Marketing is an issue—and typically a struggle—for all small business people. As we are constantly told, we must be regular participants in a variety of social media sites. But that’s not all, folks … Meeting potential customers face-to-face by doing presentations, some at our local libraries and community groups, others through live broadcasts that reach the corners of the globe (if we’re so lucky!) are possibly even more important marketing strategies.
Since I teach Presentation Techniques to college students, I’m hoping that teaching tips I’ve given to former students may help you market yourself, and not just your product or service, even more successfully.
Let’s begin with the biggest hurdle in the classroom (because it may also be yours)—it is how to display passion, especially when you’re nervous. Here’s the way it’s done: Don’t read your message! When you look down to read, your passion dims. Since it’s virtually impossible to memorize a speech—and I NEVER suggest that—speak extemporaneously (as if you’re conversing with friends, but you are much more prepared).
And here are my five tried and true presentation tips:
- Do memorize most of your intro, or plan an attention-getter that you know you know. You might lose your audience if you don’t present your first few words with passion. You could have a quotation or a statistic that startles an audience, but whatever you begin with, let people see and hear what it means to you.
- Use notes but with VERY few words and phrases; prepare ONLY an outline, not an essay. Then, a quick peek gives you what you need to continue so that eye contact is only broken for a few seconds.
- Don’t strive for perfection! When conversing with your friends, you speak from the heart. That’s what we need to do when giving formal speeches, too. Making a determined effort at eloquence is often the barrier. Letting it flow from the heart as much or more than from the brain is the key. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared (actually the more information we have, the more we can relax and know that we have enough to sway our audience, even if we forget some). What I mean is the poetic phrase is less important than the passion behind it.
- When you research—as you must do for any good speech, even to persuade your audience that you are an expert in your field—analyze what you’ve found by looking at the data for new meanings and comparisons. That might come from contrasting a scene in your writing to an actual incident or to another writer’s style. Or it might be how you built on others’ techniques to create an “even better mousetrap.” Give your audience examples they can relate to, but use descriptive language to make it an “aha” moment.
- In your conclusion, share a wonderful story or quote that relates to what you’re marketing, and then ask for their support/business. Don’t forget to tell them how to make the purchase!
Author Bio: Since I like to know what my friends do for fun, I’ll answer that question about myself: I participate in several groups—book clubs. They are Hope Academy of Senior Professionals, Friendship Force and Meetups. I’m also a member of our local photography club even though I’ve given up my dream of becoming an expert photographer. I haven’t given up my dream of being a slightly famous author, though. I self-published my first novel, Pieces of You, in 2012. Its sequel, The Battle of Jericho: 2035, may be delayed by my next adventure. I’ll be teaching teachers at a Ukraine University as a volunteer with Peace Corps Response for most of 2016.