April 15, 2011 By
Are you an introvert, quiet type, and think you can’t bring my level of passion to your “presentations”? Watch this and tell me that to my face.
October 20, 2010 By
So what’s so important about having a signature program? There are many advantages for a business, not the least of which is that it is a sure-fire differentiation strategy. As a communications expert, I’m interested also in the fact that it streamlines what the heck you talk about when describing your business! When I attend networking meetings (which I still do occasionally), and certainly in my daily work with coaches, I consistently notice that they discuss several things they’ve got cooking. The brain can’t process all this information. It wants to know you’re doing one thing. So, in Session 6, one of the things I tell M&M is that they will now be speaking only about “Feast or Famine,” their portal event. On their website, ideally, they would have a squeeze page, inviting people only to this event—rather than explaining in detail all the things they offer. This always produces a big sigh of relief for my clients, who are always aware that typically their communication isn’t effective because they talk about too much. In this session, we also discuss possible copy for their promo- tional postcard and I emphasize the need for their couples to “self-identify”—to say, “That’s us!”—and to do it either in the headline or in the first paragraph, and certainly through- out the rest of the copy. So, I play around with a few possible headlines for them that satisfy this requirement, then we pull the first line of the copy straight out of their heads and gut: It (marriage, as referred to in the headline) hasn’t worked out the way you envisioned it, has it? So we’ve slammed them with two “self-identifying” questions in the headline and first sentence. Then we list several unwanted things in their lives that they never envisioned—things directly related to their financial stress, and we further “call them out” by discussing their particularly unique situation: that they make a good income but continually coming up short. This rules out other couples who don’t have that issue. Then we slip on M&M’s “older and wiser couple” persona with the next paragraph that begins, “We know.” And continues on with the brief story of their financial struggles twenty years ago and the constant fights they used to have, inserting some of the accusations they hurled at each other, which we know their market most certainly does as well. This is another self-identifying tactic. And we conclude that paragraph by saying, “we’ve weathered those storms and are here to show you how to, too.” Below that, in the center, is the title of their program and below that, centered, is the thesis argument of their “brand concept” (Remember that? It’s a teaching point around which their portal program revolves.) Theirs is that financial struggle is directly related to a secret communication cycle they can’t see. Below the thesis, we put the statement, “You must attend this special seminar to break free of that cycle once and for all.” (That’s what I wrote about yesterday: activating the compulsory need in humans to know). Then we describe what they’ll learn in the 90-minute program and conclude with logistical information such as where, when and how to register. Of course, I don’t write this on the fly; I spend time in off-call hours constructing the final language, but we flesh out the basics in this session. I’m happy to provide some key pointers for your promotional copy! I kept this post purposely vague for copyright purposes, but there’s enough direction here for you to apply the general concepts to your own marketing pieces. TOMORROW IS THE DAY!! You can own this entire 8-session consultation! To see the first of two videos introducing the CD, click here now!
