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Incredible. Look what happened when seven IFAs turned up for Public Speaking training this week

Whilst I’m the first person to say that financial advisers should be integrating the Internet far more into their communication strategy, I’m also the first to say that professional IFAs should be getting up on their feet and presenting themselves live at seminars, workshops, networking events and public speaking opportunities.

It’s widely agreed that public speaking is probably the single most powerful and effective way to attract quality new clients and connections.  The ‘whites of your eyes’ factor is hugely compelling, with many of the most successful financial advisers around the world incorporating seminars and speaking into how they attract new clients, add value to existing clients and build close relationships with professional connections.

‘Easier said than done’ I hear you saying.  Many advisers have tried hosting seminars over the years, but quickly given up for all the reasons you can imagine.  Conversely, those who know the process to get the right ‘bums on seats’ and then how to present to them, quietly smile to themselves when they see conversion rates from their efforts in excess of 80%.  In fact I know one IFA who regularly enjoyed conversion rates approaching 100%.

Then there’s the fear factor. 

One IFA told me recently:

“I hear what you’re saying Phil, but I wouldn’t get on my feet and speak to a group of people if you paid me.  It terrifies me.”

True, public speaking is often cited as one of the most nerve-wracking things you can do in life.  But like taking any risk, the rewards can be extraordinary when you get it right.

And so it was that on Wednesday this week I welcomed seven anxious IFAs to our two-day presentation skills workshop in London.  It’s a special type of presentation skills training that is specifically designed for financial advisers.

Anyone who admits to being nervous about public speaking and who has done very little of it in the past, who then willingly volunteers and pays for training has to be admired!  But turn up they did and leapt straight outside their comfort zones. 

The results were quite simply startling.

Each IFA attendee gave four presentations, so we saw twenty-eight over the two days.  You’d be forgiven for thinking that sitting through twenty-eight presentations would be pretty tedious - indeed we’ve all sat through even just one conference or seminar presentation that has all but put us to sleep.  So twenty-eight was going to be a challenge.

But no; our plucky volunteers dug deep and through a series of fun exercises discovered their authentic personal presentation style.

‘Old school’ presentation skills training use to be all too predictable.  You’d be told ‘the right way to stand’, the ‘right way to position your hands’, the ‘right way to dress’, the ‘right way to move’ – and so on.  Our IFA delegates soon discovered that we weren’t trying to clone them or change them in some way – but to unearth, develop and polish their own personal style.

Then, slowly but surely the magic started to happen; pennies dropped, confidence grew and they recounted influences in their lives which had shaped them as individuals – this forming the basis for their presentations.

You could have heard a pin drop as each delegate came up for their final presentations – and without exception they all delivered presentations which were entertaining, confident, credible and packed full of conviction.  In every case, it was agreed that their audience of clients, prospects or professional connections would have wanted to take the relationship further.

Oh, and they did it without notes or PowerPoint.

One said afterwards that the workshop had…

“…turned me from a ‘rabbit in the headlights’ into a confident and composed presenter.”

Another said…

“It’s been a revelation and has me now wanting to do things in my business that previously I was very nervous of.”

So, when did you last take the risk to get up and speak in front of an audience? 

Try it again, because with the right kind of training you’ll both surprise and amaze yourself – whilst positioning yourself with clients as professional, credible and truly authentic.



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By Philip Calvert


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Author: Philip Calvert
Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014 | 10:42:30 AM

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