Public Speaking: Special Delivery

February 17th, 2010 by Frank Damelio

theater 2Recently, I attended one of the famous Highland March Professional Development Series featuring master networker Jason Kallio, President of ExpoVantage.  Did he have great content?  Yes. Was he prepared and organized? Yes. But that’s only part of the reason he won the crowd.  He was funny, entertaining, and engaging.  He made us laugh and he talked with us, not at us.  He was in the moment and built on the comments that people shared.

As a public speaking expert, anytime I’m in the audience, I spend up to half the time looking at the audience to see how effective the presenter is.  The answer lies in their focus.  If their eyes are glued to the presenter, that’s great; otherwise there is a problem.  All eyes were glued to Jason throughout the entire presentation.  I have seen other prepared, organized, and structured presenters in that same room lose the audience.  Why the difference?  Content is a commodity; delivery is everything.

Jason is also a professional magician; so he adheres to the philosophy that every presentation is a performance. He realizes that excellent content that is well prepared is NOT enough to earn the audience’s attention.  Great content must be delivered in a performance.  Here are some of the reasons people loved him:

1) He opened with a magic trick that conveyed a major point about networking.

2) He invited participation and wove that participation into his presentation.

3) He was very much in the “here and now”.  He used appropriate humor to respond to audience remarks, and got to know the members of his audience as he went along.

4) He spoke to each member individually, focusing his eye contact on one person at a time instead of doing the common superficial scanning.

5) He was excited because he knew he had prepared for a performance, rather than a presentation.

After watching and analyzing thousands of presentations, here is something I’ve learned: presenters who think their only responsibility is to disseminate information are usually painfully boring – irrespective of their content. Presenters who understand that their presentation is a performance usually win the crowd.

Make your presentation a performance by avoiding these 19 deadly delivery mistakes.

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Power of Persuasion: Look Like a Big Fish Part IV

January 28th, 2010 by Frank Damelio

Two-hour lecture on Power of Persuasion: BUY NOW

Here are the final three tips to help your small business look bigger:

1) Be specific when answering the question, “how’s business?” The small fish will typically answer “it’s going well.”  The medium fish will usually answer, “Good, sales are up this year by 5%.”  The big fish will typically respond, “Good, this quarter is up 5% over last year.”  By speaking in terms of quarters and quantifying your response, you appear sharper and your business appears bigger.

2) Appear busy because the law of scarcity dictates that people want to work with busy people. If you’re not busy, they wonder how good you really are. If you’re not busy yet, endeavor to look busy. When making appointments, avoid saying, “I have all day Thursday open” or worse, “Next week my schedule is pretty much clear.”  Instead, consider using this verbiage, “Monday is out, and so are Tuesday and Wednesday, but how does Thursday look at 11:20 or 4:40?” Off times such as 7:20 give the impression that you are well organized and busy, and they will respect your time more.  In fact, it is proven that people are more prompt for appointments made at less common times such as 11:10 rather than 11:00.

3) Observe the big fish in action. Listen to how they talk about their businesses, look at their business cards, analyze how they interact, and you will soon see the common denominators as clear as day.

Keep in mind that appearing bigger is not always beneficial. It depends on your product/service, target market and industry.  In the cases where it is beneficial, be sure to use these techniques as appropriate. Always use your judgement, as it is one thing to enhance your image and another to over-stretch.

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Power of Persuasion: Look Like a Big Fish Part III

January 19th, 2010 by Frank Damelio

Power of Persuasion instant download – BUY NOW

Three more tips in our top ten ways to make your small business look big.

I) Your email address communicates the size of your business.  Want a big fish image? You need a big fish address.

  1. Tiny fish: Any of the “freebie” emails (gmail, hotmail, etc) scream that you are a solopreneur working from home.
  2. Small fish: is more professional because a company domain name is in the address, however it indicates a small company because it uses only the first name. A small company will count on the probability that no two employees will have the same first name.
  3. Medium fish: reflects a medium sized company as it uses the last name to avoid using duplicate first names of company employees.
  4. Big fish: indicates a large company because it requires each employee to use the first initial. With so many employees, there are duplicate last names.
  5. Giant fish: is the address type that most national and multinational companies use to help differentiate addresses among their massive pool of employees.

Which email type you use depends on the image you wish to portray.

II) “WE” is the word that distinguishes you from the small fish. When people network, a common question is “tell me what your company does?” A big fish will almost always begin responding with the word “we”, while the little fish will open with the word “I”, which sends a clear signal that he is likely a solopreneur.