October 14, 2010 By
In the first session, M&M and I looked quite deeply at their target market. What would be the natural next question? How do you reach them? I call these your Touch Point 1 venues. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to convince M&M that speaking is hands-down the best way to connect with a market; they had already done some speaking. So in this session, we delve deeply into this subject, again gathering data and building upon it. Where have they spoken before? Where could they speak that they’d never thought of, and which are the three most effective venues? We decide that to attract couples, they would reach out to churches, libraries, Barnes & Noble (they could ostensibly speak on Dave Ramsey’s book), and local boards of education to see if they promote workshops for parents. From there, we begin to touch on content. What have they spoken about in the past? Well, their previous topics have been rather dry, focused on how to budget and reduce debt, so I draw us into thinking about what would be most Brain- Sticky. To determine that, we must know who would be in the audience (target market), and what would get them there. So we need to understand the Trigger Event (see yesterday’s post) and their market’s most acute pain, and of course M&M’s special solution. I advised them that this time, they need to give more than just an information-based seminar. In this day and age, I told them, you want your audiences to be transformed in some way, right away. And you do that by taking them through what I call the “Transformation Arc”: this is a certain trajectory that guarantees a powerful shift in thinking and very often a shift in behavior. This “arc” begins by getting their market immediately into the ugly emotion they deal with (even unconsciously) every day. I call it “getting them into the ick.” The male “M” of M&M, who has done all the presenting in the past, is unsure of this direction. He has always worked with audiences in what I call the “Old Paradigm,” where he hauls out a Power Point (aaaaggghh!) and didactically transfers knowledge, without much engagement with those in the room. I point out to him that in order for his audience to be moved enough in this free “portal” talk to then buy a service package with M&M, they must FEEL—and you can- not tell someone to feel; you must set the stage for them to experience emotion themselves. This, and only this, creates transformation in them, and a far stronger interest in buying. Next, we need to solidly determine what the “ick” is for their particular market. What is the emotional sludge these couples are wading through, as it pertains to their financial struggle? Well, in the next session, three, we hit pay dirt! Together we figure this out and with that knowledge, we begin to sketch out the Brain-Sticky concept of their portal, signature program…that could become the differentiation for their entire business! Be sure to come back tomorrow to see what it is! As for you: is speaking on your list for strategies to get more clients and build your list? What Touch Point 1 venues will best reach your market? And what about the “ick” your market stews in day in and day out—how can you have them experience or come face to face with that “ick” in a talk you give? Would love to hear your thoughts below! And feel free to share this post so others can get eavesdrop, too!
May 21, 2010 By
Audiences will not listen to you just because you’re standing in front of a room. Did you listen to your English teachers or Social Studies teachers just because they were there? Of course not. The ones you listened to were the ones who earned your listening. Adults may be more politically correct than kids and give you the impression that they’re listening—but unless you have earned it, they’re tuned out. How do you “earn their listening”? First, let’s talk about how you don’t. Just in any conversation, whether with one or one thousand people, you lose their listening when you start out talking about yourself. They don’t care about you. Not yet. You have to earn that. Begin by entering their world and showing them that you under- stand them. That you respect them. When people are acknowledged, they’re all ears. You lose their listening if you don’t persuade them that they will benefit from something you have to say. My daughter comes home every day telling me “school was boring.” I don’t doubt it. Wasn’t it boring when you went, too? Her teachers are not enrolling the kids in the benefits of learning about fungi or Ancient Rome. You must convince them that they’ll gain from listening to you–right from the outset. If you fail at this, you’ve lost them for the rest of the ride. You lose their listening if you’re not speaking their language. Literally. Know the industry lingo. But at the same time, do not use your indus- ry lingo with an audience who’s not in your industry!!! This kind of lack- of-awareness is epidemic. Do you use words others don’t know to impress them–or just because you’re not thinking? You’ll lose their listening really fast if the language isn’t right, either. A particular pet peeve of mine is incorrect grammar. I can’t tell you how many “professional speakers” don’t speak correct English. They lose my listening the instant they mix up “me” with “I.” As in, “The team went to the meeting with Roger and myself,” or “He was so much better than me at selling.” Please read a grammar book if you’re unsure. You’ll lose their listening if you don’t tell them why you are up there. What are the education and credentials that make you worthy of their listening? The best method is to tell us a story that explains what brought you to this spot in front of the room. Perhaps it’s a before and after story; or a story of an “aha” moment that changed everything. I don’t know any- one who won’t listen to a good story. Do you really want to wow them? Then tell them why you’re doing this over any other career/job in the world. What about this compels you? Gets you up in the morning? What’s in it for you? Why are you so passionate? When you answer this for them, not only are they listening, but they’re beginning to see the value of being in their seats. And, of course, you lose their listening if you don’t know that. If you have no passion for your subject. It will show itself in your monotone voice, flat facial expressions, slow movements, “ums” and slide-reading. If the subject you’re speaking about isn’t worth your energy…it certainly isn’t worth theirs! I teach my clients and audiences how to “earn their listening” from the very first moment they step on stage, and, of course, how to keep it throughout. There are many more elements to this process that are subtle and absolutely essential. If you don’t get the results you want from speaking in public; if you don’t get the reactions and the word of mouth and the sales, check in to see how you “lost their listening.” Did you start out talking about yourself? Fail to enroll them in the benefits of listening to you? Did you speak “below” or “above” their heads? Give data instead of a story? Don’t worry. There’s always a next time! Today is the LAST DAY you can bring-a-colleague-free to my 2-day public speaking training based on the latest brain research. You will learn 2 sequences at this event–and the first is the 7-Point Introduction: How to earn their listening right from the start. There are a lot of videos you can watch on this page to see if this is the seminar you need to attend next month. I hope to see you there!
