So you have finally established yourself as a marketing ninja and now your superiors are delighted and salute you. Your peers are awed and compliment you because of the results you are getting within your organization and now they are suggesting that you represent your organization and the leading marketing and business conferences.
You think to yourself…“Me? Speak before a live audience?” you exclaim. “That could be a fate worse than death.” According to the famous “Book of Lists,” heading the list of “Things People Fear Most,” is speaking before a group, which ranks well above the fear of death.
That’s probably why many marketing managers shy away from being on stage. “It’s time for you to take that next big leap in your career and start establishing yourself as an authority in your industry” says Chris Stevens, a career coach from the Coaching Institute. “Otherwise your marketing career with stagnate and you will find yourself never taking that next big step.”
Plan for Your Audience
Plan your marketing speech with the audience foremost in mind. “You can expect that your audience will want to learn something from you” says professional speaker John Rogan of MotivationalSpeakerz.com. “They’ll want to hear what you have to say, if you keep them interested. So, plan a catchy opening; an informative and interesting body; and an effective, memorable closing.”
The first thing to consider in preparing your speech is the last thing the audience will hear, and that is your closing remark. (That’s logical; the destination you strive for will determine the direction you take.)
Having your closing sighted, decide how to start your speech so you point toward that goal. Your first words must capture attention and project an image of authority about your subject.
With the opening and the closing of the speech prepared, outline a pathway that will guide your audience in a logical manner. Select from your materials the most essential points. You must then build the supporting details to substantiate your postulate and proof.
While planning your talk, please remember this: the keynote of any address is brevity. You’ll get done sooner, and the audience will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Prepare Your Supporting Materials
Whether you want to share the latest marketing tips or talk about how social media is changing, make sure to prepare visual aids that will complement your major points. These can be in the form of charts, graphs, or slides – whatever will be most appropriate to the cause. These devices will keep your audience’s attention on the information presented, and less so on the presenter. Strive to keep visuals simple to understand, well dispersed through the speech, and not too plentiful.
Spread your data. Don’t pack most statistics into one portion of your speech. Instead, try to get a healthy mix of examples and numbers. Give your statistics life; relate them to something common to the audience.
Prepare handouts, especially of your visual aids. Any written material you provide will help them understand and follow your track. The same for copies of your visual aids that they can keep for future reference.
Practice Your Thoughts, Words and Actions
Practice makes perfect only when you practice perfectly – as perfectly as you can. Practice often to whatever audience you can persuade. Accept feedback and suggestions appreciatively, and then strive to improve your delivery for the next rehearsal.
Don’t memorize your entire speech for that method will leave you stranded if you should happen to forget one section, or one significant sentence, or one carefully selected word. Also, reciting in rote will cause your delivery to become stilted and your voice to sound monotone.
Instead, write a list of keywords about your subject on a 3 x 5 inch index card, one side only. If for some reason you lose your bearings, one quick glance at your handy list should remind you of what to cover next.
Choose and practice a variety of gestures so that when you use them, they will appear natural. The same goes for vocal variety. Select those portions of your speech where you should raise your voice and when you should lower it.
Perform for Your Audience – Not for Yourself
You should be so familiar with your opening statement that after you are introduced, those well-chosen words will roll right off your tongue. This should give you an uplifting feeling of self-confidence.
While speaking, eye contact is one of the most important tools a speaker can employ. As you speak, choose individuals in the audience who already seem interested and talk to each, one at a time. That includes persons in the back of the room; occasionally project your voice to them.
Remember to use those all-important gestures and voice inflections that will retain audience attention. Give your audience variety.
If you’ve done appropriate planning, preparation, and practice, then you’re ready to give an outstanding performance at your next marketing conference.