In 2001 I was invited to deliver the opening keynote speech at the Toastmasters International Convention. In this 10-segment series, you will view the anatomy of a keynote presentation. This is 5 of 10.

“The premise of your speech is not necessarily the title. The title of my speech was ‘Million Dollar Words: Speaking for Results.’ That’s PR. You often write the title of your speech for copy months before you write the speech.

“My premise really is, ‘Even dedicated Toastmasters can be more effective at preparing and presenting powerful programs.’ That leads to the question, ‘How?’

“The answer? By understanding the three necessary ingredients in depth. What I encourage you to do is write down your premise, your one sentence, as you are working on your speech. You might have it on the table next to you so you can clearly know your message.

“Not long ago, I delivered a speech for treasury professionals, and the title of the speech was ‘Selling Yourself and Your Ideas to Upper Management.’ The objective of the speech, the premise that I stated, was, ‘Treasury professionals can sell themselves and their ideas to upper management.’ How? By using Fripp’s tips and success strategies.

“It was success strategies, one, two, and three. Quite easy to remember. Not long ago, my speech for the Continental Breakfast Club, which is a group I speak to every year. I have given 17 different talks for them. This talk was called, ‘My Love Affair with the Movies: Life Lessons from Movie Stars in Hollywood.’

“I didn’t state it outright, but my premise was, ‘We can learn life and business lessons from movie stars.’ After my opening, I restated the title, because not everyone reads the program.

“Then if you think of my three lines, my three points of wisdom with the circle, the first row was movie stars I’ve met and the life lessons; the next row was movie stars my friend Scott McKain interviewed and the life lessons; and the third was Hollywood as a business model and the lessons we can learn from business.

“That was a speech I have given only a couple of times, and I put it together in that formula. As I was walking across the stage, I thought, ‘I’m now at the end of row one.’ As I walked back on the transition to row two, I was thinking ‘Scott McKain,’ and I went through it. It makes it easy for you to remember it.

Lesson: Your premise is your foundational thought or idea.

Lesson: The Fripp Premise Statement is . . .

Every: Who?

Can: The subject of your talk or result

How:  Your talking points that make up the body of your speech. These teach your audience how.

“After you have your premise, after you have the outline, there are many theatrical choices for using the structure. I am going to give you four easy ways this evening.

“I call the first one the ‘Once a upon a time’  technique. In other words, you start at the logical start. Perhaps it’s a timeline of your life. Let us imagine I’m giving a speech this evening called, ‘Opportunity Does Not Knock Once,’ and you will see what I mean by the ‘once upon a time’ timeline. Give me applause, and I will start this speech.

“I know you’re wondering, ‘How does a hairstylist get to be a speaker and invited to speak at an International Toastmaster convention?’ Well, I did it by doing one simple thing. If you do the same thing, you can get anything you want in your life. I took advantage of opportunity. Opportunity does not knock once. Opportunity knocks all the time. We just don’t always recognize the sound.

Lesson: By now you know, I would now change “. . . one simple thing” to “. . . one simple action.”

“I did something as a 15-year-old shampoo girl that I have turned into an art form over the years. Very simply, I asked questions. In that posh salon in England, we had rich, glamorous women as customers. As soon as I got to know them, I used to ask, ‘What were you doing when you were my age? How did you make your money? Did you make it yourself or did you marry it? If you made it yourself, how did you do it? If you married it, where did you meet him?’ Good market research. My brother says, ‘Sister, you ask people such personal questions.’

“For 24 years behind a hairstyle chair and years of going to conferences, no one has ever said, ‘That’s none of your damn business.’ People love talking about themselves.

“At 23 years old, I found myself in the Financial District of San Francisco working in one of the first men’s hairstyle salons. I would say to my executive clients, just like you, ‘What made you the best salesperson in your company? What did you do to your little company so that a big company wanted to pay you millions of dollars to buy it?’

