Sales are often closed in a one-on-one setting. They may sometimes be inked in a small group setting (for instance, the salesperson and the two partners of the purchasing company). Rarely, though, are sales closed in a large group forum, which may lead you to believe that the art of public speaking is not a necessary skill.
The truth of the matter is that knowing the basics of public speaking will help you in far more facets of your life than just the times you have a microphone in your hands. Like any other skill, if you practice the art of public speaking, the precepts will become habits and the habits will carry over into other portions of your life.
Know Your Body Language
Body language speaks volumes about you before you ever open your mouth. You’ve already gotten one strike against you if you’re slumped over, seemingly distracted or disinterested, and you haven’t even begun your presentation. Take command of your space. You don’t have to be in your prospect’s face but be aware of your surroundings and fill it with confidence (but not cockiness!).
Toss the Note Cards
The idea of flying blindly makes a lot of people nervous. But the truth is if you’ve spent ample time preparing, you’re really not flying blindly at all. Luckily, translating this concept from large group presentations to a small group or a one-on-one presentation is pretty easy. It’s important, nonetheless, to know what you’re going to say before you enter the room. Be prepared with facts and data and know the typical kinds of questions prospective clients ask.
You wouldn’t be selling your product if you didn’t believe in it…therefore, you must derive some joy from your job. Let that joy show. Get excited about the features and benefits of your product, especially when you find that they can help solve a client’s pain points.
Adapt to Feedback
Whether you’re standing in front of a crowd or sitting across the desk from a singular person, take cues from them. Are their eyes glazing over while they pick at the dirt under their fingernails? Are they pitched forward, head cocked to the side and nodding along? If it’s the former, switch things up. If you can’t switch topics, change up the tone of your voice or the order in which you are presenting your items. If it’s appropriate, stop and ask questions of your audience and get an idea of what they want to hear from you.
Take note, too, when your prospect is giving you signs of interest and engagement. Make a mental note about what made his or her ears perk up and make sure you continue to emphasize those features.
Use Rhetorical Questions
Rhetorical questions work, don’t they? (See what I did there?) Presenting rhetorical questions is a great way to get your audience thinking about your product in their terms. Our brains are wired to respond to questions, even if we don’t do it out loud. Asking questions gets people thinking on your level and puts your products in their space.
While public speaking is a skill you might not use every day, the precepts of public speaking are. Study them, practice them and use them in your daily conversations and watch your sales soar.
What is your favorite public speaking tip? Tell us in the comments below.