In my work as a Business Coach for Financial Advisors I often help clients develop Prospecting Strategies that include public speaking. Of course it helps that I am also a professional paid speaker presenting topics such as leadership, prospecting, and branding. There’s nothing like experience and success when guiding my clients in being better at what they do to prospect and offer value to their ideal clients. Being a better public speaker has HUGE rewards and can be a GAME CHANGER in the success you will enjoy as a financial advisor.
CONQUER FEAR AND DELIVER A POWERFUL PRESENTATION
Besides public speaking, many financial advisors have fears or tasks they would rather not do such as bungee jumping off a 500-foot ledge, taking a dip in icy waters during winter, or spending the weekend with their in-laws.
According to Psychology Today, the population is made up of approximately 50-75% extroverts while the remainder is introverts. But even extroverts have trouble when presenting publicly. This is often because getting up in front of an audience causes sweaty palms, rapid heartbeat, a “deer in the headlights” look on your face, and a sense of dread.
However, if you are able to conquer the fear of speaking in front of an audience and deliver a powerful presentation, you will be much better at prospecting!
Three Sections to Read
This blog post is organized into three sections. Section I is about why you should learn to be better at speaking. Section II is about what you can do specifically in your talks to have a successful presentation. Section III is how to get prospecting results from your talk.
I. Why should financial advisors be better public speakers?
Public speaking skills can help financial advisors in many areas of your life. You will increase your confidence, not only about speaking in front of an audience, but also speaking to your clients, prospective clients, wholesalers, and other professionals. You will sound more polished and knowledgeable and present your expertise in a warm manner. You’ll be able to answer questions more quickly and thoughtfully than you have in the past.
Public speakers have credibility
The public looks up to financial advisor speakers and simply putting yourself in front of an audience can provide extensive credibility to what you do for a living. When you demonstrate your knowledge in front of a group, it is the accepted norm that you are an expert.
What are you selling? Give tons of value
Financial advisors should NOT pitch attendees a sales talk. No one likes to be SOLD. You are providing Financial Literacy and education; a valuable talk about how to avoid mistakes, how to do something correctly to save money, and how to do it on their own if they’re willing to spend the time. But, they could take the easy way and hire you to help them. That’s what you want.
Within two weeks of joining Toastmasters, I received my first PAID speaking engagement and I’ve never looked back. I became a “Competent Communicator” after giving 10 prepared speeches focusing on 10 skills. These skills are the cornerstone of public speaking success. Not only that, I networked and met other professionals who referred me to opportunities I would not have had without being a Toastmasters member.
Study successful public speakers
Due to my long membership in Toastmasters, I became a student of successful public speakers. I bought tickets to live events. I watched webinars. I listened to top politicians to gauge their effectiveness. Often what I noticed is that many speakers have never learned to take control of their bad habits, such as too many “ah’s” and too much time looking at their notes. I’ll never forget listening to Condoleezza Rice on National Public Radio. I counted literally hundreds of “ah’s” during her talk. This is simply not acceptable. If this is you, get yourself straight to Toastmasters and learn to be a better speaker.
How to overcome fear
A. Practice being calm
I learned early on that there will always be some fear leading up to a presentation. These days it’s more like excitement about who I can connect with in the audience and the questions I may receive. But one tool I utilized even prior to my first paid talk was EFT, which stands for the Emotional Freedom Technique. EFT is a combination of acupuncture, neuro-linguistic programming, energy medicine, and Thought Field Therapy (TFT). I used the services of a professional to help me overcome “stage fright” and be calm during a talk. I no longer use EFT, but I certainly recommend it for my clients as it will calm your nerves, take your mind off your fears, and help you focus on delivering a wonderful talk. Although financial advisors will be nervous just like any other professional speaker, you can learn to be calm.
B. Visualize being calm
In your mind, run through your body movements, your facial expressions, and your calmness. Train your subconscious mind to prepare for the talk being calm and relaxed. Visualize yourself shaking hands with participants, smiling, laughing, and having a good time.
C. Practice your talk and time yourself
You know the old saying “Practice Makes Perfect”? Well, it’s VERY true when it comes to giving a talk. Practicing will help you overcome fear and actually enjoy the process. You also need to know how long your presentation will be so that you can time your props and cues.
D. Visit the speaking location ahead of time
I always visit the room ahead of time to visualize where I will be standing, where the audience will be sitting, and to see the size of the room. In my head I see myself giving the talk, smiling at the audience, and having a good time.
E. Record yourself giving your talk (optional)
A great way to spot flaws is to video record yourself giving the entire presentation. Do you say “aahh” too many times? Did you forget to tell them about YOU? Did you forget to pause to let your points sink in? Did you use too many big words? Did you forget to SMILE?
II. What to do before or during your seminar
This next section contains success tactics to use while you are giving your talk. Most of the tips are from my personal experience since 2004 talking in front of groups.
Meet the attendees
I always show up early to station myself in the front of the room with the back of my body resting against the projector. I say hello to everyone who enters the room and I walk up and talk to the attendees. I ask where they’re from, what prompted them to attend, and what they most want to learn from the event. This practice builds engagement with attendees, allowing you to be “one of the gang” and more personable.
