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Archive for the ‘Increased sales’ Category

Why Should Anyone Listen To You?

In BNI and Business Networking, Confidence/Nervousness, Credibility, Increased sales, inspiration, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, Social Media on May 14, 2012 at 12:59 PM

On Credibility and Nervousness

My friend Theresa is a wonderful speaker. She is alive, animated, smart, articulate and people love her. She came to me recently though and told me that while she does well in front of some audiences – other times she totally loses it. She cannot hold her thoughts, rambles, and finds herself finishing 1-hour talks in 10 minutes. She was perplexed as to why sometimes she could be so confident, self-assured, and charismatic and at other times feel like a bowl of jello.

Nervousness properly managed is a good thing – it is a primal reaction that keeps us sharp and attentive. Becoming so distraught that we are unable to focus is, however, not a good reaction to nervousness. While there are many reasons we get nervous in front of a group – understanding the cause is the first step to managing it to your advantage.

As Theresa and I spoke, the cause of her nervousness became apparent. If she felt the audience knew less about the subject than she did, she was confident and self-assured. What made her nervous was believing the audience might know as much or more than she did on a particular topic

No wonder she was nervous – she was afraid the audience would see her as a fraud despite the fact that she has an advanced degree, tremendous passion and more than 20 years experience.

She had not convinced herself she was a credible source of information – and could not therefore convince the audience of that.

The next time you plan a talk, begin by asking yourself (and do write down the answer!):

Why am I qualified to speak on this subject?”

If you are like most people, you might initially draw a blank here. However, think hard. How many years experience do you have with this subject, what work, (paid or volunteer) or life experiences do you have that relate to your topic? Do you have a degree or other training that ties in? Do you have a love or passion for what you do?

In order for your audience to perceive you as credible, you have to believe you are credible. There is a reason you are qualified to stand in front of that group and speak – find it and you will feel your nervousness (or part of it anyway) fading away as your self confidence increases.

Thank you to Dr. Jon Hooper for introducing me to the Source Test.

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“Good Speakers are born. Great Speakers are trained. Click HERE to learn how you will benefit by attending the Speakers Academy .

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© 2007 – All Rights Reserved. This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY. Call for information on individual coaching or group training.

Are You Trying To Change The World (or a piece of it)?

In Business Networking Groups, Fund raising, Increased sales, marketing, Public Speaking on April 22, 2012 at 1:16 PM

It takes more than passion, knowledge. and a good cause to bring about change.

We like to think that if we tell people about our cause, they will want to join forces with us because what we are doing is so right.

  • Saving our parks
  • Protecting animals
  • Helping children
  • Raising money for schools
  • Reviving a community theater
  • Making the community a better place to live

The truth is that truth and knowledge is not enough. Passion is good, but even that is not enough to move people.

It takes a well crafted, properly delivered message to get people off their good intentions and moving in a new direction.

iSpeakEASY offers a special workshop designed for “Leadership” and other groups advocating a good cause.

Words, information, and passion are good, but they are not enough. We will help you put these into a short yet powerful message, train you to deliver them well in less than 2 minutes – the amount of time a City Council will give you to speak under “public comments”.

Make your knowledge and passion work toward change.

Click HERE for information on how YOU can learn to change the world in 2 minutes or less.

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Think Fast! 3 Tips For Impromptu Speaking

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Business Presentations, Education, Fund raising, Increased sales, marketing, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, sales, speaking on January 2, 2012 at 10:28 AM

We have all been there:

  • You suddenly find yourself being asked to say a few words about your business or project
  • You meet a person that is of personal or professional interest and you want to make a good impression
  • You are asked to speak and you are not prepared

Opportunity has presented itself to you and you have to think quickly on your feet.

How well you do depends entirely on you – will you take the conversation to the next level or will it (and your prospects) fade right there on the spot. A recent study indicates that 53% of customers report their initial impressions of the person speaking helped them make their decision on the spot.

In that brief moment, here are three things you can to deliver a compelling and inviting message:

  1. Pause before you speak – This extra time allows you time to think (and it is amazing how much thinking one can do in a split second!) and it demonstrates your comfort with the topic. The air of desperation is replaced with one of confidence.
  2. Be clear on the single point you want to make – You have just a few seconds to make an impression – what is it you want to leave them with when you are done? Rather than overloading them with too much, give them just a single, clear thought to contemplate.
  3. Make eye contact – More than your words, your body language delivers a strong message. A confident, friendly smile combined with a warm look in the eye conveys sincerity, confidence and credibility.

While the specific instances of each talk cannot be planned – we all know these situations will occur and should be prepared with a short response, even if we do not know the question.