April 28, 2010 By
today’s New York Times, entitled, “We Have Met the Enemy and He is Powerpoint.” Its focus is on the prominence of this popular presentation software in the U.S. military and the dangers it poses. General Stanley A. McChrystal, the leader of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, concluded, “Power Point makes us stupid.” The program, commanders feel, stifles discussions, critical thinking and thoughtful decision-making. It “relieves the briefer of the need to polish writing to convey an analytic, persuasive point.” General H.R. McMaster claims, “It’s dangerous because it can create the illu- sion of understanding and the illusion of control.” They bandy about affectionate terms for the program, such as “Dumb- Dumb Bullets,” “death by PowerPoint,” and “hypnotizing chickens” (25-minute PowerPoint presentations with 5-minute Q and A). I’m sure you have slung a few choice words toward the screen yourself. Despite all of this, the article concludes that the Microsoft program is staying put in the military—the one faction of our population we’d like to hope isn’t occupied by stupid, hypnotized chickens. So, I have one question for today: Why is this okay? Why is it okay for our military, corporations, schools—for ANYONE —to not just perpetuate stupidity, but produce it? Why is it okay for ANY leader to stifle discussions? To bank critical thinking?? To turn decision-making from “thoughtful” to robotic? Why is it okay to “relieve the briefer of the need to polish their writing to convey an analytic point”? Where does writing originate? In thinking! If writing isn’t polished, then we know the thinking that generated it had ragged edges and holes—and there’s nothing more dangerous than sloppy, careless thinking. Why is this okay? Why is it okay for you to give a presentation that “creates the illusion of understanding”?? Do not get me started on the ineffectiveness of knowledge-transfer in this world; how far too many “experts” are out there teaching without any innate skill or training in teaching. “Creating the illusion of understanding” is epidemic in this information-age and why are we allowing it? Why is it okay that the brains in our audiences are flat and unaffected? Why is it okay to insult them, by dulling their senses with slides? Why is it okay to give a presentation that disables the group energy because the humming monster up front sucks it all into itself? How is it okay, for anyone serious about making an impact, to completely deny group energetic connection? Why is it okay to disrespect the audience’s time, with content that is going unprocessed? Why is it okay for you that your audience is bored? Where are your own high standards? Why is it okay for you to think you cannot persuade without a software program? Why is it okay for you to think you cannot remember what needs to be said, without the crutch of slides? Why is it okay for you to suppress your own genius? To fail to experience your own creativity, mental ingenuity and audience leadership—everything that rises to the surface when you give up your dependency on Power Point? Why is it okay for you to tamp down your own passion in favor of the Power Point “intellect”—which DOES not sell, and DOES not influence?? Why is it okay for you to speak and lead others—and yet harbor insecurity about your own ability to touch, inspire and influence without a machine? Why is it okay for you to disconnect emotionally from the very people who have the true power in the room: to move your message forward, or squelch it? Why is it okay for you to conform? To be more invested in “getting approval” than getting results? Why is it okay for you to be average as a leader?? The dangers posed to our national security because of “death by Power Point” are varied and, for some, arguable—but one thing is certain: this tolerance for substandard methods of knowledge- transfer is pervasive. We have become far too seduced by what others are doing, by what is easy–to offer what works, what truly effects change…in rooms of lively discussions, critical thinking and thoughtful decision-making. And my one question about it all is, why is that okay? My public speaking training (coming in June) teaches how to truly “talk to the brain”–so your creativity explodes, and with it, your abilty to impact and influence audiences–without PowerPoint! Click here if you’re ready to ”escape the wannabees” with your presentations.By now, you have certainly heard about, or read, the prominent front-page article in
