Ever found yourself listening to a speaker who droned on and on – wishing they would hurry up and finish their Signature Talk?
The presenter’s information wasn’t structured and flitted all over the place.
What she spoke about sounded more like an infomercial for her business and not the topic the event organizers had promoted and promised.
She also read her entire presentation word-for-word from her note pad with the only acknowledgement we received being an occasional glance as she turned over to the next page of her script.
As a member of the audience I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
However, as a coach and mentor who supports entrepreneurs in creating a powerful and meaningful Signature Talk that generates subscribers, leads and clients (and 5-figure pay days) for their businesses – I felt sorry for her.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only person in the audience who felt this way and I know she missed out on many business opportunities with the 150+ people in the audience – many of whom were her ideal clients.
All I can say is thankfully there was coffee, tea and refreshments being served during the presentation. Otherwise it would have been the longest 40 minutes of my life.
This speaker ticked many of the boxes of what NOT to do during your Signature Talk if you want to connect with your audience.
Why is it important to connect with your audience during your Signature Talk?
Because you begin to develop relationships that can turn into lucrative business opportunities for you.
Here are 5 lessons you can learn from the above experience so that the next time you deliver your Signature Talk you can avoid missing out on lucrative opportunities because you’ve disconnected with and alienated your audience.
1. Think service – NOT selling
It’s all about THEM – NOT YOU!
The best presentations put the needs, desires and expectations of the audience – first!
The speakers connect with their audience because everything in their Signature Talk has been carefully designed and structured from the point of view of their audience.
- How well do you know your audience?
- Have you taken the time to identify their needs, desires and expectations?
- What is the overall theme and purpose of the event?
- Does the event align with the topic of your Signature Talk, and/or what do you need to tweak so that your information aligns with what the audience expected to hear and learn?
Does that mean you can’t mention anything about you, your expertise and the results they could achieve if they were to work with you?
Of course you can – but it should be presented in a well-planned and non-salesy approach.
For now, think service NOT selling and ensure your Signature Talk doesn’t come across as one big infomercial for your business.
You’ll only annoy and alienate your audience.
2. Be mindful how you start your Signature Talk
The old adage ‘first impressions count’ is vital when it comes to your Signature Talk.
Here are some of the things I’ve heard speakers do at the start of their talk, which undermines their entire presentation.
- They share how nervous they are and that they hope they don’t make a mistake;
- They apologize beforehand if they bore the audience;
- They explain they know the audience’s time is precious so they promise to keep their presentation – short and sweet.
While you may be nervous about stumbling over your words, making a mistake, or boring your audience to tears – don’t ever mention it. EVER.
If you do, you’ve just undermined you and your presentation. Also the audience is now more likely to be on the look out for any time you do fumble or make a mistake during your presentation because you’ve alerted them to it.
Start your Signature Talk with a powerful hook that grabs the audience’s attention from the get-go.
- A pertinent question to get them thinking;
- A recent study with findings that will impact them if they don’t find out more about your topic;
- A relevant story that your audience can relate to.
Remember, how you start your Signature Talk sets the tone for your entire presentation – so make it good!
3. Use stories to deepen connection and engagement
When done well, sharing stories throughout your Signature Talk will deepen connection and engagement with the audience.
Studies I referred to in my article The Power of Storytelling in your Signature Talk showed that stories the audience could relate to cut through distraction; activated the audience’s brains; and could even change people’s thinking and behaviors.
What stories can you share with your audience to deepen connection and engagement?
- Your personal journey;
- A success story and/or case study;
- An inspirational story.
But remember, your story MUST be relevant to your audience. It must elicit the right emotions. And the story must be shared in a thought-provoking manner.
4. Understand Adult Learners and Adult Learner Psychology
As adults our hectic schedules and busy lives means that we have very limited time.
We’re also far more skeptical and critical, so we want to know why the information you’re going to share in your Signature Talk is of relevance to us. And more importantly, we need to know the outcomes and benefits we will walk away with.
What’s in it for US – is top of mind. And if the beginning of your talk doesn’t confirm this for us, you’ve probably just lost our interest.
There are also four adult learning styles you need to be aware of.
- Innovative Learner
- Dynamic Learner
- Analytic Learner
- Common Sense Learner
Each learner has different communication preferences; prefers information to be presented in a specific way; and resonates with different words, phrases and specific information, for example facts/figures, how to’s etc.
I share more about adult learner psychology in my free Speaking to Grow Your Business training course.
Familiarize yourself with it, because when you do, you’ll deepen the connection with your audience, instantly.
5. Establish and maintain eye contact
Reading your entire Signature Talk and not acknowledging your audience with any eye contact, other than a few occasional glances as you turn over the page like the speaker I mentioned earlier, will not deepen the connection with your audience.
In fact, lack of eye contact will unfortunately create a barrier and may even have some people assume you’re unsure of yourself or worse yet – untrustworthy.
Rehearse your Signature Talk to the point where you could recite it in your sleep.
Taking notes with you is fine – however if you know you’ll be tempted to read everything off the page if you bring the entire thing, just write down the main points of your talk to prompt you.
When delivering your Signature Talk – it should all be about the delivery.
Connecting and engaging with your audience through your mannerisms (body language) and your voice, and by establishing and maintaining eye contact throughout your presentation, is vital.
Check out the following relevant articles:
- How NOT to alienate your audience at your next speaking gig
- Speaking to Grow Your Business: A Common Mistake
- Speaking to Grow Your Business: 3 Tools You Must Have in Place
Get IMMEDIATE Access to my Speaking To Grow Your Business FREE training course
Annemarie, I totally relate to you on this one! It can be shocking how many rough-around-the-edges presentations one might see at some fairly high-level events. And it really is just a huge missed opportunity for the speaker!
I once saw someone who called herself a “Guru” in all of her marketing, and then at the beginning of the talk she said she wasn’t much of an expert and that the audience might know more about the topic than she did (yikes!).
In any event, I like to take good notes about the mis-steps when I see them, so that even if I didn’t get the value from the presentation that I wanted, I have my own reinforced learning about what doesn’t work! 🙂
Hi Danielle, thank you for sharing your experience. As you’ve mentioned, even though you may not have learned much from this presenter, a HUGE lesson you walked away with was what NOT to do. It’s also a great reminder to us all that if we call ourselves an expert in a certain area – we should have the experience, knowledge and skills to back this up. Are you doing much speaking to grow your business, Danielle?
Hey Annemarie, thanks for your response. YES! Speaking to connect with ideal clients and transition them from prospects to clients is one of my primary marketing strategies. Speaking is the only activity that I love as much as coaching. So fun to grow my business doing something I love, and that feels as natural as breathing. Thanks again for your blog; I enjoyed it!
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