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FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM DECEMBER 2009
I Don’t Know What To Say
It’s happened to the best of the best in a live environment. Your mind goes blank. You forget someone’s name. You forget the sequence of the event even though you think you know it like the back of your hand. So, what’s the issue here? You. Yep. You may think I’m being hyper-critical in my assessment, but I’m not, and here’s why.
If you really are doing the best job you can, you’ll absorb the information, and it will become organic to you. If you spend enough time getting to know your client, you’ll know immediately what to do should you forget. If you have spent enough time with the client learning all about them, you’ll have a nugget or two if you need them for a fallback position. If you don’t know much about your clients or their history, then when the time comes, and you go blank, you’ll default to something that you are comfortable with that may be very uncomfortable for the person listening. It may be an off-handed remark meant to be cute, but at the end, it turns out to be overtly sexual or crude.
In a recent wedding reception, it was time for the garter. The bride was seated in the chair, and I rolled “American Woman” by Lenny Kravitz (chosen by the groom). Everyone starts to clap, and the groom backs right up into her remarkable face and starts the most lap dance I’ve seen. What would you say here?
Because I had spent so much time with them, and I knew the families and how important they were, I kept it straight down the center of the road and said: “Jami, I’d like to introduce a new side to your husband you may not have seen before! Enjoy married life!!” The place erupted in a good-natured laughter, and they were ok with my comment. The point here is if I hadn’t known them so well, I may have said something I would say to my friends “Oh, that must be a real sensory experience. I hope he doesn’t fart,” which may have been hilarious in private, but NO WAY in public. I would have made people make a decision about my comment. I would have become the focal point and taken the focus off the bride and groom. That would have been very uncomfortable for everyone.
Have you ever said anything at an event that you knew was wrong as soon as it left your mouth? If you have, please share it with us and your thoughts. I’ll keep your name and ID private. It will be a great lesson for everyone and perhaps a good laugh also.
I guess what I’m trying to get across is this: The more you know about your topic, the better depth you’ll have on the subject and the better your chance of success. Before you decide to send me an email saying, “Yeah, but Dave, they wanted raunchy,” or “Yeah, but they were ok with my mistake,” realize that they may not be trying to embarrass you and are merely trying to limit any more hard feelings about you and your actions.
The year is drawing to a close. It’s a time for family and food and perhaps the question: “Why can’t the Lions ever win this game?” Now that the wedding season is largely over, it’s a time for relaxation. It’s a time to look back at your performances and how they rate. I know you’d give yourself glowing reviews because that’s your job. It’s my job to help you get ready for an amazing year to come. It’s my job to help create an environment where getting on the mic is a moment of fun and pleasure and not fear and anxiety. If you don’t use a mic all week and are called upon to host the most amazing party on the weekend, I imagine there are a few tricks I could pass along to make it the best weekend yet. How’s that for an offer.
I use the mic daily. I have to keep it clean, fun, and, most importantly, relatable to everyone within the sound of my voice. That means I KNOW the boundaries. My radio audience has given me permission to be playful but respectful of their boundaries through their actions. My radio partner and I are the “most listened to morning show” in the state. We’ve been voted “Outstanding Radio Personalities” for the past SIX YEARS in a row in a statewide newspaper poll. I get it. I respect it. I won’t ever violate it. Its permission was granted. How about you?
BTW, the confidence you have on the mic in a live environment will directly affect your sales closing ratio. How? If you have confidence in your speaking ability in front of a large group, you’ll transfer that over to a meeting with just you and your potential clients. Speaking is communication. Speak effectively, and you’ll close more sales.
What will be your goal for the upcoming season?
Dave Winsor can be reached at email@example.com.