What Country Music Taught Me About Public Speaking

When I was 16 years old, I had a girlfriend who slowly but surely converted me to country music. It started with Garth Brooks’ Standing Outside The Fire. – (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jh499tJV_sY) Then it was Tim McGraw, Toby Keith and pretty soon I was hooked. Country music songs are great because they have much more of a story to them than most other genres of music. (I know what the haters are thinking – “my dog died, my wife left me, etc…) And within the stories of country music songs there is an incredible lesson for anyone who speaks to groups or gives presentations. I first recognized this pattern with Tim McGraw’s song – Don’t Take The Girl. Read the lyrics and then I’ll tell you how it applies. Don’t Take The Girl Johnny’s daddy was taking him fishin’ When he was eight years old A little girl came through the front
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50 Ways To Say You Care

This came from my friend Frank Sonnenberg (www.franksonnenbergonline.com) 50 Ways To Say You Care “I’m so proud of you. – Don’t worry. – Tomorrow’s another day. – How could I forget? – Is there anything that I can do for you? – I’d like to make a toast. – We were so worried about you. – I’d prefer that you have it. – It’s obvious that you put a lot of time into this. – Sure I have time to talk. – Your effort is never taken for granted. – If it’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for me. – That color looks great on you. – You exceeded our wildest expectations. – We couldn’t have done it without you. – We’ll miss you so much. – You’re in our thoughts and prayers. – We’ll always be here for you. – Your effort clearly shows. – Take half
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Should You Give Sales Presentations or Have Sales Conversations (Part 6)

Ok – I think this is going to be the last post in this ongoing series. Let’s recap quickly. If you are in sales – you are an influencer. Your purpose is to engage your audience and there is no engagement in a monologue – you need to move to a dialogue (a sales conversation). To read all of the earlier posts – click on the links to the side. Last week we talked about creating dialogue through questions and listening in a small group or one on one sales presentation – but I have had several people ask how you do that if you are presenting to a large group. – Well I’m glad you asked. 🙂 Speaking done right should be a dialogue and not just a monologue. I don’t mean that in the traditional sense of back and forth conversation but if you want engagement from your
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Should You Give Sales Presentations or Have Sales Conversations (Part 5)

I only have a few more posts on this topic. If you have been following this ongoing conversation – I hope you have learned something. I have received tremendous feedback and appreciate all your thoughts. To view earlier parts – click on the earlier blog posts below. Last post we talked about the importance of asking questions to turn your sales presentation into a sales conversation. With that in mind I want to talk about the role & importance of both competence & confidence. If you are going to make it a sales conversation than you need to know that even though you give the same presentation every time (generally) you really never give the same presentation. What does that mean? It means that you will probably cover the same points and arrive at the end goal – but the conversation will be organic and will be different with every
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Should You Give Sales Presentations or Have Sales Conversations (Part 4)

Now let’s dive into particulars of turning sales presentations into sales conversations. (To see previous parts of this topic – see earlier posts) Most sales presentations are done on a one or one or small group basis. So a key to making these conversations is learning the art of asking great questions. First off, you need to understand a key to influence and it’s this – Focus on Being Interested, Not Interesting. One of the best ways to show interest, to personalize a sales presentation and to make it about the prospect is to ask questions. The following is an exerpt on asking questions from my book – The Power of Influence. As we strive to build our influence and rapport with people, we all need to know more of what other people are feeling and thinking, wanting and planning. To do this, we need to use questions that “open”
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Should You Give Sales Presentations or Have Sales Conversations (Part 3)

Welcome to part three of our look at sales presentations vs sales conversations. If you haven’t read part 1 and 2- you can access them by clicking on the earlier posts below. I have received a ton of great feedback from Part 1 & Part 2 – thank you for that. I want to talk today about a conversational voice. I think we all recognize that we should move from sales presentations (monologues) to sales conversations (dialogues). After all – it is about them and we need to engage them if we want them to buy from us. So we will dive into particulars of asking questions, discovering their pain and motivation, etc… Later. For now I want to talk about the balance that you need to create as an influencer. The balance is between realatability and creibility. An influencer has to be both relatable as well as credible. If
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Should You Give Sales Presentations or Have Sales Conversations (Part 2)

Let’s continue our conversation on sales presentations vs sales conversations. If you didn’t read part 1 – you can do so by clicking on the previous post below. Before we dive into particulars – I want to continue to discuss the mindset of this approach. I had an interesting conversation last week that will help you understand my thought process toward this. Last week I was at the National Speakers Association Conference. While I was there I met many other speakers and the typical conversation started by someone asking – what do you speak on? I was asked what do you speak on several times and I replied to one particular lady – I speak on influence to sales & leadership organizations. She said, “so are you a sales speaker or a leadership speaker?” And I said, “Both.” She looked puzzled and responded, “You can’t be both.” I laughed and
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Should You Give Sales Presentations or Have Sales Conversations? (Part 1)

Interesting question: Should you give sales presentations or have sales conversations? Over the next couple of weeks I am going to share my thoughts around this subject and in the spirit of the post I will ask you to participate in the conversation. Feel free to comment, send me your thoughts and pass this on to others to join in the conversation. So here is the starting point – if you are in sales, or involved with people for that matter – you are an influencer. I believe influencers should have one focus and that is on the other person. Meaning on your audience. If you want to influence – it’s not about you, it’s about them. So let’s go back to our theme. A sales presentation by definition is a monologue. While a sales conversation is a dialogue. If you want to make it about them – they have
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Wisdom From A Five Year Old

At lunch today my five year old daughter Andie told me that her friend Bronwyn did a really good job at being Annie (in the play). I said she did! Then I asked, “How do you think she learned all of her lines and songs?” Her response is priceless… “The key to all great things is practice!”
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