Getting an opportunity to represent your firm during a presentation or media appearance is valuable. Here’s how you can get the most mileage from it.
It’s all too rare that these chances come around. When they do, they’re fantastic opportunities, whether presentation or webinar, television or radio spot, a panel discussion or some other public appearance. Each of these moments is full of potential for really bringing what’s special about your firm and your expertise to new audiences and enhancing your reputation as a leader in the industry.
When you get your moment in the sun, you want to do everything possible to make the most of it. After all, what better way to reach a lot of new listeners and show them what they’ve been missing? Despite that knowledge, it can be intimidating to speak in public. We aren’t all natural performers and even those with a flair for the dramatic can benefit from solid preparation.
Keep these five tips in mind and you’ll get great results and kudos on your performance. Each time you show up for an event strive to be:
- Prepared. Know not just the topic but the likely questions, followup questions, viewpoints of the other speakers and style of the host. How do these events usually unfold? How formal or casual do the speakers tend to be? How much time will you have? The more you know going in, the better you’ll be able to handle the event and its inevitable surprises.
- Practiced. This isn’t the same thing as general preparation. Practice means rehearse the things you’re going to say, complete with gestures, introductions and timing. Say it out loud – in the mirror, in the car and in front of an audience (your dog and baby totally count). Just making your mouth and the rest of your body familiar with what’s they’re going to do will greatly enhance your performance during the actual event.
- Simple. You’re a financial professional. That means you know things that seem like rocket surgery to the uninitiated. The ability to distill your knowledge of what is being discussed into something all listeners can grasp and use is what will make you extremely valuable as a public speaker. We know you’re smart. Now if you can make your audience feel smart by letting them understand a complex topic, we’ll agree that you’re positively brilliant.
- Enthusiastic. You don’t have to be a chirpy, bouncy Smurf but a bit of animation and enthusiasm makes a big difference to the way you’re perceived. Energy and enthusiasm are both appealing and contagious; get your audience involved and they’ll remember you fondly in addition to paying more attention to your message.
- Sincere. This can be tricky, but there’s a distinct and important aura of authenticity you give when you’re being genuine. Try to ignore the cameras, lights and mikes (while still respecting their needs, of course) and focus on the person or people you’re talking to. Get into the mindset that’s more like it is when your niece or your next door neighbor is asking you for advice. Connect with the caring that you express when you’re not in the public eye and you’ll come across as more appealing than you will in awkward actor mode.
If you follow these guidelines you’ll be confident going in and comfortable afterwards that you made a great impression. Better yet, you’ll have demonstrated that you’re an informative and engaging speaker, and chances are good that you’ll see more invitations in the future. And because success in these moments can make such a difference, your firm may want to consider getting some media and presentation training for those who will be doing this job. It’s money well spent.