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Monthly Archives: January 2012

I Can’t Believe He Said the D-Word!

Nancy DanielsBy Featured Speaker Nancy Daniels

Recently I had the opportunity to hear an international speaker address a large group of women. The women’s ages ranged from their 20’s to their 60’s. While the speaker used the F-word once, the silence in the large ballroom was much more apparent when he then used a 4-letter word that begins with ‘d.’ And he was not referring to a duck!

The use of questionable language when addressing an audience is not in good taste and is offensive. In case you were unaware of this little tidbit, the 4-letter word that begins with a ‘d’ may be considered slang but, according to the dictionary, it is a vulgar term. Vulgar language is “lacking in cultivation, perception, or taste.” It is also coarse and morally crude.

I can appreciate that there is a generation of young people who may not be offended with ‘colorful’ language; however, if you are addressing an audience of mixed ages, it is to your benefit to avoid certain words that the majority of people still consider indecent. This is why knowing your audience in advance is paramount to your success.

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Improve Your Speaking With This Simple Scoring Tool

Lily IatridisBy Featured Speaker Lily Iatridis

We all want to improve public speaking skills, don’t we? Toastmasters is fantastic for having a group of peers support one another as everyone works on their skills. But sometimes, there isn’t a toastmaster’s club chapter near you, or the timing of meetings doesn’t suit your work or personal schedule.

So what do you do? Videotape yourself! And then create a simple standardized scoring tool to assess yourself consistently. I’d also suggest getting a trusted friend or family member assess your video with the same scoring tool.

Below are directions for creating your own scoring tool that I regularly distribute to clients that helps them improve public speaking skills when they’re practicing largely on their own. When doing this, it’s important to remain as objective and consistent in your self-scoring as possible.

This is the kind of tool teachers create when faced with 150 projects or term papers to grade in a day or two. It sure beats throwing the stack of papers down the stairs and giving an A to whichever ones make it to the bottom!

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What is Marketing?

Eric GilboordBy Featured Speaker Eric Gilboord

I am often asked what the difference is between sales and marketing. Marketing researches the opportunity, prepares the strategy, produces the tools to inform the prospect and places the potential sale on the table. The Salesperson then picks up the ball and confirms the opportunity, contributes to the strategy, uses the tools to inform the prospect and moves the opportunity off the table and into the cash register. Marketing is everything from how you answer the telephone, correct spelling in your correspondence, and SEO to the words and graphics of your emails, website and brochures.

The essence of marketing is very simple. It is saying the right thing to the right person at the right time. However, knowing what to say, when to say it and who to say it to is much tougher.

Marketing is a collaboration. In small business you often wear both the sales and marketing hats. It is important to maintain objectivity. I urge you to include others at as many stages of the process as possible. They may see something you don’t or they could add ideas you haven’t thought of. Mistakes can be minimized and opportunities capitalized upon.

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Making Free Gigs Valuable to You

Often, when speakers start out in the business (and sometimes even after they are established), they will offer to do free events. But a free event does not necessarily have to devalue you as a speaker. In fact, it can give you a number of benefits, if you go about it the right way.

Always go in with a positive attitude
This free event may just be a way to get practice. It may be a way to gain exposure. Regardless, you need to approach it with the same professionalism as a paid gig. Your attitude will shine through your presentation, and if it is positive you could get more business from this free gig.

Make other value arrangements
You can make arrangements to (gently, without being sales-y) make an offer to the audience at the end of your presentation. This can be a freebie in exchange for their contact information. It can also be a gentle statement that you are available for hire is whatever capacity and provide a way for people to learn more.

You have to be careful with this one. Your presentation needs to be educational and not a sale pitch. And some venues will not let you share a way to contact you at all. But, if you can arrange this, your free gig has just turned into a lead-generation opportunity.

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5 Ways to Use the Internet to Boost Your Speaking Business

Speaking is an offline activity, but you can use the Web to boost your speaking business. Here are five suggestions:

Polish your online presence
Does your website look contemporary and professional? Or does it look like it was created in the 1990s and forgotten? Worse, does it look like you Aunt Edna created it when she was experimenting with all those cool HTML thingies she was learning about?

Your website can often be making your first impression for you. Make sure that it is representing you in a professional way that speaks to your target audience.

Be consistent with your online footprint
You are a brand, and that brand needs to be consistent wherever you are online. That means that your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles (as well as any other social media profiles) need to match each other and your website.

Be organized
When someone stops by your website, is it clear how to get to the information they are seeking? Make sure your navigation is clear and easy to follow. Make your website as “flat” as possible … people should be able to get to the information they want in 3 clicks or less.

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Eliminating Negative Thoughts and Behaviors

Davida ShenskyBy Featured Speaker Davida Shensky

Editorial Note: Negative thoughts and behaviors can greatly affect the effectiveness of your public speaking. That’s why I chose to run this particular story today. You need to believe in yourself, your topic and your abilities in order to be a good speaker.

There are self help books out there that can teach you how to take control of your life but unless you begin to want to make the change yourself, and you are ready and willing make the changes, then these books will only sit on the shelf and they will not help you. For many of us some of the reasons that we stop ourselves from succeeding is that someone has told us so many times that we are a failure and we have one to believe this repeating these conversations in our heads subconsciously while we are asleep.

These negative statements or trash prevent someone from succeeding in one’s personal life. Once we recognize that we are doing this to ourselves, then and only then, then we consciously make the changes one needs to make in order to succeed. The first step is to give yourself permission to succeed while at the same time recognizing that the you who are telling you this hour only read heeding the things they are telling themselves and their fear that you are better than they are. When they sabotage your success, then this gives them power over you.

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