Prepare For The Unexpected (hint, public speaking)

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by Suzanna Watson on October 14, 2010

Always be prepared to speak about your business, because you never know when the opportunity may present itself.

I recently attended a networking breakfast, and out of the blue the president of the business association asked me to do a 5 minute presentation about my business (the person that was to speak did not show up).

Though I was a little nervous I said yes right away. Luckily I did not have to go first, so I sat for the next 15 minutes and thought about what I would say when my turn came.

Normally I do get up in front of the networking crowd and give a 30 second commercial, that is easy, but to speak for 5 minutes in a cohesive manner had me little scared. I am used to introducing myself to people to I have never met before, but to get up in front of 50 people for 5 minutes is intimidating, especially with only 15 minutes notice. 

When my turn came I did my speech and was pleased that I did not stumble and fumble over my words. I even asked if anyone had questions (I was feeling pretty comfortable at this point), and they did, which was a real nice treat.  

But what happened next was a real delight.

While I was making my presentation several of the members stood up and spoke on my behalf (in the last few months we have performed some work for three other people in this networking group). We went out of our way (like we preach to you guys and girls) to “knock their socks off” (this not only included great service, but the smaller details like sending out a “thank you” card after all work is complete).

Each of the three customers stood up and not only vouched for us, but gave a glowing testimonial on our behalf. The truly amazing part is that after everyone’s presentation, three different people (including the most president of the association, who surely is very influential, and may result in even more referrals) came up to me and asked for my card because they needed services.

Now I’ve been making my speeches for some time, and people don’t really rush after me looking to make appointments for my service when I finish speaking. What made this day different was my “currnet customers” stood up and did the selling for me. What a difference! Like Tom and I say all the time, you can blow your own horn all day with little to show for it, but when your clients do it on your behalf the phone will ring off the hook. 

To avoid the fear of making a speech up on the fly, my advice to you is have something prepared in writing, just in case you are asked to speak about your business for more than just a 30 second commercial. Though my speech went off without a hitch, having something written in front of me might have kept my nervous energy to a minimum.

At the end of the day, be prepared for the unexpected and give great service. When you do, your current customers may just become your most valuable asset in getting new accounts signed up.

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