Ethan Rotman

Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

Give Your Best

In Attracting New Clients, BNI or other Networking Groups, Confidence/Nervousness, Credibility, Delivery, Public Speaking on January 29, 2010 at 8:49 am

 “I am not really prepared for this presentation tonight” the speaker stated as he opened his talk. “I have not been feeling well so did not have time to prepare. I did not want to let you down, so I came anyway.”

 As a member of the audience, what is going through your head at this point in the talk?

  1. Great, I busted my butt to get here only to get a second rate presentation
  2. On top of being bored, I will probably get sick from his germs
  3. Maybe I can sneak out the back unnoticed and get something important done
  4. All of the above

 The speaker has barely started his talk yet his credibility is already lower than the floor.

 There are many reasons for not being prepared for your talk but no real excuses. You knew you would be expected to speak and probably procrastinated on the preparation. Your audience has sacrificed to come hear you and deserve your best. If you can not deliver, consider alternatives that may save your professional credibility.

 “I am under the weather today and will not be able to deliver the seminar I promised you. I am very disappointed and apologize for the inconvenience, but want to be at my best for you and do not want to risk sharing my illness with you. Let’s reschedule for next week.”

 Which feelings do you think you will experience after reading the above email:

  1. Disappointment yet happy to have an extra 2 hours in your day
  2. Appreciative of the courtesy of the speaker
  3. Excitement for the high quality presentation you will get when she recovers
  4. All of the above

 The first speaker demonstrated lack of respect for the audience – they were not important enough to him to adequately prepare. His talk should have been planned in advance so that last minute “stresses” would not have an impact.

 The audience will judge your professional abilities based, in part, on how well you present. A second-rate performance indicates you are a second-rate professional. A first rate delivery indicates you take time to plan and prepare in all aspects of your life and work.

 Your credibility is on the line every time you present. A single bad presentation will not destroy your career and it won’t do anything to enhance it. Presenting is one of the best ways to build your business, gain support for your project, and influence others. The audience is giving you the most important item they have, their time. Honor that by delivering your best to them.

 © 2009 – This speaking tip is one in a series provided by iSpeakEASY. We help people profit from their words.

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A Good Presentation Is All About…

In Credibility, Delivery, New Techniques, Organization, Public Speaking on January 24, 2010 at 2:12 pm

In a conversation on the effective communication, Trevor Hults of Northeastern Sales & Marketing Representative at Applied Systems Technology states:

A good presentation is all about landing the plane. I’m sure we’ve all sat through presentations that started well and seemed to be going somewhere only to leave us without an answer to that critical question: “So What?” Why get on a plane if the pilot doesn’t know how to land? You just end up circling until he runs out of fuel.

Whenever preparing a presentation I always make sure to clearly outline my 1) Subject 2) Theme and 3) Proposition. The proposition is always critical and I find a way to return to it often to keep reinforcing the one point that I want everyone to walk out with and remember so when they’re at Starbucks or Stumptown Coffee Roasters three hours later they’ll remember that point and pass it on. Also, I avoid using extrinsic motivation and instead use intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation can come across as an accusation or make the speaker sound judgmental, which tends to demotivate listeners. With intrinsic motivation one taps into the innate desire most people have to succeed. For example…

Intrinsic = Be a Champion

Extrinsic = You Should Be a Champion

Finally, read Made To Stick by Dan & Chip Heath. If you are a communicator of any kind, e.g. sales, education, trainer, etc. you need to read this book.

The Language We Speak

In Attracting New Clients, Credibility, Delivery, Mannerisms/Habits, Public Speaking, Tools and Gadgets on January 24, 2010 at 10:52 am

The man on the other end of the phone was offering to send me fishing lures. Not a single lure, but hundreds or even thousands to use with the learn-to-fish program I manage. I thanked him and explained I was not interested, as we do not use lures in our programs. His offer was good but even for free, it was not anything I could use. He pushed his cause a bit but I would not budge – I simply do not use lures. There was an awkward silence and he suggested I visit his website. Out of boredom or politeness, I typed the URL and was surprised at what I saw.

The “lure” he was offering was not a “lure” as I think of it –it is “bait”. I asked him about his choice of words and he replied it was how he referred to his product.  

Instantly my interest in him, his offer, and his product went from zero to one hundred. I have no use for lures, or what I call a lure. I have a high interest and constant need for bait. I like it even better as he is offering me thousands of free samples as of his marketing campaign. Now we have a win-win situation.

I was struck though, at how close to failure we had come simply because we had not agreed on the definition of a term. It was as if we were speaking different languages.

How often are you trying to sell something – a product, service, or an idea – and run into a wall because the language you are speaking, the words you are using, are different from the words understood by your prospect?

Do you use lingo, buzzwords, or acronyms that make sense to you but push your clients away? They make perfect sense to you because you are in the business, so to speak. You use the terms everyday and know what they mean

Take time to practice your presentations – even your phone calls – with some one outside your field. Have them listen to you and then listen to them to see what they heard. It will be a valuable (and profitable) use of your time.

Speaking well is all about addressing the needs of your audience. To address their needs it is important to speak a language they understand.

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

Magical Transformations – Creating Effective Power Point Graphics

In Credibility, Delivery, New Techniques, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, Tools and Gadgets, Uncategorized on January 7, 2010 at 10:44 am

PowerPoint is so easy to use that we often believe that with a little bit of experience, we are good at it. Studies show that more than 80% of presentations are poorly done. You do not need to be a researcher though, to know that most presentations using PowerPoint are sleepers. Too often, shows are full of badly designed slides that contain too much detail and provide the audience with too little of what they really want – what it all means.

Take a look at the two slides below created by Marianne Gates.

Right off the bat – which has more eye-appeal? What is your initial reaction to each of the slides?

The objective of the slide is to demonstrate that taking a particular supplement lowers the oxidative stress level regardless of your age.

Which slide is more effective at reaching that objective?

Which are you more likely to remember?

Marianne realized the first slide contained more information than was needed. It is complex and overwhelming: audience members would not even try to understand it. Her success rate with her presentation overall was lower than she desired.

Notice the changes she made on the after slide:   

  • The graphics are clear and crisp.
  • The message is easily readable.
  • It contains only the information essential to her point.
  • Extraneous information has been eliminated.
  • The trend is clearly apparent.
  • She reinforces her point with color (red is bad and green is good).
  • She uses her words to give the context limiting the amount of information needed on the slide. 
  • (What you can not see here is the animation she uses. The slide opens with just the axis. As she talks, the red and green lines appear).

She has not cheated her audience by removing information; she has enhanced their ability to understand what she is saying.

Your graphics should be designed to help you get your message across as simply and easily as possible.

Marianne did not just “re-create” her slides. She went through a process of determining her message, laid out measurable objectives, and then created her visual aids. This was not an easy 15-minute fix. She invested money in training and many hours of time into improving her presentation. Her investment will pay off, as she will more easily and quickly reach her goals. She will save time and earn more money. She already feels more confident in her presentation, which will make her a more credible speaker.

Congratulations Marianne.

If you are interested in receiving a copy of “Tips For Effective PowerPoint Graphics”, send an email to ethan@iSpeakEASY.net with “PowerPoint Tips” in the subject line.

All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.