III) Free work? Many will disagree, but this proved to be a great investment for me in the early days. Big companies tend to choose other big companies as their vendors. Once you get work from a nationally recognized brand, be sure to weave it into your networking conversation.  Why? First, it shows that you are established if “national corp” found and hired you. Second, “national corp’s” credibility transfers to you by association.

Your track record doesn’t include any big businesses? Court them, make your proposals, and by all means charge for your goods and services. However, if you get close to a sale and there is a “no go” decision based on budget, then offer to do the work at a deep discount or free. In return ask for a video testimonial, letter of recommendation and that they be a standing reference for you. While many disagree, I say this does not devalue what you do. It is an investment in your brand that will give you credibility to sell in the future; plus once “national corp” sees how good you are, they may buy your goods or services in the future.

As always, my caveat here is for you to be aware of the difference between image management and gross exaggeration.  Use your judgment and that of those you trust when making your company look like a bigger fish.

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Power of Persuasion: Look Like a Big Fish Part II

December 31st, 2009 by Frank Damelio

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In certain industries, looking like a small fish gives that “personal touch” advantage. This series, however, is for companies that need to look bigger to court the business of larger companies. Here is tip number four in our top ten ways to make your small company look bigger.

Your business card design says a lot more about you than you think. After sorting a pile of over 130 business cards by company size, it becomes immediately clear as to why small company cards look SMALL.

Here are the common denominators to consider when designing a business card that you hope will make your company look like a BIG fish in the business pond.

1) Include a business address.  ALL of the big business cards I sorted had addresses, while only 18% of the small businesses did so. Residential addresses sound, well, residential. P.O. Boxes are okay, but suites are better. We have heard that some will rent a P.O. Box and call it a Suite anyway. We make no guarantees about that strategy. The best solution is to have a business address, which can be economically obtained by using a virtual office.

2) List more than one telephone. Most small companies only list one number, usually a cell phone. The majority of big businesses have two or three numbers – typically a main number, direct number and cell number. You can use your land line and cell.

3) Have a fax number: We realize that with email and PDFs, the fax is becoming obsolete, but this is about perception. All big companies list a fax, and if you want to appear big, you should too.

4) As counterintuitive as it is, small companies use big font and large companies use small font. Big font makes more sense because it is easier to read, but large companies want consistency with their font style and size; so the point size they select must be small enough to allow for the largest name.

Other things to consider: a professional logo that is not too big; thickness and quality of paper; professional printing.

Look forward to our upcoming five tips on making your small business look bigger, and forward this to anyone you know who is starting a business.

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Power of Persuasion: Look Like a Big Fish Part I

December 1st, 2009 by Frank Damelio

Catch 22: Small business pursues big business clients.  The challenge? Big businesses tend to select other big businesses as their vendors.

Solution: Look bigger.

Lisa Kirby Gibbs of Highland-March Office Business Center and I just gave a presentation at WPI on how a budding entrepreneur can appear larger.

Today I will share with you the first three of the top ten tips to appearing to be a bigger fish:

1) While there is nothing wrong with working from your home office, never appear to be working from your home office.  A virtual office is an inexpensive way to appear established.

2) If you are a male, have a female leave your outgoing message on your voice mail.  If you are a female, have a male deliver your message. Never use an answering machine as callers can tell, and it communicates that you are working from your basement.

3) Think about your title. Something I learned too late. Putting “CEO” or “President” on you business card actually makes your company look smaller.  Giving yourself the title “Director of Marketing” or “SVP Sales” makes your company look far bigger.

A caveat: there is a difference between managing your impression and over spinning.  Always be guided by your ethics.

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Public Speaking: To Be or Not To Be Introduced?

July 31st, 2009 by Frank Damelio

Question Man60-second tip.

Whenever you are guest presenting, always opt to be introduced by someone else, and make sure YOU write the intro. One reason is that it’s far better for a member of the group to get everyone’s attention. I’ve seen guest speakers who were not introduced just stand there for what seems an eternity while the group settles down. While this happens far more often at informal gatherings, it still severely diminishes your authority.

In most cases, though, the organization will have someone introduce you. Don’t wait until that day to give them a resume or copy off your website. Instead, write a short intro that highlights some of your great accomplishments. The intro is very important because it helps people decide if they are going to be listening or considering their to-do list for the rest of the day.

Unless you have a name like John Smith, write your name phonetically, and capitalize the stressed syllable. Mine is Frank Damelio (Dah-MILL-ee-oh).

In advance, send the person introducing you the written intro via email, AND take with you a copy in an envelope labeled “introduction”. In my experience, one in five people will forget to bring your intro to the event.

Remember to keep it pithy. If you have tons of accolades this could be challenging. Write them all down, then select your top three to five for the group you will address. If you’re new to the speaking field it can be a challenge to conjure enough to impress the audience. You can always build your intro credentials by doing some free speeches for big-name organizations or at conferences in your field of expertise.

