Turbo-Charge Your Presentation

Communication

SpeakingWhether you have to present to a corporate meeting, a networking group, or a workshop most people at some point will need to make a presentation. It can be nerve-racking but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these tips to get better results from your presentation.

  • Prepare: You will not be able to pull off a dynamic presentation by the seat of your pants. The foundation of any presentation is the amount of preparation the speaker puts in behind the scenes. Develop a topic, flesh it out into concise, relevant and specific bullet points that  back to the central theme and develop a narrative arc to follow. Then perform a handful of dry runs — in front of the mirror, a friend or colleague, your partner, your family, etc.
  • Open Strong: There is a saying in the writing community that you need to capture your readers within the first few pages or even paragraphs. Apply this idea to your presentation. Whether you use a concrete example or start with a joke the first 2 to 3 minutes of your presentation can make or break your audience’s interest in what you have to say, so make it count.
  • Keep It Short: Be wary of long-winded presentations that seem to have no real direction or purpose. You have probably sat through such a presentation on more than one occasion. Pare down your presentation to its slimmest, trimmest, most refined form. Each bullet point should pack a meaningful punch that, once delivered, leaves the audience in anticipation for the next verbal blow you have to deliver. If your audience is reaching for their cell phones, you’ve lost them.
  • Move: Don’t stand behind a podium. Relax, move around, wander about and most importantly, make eye contact with a handful of the members of your audience. Locking eye contact with someone will not only hold their attention, but others nearby will also pick up on the subtle action and find themselves drawn in more to your presentation. Remember, when it comes to presentations, periodic contact with your audience is a necessity.

 

Monitor Your Social Media Presence In Less Than 10 Minutes A Day

Communication

social mediaMonitoring your social media presence is incredibly important – but many business owners and marketers are concerned it will take too much time. In fact you can keep up with with what people are saying in less than 10 minutes a day. Here are some simple steps to take to keep up while you enjoy a cup of coffee.

  • Check Twitter for chatter about your company ( 2 minutes ): Use tools like TweetDeck or Twitter Search to monitor conversations about your company in real-time.
  • Use Google Alerts ( 1.5 minutes ): Check Google Alerts for your company name, products, executives, industry or brand terms. To set this up, enter your search terms in a Google Alert and select to receive updates as they happen or once daily. Now, when people blog about your products, an alert will be sent to your inbox.
  • Use an RSS Reader to check Flickr, Digg and others ( 2.5 minutes ): Also set up RSS feeds for searches on your company name and industry terms in other social media sites. Similar to monitoring LinkedIn and Twitter, your Reader will serve as a great place to centralize your searches.

These three tips will keep you up-to-date on what is being talked about on social media without taking up your entire day.

Boost Your Presentation with Great Visuals

Communication

metricsMost people respond better to visuals than the spoken word alone. But, not all visuals enhance a presentation: Inaccessible graphs or nonsensical clip art will detract from your message. To create visual aids that give your presentation impact, engage your audience, and make your points stick, Harvard Business school recommends these rules:

  • Keep them simple. If your audience can’t understand the visual within 30 seconds, remove it.
  • Don’t get too artistic. Only use graphics and icons to reinforce key concepts. Don’t try to pretty up the presentation with irrelevant pictures.
  • Edit heavily. Each slide or handout sheet should only convey one concept. Include no more than six lines of text, or else it’s no longer a visual.

Beware Of Network Marketers Selling Retirement

Attitude and Mindset, Communication, Evaluate, Process

Qivana Network MarketingNetwork marketing gets a bad rap. Originally referred to as multi-level marketing, the industry had such a bad reputation that they changed the way they refer to themselves so as to escape the negativity. The bad reputation came from the behavior of some people selling. Whether you call the industry MLM or network marketing, those bad eggs are still out there. One of the quickest way to recognize these bad eggs is they are trying to sell you on your retirement.

Good network marketers are trying to sell you on their products or services, because like any good salesperson they believe in what they are selling. Bad network marketers are trying to sell you on selling their product. They don’t care about the product, they care about getting you to sell because the more you make, the more they make. The best salespeople care about their customers.

