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Internet Marketing And Public Speaking: Ten Tips For When The Twain Shall Meet

Internet marketing and public speaking? Not quite ham and eggs, is it?

Those two phrases are rarely found in the same sentence. After all, many people decide to do their marketing in cyberspace so they'll never be required to deliver a sales presentation or a speech.

If you are one of these people, you are making big mistake by not developing your speaking skills, because you are cutting yourself off from the vast off-line market.

Why should internet marketers seek to improve their public speaking? For the simple reason that by so doing, they and their products can become known to people who are are uncomfortable buying on-line. They prefer to know their is a human being at the other end.

In this brief article, I'll give you a "shortcut system" that will enable you to package your substantive knowledge so it can be delivered in an interesting, engaging manner. It is a distilled version of what I provide business people in my workshops who are almost universally in the off-line world.

To whom can your presentations be delivered ? How about Rotary Clubs and other civic organizations who are always looking for speakers?; What about fellow internet marketers at seminars?; And remember high schools and colleges, where your audience is likely to be more computer literate than the general population, experienced in buying on-line but eager to go eyeball-to-eyeball with the internet marketer who has a great product.

Keep in mind that an effective speaker is one who concentrates on satisfying the needs of the audience members, so that these people conclude that what you are proposing (selling) is in their best interest-for your purposes, buying your product, Ebook or service.

The Ten Tips outlined below are not classroom theory, but instead evolve from the real world lessons I have learned in almost 3000 presentations, and in my workshops for off-line marketers. They have worked for me, they have worked for my clients, and they'll work for you.

1. Have a specific objective

If you don't know what you wish to accomplish with your presentation, your audience certainly won't know either. Your objective may be as limited as making sure your audience will remember your URL, or a full understanding of the benefits they will gain by buying your product.

Remember that giving a great speech or presentation should never be your goal; it is merely a means to an end, and that end is what you want your audience to do with the information presented.

Be specific, and in preparing your presentation, spell out your objective in no more than a sentence or two. Print it out and tape it to your computer monitor. This will keep your preparation focused and on target as you progress throughthe drafting of your presentation.

2. Know your audience's problems, needs and concerns

To be a successful marketer, your presentation must be audience-centered. You must know the problems of the people to whom you are speaking, because your objective is to offer them a solution. This requires in-depth-research about your audience.

Keep in mind that the prime motivation for people to listen to you is their perception that your presentation will benefit them. "What's in it for me?" is the classic question of all audiences, on-line or off-line

3. Structure backwards

We have learned to write and speak in a 1-2-3 structure: (1) Introduction- (2) Body - (3) Conclusion. For oral presentations, this is highly counterproductive: In contrast to reading a memo, people do not have the luxury of going back and reading again what was missed the first time.You want your audience to hear and understand the bottom line message- "This product iwill solve your problem."

Initiate your draft with your conclusion, focusing on merging your objective with your audience's problems, interests and concerns.

Place your conclusion on a card marked (3), then develop an introduction that signals the audience that you know its problems and will be offering a solution. Place this on a card marked (1).

Finally, place your supporting arguments on a series of cards marked (2A), (2B), etc. This 3-1-2 System provides focus, structure, and thematic unity, and is the heart of my training workshops.

4. Practice solo with tape-recorder or video-camera

After completing the presentation draft, practice by yourself with a tape-recorder or video-camera. You will be at your weakest in this initial practice, hence the advice to have nobody present whose comments could seriously hurt your confidence.

Listen to your presentation, note the rhythm and cadence, the "uh's", "y'knows", and check your mastery of the subject.

If videotaping, note your mannerisms and body language, and coordinate your gestures with your vocal inflection.

5. Practice with colleague, friend or spouse

After completing the solo practice session, you are ready to practice in front of another person. Choose this person carefully, as you do not want a hypercritic who will find excessive faults with your presenting style. Neither, however, do you want the type of person who finds no faults whatsoever, and praises you to the skies. You need honest and constructive criticism aimed at "tweaking" your presentation.

6. Convene a "Murder Board" practice session

The "Murder Board, a term I bring to my training workshops from my military background," is a rigorous practice session. It is the speakers equivalent of the flight simulator used for training pilots how to deal with in-flight emergencies, or the moot court readying lawyers for courtroom combat.

Select no more than four people to be your simulated audience, and share with them all the intelligence you have gained on your prospective audience. These four people will then role play your audience.

Their comments, questions and criticism help you correct your style of delivery, find the gaps in your knowledge, and anticipate questions and objections.

7. Arrive early to meet and greet

Personal contact and interpersonal skills are important for the success of any presentation, but they are absolutely vital when you attempt to persuade people to buy the product you are selling. We tend to accept information from people we like, but reject it from people we don't like.

When you arrive early, you can get to know members of the audience and let them relate to you as a human being. If it appears appropriate, mention names during your presentation of people you have had the occasion to meet prior to the presentation. Nothing is so sweet to the human ear as the sound of one's name being mentioned positively by a speaker.

8. Use visuals to support, not to impress

Visual aids, including the ubiquitous PowerPoint, can make or break a presentation. The advantage of using them is that most people are visual and can more readily absorb information that is graphically presented.The danger is that visuals can bore an audience, setting them off into daydreaming, not listening.

Be careful in word choice in your visuals-and, of course, in your delivery-to avoid Geekspeak, unless you are speaking to an audience as familiar with this unique form of jargon as you are.

Bottom line ion visuals: Don't have the wonders of PowerPoint remembered, but the substance of your presentation forgotten.

9. Employ rhetorical devices

Repetition of key concepts, the careful use of the strategic pause, and parallel construction are just a few of the devices you can use to add spice and cadence to your presentation.

Two examples of such techniques will illustrate this important tactic. Winston Churchill, instead of saying "We in Britain owe a great debt to the pilots of the Royal Air Force," expressed this thought with the memorable words "Never in the field of human conflict have so many owed so much to so few."

President John F. Kennedy used a classic device of parallelism when he said, "We must never negotiate out of fear, but we must never fear to negotiate."

Use your imagination to see how you can arrange words to create such cadence and rhythm.

10. Conduct immediate post-presentation analysis

Your instinct after completing a challenging presentation is to breath a sigh of relief and relax. Big mistake.

Within minutes, sit down with a note pad or tape recorder and record the questions asked, the reaction of the audience to your presentation, your impression of your own performance, etc.

Don't wait until the next day. Short term memory is precisely that, and you will remember only generalities. The immediate analysis will provide specifics.

Transfer this specific information to your data base, and you have an excellent head start to use in the Murder Board leading to your next presentation..

Use these tips, and the next time you leave your keyboard, you'll find you are now as eloquent in front of a group of potential customers as you are behind your computer.

Copyright 2005 Larry Tracy

This article is excerpted from Larry Tracy's book, The Shortcut to Persuasive Presentations. Larry, a retired Army colonel, was hailed by President Ronald Reagan as "an extraordinarily effective speaker." He is one of the top presentation skills trainers in the US. His website is at the top of Google for "persuasive presentations."

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