If you want to see what my intro looks like, just email me here, and write “INTRO” in comments.

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Public Speaking: Project Confidence

July 29th, 2009 by Frank Damelio

Of all public speaking tips, these may have the most universal appeal.

In Video Lesson One, we discovered how to veil the nerves caused by fear of public speaking: shaky hands, shaky voice, dry throat, and fear of freezing.

In this ten-minute video we will uncover the secrets of emulating confidence. There are some situations in which, no matter how well-prepared you are, you will feel the pressure. That’s okay because you now know how to veil the tell-tale signs of nerves (Lesson I); so you are ready to learn how to appear confident on the outside, even though you don’t feel that way on the inside.

Apply these five public speaking tips to projecting confidence, and you will shine. Nobody will detect the fear you may be experiencing. The beauty is, just by simply knowing these tips, you will actually begin to feel more confident from within. That’s a double bonus.

We hope you enjoy and benefit from this “how to overcome fear” training video. Please share it by clicking any of the icons below.

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Trade Show Strategy: Who Cares?

July 27th, 2009 by Frank Damelio

shruggingThe little guy cares. In the hundreds of trade shows that I’ve attended, here is my general sense: the budding entrepreneur who invests anywhere from $300 at a chamber event to $10,000 at a national convention is going to work his booth.  He cares about converting leads to sales, and he acts like it. Usually he is excited to be there and welcoming attendees into his booth. He is engaging and follows up on all leads.

Conversely, the salespeople from big companies tend to view the process not as an opportunity, but rather “BOOTH DUTY”. They use that word all the time in phrases such as “Ohhh, I got BOOTH DUTY . . . hey Jay, when do we get out of here?”  A trade show is more of a sentence to serve than it is a privilege to network.

Granted, there are many exceptions to this, but nevertheless the generalization holds true.

Just walk down the aisle at your next national show to see how many salespeople are sitting, have their arms crossed, talking amongst themselves, on their cells, eating, or looking like the alive dead. You’ll notice these signs of “poor booth behavior” are less prevalent at a home show, where entrepreneurs are trying to build their business.

Why is this?

Human nature. People respond to incentives. Entrepreneurs know they are there to put money in their pockets, and it is easy for them to see the process: 1) stop traffic; 2) qualify leads; 3) follow-up; 4) make the sale. Sales reps at big companies don’t believe that trade shows will lead to direct benefit to them; therefore it is a duty.

If they believe there is no direct benefit, it is probably because, as things are, there isn’t. Bigger companies tend to have a more convoluted system that may include territories, longer sales cycles, sophisticated distribution etc. In addition, the show may be obligatory for branding but not so effective for sales prospects.

While the salespeople may have a hundred better things to do that day, the leadership of the company usually does care, just like the entrepreneur. But the CEO is usually too far removed to get involved, and so the show goes on to help branding and market presence, but sales? Not so much.

Any leader of a larger organization would cringe at the wasted sales opportunity. Marketing is important, but sales keeps the organization breathing.

What to do?

Here are three solutions:

1) Give those on “BOOTH DUTY” goals and rewards. Plus make it competitive with teams. Competition always fuels active participation and peer pressure to produce. Don’t be stingy with the rewards – how much money are you investing in exhibit, space, giveaways, opportunity cost of exhibit team, travel, food, entertainment, etc? Cash is king, gift certificates work well, or simply ask them what they want. Believe me, they’ll tell you.

2) Bring in a trade show trainer who understands techniques to stop traffic. A trainer will also show you how to qualify leads and get attendees to agree to an appointment or follow-up call.

3) Stop doing trade shows. If your show doesn’t generate a measurable ROI, and you don’t want to try the solutions above, consider saving thousands of dollars by dumping it, and invest a bit in inbound marketing for your sales people.  They’ll never see that as a “duty”.

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Hiring a Public Speaking Trainer: Top 5 Mistakes

July 25th, 2009 by Frank Damelio

dreamstime_10861117[1]There is no one best public speaking trainer, because groups vary in size, personality, culture and needs. The challenge is to select the best trainer to connect with your team. Here are the five most damaging mistakes people make when choosing a trainer.

5) Not customizing the training program. Don’t just accept the provider’s one-size-fits-all program. While there are many common denominators in the realm of public speaking, there are also big differences between what would benefit a group of HR professionals vs. your sales force. Unless your company is cookie-cutter, do not accept a cookie-cutter program.

4) Lowest bidder. Sometimes you can strike oil by going with the lowest bidder, but in most cases you get what you pay for. Price should be an important factor, but don’t make it the only.

