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Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category

How To Decide What To Say (and what NOT to say)

In marketing, Public Speaking on January 30, 2018 at 3:44 AM

Think back to the last time you ate at a buffet: did you scan ahead to see what was buffet 1offered other than the food in front of you? You were probably thinking you have a limited amount of space in your belly and should fill it with those things most important to you. While you may have appreciated the abundance, you did not place equal value on all the choices. You took some of one dish while ignoring others completely.

Information is like this: some is very important to us while other information is of lesser value.

As speakers, we often feel the need to tell everything we know on a subject. We feel we are cheating, or not telling the whole truth, if some bit of information is left off. “Data dumps” tend to overwhelm, over stuff, or just plain bore the audience. Rather than going away with more information, listeners check out, and retain less.

It is up to you as speaker to determine which 3-5 bits of information are essential to your point. The most important info may vary from situation to situation even though the topic is the same. The objective of your talk, the audience, and what you want the audience to remember will determine which information is critical. Everything else should be left out. While this may seem hard, your audience will appreciate your efforts. You will make it easier for them to understand and retain the information you give them.

It is hard to cut information out of your talk. The goal, however, is to awaken and provoke the audience. If there is something not covered that is of interest to them, they will ask.

As you plan your next presentation, whether it is to a large group or one-on-one, take time to scan ahead at the great buffet of information ahead of you. Select what to say and what to leave out. This will help your audience remember your message while reducing the chances of over stuffing them.

 

 

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

You Probably Do NOT Need Help With Your Talk

In BNI and Business Networking, business, Business Presentations, Communication, marketing, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on June 18, 2013 at 5:11 PM

I hear a lot of reasons for why people do not want help with their presentations:

  • “I don’t feel nervous in front of an audience.”
  • “I am only presenting to my peers.”
  • “It is just a staff meeting.”
  • “I know my subject.”
  • “I took public speaking in college.”
  • “I use PowerPoint.”
  • “I don’t use PowerPoint.”
  • “I did not have time to prepare so I will just wing it.”

After their talk, these same speakers often justify why they are sure they did not need help:

  • “I was not nearly as nervous as I thought I would be.”
  • “No one threw fruit “(yes, they really say this to me!).
  • “My friends said I did a good job.”
  • “The audience laughed and clapped, they must have liked it.”
  • “There were no questions.”
  • “It felt pretty good – I think I did okay.”

This is all good except nervousness is not a gauge of effectiveness, people don’t really throw fruit (at least in this country), your friends tend to say you do well, and not asking questions probably means they want the fastest way out of the room.

A “good” talk is not about “getting through it”, or “conveying information”, or about getting the audience to laugh. A good talk brings about a change of attitude, belief, or behavior. When finished, an effective presentation is one where you meet the objectives you set before you spoke.

  • In sales, this may mean an increase in closed sales.
  • In management, this may mean changing employee behavior.
  • As a scientist, this may mean increasing support for your project.
  • As a parent, this may mean a reduction in household tension.
  • In non-profits, this may mean more money and volunteers to accomplish your mission.

You probably do not need help with your talk UNLESS you are interested in increasing your effectiveness. If you are satisfied with the status quo, if you are pleased with the current rate of change, if you are not interested in accomplishing more in less time, the you clearly do not help with your presentations skills.

If however, you are interested in change, improvement, and efficiency – get help with your presentation skills. Hire a coach, attend a workshop, read a book.

Treat your presentations as if you are an archer…aim for the target and each time you shoot, try to get the next arrow even closer to the middle circle. 

Click here for information on upcoming workshops offered by iSpeakEASY.

Knowing your target makes it much easier to hit.

© 2010  iSpeakEASY. All rights reserved – This speaking tip is one in a series provided by iSpeakEASY. We help people profit from their words. Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops. (415) 342-7106. www.iSpeakEASY.net

The Worst Ways To Start or End Your Talk

In BNI and Business Networking, business, Communication, executive coaching, marketing, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, sales on January 2, 2013 at 8:06 PM

The two most delightfopening-woman-eating-cupcake-ssul and memorable bites of a meal are the first and the very last. The first bite is preceded by anticipation: you wonder what lies ahead. The food hits your tongue and there is a joy as the flavors spread through your mouth. That final bite of dessert is the taste that will linger in your mouth long after you leave the table.

The most memorable parts of a talk are the first words and the final parting thought at the end. The first words help the audience know if the flavor of your talk is one to which they want to listen. The final statement is the one that lingers in their mind as they walk away.

