Public Speaking: How to Present Awards and Control Applause

June 24th, 2009 by Frank Damelio

applauseHere is an advanced tip for anyone who presents multiple awards to a large group.

The next time you attend a graduation or awards ceremony, watch and notice…usually the presenter is on a tight agenda; so she requests “everyone please hold your applause until the last award recipient is named.” This request is usually made when there is a large number of recipients for the same award, for example, perfect attendance.  Here is what almost always happens: the first name is called, and there is an awkward pause followed by few people clapping; the second name is called and about half the audience applauds, the third name is announced and everyone claps.  From that point on, the presenter pauses after each name to allow for applause.  Now, she is running into the next presenter’s time on the agenda.

This happens at almost every awards banquet and graduation. Here are the mistakes and how to avoid them:

Mistake 1:  Weak verbal request. What makes it weak?  It is not followed by a pause. In addition, it is articulated far too quickly. Finish your previous point, pause and slow your rate of speech. In a loud and clear voice state, “To stay on target with our timing, I will be announcing 12 recipients for this award . . .  PLEASE . . . HOLD . .  YOUR . . . APPLAUSE until the last name is announced.”

Mistake 2: Poor placement of the request. This request will not work if you say anything else before announcing the recipients. An example of this mistake: “Please hold your applause until the final name is announced. All these people have 100% attendance in their programs of study; the first award goes to David Adams . . .”  The secret is to make the request and immediately launch right into the names.

Mistake 3: The awkward pause after the first name is announced. If you pause too long after your first announcement, there will be an awkward silence followed by a weak sputtering of clapping, which has that popcorn sound. Here’s the key. You asked them to hold applause until the end, now you must read the names fluidly with only a minor pause between them.

Mistake 4: Not responding to applause. If the audience does applaud, you need to immediately stop and restate your request “I love your enthusiasm, but . . . PLEASE . . . HOLD . . . YOUR . . . APPLAUSE . . .until the end”.

There it is. I’ve seen it done right on rare occasion, but when these mistakes are avoided, the event runs far more smoothly. You avoid awkwardness and keep within your time constraints. Next time you attend an awards banquet or graduation, check in with us, and tell us whether you witnessed these all-to-common mistakes.


How to get applause.

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Power of Persuasion: Magic of Persuasion

June 22nd, 2009 by Frank Damelio

Discover the secrets of persuasion: 2hr audio:


CD set

Before you read further, watch the video above.

This simple experiment gives us basic insight into how people make decisions. If you selected the fifty-cent piece, you were attuned to visual and auditory signals. Watch the video again without the sound, and you will see various subtleties designed to call your attention to the half dollar. Play the video again, but don’t watch; just listen, and you will discover a multitude of verbal hints.

If you chose the dime, as stated in the video, you are likely very analytical. You are the kind of person that wants to figure out a trick or puzzle more than you desire to be entertained. You don’t just go for the ride, but you calculate while you are following direction. On a subconscious level, this calculation process causes you to avoid your general instinct to choose the greatest value. Your constant analysis also causes you to either miss or ignore the subtle gestures intended to lead you to the silver half.

Most visual learners will SEE heads rather than tails when they imagine any coin. Those who select tails usually think heads first; then switch to tails to create a challenge. Obviously this is not fool-proof. Thousands of variables are in-flux when making a decision. For example, people in the military will tend to naturally pick tails when thinking of a half-dollar. This may be due to the American Eagle on the back. Coin collectors are almost impossible to sway in any direction because their thinking is far more complex when it comes to coins.

It is noteworthy that highly visual people will almost always select the half, while auditory thinkers will mostly choose the half, and it’s simply random odds with those from the kinesthetic camp.

If you selected the quarter, as explained, you are likely analytical AND enjoy a challenge. You probably relish a good debate, and you have no problem sharing your opinion. There is no superlative that goes with the quarter. It isn’t the biggest or smallest, it’s neither first nor last, and it’s neither the most nor the least valuable. Whenever I KNOW someone wants to “catch” the presenter, I will do this effect, and they will almost always fall for the quarter. The beauty is that these people end up being the biggest fans of the power of persuasion, because they understand that there was nothing obvious in their selection.

