Haris Ahmed, Chicago on Public Speaking and Sales
Haris Ahmed is a Chicago-based consultant, and founder and CEO of Pragmatium Consulting Group, Inc., a management consulting firm. He is also an executive coach and public speaker.
Having talked before audiences of various sizes and professions from diverse industries, he often gets asked about his public speaking methods, and why, after all the successes he’s managed to achieve in his professional life, would he still spend time traveling to different cities to speak before an audience. It’s not rocket science, really, he says; he simply wants to connect with people, to engage them in conversation. He furthers argues that one of the most fulfilling rewards public speaking has ever given him is the people he’s met and made friends with from all his speaking engagements.
And in any type of business, regardless of size or industry, consumer engagement is everything. Consumer engagement starts meaningful conversations, which gives business owners firsthand information about the strengths and weaknesses of their products and services. It can also be used to gain insight on consumer needs, among other things. Now, the reader might ask; “Where does public speaking come into all of this?”
Public speaking is much like giving a sales pitch to a client or talking to a customer about concerns regarding your product, only this time, you have a larger audience. The comparison was only made in the vein of audience size; but in the manner of public speaking itself, directly peddling your services or products without engaging your audience in conversation and without including them will only cause them to get bored—or worse, forget whatever you were talking about.
A truly articulate and engaging public speaker, in fact, has mastered the art of selling without really trying. How does he do it? He does it by writing his speech with two important goals in mind; the first being, as mentioned numerous times above, engaging the audience, and the second, which is equally important, providing value to the audience.
How do you engage your audience?
First, you talk to them as you would a friend, and second, you make them think. And then, you begin to establish your brand, perhaps talking a bit about its years in the industry, and your consumers’ reception towards it. All of these will lay the groundwork for the value segment in your speech.
Providing value to your audience
How has your brand enhanced the lives of your consumers? What measurable benefits can you provide your audience?
At this point, open the mic for questions or clarifications, and make sure to respond and not react. Responding simply means answering matter-of-factly, giving factual information; reacting means the opposite, especially when the question puts doubts in the audience’s mind. When you react, you start to sound defensive; but when you respond with facts and data, you’re merely pointing out information about your brand.
The bottom line is, public speaking is a tool for connecting with consumers. When done right, you establish your brand’s credibility, which could later turn into increased sales.
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