You are not talking about rocket science – you are talking about your business. You should always be able to tell someone about your life or business in a few seconds with a smile on your face.

Use these three techniques to deliver a strong, compelling message that intrigues your listeners.

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Do you rely on your words to help grow your business? Are you involved in a business networking group such as BNI or a Chamber of Commerce? Improve your networking skills by learning to create an Effective informercial and elevator speech.  Click HERE for details.

Are you an experienced speaker interested in improving your skills and increase the effectiveness of your presentations? The Speakers Academy is a fast, intense, five-part workshop for professionals that want to increase their confidence, become more credible, and accomplish more with their words.

We will build on your existing skills and bring you to a new level with your speaking.

Click here to learn more about the Speakers Academy.

© 2009 by iSpeakEASY. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links from your blog or webpage are encouraged.

How Much Time Do You Really Have To Grab Their Attention?

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, Increased sales, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, Uncategorized on November 16, 2011 at 9:17 PM

 

15 seconds. That is how much time you have to grab the attention of your audience. 15 seconds to prove what you are about to say is important to them! Use this time efficiently and they are yours. Waste it and you can watch your audience fidget, turn away, and mentally leave the room.  In  one-on-one conversations, you will be able to watch their eyes dart about before they divert the conversation to a new topic.

We know the value of being clear on what we are trying to say. Now shift the focus from us and look at why it is important to them, our audience.

Start your talk with a provocative statement that will capture your audience right off the bat. Think of a rhetorical question, a joke, a story, a statistic or a dramatic statement that will peak interest and make them want to hear the rest of what you have to say. Find something that demonstrates why what you want to say is of value to them.

Think about this: when you buy a book – is it wrapped in a jacket (or cover) that is designed to intrigue you or is it in plain brown wrapping? The purpose of the cover is to make you want to pick the book up and look deeper. Think of your opening statement as the cover of the book – what are you going to put there to make others want to know what is inside?

An all-too-common mistake is to starting the talk with the verbal equivalent of brown paper wrapping – uninteresting background, the usual thank yous, or other irrelevant information. The audience is lost before you have begun.

When you stand up to speak (or walk into someone’s office) – be ready with a good opening line that is to-the-point and captivating. It should be clearly thought out, well rehearsed and directly tied to your main message, even if you are speaking one-on-one.

Try this experiment – watch other people speak. Do they start with something of interest to you or do they begin by telling you things you don’t really care about? How do you react to this situation and what is it that makes you stay tuned?

The first 15 seconds of your talk are critical to your success. Take time to plan it well so that you grab their attention and make your audience want to listen.

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Are you an experienced speaker interested in improving your skills and increase the effectiveness of your presentations? The Speakers Academy is a fast, intense, four-part workshop for professionals that want to increase their confidence, become more credible, and accomplish more with their words.

We will build on your existing skills and bring you to a new level with your speaking.

Click here to learn more.

© 2009 by iSpeakEASY. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links from your blog or webpage are encouraged.

 

 

 

Getting Straight With Visuals Aids

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, Increased sales, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on August 22, 2011 at 4:29 PM

A picture is worth a thousand words

My chiropractor did an excellent job today. Better than what he did to my body – it was the way he explained the issues through visual aids.

As he spoke, rather than just relying on his words, he had an array of visual aids ready. As he explained the possible issue with my back, he held up a model of a spine, showed me the parts and how they were supposed to work, and what he thought was going on in my back. As he twisted the model, it all made sense to me. He then stepped to a poster on his wall and showed me another possible ailment – seeing the diagram helped me quickly understand what a “disc” is, how it functions, and what happens to make it hurt.

On another wall, he had a diagram of the recovery process. It seemed complicated but rather than explain all of it to me, he simply showed the part of the process important to me: where I was and where I hoped to be.

Now think back to a time you visited a Doctor or even your car mechanic. As they explained the problems using only their words, did you find yourself glazing over, not understanding, but agreeing to what they said just because you did not want to appear ignorant or hear it again?

Visual Aids Add Meaning To Your Words

Visual aids are powerful tools that help make your point. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words – well so are models, sketches, posters, and even hand-drawn diagrams. The next time you have to explain a process or outcome, think of a way to include a visual aid. Is there a model, a poster, a picture, a diagram that can get your point across? If you can do this, you will find it easier to discuss your topic with your audience and they will more readily understand the concepts.

A picture (or model or diagram or poster) really is worth a thousand words and, let’s face it; no one wants to hear those thousand words anyway.