The facts about network marketing are clear. You get out of it what you put into it. The people who are telling you that you can retire early,retire with recurring revenue, etc. are reaching for the bottom of the market. The people who sell sales opportunities instead of products are preying on people’s hopes and dreams.

Network marketers are not consultants. They are not coaches. They are salespeople. There is nothing wrong with that. Be salespeople. If a network marketer is telling you otherwise, run.

Are Social Media Gurus Talking To Themselves?

Communication

TwitterThere are many ebooks, articles, etc. talking about how you can use Twitter as a marketing channel. The number grows further when you include periscope and other video channels that rely on Twitter. Before you jump in, you need to take a look and see if your target market is on Twitter. Based on the latest quarterly results that Twitter reported, the answer is only yes if you’re targeting social media gurus.

Despite the number of people swearing by Twitter, the service is not growing and not attracting a general audience. Twitter has a huge following among the media, tech people and social media gurus. If this is who you are trying to reach, jump right in,. The water is fine.

If that’s not your target market, chances are you are wasting your time trying to market on Twitter. Wall Street is betting that someone will buy Twitter because it isn’t succeeding as a standalone business because they are not reaching the audiences that they, and your business, need. It turns out that social media gurus who swear by Twitter are mostly just targeting other social media gurus.

What Sets You Apart Is You

Attitude and Mindset, Communication

Be YouThere are very few, if any, businesses that operate in a unique space. There is someone offering a similar product or service as you. In many cases, there are other companies offering the exact same product as you are. What sets you apart from your competition isn’t your product or service. It is you.

The one thing your competition can never have is you. (If you join them, they are no longer the competition.) The culture of a company can create a type. Even years after they leave the company, you can usually tell if someone worked at IBM. For small businesses, you are that culture. You need to reach out to potential customers not just as a representative of the company but as a person. In the eyes of many customers there is no “company” just the person they deal with.

Here are three things you can do to maximize your impact:

Be authentic: Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. You never come across as well when you are playing a part as you do when you are being you.

Don’t hide your personal side: If you are an avid sports fan or music buff, don’t be afraid to show that. Very often connections are made over things that have nothing to do with business.

Live up to your word: If you say you will do something, do it. If something goes wrong, own up to it and fix the problem.

Marketing Is Not Sales

Communication

Sales and MarketingDespite the fact that every business depends on marketing, most still don’t understand that marketing is not sales. Sales is a part of marketing. Sales is the ultimate goal of marketing. Marketing is not simply about sales.

Businesses have multiple constituencies that they have to interact with. Stakeholders include customers, employees, investors, suppliers and community. Sales deals with customers. Marketing deals with all constituencies. Marketing builds a brand for each group. It is about convincing employees that they want to work at your company, investors that your company is a good place for them to make money, suppliers that they want to be in business with you, and the community that they want you as a resident. None of that will directly convince someone to buy from you but it is all marketing.

While you need sales to stay in business, sales without addressing these other groups will cause a business to fail just as marketing that doesn’t lead to sales will. Marketing is a holistic process that involves every part of your business. Sales is a focused part of that.

Big Data Needs A Dose Of Creativity

Communication, Innovation

creativityThere have been many things written about how big data is the future of business. There is a major drawback to relying on big data. Thanks to companies like Facebook, Google and IBM everyone can have the same big data that you do. Using big data doesn’t differentiate you from your competition.

To get the most out of data, you need to apply creativity. Think about advertising. Agencies have used data to calculate the best placement of media for decades. However, the best spot is useless if all they put there is a picture that says “buy me.”

If you follow the crowd, you will be behind your competition. Being creative makes you stand out.

Command Attention like an Executive

Communication

confidenceExecutive presence is not an innate quality; it is a set of behaviors that you can learn over time. Whether you are a natural wallflower or a social butterfly, you can enhance your presence by doing the following:

  • Focus and relax. Calm is the foundation of presence. Use your breathing as an anchor that you return to when you get stressed or start to lose focus.
  • Gain awareness. To change your behavior, you need to know how you are perceived. Pay attention to how people react to you and ask for candid feedback from those you trust.
  • Practice with support. Telling a colleague or mentor you’re working on presence can boost your skills and confidence. The feedback you receive can also reinforce momentum.