Spot the light. Then reflect it back.
Ok, you have been asked to present a training seminar. Or make a speech.
You. The You that normally chokes when asked for the time. Lost for words? More like abandoned in a huge wide open space called low self esteem.
It'll all come out in the mouthwash..
We’ll deal with the self-worth issue elsewhere – but let’s get you through that presentation and then you can ask me later about how to rewire your self-worth to 100%. It should take about 30 minutes.
So let’s assume that you have the responsibility to populate the Seminar. How do you get an audience? Simples.
How will they hear about your event in the first place?
Quality of initial contact is very important. ‘You only have one opportunity to make a first impression.’
Was it Facebook, Linked In or Meetup.com – is it your immediate circle or a little wider. Remember that they have chosen to attend.
That’s quite a compliment to little ol’ you.
Warming up is essential to any worthwhile connection. This is about demonstrating your trustworthiness in the early part of the Seminar. Create an honest, unsophisticated atmosphere, taking time to honour them, love them, honour their commitment and interest (they have chosen to come). Never overestimate their knowledge – or underestimate their intelligence.
Take time to make people feel good: laughter, looking at them easily – plenty of eye contact, so they can connect with you. Avoid using a lectern and having any furniture between you and them. Trust yourself.
Take this time to introduce yourself and your organisation/interest/cause/department/whatever, some of the things you offer – and a comment on how being involved has changed your life (or at the very least, your week!). Be honest, without being negative or apologetic.
Thank people for being understanding about anything that goes awry. Love what you say. Say what you love.
Embrace your audience. Endorse, honour, value, praise, reassure, approve them.
Steer their attention to small gems that will change their thinking, rather than blanket knowledge that is easily ignored.
When possible, increase psychological buy-in by having participants sign a register: Name, email, phone, address, how they heard about you. This is ESSENTIAL for your future involvement with these people. Make sure EVERYTHING is perceived as to their advantage (and make sure it is!)
How to overcome the fluttery stuff..
Start this connect process at the moment of contact. This may be when someone meets you in the loo before you come into the room, or as you’re chatting with someone else. It is the peripheral information they will go with most convincingly.
Get some two-way connection. This is easily done by asking if it is too hot/cold in here, or setting some deliberately co-operative activities: Have people stand up, and/or do the Power of Pretend Exercise (Assume it, produce it – pretend you are happy, and lo and behold after five minutes of faking it you really are!). Passing round notes etc. is great. If you’re following another seminar, have them stretch and chat. Be ultra-sensitive and make space for people’s humanity.
Build unity by focusing on what the people in the room have in common. (Honour individuality too) Make notices work for you:
Where the toilets are. Phones: “It’s easy to forget to switch off your mobile phone so if you’re not sure, do feel completely free to check it now.”
People have different learning styles. (You didn’t know that? Contact me if you want to know more).
Now is the time to enjoy using them! The major element of this is to start with the purpose of the seminar. Have something for each person.
Live your brand. What you are THINKING will come out. If you don’t want it to, change it.
What do you want people to absorb, pick up ‘through their skin’? Send it out through YOUR skin!
Do you really need notes? Avoid if you can. Learn thoroughly what you have to do in the session, so it is part of you.
What do YOU want out of this for the future? Identify the multiple wins. There will be massive opportunities for you if you want to take them. Keep the purpose of the seminar at the front of your mind.
Remember the ‘silken thread’ of business development: most of your business comes from 20% (sometimes just 3%) of your effort – but you don’t know which 20% until later!
Offer several clearly different opportunities for participants to follow up the session. One expensive, one exclusive, one affordable.
Enjoy yourself. They will too. Promise.
The ultra-relaxed look - Roy Stannard with an audience in his pocket
This article is based on the methods used by Powerchange Ltd – the Company I am involved with – for more see www.powerchange.com