April 6, 2010 By
Do you remember in English class, we were told to “show, don’t tell” when writing fiction? That’s because it’s boring to “tell.” Here’s a quick example of “telling”: Bob was tired. He walked to the sofa and lay down. The room was too bright and he covered his eyes. How would we write it if we were to show this same scene, not tell? Bob rubbed his eyes and yawned. He stood up and dragged his feet across the wooden floor into the living room, where he collapsed with a heavy sigh onto the sofa. Sunlight streamed relentlessly upon him and he threw an arm across his eyes. This is more interesting and taps our visual and even auditory senses. We are more engaged and intrigued —i.e. more attentive. But this is not a post on writing, so what’s my point? My point is that “telling” in any format—writing or speaking—is boring! And when you’re speaking, your audience will lose interest if you “tell.” This is called the “pour and snore” technique! Yet, do you know that 80% of presenters I see “tell” almost exclusively? And 99.99% “tell” far too often? So, when you’re speaking, what’s the alternative to ‘telling’? Asking. Here’s one of my firm mottos: Whenever you would tell, ask a question instead. Glance up three lines. Do you see that I asked a question–“Yet, do you know that…?” I could have made it a statement, couldn’t I? Where I would have said, “80% of presenters I see…” But I asked a question. And look back in this paragraph. I posed two questions that most people would have made as statements. “Do you see that…?” would have been, typically, “Glance up three lines. You’ll see that I asked a question.” And rather than write, “I could have made it a statement, couldn’t I?” most would have told instead: “I could have made it into a statement.” Have you ever seen an Improv comedy show? One of the games is the Question Game. Two members begin: one asks a question, the other must answer with a question. The member who answers with a statement, or whose mind goes blank, goes to the back of the line, and the next troupe member plays against the winner. Obviously, the last member standing is the one who has succeeded in asking only questions all the way through. Kind of fun, isn’t it? I would go so far as to say the speaker/presenter who asks questions all the way through his presentation will be the last one standing. Even if you are a natural born question-asker—as coach or reporter or interviewer—it will still be challenging to take this on. We’ve been taught by our educational system that the person in front of the room knows everything and is there to “pour information” into us. Despite hating the effect of “information download” when we’re in the audience, we tend to perpetuate it on stage because we haven’t been taught to ask questions. How on earth can you ask questions all the time, you may ask? Well, can you envision one of your main teaching points and how you usually express it? Or a single statement you might make? What would it be like, turned into a question? (Please note 4 questions in this paragraph.) All right, let’s try an example, shall we? Say you’re giving a presentation on the most advanced techni- ques available for screwing in a light bulb. So, there you are and you’ve got a light bulb in one hand and a fake socket on a demonstration table next to you. With me so far? A typical presenter would tell her audience how to insert the light bulb: “First, make sure all electricity has been turned off. Next, rattle the light bulb to make sure it makes no sound—that means it’s new. Finally, make sure there is no water nearby.” So, how boring is that?! Can’t you just imagine everyone in that audience nodding off? How can we turn it into a question-based presentation instead? “Can you tell me what you think we’re going to be doing here today?” Answer: “Screwing in a light bulb.” “And for what reason?” Answer: “To make light.” “Excellent. Before we screw it in, what are some safety precautions we should take?” They think of the water and turning off the electricity, but not ensuring that the light bulb is new. So, you shake the bulb and ask, “What do you think this might tell me?” There you have a very brief example, but can you see what it does for the attentiveness of those in the group? The