nervousness: Ever notice that pretending something isn’t there makes it worse? I have. First step to a great speech is to embrace the fact that you may be nervous. Think of this as a good thing. You are feeling a racing heartbeat, sweaty palms and so on because you care. If you didn’t care about the outcome, I’d question whether you should be speaking in the first place.

Reduce Nerves and Focus: The fastest and most effective way to reduce nervousness, shed excess tension and focus your thoughts on delivery, is to warm up with breathing exercises. I recommend using long deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose out through the mouth. When you breathe out, make the sound of a long, sustained S. Six to eight slow deep breaths 30 minutes before your speech is ideal.

Create Rapport: Start with a warm vocal tone, eye contact and slowing down the rhythm of your speech. This will let the audience know you are talking to them, not at them.

Insert Pauses: If you are someone who uses filler words, like “actually” “so” or “uhm” consider pausing in those moments. The pauses allow the audience time to digest the information in your speech. It also allows you time to breath and focus. You can also use pauses strategically to get a point across. For instance, pausing after asking a question gives the audience time to think, and shows you are about their mental involvement in your speech.

Consider your purpose and setting: Adapt your speech to your specific audience and the venue. This will help you decide on the level of complicated information you need to share or determine your choice of words. You may be able to use specific “ice breakers” or humor depending on who’s in the audience and where and when it’s taking place.

Match tone to content: You can use different tones within the same speech to keep the audience engaged. Start with a warm and welcoming tone. Then, if you are delivering great news your tone could be happy ore excited. When delivering a problem try a somber but resilient quality. Higher energy is a way to create excitement, while quieting your tone creates thoughtfulness.

Body language: Nonverbal communication can help emphasize your message. You can use your hands when delivering verbal bullet points, such as a list of problems you are tackling. Avoid pacing and replace it with deliberate movement such as walking a few steps after you finish one section to start another. Additionally, allowing yourself to freely move while matching your movement to your content is a great way to dissipate nervous energy.

Prepare and Practice: Prepare so you have a clear road map to follow as you deliver your speech. As part of this preparation I suggest assigning objectives to each section. Think through what you want the audience to take with them. Practice on your feet, out loud with an audio recorder. You’ll have a better sense of flow and what content can be cut or added to make the speech more effective.

There are many wonderful resources where you can see the above techniques applied. TED talks, such as Bryan Stevenson’s Let’s Talk About an Injustice, is an excellent example of changing tone to match content and using body language to emphasize a point. Any of Barak Obama’s or Caesar Chavez’ speeches drive home the power of pausing. As you watch, remind yourself not to fall into the “compare and despair” trap. While we can learn much from speakers who have crafted their delivery with years of practice, it’s your job to sound like you and find your own authentic style. Be fearlessly authentic and you will always be interesting to watch.

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Lisa Wentz is a public speaking expert who coaches executives and managers from Fortune 500 companies and the non-profit sector. Her new book, Grace Under Pressure: A master class in public speaking (LID Publishing) is available now in the US.