Establish your expertise and credentials verbally
Briefly, talk about who you are and why it matters that the audience listen to you. If you’ve been an advisor for twenty-five years, your listeners need to hear this. If you lack longevity, what else can you say? Well, if people have been coming to you for advice for many years, you can say that. WHY are you a financial advisor? What has happened in your life that made you WANT to become an advisor? What is it about what you know that should make people sit up and listen?
Open with a story – Tell your audience WHY this topic should matter to them
Create a link between what you’re talking about and WHY your group should listen. Is this a topic you’re passionate about? Have you seen people make grave errors over and over again and now you want to help people avoid this mistake? Have you seen married couples make the wrong selection when it comes to social security timing? Did your parents make this mistake? Did your clients make this mistake? What did it COST them? What happened in your personal life about money, that has affected you your entire life? People need real world stories to not only understand the points you are making, but to “bond” with you during your talk.
Use exercises to get participation
Tie some of your presentation points to exercises such as brain teasers, quizzes, and movement exercises. The more you involve your audience, the more meaningful your presentation will be for them. If your talk is about basics of financial planning, give them a money quiz and go through the results. If your talk is about retirement planning, give them a brain teaser about connecting all aspects of a person’s financial life, such as “building a bridge using on 3 glasses and 3 knives” – find it here
Use a white board for questions
Have you ever been to a presentation where the presenter spoke at you and never addressed any of your questions? I have! And it’s very frustrating. Using a white board can help attendees feel “heard” when it comes to their key challenges. At the end of the presentation, you can ask the group “Did we answer this question about X?” and put a line through the question.
Using your PowerPoint presentation, entertain your attendees! Don’t just give slide after slide with bullet points and text. The best presentations combine the left brain analytical – using facts and figure, with the right brain creative – using emotions. How to do that? USE IMAGES in place of your text. Keep your speaker notes on the PowerPoint, but use images to make the point.
Rule of thumb: I don't let more than 3 slides go by without having an image to entertain.
PowerPoint Bullet Points one at a time
Please don’t show your attendees the entire slide at one time! If you present a page of words, they will try to read the words and they won’t listen to what you’re saying! So, present each point ONE AT A TIME. Follow this Youtube Video to learn how.
Work your funny bone by telling jokes during your presentation. No one likes a stern, straight-faced presenter who reads off the PowerPoint. Insert your personality and humor into your talk.
Use your body and voice in your talk
No one likes a boring presentation where your voice is monotone while you stand still in one position. Learn to entertain by using your body and your voice. This is exactly what Toastmasters can teach you!
One thing I usually do in my presentations is talk about my father using my voice and body.
I tell the story of what my Aussie truck-driver turned international-gemstone-dealer father said to me when I told him I was going to become a coach. And I use my Australian accent, put my hands on my hips and say (imagine Aussie accent) “But Suzy, you’ve nevah been any bloody good at sports!”
I usually get a good laugh with that one.
III. What to do to get workshop results
Above I said “What are you selling?” and you read that it’s financial literacy and education. But are you simply holding this workshop out of the kindness of your heart? NO! You want to get results. You want to have appointments set up after your talk.
What are the magic words?
Tell your group with authenticity that you are here to help. Anyone who wants to investigate the topic further can set up a “No cost, no obligation” consultation to learn how they can take advantage of your knowledge and expertise. Take the pressure off.
Offer something of value
What can you provide that will motivate attendees to book a consultation? A free social security timing report? A free mini financial plan? A free second opinion? Create an offer that most people can’t refuse. And while you’re at it, design a hand out to place in front of all attendees so that they can see it at the beginning of your talk.
Financial advisor speaking success equation
Many advisors I speak with have given talks, but usually only one. Or financial advisors say that their talks have never yielded results. The reason why is that one talk will not bring you the success you seek. MOMENTUM CREATES SUCCESS. Increasing forward motion allows results to build on results. Multiply your success by velocity!
Create a Marketing Plan where you are speaking a lot. Give 12 talks in 12 months! If you take a break over the summer, give more talks during fall, winter, and spring (except late November and December).
Door prizes – Get them in your drip marketing system!
Even participants who don’t make an appointment to discuss working with you may decide to do so in the future, so get them on your list! Offer a door prize in exchange for their email. Build your Newsletter List, your autoresponder list, your inbound marketing list, your automated blog postings. Have a drip system so that you continue to touch attendees on a regular basis and catch them when they NEED and WANT to hire you.
How to find more speaking opportunities? Take my 20 day speaking challenge!
Find speaking engagements by asking people 20 times in 20 days (and post on LinkedIn). Tell what you speak about. “I speak about my X story, which provides audiences with an informative yet entertaining speech about X. Benefit, benefit, benefit. Would you be interested in this speech? Do you know anyone that is looking for speakers? If so, please contact me at phone and email.”
Being a better financial advisor public speaker is NOT easy; otherwise EVERYONE would be doing it! But if you are determined to be the best you can be and to have the practice you’ve always wanted, there’s no better way than giving seminars and workshops to draw prospective clients to you. Contact me for a consultation to learn more!