Ethan Rotman

Archive for the ‘BNI or other Networking Groups’ Category

The Less You Give, The More Your Audience Will Remember

In Attracting New Clients, BNI or other Networking Groups, Credibility, Delivery, Public Speaking on March 5, 2010 at 12:51 pm

The Rule of Three

The Less You Give, The More Your Audience Will Remember 

Simplicity and repetition are effective tools for helping your audience to understand your point. 

An example of this is race for Governor in California. Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate has been running a series of campaign on the radio. The beauty and effectiveness of these ads is in how they are structured. Meg Whitman, is able to take something as complex as the economic crisis in California and boil it down to three simple issues. For each issue she offers one solution. 

The rule of three. We can all remember three. Almost everything she says is in sets of three. The problems, the solutions, even her experience. Listen to her ads and count. 

Jerry Brown seems to have taken note of this as well. When he announced his candidacy, he also listed three major issues facing California. 

Regardless of your political views, the ads are brilliant. Brown and Whitman have taken very complicated issues with very complicated solutions and made them understandable and memorable. Listen to the ads and you will know their political platform. Chances are you will remember it as well. After all, we can all remember three. 

What is it that Brown and Whitman know? That psychologists and learning specialist long ago figured out there is a limit to how much new information people can take in at one time. They know that complex issues must be marketed in simple terms. They know that their audience does not want (or need) to know all the details – they just want to know what it means. While the ads are simple, they are very effective. 

We often are lured into saying far more about our topic than our audience both cares to know and have the ability to remember. The more we give our audiences, the less they remember. The less we give them, the more they remember. 

The next time you speak, divide your topic into three facts, and talk about those. Just three – the rest are overkill and probably irrelevant. If Whitman and Brown can simplify the problems of the most populated state in the US into three issues, it should be possible for you to present your ideas with three facts as well. 

(This is a re-write of a previously published article. It seems Jerry Brown took notice of the effective techniques used by Meg Whitman and adopted them into his campaign.)  


© 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. More tips can be found at  


All Speaking Is Public Speaking

In Attracting New Clients, BNI or other Networking Groups, Confidence/Nervousness, Credibility, Delivery, New Techniques, Organization, Public Speaking on February 25, 2010 at 6:49 am

The most important talks tend to be to small audiences

Speaking Tip 46

 Imagine these three scenarios:

  • 1. In 2 weeks, you will make a presentation to 250 strangers in another town
  • 2.  Tomorrow, you will give an update on your project at a staff meeting
  • 3.  Today, you need to have a conversation with your spouse, child, potential client, subordinate, or supervisor

Which talk would you spend the most time preparing for? Which one would you be most likely to have with little or no preparation?  

The answers will vary from person to person but in most cases, people will spend the most amount of time preparing for the first scenario – speaking to a group of strangers. This makes sense as for most people, it puts us out of our comfort zone to speak to a large group. Smaller groups of people that we know are less threatening.  

If you consider which situation may have the most dramatic impact on your life and business, you may find you should be spending time preparing for the smaller talks. 

You may feel comfortable speaking in a one-to-one situation, but that is not a reason to not prepare. You are trying to bring about a change: elicit support for a project or idea, change a behavior, or shift an attitude. Being familiar with the topic and audience leads people into a false sense of comfort and security. In the first scenario, where most people feel the least comfortable, the stakes are generally very low: personal credibility and momentary embarrassment. In the second and third scenario, the stakes are much higher. 

In general, the smaller the audience, the more important it is for the speaker to be sharp and on task. 

The next time you have to speak to a small group or one-to-one – prepare as if it were an important presentation. Take time to determine your desired outcome. Write out how you plan on achieving that outcome. What are the 3-5 supporting points you are going to include? What visual aids can you use to help make your point? Practice. 

View every situation with the planning and foresight needed to accomplish your goals. Your credibility, success, and reputation are at stake. Do not be lured into delivering a poor performance because you feel comfortable – rather use the opportunity to excel. 

You will find your credibility and success increase. 

© 2009 – 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 group training.

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.

Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops.