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What makes a good speech?

My son came up to me & asked me what makes a good speech. He had just finished his elocution @ school.

My thoughts went back to my college days.

That was an Independence Day in India but we had some special classes. Our class was the only one that was present that day in college. Our Principal asked us to join the Flag Hoisting. We did. He gave a speech & asked one student & one staff member to also speak. None came forward.

Yes, you guessed it right. It was ‘yours truly’ who had the courage to go on stage, extempore. I spoke something relevant. Then I got stuck somewhere. Then somehow managed & concluded it. Later my friend told me that our I year English teacher liked it very much [since she had clapped vigorously after my talk].

In the later years, I learnt about “pauses” during speech to drive home the point. It was supposed to be effective, I learnt.

In our Sales presentations, it is extremely difficult to keep the audience interested till the end.

I learnt to:

  1. Be objective.
  2. Keep it short & to the point.
  3. Stay on course.
  4. Narrate stories.
  5. Use humour.
  6. Engage audience. Connect with them.
  7. Be human. Some errors are fine. In fact, they are actually needed.
  8. Deliver tons of value.
  9. Give a reward to the audience at the end, for listening.
  10. Ask for feedback.

I did a presentation to GM Finance of a manufacturing company on data warehousing solutions long ago. I spoke the Finance language. End of Period reporting. Shortfalls. Budgets. Year-to-date. Month-to-date. Drill down. Roll up. Collate reports from various divisions. What the top management wants to see. Dashboard. KPIs. Etc etc.

He was mighty impressed. He asked me if I had a finance background. I told him, I didn’t. He was surprised.

Speak their language. Win their hearts.

HappySelling!!

salespresentations #storytelling #publicspeaking

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