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Your Speech Needs a Point

Your Speech Needs a Point

When I work with a public speaking client, the first thing we talk about is their intended audience. We need to know who exactly they're talking to before we plan what to say.

The next thing we do is get to the point. This means we determine what their takeaway is. Yes, we know their topic, but a takeaway goes further. A takeaway answers this question:

Five years from now, what is the one thing you want this audience to remember from your speech?

The answer to that question is the point of the speech. It's the takeaway. It's the one thing we build their presentation around.

Most speeches are 40-60 minutes. As a speaker, you can only share a certain amount of information in that timeframe effectively. You cannot tell the audience every single thing you know about your topic. You wouldn't be able to cram your lifetime of knowledge into that 40-60 minutes, and the audience wouldn't want you to.

Instead, determine your takeaway based on your overall topic. Ask yourself what one thing from your speech you want your audience to remember five years from now, and that's your takeaway. That's the whole point of your speech.

Your overall topic may be "Instagram," but your takeaway may be "Instagram Stories are easily utilized to build the know-like-trust factor with your customers."

See the difference?

Once you know your takeaway, write it down as a statement. Print it at the top of your paper when you begin brainstorming ideas for the content of your speech. For each point you think should be included in the speech, ask yourself if it supports your overall takeaway. It it does, keep it. If it doesn't it, save it for a future speech or dump it altogether.

Less is more in public speaking. Keep your speech simple by making a point-- one point-- and delivering content that supports it.

 

We talk about this and other public speaking topics in our Speaking Society. Click here to join our community that accelerates your communication, connection, and confidence!

Your Speech Needs a Point | He says, She says | Carrie Sharpe
How to Create an Online Workshop

How to Create an Online Workshop

You don't need to be in-person to host a workshop. You also don't need to be a professional speaker or presenter. 

All you need is a skill that others want to learn about.

That thing people are always asking you for advice about is the thing you can teach in an online workshop.

Maybe it's baking beautiful bread. Maybe it's knitting a special scarf. Maybe it's designing a website's landing page. Maybe it's tying fly-fishing knots. Maybe it's planning out a year of social media marketing.

Whatever skill you have can be successfully turned into an online workshop, and there's no better time. You don't have to leave home. Heck, you don't even have to put on pants.

Online workshops are the perfect choice because they:

• don’t take much planning

• are easy to do

• showcase your expertise

• build relationships

• teach something

• can grow your audience (email list or social media following)

• can generate income

Convinced? Awesome.

Now you need to plan your online workshop. Here's how:

1. Decide what your goals are. Are you trying to reach more people with a free online workshop? Are you trying to make money with an online workshop you charge for? Are you just doing it for fun? What do you want your participants to learn from you? Take time to determine your overall goals.

2. Decide on a topic. The easiest way to choose a topic is to think about this question: What do people ask your advice about most often? The questions you answer for people most often make excellent workshop topics.

3. Create an outline. Include your intro, bulletpoints, a conclusion, and a call to action. An outline will keep you on track during your online workshop. 

4. Plan whether you'll include screen shares, demonstrations, or just you talking. There are so many options, so figure out which ones will work best for what you're teaching.

5. Create handouts and worksheets, if applicable. These can be made available before the workshop for participants to work through with you, or after the workshop for additional assistance. Checklists and templates are valuable for online workshops.

6. Create an up-sell offer, if applicable. If you are using an online workshop as an opt-in or introductory offer, you may wish to design a relevant offer to sell to your participants. Think this through before your workshop so you are ready to sell it during the workshop.

7. Create and schedule follow-up emails. Provide a way for your participants to learn more and continue to connect with you. 

8. Practice on Zoom or whichever software platform you choose to use. Familiarize yourself with how it works and all the options. If you've never used it before, enlist a friend or family member to do a practice run-through with you.

Now that you see how easy it is to create an online workshop, get to work on yours. You can take anything you know and teach it in an online workshop either for free or to make money. This is the perfect time to host online workshops, so don't wait another minute... start planning yours now!

