At the 2017 American Payroll Association speaker school, my co-presenter seemed surprised when I asked him, “When you were a little boy what did you want to grow up to be?” Continue reading
“Patricia, what is the biggest mistake sales professionals make?” I was recently asked this in an interview. My answer?
I expected to hear, “We lock the presentation team in the board room for a week. We go over our parts, video, and review. Then we bring in at least five different audiences of team members to listen and give their feedback.”
This is what he actually said, “We are lucky if we do a run-though in the back of Sylvia’s car before we walk in.”
With current technology, I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised at how I am often asked, “How do you use video in your business?”
As often and in as many ways as possible! We have a green screen, professional lighting, and great recording equipment, and my assistant has become highly proficient at adding backgrounds, images, and branding.
Videos are effective for promoting upcoming events, webinars, and for explaining how to make the most of an upcoming seminar or coaching experience. We record live speeches, cut them into segments Continue reading
Do you vary your scenes? The biggest enemy of a speaker, no matter how exceptional, is sameness or lack of variety. Each time you move from story to story or example to example, you create a scene change and keep your audience interested.
Early in every movie, the hero or heroine commits to some course of action. Rocky Balboa agrees to fight Apollo Creed. Elle Woods of Legally Blonde resolves to go to Harvard. The sooner this happens, the sooner the audience gets emotionally involved. Continue reading
In a speech, the funniest or most exhilarating story will be pointless if you don’t tie it into your theme and provide a lesson for the listener. Continue reading
Do you captivate your audience with captivating characters in your presentations?
The late comedy impresario John Cantu knew that speakers must not be the heroes of all their stories. Once, we sat down together to deconstruct one of his speeches and found 62 different people mentioned! Learn from great books, plays, and films. Fill your speech with exciting characters, real and imaginary.
Do you know how to grab your audience? The first thirty seconds of your presentation are critical, like the first page of a book or first seconds of a TV show or film. If you don’t make an impact and hint at more to come, you lose your audience.
Good movies, TV shows, and books, like good speeches, often open with a flavor scene, grabbing attention and positioning the audience for what is to come. Take a classic movie that has been a favorite for eight decades, Gone with the Wind. Neither the book nor the film opens with a discussion of the causes of the Civil War. Both start with Scarlett O’Hara sulking because the impending war might interrupt her social life. Continue reading
What is your story?
What makes a great book, play, or movie? Exactly the same thing that makes a good speech – a great story! Long after we’ve forgotten the specific details, we still remember the stories and the messages that touched us. They become part of our lives and our culture.
Use stories to make your point. We all love stories because, unlike real life, they have a purpose, a beginning, middle, and end, and often a dramatic lesson. Screenwriter Robert McKee says, “Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience.” (A story is NOT a joke, although good stories can be and often are funny.) Continue reading