Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Walking the Talk - My Turn to Speak & Deliver

Monday, I wrote about 'Staying Ready'. It's a great concept. One of those rules of speaking its easy to talk about, but hard to follow.

Tuesday (yesterday), I got a call from a meeting planner for a weekly sales group I was scheduled to speak to next week. Good follow up on her part, I immediately thought. Turns out, her speaker for TODAY had hurt themselves over the weekend, and she wanted to know if I could speak - in just a scant 19 hours. Not the shortest amount of time I've ever had, but its in my Top 10.

I could have said no, and all would have been fine. But really, could I say no knowing I had just told all of you to be ready for the spotlight?

She was thrilled, and I had some work to do. I admit I had the advantage of knowing what I was going to speak about, since I had worked on it for next week. My topic was Elevator & Networking Speeches, a speech/training I've given many times. So my content was fairly set. But it wasn't quite gelled for this group yet.

Here's how I got MORE ready than I already was:

1. The Introduction - I tailor my intro for each group. This was a group of salespeople who didn't know me well, so I went somewhat heavy and the sales background, not to brag, but to identify with them. I talked about my wife and kids, my clients as a coach, then complimented them by saying how much of a challenge it will be to coach them that morning, despite my track record of success. The intro, as a whole, was not much longer than this paragraph.

2. The Outline -

- Opening. Connecting with this group was crucial. Less than 10 in the audience, all well-seasoned in their industry. Instead of launching into a story, I asked a question - "Do you remember your first client", and let someone else tell a story. Then I bridged from their experience to my own. I got lucky, in that his experience mirrored my own opening story, but I was ready with a transition either way.

- SubOpening - After connecting with them, I needed to connect them with the content. Another question. What's the worst possible outcome you can get after introducing yourself in a networking meeting? I got several answers, then transitioned with my own.

- Content. This is a highly interactive presentation, where I critique their own opening comments from the beginning of the meeting when they introduce themselves, give them the structure for a speech, then work on 2 or 3 or their individual spiels to give them something to take away. The group also helps come up with material, in most cases. I covered the Twisted Opening, The Catch and Release, The Story, and The Command, all using their own material as examples.

- Bonus Content. I had some extra time, so I included a 5 minute segment on one-to-one networking.

- SubClose. This group had heard much of what I had to say before, so my goal was to man up to that, but put doubt in their mind about whether or not they were using what they knew, and challenged them to use what they knew, whether it was from me, or what I reminded them of learning before.

- Close. This is where I failed a bit. There was no clock, I didn't bring my watch, and I didn't designate a timer. This group, I learned today, claps you down when you hit time. Luckily, I had finished my subclose, so it looked natural. I had to interrupt my introducer (a friend, fortunately), to give them my overall call to action, and pass out my handouts.

3. The Takeaway - I don't like to give business cards, so I adapted my blogpost to a one page article, slapped Speak & Deliver, my phone and email, and an offer on the page, and handed them out. If I schedule more of these talks, I'll likely print up a tips card instead. But by writing as much as I do, I stayed ready to create a handout in under 10 minutes.

There you go. From theory to application. The talk went well this morning. I'd give it an 8 out of 10. Now the goal is to be ready for a 10, no matter how much time I have. At least you know I walk my talk - and if your group needs a speaker, even if its tonight, I'm ready to Speak & Deliver.


  1. Awesome job - wonderful taste of one's own medicine!

  2. Rich, I know you gave yourself an 8 out of 10, but do you have any idea what the attendees would give you? By that I mean, do you hand out evaluation forms/cards (anonymous or otherwise) & ask the attendees to fill them out so you can find out how you really did?



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