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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Management Consultant? Then Speak UP!

Have you ever had to get up and speak in front of your audience? As a consultant, that's a tough one. You need to be expert at the topic, and you need to get positive results.

To get results from speaking, consultants have to do something that isn't natural for them: they have to take a stand. They have to put a stake in the ground and stand for something. And that's not a powerpoint presentation. It's you. Generalists are reluctant to do that because they don't want to drive away business. However, in this world taking a stand is a great way to avoid business you don't want, and garner the business you do.

The stake in the ground is your uniqueness, your unparalleled expertise, because that stance can be applied to a variety of topics. For example, a speaker whose message is that success is about results, not process, would weave that message into every speaking topic.

Too many consultants who speak do not differentiate themselves. And because they don't, the audience does not accept them as a resource. It's fine to speak about change, for example, but you must have something to say about change that is unique and drives your expertise on the subject.

In Fast Company magazine, you can see this in action. Their "gurus" do one of three things with conventional wisdom: they disagree with it, twist it, or go beyond it.

And if you, as a consultant, can go beyond the conventional wisdom; go beyond what is expected; go beyond the ordinary... you become the expert at non-conventional thinking. And that's why you get hired.

"When one door closes another door opens; but, we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, we do not see the ones which open for us."

-- Alexander Graham Bell

Think about it.

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