Dr. Doug DeSalvo
is a chiropractor offering help with pain relief, weight loss, auto accident treatment, neuropathy treatment and more. Dr. DeSalvo is a graduate of the  Speakers Academy (but that is not where he learned to be a Chiropractor!) Learn more about Dr. DeSalvo by clicking here.

iSpeakEASY offers workshops on effective use of visual aids (including PowerPoint). CLICK HERE for information.

© 2011 iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved. Links encouraged, reprinting, copying, or reposting requires permission of iSpeakEASY.

Sales Presentation Skills: An Interview

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, Increased sales, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, Social Media on July 20, 2011 at 11:46 PM

Quote on Sales Presentations


This interview was written for and published by Presentation-Process.com


Arte: Presentation skills are critical for a sales presenter. In your experience, what is the biggest mistake that sales presenters make?

Ethan: The biggest mistake sales presenters make is providing the wrong information – failing to bridge the gap between what the speaker is selling and the benefit to the audience. They provide information the audience does not care about.

Audiences generally care about one thing – themselves. To be effective, the presentation must be about the audience and not the product, service, or company. When I hear a presentation, I want to know how my life is better if I buy your product, service, or follow your advice.

Arte: Can you tell us a bit more about this issue?

Ethan: Sure…The presenter talks only about the details and features of the product or service and not the benefits. The prospects wants to know how their life will be better if they use this service or product before they will care about how it works.

Here is an example: one service I offer is helping businesses get quality video on their website.

I could talk about the HD cameras, boom mics, green screen, site SEO, and video embedding techniques. These are all important details. Another option is for me to explain how the finished video will drive traffic to the prospects website, viewers will like the business owner, and a high percentage of viewers will call the prospect wanting more information.

In second case we are discussing the benefits (how it makes their life better) and in the first case we are just giving details they are not yet ready for. So they lose the prospect.

Arte: What else makes a sales presenter lose a prospect?

Ethan: The second way to lose a prospect is to spend too much time giving background information before it is relevant. Once you have shown how your product or service will be of benefit to the prospect, then the background information on your company or your credentials is valuable and of interest.

As an example, one of my clients sells unemployment insurance to non-profits. When I began working with her sales presentation skills, she started her 45-minute pitch with the history of unemployment insurance law in the U.S. and then transitioned to the founding of the company. She was losing many of her prospects before she even had time to share the benefits of what she offers.

Knowing that every Executive Director she spoke with struggles to balance their budgets, we revised her talk to cover how the program would save money, while providing more services to the non-profit. We simply removed the details (history, tax rates, founding of company) and replaced it with benefits (more money to hire staff and do good in the world). Once we had sold the audience on our ideas, we then provided a brief overview of the company to demonstrate credibility. The revised talk took a mere 15 minutes.

Her sales rose dramatically.

Arte: But sharing company information is important, isn’t it? How can a sales presenter make boring company information ‘come alive’ for the audience?

Ethan: I find that if I adequately explain the benefits of my programs, my prospect will ask me about my qualifications and how long I have been in business. Since they are asking, it is no longer “boring company information”.

The audience does not start out caring about my company, yet many sales presenters start their presentation with the history of the business. Audiences care about how their life will be better if they buy my services. If I can address this issue first, they will later be interested in why I went into business.

It is up to the presenter to determine which details of your company will be of interest to the audience and which are just boring facts. This will vary business to business and even prospect to prospect.

If you have a good story, tell it. Did you know the inventor of Nike running shoes began by making custom shoes with a waffle iron? Apple built its first computer in a garage. I started my business based on my experience as a park ranger – these are real life stories that people can relate to and will remember.Weaving such stories into your speech is an essential part of developing sales presentation skills.

Arte: A lot of sales presentation skills training are about using slides. Tell us more about how to engage audiences without relying too much on on PowerPoint.

Ethan: To make sure a presentation does not rely solely on PowerPoint, sales presenters need to change the way they think about presentations. Are they giving a slide show or are they having a conversation? If all they want is to show slides, they really have no reason to be there in person. They should just email the file and follow up with a phone call. This is less expensive and will save everyone time. It will probably also result in fewer sales.

If, however, the presenter wants to engage the audience, learn about their needs, and try to build a relationship, then the sales presenter should show up. They should have a conversation which includes asking questions, listening, and conversing. Once the speaker and the audience have identified common areas of interest, then visual aid MAY be useful as the speaker suggests solutions to the problems the audience is trying to solve.

PowerPoint can be a very powerful visual aid. It is also a very powerful sleep aid. Sadly most uses of PowerPoint fall into the second category. Audiences want to be engaged with the speaker, not stare a screen.

Arte: It is true that sometimes the standard pitch books become a sleep aid. How do you suggest that sales people use them effectively?

