Nobody knows extemporaneous speaking like home-shopping royalty
Picturing them naked only gets you so far.
Public speaking can be a bear of a task, especially for the shy and stage frightened. And who better to advise on extemporaneous speaking — natural, improvisational smooth-talking for minutes or even hours on end — than the good people of QVC? Rick Domeier, a veteran host of nearly 23 years, has come a long way himself: “I was like, ‘How am I supposed to talk about this bracelet for seven minutes?’” he told Moneyish. “And now I’m like, ‘I only have seven minutes to talk about this bracelet?’”
But wait — there’s more. Here are Domeier’s time-tested tips on how to improv at work like a QVC host — and sell any group the idea you’ve got in mind:
Know your audience. “It may seem counterintuitive … because we are speaking extemporaneously for three hours nonstop,” Domeier said, but his mantra is to “Focus on Her,” a nod to QVC’s predominantly female audience. Domeier gathers data on “her” — and what she wants from a product — through QVC.com reviews, Facebook live chats, on-air phone calls, focus groups and digital feedback.
In the workplace, Domeier said, understanding the audience can help tailor a presentation. “How many times have you been in a meeting where someone had a canned presentation?” he said. “You’re thinking, ‘What does this have to do with me? … How does this affect me?’” Knowing the group’s preferences will help you decide on a casual or formal approach; whether a lengthy PowerPoint or succinct presentation better suits the audience, he said.
This rockstar QVC host reveals his best public-speaking hacks https://t.co/5pPTh8d2Tg
— Moneyish (@Moneyish) October 11, 2017
Know your product. QVC hosts constantly learn on the job, Domeier said, whether it’s a hands-on look at watchmaking or frequent training sessions on color and shoe trends. In a presentation, meeting or job interview, he said, the “product” is your own personal brand. Know what you can contribute, why you’re there and your main talking points. “There’s nothing more distracting than someone who is focused a little too much on body language or speech patterns and being self-conscious,” Domeier said. Be prepared to handle any objections to what you’re saying — whether the question is about business or a vacuum’s compatibility with shag carpet.
Be authentic. While it’s possible to effectively incorporate traditional public-speaking techniques like constant smiles, specific hand gestures or a certain cadence, Domeier said, they can backfire. Audiences are sophisticated enough to read through a faux smile, he insisted. “I’m a little loud; I gesture a little too much and I probably speak a little too fast,” he said. “But the audience that’s been watching QVC with me for just shy of 23 years has accepted: ‘Oh, that’s Rick — that’s just how he is. He’s just a little crazy, and that’s OK.’”
Remember that less is more. In QVC pitches and business meetings alike, Domeier said, audiences don’t tend to retain more than a couple main points. So “know those one or two points. What do you really want to say?”
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