These two spots are where you have the greatest ability to influence your audience. Many times, speakers do not adequately prepare for these parts and lose the opportunity presented. Below are some sure-fire phrases to help you lose confidence and credibility:

Terrible opening lines:

  • Um… I didn’t have time to prepare for this talk
  • I hate public speaking
  • I don’t know why I was asked to talk
  • As you know….
  • Lights please
  • My name is… (You’ve already been introduced)
  • Can you hear me okay?
  • Is this microphone on?
  • I don’t give many talks
  • Bill Jones knows more about this topic than me….
  • Bill Jones was supposed to talk, but he wasn’t available so you’re stuck with me
  • And without further ado…

Terrible closing lines

  • That is all I have to say ‘
  • Well, I hope you got my main point (Then don’t repeat the main point)
  • Was I clear enough?
  • Questions?
  • Um…
  • Boy, am I glad that is over
  • Thanks for your attention
  • Lights
  • Bill Jones could have explained this to you better
  • That is it
  • I’m done.
  • Sure wish Bill could have been here to do this

A strong opening grabs the audience and encourages them to listen. A strong closing demonstrates to the audience that you are confident and competent.

Use these two opportunities to your benefit. Take time to plan and practice your opening and closing statements so you both create the anticipation in the minds of your audience and then leave them with the wonderful flavors of your talk in their minds.

Do you have “favorite” terrible opening or closing lines you have heard? Hit the comment button and share them with other readers!

© 2008 – iSpeakEASY  – All rights reserved.  Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops.

Comfortable Speakers Are Not Always Effective Speakers

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Business Presentations, marketing, media, Public Speaking on April 26, 2012 at 8:54 PM

“The KEY to being a good speaker” Kurt told me, “Is to feel comfortable in who you are – to feel comfortable in front of a group. I have been through years of Toastmasters and read Dale Carnegie – that is what I learned”.

A few moments later, Kurt was introduced as our speaker. He sat in his chair at the front of the room and he looked very comfortable. He rambled for about 20 minutes without really saying anything of substance. He did not address the topic that was promised, he bounced from idea to idea, and no one in the room looked enthralled. But Kurt was comfortable.

Kurt confused his comfort and lack of nervousness with being effective. A speaker should have a goal, or a reason for speaking.  At the end of the talk, there is something the speaker wants the audience to know or do.

If Kurt’s goal was to impress the audience that he was comfortable speaking in public, he succeeded. If he wanted us to know that he was a good speaker, that he was competent in his work, that his company was worthy of our business, or that we should follow his advice, he failed wonderfully.

An effective speaker feels comfortable because they know they have a strong presentation: a well crafted message that is expertly delivered. They know they have a reasonable chance of changing attitudes and behaviors with the audience.

As a speaker, when you know your topic, have clear goals for your talk, excellent visual aids, and are well practiced, you will feel more comfortable in front of an audience. When a speaker believes lack of nervousness alone makes them a good presenter, they are suffering from Kurt’s syndrome: confusing personal comfort with effective speaking. The speaker’s level of nervousness has little to do with their ability to motivate an audience to take new action.

Kurt is good at his job and he works for a very reputable company. I hope one day he learns the benefits of speaking well. He will be seen as credible, competent and his business will thrive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2012, iSpeakEASY – 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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Fear Of Public Speaking Is Universal

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Business Presentations, marketing, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, Social Media, speaking on March 6, 2012 at 8:31 PM

Serge is a Mexican national working in the U.S. as drywaller. He is an artist in his ability to put surfaces on walls.

He attended a speaking skills workshop focusing on delivering a clear message in 30 seconds or less. After the workshop, Serge approached me and said “I knew I was nervous speaking to others. English is not my first language and I am shy. I had no idea that all these other people where just as scared as I am.”

The “other people” he was referring to are white, educated, English speaking business owners including attorneys, accountants, and nutritionists.

Serge had internalized what he felt were his weaknesses and thought that is why he was afraid to speak in public. That day he learned public speaking makes many people nervous regardless of education, ethnicity, or background. For Serge on that day, the playing field had been leveled, at least in his mind.

We All Get Nervous

Fear of speaking is universal. We all fear being exposed as inadequate, of being asked a question we can’t answer, of making a fool of ourselves. We can focus on what we perceive our deficits to be and use them as a block, or we can flip it around and look at our assets and use them as a stepping stone.

For Serge, a man of color working in a wealthy, predominantly white community, he allowed his perceived deficits to make him nervous. That day he realized almost everyone, regardless of country of origin, native language, or skill set, is nervous when they address a group. He felt inadequate as speaker because, at times, he tripped over words. The fact that he is a skilled tradesman, an artist and a hard worker had slipped his mind.

What are your perceptions of your weaknesses? What causes you to be afraid when you speak? When you look at your peer group, what do you perceive they possess that you do not?

Now flip that around. What special skills, training, background, passions, interests and attributes do you possess? What qualifies you to do your job or speak on your topic?