“In fact, think about this. If you had a multimillionaire to yourself for 45 minutes, what would you ask? How about a top salesperson who made $200,000 a year in 1972 or a trial lawyer who would explain his strategies for winning unprecedented awards? That was an average day for me before 10:00 a.m. when I owned my hairstyle salon in the Financial District. I said to my staff one day, ‘You are interesting women. Why do you talk such a load of drivel when you have the most fascinating minds in the city?’

Lesson: Asking questions makes you smarter. The larger-than-life TV interviewer, the late Larry King, said, “I never learned anything when I was talking.”

“The key to connection is conversation. The secret of conversation is to ask questions. The quality of the information you receive depends on the quality of your questions. Every time you have an opportunity to ask questions, you have an opportunity to grow.

“I was 30 years old when I opened my own hairstyle salon. On my very first day, the very first week, one of my multimillionaire clients, Manny Lozano, sat in my chair and gave me advice. And I don’t know about you, but when multimillionaires give me advice, I usually try to remember it. He said, ‘Patricia, I don’t care when you can’t squeeze another stylist in this salon. I don’t care when you can’t get another client on your appointment calendar. You must keep promoting because you must always resell the customers you have. This is still the place to come to, and you resell your staff, at least for this point in time, this is where they want to work.’

“You see, if life is a series of sales situations, the real sale comes after the sale.”

 Lesson: The quality of the information you receive depends on the quality of your questions.

 Talk to Patricia Fripp about how she can help you with your presentations.

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Back in 2001, at the Toastmasters International Convention, I was invited to deliver the opening keynote speech. In this 10-segment series, you will view the anatomy of a keynote presentation. Segment 4 of 10.

You will notice I have made comments on how I would give advice to the 2001 speaker, me!

“You’re Toastmasters; you like to be involved. I’ve been speaking for about 18 minutes. In the first 18 minutes, what have you learned that can help you prepare and present your programs? I’m going to walk down into the audience, and although I can only walk back four rows, it doesn’t mean that the back of the room can’t think.

“So, think about what you have learned that might be helpful to you. All comments need to be edited to less than one sentence because the most difficult thing we all must do is edit our remarks. As Jerry Seinfeld says, ‘I will spend an hour taking an eight-word sentence and edit it to five.’ In one sentence, tell me what I have already said that might be helpful to you? Do we have someone here?”

Lesson: I would now change “. . . the most difficult thing we all have to do . . .” to “. . . the most difficult task we all have to do . . .”

‘Open with a story that’s relevant and interesting.’

“Fabulous. Thank you. One sentence. Yes, ma’am.”

‘Plan your impact.’

“Plan for impact. Great. Well, I thought Toastmasters would be begging to speak, begging, begging. How about my Golden Gavel winner for tomorrow? Have I said anything valuable to you who’s heard it all?”

‘Absolutely. You’ve blown me away.’

“I’ll give you that sentence, then one more.”

‘You’ve said that I have several options for how to open. One is a dramatic statement, one is with a story, and so forth.’

“Perfect. Wonderful. We all have choices. Any more before I walk back on stage?”

‘Yes. Remember, remember the three Ss: start, structure, and stories.’

“Oh, wonderful. Thank you. Yes, give yourselves a hand. Paying attention. Wonderful.”

Lesson: You can interact with a large audience.

Lesson: In advance, ask the video crew how far you can walk before you walk out of the view of their camera.

“We have many ways to open a speech. What do I mean by ‘answering the questions the audience has in their minds’? As you heard, I’m a hairstylist, or I was a hairstylist for 24 years. I know what you’re thinking: ‘There must be a big difference between being a hairstylist and being a speaker.’

“As I said last year on 60 Minutes . . . Oh, come on. If you were on 60 Minutes, you’d tell everybody. ‘I used to work on the outside of people’s heads; now I work on the inside. There’s only half an inch difference.’”

Lesson: Self-deprecating humor is good in small doses.

