When you are asked to speak to an industry group you have one of the greatest opportunities to market yourself and also one of the greatest challenges.

You have the opportunity to show your knowledge and to build rapport.

You have the challenge of speaking to a skeptical audience. No matter what the industry, your audience did not likely wake up and say:

“Oh boy, I get to listen to a lawyer this morning.”

How do you overcome their skepticism? In a nutshell, figure out what is really important to your audience and find a way to tie your presentation to that in the first 90 seconds.

You will have 90 seconds to convince a very skeptical audience that they should listen to you for the next hour. Give more thought to what you will say in those 90 seconds than what you will say in the remaining 58 minutes and 30 seconds.

I gave at least 10 presentations to contractors on compliance and ethics after Enron and Worldcom. How did I use the first 90 seconds? I will leave you with just the last line.

Compliance and ethics is as important to the survival of your company as safety is to the survival of your employees.

How will you use those 90 seconds the next time you have the opportunity to speak to your target market?