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Starting Your Speech – in 4 Easy Steps

1.      How to choose your real estate topic

Starting your speech may feel like a daunting task, but by following these four simple steps, you’ll be well on your way.  

In the beginning, you may not have a lot of experience with public speaking. Still, you do have a lot of experience with real estate, and you know the issues your clients struggle with. Focus on one of those issues and offer one step to move your audience forward. The key is simplicity. Don’t assume your audience wants you to pack a year’s worth of information into a 20-minute presentation. If you confuse and overwhelm them, that’s what they’ll remember about you and your presentation. Your goal is to enlighten them with digestible portions by moving them forward one bite at a time.

Early on, I made the mistake of presenting my property management’s screening/vetting process. I wanted to share everything I knew in 45 minutes. It was overly detailed, and at the end of the presentation, I offered the audience 5 handouts. I thought everyone would be thrilled to have my 15 years of experience jam-packed into an hour. I was wrong, they were overwhelmed, and no one emailed me for the handouts. Lesson learned.

2.      How to find your real estate speaking niche

I know real estate agents who specialize in working with young couples buying their first home. Some realtors specialize in seniors who are downsizing and others who only work with property investors. I have a friend who is a mortgage broker; he has great success helping people who thought they would never qualify for a home independently. There are property managers who deal exclusively with suited low-end properties and others who only deal with million-dollar properties.

Chances are you have a niche and are working in it already. Still, because it comes so naturally to you, you don’t recognize it. As the saying goes, it’s easier to read a label from the outside of the jar than from the inside.

If you’re stuck, ask a few friends or colleagues to tell you their perspective on what you do well. You will be happily surprised at the responses you get and may even recognize a few themes that will help you with starting your speech.

3.      Know your audience

Before you begin building your story, keep your audience top of mind. Assume they are people you know, like, and care about, and you’re helping them solve one problem.

To start your audience analysis, have a conversation with the event organizer and ask them the following questions:

  • What does the audience want to learn?
  • What problem/s do they want to solve?
  • What is their common unifying element? 
  • How can you help them solve this problem?
  • Do they have in-depth information about the subject and want a new perspective?
  • Is the subject completely new for them?

If you can’t speak to the event organizer, research their group/organization on the web or through their social media channels to learn about their interests, issues, and perspectives; once you have this information, you can then figure out how to take your audience from why they should care about listening to you, to how you can help them solve their problem. By tailoring your presentation to suit your audience’s needs and level of understanding, you’re guaranteed a captive audience.  Starting your speech should always begin from your audience’s perspective.

Speaker Tips

Speaker Tip #1 

During your speech, use inclusive pronouns such as weour, and us to build rapport and let the audience know you are all working together to accomplish the goal. 

For example: 

“You have a problem.”  

“We have a problem that needs resolving” (more inclusive)

The first statement puts the responsibility on the audience. The second statement lets the audience know you’re there to work with them and to explain what you can accomplish as a group. 

Speaker Tip #2 

Connect the present to the past.

Another way to build rapport with your audience is to let them know you’ve been in their shoes and link the past to their present challenges. 

For example, a public presentation to new real estate investors: 

I know you’re feeling a little shaky about taking such a big plunge. That was my situation 5 years ago before I bought my first rental property. These are worrisome thoughts flooding your head. But I hope we can go over this simple 5-Step process for new investors; it’s only 14 minutes long and will help answer a simple question “what my next steps are.” Today, I’ll offer some suggestions to help you use when you’re evaluating which property is going to cash flow.

Make your presentation all about the audience, and your listeners will be eating out of the palm of your hand.

4.      Research your topic

How and what research you do will depend on two things: the type of speech you are giving and the level of knowledge of your audience. If your presentation is an informative speech on real estate industry trends, your research will be focused on statistical data from industry reports. With a  persuasive speech, your focus will be on gathering statistical data that support your argument. For an emotional speech,  your research focus could involve personal stories from individuals.

At all times, keep your audience front and center and consider their level of knowledge or if they have something in common. Are you speaking to a group of mortgage brokers? 

Or is your audience young couples buying their first home? Is the audience a group of property investors? Knowing their commonalities will help you tie in examples, jokes, industry news that speak directly to them. This will help you determine which research interests them most.

Don’t overdo the research. People will nod off with a grocery list of figures. Statistics are a great way to support your argument; if your speech is 15 minutes, one, two, or three, excellent examples will serve you well. Weave your research into your story to give it a personal tone. People love stories and find them easier to remember than statistics.

Another way to get inside your audience’s heads is to anticipate what questions they will ask next. This will help you pinpoint your research or flush out any gaps on your topic.  

Where to research

Thank heavens for the internet, it’s made research both easy and convenient! Here are some places to begin your research:

  • The library
  • Book stores
  • Academic or industry journals
  • Google Scholar
  • Newspapers
  • Dictionaries/reference books
  • Wikipedia
  • Online resources

If starting your speech feels intimidating, begin with these four simple steps; choose your topic, find your niche, know your audience, and research your topic. Once you’ve completed the foundation, you can easily build the remaining components of your speech, such as body language, vocal tone and variety, and visual aids.

Starting a speech all begins with the first step.

Nelda Schulte is a writer, real estate investor, and educator whose website NeldaSchulte.com focuses on providing resources and education that support real estate investors.

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