November 20, 2013

Expert Advice: Interview with a Key-note Speaker

PowerPoint, flip chart or simply free speech– what defines a really good presentation? Hans-Uwe L. Köhler, a successful and well-known German author, keynote speaker and sales coach, gives us his opinion on this subject in a brief interview. We were curious what experts consider crucial when giving a speech and what the message behind his concept of LoveSelling is.

You are a keynote speaker, trainer and author. What do you find the most fascinating about being a keynote speaker?

It is a privilege to be able to share my thoughts with an audience. And if people actually find what I say inspiring, it feels like a perfect situation. However, the best thing about my work is to be able to make the world just a little bit better.

Which techniques do you use to get your audience’s attention?

I know this doesn’t sound very original, but enthusiasm is the key.

Think of the words by Saint Augustine of Hippo“…You have to be enthusiastic yourself…”

“… if you want to inspire others!“ These words are pivotal for infectious enthusiasm and getting people’s attention.

Many people, though, find it very difficult to be enthusiastic about anything!
This is a very serious problem! The ability to feel enthusiastic is available to most humans – this can be nicely observed with little kids – however, this ability gets buried beneath responsibilities and other societal dogmas when you get older. Consequently, it is very important to rediscover this ability – which is one of the central themes in my speeches.

How important is storytelling for a presentation?

Telling stories is a very ancient human form of communication. Up until the invention of the printing press, there was only storytelling to convey complex issues. Think of Homer: a blind man told of king Odysseus travels on the market place – just try to imagine something like that nowadays! In short, good speakers are always good storytellers!

What's your story

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What should a beginner watch out for when presenting?

Three things:
•          You don’t always have to say everything – less is more!
•          He who is scared of mistakes will not be able to win anything!
•          It does not matter whether you are right or wrong, only the audience has to believe you!

How to you prepare for a presentation?

Meticulously. For my first lecture I invested one whole working day for each minute of my speech! And I still do this. But impromptu speeches, of course, are spontaneous and unprepared – but in this case it helps me that I don’t take mistakes too seriously.

What is the perfect ending when presenting?

This is a really interesting question, because it affects one of the main parts of a speech, the conclusion! Not only the content determines the effect of a speech, but the answer to the following question: “In what condition should your audience be once you are done with your speech?”

Tell us about your exciting concept: “Selling is like love!”

The central message of this concept is simple: If you can fall in love, you can sell too! I use the metaphor of a pair of lovers to represent the simple act of purchasing. What I want to convey with this story is that selling is actually very simple.

How does the concept of LoveSellers differ from other sale concepts?

The key point is that I recommend selling without any pressure – only with the power of ‘going with the flow’. In other words, there is no need to sell – it is quite sufficient to not prevent a buyer to purchase!

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