 

We created an online workshops checklist to walk you through the entire process, start to finish, so you don't miss an important step. It's available as an exclusive resource for our Speaking Society members. You're invited to become a member and get your own copy of that checklist here.

How to Create an Online Workshop | Carrie Sharpe | Ryan Sharpe | He says, She says
3 Lessons the Gettysburg Address Teaches Speakers

3 Lessons the Gettysburg Address Teaches Speakers

The Gettysburg Address was delivered by Abraham Lincoln on November 19, 1863, to dedicate the battlefield cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Lincoln's powerful words inspired his audience. We remember his speech this many years later, and as speakers we can learn a lot from it. 

Consider these three lessons from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address:

1. You can make an impact even if you aren't the keynote speaker.

Believe it or not, Abe Lincoln wasn't the keynote speaker that day. Edward Everett was. Everett was a popular orator of the day and was called upon to deliver the main speech at the dedication ceremony. Lincoln was simply asked to deliver a "few appropriate remarks" after Everett. But which speech have you heard of? Which speech do we still talk about to this day? Exactly. It's not necessary to be the keynote speaker to inspire an audience.

2. A speech doesn't have to be long to be powerful.

Edward Everett's keynote that day was two hours long. Seriously. Abraham Lincoln's entire Gettysburg Address was under three minutes and influenced the course of history. Everett himself said, "I wish that I could flatter myself that I had come as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes." Enough said.

3. Slides aren't necessary. 

Abraham Lincoln didn't use slides while presenting the Gettysburg Address. Not only had slides not been invented yet, but they weren't necessary. The focus was on Lincoln's message. Lincoln prepared a powerful talk and delivered it without distractions like slides. They simply weren't needed. I'd also point out that most, if not all, famous speeches have been presented without the use of slides to distract from them. If you'll recall, "I Have a Dream" involved zero slides as well.

 

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

 

Those words still make an impact long after the speech was delivered. Will yours?

__________ 

 

Click here to read the full text of the Gettysburg Address.

Want to hit the next level as a speaker? Join the Speaking Society to accelerate your communication, connection, and confidence! Click here for details.

3 Lessons the Gettysburg Address Teaches Speakers | He says, She says

How to Give a Powerful Speech

How to Give a Powerful Speech

It's not hard to give a speech. People do it every day. But if your goal is to connect with your audience and deliver a memorable presentation, you'll need to put in some preparation and practice. Powerful speeches rarely "just happen," so follow these tips to ensure your speech makes an impact.

1. Know your audience.

Knowing who you're talking to is key. Know their basic demographics, but also know their skill level regarding your topic, their interest level in your topic (Do they want to be here, or do they have to?), and what they need to hear from you to move forward. Give them what they need.

2. Write down your overall takeaway, and stick to it.

Ask yourself: If this audience could only remember one thing from my speech, what would I want it to be? Write your answer down as one complete sentence. That's your takeaway. Write it at the top of your paper as you begin developing your speech. As you add things to your speech ask yourself if each thing supports that takeaway. If it does, keep it in your speech. If it doesn't, save it for a different speech.

3. Prepare notes (not a script).

Memorizing a speech is not necessary and may even sound robotic. It's better to sound conversational yet prepared. Create an outline with bulletpoints. As you talk through it, you'll be able to condense your notes further and further. Ultimately you want to become familiar enough with your material that your notes are minimal. Just a skeletal structure is all you need. The only parts of your speech that should be written out verbatim in your notes are quotes, statistics, and anything else that must be shared exactly as written.

4. Share stories that illustrate your points.

Stories are memorable and relatable, so you'll want to include them in your speech. Make sure you choose stories that are relevant to your topic and audience, and then practice telling them until you sound natural. Don't underestimate the power of stories... they are often remembered long after the speech when statistics are forgotten.

5. Have a conversation with your audience.

Move around the stage naturally. Use expressive (yet appropriate) body language. You want to engage the audience and make them feel like they're part of the conversation rather than passive observers, so talk with them rather than at them. While we're on this subject let me just add that it's virtually impossible to have a conversation with your audience if you're reading slides to them. Don't let slides take over your speech and wreck it. For more information about slides, click here.

