How to project authority

I had the privilege of helping a young man with a sales presentation.  He had already been delivering it for several months on behalf of his investment firm, but he thought we could tweak it.  The slide deck introduced the firm and went on to describe an alternative strategy they used to diversify client portfolios.  The flow of information was predictable—fact-based charts demonstrating degrees of correlation with other asset classes–and while informative, I suggested that it lacked dramatic structure:  it didn’t have good bones.

I videotaped him delivering the talk, then played it back for him.  He was unhappy with his delivery and the material itself.  He said that he had been traveling with a sales colleague who had put the slides together, and he was copying what the colleague did.  I asked if he had the license to change the script and he said yes, as long as he got the key points across.

“So what are the key sales points?” I asked.  He told me.

“Are you familiar with the Tell ‘Em3 model of presenting?”  He was not.

“You tell ‘em what you’re gonna tell them, tell ‘em, then tell ‘em what you told them.”  He didn’t say anything

I said, “It’s kind of academic, not very salesy, but it could work here.”  We tried beginning the talk this way:

Thanks very much for having me.  I will make three points in my talk this afternoon. 

1.       Alternative investment strategies have been proven to lower the risk and improve returns in a traditional 60/40 portfolio.
2.       Strategy XYZ provides the greatest degree of diversification of all the alternatives available.
3.       Your clients can get the benefits of the XYZ  strategy at low cost because we offer it as a mutual fund.  Let me walk you through it.

He seemed to like the idea so I asked him to try it.  We rehearsed and changed it to suit his own style.  He had much more authority simply because he began his talk in a commanding manner.  In fact, his crisp opening improved his image and stature.

The Tell ‘Em3 model of presenting is at least as old as the written word, and maybe even older.  It prepares the audience to listen well, keeps  your content crisp and in marching order, and enables you to repeat yourself three times, which is good.

In sales, you’re always knocking on doors, and when you knock on a door (to an office or a mind), you don’t just knock once.  You generally have to knock three to five times to gain admittance.


Sims Wyeth & Co. provides public speaking coursesleadership skillspresentation skillsvoice trainingspeech trainingspeech writing, and courses that address stage fright, body language, presentation strategy, persuasive speaking, sales training, and effective use of PowerPoint, all of which contribute to greater executive presence and personal impact.







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