I tell this story frequently, but I don’t think I’ve posted it. So many people are under the impression that great speakers are full of great talent – this is not the case. I’m not saying that all speakers started out poorly. I am sure some were naturals, but many were not – like playing a musical instrument skillfully, hours of practice and critique are part of the secret formula to success. So what is the story?
I share this with sale people all over the world, and it came up again this week with a client who is looking to become a better presenter. I had the same misconception years ago – the misconception that it was talent that made the great speaker. That is, until I met Darren LaCroix, the 2001 World Champion of Public Speaking (see clip below). The amazing thing about Darren is his early videos – he visited our NSA (National Speakers Association) chapter a few years ago and showed us his beginnings on film. His first talk was at a comedy club. His friends (some friends) had pushed him to go on stage…he was so bad I was embarrassed to watch. Have you ever watched something so pitiful – so bad that you were embarrassed for someone you didn’t event know? That was Darren…but then he played a couple of years later, then a few more years, 5, then 10, and each time he was far better. And then…then he gave us some live presentation. He gave us the World Champion stuff!
That day stands as a highlight for me. Darren’s secret is simple. He records every speech, and he goes back and listens. Have you ever done this? It’s not easy to do something for an hour and then watch it all over – especially when it’s you speaking. I started recommending this to my clients after I saw Darren (sales professionals who are in my sales mentor program). Record your meetings, go back and listen to how you sound. Are you good? Are you interesting? Is your client interested? Are you listening or talking most of the time? There’s no reason not to be a great presenter when you sell. Sales people are called on daily to present value, explain solutions, and instill confidence. Some are naturals, but many are not. Try recording your meetings – and work on perfecting the way you talk, explain, introduce, and most importantly, how you listen.
© 2012, David Stelzl