Have you ever been in the position of sharing your problem-solving expertise with a group or an individual and all you got for a response was crickets? I’m not sure there’s anything worse for a speaker. You put the time and effort into figuring out how to share your brilliance, and at the end of all your hard work, you get nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch. Ouch.
I’m willing to bet that if we peeled back the first layer of the fear of public speaking, this is part of what we’d find… the fear that we would do all this work and have nothing to show for it. No doubt, that would suck. So let’s look at a few strategies that will lower the odds of you hearing crickets in your future.
Strategy #1: Review your content, paying attention to when you’re speaking from your perspective, and when you’re speaking from your audience’s perspective.
Sometimes it’s a fine line. We need to share enough about ourselves to make sure our audience knows we’re qualified to help them solve their problem. At the same time, we need to make it clear that we understand and appreciate the problems they’re struggling with, from their perspective. Getting the balance right is going to increase the odds of people reaching out to us.
Strategy #2: Think about when you’re in an audience. What is it that YOU want to know about that speaker?
Chicken or the egg here. Is it more important for the speaker to have had first-hand experience with their topic? Or does their formal training on their topic matter more to you? I’ll bet that once a speaker starts answering your questions before you have a chance to ask them, neither will matter.
Ask yourself what questions your peeps will want to know the answers to before they’ll start considering the idea that you might be the right person for them to work with.
Strategy #3: Just because you have plenty of relevant info to share about yourself, that doesn’t mean you have to unload it all on stage.
Yes, I do believe certifications and credentials (both traditional and “street”) matter. But there is a time and a place for everything. Here are three easy non-intrusive ways for strategically and organically sharing them so it won’t sound like you’re trying to toot your own horn.
- Provide your event planner with a written bio that includes your current/relevant certifications and credentials so they can share them when they publish the event’s details.
- Decide which of your certifications and credentials are most likely to encourage (dare I say influence?) your audience to accept you as an expert, and add them to the introduction you’re going to provide your host with before the event.
- Figure out how to include the info on any in-person or virtual handouts you’re planning to share with your audience before, during, and/or after the event.
I’m not going to lie. It does take time to work out the kinks, but creating a signature talk should never be thought of as a one-and-done task anyway. If we took that approach our talks would get stale… not to mention the fact that we’re always growing and learning more. That’s why it’s so important to make sure our signature talks are up-to-date and relevant to the next audience we’re going to share it with.
Every time we speak, we learn more about what does and doesn’t work. After the first few times we deliver our signature talks, it’s more about small subtle changes that can make big differences in how our audiences respond.
Either way, the payoff of doing the work is making sure those crickets are right where nature intended them to be—outside!
‘Til we speak again….