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Chapter 21. Persuasive Speeches > Sales Presentations - Pg. 172

Persuasive Speeches 172 It's either money or love that makes the world go 'round (or that wins over an audience). In the first instance, you must sell the company's widget; in the latter, you must sell yourself. Here are some guidelines to make this public-speaking task easier and more likely to succeed. 1. Tell a story.Do your research in categories (such as a competition analysis), but know that when it's time to deliver your speech, you'll get the client's attention more quickly if you or- ganize your information in story form to support your overall message. Don't inundate.Don't bombard the client with data just to prove you've done your homework. Remember, more isn't always better. Be flexible.If interest flags, move on. If the client is ready for closure, give it to him or her. Being able to adjust in midstream shows that you're responsive as well as confident. Show, don't tell.Create conceptual visuals to illustrate major relationships, use message heads on graphs and charts, and explain the graphic in terms of the story. Deliver, don't read.Your speech is not a bedtime story. The last person who deliberately read to you was probably your mother, and she was trying to put you to sleep. A comatose client cannot be a happy client. Look and listen.Much of communication is nonverbal. Body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice can reveal far more than actual words. Too often we take the absence of outright hostility as audience acceptance. Pay attention to nonverbal signals. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Speech of the Devil If clients can't see the slides, they won't get the message. 7. 8. Act professional.Your body language counts, too. Maintain an "up" posture; use open hand gestures (with elbows away from the body), look directly at the client, and show him or her (through facial expressions, voice, and energy) that you feel confident and positive. Plan ahead.Don't rely on handouts that are still warm from the copying machine when you deliver your speech. While you're at it, avoid writing your speech in the taxi on the way to the client's office. You want to get your sales pitch down before it's time to rush over to the client's office. Class Act Too many speakers become abstract and machine-like when presenting. Be human: Use a conversational tone and casual language. Smile when appropriate. Sales presentations demand special persuasive techniques. Your appeal can be direct or indirect --and your choice of technique depends largely on your audience and the amount of resistance you expect to encounter.