No, this is not a post about making a living as a public speaker or even using your public speaking career as a lead generation machine. Instead, I’m going to share with you how public speaking experience prepared me become a better presenter in sales situations. This is about the ability to organize your thoughts and prepare quickly for an unexpected opportunity.
Recently while on site with a client to support an upgrade installation, I was asked to make a presentation to the sales team and senior managers of this divisional office. My contact provided a framework for the content he wanted the presentation to contain. Then, I was tasked with turning that content into a presentation for the next morning.
There was a time before all the public speaking and writing I have done, that this task would have stressed me out. Now, however, I just started to gather my thoughts and think about a previous PowerPoint I could re-purpose as a starting point for the next day’s presentation. Next, I stripped out all the slides that wouldn’t be needed. Finally, I updated most of the slides with content and images appropriate for the framework my client had requested.
Within about an hour, I was able to run through the presentation with my client contact and he liked what he saw. We tweaked the presentation a bit based upon his input and we’re ready to go for the next day. Based upon that presentation, I’ve been asked to present again to my client’s customers. In terms of future business, this opportunity alone is a nice payoff for the last two years of blogging and speaking.
It’s About Preparation
There are all kinds of cliches about luck favoring those who are prepared, but I’ll spare you those as my editor feels I use cliches too often. Instead, let’s discuss the importance of preparation. Odds are you and I will never have blog audiences like Chris Brogan or Mitch Joel; but that’s no reason not to blog regularly. Writing is, after all, the doing part of thinking. The more I write, the better critical thinker I become and the better I become at organizing my thoughts.
The critical thinking and mental organizational skills that come from writing in turn make the preparation of PowerPoints for speaking an easier task. So, it’s not the actual public speaking opportunities that have helped grow my business as much as the skills learned from preparing for those events.