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Public Speaking: Fix Blunders & Engage Your Audience

Avoid Public Speech Mistakes and Re-build Trust with an Audience

Healing by Wolf Soul, Creative Commons

Healing by Wolf Soul, Creative Commons

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and images are everywhere reminding us to care.

In that spirit, have you ever seen a public speaker who came across like they just didn’t care?

I did recently at a conference. And their indifference was like receiving toothpicks for Valentines - it was technically still a gift of function but without making the recipient (or audience) feel special in the process!

At that recent event, the speaker – a business owner in a room full of business owners – said when advancing their slides:

“Oh this set of slides is meant for a different talk. I guess I forgot to change these.” At that point, another conference’s logo (not the logo representing our event) glared on the overhead screen. Without apology, the speaker continued.

This experience was a lost opportunity for audience and speaker alike. Every public speech is a chance to give value, forge trust, and build brand credibility with the audience.

Steps to recover trust that this speaker could’ve taken:

1. Show ownership and a solution quickly
A simple apology gains tons of ground! In this case, the correct slides could’ve been made available later via email or Slideshare. Neither occurred.

2. Offer a gift
Extend a discount on services or sneak peek on upcoming product launches. That’s not to suggest giving ‘away the farm’ just because of a presentation error. But it’s a tangible way to show value for that particular audience.

3. Welcome honest feedback
Convey value for the audience’s opinion and insight even if it means eating humble pie, with this statement as example: “Thanks for your time today and hanging in there when I messed up. I’m committed to improving value so I hope you’ll relay feedback on the event evaluation.”

4. Invite ongoing conversation after the event
The speaker-audience experience is a relational dynamic with all sorts of potential for leads, partnerships, and even community. The speaker could’ve shown their interest by offering to engage post-event through LinkedIn, Twitter, or other networks.

What do you think? Have you been in a similar situation? How else could this presenter have shown they valued the audience after the slide mistake?

Jill Foster, SCORE Guest Blogger
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Manage: Get Your Customers to Pay on Time
1 Comment

How-To Collection Tips

Getting paid in business can make the difference in being profitable or, in some cases, being put out of business. Receivables need to be managed and are always a struggle as no one likes asking for money. Here are some tips to get customers to pay.

  1. Offer a discount to customers who pay within 10 days 1% or 2%
  2. Ask customers to pay a portion of the invoice when service is rendered or an order is placed
  3. Personally make calls to customers who owe money
  4. Delegate a person within the company to make calls
  5. Send out friendly reminders
  6. Offer incentives or rotate stock if inventory is sitting
  7. Credit card payments should be encouraged. It is known that customers will purchase more if a credit card can be used. Know that credit card fees can be negotiated. Contact more than one company to compare rates.
  8. If you have to hire a collection agency always negotiate the fees it can run as high as a third.

Good Luck and please share things that have worked in collecting money in your business.

Julie Brander - Business Mentor, SCORE New Haven
Julie has been a SCORE volunteer since 1997. She has 20 years of experience in business, starting a manufacturing, wholesale and retail jewelry company. After selling her business, she dedicated herself to helping other entrepreneurs start and expand their business. | @juliebrander | More from Julie


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