As with all mental persuasion, it is a game of odds. The more you apply the principles, the greater are the odds that you will hit. However, the caveat is that this is not a science. There will always be the individual who hardly paid attention and just randomly grabbed a coin, or the person who always calls tails because she simply thinks it’s good luck. That’s what makes persuasion fun. The first magic trick was a visual persuasion, which should work for everyone, the second was a mental persuasion, which is far more challenging and rewarding for me.

This was published for your entertainment, but the laws of persuasion can be applied to real-world circumstances. Don’t you wonder why some people seem to get far more of their share of desired outcomes? They may be naturally gifted in the art of persuasion, or they may have learned it through study. You may call it charisma, leadership, confidence or just good luck. Any way you label it, I bet they are more persuasive than most.

What’s holding you back from applying these laws to get better outcomes for yourself? Take a 2hr audio journey that delves into the power of persuasion and how to use it to get results:




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Public Speaking: Using Names

June 12th, 2009 by Frank Damelio

hello-my-name-isFor those who are already comfortable with public speaking, here is an advanced trick to take it to the next level.

When you are performing an interactive presentation, you have an opportunity to impress by calling on audience members by name.  Very few things will wow an audience more.  Why?  Unless you are a familiar member of the group to which you are presenting, nobody expects you to use their names.  Most likely, every presenter that has preceded you has not used their names.  This makes you appear different and better.  It makes you seem smarter and more sincere.

This opportunity to wow the audience only presents itself in certain circumstances, but when it does, seize it and reap the rewards.

Ideal circumstances:  Smaller audience 10 – 50 members plus a chance to mingle before your presentation. Obviously if nobody is wearing the “hello my name is ….” tags, this will be far more effective.

Strategy:  Arrive either first or very early so you can set up and assess the room.  Now it’s easy to greet each person who arrives.  Make a mental note of their name, and every once in a while, look over to that person and repeat the name in your head.  Sometimes groups will arrive together, and you will be unable to greet each person individually.  That’s okay.  As you mill around, LISTEN to people talk.  You will hear their names.  These are your golden catches, because when you refer to those people by name in your interactive presentation, they will be AMAZED – sometimes telling the person next to them “we weren’t even introduced, and he knows who I am?”

When you finish your presentation, many people will approach you and ask whether you are naturally gifted with memory, or if you have a secret method to remember people’s names.  They will be fascinated by your ability, and they will want to know whether they can acquire the same.

I have an average memory, and in the right circumstances (when people trickle into the event, at an even pace, I can do this for up to 50 people.) Years later these people will approach me and remind me about how everyone was so impressed by this “gift”.

Granted, circumstances need to be right and it does take a great deal of mental effort up front, but if you really want to appear different and better, this advanced tip will do the trick.

Now, does anyone have a method for LONG-TERM memory with names? Please share.

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Public Speaking: Body Language

June 10th, 2009 by Frank Damelio

stk116117rkeWe who are interested in public speaking realize the importance of non-verbal communication.  We study what the audience perceives about our movement, posture, gestures and facial expressions.  While it can take years to understand the nuances of body language, here is something you can learn in one minute:

In the overwhelming majority of cases, touching one’s face transmits a negative signal to the audience. Depending on the nature of the touch, it could give the impression that you are lying, insecure, nervous, agitated, or impatient. Is this fair?  Absolutely not. You may simply have an itch.  It is reality, however, that face-touching generally gives a negative impression.

The one minute lesson:  Avoid touching your face when public speaking.  

Now that you’re aware, just watch how many people do it.  Like umming and ahhhing, it is a challenge to stop.  Just being aware will give you that edge to curb the habit and project more confidence.  This is especially important for those who network through BNI and chamber events.  If people perceive you as lacking confidence, many will erroneously assume that you are unsure of your product and service.  Don’t give them that opportunity!

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Public Speaking: Verbal Branding

June 7th, 2009 by Frank Damelio

First, watch the video above: an eight-minute distillation of Stephen Melanson’s vast knowledge of verbal branding.  Stephen is the author of the seminal book:  Jaw BrandingTM

The main points to remember:

1) You have five seconds to pique interest

2) Two methods to do so: a) ambiguity b) differentiation

3) Pause after your five-second intro, and wait for a question

4) Avoid selling on category

5) Less is better – people only remember one or two things you said

6) When asked about your category, respond: “Of course we do that, but what makes us different and better is . . .”

