According to a recent article in Forbes magazine, the front of the room can set you apart. Forbes says speaking is the No. 1 business development strategy for the owner of a service business (Here’s a link to the article: http://bit.ly/2aDMNLK). That covers everything from keynote speaking to speaking at networking events to presentations. As technology proliferates (and I’m not bashing technology) human interaction becomes a bigger point of difference, a bigger way to stand out from other businesses, a bigger way to gain an advantage for your business.
There is no app for becoming a better speaker
There isn’t, and probably never will be an app for becoming a better public speaker, a better communicator–especially in front of the room. You have to get up there. Try. Make mistakes. Try some more. Gradually, and sometimes quickly, you make progress. But here’s where the biggest competitive advantage lies: most people don’t want to get to the front of the room until they think they are excellent. This isn’t Star Trek. You can’t use a phaser to beam yourself from beginning to expert with presentations and speeches. You have to grow, like most things in nature grow, step-by-step and gradually.
Stage fright doesn’t have to stop you
For many professionals, simple stage fright keeps them from beginning or continuing the journey. They so dread getting up in front of the room that they do it as little as possible. Or worse, they do nothing at all. If you really feel stuck or frozen because of stage fright, download my free guide by clicking the icon below.
Fear and quit are four-letter words
Letting fear stop you from making progress is like forfeiting in sports. You give up before you even begin.
I believe that to make real progress in life or in any area of life you have to have the humility and the courage to accept sucking at something for awhile. So you’re not very good right now. So what? Wherever you are is just a starting place. If you don’t take the steps to move through stage fright and acquire the skills to shine then where you are is also your ending place. That’s awful.
A plan to improve
Here’s a simple 8-step plan to begin using speaking and presenting as tools to give your business a competitive advantage:
- Ask yourself why you aren’t doing more public speaking or presentations to promote your business?
- Assess your strengths and weaknesses.
- Be honest about stage fright. If it’s really holding you back, get help (hint: we can help).
- Double the number of speeches or presentations you are currently making.
- Video your speeches and presentations.
- Make a list of 10 things you want to do better in your front of the room performance.
- Work on one of those things at a time, and don’t shift your focus from that item until you have turned it into a strength. When it’s a strength, move on to working on the next weakness.
- Keep putting yourself in front of clients and prospects throughout the entire process.
You might think steps one through seven matter the most. They do only in the sense that they will give you a better skill set to work with. But the most important step is actually step eight. Get out there. Get to the front of the room. That’s the habit that makes all the difference. You can’t get better in front of the room until you get to the front of the room and then get there again, and again, and again.
Your competitive advantage
Most people–most of the people you compete with–lack the discipline and the courage to do that. If you will embrace the simple idea that the front of the room and people skills are two of your greatest potential competitive advantages, then you will both understand and begin to harness what Forbes magazine is talking about. You’ll get why speaking is the No. 1 business development strategy for the owner of a service business–and to one degree or another isn’t every business a service business?