Let’s start with some trivia. Who said, “ … the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do?” Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and a master of public speaking made this statement to open Apple’s 1997 Think Different campaign.
How did he achieve such mastery? Let’s get one thing straight, he wasn’t a natural-born speaker.
Captivating an audience, no matter how effortless the speaker looks on stage, takes a lot of hard work. And that means you should be practicing your butt off long before your next speaking gig.
But what do you practice, and how do you then deliver? Here are some ways you can maximize your speaking engagements by selling from the stage.
Empathy: create a connection with your audience
I know it’s hard to believe, but when you speak it’s not all about you. It’s about your audience. Who are they? Where are they in life? What frustrates them? What thoughts or habits do they struggle with?
When you know who you’re talking to, you can better communicate your journey to success. Remind your audience that you understand where they are now.
And by the way, what made you decide to change your own life? Share that too. When you identify what led to your success, you inspire your audience to imagine their own success.
Empathy goes both ways. Your audience should see themselves in your story and find inspiration in what you share. Use your words to take them on a journey to imagine how they can change their own lives and businesses. When you use your story, you relate to your audience, and they relate to you.
Don’t sell your product, sell the experience
You’ve probably heard this before. Spoiler alert: selling the experience works.
People don’t buy products. They buy stories, feelings and lifestyles. Your audience doesn’t want a product. They want a better life, a more successful business or the confidence to achieve their goals.
As you engage your audience, focus on the experience of — not the owning of — your product.
What emotions do you want your audience to feel? What do you want your audience to visualize? You’ll only be able to answer these questions if you know exactly how the product will affect your audience.
As you work on your speech, remind yourself that people buy experiences.
So, what are you selling again?
Practice like there’s no tomorrow
Speakers who can move their audience and sell from the stage are intentional, strategic and rehearse like there’s no tomorrow. Have confidence and acknowledge you have what it takes to do this, and do it well.
When rehearsing, be natural, and don’t seem desperate for sales. Rather than your audience feeling that you’re selling to them, communicate your passion for what you do. When your audience sees and feels that you know your own value, they will be even more attracted to you.
In the new book, “Becoming Steve Jobs,” the authors share that “Steve would rehearse endlessly and fastidiously.” While you might not be talking about the latest flashy tech gadget, your goal is still to make a positive change in the lives of each of your audience members. And practice makes perfect.
Know your audience and create a connection by letting them know you. When an emotional connection is made, it creates a mutual sense of trust. And that is incredibly valuable.
Sell the experience, not the product. Your audience wants an experience and that is what you have to bring to life. So be intentional with what you’re offering. Know your speech like the back of your hand, and deliver it effortlessly.