Ethan: My sales presentation skills techniques are about targeting the message for a specific cause and audience. A good presentation includes the unique personality and passions of the speaker. The pitch book is designed to ensure each presenter provides information in the same manner. It is a formula that has been determined by the corporate office to work. Statistically, this may be true, but a good presentation is a conversation between the presenter and the audience. The pitch book is a standard approach to having a one-way monologue.

I do work with clients to help them use visual aids effectively, but the pitch book is the low-tech version of the canned PowerPoint. You might as well just buy TV, radio, print, or internet ads.

Arte: How does a successful sales pitch presentation work?

Ethan: A pitch tends to be a one-way flow of information with the speaker trying to lead the listener to a predetermined place (buy my product). A presentation is a conversation: a two-way flow of information with the speaker trying to help the audience achieve a specific objective.

In a sales situation, if the interests of the audience are in line with what the speaker offers, it may result in a sale. Regardless of whether a sale is made, both the speaker and audience share a conversation and leave with a better understanding of the other person and their needs as they relate to work. This is the formation of a relationship that may result in doing business together now or at a later date.

Arte: What advice do you have for people interested in improving the results they get from speaking?

Ethan: Begin by looking at your approach to a presentation: are you talking or are you having a conversation? Do you know your audience or do you only know your product? Is the presentation important enough that you make time to adequately prepare?

We have all heard the saying “no one likes to be sold to but we all like to buy”. In general, audiences care about themselves, not you. They are interested in what you can do for them, not what they can do for you.

If the speaker structures the talk to be audience-centric, they have a greater chance of being successful and achieving these measurable positive increases.

Keep in mind that a non-sale is not a failure. As the goal of a presentation is to have a conversation to see if there is a reason to do business together, a non-sale may be a successful presentation that demonstrated the prospect and company are both intelligent and good people, but not a match for business. Just like a first date – it can still be a positive experience even if you decide not to life partners.

Arte: I read about the measurable and impressive results from your sales presentation skills program. What do you think is the key change that made this kind of change in sales results happen?

Ethan: Participants in iSpeakEASY workshops learn to structure their talks to be audience-centric. This increases the relevance of the information to the audience, thus they are more likely to listen and to buy.

Arte:Any other thoughts you want to share with readers at Presentation-Process?

Ethan: It takes more than product knowledge, a few PowerPoint slides, and the willingness to open your mouth to be an effective speaker. To get better results from speaking, we need to re-think how we approach speaking and we need training. Some people are born as good speakers. Great speakers have all been trained.

Take the time to find a professional speech coach to help you learn how to set goals, organize your talk, create effective visual aids, and deliver like a professional.

I really emphasize the value of professional coaching to build skills as opposed to speaking clubs that focus on peer based coaching. While these groups can be helpful, the results are limited compared to what a professional can offer. Michael Jordan may have learned to play basketball on the streets, he learned to be star through professional coaching.


To know more about Ethan Rotman and the workshops he conducts, please visit iSpeakEASY website. iSpeakEASY is located at Novato, California.

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Are You Leaving Money On The Table?

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, Increased sales, Organization, Public Speaking, Social Media on July 6, 2011 at 8:10 AM

Speaking Tip 54

Imagine walking into a room where there is money on the table. You can’t see how much but you know it is there. All you have to do to get it is talk. The better your presentation, the more money you will get.

At the end of your talk, you walk out with $10 and you feel you must have done a good job. Later you find out there was an additional $190 on the table Now how good do you think your performance was?

We evaluate our speaking ability, to a degree, by our success. The problem is we rarely know how much better we could have done. Regardless of what we accomplish, we don’t know what was left on the table.

After a recent talk, the presenter boasted that five members of the audience approached him and asked him for a card. That is good but what about the other 95 people who quietly shuffled out the door without a word?

A business owner recently boasted to me that his company enjoys a 90% success rate when presenting to qualified prospects. That is phenomenal. He smiled as he enrolled his employees in a speaking skills workshop stating he wanted to bring that to 95%. He did not like leaving money on the table.

Some of us do not believe we are “selling” when we speak – but we are all trying to accomplish something. Sometimes we sell things, other times it is ideas or beliefs.

When a supervisor addresses employees, she is “selling” the idea of a new procedure or attitude. A parent “sells” the idea of a new behavior to their children while children “sell” the idea of new freedom to their parents. A scientist “sells” the need for further research. A politician “sells” the need for votes or support. The environmentalist “sells” the need for conservation, and so on.

Good presentation skills will help you get more of the money off the table and into you pocket. Whether your goal is to actually take the cash or change an attitude – proper training and coaching will help you improve your results.

