I’ve been working with an enormous media agency once again, this time over in Germany. I spent two days polishing up the speaking skills of thirty-five delegates who had enrolled on the course; helping them to persuade and influence more effectively – especially when pitching to new and incumbent clients. I was very impressed by their inventiveness and creativity, but when it came to presenting those ideas to the rest of this rather large group, quite a few of them got very nervous indeed – surprisingly so.
The delegates were divided into six smaller groups and had to present their pitch in the afternoon of the second day, so I let it be known that I would be more than happy to watch a rehearsal in the morning, give them some feedback and wherever possible recommend how their pitch proposal might be improved. However whenever I offered my services, all I got from most of them was a chorus of “we’re not ready!” so they lost out on an extra opportunity to rehearse.
It was frustrating for me to see them wasting their time picking over their slides and refining their notes when they should have been rehearsing. When I could manage to persuade them to start rehearsing, the effect was almost immediate. They became less anxious and began to clarify what they wanted to say, by simply articulating their ideas rather than writing everything down. Those that had rehearsed their pitch more than once were more confident, clearer and more persuasive than those who hadn’t.
So next time you’re preparing for a presentation, talk or have to deliver a pitch, put your pen and paper away, stand up and start saying out loud what you think you’re going to say. It works!
There’s just one place left on the next Successful Speaking Skills workshop I’m running on Friday 20th April – visit the web site for all the details: www.voiceworkslondon.com