When you run a small business it may seem like an extra chore to carefully wordsmith every presentation you give or to think carefully about the words you use when talking about your product and service.
However, when you are trying to make a sale, every word counts. By making your words more memorable you’ll not only stick in the minds of your customers you’ll find yourself making more sales.
Memorable presentations and conversations to ensure you are remembered are simple concepts but tricky tasks. Nonetheless there are strategies and techniques to help with those initial steps and will help you keep progressing.
Communication skills breed confidence, confidence produces result. As a business owner you know that results which achieve maximum profits are what it’s all about. Here are some tips for making your words memorable and getting you the business results you desire.
Cook up a metaphor
Most professional cooks quickly learn ‘mise en place’; meaning ‘everything in place’ prior to the start of cooking.
The concept refers to organizing and arranging the components that a cook will require for the menu items that are expected to be prepared during a shift.
So the correct knives will already be laid out, vegetables will be laid out, ready to be washed and cut to the correct depth and length with spices already measured out, ready for use.
All the kitchen staff will use all these techniques in a pre-determined order to achieve a preconceived result. Timing is critical if the meal is to be a success.
Preparation skills and focus on timing will serve you well whether cooking or communicating in a business presentation.
I hope this picture has sold you the idea that using a metaphor or a parallel can help you build a bridge to an audience. This is particularly helpful when you’re selling technical products and you need to make the concepts more accessible for some people. Metaphors are powerful and memorable.
Visualise a feast
The double V of verbal visuals is an invaluable aid to your sales communications.
Memory champions rely almost exclusively on visuals to aid their recall; the more crazy the image, the more it sticks in their brain. So this is great for you to help you recall the details of say, a new product you are selling.
If it’s appropriate and you can make them laugh at the same time that is even better. Humour is memorable as well.
More importantly, your audience, whether it be one or many, whether they are in the room or reviewing your presentation after the meeting will recall what you said or written if you have made good use of the double V.
Visual imagery is a competitive edge you should deploy at every opportunity. So be ready to paint them a picture of give them a visual feast.
To illustrate the point Let me give you an example;
- A bar of soap.
- A bar of scented soap.
- A precise fusion of natural oils and aromas coupled with artisanal creativity to produce a purple marbled soap, complete with elegant packaging.
Which of these three soaps are you more likely to remember?
It doesn’t have to be complex to resonate; a simple phrase can echo with people. An excellent example is Iceland’s nickname of ‘The Land of Fire and Ice’.
There are no complicated words involved in this yet it is instantly and visually memorable. It encompasses history, geography, geology and weather. It also conjures up Vikings and makes you want to visit.
In these two examples you establish a connection to your customer audience; when you’ve done that, the economic benefit that you want to highlight is more likely to be met positively.
People like to be given an overall vision whether it’s your product sitting in every home or every business using your product to achieve their goals – a striking verbal visual imprints a feeling and image in the mind of every potential customer.
Another way to create a verbal visual is with a catch phrase that either describes your business or reminds people of your business.
For Transport for London “Mind the Gap” has become such a resonant phrase. In fact it has become so popular that it is emblazoned on a large range of products you can buy at the Transport Museum and elsewhere.
Avoid one course too many
As my grandmother often said; “Don’t over-egg the pudding”. Make use of verbal richness as you create your presentation. Then practice reading it, or better still, practice by saying it out loud. This is because what you say in your head sounds vastly different said aloud.
What do you notice when you listen to yourself? Are you pitching it just right or are you getting too flowery? If you are adding too much save your extra course of words for another time.
Give your audience enough to make them emotional engaged with you and your product. Or to put it another way give them what they need to make a buying decision and no more!
It is important to remember that standing out is what increases your chances in front of your target audience; if you can clearly articulate your vision for your business within a set amount of time, it also demonstrates both professionalism in your use of time and regard for your audience’s time.
The precision and memorability of your language adds to the perception of your professionalism
Repetition of crutch words like ‘um’ and ‘er’ diminishes your standing. Don’t add a course of empty verbal calories. Poor delivery will undermine the value of the words you have worked so hard to put together.
For example in a sales situation give your audience what they need to make a buying decision and no more!
Savour the feast
The investment in time and effort put into communication will serve you well in a variety of sales situations. Consistency is key to your future success so practice well.
You don’t need to spend 10,000 hours but time invested in developing verbal creativity will be time well (and profitably) spent.
About the author
This guide has been written exclusively for ByteStart by Eddie Darroch of Toastmasters International, a non-profit educational organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. With 300+ clubs in the UK and Ireland find your local club at www.Toastmasters.org
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