 “People always want to know what gives us the right to speak, what do we know about the subject? For example, if I were talking to realtors, I might say something like, ‘I know you’re wondering what this woman knows about selling real estate. Well, I’ve never sold any, but I have bought some, and, as a hairstylist, I worked 100% on commission just like you.’”

Lesson: I would now change people to your audience.

“As a speaker, I’m unemployed when I have finished a speech until I create another. So, just like you, I know the value of repeat business and referrals. We need to show our connection upfront.

“Perhaps we know nothing whatsoever about what they do. A few years ago, I addressed some nuclear engineers, not exactly a target audience for me. I know they were wondering, ‘What does this ex-hair stylist know about nuclear engineering?’ I said to them, ‘Not much, but what you are doing here this weekend is coming up with a strategy to change your corporate culture. For the last 10 years, I have spoken for at least a hundred groups a year. Many of them have changed their corporate culture. What I would like to do is share some of the best ideas that my clients have used.’

“You see, what I did was find the connection to why they were there.”

Lesson: Find a connection to your audience, even if it is not obvious.

 “I did not try to compete intellectually with people who were, or at least who thought they were, a lot smarter than I. Let’s face it, they were a lot smarter than I in certain areas. This, believe it or not, was an after-dinner speech, and for an hour, nuclear engineers who could have gone to the bar stayed and asked me questions because I found the connection. That simple.

“Think. What do you have in common with the audience? A few years ago, I was in Australia traveling with some other speakers. You might have heard one of them, one of my longtime favorite speakers, Jim Rohn. If you’ve ever seen Jim Rohn speak, you know he is a fabulous, fabulous motivational speaker. He said, ‘Patricia when you get up to speak to an audience and they’ve given you this fabulous introduction, the audience is thinking, “So what?” You want them to think, “Me, too.” ‘

“The best example I’ve ever seen of an audience connecting with a speaker or the speaker connecting to the audience right up front was again at this Young President’s Organization. (YPO). One of the other speakers was Lou Dobbs from Moneyline on CNN. They introduced him, he’d won this award, he’d done this and been on television. Very, very impressive. The audience was also very impressed with themselves, all very young, very successful. The typical group would be thinking, ‘So what?’

“He walked up and said, ‘John did not tell you one award that I won last year. The local Chamber of Commerce named me Father of the Year. They had this fabulous event, gave me the plaque, and I gave a speech. Afterwards I went home, and my family was sitting down having dinner. I sat down, and my son said, “Dad, who actually voted on this award?”’

“The essence was that regardless of how famous we are or how well-known we are, we will never get the respect from our teenagers that we think we deserve. Lou had such a great connection. It was perfect.”

Review segment one

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Review Segment three

Lesson: Answer the unspoken questions in the minds of your audience.

“Fripp! You did an amazing job at the Award’s Red-Carpet event. You could explain how ants crawl across the ground and it would be marvelous and entertaining! It was so obvious you put hours of effort, energy, and hours into the presentation and it showed. Great job!!!” Steve Spangler, Hall of Fame Speaker, Best-Selling Author.

“Your talents as a speech coach have helped me craft my story so well I have delivered it on the MDRT main platform 3 times as well as countless other stages around the globe. Always your raving fan.” John Nichols, President, Acrisure Insurance Wholesale Solutions

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Back in 2001, at the Toastmasters International Convention, I was invited to deliver the opening keynote speech. In this 10-segment series, you will view the anatomy of a keynote presentation.

You will notice I have made comments on how I would give advice to the 2001 speaker, me! This is segment 3 of 10.


“Just because I gave you a structure and a formula, please do not think for one moment that every speech is the same. There are many theatrical choices within this outline.

“How about four different ways you can open the speech? What I opened with was a statement: ‘It never ceases to amaze me.’

One of the most dramatic statements I ever heard was five years ago. I was speaking for the Young Presidents’ Organization. One of the other speakers, Newt Gingrich, walked out. Forget politics. It was a heck of an opening. Five years later, I remember exactly what he said without having written it down. He walked out and said, ‘If you were born today, you already owe $186,000 to pay your share of the national debt.’

