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The Master Marketing Skill

by Robert Middleton

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Published on this site: June15th, 2007 - See more articles from this month

What are the thoughts that rush through your mind when you think of getting up in front of a group and giving a presentation?are they fearful thoughts, worried that you'll make a mistake and look foolish? or are they confident thoughts about the difference you'll make by giving this talk?

How you answer this question is kind of a "litmus test" on how successful you'll be at marketing and selling your services.

If your immediate focus was fearful thoughts, you're going to struggle a little more. You'll tend to avoid marketing and selling activities. However, if your initial reaction was enthusiasm at the thought of giving a presentation, you're likely to approach marketing and selling with a can-do attitude.

Let's look at why "avoiding Speaking" can be very detrimental to your Marketing success and your financial well being.

First of all, I don't want you to think of giving presentations and talks as just one of many marketing strategies. It's much more than that. The ability to confidently give a presentation builds all your other marketing skills. You might call it the "master marketing skill."

When you give a great presentation, you will have demonstrated all of the following:

  • Logically organizing your thoughts

  • Knowledge of your topic

  • Thinking on your feet

  • Overall persuasiveness

  • Courage of your convictions

  • Ability to inspire and motivate

Aren't you more likely to buy from someone who demonstrates these qualities? and wouldn't you tend to avoid buying professional services from someone who didn't have many of these abilities?

Isn't it obvious?

For instance, think of a colleague who really knows his stuff but bombs every time he gives a presentation. The information is good. The expertise is there. But the persuasion is missing. The audience is not buying his pitch.

I admit that some people may be more gifted in this area than others; but it is a skill that can be learned, developed and refined over the years. I'm a pretty confident speaker now, but I wasn't so hot when I began my business.

So I learned the basics of giving a good presentation. I knew I had value to share; I took the time and the effort to give a talk that would have some real impact.

Here are a few things that worked for me that I recommend you try:

  1. Get yourself booked for a talk: Make this your first priority. When you're on the calendar, you're motivated to move into action!

  2. Write a complete outline for your talk: Spend quite a bit of time on this. It will likely be a talk you can give over and over, so it's a good investment of your time and effort. Really think it through.

  3. Practice your talk out loud: This is where the rubber meets the road. Do it in a mirror, video yourself or use a tape recorder. Might as well make a fool of yourself, while alone, than in front of a group of people!

  4. Learn to put all of your attention on getting your ideas across to your audience: One of the best ways is to use stories and examples for every major point you make. Stories are the most persuasive marketing tool you have.

  5. Do your best to take your attention off yourself: And this will be a lot easier if you do the above. If you are well prepared, excited about your message, and want to make a difference, you won't be so worried about how you come across.

  6. Don't use PowerPoint slides as a crutch: Sure, a few slides for major points is OK, but presentations that include every word in a presentation are a disaster. This will never substitute for developing yourself as a speaker.

  7. Get some support or professional assistance: This might be joining Toastmasters or the National Speakers association. Or you might work with a coach who can help you both prepare and deliver your talk. all are good investments of time and money. You can go through your business avoiding speaking for years. The payoff is that you won't have to feel uncomfortable or face being ridiculed.

    But what's the cost? Simple: A business that isn't as successful as it could be. Your choice.

Make learning how to give presentations and talks a priority in your evelopment as a professional. It's a skill that will pay for itself thousands of times over in the course of your career.

Robert Middleton
: The owner ofaction Plan marketing, has been helping Independent Professionals be better marketers since 1984. On his web site http://www.ActionPlan.com find valuable resources, products and programs for attracting more clients. get a free copy of his Marketing Plan Sart-Up Kit.

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