Your first impression is a lasting impression. The way you walk into a room, dress, stand sit, and the way you dress all creates an impression that has an impact on how people perceive who you are.
Even the materials you hand out make an impression and it’s up to you what you’re willing to project. Never, ever hand out materials that are less than first class. Do not make copies of copies or have materials that don’t match your website and business cards.
What does your voicemail message sound like? Is it enthusiastic, upbeat and inspiring? If you were to call your number would you be compelled to leave a message or hang up?
Does your website create a message that portrays your expertise? Is your message loud and clear and do you update your site at regular intervals encouraging your visitors to return often? Have you put a capture box on your site to create a database? These strategies are required of speakers who expect to reach the pinnacle of their field.
When you use dates, be sure that they are correct. If you use statistics be sure they’re accurate. And one of my real pet peeves is not giving the person the credit for a quote who created it or not using the quote accurately.
Be sure your presentation has an appropriate beginning, middle and end. And always deliver more than the perceived expectation. Content rules in the speaking arena. Don’t ever let anyone tell you any different. There are a lot of speakers who deliver a lot of fluff and are constantly selling throughout their presentation, don’t become one of them.
When emotions are involved, make sure they match your content. Don’t get overly emotional if what you’re saying doesn’t warrant doing so. Keep them laughing and keep it lively.
A little spice and intrigue is always a great method of keeping your audience’s attention but make sure it’s used wisely and not overdone. More is not better in this case.
One of the best ways I discovered how to use timing is to watch Comedy Central. The standup comics are masters at timing. It is a well practiced artist that makes it look easy and seamless.
There is also a great technique called attention-grabbers. One type is using a 180 degree viewpoint. I was speaking at a Toastmaster’s club in Concord a few years back and one of the members asked how I got to Concord.
I answered with a straight face, right eyebrow arched, “In my car?” with just a lilt of a question. The immediate response was laughter. Of course that wasn’t the question that was being asked, but it is a masterful way of lightening the atmosphere and getting people to laugh.