Think back to the last industry event meeting or sales meeting where someone was making a formal presentation and they drew you in and kept you engaged for the entire duration of their speech. 

Now think back to an event or sales meeting where the time could not end quickly enough for you to be able to leave or for the allotted time of the presenter to elapse.

Do you have those two pictures in your mind?  What made the difference in your level of engagement- enjoying one and suffering and gaining little to nothing from the second?

Over the course of my career I looked forward to attending events because I wanted to learn or had a specific interest in the event topic only to be disappointed by a keynote speaker or presenter that did not possess the skills to communicate the value of the content.

On the other hand, I have attended meetings reluctantly believing I would not learn or gain anything only to be surprised by how it was made interesting by a speaker who was well prepared, knew the audience, and backed it up with an energy packed presentation.

So, what is the answer?  Why can some speakers keep you engaged, and others cannot?  Think back and name one speaker whose presentation you cannot forget.  Mine is Lou Holtz, the legendary football coach.  I had the privilege of hearing Mr. Holtz speak at a business luncheon in Indianapolis, Indiana some 30 years ago.  My memory of his speech is fresh in my mind as if it happened yesterday.  Why, you may ask?  One reason is Holtz speaks with conviction; he speaks from his heart.  From the moment he began until he sat down, I knew that he was one with his content, and equally important he had the energy to support what he wanted to convey.

Owen Carton in his paper titled “Getting the Message –Ten Principals for Effective Strategic Communications,” says this about having conviction when speaking in his Fourth Principal –“There is no convincing without conviction” –“An audience will forgive you many indiscretions if you have the strength of your convictions to bolster the foundation of your messages”  (Mr. Carton’s paper can be located on his LinkedIn Profile:

If you are in sales, or you are giving pitches to investors, or maybe you have been asked to speak at a local business or community function, how will you keep your audience engaged?  How will you convey the value of the content you are sharing?  Ultimately, if you want a positive decision or action taken by those listening to you, how does the communication of your value proposition play into receiving an order, capital funding, or having them engage with your company?

When you have the upcoming important sales call with the key prospective client, what will drive the conviction and energy level you should have when meeting with the client?  Many opportunities fail not because of a weak value proposition per se, but many times they fail because the value proposition was not communicated well.  Please do not allow an important opportunity to pass you by with poor communications skills.


Reference to and excerpts from ‘Getting the Message—Ten Principals for Effective Strategic Communications’ used with Mr. Carton’s permission.

Copyright 2020 -Clouser On Business