In my seminars, the majority of people say, "I'm really good
one on one, but I hate talking to a group." And if I ask what
size group makes them uncomfortable, for some it's 4 and for some
it's 40, and for some it's a hundred.
The good news is that the things you do well that make you comfortable
and effective one on one are same ones that will work for you
in front of a group. All it takes is a change in attitude, and
being aware of what it is that you do that works well in conversation.
So let's take a look at three things that work well in conversation
that are equally as effective when speaking to a group.
The 3 secrets of making the right impression when you introduce
yourself: have a point, take your time, and say it with conviction.
All 3 are things you do when you do naturally under certain circumstances.
So let's look at developing a 20-second sound-bite intro. It sounds
interesting. Think of someone trying to get you to sign a petition.
How many seconds do they have to interrupt your commitment to
being someplace else? As I hurtled into a store the other day,
the petitioner said, "Would you like to help bring down insurance
Your sound bite is about sizzle, not steak. It's about benefits,
not features. And it's not so much about being factual as it is
to help someone focus. Give them something to process. Engage
them. Now having said that, we're not striving for cute. Interesting,
attention getting, engaging, genuine. If you've caught their attention,
they'll be around to see you later in the meeting. If it's one
on one they'll ask some follow up questions.
So, how tight is your bite? One shining example of a tight one
is an ABC promotional I saw recently: "Marry rich. Kill him. Repeat."
A message that short is attention getting and easy for you to
I could introduce myself as a communications consultant (huh?
telephones? computers? therapy?). If anyone asks me any questions,
they're probably desperate for someone to talk to, not interested
in my business. I could say I teach seminars on public speaking.
Or coach public speakers.
Here are a couple I've used. "I hold here in my hand the cure
to one of the world's most prevalent diseases. Getting Over Yourself:
A Guide to Painless Public Speaking." "I smooth out the bumps
on your road to presentations." "I make it easy for people to
give effective presentations." "If you're one of those people
who finds presentations challenging, let's talk." "I give the
power of confidence to anyone who gives presentations." "I can
make you look and feel good the next time you give a presentation."
Secret #1, have a point. One
that matters to your audience.
Secret #2, take your time.
To do this you need to be comfortable with silence. Taking your
time translates into pausing and breathing. Give yourself time
to stand up. Give yourself time to think and to look at people.
Give yourself the air you need to continue thinking.
Breathing and pausing are things you do pretty naturally - except
whey you're getting ready to speak, and while you're speaking.
As your turn gets closer, keep breathing. When you start to speak,
pause to be sure the audience is ready and to be sure you're mind
is in gear. You look and sound more credible. Make eye contact
with 2 or 3 people during your sound bite. Pause. Make eye contact
with 2 more people and sit down. You have no power, you look out
of control, when you start to speak the moment you're in front
of the group. Pause and breathe.
Now, secret #3. And this takes
a lot of practice. Say it with conviction. Suzy Orman the TV money
adviser has a saying: "Powerfulness attracts money. Powerlessness
repels money." Conviction goes out the window when we're worried
about surviving, or thinking ahead, or going through the motions.
When you say to a child, "Clean up your room." If you've had to
say it more than once, you're probably at the point of making
it a statement, not a question. But there are so many ways to
be distracted when you're in front of a group, that what you meant
to say as a statement, may come out as a question. Maybe it's
because someone else in the room who has been in your business
longer than you have, or because you're not sure how to describe
If it comes out as a question, there goes your credibility. And
we all do it without knowing it. Repelling business and never
So, if you want people to pay attention when you stand up to speak,
first and always remember it's not about you. And use these three
secrets: have a point (one that matters to your audience.) Take
your time. Pause before you start and after you finish making
your point. And three, say it with conviction. If you do these
3 things, you will Stand Out When You Stand Up.
For more information, contact:
Barbara Rocha and Associates
PO Box 60521, Pasadena, California 91116