Social media presenting sales

by Peter Watts

The fields of social media, sales, and public speaking, can all benefit when they work together.

If public speaking can be thought of as blending a fine champagne, then the art of crafting social media is more akin to producing a cognac, distilling your message into something intense and immediate.

  • It teaches us to think in compelling sound bites
  • It teaches us to think in headlines that capture attention
  • It teaches us to give a story legs, with reasons for the audience to send the story viral.
  • It makes us think about the story-boards behind that story. Where does the message fit with our communication goals? Are we being consistent in our voice?

Disciplines for effective social media are disciplines that equally apply to public speaking. They are also disciplines that are sometimes forgotten by presenters.

A course in social media skills would be valuable learning for many!

Public speaking meanwhile, has ideas to contribute to the world of social media. At the heart of powerful speaking are techniques of word-play passed down since the times of the Greeks and Romans. These techniques of rhythm and repetition, contrast and combination are as wonderful when written as when spoken.

The Romans referred to them as being “the hidden darts”. Their role in a message is to make language stand-out, locking into the mind of the recipient.

In his book “Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little“, Christopher Johnson details how we can bring these techniques to social media messages. He states:

“We need a rhetoric for the web age – a rhetoric of the micromessage.”

This rhetoric of the web age will eventually evolve by itself, but it can come about more quickly if public speaking practitioners and social media professionals increasingly join forces and share their skills.

The disciplines of public speaking and social media are intensely complimentary. At their heart, each have the same goal: to produce audience action through the vehicle of a message.

As Johnson continues:

“A message…is like a key that opens doors.”

Public speaking has been opening doors for millennia. By understanding and combining the skills of social media, we can now open doors further and wider than ever before.

Sales meanwhile, are never afraid to ask for the business. Professional sales people maintain sight of how the product fits to the customer’s needs, and through that understanding develop the unique customer insights that lead to value. They also understand that for every customer journey, there must be an end-point; the sale. It is through awareness of the sales discipline, that public speaking and commercial social media efforts can continually focus on their goal.

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Presentation structure: Your main message

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by Peter Watts

The most valuable asset a presenter can have is knowing exactly what their presentation is about.

Thinking about a forthcoming presentation, can you answer, in one short sentence, the following question:

What is the one thing you want everyone to be saying as they leave the room?

  • In a recruitment interview it might be “This person is the best choice for the job
  • In a sales situation it might be “That product is the most reliable
  • Bidding for a budget, it could be “This project delivers return on investment

Encapsulating your presentation down to one succinct message can be surprisingly difficult. The different pieces of information which you want to include can compete with each other for air-time in a noisy log-jam of presentation possibilities! Remember that if you find it difficult to identify that one main theme within your presentation, then your audience will find it impossible!

Simplicity is a priority. The simpler, stronger, and shorter your message, the better. Your goal is to deny the audience the opportunity to do anything other than get your meaning, loudly and clearly.

Imagine your message as the central pole of a huge canvas umbrella, the type you might sit under for an al-fresco meal on a hot day.  You want people to feel comfortable and secure under the umbrella of your presentation, and that pole, your message, is it’s central support.

See the message clearly written down the side of the pole. Every point you make in the presentation must stem directly from it. Just as the individual struts of the umbrella all connect to the pole and support the canvas, anything that isn’t firmly attached, is going to flap around, distracting the audience.

If you need convoluted connections to get points to stay in place, then they don’t belong in the presentation. Leave them out! Keep it simple! Don’t put in extraneous details that will only cause people to become confused.

In a later blog, we’ll discuss how to handle objections in presentations. For now it’s worth noting that many objections are caused by these lose flapping features that make the customer challenge “What’s with that bit, I don’t see where it fits”. Eliminating the extraneous, leads to less objections.

Having a clear and overt main message in your presentation makes things easier for both you and your audience.

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