What a provocative title. Verbal Diarrhea. And you and I know exactly what it is when we hear it!
I have a friend who has one of those hypnotizing voices. The kind you want to listen to forever. He can read a telephone book and make all those numbers sound like the most fascinating and soothing piece of whatever you want. I know you know exactly what I am referencing, don’t you?
His voice is a beautiful baritone, he is a voice actor, does commercial voice-over work AND does amazing copywriting work. The reason I mention Michael is because his vocal style and delivery are what we all want to aim for when we talk or present to our prospects and customers.
Unfortunately, in the real world, far too often, so many business owners and sales leaders are afflicted with the debilitating viral bug known as verbal diarrhea.
It is a nasty affliction. It causes the affected to speak at warp speed without adequate pauses, rhythm and cadence. The affected typically have no clear points or worse, too many points, and avoid breaks for thoughtful discussion or questions during their presentations.
Too frequently they place an overreliance on incredibly dull PowerPoint presentations — which they prefer to read to the overwhelmed and bored audience. So the best (or worst depending on your point of view) of the sick have a decidedly obvious me-me-me point of view.
Unfortunately, none of this is engaging, fascinating, or sales-inducing behaviour. Sadly, it happens every day and the best part is the business owners and sales leaders are oblivious to having caught and being infected with the viral bug. The fact that the prospect or customer did not nibble or bite or buy is not their fault. It is the fault of the disease.
Listen, this disease-induced behaviour does not demonstrate any respect for your prospects and customers! This disease-induced behaviour is not how to make love to your customers.
I know because once upon a time, I did the same things. Fortunately, I had a wonderful friend show me that my verbal diarrhea was getting in my way. I also had a few customers read me the riot act.
1. Three points. Humans remember three points. What are the three most important things you want your audience to remember forever and ever? THAT is what you focus your message around.
2. Support each point. Tell stories, show a picture and toss in a statistic about each point. The story, image and statistic reinforces and make the point memorable.
3. Listen more, talk less. Verbal diarrhea is debilitating. So, allow yourself to take a breath. Get comfortable with silence. (It allows the audience to absorb your message and form questions.) Encourage the audience to interact with you.
Real Tales from the Trenches
Many people compliment me on my ability to command a stage and speak in public. The truth is I have been doing it all my life.
I had professional training in my twenties (expensive but well worth the investment), I travelled the world and spoke on huge stages in my thirties (practice is the real secret of anything), I joined Toastmasters in my forties (pretty much a waste of time except for all the practising) and I re-learned how to talk after two strokes in my fifties. (highly recommend everyone test their own resilience.)
After all that, here is what I do today. I never go on a stage (either online or offline) or into a meeting without preparing at least my three points. I do know a few tricks and tips from over the years and they help keep me fixated on the most important thing. “Focus on the audience, deliver for the audience, it is ALL about the audience.”
Verbal diarrhea is easily treatable and with a little prep work and practice, completely banishable.