Monday, December 21, 2009

Speech Advice from the Boss

After listening to quite a few bad acceptance speeches at this year's Golden Globe Awards, here's a great one:

No magic potion here. He's 100 percent himself. Humble. Lyrical. Inspiring.

From the Green Room: Find your authentic voice. There is no great way to communicate your message. And no greater gift you can give your audience.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

3...2...1 Lift Off!

My five-year old son is passionately interested in space shuttles.

As a near complete ignoramus on the subject, I am grateful to be learning new things from him each day.

Just recently, for instance, he opened my eyes to the wonder of the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs). I had no idea, for example, that two SRBs provide the main thrust to lift the shuttle off the launch pad. Once the shuttle has reached an altitude of 150,000, the rockets drop into the ocean and are subsequently recovered.

Imagine that.

These enormous rockets' sole purpose is the get the shuttle on it's way.

Then it hit me.

This is what's missing from so many presentations.

So often, we begin a presentation with hesitation and self-deprecation, when what we really need is 2,800,000 pounds of force. Without a powerful lift-off, your presentation will never get off the ground.

What every presentation needs is a pair of Solid Rocket Boosters.

Let's call the first one the "Content Rocket Booster." Get right into the heart of your message. Don't waste time with pleasanteries. Demonstrate immediately that you have something significant to offer your listeners.

Let's call the second one the "Delivery Rocket Booster." This rocket takes off from the moment you walk up to the podium. Even your most powerful content will lose it's liftoff force if it is not supported by your delivery.

And the amazing thing about your SRBs? Like the space shuttle SRBs, you can reuse them again and again. Once you have developed one powerful opener, you can replicate much of the energy, structure, and delivery in subsequent presentations.

From the Green Room: Think of your opener as a space shuttle liftoff. You need extra power - in both content and delivery - to fully capture the audience's attention and get your speech off the ground.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Know. Feel. Do.

As a small business owner, I looked forward to hearing this ABC video, "Winners of the Home-Based 100." Rich Sloan, co-founder of StartupNation discusses three of the winners and the entrepreneurial strategy each one uses. Click on the link below and then click on the second video at the bottom of the screen.

Rich does a terrific job of implementing three of my favorite speaking strategies:

1. He speaks as if he is having a one-on-one conversation with the listener.

2. He uses the Rule of Three.

3. He uses Know, Feel, Do.

What do I mean?

The first company offers a cognitive lesson. Sloan talks about Priceless Profiles, a company that produces improved profiles for online dating. The take-home strategy here is that the company takes a common skill (writing) and uses it in an uncommon market. This is clearly a knowledge-based strategy.

The second company immediately connects to our emotions. Haralee Weintraub, a breast cancer survivor, had suffered from night sweats during her chemo-therapy treatment and started a business selling wicking PJs. The listener could not help but feel inspired and moved by Haralee's story.

Finally, the third company tackled the action piece. Christine Perkett, founder of Perkett PR, advises entrepreneurs to "Listen as much as you can" to what the market is saying.

From the Green Room: When using the Rule of Three, the order matters.

1. Know. First give your listeners a vital piece of information.
2. Feel. Next, connect to their emotions.
3. Do. Finally, tell them exactly what action you want them to take.

Know. Feel. Do. It's simple, it's clear and it works.