Every now and then I find myself in these amazing places where I have to pinch myself. That's what it felt like last year when I attended a networking event at the EY building in downtown Toronto. It was pretty impressive.
As I often do when I attend these events, I step inside and have a little internal chatter with my father. I know that if he were here he would love telling me about how he worked on this building when he was in Toronto in the early 60s. It is not lost on me that he would never be invited to the cocktail party. I am so proud of my ancestors from Newfoundland and Labrador who were instrumental in making the city look like it does.
But I digress.
After my little internal moment, I scan the room. That's what legally blind people do. We look around to make sure that the coast is clear before taking that first step to where we want to end up.
If you own a China shoppe, I am your worst nightmare. I am the proverbial bull. If I don't time it right, things could end up arse over teakettle for someone in this room.
On this day, the victim is a young man with a bowl of tomato soup. I had just caught sight of my group in the far corner. My hyper-vigilance had kicked in. I felt like an elk on the Serengeti, all senses alert for danger as I take that first tenuous step forward.
And then it happens.
When I recall that moment, it feels like I'm advancing a movie script in slow motion. My forward momentum is consistent to that of an Olympic runner leaving the block at the sound of the starting gun. The young man who came out of left field didn't stand a chance - the tomato soup he was carrying even less.
We both bear the brunt of it as the soup gets jostled and leaves the cup where it comes to land on both of us in equal portions. I quickly say "I'm blind" because I know that he is about to get angry. His face softens, we collect ourselves and exchange pleasantries and I walk off to meet my friends.
But I'm not alright.
My anxiety is through the roof and I am really frustrated. It is getting much harder to look cool in a crowd. My vision is getting worse and what used to be easy is now creating challenges and interfering with my ability to market my services. There has to be a better way.
That was the last time I entered a room where I would be marketing one to one. I decided that the best option for me was being that person at the front of the room who could make an impact with the crowd. Marketing one to many became my new tactic.
At the front of the room a few things happen. My disabilities disappear and the focus is on what I am saying. The stakes are high. I don't want to mess this up because I am addressing my potential client in this room and I need them to take action.
Selling one to many is my new model but it makes great business sense for all business owners. After all - it's all about the multiples - it's like I'm having coffee with a room filled with people and it shortens the sales cycle.
If you're going to consider it, it's important that you get confident with your presentation before you get up there.
One third of your people will never like what you say.
Keep in mind the rule of presenting - one third of the people will never like you, one third are indifferent and one third are your people.
Speak to your people.
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