Monday 27th January, 2014

What Becomes More Valuable Each Time You Give it Away?

Answer: your expertise, of course.

But what if your specialist knowledge is one of your company’s most valuable assets? How much should you give away before you begin to run the risk of diminishing its value?

Losing more than your temper

Earlier this month, my favourite film director – Quentin Tarantino – was in the news after it was discovered that someone has leaked the first draft of the script of his new project (The Hateful Eight) to Hollywood agents.

In response to the leak, QT dropped the project,  adding that the leak made him feel “very, very depressed.”

Tarantino’s reaction is completely understandable. Filmmakers go to extreme lengths to protect their creative until they are ready to release it in the form that they intended.  Premature leaks can seriously damage the integrity of a piece of art, not to mention the potentially negative impact on the film’s value.

When it’s safe to give it away

Public speakers on the other hand make it out business to give away our most valuable asset: our expertise.

But there’s a paradox.

In giving away (‘sharing’) what we know we automatically add to the value of the knowledge and increase the value of ourselves and our companies as gatekeepers of that knowledge.

Because it’s only by sharing our expertise that we let the world know that what we know is of value to them.

And, strangely, telling everyone how we did what we did rarely harms our ability to profit from it. When we let the world know that we are an expert and give clear indications of what we know and how what we know is of value we attract to us people who would rather pay us for our expertise than try to replicate it themselves.

It’s true that on some occasions it is wise to protect the finer details, using a mechanism such as a patent to prevent copying. But more often than not, when it comes to expertise, the more you share, the more you retain and add to the  intrinsic value of that expert knowledge.

How to give and receive at the same time

You’re on the stage. How do you share your expertise in a manner that creates even greater wealth for you?

1. Tell us a story. Describe the journey that took you from ‘problem’ to ‘solution’ and share some of the drama you experienced along the way. Make the story exciting and your brand and product will become both exciting and intriguing.

2. Don’t confuse. There’s a great phrase in sales and marketing: a confused mind says no. When telling your story, be dramatic but be straightforward too. If your tale is convoluted your audience may lose interest.

3. Tantalise with details. Great public speakers know how to allude to something more. They hint that there is more to a story and only the curious will be rewarded. People love solving puzzles so set them one to solve.

4. Leave them wanting more. Don’t answer all possible questions during your presentation. Let the audience do some of the brainwork and give them enough reason to need to approach you afterwards for more information. If you are selling a product or idea this is absolutely crucial. Leave them curious.

5. Welcome questions. The Q&A is the most valuable part of every talk you give. Only here does the audience have an opportunity to let you know how your idea has been received (and whether it’s been understood). Let them interrogate you and give them as much in return as you can without diminishing the value of the product. Encourage their curiousity and make the most of this golden opportunity to sell.

Categories: How to, Story-telling, Think differently

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