On August 5, the LMA Capital Chapter hosted a webinar titled Selling Success – How to Engage, Persuade & Affect Change Through Presentation, presented by James Ziglar of The Ziglar Group. In his presentation, James shared best practices for creating and giving effective presentations. With the following tips in mind, you can bring James’ expertise back to your firm as you prepare and present webinars, client pitches, conference keynotes and more.
The first thing to do is remember that once you step up to the podium you become a salesperson. Attorneys or staff, we are all salespeople in one way or another – if you take these tips back to your firm, you know you’ll have to sell your ideas to leadership before they are used in a training session. James shared the words of Charles Schwab: "We are all salespeople, every day of our lives. We are selling our ideas, our plans, our enthusiasms to those with whom we come in contact."
James noted that for communication to be effective it needs to be client-centered. This means having an understanding of your audience, their needs and knowing how to effectively deliver your message to them. Effective delivery consists of three different types of communication: non-verbal, verbal, and language. Surprisingly, non-verbal communication is the key influencer on your audience, followed by verbal and then language.
The importance of non-verbal communication is often illustrated with the phrase “It’s not what you said but how you said it,” which holds true for professional persuasive speaking as well as interpersonal communication.
Good non-verbal communication includes:
- Confident posture – no slouching or fidgeting (see this TED talk by Amy Cuddy for further details)
- Meaningful gestures – find the happy medium between clasping your hands and flailing
- Facial expressions that align with your message (as James said, “Facial expressions are gestures from the neck up”)
- An authoritative appearance – dress one step above the formality of your audience. Wear clothing that fits but is not flashy.
Good verbal communication includes:
- A controlled volume
- Natural inflection – avoid a monotonous speaking voice and avoid sounding like you are reading
- A speed in which people can understand and process your words – not too fast and not too slow that you lull your audience to sleep
- Understand and prepare for your audiences needs. Even if you have given the same speech dozens of times, take the time to tailor it to the needs of your audience. This could mean updating your examples or adding an anecdote or a Q&A session.
- Speak extemporaneously and use notes sparingly. Demonstrate that you have internalized this knowledge and that you are a subject-matter expert.
For attorneys, the language of the presentation is typically not an issue, but in meticulously preparing the content of the presentation, the physical aspects of the preparation can be neglected, resulting in a fantastic presentation that the audience never truly heard. By incorporating active rehearsal into presentation preparation, speakers can bring non-verbal, verbal and language together to create a presentation that is heard, remembered, and acted upon. After, hard work beats talent if talent does not work.
By Ashley Stockwell, Communications Coordinator at BuckleySandler LLP for the July/August 2015 Issue of the Capital Ideas Newsletter.