Empowering Words: The Speech After the Speech
On Monday I had a speaking engagement, but because I had been at a seminar all weekend; I completely forgot about it. Normally my Mondays are dedicated to working on my book. So there I was, in my pajamas at my computer leisurely responding to emails, when all of a sudden I noticed the speaker packet prepared earlier by my assistant. I gasped!
My speaking engagement was at 9 and it was 8:45! This has never happened to me in all the 30 years I’ve been speaking. What was I going to do? I could call and cancel or suck it up and get there as soon as possible. I wasn’t scheduled to speak until 9:30 so I called the woman in charge and said I’d be there. The event, Networking Unlimited, was to help unemployed people. I got there at 9:29!
Now, here’s the real story behind my topic, Empowering Words, the Speech After the Speech. I delivered my speech to former managers and other people who have been laid off on how to create a core message – the elevator speech – but in their case, how to create words so magnetic and powerful that they draw employers. (It is so important to research your audience before you speak. Always gear your presentation to your audience.) My talk to that particular audience was all about words and how important they are.
At a previous seminar, the speaker said that studies showed that 80% of what we say is non-verbal. Only 7% is based on words. I would like to challenge that assumption because words are more important than anything else. Words can either sell or repel. The Bible says our words can either heal or kill. To me, that 7% is more important than all the non-verbal, body language you can possibly do. That was the message I shared with this group on Monday.
At the end of my talk, there was a line of people waiting to talk to me. So, I stayed. A lot of speakers blow in, speak, and then leave right afterwards like prima donnas. This is a mistake. They’re losing an opportunity to help people.
The Speech After the Speech.
Sitting there, I heard the most amazing things. The first woman to sit down shared that when she lost her job she went into a deep depression. For 18 months she drank and slept. She didn’t even get out of bed. That’s how important her job was to her. I just listened. She didn’t know what to do, or what field to go into; she had always been in customer service. As I talked to her and asked her questions, I got exactly what I wanted from her.
She said, “I love people.” I said, “That’s what you want to say in your interview – bring that out. Don’t just say I’m in customer service. That means people behind a telephone to me.” She said, “Oh no, I need to be with people.” She went away happy. She had hope.
The next gentleman looked like he hadn’t shaved for weeks. He was wearing an old t-shirt and shorts and had a tooth missing. I listened as he shared the most soul-wrenching story I have ever heard. He spent half of his life in jail and was now out, found God, and was clean. He talked about his value and how his job was making French fries. But at 44 years old, he had such low self-esteem–and rightly so. I just listened. I didn’t interrupt. I didn’t cry. I just listened.
When he was done sharing and asked me what he should do, I told him, “First of all, you don’t ever have to share that story with anyone ever again.” (Sometimes our stories keep us stuck in the past.) I said, “It’s time to turn that story around to use it in a positive way so that you can help others who are suffering in the same way.”
Sometimes as a speaker, people look to you for guidance, and you need to rise up and be the person they need at that moment. Give them the best advice from your own experience that you possibly can. But, be very careful with the words you use. This gentleman felt renewed. He felt hope and went on his way.
This kept happening, person after person. Why? I showed up! Remember I was going to cancel. It wasn’t about me. There was a reason I needed to be there.
The next time you’re speaking, hold yourself in check and ask, “how am I showing up?” Are you showing up 100%, or just blowing through the speech and then leaving? Are you showing up for just the money, to just to sell, or are you showing up for people who need you?
When you have an open heart, people know it and are attracted to you. I could have left right after my speech. Why did I stick around with people who didn’t have jobs? I’ve trained myself to stay late, because that’s when the great things happen. That’s when anyone who wants to work with you happens.
Here are five things to do (or not do) after your speech so that you can be present and be of service to people. Your speech goes beyond whatever you say on stage. Any time you get a speaking engagement, go early so that you can meet and greet people, and then stay after so you can support these people who have heard you. If they need more information or clarification, or need someone to talk to, you’re there.
