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Introduction to The Presenters’ Post Newsletter

From Terri Sjodin

I believe passionately in the power of the spoken word. No email, text message, or viral video will ever replace it. One person sharing an authentic, compelling message with a receptive listener, in real time, can shift everything. That’s why I have devoted my life’s work to helping people embrace the art of persuasive speaking.

I have created The Presenters’ Post to be a source of inspiration, support and hard-won wisdom for people whose livelihoods depend on delivering effective sales presentations. I have been where you are, and I still experience the challenge of crafting a dazzling talk that will persuade a person to act. For almost 30 years, I have trained sales professionals to craft their best messages, tailor them to specific audiences and share them with style and confidence. Perhaps the most important thing to know is that I am still passionate about what I do, and I want to help you move forward with success!

 A Little Backstory

My public speaking journey started with competitive forensics, and my years on speech and debate teams in high school and college were fun and enlightening. If you are unfamiliar with this activity, it involves participants engaging in different kinds of public speaking events during tournaments. Debate involves creating a specific speech and a plan—an affirmative side and a negative side—and Individual Events are more like track and field but for various speech activities.

I know in my heart that those experiences changed my life, and to this day, I am a full-blown “speech geek.”

One thing I learned early on about participating in speech tournaments was that winning had little to do with where you went to school, what neighborhood you lived in, or how much experience you had. There were no matching uniforms, and when you arrived at the event, you were given a number. A handful of competitors were directed to a room, where they stood up one at a time and gave their speech to a judge or a panel of judges in preliminary rounds. It was fascinating and highly competitive.

If you had the highest ranked speech in the preliminary rounds, you moved on to the next round. If not, you were done. It was that simple—the presenter with the best speech prevailed. It was immediate feedback, for better or worse.

Whenever I was eliminated, I stuck around to watch the semifinal and final rounds to see what was landing with the audience and the judges. Then I tried to figure out why my own speech hadn’t been as effective. I took a guess at what wasn’t working, then went to the next tournament with a stronger speech and more polished delivery. I was always testing new approaches through trial and error.

The key takeaway? You don’t keep competing in the next tournament with a speech that does not win.

This same principle applies in business and in sales. When it comes to a pivotal presentation, if it doesn’t move you forward, you’ve got to figure out why, and change it.

What I’ve learned over the years is that most people want to improve their presentations but don’t know where to start—and that can be costly. As a speech geek, I have always known this to be true, and I have spent the better part of my career reviewing presentations and conducting formal research in this field to hone my findings and best practices.

Timely, Fresh, and Street Savvy Content Coming Your Way!

I plan to share my experiences, research, and insights in each future edition of The Presenters’ Post, doing some of the heavy lifting for you and eliminating the guess work. If you are seeking concrete tools, you are in the right place. Life is busy, and I want to make the highest and best use of your time. If you want to improve your outcomes, you need practical solutions. Moving forward, each edition of this newsletter will provide a specific solution to help you improve your next presentation.

Maybe you have the rare opportunity to connect with a sought-after CEO to promote your idea or a cause. Perhaps you’re facing an interview for your dream job. Maybe you’re competing for an exclusive client contract. Whatever the circumstance, you will find the answers you need to level up your next talk.

Just as you don’t keep going to the next tournament with a speech that doesn’t win, you don’t keep going back out into the field with a sales presentation that doesn’t close deals.

I’m excited to unveil my new content in the months ahead, and I am grateful for your interest in this work. Feel free to share your thoughts and comments along the way. Thank you for subscribing and we invite you to share this information with your colleagues.

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