3) Not checking references. Some ask for references, but few follow-up. Assume that whomever the trainer offers as a reference will speak nicely about the service, but here is a good question to get a better sense: “what about trainer X makes her different and better than other trainers you’ve seen?”

2) Requesting training materials, then basing your decision on which seem the best. Here is the truth about most training: content is a commodity; delivery is everything. Books, magazines, internet blogs have almost infinite wisdom on public speaking. You need the right trainer to cull what fits your needs and present it in an inspiring way to your particular audience.

1) The most essential, yet least-followed advice: meet the trainer before your final decision. The brand and reputation of the training company are a far less important the one person who will present your training. If you can meet the prospective trainers, you will instantly know which one has what it takes to connect with your group. Some common requirements are confidence, personality, and enthusiasm. Depending on your audience you may or may not prefer funny, authoritative, conservative, flamboyant or serious.

A small investment up front will ensure that you select the best public speaking trainer for your group.

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Power of Persuasion: Reciprocity and Gift Giving

July 23rd, 2009 by Frank Damelio

Buy 2hr audio CD on persuasion HERE.

Buy 2hr audio download on persuasion HERE.

In his seminal book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D, names reciprocity as one of the six pillars of persuasion. In short, the law of reciprocity dictates that by giving, you will get far more than you gave.

Gift giving is a sure way to engage in the law of reciprocity, which is why the act of giving in business has been practiced since the beginning of civilization. Beware, however, that it is a double-edged sword. Here are some guidelines to ensure that you appease the Gods of Reciprocity:

Three don’ts regarding the law of reciprocity:

1) Avoid giving cheap trinkets with your company logo: A cheap pen with your logo that doesn’t write says a great deal to your prospect about YOUR standards of quality.  When the pen breaks or fails to work, you are cultivating a sort of reverse sense of reciprocity.

2) Avoid giving high-priced items with general appeal: While some recipients may feel quite beholden to you for your gift, it can be perceived by others as crossing the ethical line. In other cases, it could be considered an illegal kickback. I remember my college roommate’s mom was a nurse in the early nineties. She received a free high-end laptop from a pharmaceutical company. A physician once told me that the same company sent him on vacations. Currently, that industry is becoming highly regulated with respect to gift giving.

3) Avoid “strings attached” giving: People may take you up on your offer, but when you call it a gift, they subconsciously regret it. Have you ever received a thank you coupon from a retailer? It says “we appreciate your business, so come in for your FREE gift __________”.  But, the tiny print on the back says “Free with the purchase of $100 or more”. Yes, the company is technically covered, but do you ever get that sense of reverse reciprocation?

Five applications of reciprocation that will get results:

1) Invitation to share time: If you really want to give a sincere gift, offer lunch, dinner, golf, boating, BBQ, anything where you will share time with the person. Keith Ferrazzi in his bestseller, Never Eat Alone talks about adding food to the mix because it creates a much more pleasant experience and memory for the person.

2) Reading or viewing materials: What interests the person you wish to gift? Finding out is so simple with google, facebook, twitter, myspace, linked in, or simply by asking the person. Once you know, it is a simple matter to send an article. Mailing it is more impressive than sending a link because it requires more labor and it can have a hand-written card or post-it attached. Jason Kallio, founder of Expovantage is a master networker. One of his tricks is to scan the news every morning and select which articles will be of interest to his contacts. His results are amazing. Books and DVDs are excellent ways to give a sincere and personalized gift.

3) Birthday Cards: Most people will never remember that you sent them a holiday card, but they will certainly remember a birthday card.

4) Links: What a great gift to give any networker. If your person has his or her own website, and the content is somewhat related to yours, providing a link is a great gift. You are helping them gain exposure and putting them in a positive light.

5) Give value not teasers: A great gift to give is your expertise. I vehemently disagree with those who say you devalue what you do when you give even a taste of it away. Even worse: “give them the why, and make them come to you for the how.” I am talking about gifting a bit of your expertise. A “bit” is a bit subjective. I say, more than a sample, but less than an appetizer, and not the full meal. It should be simple for you to do, but have stand-alone, intrinsic, walkaway value for them.

It is easy to note a common denominator regarding what works and what does not. It appears the techniques that work require some thoughtfulness. That’s why they don’t smack of insincerity. You have to be interested in the person, and most “slick” salespeople aren’t going to make the effort. The gifts that typically backfire appear to require less thought, as they have a more general appeal, or they are cheap tokens, or they have a transparent “ulterior” motive.

Keep in mind that I am employing the law of reciprocity to INDIVIDUAL relationships; not mass market. As per usual, I remind you that these are guidelines and not rules. There are always exceptions.

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