Thursday, September 06, 2012

Have You Earned The Right to Speak

The quickest way to fail in public speaking is to try to present yourself as an expert in a subject you have not Earned the Right to Speak about.

As a professional speaker and facilitator I have sat through a lot of corporate events in the past 30 years and had the misfortune to experience some dire presentations, so bad so bad that the audience switched off or worse, got up and left during the presentation. The cause of these train wrecks was usually either where the presenter used someone else's presentation slides or created their own slides but clearly was not an expert in the subject matter.

Unfortunately many companies insist on staff using a set of slides prepared by a marketing or publicity department. Often junior members of staff have to stand in for their boss and deliver their presentation. Or the worst habit is presenters passing their PowerPoint slides around the office.  All three types of presentation result in  people using slides as a substitute for understanding the content. If you are using someone else's slides, you still have to put in the effort to understand the material sufficiently well that you could make the presentation without the slides.

I used to chair and manage a series of national road shows which involved a lot of guest speakers from sponsoring insurance and technology companies . Often the sponsors liked to make sure that their local representatives had a high profile at the local events and they were assigned to deliver the company presentation. But that was where the problem started.

Because they didn't have to bother preparing the slide presentation, often the speakers would not bother to even look though the slides before the event. Where they did look though it was usually a day or so before the event - or on the night before in their hotel room and often what they did was no more than look through the slides.  That is not enough to know and understand the material. If you have to use a corporate presentation know it and the underlying content inside out

On the day I watched so many speakers stumble through presentations, reading from the slides and even looking blankly at the slide not even sure what to say.

Dale Carnegie used to claim that a speaker should know at lest 40 times more about a subject that they were going to present. The audience is there to listen to you because they believe that you have expertise in a subject that they can use in their business or job. They want to know that you have earned the right to speak.

If you don't really know the subject - you should not speak about it. I spent a lot of my career in sales and marketing - like all professionals I am always seeking new ideas and I want to hear from people who have knowledge and experience they can share. All I want is one good idea to make it work my while listening to a speech - I can tell in a couple of minutes if the speaker is going to deliver that. These are the tell tale signs of a speaker who has not earned the right to speak.

  • The speaker lacks confidence because they are unsure of themselves
  • There is too much content on each slide because its really a script
  • The speaker reads from the slide because they don't know the material
  • The speaker has to read the slide before speaking
  • There are too many slides
  • The speaker speaks at the screen instead of the audience
  • The speech lacks any personal stories and anecdotes
  • The speaker mumbles, umms and ahhs their way through the speech. 
  • The speech is monotone and dull 
  • At the end of the speech I could not tell you what the speech was about

If you want to avoid giving a deadly boring presentation then make sure that you are an expert in the subject.  Make sure that you have lots of personal experience stories and anecdotes to share, make sure that you have a unique perspective and a few ideas that are your own. Most importantly tell me about the problems you have encountered and overcome -

Show me with your stories, your knowledge and your expertise that you have truly Earned the Right to Speak.

Monday, September 03, 2012

"Easy Member Pro" review

The Best Membership Site Software
One of the biggest roadblocks people have when they want to start a membership site is the difficulty of setting up a script. Either they don't have the ability to install the script, or they're confused about how to use it once it is set up. The good news is that Easy Member Pro has solved both of those problems!

At first glance, Easy Member Pro might be a little bit intimidating because it is a membership site script. However, the product comes with both a user manual and step-by-step videos. The videos are a what we especially liked. It doesn't matter if you've never installed a script before, Easy Member Pro will guide you through. You really have to try it to believe it; even if you are a technophobe.

After the script is installed, you'll find that the membership interface is incredibly powerful as well. It has its own content management system; which is very well developed into something your customers will really enjoy

What really sets the script apart is the way it automates tasks for you as the owner, for the customer, and for affiliates. Your admin panel will allow you do everything from mass e-mail your customers to changing the colors of your website. It really doesn't get any simpler than that.

In fact, I was quite surprised at the low cost of Easy Member Pro -- many of the top membership site scripts cost a pretty penny these days. When I started using Easy Member Pro, I wasn't expecting much because the price is a lot lower than others out there. However, when you get to utilize the full script you'll see that it integrates many of the features of the higher-end scripts, but for a much lower price.

