Public speaking: How to organize and give a talk that sells

Write a powerful scenario – deliver an impactful message

Public speaking is an incredibly valuable sales tool provided if it is used correctly. This sort of presentation must captivate your audience, must inform and highlight your brand, and convince without becoming a domineering sales pitch. Public speaking for some people is second nature; for others it can be challenging. The good news is that speaking in public is a learnable skill.  

We asked Sabine Vandebroek, author of the bookOrganisez et donnez une conférence qui fait vendre’ (Prepare and give a speech that sells) for her advice and to give us a few tips on how to deliver speeches that sell without selling!

Speaking in public has become a great way of presenting and marketing a product, be it a service, an idea or even a person. However, many people are really afraid to talk in front of an audience. 

Others, assured of their own charisma, are overconfident. The result, at either end of this spectrum will be failure to convince; either because the speaker is paralysed by stress and stage fright, or because they are trapped by their conceitedness and oversell.

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Sabine, what are the most effective ways to move, persuade, and inspire?

Talk to your audience as if they were your best friend. Tell them what you can do for them and how whatever you are selling can improve their lives, make them richer, save them money, have more time for themselves and their families etc. 

Don’t talk about yourself. People don’t want to know about your personal life.

WHat are your 5 Tips for a talk that sells?

1.           You need to research your audience and what they are expecting and to prepare your pitch accordingly.

2.           You need to collaborate efficiently with the event organizer and to provide him or her with all the information needed to ensure the promotion of the conference.

3.           You must be completely convinced by your product. If you have any doubts about it don’t speak. Hand the presentation over to a colleague.

4.           Don’t be frightened to sell. If your product can provide solutions don’t hold back. Put it forward as the product that will change your audience’s lives.

5.           Preparation is paramount: the content of your speech relies on your knowledge of the audience, of your product, and on your timing.

You need to have a sales focus !

What strategies would you recommend for becoming a better speaker/seller?

There’s only one strategy and I repeat – preparation! However good you think you are excellent performance depends on meticulous preparation and repetition.


What plans would you recommend to integrate technology into your presentation?

Technology can be your worst enemy and you have to be extremely careful to ensure it functions and to have a plan B if it doesn’t. A faulty WiFi network is to be avoided!

If you want to show a video, make sure you have good sound and picture quality, and if you need to, make sure you can fall back on the content in your presentation.
I have seen a lot of speakers completely thrown by a technical problem and unable to finish their presentation professionally.

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How do you encourage speakers to express their creativity?

If you want to impress your audience, you have to stand out from the crowd and the best way to do this is by telling stories.

Your stories are unique; they make you human and improve your credibility and legitimacy. A lot of people think that they have nothing to tell. Everybody has a story. You have to be creative and discover how your story can relate to your product and to your audience.


How do you stop people from falling asleep during your talk?

You must connect with your audience: you need to grab their attention in the first three sentences not with a sales pitch but with something that will make them sit up, perhaps with an anecdote or a particular experience.
And in the next three sentences you need to hold it by wooing them and  showing them that you know their needs and that you can do something about finding solutions.

However, you may be the tenth speaker of the day and your audience may be tired. Wake them up: play some music, or invite them to move a little.
Make it clear why you are doing it: “It’s been a long day and I think we all need to loosen up and reenergise.”

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How would you enhance collaboration, cooperation and interaction ?

Generate interaction by asking questions in the audience, but be careful to leave enough time for your audience to think about the answer. A lot of speakers give the answer before anyone has had time to respond. You can invite someone to share an experience with you on the stage. Or give a few minutes to the audience to discuss a particular topic among themselves.

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The pitch and timing

Recently, I participated in a meet-up where eight start-ups received the opportunity to give a pitch of five minutes. Seven companies out of eight talked for about eight to ten minutes. Exceeding the allotted time shows lack of respect – to the conference organiser, to the speaker who will follow you, and to yourself because you have not taken enough care to prepare and master your presentation.

Even one minute over the allotted time is one minute too long.

Start with the customer – find out what they want and give it to them.


Sabine Vandebroek, author of the book ‘Organisez et donnez une conférence qui fait vendre’ (Prepare and give a speech that sells)

During her career as a congress organiser, Sabine Vandebroek has sold many symposia and has observed that the majority of companies completely waste their investment in money and time often due to lack of preparation, wrong speaker, irrelevant content, no conclusion or call to action.

Her book on the subject, works on the message and how to deliver it, to which she has applied some of the many techniques she has learned from her passion for singing.

The book, issued in 2019 is – at this stage – only available in French but we hope it will be translated in Dutch and English soon ! 


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