Unless you have been living under a great big boulder for the last several years, you have probably heard of Ted Talks. If you are unfamiliar and you are not insulted by my boulder comment and you are still open to learning something, allow me to shed some light on the subject.
TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages.
You can find thousands of talks here: http://www.ted.com/
So, what does this have to do with you, you ask? Well, as a sales professional, being a compelling communicator is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your audience (like a prospect or a client)
Here are a few random thoughts for you that I learned by watching Ted Talks and reading the book of the same name by the head of Ted, Chris Anderson.
- Be you – It’s all about authenticity. Your audience can sense if you are being sincere, or whether your motives are purely self-serving. So, try to be the realest real you can possibly be. For real.
- Have an idea worth sharing. Make sure that what you are going to talk about actually matters to people. A great way to find out is to talk to people outside of your industry and make sure that the foundation of what you are talking about makes sense to them.
- Take them on a journey. Think about fairy tales. You know from the very first sentence what is going to happen, and to whom, and why. Try to make sure that your presentation does the same thing. Pretend you are telling a story and make sure there is some action, some drama and some excitement.
- Have a through line. This basically means that the concept must be bigger than you or your company. This basically means that you should inform and educate and entertain, but not overtly sell. Less “I ME MINE” and more YOU YOU YOU. Leverage your experience. If you make sure that you know your audience and you keep their interests and needs in mind, you will keep attention piqued.
- Be able to answer these questions
Why does it matter?
What problem does it solve? Be able to give real examples, tell real stories, and use real facts with statistics when possible, but don’t use the stats too much!
One of the most important characteristics of any great speaker is to connect with his/her audience. Here are a few things to remember as you try to make sure you are connecting to your audience
- Vulnerability and honesty. Again, in service to authenticity, if you can show some of your human side to people, they will be able to connect to you. Think of a time that you saw someone speak, and s/he admitted to being nervous. Your heart went out to that person a little bit more, didn’t it? In the same way, if you can insert let go of your ego and maybe even make yourself sympathetic or humble, so much the better.
- Everyone likes to laugh. It’s just a fact. Look it up.
- I won’t spend a lot of time trying to convince you that being anecdotal is a great way to sell, because you already know that and 100 other bloggers are already telling you that. So – tell a story of how your service solved a problem and it will stick in your audiences’ mind way easier than if you just shout speeds and feeds at them for 20 minutes.
- Images – 1000 words. Use pictures if you have some that are good. Repeat. If you have some THAT ARE GOOD.
- Great eye pleasing visuals – I am not a designer, so I have some real weakness here. Watch your presentation in a similar setting to where you will be delivering it and make sure you like the way it looks. If you don’t, get some design help to make it look as good as possible. If you don’t know what looks good, find someone who does. You don’t want to wreck the experience by hurting someone’s eyes.
Getting a face to face meeting with a prospect can be more challenging today than ever before. You must absolutely make the most of the gift of someone else’s time by giving them your best self. Practice, watch others who are great at it, and soon you will be ready to give a Ted Talk yourself.
When you do, please let us all know so we can check it out!
As a sales and marketing coach and consultant at Success In Print, Kelly Mallozzi advocates for graphic arts companies to start a revolution and fight to keep print relevant. She may be irreverent, but what she lacks in convention, she makes up for in smart-assery.