Both lists are real and important – the list of fears can hold you back while the list of skills will propel you forward.

Fear of public speaking is universal. Which of the two lists will you choose to focus on?

© 2011 by iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved. This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY.

We help people profit from their words. Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops.

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Adding Value To Your Words

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, marketing, Public Speaking, speaking on February 16, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Speaking Tip 33

A bar of iron is worth about $5. Take that iron and turn it into horseshoes and it increases in value to $10 even though the raw materials are still the same. Take that same bar of iron and make it into screwdrivers and the value goes up to about $250. If you make needles with the iron, the value rises to $3,000 and if you turn it into balance springs for watches the value soars to $250,000.

The material is still the same limited quantity of metal but the way it is used, the end product, is quite different. The information and knowledge you possess is similar to iron. Its value is based on what you do with it, not the face value of the raw material itself.

What are you going to do with the information you have to increase its value? What can you say or do that will take the information you have come to life for you listener? How can you present it so that it morphs from raw data into something useful and inspiring to your audience? It is the audience’s perception of your words that makes them valuable, not the value you place on them.

In this “age of information” we live in, information is cheap while knowledge remains invaluable. The goal is to take information and present it in a manner that makes your audience say “Wow!”

Use your passion to make your data come to life for your listener. Plan your presentation, determine your singular main message, outline your 3-5 key points, create visual aids that help make your point and you are on the way to turning your bar of iron into watch springs.

The knowledge and experience you possess, that you try to convey to your audience, is worth little until you learn to present it in a fashion that is of interest to others. If you can make what you know relevant to others, the value of your information skyrockets.

 © 2008 – This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY.  We help you profit from your words. Call for information on individual coaching or workshops for your business.

 

The Single Most Important Speaking Tip

In Attracting New Clients, BNI or other Networking Groups, Business Presentations, marketing, speaking on February 1, 2012 at 9:01 PM

Speaking Tip #1

This speaking tip is so basic, that people sometimes laugh when I say it:

Be clear on what you are trying to say and what you want your audience to know when you are done.

It sounds so basic, but a common mistake is not being clear on what we are really trying to say. Think about it – if the speaker does not have a clear idea of what they are trying to say, how is the audience supposed to figure it out?

We feel rushed or, worse yet, we believe that since we are just “speaking for a few minutes at a staff meeting” or “having a quick word with the boss (or spouse, kids etc)” that we don’t need to prepare.

The next time you are going to speak, whether it is in front of a group or one-on-one, ask yourself this question:

“What is the one thing I want them to know when I am done speaking?”

When you can answer this question – organize your thoughts and then you are ready to begin.

Being clear in your own mind on your objective will go a long ways in helping you present your thoughts in a clear and concise manner that will be effective.

Treat every conversation with care and respect. Before you speak, put yourself in the driver’s seat and say, “where do I want this to go”?

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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 about the Speakers Academy.

 

© 2010 iSpeakEASY – This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY: We Help People Profit From Their Words.

You are welcome to link to this page. If you wish to reprint or repost this article, please emailus for permission. Call for information on individual coaching or group training.

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.

Fewer Choices Lead To Better Results

In business, Education, Interviews, marketing, opinion, philosophy, Public Speaking, sales, speaking, Uncategorized on November 29, 2011 at 9:07 PM

Speaking Tip #70

When my children were young, I dreaded going to the store to buy children’s aspirin. I remember standing there at the wall of products completely overwhelmed and very clear that there were many options but not clear at all about the right choice. Aspirin, Tylenol, ibuprofen or store brand? Pills, capsules, chewable, or liquid? Infants, child, teen or adult? Cherry, berry, or grape? Coated or uncoated? With fever reducer or without? 10, 25 or 100? It was too much!

I always worried that no matter what I brought home, it would not be the right choice.

Speakers often overwhelm audiences in the same way. In an effort to fully educate, to tell the whole story, we give too much information and too many options. We give more than the audience wants, can remember, or can even keep straight in their head. Speakers often try to cram what has take years or even decades to learn into a 40 minute presentation.

Given too many choices or too much information, audiences become dazed. Rather than being moved to action, they are more likely moved to a state of paralysis. In a sales situation, this means no sale. In a management situation, this means no change in behavior. In a community forum, it means no change in belief

An effective speaker brings clarity into the minds of the audience by offering one clear message. An effective speaker supports that one message with 3-5 supporting points, and they are done. An effective speaker keeps it clean and simple.  An effective speaker is able to discern what needs to be stated and what needs to be left out. An effective speaker helps bring clarity to the audience.

Take the time to figure out your one message and find your three to five supporting subtopics, and leave everything else out.

The worst that can happen when you give less is your audience will want more information and ask you a question.

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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.