Know When to Shut-up

When I take on a client that is currently speaking in public, I attend one of their talks to get an understanding of what their current strengths and weaknesses are. On one of these occasions towards the end of the talk, there was a very, very emotionally powerful testimonial. That testimony reached into your chest, grabbed you heart and laid it on the smiley-zipping-mouthtable for all to see. When the testimonial was completed, he picked up and talked for another five minutes. I’m my head I was screaming “Nooooooo!” for four minutes and thirty seconds.

Too many presenters don’t know when to shut-up. When you have the audience right where you want them, give them one or two sentences of direction and shut up. Don’t say thank you, it’s been a pleasure or anything else that will bring the audience out of a powerful state. Leave them with a powerful feeling that’s associated with you. This can create customers for life, change habits and even change lives.

This advice also goes for presentation[s] given one-on-one in a sales situation. Last year, I was in the market for carpet. Several places did not get my business because of the way I felt after talking with the sales people. There were high-pressure tactics, not being able to answer my questions and lack of knowledge of their product. The person that I did buy from I had to tell him to stop and write up my order. After I said I would take it, he kept up his sales pitch. The reason I did not walk out was he had gotten me to like him during the time we chatted before the formal sales started.

As I say all the time, “Whether it’s one-on-one or one-on-a-thousand, the same skill apply.” It’s critical to get your audience in the proper emotional state to motivate them. To connect you have to create the experience they want.

As for my client, I gave him this line to end with, “I started my journey to heal people when I was twenty-four and that journey will not end until I can help you.” This simple line transfers the emotion generated by the personal testimonial and anchors it to him. Like most speaking tools, it’s simple and powerful when used correctly.

Mark