Why Make A Presentation To Your Agricultural Group

Manufacturing Millionaires

Sherry Knight

President & CEO at StayUnstoppABLE.com

Have you spoken in front of an audience before? If you haven’t, it could be because, like many of us, you are afraid – afraid people might laugh, snicker or walk out on us. Been there, done that! I too was afraid to speak in front of an audience. Let me tell you, it may not be easy to start with, yet, with practice it does get more comfortable. And you can practice in front of the people who know you and care about you – that’s your neighbouring farmer, your machinery shop and your insurance agency.

Whether you are a farmer yourself, a shop owner, a teacher or an insurance agent you can get opportunities to practice by simply looking for places where others need to hear your story.

You can start first of all by examining what it is you want to give, a talk, a seminar or a workshop you want to give. What it is you want to share with people? Here are a few things you want to explore:

YOUR PASSION

What’s deep inside you – what is it you want to share

You have a passion inside you – for how to increase crop yields, lead a more balanced life working on your farm and working off your farm as well, pass your farm to the next generation or a myriad of other passions you simply love!

If you are not a farmer, although someone who is close to the farm community this still relates to you.

Maybe you have a wish to share your passion to help others learn more, but you don’t know how. How can you help others improve their farm and/or personal lives through the experiences and knowledge you have?

AUDIENCE

Know your target audience – who needs to hear your message

You need to think about who you want to share your passion with. Is it the small farmer/the corporate farmer/the farm woman, or is it a segment of the agricultural audience – the equipment sales person, the children ready to succeed their parents, or the employees of farm owners?

Think about why this group needs to hear you. Is it something specific they want to know, need to know, or that will change their life?

KEY POINTS

Realize the key points you want to deliver

Think about your passion – what are the key points you want to deliver – three or four are enough. Too many may make your audience lose focus. Build on your few key points and make it more interesting for your audience.

TIME

What length of a presentation do they want

Timing is always critical if you are speaking at a function. You may have to fit between a meal and the business meeting. Or, you may be asked to make a presentation before a luncheon. Whether you are asked to speak for 5 to 10 minutes, or even as much as an hour. Prepare your presentation for the various lengths of time you may be asked to speak. In a short 5 to 10-minute presentation only focus on one key element. If you have more time, as in 45 or 60 minutes then you can give them 3 to 4 key points.

Now it’s time to get to work – to develop your presentation.

STORIES

Have you sat in an agricultural conference and been in awe of what you were hearing? It’s rarely when someone spouts off the latest findings in numbers. It’s when they make it come alive – telling real-life stories about what they’ve experienced. Relating to everyday life makes us realize how everything impacts our lives.

1. What you have experienced in your life that relates to rural people

Now, think about how you can show those experiences to your audience in a way that makes them pay attention? It’s time to make a list of all the experiences you have had and then look at that list and associate it to the key points you want to make.

2. What’s in it for your audience

Always be consider how your stories connect to your audience. There is nothing more important! People will remember the stories you tell although they may not always remember what it is you are trying to teach them. There is no sense talking about city parks, downtown parking or the latest car when you are talking to farmers as it doesn’t help your audience connect to the points you want to make. Be certain your conversation connects with THIS audience.

3. Get your story organized

You can make your story long or short. Remember how your grandfather might have added a lot of extra’s to his story while your sister might give the Coles Notes version? Well, that’s what you need to do as well. You want the key point there regardless of the length. If you have 1 minute for your story then be sure the key point is there – in this case you’ll give the Coles Notes version. If you have 5 minutes you can add a little more colour, always ensuring your key point is there.

Remember, sometimes your audience’s minds wander, remind us what your key point is after the story is told. In some cases, that’s the only way we’ll get it!

CONNECT

It takes time to really know what you want to say – write down the points you want to make. And, once that’s done it’s time to connect to your audience. But where do you find them?

If you go to agricultural meetings, a religious congregation or local business meetings you’ll have an easy in – you’ll know who is responsible for getting speakers. Find out who they are, tell them your passion and what led you to where you are today. This will give the person who makes the decisions the context of what it is you are hoping to do.

If, by chance, you don’t know who is responsible to bring in speakers then find someone they respect and ask a favour of them. Could they provide an introduction to this person for you? Networking usually works well. Talk with passion and let the know what you want to do.

Just ask if he/she would connect you with the person who brings in the speakers. When you ask you just might find more success than if you simply asked on your own.

You may wonder how you could ask about speaking to the audience you want to talk to? You pick up the phone or send an email…

- Explain your idea that might be valuable for the agricultural audience. You say you want to discuss this in person and ask for a convenient time when you could meet.

- Hopefully they respond with a date and time. Sometimes they don’t respond at all. People are busy! Don’t take it personally!

- If you haven’t heard from them in 2 weeks call – call 3 times at different times and after that leave a message. You are always best to catch the person you want to talk to rather than leaving a message.

- If you want to connect with leaders, then the best time to phone is ½ hour before their workday start or ½ hour at the end – they are usually at their desk at these times.

- When they answer, indicate who you are and then ask, “Is this a convenient time to call?” If it is, begin with, “Thanks for taking my call.” If it is not convenient then ask, “What would be a better day and time to call?”

- Have the title of your presentation already organized so you can talk about it easily.

- Get right to why you called. Ask permission… “May I tell you about a passion I have which I believe has a message for ______?” When the person on the other end of the phone says, “Yes.” continue with, “My passion is ________________. I think it would be a great value to your group because _________________ (let them know how you came to this conclusion).

- Ask, “Does this sound like it might be of value to your group?” When they say, “Yes.” ask when he/she would want you to present and for how long.

- You might ask for a couple of contacts you could speak to, so you can understand more about what they might like to hear. When you talk to people who will be in the audience it can give you an approach you had not even considered.

- And, you have already developed a bit of a relationship with people who will be in the audience BEFORE you meet them face-to-face.

When you have the opportunity it’s a good idea to remember:

- Practice your presentation at least 10 times before your delivery.

- Get there an hour early – relax in your vehicle, take a walk around the block or sit quietly in the room where you will present and visualize your presentation.

- When your audience starts to arrive meet as many as you can – shake hands (not too strong and not too weak a handshake) and introduce yourself to those you don’t know. Ask their name and have a brief conversation with them.

- When you have finished your presentation, stick around for those who want to speak to you privately. Many will want to share their story with you. This can only happen if you stay around AFTER you make a great presentation.

You are getting all kinds of favourable feedback from people because of your great presentation. That is exactly what you want to hear. Wait a few days and then ask the person who brought you in, two things:

1. Could they suggest other groups that might find value in what you have to say? If they are positive, then ask if you could use their name in an initial contact or would it be better to introduce you themselves. Often get the response you want when your last option is the one you really want them to take.

2. Would they be willing to give you a testimonial you could use so others might know how you can help them?

You know you want to share your passion with others. The agricultural community may be a good place to start as you help agricultural contacts improve their business and their life. Start now – make your first contact!

Sherry Knight

President & CEO
StayUnstoppABLE.com
306-586-2315
sherry@dimension11.com

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