An often quoted communication study done by Dr. Albert Mehrabian, revealed that 93% of our communication impact comes from the WAY we deliver our words. If this is the case, AND every single day we have the opportunity to present ourselves and our ideas to others, than we cannot underestimate the importance of strong presentation skills. Here are a few things to consider…. Your Eyes. Be sure to connect with your audience. When answering a question, address the person directly, make eye contact while making a specific point. When used naturally it communicates to the audience that you are engaged, that you care and it can create a level of intimacy even with a larger audience. Your Hands. Use your hands for emphasis not distraction. Most of us can recall a speaker with the nervous habit of jingling coins in their pocket, twirling a pen, or playing with a laser pointer. Instead stand tall, use your hands with purpose to illustrate comparisons or make key points, and when not gesturing keep your hands at your side in a relaxed position. Your Voice. We have all experienced speakers that were monotone and droned on, losing their audience. Try increasing your vocal range. By telling a story, using a joke, smiling, or asking questions throughout your presentation you will naturally change the speed, dimension and range of your voice. Your Feet. Moving with purpose during your presentation demonstrates confidence. When answering questions move toward the person you are addressing and speak directly to them. Deliberately moving from one side of the room to the other allows you to engage more of the audience and keeps their attention. Use your feet to ‘own the room’. Last but not least – practice, practice, practice. When you practice, be sure to practice how you will use the physical space, the inflections you will use to emphasis points, practice the stories you will use, and look for opportunities to engage your audience. YOUR CHALLENGE THIS WEEK: Pay attention to the 93%. When listening to others speak, notice the WAY the information is presented. When you are doing the speaking, take note of your eyes, hand, voice and feet!
You may or may or not know that this week is National Referral Week. In an effort to jump start small businesses – and remind them of the power of a single referral – John Jantsch (author of Duct Tape Marketing) launched Make a Referral Week in March of 2009. The goal of the event was simple: To provide 1,000 referrals to 1,000 deserving small businesses across the country. Referral based businesses can either take a passive role or an active role in generating referrals. Those that take a passive role, create satisfied customers and spend their marketing time and dollars trying to get their message in front of as many potential customers as possible, then they are relegated to waiting and hoping that the phone rings. Those that take an active role, do things a little differently. 1. Give awesome service that creates ‘raving fans’ instead of just satisfied customers. The only reason people talk about a service or product is because it was extremely good or extremely bad – make yours exceptional. 2. Make sure you thank your customers and ask them to tell your friends about you. Think back to the last time you were personally thanked for your business. It doesn’t happen often, so when it does we remember it. 3. Let your customers know up front that you will be asking for referrals later on. Don’t hit them cold – let them know that you are a referral based business and give them the chance to think about whom they want to refer. 4. Making giving a few referrals a condition of doing business with you. If you really want a business that runs on referrals than make it a rule that for people to do business with you, they have to give you referrals. 5. Ask for a referral when people buy from you (or even when they don’t). During the sale customers’ emotions are running high and they are happiest to give them. When customers don’t buy they usually feel a little awkward, and may feel obliged to help you out in a situation like this because they have just said ‘no’ to making a purchase from you. YOUR CHALLENGE THIS WEEK: So as part of National Referral Week – consider your businesses approach to referrals and make the commitment to take an active strategy. And remember givers gain.