​PowerSpeaking Blog: Tips and strategies for crafting presentations!

Speak to Lead

“At the beginning of my career when someone would ask me a question, I thought my job was to relay the vast amount of information I had on that subject, so I would tend to give a bunch of useless information. Over a period of time, I realized that it was the synthesis of that information that was so much more important. People were looking to me as an executive or a leader to just give the kernels of information that were important, not the laundry list of everything that happened.   And I think that we tend to do the latter—a lot.” — Nina Richardson, Board Director, Zayo, Silicon Labs, CallidusCloud. Women who are powerful communicators make the best leaders (and vice versa).

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There’s Power in Women Speaking

The young manager who stands at the head of the room starts to speak: “I was thinking that maybe I would give you some of the numbers and updates for the XYZ project? Unless, of course, I should sort of start at the very beginning, with, you know, the history of the project, before I get to our proposal?” How would you describe the speaker in one word? Unclear? Hesitant? Timid?

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The Fine Art of Drinking Wine from a Beer Glass (or, Knowing What a Customer Wants)

Say your company is offering a new line of artisanal beer glasses designed by local glass blowers. You’ve just stepped in front of the C-level team of a large wine and spirits firm to wow them with your product.   You don’t want to waste any time, so you launch right into your pitch. Three minutes into your presentation, the CEO stops you and says, “Wait. We’re discontinuing our beer line this winter.” Uh-oh. Wrong product, wrong time? Not necessarily.  Listening more upfront, establishing the need before you advocate, or having an internal coach can avoid wasted time.

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It’s a Conversation, Not a Pitch

Ever tried to have a conversation with someone who absently nods while you talk because—you can see—he or she is just waiting to say what they want to say?  Annoying, right?  Makes you feel like getting up and walking out of the room?  Welcome to the world of a potential customer who is at the receiving end of a one-way sales pitch.  

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Know Thy Customer

KNOW THYSELF?  BETTER YET:  KNOW THY CUSTOMER.  The sales landscape is littered with stories of salespeople who pitched products and services to potential customers they didn’t bother to research.  Taking a naïve (at best) or arrogant (at worst) approach, these kind of salespeople think all they need to do is dazzle with facts, figures and sales acumen to seal the deal.  Or they think the product pretty much sells itself, so why do any research about potential buyers?

We recently interviewed 24 top executives in the process of developing our SalesSpeaking® course.  Listen to Sharon Black, President of Strategic Accounts at Robert Half International, as she tells the story of the novice salesperson who didn’t put much stock in knowing his audience.  

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