By Lisa Braithwaite
One of my clients just emailed out his speaking schedule, inviting colleagues to attend. I was mistakenly added to the group-wrong Lisa!
Here’s what I saw:
29 speaking engagements… over 3 months… across five midwestern states (they drive to the majority of their engagements).
And they do this every year. The owner of the company, the president, and several of their team members fan out across the midwest to speak to current and potential clients about their company and offerings, and to discuss agricultural issues, trends, and data.
I first worked with the owner of the company in 2013. In 2015, he hired me to train 15 of his employees. After the group training, I worked with several team members in a small group coaching cohort.
In 2016 and 2017, I worked with the president and another individual on their presentations, and this year, I provided additional coaching sessions for the president and another speaker.
Why are these clients still coming back to work with me, six years later? No, it’s not because I’m an amazing coach. (Okay, I am an amazing coach!)
I mean, each one of these guys does somewhere between 20 and 25 presentations a year. Do they still really need to work on what is essentially the same presentation every year with updated data?
They’re still working with me because they know there’s always room for improvement! These men are stellar presenters. And their business grows every year, with new offices and new staff, because of it.
Every time we meet, we’re making small tweaks, changing up the presentation openings, adding new interactive activities, finding new stories, and digging deeper into engagement techniques.
We’re tightening up the core message, which may change from year to year, depending on what trends and issues arise.
And we’re laser-focused on converting prospects to clients and current clients to renewing clients. This is still a requirement, every year, to grow their business. They always need new clients and they always need current clients to renew. As do all of us who are business owners.
Each time we meet, the president comes to the call with a series of questions to be answered and problems to be solved. And we tackle each one systematically until we have a solution.
Then he tests out our work in front of an audience and analyzes the results. And then, as they say, we “rinse and repeat.”
High-level business speakers who have a lot of experience and years of presenting under their belt may feel that they no longer need support for their speaking. Or they may only seek out support when there’s a high-stakes presentation looming on the calendar.
But as I’ve mentioned many times on my blog (because speakers and athletes have so many similarities), even the highest level athletes still have coaches.
Why? Because most of us are too close to our own work to identify what needs to change or how to change it.
And because those subtle calibrations that an elite athlete makes to their training and practice, with their coaches’ help, can create a huge advantage on the field, track or court between them and their competitors.
Florence Griffith Joyner still holds the women’s 100-meter world record from 1988 at 10.49 seconds. Carmelita Jeter is right behind her at 10.64 seconds, a time recorded in 2009. The two closest times recorded in this decade were in 2012 and 2016 by Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson. But still Flo-Jo (who died in 1998) holds the record.
Luckily, there’s no competition to measure micro improvements to your presentations! Fine-tuning works as long as you’re achieving your own desired results.
Business leaders who speak to grow their businesses also need to create an advantage over their competitors. In the coaching world, we say there are no competitors because each of us brings our own “special sauce” to our work, and each of our businesses is completely unique and different.
But unless you make yourself stand out from the others in your industry, unless your prospects and potential partners know how unique and different you are, your business may still appear to blend into a sea of similar companies.
There is no advantage to blending in. There is no advantage to appearing the same as others in your industry.
What are you doing to tweak your message, to fine-tune your presentations, to make yourself stand out when you speak in the community, at industry events, or even within your own company?
You don’t need massive action anymore. You are at a level where the details are what matter. The fine points of your message, the minutiae of your slides, the arrangement of your paragraphs, the choice of one word over another.
This is the level where your adjustments may be small but will have major impact.
How are you creating incremental improvements in your presentation? And how can I help?
Are you a business or nonprofit leader who’s looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just “getting by” and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we’ll schedule a time to talk!
Lisa Braithwaite mentors purpose-driven leaders to build visibility, credibility, and awareness for their work through engaging presentations. She’s the author of Presenting for Humans: Insights for Speakers on Ditching Perfection and Creating Connection.
Before launching The LisaB Company, she spent sixteen years designing programs for nonprofits as an advocate and educator. Her work is also influenced by her degrees in theater and education.
She’s been interviewed for the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Men’s Health, Toastmaster Magazine, and Inc.com. She provides training for companies as diverse as Microsoft, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, Massachusetts Association of RealtorsⓇ and AgWest Commodities.
Lisa’s philosophy is that public speaking is fun, it’s an awesome way to express yourself creatively, and it offers an accelerated approach to developing an intimate and trusting relationship with your target audience.
Originally published at http://www.speakschmeak.com.