Watch your facial expressions. When this gentleman talked to me, I very easily could have had an uncomfortable look on my face, but I just listened. I was on his side. Be careful that you’re not looking like you’re in shock, or commenting too soon. Just listen. They just want to talk.
Be open to receive. Be open to new information. Be open to hear a new idea even if you don’t believe in it. Be open. Leaders are open to all kinds of things. They are not one-sided. They are not one-minded. They’re open to many different ideas, and then they make up their minds. Be open with your heart, not just with your ears and eyes. Those two examples broke my heart to hear them, but I chose to be strong. My heart was open.
R: Really present.
You need to be really present–100% there. I knew there was a long line waiting to talk to me. I had a person sitting in front of me, and I had to be present for just that person. The minute I looked away, to try to signal someone –and this is what people do all the time; signaling “be right with you” — I would have lost the connection. I would not have been there to help that individual. Be sure when you’re communicating with people that you are 100% present. This is what I call “the moment of falling in love” with your prospect. You stay connected. When you break that connection, it shows disinterest. It can be devastating for them. Give everyone the significance that they need and deserve. Be really, really present!
D: Don’t …
Don’t interrupt. When someone is speaking to you about something that is sad, or near-and-dear, or whatever, hear it out; don’t interrupt. Sometime we coaches try to solve a problem before we’ve heard it. I have to practice this every day, because I’m an extrovert and I like to solve problems. I have to sit on my hands to let someone I’m working with finish talking.
Don’t judge. If I had judged that man who told me that sad story, it would have been a whole different outcome for him. That’s how powerful our words are. Instead I told him that he didn’t need to relive that story and to forgive himself. He went away renewed and reconnected, and he’ll probably do something great and wonderful. Isn’t that what you want to do for your clients?
Don’t assume you know what they are going to say. I didn’t have a clue he was going to share such detail with me – a total stranger. He’d been telling that story so long to try to heal himself, but he needed to get past it. He needed another story of hope, a story of good deeds.
Be supportive, no matter what. Even if it isn’t something you want to do, or not do, or whatever, be supportive. Cheer them on. Celebrate with them.
One of my friends is a nuclear activist. I don’t even know anything about it. Wow. I wanted to hear her information and support her because she’s doing something to help all of us. Good for her. There are people who are helping people that we don’t even know about.
A couple weeks ago I took someone to the emergency room. I realized then that there are people in the hospital who have dedicated their lives to helping people. We forget that a whole bunch of people have chosen help people all the time. I could be supportive, but I would probably pass out. All the people in the ER were so nice and helpful, kind and gracious. There are people out there who are supportive. And you can be supportive, too, in whatever you do, or with whatever you offer.
It all comes down to words. Your words can be supportive. Your words allow you to be open and present. Whether you’re on the stage or off the stage, watch your words. Be aware of what you are communicating.
I make faux pas right and left. We’re all going to make mistakes. But if we strive to be aware of the words that come out of our mouth, then we will do a lot less backtracking, apologizing, buying roses, and kissing bootie.
Most importantly, be careful of the words that you say to yourself because these words can kill. Only say positive, uplifting words to yourself. Even if you’re mad at yourself, get over it. Bless yourself. Be grateful. You’re a magnificent human being. You are one of God’s children; you’re as perfect as you can be–you just may not know it yet.
Consider your W.O.R.D.S.
Arvee Robinson, is The Master Speaker Trainer, International Speaker, and Author. She teaches business owners, service professionals, and entrepreneurs how to use public speaking as a marketing strategy so they can attract more clients, generate unlimited leads and grow their businesses, effortlessly. She teaches a proven speaker system for delivering persuasive presentations, and easy formulas for creating killer elevator speeches and magnetic self-introductions. Arvee has helped hundreds of individuals to win clients and close more sales every time they speak. She offers private coaching, workshops, and weekly teleclasses. Her programs will make you money for the rest of your life.
For more public speaking tips go to: http://www.instantprospeaker.com