9 practices that will elevate your speaking professionalism

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Sometimes growing your business doesn’t have to be costly or complicated, sometimes it’s the little things that can make a big difference.  I’m a big fan of small actions that create big results.  That’s what we are going to be looking at today.  Today we are talking about the little things, the details.


The easiest way to stand out and get business is to pay attention to detail.  Because few people do.


For me, the importance of taking care of the detail began in my early twenties when I worked in retail management, my area manager’s mantra was “retail is detail” and of course we’ve all heard “the devil’s in the detail’.  Both are true.  When I moved into working in management consultancy and later in Speaker Bureaus the focus on detail paid dividends and helped me succeed. 


Attention to detail elevates your work from good to great so I thought it would be useful to provide a list of simple yet crucial practices that can make you stand out as a true professional speaker by paying attention to the detail:


  1. Get People's Names Right: Say them right, spell them right. It's respectful, like offering a firm handshake. If on the other hand your name is a tongue-twister, spell it out phonetically or include an audio version on your LinkedIn profile and email footer. Make it a welcoming door, not a barrier.


  1. Provide International Dial Codes: When quoting your telephone number to someone abroad, include the international dial code. Don't make them look it up; it's like holding the door open for them.


  1. Quote Times in Both Zones: When dealing with international communications, mention both your time and their time. It's like translating a foreign menu; it makes things easier and more comfortable.


  1. Quote Fees in the Client's Currency: Working with an international client? Quote your fees in the client's preferred currency. It's easy to convert, and their budget is unlikely to be in pounds. It's like speaking their language at a foreign market; it builds trust.


  1. Use Proper Titles and Credentials: When I joined CSA Speakers Bureau in 1998 I was taught to use first names as much as possible, and that works really well for creating a quick rapport with the majority of people. But there are those who want to be addressed by their titles and have credentials quoted. I recall working with a German speaker who I had to refer to has ‘Herr, Doktor, Doktor – which I found quite amusing at the time.  Do acknowledge specific titles or credentials like Dr., Professor, Dame, or Sir. It's a nod to their achievements, a tip of the hat to their status.


  1. Mind Your Grammar: In an age where grammar checks are a click away, incorrect usage can grate on the reader. Mistakes like confusing "your" with "you're" can really confuse. Think of grammar as the rules of the road; follow them, and your message will travel smoothly.


  1. Sort out Your Voicemail: This is a personal bug bear of mine. If I call your mobile and you tell me not to leave a message and to send a text or a WhatsApp you’ve just wasted my time and irritated me. You’ve potentially lost me as a client.  If I get to your voicemail and it just recites your number back at me, I have to go double check I’ve dialled correctly before leaving a message as I don’t want to leave a message for the wrong person, again you’ve stressed me out.  Record a personal message and let me leave a voicemail, thank you.


  1. Provide Contact Information: Keep your contact details up-to-date and easily accessible. Please put a phone number in your email signature, not just for when you initiate an email but when you respond and forward. The number of times I’ve had to go hunting for phone numbers when I’ve received an email as a written response would not do.


  1. Follow Up Promptly: Timely follow-up is like catching a train at just the right moment. Miss it by a minute, and you might lose a valuable connection. A speaker said to me last week that if she has to chase one of her team for a reply to an email then they have failed. Don’t ever be in a position of being chased for a response by a client or prospect.


These might seem small, but they contribute to the overall impression of professionalism and care.


In a competitive market these touches of professionalism can set you apart.


What would you add to my list?


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