6. Practice. Practice again. Practice more. Repeat.

Creating your notes is not full preparation for giving a powerful speech. You must practice. That means you must say your speech out loud so many times that it feels like second nature. When you get on stage for the big day, you should feel like giving your speech is "old hat." When you've practiced enough, your speech will feel like a familiar friend. Your audience deserves your best, and that means you must practice, practice again, practice again, and practice again. Get feedback, tweak things, and practice more. 

And then please practice again.

And again.

Once more after that wouldn't hurt, either.

To deliver a powerful speech you must know your audience, prepare properly, and practice until your speech feels so familiar that you could deliver it in your sleep. Your audience will appreciate your effort, and you'll make an impact for years to come.

Need to improve your speech or stage presence? Click here to schedule a call with Carrie to learn more about how she can help you achieve your goals!

 How to Give a Powerful Speech | Carrie Sharpe | He says, She says

Want to be an Amazing Networker? Stop Doing These 3 Things.

Want to be an Amazing Networker? Stop Doing These 3 Things.

Networking is a hot topic.

Recently I asked our community members to tell me about the kind of networking behaviors that drive them crazy.

Their responses were overwhelming.

It seems we've all experienced some pretty lousy networking tactics over the years, and it's time to put a stop to it. Networking takes a lot of time and energy, so don't waste yours on ineffective (and totally cringe-worthy!) tactics.

If you want to get good results from your networking efforts, stop these behaviors immediately:

1. Making it all about you.

If you spend the entire networking event talking about yourself and your needs, you've missed an opportunity to develop connections and relationships with others (which, by the way, is the actual point of networking). If the majority of your sentences start with "I" you may be making it all about you.  

Veronica Staudt shared this experience: "It was when I was sold a 'networking' event where someone I wanted to meet/hear speak was the highlight. The person never showed up to the event. In fact, the organizers then said, 'You can still speak/network with her at an after party,' which was all the way across town. Even though I was a bit perturbed, I said fine, I attended the original event and the afterparty. Once at the Afterparty, said speaker networked with people for only 30 minutes because she had to leave for another event to emcee."

Kathryn Young said, "I think the very worst is to always have your hand out for help or sales and leads but do nothing to help others. I tell my group, be of service first. Build a relationship. Networking is a long game. Play it well."

Indeed.

2. Forgoing basic etiquette and social skills, both in-person and online.

Networking should serve to increase your know-like-trust factor with others, but if you are rude, obnoxious, or oblivious to social cues, you'll blow it.

"It's hard when you're trying to network at an event and the person you're speaking with is missing the social cues that you'd like to wrap up the conversation. At that point, you must become much more obvious (and potentially a bit awkward) so that you can have other conversations," said Suzanne Brown

Speaker and Author Sasha Gray said, "When you're at a networking event, and some people never get up out of their seat or off their phone to actually network, you wonder who is sending them to this event, and if they are just there for the food. When I go to an event specifically for networking, I want to meet as many people as I can, make connections with as many as possible, and be able to follow up with them that week. If I never see your face, I can't do that."

"I used to help facilitate the weekly networking group for our local chamber of commerce. The most frustrating thing we ran into was a complete lack of respect for time limitations. Each person was allowed 30 seconds for an elevator pitch. I had a timer set to go off at 30 seconds, then another 10 seconds and then another 5 seconds. I had the volume turned up all the way on my phone so everyone could hear, but there were always a couple people who felt those rules never applied to them. The same thing with the 15 minute presentations. Networking isn’t just about getting your name out there. It’s also about showing due respect to others, including honoring their time," said Susan Whitehead.

Robin Oakes added, "Getting a friend request from someone whose page clearly only markets their products and you don't have any connections to that person or interest in what they are marketing. I currently have one I haven't declined yet."

Use good manners, friends. The Golden Rule is still a thing.

