to Establish Credibility - One Detail at a Time By Chris King Seth
Godin in his recent editorial "Slowly I Turned Step by Step
Inch by Inch " writes about "gradual." He
discusses how gradual bad habits can cause damage - like overweight -
yet how gradual good habits can lead to positive results. In his words,
" you should consider using the few opportunities that you
have to invest in those things that are worth it: things that represent
big change but that are achieved over time."
I read the editorial, I started considering and counting all of the details
- the little steps - we can pay attention to that add up to big results
- especially with regard to our credibility. In this article I share some
of the details that I feel make us more credible as powerful presenters.
It does take time and effort, but when we add them all together, our reputations
the fact that there is no "quick fix" and that "overnight"
success may take many years. Yes, we do belong to a society in a hurry.
It is common for people to feel that they can lose 30 pounds in a month
and/or become a recognized speaker in demand by just deciding to do it.
If you belong to this group of believers, then I suggest that you skip
this article. I can't even number the well known and successful speakers
who have told the story of their struggles to reach stardom. Once you
embrace the idea that everything worth achieving will take time, discipline,
hard work, patience and attention to details, you will be on your way.
So, let's begin.
of these details as the "moments of truth" that have made Southwest
Airlines so successful.
to communication details. Even if you can wow an audience with your
speaking ability from the podium, but you don't pay attention to other
communication details, you will never get a chance to speak from that
podium. Here are some communication details to adopt:
skills. Return messages with haste. I know that a good number of
people do not do this, because so often I hear, "Thank you for
returning my call." Does this mean others don't return calls? Yes.
So when we do, we have varied from the norm and leave a good impression.
messages. With the huge amount of SPAM these days, it does take
an extra effort to keep ahead of the mail. It is the same, however,
as with the telephone. If we are quick and courteous about answering
our e-mails we leave another good impression.
conversations. Are you in a hurry all of the time. Just don't have
time to talk. I am not suggesting that you waste a lot of time with
idle chatter, but I do suggest that you take a few minutes to listen
and answer questions. This is also an opportunity for letting others
know of your expertise. If you are willing to share information, then
you just might be the perfect speaker for their group (and practically
everyone belongs to a group).
mail. It is so seldom that we receive a handwritten note in the
mail that when we do, we remember. This is just another communication
detail that will add up to setting you apart from the crowd.
details or ways to "get good." Many of these I have mentioned
in other articles. However, I feel they are important enough to repeat.
I am going to focus here on ways to keep on improving our speaking skills.
Excellent marketing, networking and selling won't help us as presenters
unless we are "really good."
often. Join a Toastmasters
group so you will be assured of getting up on your feet at least once
a week. Another way to get lots of experience - and every time we speak,
we will get better - is to join a Speaker's Bureau for your area of
expertise. You may give short talks to Kiwanis and Chamber groups, but
will be surprised at the amount of practice you will get in front of
an audience. Volunteer to lead your club's meetings or be an emcee for
a local organization. Opportunities for willing speakers (for free)
a topic about which you are passionate. Once you have a topic you
care about, tell everyone. Offer to do some brown bag lunches for local
companies, speak at a PTA meeting. Start writing short articles about
your topic and offer to send them to people you meet at networking sessions
or organizational newsletters. Once you start putting your ideas down
on paper, you will find that your speaking about your topic will also
your talk. Make sure that your life mirrors the action steps you
are suggesting to audience members. Even if we only slip up one time
by coming across as a phony who doesn't follow what he or she says,
it will be remembered as a negative detail. Do it several times in front
of several different people and your reputation can be ruined.
care about your listeners. This also comes back to sincerity and
integrity. Those in our audiences can feel whether or not we care about
them more than about ourselves. Speaking should not be an ego trip.
Yes, we must have self-confidence and self-love, but we must care even
more about the people we are trying to help.
During the past decade, I have noticed the prevalence of name changing,
as I am sure you have also. Several of the organizations with which I
am involved have chosen new and different names that they feel represent
them and their missions more descriptively. Companies who were ready for
a new start have changed names to reflect a new attitude, direction and/or
focus. Some of these changes have made a positive difference, others have
just caused confusion.
names with care.
What we name ourselves, our businesses and our presentations can make
a huge impact. For example, I teach fitness classes and have discovered
that the name of the class can determine how many people try it (of
course, just like a business, once you attract them, you must make it
so good they want to return). I started teaching a lower body callisthenic
class in January which has turned into a huge success. Rather than naming
it "Lower Body Workout," I feel that the name we chose - "Pain
in the Butt" - has helped to attract the large number of participants.
So, really work on creating a catchy title that attracts interest.
ask you to start making notes of the small stuff. Keep a list of the
daily, weekly and monthly details or "moments of truth" that
will add up to a huge change. I have only scratched the surface of the
many details and steps, but do hope that I have started you thinking.
We can apply
Seth Godin's parting editorial words to our presentations, our lives and
our businesses. "The new fast company isn't fast at all. It's gradual,
slow, measured, and organized. It's making small bets. Which, it turns
out, is the fastest way of all to get back to where you want to be."
Or, I would say, "forward to where you want to be."
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101 Secrets of Highly Effective Speakers
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The SpotLight: Overcome Your Fear
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Any Audience: Proven Secrets ...
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