brain cannot abide an un-answered question. It’s like not answering a ringing phone. Your brain is compelled to answer. Can you see that “telling” does not activate the brain at all? It keeps it in a passive state— which is the kiss of death for attentiveness, comprehension and retention! Curiosity pro- duces chemical reactions in the body that directly stimulate learning and recall. So, what’s the bad news for you? Well, you don’t get to show off every-thing you know when you’re asking questions—which can be a problem for many experts, right? But that’s not what you’re there to do, is it?You’re there to enable the audience to see how much it knows. So, what’s the motto you want to keep front and center when you’re delivering a presentation? Wherever you could tell, ask. Got it? Do you promise to ask a LOT more questions? Do you think you already do? Let me assure you—you could almost never ask too many questions. Not if your goal is to stimulate a peak state of learning. Join me tomorrow, April 7th at 7:30pm for my last free teleclass on “the new paradigm” of public speaking. Learn why it is we “tell” and don’t ask (it comes from an archaic cultural influence)–and find out what the other 3 influences are that destine you to be ineffective (and mediocre) with audiences. Read more and register here. It’s tomorrow!
March 31, 2010 By
For the next few weeks, I’m focusing my posts on public speaking because it’s key to changing the world. Today, I want to send you over to an eye-opening video on YouTube that has, on the surface, nothing to do with speaking–and yet nothing we do in any part of our lives is exempt from the message contained in this video. The video tell us “We are living in exponential times“–and it then proceeds to make its point: in 2006, there were 2.7 billion Google searchs. Two years later, there were 31 billion!! Did you read that right? In 1984 there were 1,000 internet devices. In ’92, there were 1 million. In ’08–1 trillion. Exponential times. A company in Japan is testing a fiber optic cable that can send 14 trillion bits of information per second down a single strand of fiber…this is equal to 210 millon phone calls per second. Ever heard for an exabyte? It’s (4 x10 ^19). Equal to 1 billion gigabytes. It looks like this: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000. The video estimated that in ’08, 4 exabytes of unique information would be generated. More than in the previous 5,000 years. We are living in exponential times. The world is humming at frequencies never known before. Obsolescence is occuring some- where every second. With this mind-boggling upsurge in speed, our brains are being rewired; we are thinking differently and learning differently. The brain is plastic; it changes and grows and the way we integrated information twenty years ago in high school doesn’t apply. And it doesn’t apply for those we’re teaching and coaching. Are your current attempts at knowledge-transfer (ie. your pre- sentations) humming as fast as the rest of the world? Are they provocative enough to capture the attention of minds fractured by constant stumuli? Are they as new as the latest App? Are the ideas you’re presenting ”escaping the wannabees” and gener- ating exponential growth? Maybe those are high standards for a single presentation. But I’m not one to wrap myself up in cozy excuses and I bet you aren’t either. I believe if we are worth our salt as leaders and as conveyors of information, we must measure the quality of our content against the pace of the world–and that of course, begins with the big-picture question, Is my business keeping up with the breath-stealing acceleration of the times we’re in? If not, what must I do? If so, how do I ensure my presentations do the same? I teach a “new paradigm” of audience leadership– but this video got me asking the question, How can it be even newer? How can I speed up what I’m teaching to meet the frequency of the world’s vibration? I’m giving a free 90-minute teleclass on the “old paradigm” of public speaking, and its replacement: the new paradigm based on the latest brain research. I’m sending you away to watch the YouTube video–but before you go, I invite you to sign up for the teleclass on April 7th. It’s provocative and will shift how you think about speaking in public You can read all about it here. Then go check out the video I’ve talked about today, Did You Know?