3. Hard-selling your products and services to people you have no relationships with and whose needs you don't know.

Sunit Suchdev shared this example: "Getting a private message in my dm inbox on Instagram when I follow someone new- they instantly send me a robotic automated message thanking me for the follow and asking if I’d like to buy their product, join their group etc etc. It’s clear that they haven’t done any research on who I am or what I do- many times the product or service they sell is the same as me. Even if I politely decline, they’ll follow up a few months later and say 'I’m just checking in to make sure you’re still good,' and they obviously still don’t know what I do. I don’t want to take the time to explain that I already have a health and wellness business or already sell essential oils because if they took a minute and learned about me they would know that.... but at the same time, if I politely say no they follow up again. It gets really annoying. I get several of these a day."

Virtual Assistant Lori Evans added, "Two days ago I was invited to a group for curvy singles. I’m neither single nor particularly curvy. I declined the invite. Today I was invited again. So I had no choice but to unfriend the person who invited me. I’ve also never spoken to this person before."

Jen Snyder gave perhaps the most poignant example of a hard sell gone wrong: "Hi! I haven’t talked to you since first grade but I see you’re fat now. Would you like to try my MLM product?"

OMG.

Networking is a vital business-building skill that we all need to master. Knowing which behaviors to avoid is essential to success. We've talked a lot here about what not to do when it comes to networking. For details on what to do, click here. Then head over to our Speaking Society to talk more about networking, public speaking, and other communication skills that will grow your business or career.

Want to be an Amazing Networker? Stop Doing These 3 Things.

You Don't Have to be a Hot Mess to Connect with Your Audience

You Don't Have to be a Hot Mess to Connect with Your Audience

I'd really like to know who decided that the only way to be relatable is to be a hot mess. 

Suddenly I see photos in my newsfeed of women who look like they just rolled out of bed trying to sell me their professional products and services. Piles of filthy laundry. Dirty dishes stacked in the sink. Messy hair. Messy house. Messy life.

Um, no, thanks.

I understand the thought process behind it... no one wants to buy from someone who seems perfect. We want people to be genuine and real.

But must "real" equal "hot mess?"

I don't think so.

As a woman in her forties who has a marriage of over twenty years, professional career, and older children, I am not a hot mess most days. I can't be. People rely on me to be professional and get things done thoroughly. My house can't look like a bomb went off, I can't show up at networking events wearing sweats and a tank top, and I need to be on time for meetings. 

Hot mess won't cut it in my life.

I'm nowhere near perfect, but I'm not a disaster, either. So when I see women selling themselves as a hot mess, I can't relate. I don't equate "hot mess" with "professional."

I don't need perfection, but I do need professional.

I relate to professional. It connects with me. I look to people who are competent, educated, established, and have their stuff together for the most part.

So allow me to reassure you: If you've seen those "hot mess" posts/ads/videos and felt pressure to do the same in order to connect with your audience, it's not necessary to be a hot mess to connect with your audience. Think it through carefully first. 

Is "hot mess" really you?

Is "hot mess" how you want to be known?

Who's in your audience... do they really relate to "hot mess?"

"Hot mess" marketing may work in some industries, but it doesn't work in all. Don't feel pressure to be someone or something you're not. Be you, and connect with your audience in your own way. No hot mess required.

You Don't Have to be a Hot Mess to Connect with Your Audience | Carrie Sharpe

Looking for a supportive community where you can learn more about connecting and other communication topics? You're invited to join us over in our Speaking Society! Click here to join.
3 Ways You're Screwing Up as a Public Speaker

3 Ways You're Screwing Up as a Public Speaker

Almost everyone has to do some form of public speaking at some point. Whether you have to give a presentation to a few coworkers or you're delivering a keynote to a stadium full of people, you need to accomplish your goals of connecting with your audience, teaching something, and inspiring action.

It's easy to screw that up.

If you aren't hitting a home-run with your speeches, it's time to reflect, get feedback, and make the necessary changes. 