Lesson: Open with a statement or interesting statistic.

“Again, I challenge you. Would an audience that heard you speak five years ago remember your opening? How about opening with a quote?  As the great philosopher, Raquel Welch said, ‘Style is being yourself, but on purpose.’  Every time you stand up to address an audience, you must be yourself, but slightly larger than life – in other words, on purpose.

“Notice that by opening with a quote, I did not say, ‘I would like to start my speech with a quote, and I am going to quote a movie star for dramatic comic effect.’ No, no, no. Just say the quote. Just do it. Edit to the nub.

Lesson: Open with a quote that is uncommon

Lesson: Don’t say, “I will now quote . . . ” Just deliver the quote.

“You could start with a bold claim. ‘In the next 45 minutes, I’m going to teach you more about speaking than you could learn in a college course.’ If you start your speech with a bold claim, make sure you can follow through. Don’t promise something you can’t do.”

“Of course, one of the favorite ways to start a speech is with a story. The story must always tie into what are you talking about, you or the situation that you’re in. Let’s pretend I started this speech with a story. Please give me short applause, and I’ll start again. ‘Here’s Patricia Fripp to speak.’

“I hope you like conferences as much as I do because I spend my life at them. A few years ago, 27 other speakers and I were in San Diego for a meeting. After the meeting, we went out to dinner, and after dinner, we decided we’d like ice cream. We turned up at Baskin Robbins at exactly 9:00 PM as the manager was turning around the Closed sign.

“Well, you could tell he was the manager: 16 years old, little white jacket, and a cap. One of my pals walked up, knocked on the door, and said, ‘Excuse me. 28 people for ice cream, 10 minutes work.’ The kid said, ‘Sir, we’ve closed.’ My friend looked through the glass door, saw two other kids, and thought, ‘Well, it’s three kids working for minimum wage, I’ll make them an offer.’ He said, ‘$30 for you three in the sale of 28 ice creams.’

“They huddled, a focus group to study the problem. The kid came back and said, ‘Could you make it $40?’ We would have settled for $30, but being sales trainers, we really appreciated that he tried to get more. That young man realized two things (I would now say ‘important lessons’) that I don’t want you to ever forget. One, life is a series of sales situations. And two, the answer is no if you don’t ask.’

Lesson: Thing is non-specific, what do we really mean?

“And we are here this evening selling you on the concept that even the most dedicated Toastmasters can be more effective in preparing and presenting powerful programs by understanding in depth the three necessary ingredients of a presentation.

“Don’t tell a story unless it ties in. You now have four ways that you might use to start a speech.”

Lesson: Every speech can be considered three speeches.

The one you prepare, the one you deliver, and your next improved presentation, if you review.

Lesson: When reviewing your own presentations, always pretend it is another speaker, not yourself. 

As I look at the script of this speaker, I would recommend not beginning with “Now,” “But,” “And,” or “Well.” Lucky for us all, if the audience loves you, they will forgive you almost anything. This, as you can tell, was a kind and generous audience.

Review segment one

Review segment two

“Fripp! You did an amazing job at the Award’s Red-Carpet event. You could explain how ants crawl across the ground and it would be marvelous and entertaining! It was so obvious you put hours of effort, energy, and hours into the presentation and it showed. Great job!!!” Steve Spangler, Hall of Fame Speaker, Best-Selling Author.

“Your talents as a speech coach have helped me craft my story so well I have delivered it on the MDRT main platform 3 times as well as countless other stages around the globe. Always your raving fan.” John Nichols, President, Acrisure Insurance Wholesale Solutions

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How to Prepare and Present Powerful Talks 2001

Back in 2001, at the Toastmasters International Convention, I was invited to deliver the opening keynote speech. In this 10-segment series, you will view the anatomy of a keynote presentation.

You will notice I have made comments about how I would give advice to the 2001 speaker, me! This is segment 2 of 10.


