Angela DeFinis is an industry expert in professional public speaking. As an author, executive speech coach, and founder of DeFinis Communications, she has spent over twenty years helping business professionals communicate with greater poise, power, and passion. Using her signature Line by Line Coaching™ process, Angela and her talented staff have trained business leaders and other professionals to speak with increased skill and confidence in engaging any audience.
All salespeople are public speakers, whether they embrace that identity or not. They give presentations to small and large groups alike, and therefore face the same challenges that public speakers face. As such, one of the pressing needs for any salesperson is to keep their audience (prospects and customers) engaged.
I like to use a metaphor from the natural world to help us understand how a speaker’s performance keeps an audience engaged. When you think of the creation of fire, for example, three elements must be present for fire to ignite and burn: heat, fuel, and oxygen. If you remove any one of these elements the fire will eventually die out.
I love the fire metaphor because there is a similar phenomenon that occurs when giving a presentation. Three key ingredients must be present to light a fire in an audience: a speaker’s body, voice, and words. These are your performance skills. How you engage an audience with your body, voice, and words determines the success of your connection with your audience. And like a fire, if you remove any one of these ingredients you will reduce your energy and the connection between you and your audience will diminish. We’ve all seen this happen—we’ve seen speakers lose energy and like a fire, “die out” right in front of our eyes.
So pay attention to the following elements that will help you “Create Performance Combustion”:
Physical Presence: This is what the audience sees when they look at you. Imagine that they can’t hear a word you are saying. The only information they have available is the physical information you are sending to them with your body language. The skills you rely on to establish and maintain physical presence are your non-verbal skills: eye contact, facial expression, posture, gestures, and movement.
Vocal Resonance: Your vocal presence is the creation and delivery of your vocal sounds. Imagine that no one in the audience can see you—that their eyes are closed and they only have access to your message through your voice. How do you keep your audience engaged and connected? The skills that help you do this include: volume, enunciation, pronunciation, rate of speech, pitch, inflection, and strategic pauses.
Distinctive Language: Your words give people direct access to your message and help keep your audience stimulated and involved. The skills you can use to be engaging and credible include: crafting concise sentences, selecting language that is audience focused, and liberally using words that convey power and emotion. It’s also important to eliminate distracting words such as: really, like, basically, okay, you know, and equally important to drop non-words from your delivery such as: um, ah, er, and uh. Keep your language clear and free of word pollution!
To be an effective salesperson with the capacity to create a fire in the belly of your customers, you must ignite and maintain all three of these elements. You must Create Performance Combustion! Cultivating the skills of Physical Presence, Vocal Resonance, and Distinctive Language will make you stand out and quickly accelerate your selling power.