ISpeakEASY will help you improve your speaking skills, allowing you to accomplish more with your words. Regardless of how good you are now, we can help you better. CLICK HERE for a list of upcoming workshops or call (415) 342-7106 and ask about individualized coaching or a workshop for your company.

We don’t see the money we leave on the table – but it is there every time we finish speaking.

What Audiences Want From A Speaker: A Free Presentation

In Attracting New Clients, Business Networking Groups, Confidence/Nervousness, Delivery, Increased sales, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on May 2, 2011 at 9:06 PM

If you knew what your audience wanted and expected from you, would that help you deliver a more effectgive presentation? Of course it would!

We make presentations every day – usually in the form of small, informal talks at staff meetings or conversations with co-workers, clients or family members. Developing a clear objective and organizing our thoughts enhances your credibility and increases your effectiveness.

“What Audiences Want From A Speaker” helps speaker’s improve their presentation skills whether they are making formal presentations to large groups or informal presentations to small groups.

The talk covers:

  • The three highly desired attributes of good presentations
  • The five fatal mistakes many speakers make
  • Steps speakers can take to improve their presentations
  • The value of good visual aids

 

This presentation will be offered as a part of the Marin Masterminds Networking Group monthy meeting on Wednesday, May 4th

This is a brown bag lunch networking group

Noon to 1:30 in the Community Room on the second floor of the AAA Insurance Building at 99 Smith Ranch Road in San Rafael, CA 

Here is what others say about this presentation:

 “On behalf of the Walnut Creek Rotary Club, I want to thank for an excellent presentation on public speaking. Good programs are important for the club to keep our members interested and attendance up! We all appreciated the well-prepared and informative presentation.”

John Gardner, Rotary of Walnut Creek

“You have been, in effect, a years worth of Toastmasters encapsulated into a couple of sessions.” 

Clyde L. Schultz, DDS.

“I believe in Ethan’s ability to help people reach their highest level of delivery and competence.” 

Brian Allen, Rotary of San Jose Downtown

 “The session was exciting, well organized, and engaging. The materials were easy to understand we were given the tools to improve our speaking skills.”

 San Francisco Estuary Institute

 

The Rights Of A Speaker

In Attracting New Clients, Business Networking Groups, Delivery, Increased sales, Public Speaking on April 19, 2011 at 8:51 AM

Speaking Tip 30

 The audience expects (and is entitled to) the best performance you can offer. Your credibility and that of your organization is at stake every time you make a presentation.

As a speaker, you have rights to insure you are positioned to properly provide the top-rate service your audience expects. Do not be afraid to politely turn down a request to speak if the reasons justify it.

A speaker is entitled to:

  • Adequate lead-time to prepare for your talk
  • Clearly defined expectations – What is it they want from your talk and why were you asked to speak?
  • The parameters of your talk – e.g. time allotted, size of audience
  • A clear description of audience member’s backgrounds and needs related to the topic
  • A list of other speakers preceding and following your talk
  • Access to proper equipment: stage or podium, lectern, microphone, properly functioning audio-visual equipment
  • Ability to set up the room in advance so that it works for you
  • The full amount of time they have allotted you
  • A host who sets clear ground rules so the audience treats the speaker with respect
  • A place to speak that is quiet with out distractions

 To deliver your best you need the right tools, time and information. These will increase your self the confidence and credibility allowing you to offer excellent presentation the audience deserves.

 

 

 

© 2008 – All rights reserved.  This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY.  Call for information on individual coaching or group training.

Gratitude And Appreciation For $.24

In Credibility, Increased sales, Public Speaking on March 24, 2011 at 8:06 PM

This morning I received an email from Netflix apologizing for causing me an inconvenience and offering a 3% discount on my bill. This stems from the other night when I tried to log on but Netflix was having technical problems and I could not watch a movie.  No big deal really. It happened and I forgot about it.

I was elated as I read their email though. I had forgotten the whole incident already but I always like saving money.

What a great company. They acknowledged a problem that probably was out of their control anyway, accepted responsibility, and offered to make it up to me. That is the type of company I want to do business with. That is the type of business I want to be.

It wasn’t until later that I realized I would see a $.24 reduction in my bill. That is not even a quarter. That will not even buy me 10 minutes parking on the street.

WOW. They are good. They bought a lot of my gratitude and support for less than a quarter. I still like them. As a matter of fact, I like them even more now.  Sometimes it is not the value of the gift that is important, it is the fact they thought about offering something at all.

I wonder, what small thing can I do with my clients, friends and families that will have a big impact?