“Let me tell you about my next-door neighbor, Mike Powell. Mike Powell was a senior scientist at Genentech. I said, ‘Mike, I know you’re not used to talking to real people, you talk to scientists, but if you come and speak to my Continental Breakfast Club about the work you’re doing, developing an AIDS vaccine, I’ll help you with your speech. I won’t write it, but I’ll help you.’”

Lesson: Deliver the dialogue. Your characters speak, and we want to hear what they say.

“I gave him the same instructions I just gave you, and this is what he did with it.

Lesson: I said, ‘Mike, come out punching, grab the audience.’

“He walked out and said, ‘This audience is very different than it was five years ago because of the scare of AIDS.’ I said, ‘Answer the questions the audience has in their minds. Most people don’t hang out with scientists, and even if they do, they have no idea what they’re talking about. Tell them what it is like to be a scientist.’”

Lesson: Use picture words.

“Mike said, ‘Being a scientist is like doing a jigsaw puzzle in a snowstorm, at night, when you don’t have all the pieces, and you don’t have the picture you’re trying to create.’ I defy you to come up with a one-sentence description that would describe the frustration of your job as well.”

Lesson: Simplify the complex.

“I said, ‘Mike, in a 25-minute speech, you’re probably going to make three points. Remember, people won’t remember what you say; they will remember what they see. Tell a story so people can see it.’ He was talking about the difference between AIDS and cancer. He said, ‘Imagine AIDS is a green jacket, and cancer is a red jacket.’

“In the Q&A portion, people were saying, “Well, if you’re a green jacket . . .’ You see what he did? He took a highly complicated subject and spoke to a lay audience in a way they understood well enough to ask questions. If they couldn’t, he would have been guilty of trying to connect intellectually with the PhDs in the crowd and speak over the heads of most other people.”

Lesson: I would change people to your audience.

“He was talking about DNA. This was before the OJ Simpson trial. Now we know a lot about DNA.”

Lesson: Does your audience relate? Yes, this is a dated example, but it was not at the time the speech was delivered.

“He said, ‘Imagine you have a store, and a thief comes in and grabs something off the rack. He runs out, you run after him, and you catch up to him and grab his shirt. He keeps running, but you have the shirt.’ We could see the shirt. He was talking about how the perspiration on the collar could give clues to help you track down the thief.

“After his three points, he said, ‘Are there any questions before my closing remarks?’ You always answer the questions because you want to close on your own high. The biggest mistake I see with business presentations is that people often finish on questions and are then left to the mercy of the quality of the questions. Everyone wanted to ask questions. Then I said, ‘In a perfect world, you can perhaps tie the open into the close in a circle.’

“This is what he did. I was so proud of him. Please remember this was the first speech he ever gave to a lay audience. He said, ‘At the beginning of my talk, I told you the frustration of being a scientist. Many people ask, ‘Why would you do it?’ Last story.”

Lesson: I would now change gave to delivered.

Lesson: Your words are made more dramatic with your delivery.

“Two steps forward on silence for effect. You only do it once or twice, or it looks like a technique. As Laurence Olivier said, ‘The art is hiding the art.’

“Mike said, ‘Miami, Florida, July 1994, fourth day of a medical conference, 3:30 in the afternoon. We’d been in the same hot room since 7:30 in the morning. The last speaker, a young woman, walked from the back of the room. She went to the lectern and said, ‘I am a 32-year-old wife and mother of two. I have AIDS. Please work fast.’

“Standing ovation, first speech with the simple formula I just gave you.”

Lesson: I would now say, “The simple diagram you hold in your hand.”

This is the second of ten segments of Prepare and Present Powerful Talks. Next week, you will receive segment three.

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To have access to this complete presentation and eleven more recorded-live Fripp presentations, check out FrippVT Live.

