Be a Master of Conversation

By Dave Ratner Motivational Speaker/CEO, Dave's Soda & Pet City | June 07, 2015

The occasion may not be auspicious – the cause of freedom need not rise or fall on what you say – but that does not mean you should race through and mangle your words, or lower your head and speak in a whisper, as if your delivery is the rhetorical equivalent of saying, "I gave at the office," a quick dismissal so you can sit down and have a drink.

Be respectful, always, but learn the difference between public speaking, which many people consider a horrible fate, and a conversation... where men and women would like to hear you share a story about something funny or interesting that you enjoy telling.

I write these words from experience – I also speak these words (and more), in public, whenever I can – in a variety of venues, including a great many hotels nationwide.

And, throughout this second career as a public speaker, in my travels to cities large and small, in banquet halls and convention centers, I have some advice about conquering the fear described above: Be. Yourself.

I come bearing the truth rather than a pouch filled with magic and a repertoire of secrets. Indeed, the reason so many people have so much anxiety about public speaking is because we too often confuse a speech ("The Speech") with the art of conversation.

The latter is the smooth, polished or practiced delivery of stories; the stuff your friends and family know, and the bits that make people laugh and nod in agreement, and finally, applaud with enthusiasm.

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.