I was in a prospect’s reception yesterday suitably early and whilst waiting for my allotted hour, glanced through a paper on hand. I discovered a tale of how an author was put off performance for life after an unsavoury childhood experience. At school, he flunked a public speaking style lesson when he failed to speak about a pen for five minutes in front of his classmates.
With a presentation of my own imminent, I couldn’t help but think of all the salespeople I meet that cannot talk with conviction for even half that time about their own products.
When away at college, in my final year I read about a negotiating expert supposedly renowned at the time for taking a toy cuddly monkey into training sessions and throwing it around when wannabe negotiators slipped up because of a ‘monkey on their back’. He was apparently considered an exceptional public speaker, and one of his tips was that every morning, you look in the bathroom mirror for two minutes and talk about the first random thing that comes in to your head, without pausing and generating enthusiasm. My pair of flatmates thought it was hilarious I did it for a while and ribbed me mercilessly, but it was a winner of an idea that teaches you loads.
I wonder how beneficial such an approach would be today. I’ve a couple of new products to sell myself, and I’ve only ever talked about them when either ‘live’ in front of prospects, or ‘in my head’ whilst travelling. Time to use the mirror again I feel.