As the advisor industry evolves, it is becoming more and more clear that professionals have to know more than just the technical side of the business. They have to be able to speak to people as well.
Speaking with clients one on one is hard enough. For many advisors—just as with much of the population—speaking before a crowd is absolutely nerve-wracking. Yet, more and more, it’s becoming an essential skill.
There’s a wonderful moment in the highly acclaimed film, “The King’s Speech” in which actor Michael Gambon, playing the King, turns to his son with the stutter, played magnificently by Colin Firth, and tells him that radio and the wireless are making actors of the royal family.
With television (both network and cable), Web-based video, the plethora of conferences and even, the older medium of radio, advisors seeking to reach broader audiences and expand their businesses should reach a similar conclusion. Speaking well, to both clients individually, as well as to the industry and the media is the future—which, by the way, is happening now.
A few months back at the Raymond James Women Advisor Symposium, I got to hear Greenville, South Carolina-based speech coach Deb Sofield discuss her rules for public presentations. Entertaining, funny and high-energy, she offered up quite a few tidbits. I won’t give you all of them but I give you a few highlights. Sofield says: “Be glad to be there.” She believes that a speaker’s mood is reflected in his or her vocal delivery.
Sofield also tells speakers to “talk about the audience.” Her point here is that this shows that a speaker cares about the people she is addressing. I think it makes it more like a one-on-one conversation and that can help ease the jitters of public speaking.
She also says to write up your introduction about who you are and make sure your audience knows your credentials.
Another great piece of advice Sofield offers is this: Open you talk with an unpredictable, personal story. Let’s face it. We all have several. Some are hilarious; others are poignant. Use whatever story works best for your audience.
And, my favorite tidbit from Sofield is: “Speak with power.” Your voice is your signature.
I would just add: Don’t be afraid to use your voice and use it well.