“I wanted a super bowl quality coach. Patricia Fripp’s help in coaching and scripting was world-class. With Fripp on your team, you can go places.” Don Yaeger,  Long-Time Associate Editor for Sports Illustrated magazine, Eleven Time New York Times Best-Selling Author

“As the author of a best-selling sales book the best investment in my speaking career was to hire speech coach Patricia Fripp. She is the master at helping structure and script your presentation.” Andy Paul, Author, Zero Time Selling

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Back in 2001, at the Toastmasters International Convention, I was invited to deliver the opening keynote speech. In this 10-segment series, you view the anatomy of a keynote presentation. (1 of 10)

You will notice I have made comments on how I would give advice to the 2001 speaker…who is me!

Come out punching. The purpose of your opening is to arouse interest in your subject. This opening is stating an opinion. Enjoy.

“It never ceases to amaze me that intelligent, well-educated, and ambitious people, frequently overlook developing the number one skill that is guaranteed to position them ahead of the crowd. Namely, developing the ability to stand up and speak eloquently with confidence or at the very least stagger to their feet and say anything at all.”

Lesson: speak as an audience advocate.

“As Toastmasters, we are committed to being competent communicators, and…

Lesson:  I said but. Now I recommend whenever possible, “Take the ‘but’ out of your mouth.”

Lesson:   Introducing the speech premise.

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Your relationship with your audience is a major key to your presentation success.

How do you speak with confidence? One of the secrets is to know how to build an astonishing relationship with your audience.

The first two ways you will connect to your audience of 5, 50, or 500 are intellectually and emotionally. Logic makes you think; emotion makes you act.

The intellectual connection will come from your content and the logic around how you make your case. When you use charts and statistics and report on the result of surveys, you are connecting intellectually.

Making an emotional connection is easier. There are three ways to connect emotionally with your audience.

One is through stories.

Second is with “you-focused” language, what I call the “I-You Ratio or balance.” How often do you say “I” compared to “you” or “us”?

“You” is your one-word advantage.

The third connection occurs by speaking as an audience advocate. Focus your content from the audience’s point of view; look at your message through their eyes. When you work on the principle that everyone is more interested in themselves than in us, you will not go wrong.

If an executive says, “Our new strategy will increase shareholder value” to employees who are not shareholders, the executive is not speaking as an audience advocate. If they say, “Our new strategy will increase revenue, which in turn leads to more job security,” they are on track.

Here are a few remarks to remove from your presentations:

“I am going to talk about . . .”

“What I would like to talk about . . .”

“What I am going to do first is . . .”

Instead, substitute “Great news! You are about to learn ten techniques guaranteed to make your presentations memorable.”

Make a list of you-focused phrases that would work in your presentations.

Here are several that I use to begin. If they work for you, please use them.

In your experience . . .

If I were to ask you . . .

You can feel confident . . .

How often have you felt, seen, experienced . . . ?

When was the first/last time you . . . ?

It might interest/surprise/amaze you to know/learn/discover . . .

Do you remember a time when . . . ?

What advice did your dad/parents/mother/first boss give you?

Think back to when you . . . frustrated/upset/ happy/enthusiastic/disappointed?

I helped a sales executive from a major hotel with a short presentation to bring a convention to San Francisco, a $500,000 event. They had strong competition from two other cities. When the competition is tough, the best presentation wins. I recommended a you-focused opening.

“In the next 8 minutes, you will decide that the best decision you can make for your association and your members is to bring your convention to San Francisco and the Fairmont Hotel.” That is 5 you or yours and one Fairmont. That creates a strong emotional connection.

Good luck making a strong connection with your audiences.

If you would like help, let’s talk.

“I gave my speech last night… it was at least TWICE as good because of the day I spent with you. I didn’t realize during the day that you were making such a great impact… but mission accomplished… and quite an accomplishment on your part because it is nearly impossible for me to sit through anything for an entire day. I have already referred a couple of my clients to you.” Sally Pera, President, PR Connect

“Oh, my goodness, Patricia! The panel went so well! I received dozens of compliments about how engaging the panelists were and about my moderating as well. The expert panelists were extremely pleased. Your expert coaching was excellent and timely, as always. Thank you, Patricia, for your brutal honesty, for always steering me in the right direction, and for always challenging me. Words do not express my gratitude!” Angela Cockerham, Attorney and Mississippi State Representative

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Your Soundbite Statement, AKA Your Foundational Phrase


Within many of your stories is a foundational phrase.

