Speaking in public can be a powerful way to build a business. It can help raise profile of your business, generate new leads and create greater profits. But speaking in public can be nerve wracking and seriously stressful for first timers. Writing a speech can be a major challenge, especially for technical writers.
We can all learn from watching professional speakers.
I have achieved a long held ambition to hear Bill Clinton - in Perth on Saturday February 23, 2002. It was a fantastic event!
My motivation? Anyone who earns $300,000 for a 50 minute keynote presentation must be good. As a professional speaker, I wanted to see Clinton in action. I didn't want to only hear what he said, but how he said it.
Here's my analysis of what I learnt from hearing Bill Clinton in person and noting how he was presented. You should be able to adapt at least some of these points to fit your own circumstances.
1. The marketing strategy
In previous years a big advertising blitz brought audiences to see speakers such as former Soviet leader Gorbachov and others. Their marketing approach was very commercially focused with a massive advertising budget. The Clinton event had a more humanitarian angle with funds being raised for a good cause, namely sick kids through The Princess Margaret Hospital for Children Foundation. This was a better match with Clinton's core values of building community and having an empathy with concerns of ordinary people. The marketing campaign relied heavily on positive media coverage to create awareness of event.
2. A memorable entry
Clinton's entry to ballroom was brilliantly stage-managed. Everyone was asked to stand and then he walked into room to his US Presidential election theme song 'Happy Days are here again'. The emotion in room was electric and made hairs on back of my neck stand up!
3. Personal presentation
His dress and presentation was absolutely immaculate. (Maybe $500 haircuts help.) Many women at my table commented that Clinton was far better looking in flesh than on TV.
4. The Power of Presence
There was a buzz about being in same room as President Clinton. His body language, smile and confident hand shake exuded charisma. His considerable charm reminded me of that high school science experiment when you tip iron filings onto a white sheet of paper covering a strong magnet. People were attracted to Clinton like metal filings to a powerful magnetic field.
Alan Jones was MC and warm-up included a short film taking a light hearted look at Clinton's last days in office. Scenes included Clinton washing Presidential car, clipping hedges and playing switchboard operator in Oval Room. A great scene from a press conference showed Clinton waking a single sleeping journalist.