There is no doubt about it; no one has an excuse to not start a membership site anymore! If you've been putting it off because you're scared of the technical aspects or you just don't know how you make it work for you, Easy Member Pro is the right choice for you. After you've browsed through the full list of features and benefits, the chances are good you'll choose this script and you won't look back!

Hit this link now to get one of the best membership software scripts you'll ever get your hands on:

The Best Membership Site Software

Sunday, August 19, 2012

What Makes a Great Speech?


So you have just sat through a great speech and even joined in to give the speaker an spontaneous standing ovation. But did you stop to ask yourself "What made that such a great speech?"

Everyone who speaks wants to deliver a great speech, but all too often that becomes the goal instead of focusing on what makes a speech great and what makes a speech great is not the way it was performed - but the content - and in particular the message.

For a speech to be really great there has to be a clear simple message that is so memorable that when someone asks you a day or so later later what the speech was all about you can answer them almost without thinking.

Think back for a moment to the last great speech you heard - What was the message?  What was the point of the speech. I'l bet that you struggle with this.  In know because I often cannot answer that question - even when it seemed to be a great speech.

Don't worry about performance skills - focus on content. What do you want people to do differently, what action do you want them to take. If you struggle with this - look at the key points you are going to make in your speech and ask yourself  - "So What?  Why is that important?"     ,,,and keep on asking that question until you get to the clear message.

I love Seth Godin - and I think the reason I love to hear him speak is because he has a clear message. He may speak for ten minutes or half an hour on the topic but at the end there is a clear message - there is a take away that I can use and will remember tomorrow, next week, next year.

For example his book Purple Cow has a simple message - Be successful by Being Remarkable.  If you read the book or listen to any of his speeches on the topic - that single simple message is at the core of it. Be Successful by Being Remarkable.  (OK occasionally Remarkable is replaced by Extraordinary - but its still the same message.

Watch this recent five minute video of Seth explaining his idea.

So what should you take away from this blog post?

Next time you write a speech - start with a simple clear message and build your speech around making that message unforgettable.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking

One downside of being a professional speaker is that I get to attend hundreds of meetings every year and listen to literally thousands of speeches. The downside is that most of them are boring.

I have never quite understood this. Surely people know when they are not good at speaking. The clue is in the number of audience members who are falling asleep or leaving during the presentation.

The reason people are boring I believe is that they are scared to do anything exciting in case they make a fool of themselves, and that is the primary reason for fear of public speaking. Most of us can speak in public places - as long as we are not the centre of attention - and when we are it is the fear of ridicule or embarrassment that challenges us.

For the past 30 years I have coached all sorts of people to improve their speaking skills and brought it down to just four simple principles and unlike many authors of books on this subject I will briefly explain you those steps now.

You might wonder why you would then want to buy the book if I have explained the content.

The workbook contains 13 practical assignments designed to take you on a journey to discover how to turn your own content into compelling speeches using the four basic principles outlined below. By the end of seven days you will be standing up in front of an audience feeling empowered and ready to entertain and inform.

Buy Now Just $27 to Banish Fear of Speaking in Public

Four Principles of Outstanding Speaking

1. Speak from Experience
2. Become a Storyteller
3. Provide Clear Purpose and Structure
4. Be Passionate about Your Topic

1. Speak from Experience

Speak on a topic about which you have earned the right to speak. If you speak about something you know well, if you speak on a topic about which you are an expert, then you are going to feel far more confident, and more importantly you don't have the problem of trying to remember the speech, because you already know the content inside out. And of course you are already an expert on the subject of your life which is the source of your primary content.

2. Become a Storyteller

Develop stories about your experiences in life and in work. Start getting into the habit of telling stories to friends and colleagues socially or at work. Stories are easy for us to remember as speakers and easy for the audience to remember.

3. Provide Clear Purpose and Structure

When you start writing your speech, begin with a clear and definite purpose. Why are you delivering this speech? What exactly do you want to achieve with it? What are the audience expecting from it? Write out your One main message - your purpose – and then support that with three key points to illustrate the purpose with interesting facts and stories and you have a winning speech. That makes it easy for you to remember and easy for the audience to recall. They will thank you for your clarity and you will overcome your fear because won't make a fool of yourself.

