While working with BNI members I am often asked whether I should tailor my 60 second presentation for the specific venue being attended. My answer is yes. You should always tailor your wording, approach, dress and actions for the specific event because this will allow you to be more effective. However most networks do not have the skill or are will to take the time to thing through what they need to do differently to be more effective.
This Third installment of the series on common mistakes made during 60 second presentations cover these elements. This segment of the series brings to the forefront 5 of the most common mistakes dealing with venue and appearance. This articles lays out the 5 problem in a list format and at the same time provide the reader what they need to do to void committing these mistakes. Following this prescription the reader will improve their over all presentations moving then in the direction of getting more referral and making more money. Let’s get started.
Mistake#1 Using your 60 second presentation in social networking. There are two problems with using your business presentations’ as a social message. First and most foremost, people in your social networks don’t want to see commercials in that venue. That is not why they joined face book and twitter. Second your message will not translate word for word as it would in a live presentation (unless it’s a video of your presentation). You have to choose your wording carefully and in general it has to be a softer sell. Social networks are more about sharing not selling. The more you sell to your social network the greater, the chance you getting blocked or removed from their network.
Mistake #2 Using the wrong wording for a specific venue. What I am getting at here is the mistake of using highly religious statements in a total secular venue or the reverse, using secular language in an all religious venues. A similar mistake could happen when addressing an all female audience while exclusively using masculine wording. Words like men, him, his, and he carry gender exclusive connotations. Woman with strong feminine beliefs don’t take kindly to the exclusive use of male gender only statements. The reverse is also true. If you’re a Woman presenter and you are speaking to an all male audience, using all female gender language will hurt your credibility. Whenever possible make sure your language is appropriate for the venue. At the very least make sure it is neutral so you don’t inadvertently offend your audience.
Mistake #3 Bad Posture. This mistake can be related to poor delivery and can be tied to your mood and well-being. It is important that you maintain good posture when you speak. Your posture directly affects your delivery. Sometimes I see people sitting when they should be standing or hiding behind a podium or another person. Hiding does not add to your credibility either. Being too casual or appearing slouched does not portray you as being confident. Your body language will be a dead give away. Through your shoulder back, stand tall and look people in the eye. Act confident, stand confident and you will be seen as competent!
Mistake #4 Inappropriate Dress for the venue. The last item that I will be discussing is also about body language, although it more about what’s on your body then the way it moves. I’m talking about looking your best. It is my opinion, it will never hurts your credibility to be the best dressed person at any event. (Unless you are wearing a tux to a beach party). Many networking venues have dress codes and not wearing the proper attire can easily get you embarrassed or worse get you ejected. If an event is Business attire or business casual, ask what that mean. I will usually wear at least a sport coat and most often wear a suite and tie. Ladies should also ask what is appropriate. Many times the dress you’re wearing looks stunning but distracts from your message. Also remember that your suite or dress has to fit right. If your attire is not fitted properly, you risk being classified unsophisticated, cheap or just plain ignorant. You don’t want to be classified as anything other than professional! It’s better to be a little over dressed than it is to be under dressed. If an event is labeled casual, it still won’t hurt your credibility to be the nicest casually dress person there. I never wear jeans in any business setting unless the venue calls for jeans! Be appropriate for your industry and for the venue. Try to always look your best. Looking your best help you feel confident and help you carry your message to your listeners.
Mistake #5 Not Being Prepared. It amazes me when people come to me complaining, saying their not getting referral yet they have not done any preparation for their moment in the spot light. When I see poorly or hastily prepared infomercial’s, the person usually looks rushed, out of sync, and unprofessional. The number of “um’s and ah’s” used as words sky rocket. They often read from hastily written sheets of paper which even make them look more unprepared. A professional does not read a script. They know it. There is no substitute for preparation. A good way to be prepared is to practice often. A good way to practice is to ask people your meeting, (i.e. your referral partners) to listen to your 60 second presentation. This could be done when meeting a person for lunch or coffee. If you are in a networking organization like BNI, practice during your 1-2-1 meetings. Remember practice moves you towards perfect. The more you say your 60 second presentation, the better it will be. Doing this on a regular basis will increase your credibility, get you more referral and make you more money.
Future segments will talk about another group of common mistakes you will want to eliminate. Until then, work on these and let me know how it’s helping you. If you would like to know more about this subject, visit my free blog to read several other articles covering this subject.