On Time Delivery

By Malcolm Fleschner

Powerful, charismatic and engaging – three words sales trainer Shamus Brown (www.industrialego.com) uses to describe the kind of presentation every sales professional should be shooting for. So what sets the most compelling speakers apart from the rest? He offers five favorite tips for improving your performance the next time you step in front of an audience.

1. Plant Those Feet
The experts tell us that 55 percent of a presenter’s message is communicated through body position, stance and facial expressions. By standing with your feet evenly spaced, weight distributed equally between each foot and your shoulders square, you communicate confidence and authority. Don’t think so? Try looking at yourself in the mirror while shifting your weight back and forth from one foot to the other. Then try it with a steadier stance. The difference is significant.

2. Get Pumped!
An audience’s enthusiasm for your presentation is almost entirely dependent on you and your attitude. For them to get juiced, you must get your own juices flowing before you step up to the podium. How? That’s up to you. Jump up and down, do a cheer, blast some music, high-five your partner. Naturally, you should be doing these things out of sight or hearing of the customer, lest you identify yourself as a lunatic. Rock stars and actors warm up for performances this way – you should, too.

3. Warm It Up
If the circumstances allow it, do something to get the audience warm and prepared for you. One great tactic: play some music. Your laptop probably plays CDs or you can likely bring along a boom box. A little preliminary music gets people’s feet tapping and will help set you apart from the crowd of boring presenters.

4. Who’s from Out of Town?
Audience participation is a terrific way to break the ice. During your first few minutes on stage, ask a couple of questions to get the conversation flowing. Don’t ask anything too difficult – maybe inquire about who came the farthest or how long someone’s been in the field – and then begin building that rapport and the relationship between you and the audience.

5. Eye-to-Eye
You already know you should make and sustain eye contact with individual audience members, right? But do you know why? It’s because each time you change the focus of your attention you force your brain to take in new information. Look around too much and you soon experience sensory overload. Complete thoughts while sustaining eye contact – then move your attention as you broach the next concept.