4. Be Passionate about Your Topic

Get excited and passionate about what you speak about. People spend so much time trying to memorise a speech and then perform it, when really all that is needed is to get passionate. The more excited you are the better your animation, the better your gestures and body language and the more engaged your audience will become – put all these four elements together and you are sure to have a compelling speech.

Rikki Arundel
Motivational Speaker
Speaking and Marketing Tips
The GenderShift Blog

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why Most Small Business Owners Fail To Attract Clients Using LinkedIn

I found this article really helpful in providing simple tips to improve my use of LinkedIn.

Why Most Small Business Owners Fail To Attract Clients Using LinkedIn | SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources

There are now 90 Million users on LiknkedIn and people are jopining at the rate of 1 every second - more importantly the average income of LinkedIn users is over £100,000. That says a lot about the power of the network.

When I first started using linked in I linked up with lots of power networkers but found that was not really useful except in expanding my reach. It was not until the Groups feature was significantly improved that the real value of the network has become aparent.

I joined 49 groups, and set up my own GenderShift group which now has about 110 members. With my own group I can broadcast messages - though its important not to overuse the feature of people will leave. I participate as much as possible in discussions on groups and I have invited a number of people in the UK I would like to connect with - and most have accepted.

Again you have to use these features respectfully - When you invite members of a group you can do so without their email address by indicating you are in the same group. If you have already invited them - then you will be asked for their email address to invite again - I have found a few times that I have been asked to decifer a graphic image after I have sent a lot of invites - so now I limit it to a few every day.

The real benefit of this has been that I am able connect with key contacts on major corporations. If you have ever tried to reach someone in a large company when you don't have a name you will know how difficult it is. Many organisations only publish a call centre number.

As a result of this strategy over the past couple of months I have already had one booking for speaking and a number of enquiries for help - I have also managed to recruit some really excellent contacts to my own group. More importantly I am establishing my name and reputation in a community of professionals who potentially could be buyers or influencers of my services.

So check out the article and get working on making LinkedIn a significant tool in your marketing strategy.

Why Most Small Business Owners Fail To Attract Clients Using LinkedIn | SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Scientific Evidence that PowerPoint can send you to Sleep

Back to the dreaded PowerPoint again which I discussed in January - I am presently taking a short course in Political theory - My Tutor Peter Ryley, who has an excellent blog (Fat Man on a Keyboard), pointed me to a recent article in the Telegraph which reports that there is now scientific evidence that our brains are unable to effectivley process information if it is spoken to us while we are reading.

So now when you fall asleep in a seminar you have scientific evidence to validate your behaviour - I shall feel much more comfortable in future when I nod off to the droning sound of a speaker reading their PowerPoint slides. However I have noted that even professional speakers are prone to using too many words on a slide.

PowerPoint is an excellent AV tool - if you need to show images that support a presentation but if you are using it to display words you really should question that. Presenting words both auditorily and visually it seems does not reinforce the message, it actually confuses the brain which starts to switch off.

I suspect that in addition to the problem with trying to assimilate the same information being received simultaneously via two senses, there is another issue. A speakers voice, I notice, tends to become more monotone when they are reading from slides and there is also far less storytelling to engage our interest.

All in all the evidence is clear that if you want to get a message across the best advice is to leave PowerPoint behind and rely on your oratory skills to get attention and be remembered.

Rikki Arundel
Motivational Speaker
Speaking and Marketing Tips
The GenderShift Blog

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Seth Godin explains This is Broken

The This is Broken Blog has been around for a few years, but I have only just come across it as a result of seeing the short speech by Seth Godin at the 2006 Good Experience Live Conference (GEL 2006). In this speech Seth explores some real life examples of customer experience and how businesses do things to break the customer relationship.

As well as being a really entertaining speech, it certainly made me think about what I might be doing to damage customer relationships - The video is about 20 minutes - but it might save you thousands of dollars.

Seth Godin at Gel 2006 (Good Experience Live Conference)

Incidentally if you want to see other speeches from GEL 2006 (or 2005 or EuroGEL 2006) you can find them all on the GEL Web site

Rikki Arundel
Motivational Speaker
Speaking and Marketing Tips
The GenderShift Blog

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