This is a short sentence that gets your point across or summarizes your story. It adds clarity so that your audience grasps your message easily. These phrases are both memorable and easy for you and your audience to remember.

Here are some of my favorite foundational phrases from my stories and talks:

“Life is a series of sales situations, and the answer is “no” if you don’t ask.”

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Nobody Can Resist a Good Story Well Told

Tell better stories and make the sale.

One of my favorite assignments is to work with sales teams and help them use stories to drive more sales. It amuses me to ask them, “Have you ever noticed that it seems as if our prospects are often trained to resist our sales presentations?” However, it is my belief that when we use well-chosen stories, examples, and case histories in our sales presentations, they become more memorable.

When we have strong competition, we must tell better stories. In this context we tell stories that relate to how we improve our client’s condition. You may call them examples or case histories. They are stories. The most important type of story is about your satisfied clients who are enjoying the benefits of your product or service.

The happy client story formula is situation, solution, success.

I might ask you, “May I have a reference of one of your clients who has benefitted from your service?” You would say, “Yes, Patricia, feel free to call Diane Brooks. Just like you, she is a successful entrepreneur who needed our help with managing her business finances, accounting, and bookkeeping. We have worked with her for the last five years, and she is very satisfied with our service.”

Your sales stories must be true, but not necessarily 100% accurate as stories shrink time. You can put what may have been multiple meetings and calls into one conversation. Developing your relationship may take weeks. Telling your story will take a few minutes.

This is the situation.

Remember when you first met your client and they said, “Help . . .” and clearly articulated their problem?

FrippVT helps you drive more sales and tell better stories.

“Help! Our current technology partner is costing us too much!”

Or “Help! We are not compliant.”

Or “Help! We assumed experienced technology professionals would be able to tell our story effectively!”

In good storytelling, the situation is always told in the client’s words.

The client’s situation is their problem, the pain, and it is like that of the prospect you are now talking to.

The solution is what you did for the client with your product, your service, or your technology. This can be in your words. You explain your process so that your prospects can see what it is like working with you. You can use phrases like this: “What Diane benefited from is the usual three-step approach we take with each new client. First we . . .” This also answers your prospect’s unasked question: “If we say, ‘Yes,’ what happens next?”

The third part of this formula is success.

This is the end of the story, the happily ever after: How did you improve their condition?

Just as with the situation, this needs to be in the client’s words. You can repeat their glowing comments. When you use their words, they will be more expansive than you would be about yourself. However, their words are specific.

Let us go back to our example about Diane.

“Patricia, if Diane were here, she would tell you, ‘When I first talked to the people at Profit Results my accounting was in a total mess. My last bookkeeper had dropped the ball which resulted in $3,000 in fines and penalties. Even though the professionals at Profit Factor had nothing to do with creating my problem, they went to bat for me. Within three weeks of hiring them, not only did I get my $3,000 refunded, but they also found me more legitimate write-offs, and that resulted in another $8,762 refund. In the first two months of my hiring them, their efforts resulted in enough refunds to pay for their services for the next two years. They have my loyalty for life! You can’t go wrong talking to Jenna.’”

Good luck driving sales with stories. If you would like help, let’s talk. Consider the cost of losing a sales.

If your presentations deserve the best talk to Patricia Fripp!

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Patricia Fripp coaching a sales team on their stories

The Success Formulas of Good Stories

If you’ve heard a speech, sermon, or business presentation that you enjoyed and remembered, I guarantee that at least one aspect that made it memorable was stories.

Everybody loves a good story, and that is their power. No matter what our culture, we grow up feeling that hearing a story is somehow a reward. Stories are how we learn values and our family’s legacy. When we’re in school, stories make history come alive. In business, we quickly discover that stories help us explain complex issues and are the best way to connect to coworkers, customers, and audiences of all size and makeup.