Here are 3 ways you may be screwing up as a speaker:

1. You aren't preparing... properly.

Preparation means more than jotting down a few bullet points and going over your notes the night before a speech. To be truly prepared, you need to do the work. That means you need to research your topic, learn what the audience needs from you, figure out which stories and illustrations will enhance your talk, determine how best to start the talk, and decide how best to end it. Then you have to draft the talk, refine it, practice it, record yourself giving it, watch your practice video, make changes, practice again, and repeat. Lack of proper preparation is the biggest mistake I see speakers make. (Need help preparing? Click here.)

2. You don't know your audience.

It's imperative that you know who you're talking to so you can tell them what they need to hear in the way they need to hear it. Do they expect a casual talk or a formal presentation? Do they already know the basics about your topic, or do they need to know all the foundational information? Are they familiar with industry jargon? Think through exactly who your audience is. Think through age, gender, education level, industry, marital status, and any other relevant demographics. If you aren't sure, ask the event planner. (For more about knowing your audience, click here.)

3. You're a diva.

Are you speaking for you or for your audience? Are you making demands? What are your motives for speaking? All too often, I see otherwise talented speakers lose audiences through vanity and narcism. Speaking is serving. Check your pride at the door. Divas don't connect with audiences... they repel them. Audience members can see a diva coming a mile away. (For more on serving your audience, click here.)

It's easy to screw up as a public speaker, but it's also pretty easy to fix your issues. Take the time to really analyze your most recent presentations. Be honest with yourself about each of the three issues I described above, and change accordingly. If you aren't sure how, click here and let's talk about how we can work on it together.

3 Ways You're Screwing Up as a Public Speaker | Carrie Sharpe

Looking for a supportive community where you can learn more about public speaking and other communication topics? You're invited to join us over in our Speaking Society. Click here to join.

How to Find the Right Networking Events for You

How to Find the Right Networking Events for You

It's vital that we make connections through networking. Networking leads to relationships that develop into friendships, mentorships, partnerships, collaborations, and referrals. But we can sure waste a lot of time by attending the wrong networking events.

Watch this video to make sure you're attending the right ones for you:

How to Find the Right Networking Events for You | Carrie Sharpe
Looking for a supportive community where you can learn more about networking and other communication topics? You're invited to join us over in our Speaking Society. Click here to join.
This One Thing is Killing Your Credibility as a Speaker

This One Thing is Killing Your Credibility as a Speaker

What could that one thing be?

It's vital that a speaker establishes credibility, but this one thing can kill it in an instant. Watch as I describe what that one thing is and what you should do instead to boost your credibility as a speaker:

This One Thing is Killing Your Credibility as a Speaker

Learn more about credibility in our Speaking Society. Click here to join!

Establishing Credibility as a Speaker: Your Word is Your Worth

Establishing Credibility as a Speaker: Your Word is Your Worth

Personal credibility.

That's a tough topic, but it's so important. There have been times when I've been asked to refer a speaker for a particular event. You know what's sad? When a speaker would be perfect for that event but I can't recommend him/her because of their personal credibility issues.

If a speaker is known for arriving late to a speaking event, there's a personal credibility issue (please don't misunderstand-- an emergency or one-time issue is NOT what I'm talking about... I'm talking about someone who is habitually late).

If a speaker makes unreasonable demands and becomes known as a diva, there is a personal credibility issue.

If a speaker backs out of a speaking contract/agreement simply because he no longer feels like going to the event, there's a personal credibility issue.

If a speaker shows up to an event wearing inappropriate clothing choices for that event, there's a personal credibility issue (I've truly seen it all).

If a speaker flirts with members of the event committee, there is a personal credibility issue (yes, I've seen this happen, and it's not pretty).

The point here is to be a professional in every sense of the word. Your credibility is at stake. Future speaking opportunities are at stake. Your reputation is at stake. Referrals and recommendations are at stake.

Today make a personal list of things you can improve in regards to your personal credibility. You don't need to share it with anyone, but please reflect and be honest with yourself. Once you've done this, take action on that list!

Establishing Credibility as a Speaker: Your Word is Your Worth