Why give a speech if you have not identified any ROI attached to it?
Next time you have to deliver a speech, think in terms of money. Here are some basic questions you must ask before you get into the details of a speech such as invention, arrangement, style, memory and delivery:
How much is it costing (in dollars) to put a good speech together?
How much is it going to cost the audience as a whole to listen to your speech?
What is the ROI you are expecting?
What is the ROI that the audience is expecting from your speech?
The reason you want to do this is so you and the audience don't end up saying after the speech the following: "Man, that was a total waste of time."
A simple way to increase the ROI of your speech is not to tell the audience what you know, but help them understand what you know so they can make a decision that will generate a good ROI for them and you. If you are not doing this, then you have to ask, why the hell are you giving the speech in the first place.
Money you are spending on preparation
Suppose you are a salesman planning to give a speech to persuade a prospect or existing customer to buy your products or solutions. Since you want to do a great job, the total preparation time for you and your team is going to take roughly 100 hours. (This might be on the conservative side.)
Let's say your cost per person is $100/hour, so your investment is going to be roughly $10,000. With this kind of investment, you can't afford to not get good returns from your speech otherwise you are wasting money every time you are giving a speech to prospects and customers. And this does not even include how much money you are causing your audience to waste time listening to you.
You might say that it is not going to cost that much since you already have a canned speech that you can use. This might be good for you, but you still have to make it personal so the customers feels like that you are addressing their needs and wants. It is hard to do this with a canned speech that many sales organizations like to use. Don't think that customers are stupid; they will see it right away that you are using the typical "spray and pray" approach that simply does not work today. Don't insult customers intelligence. There are no short cuts for giving a good speech.
Audience is also making an investment. Individually, it may not be that significant, but collectively it can add up real quickly, especially when you are giving a speech for a sales call. Assume there are 10 people who are going to be listening to your speech for one hour and they are billed at $150/hour, so their investment is going to be roughly $1500. That is a lot of money the company is investing in listening to your speech, so are you going to deliver the ROI they might be looking for? Do you even know what ROI are they attaching to your speech?
The money you invested has to generate a return you are looking for. In sales situation, it should reduce the time to sale which also reduces the cost. ROI is often hard to quantify, but if you fail to advance the sale after the speech, then you have very little to show for your $10K investment. But if it helps reduce the time to sale, then you have not only saved yourself a lot of time but also customer's valuable time too. Any salesman that does that is worth his weight in gold. If you can do that, then you have arrived.
Return on Investment Expected
It is very important to be realistic about the ROI, since real world is not like a Hollywood movie where one speech will lead to the outcome you are looking for. A speech should advance the ball and put you in a better position than before. For example, Barack Obama didn't become President after his 2004 keynote speech at the Democratic Convention, but it did get him a lot of attention and put his name in the conversation for the VP position for the 2008 presidential election. He was so good that he did one better and ran for the President and won. You would have to admit that his ROI from that convention speech, arguably, was one of the highest ever achieved by any living being. It changed the game for him and possibly the future.
The reason you have to be realistic is since what the audience is looking from you, according to the blog by Nick Morgan titled, "What Does Your Audience Want?" are trust and credibility. These two take time so all you can do is to advance the ball.
Credibility is about your expertise, but how do you gain the trust?
Here is what Morgan recommends: "Audiences also want something from a speaker that they can’t get from her book, or video or other online source. So ask yourself, what am I going to offer during the in-person session that is unique, irreproducible, and inherently part of the live experience? That way audience members can believe that it was worth it – they made a smart decision going to a particular live event."
Your job is to inform, persuade and entertain. If you don't pull all these three together, then the audience will view your speech as a big waste of time. To avoid that, you not have to think about your realistic ROI, but audience's too. After all, a speech is about the audience not you. Even if the audience does not do business with you now, but if you entertain them, they will not forgot you and even do business with you later.
Entertain Them So They Won't Forget You
Do not ever give a speech without entertaining the audience. This quality separates good speakers from great speakers. The person who definitely has this quality is Bill Clinton. Check the blog I wrote titled, "Learn From Bill Clinton on How to Make Michelle Obama Feel Very Special." His ROI was arguable the highest out of all the speeches given at the DNC Convention in 2012: He gave Barack Obama a bounce from the convention that resulted in his winning the Presidency in 2012.
So speeches should not become a one-and-done event that I wrote about in my blog titled, "How to avoid One-and-Done In Giving Speeches." Speeches have to be viewed in terms of investment and what is the ROI you are looking for before you even start to work on preparing for them. If you are not doing this, then your ROI is likely to be very disappointing.