Wise leaders, sales professionals, and presenters do well to develop an arsenal of great stories that provide clear, dramatic examples. Good stories help distinguish us from our competition.

Interesting, memorable stories that illustrate your

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Welcome to part four of a four-part series on the best formula for a presentation closing that resonates.

3 • “The End-of-the-Story Close”

This closing technique involves a story that’s told early in the speech, maybe even in the opening. As far as the audience is concerned, the story has a successful conclusion. In the closing, you reveal one more detail about the story, in effect revealing the next and concluding scene of the story.

Here’s an example from my good friend Hall of Fame speaker Tony Alessandra’s presentation on customer service. He opened with a story about a frustrating experience dealing with calling an airline for the second time, only to find that the cost of his ticket was now $600 more than 30 minutes before. He heard, “Sir, there is nothing I can do for you. The only suggestion is you could call the president of the airline” Case closed This was a very satisfying conclusion to the story. 45 minutes later, after his review, challenge, call to action, and Q and A, the audience loved his message. He then took two steps forward and said, “So, I called the president of the airline and said . . .” Everybody laughed because by now their mind was no longer on the opening. This was an effective use of the “End of The Story Close.”

4 • “A Perspective-Changing Close”

This closing prompts the audience to think differently about a situation, others, or themselves. World Champion Mark Brown uses this technique in his presentation ‘Stronger Together’ as he discusses various roles and responsibilities within an organization. During the presentation, he acknowledges that some roles may feel minor and almost insignificant and emphasizes why they’re important. Mark closes with, “Your role may seem insignificant; however, you are invaluable. Know your role, play your part, and you will all be stronger together!” Used effectively, this technique will prompt your audience to change their perspective.

Sometimes, by their response, your audience will tell you that you have a perspective-changing statement. My frequent collaborator, Darren LaCroix, experienced that when delivering his “Path to Powerful Presentations.” He noticed that every time he made a certain statement, the audience instantly wrote it down. Darren’s audience was telling him that he had a “perspective-changing statement.” He realized that the statement would be significantly more powerful at the end of his presentation as a “Perspective-Changing Close,” and he moved it to his conclusion.

5 • “The Emergency Close”

As the name suggests, this is a close that is good to have ‘in your back pocket,’ prepared and ready when needed. If you must end your presentation unexpectedly, it’s important to leave your message on a high point still and have the confidence of being prepared in case you can relax.

World Champion Ed Tate was competing in the World Championship of Public Speaking, an event in which speakers MUST adhere to strict time limits or face disqualification. His speech was so humorous that the audience’s laughter used up more time than he had anticipated. He was forced to use his emergency close and had he not done so, he would not be a World Champion of Public Speaking.

6 • “The Fripp-‘Remember Me’ Close”

This technique gives the audience a unique reason to remember you. Here’s an example I often use: “Thank you for being a kind and appreciative audience. I hope you will remember me. Fripp. However, much more important than remembering me, remember what Fripp stands for: Frequently Reinforce Ideas that are Productive and Profitable.”  Invariably, audience members approach me afterwards saying, “What was that final line?” What are they doing? Writing down my name, which, of course, is my website.

“Last words linger: Bonus close”

The last line of your story may be powerful enough.

My recommendation to my sales and technical clients is to make this a habit. It is reminding their prospect of one of their major benefits or part of their value proposition or a major feature of their technology. As the sales professionals or systems engineers are about to leave the board room or client office or close the virtual product demo, almost as an after-thought they say, “Remember, 99% of the Fortune 500 do business with us.” Or “Remember, 157 profitable quarters.” Or “We are large enough to satisfy your needs, small enough to consider you a valued customer. To create your own last words linger, ask yourself, “What is the number one benefit we offer?”

When you close your presentations incorporating these six techniques and the bonus, you leave your audience wanting more.

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