Some of Stephen’s questions to help you discover your point of differentiation:

What negative assumptions exist in the marketplace about what you do?

You are the only one who . . . 

What happens to clients who use your services/goods?

If you started the business over, you would . . . 

What’s the one thing people should remember about you?

What would be a risky message?

What problems do you solve?

What are you most passionate about?

How are you recreating the market?

Where is there a gap in the market?

I commit to “X”; nobody else will.

What’s the personality of your organization?

What is working well now?

Want more?  

FREE 48-page section of Stephen Melanson’s book Jaw BrandingTM.

CLICK HERE  type “FREE” in comment box.

Want help with your five-second verbal branding?

Write yours here so that other subscribers can comment.


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Public Speaking: Present First or Last?

June 2nd, 2009 by Frank Damelio

When public speaking at networking events, your objective is memorability.  You have heard that when given a string of numbers to memorize, people overwhelmingly recall the first and last.  Much of the middle is forgotten.  The same holds true with life experiences.  For example, I’ll never forget the first professional training I delivered, and of course, I remember the most recent.

Apply this to public speaking at networking events.  Given the choice it is best to go first or last.  I believe going first has the greatest advantage because people have not yet “spent” their scarce attention span. Their crisp minds await the first imprint.  Going last can be effective especially when there is a mixer following the event.  Your words, if delivered powerfully, will linger in their minds, which will provide an easy lead-in for conversation.

Some caveats:

Going first: Late arrivals can severely detract from your presentation

Going last: At longer meetings, attention-span burnout can render your presentation inconsequential.

Tell me what you think . . .

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Public Speaking: Magic of Telling a Story

May 28th, 2009 by Frank Damelio

As seen in the video above, telling a story works. Here is a great idea from Lisa Braithwaite to ensure that you not only capture their attention but retain it until the end.

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Public Speaking: Important Networking Skill

May 14th, 2009 by Frank Damelio

Few skills are more important to the networker than public speaking. After years of studying the little things that make presenters appear confident, I have found some common denominators.  Here is one nuance that will set you apart and ensure your audience 1) pays attention and 2) perceives you as confident.

Typically, at some point during a networking meeting, each member of the group has an opportunity to stand up for a brief introduction.  

Keep this in mind: rushing makes you appear nervous and lacking in authority.

What do I mean by appearing rushed? The person before you just finished her introduction, and you immediately stand up and launch into yours. This gives you the appearance of diminished confidence. In addition, few will catch you name and company.

Want to APPEAR confident and have people catch your name and company?

Here’s how:  The person next to you finishes her presentation.  You wait until she is seated. Then, at a MODERATE pace you stand and move behind your chair.  Push your chair in, pause for a second or two, and state your name and company a bit more slowly and clearly than you normally would.

Why does this work?  

1) You need to create some time gap between you and the preceding speaker because the group requires a few seconds to process what has just been said.

2) The experts on persuasion agree that moving at a moderate pace – almost taking your time – exudes confidence.

3) By getting out from behind your chair, you create presence and give yourself mobility.

In many cases, the true difference between those who speak with impact and those who lose their audience is in the nuances.

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Public Speaking: Tip for Networkers – Maintain Attention

May 13th, 2009 by Frank Damelio

The greatest challenge for people speaking at networking events is that many members of the audience don’t live the giver’s gain philosophy; so they are only marginally interested in what you have to say.  As a result, many do not pay attention and, accordingly, won’t be able to pass you a referral.

We’ve spoken about power openers to force them to pay attention, but now, as you speak you need to maintain their attention, particularly in a longer presentation.  Clearly, having a well-conceived speech is most important, but here is a quick trick, that again forces people to keep alert to what you are saying:

After making a simple point, randomly call on a name and ask that person for an example.  For example, you are a therapist and you just touched on two common injuries, then you look to see who may be zoning and ask, “Joe, which do you think is more common?”

Just one question like that and the rest of your audience will pay closer attention to you because nobody wants to appear not to care about what you are saying.  People are serious when it comes to their own appearance in a group.  Use that to your advantage

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Public Speaking: Networking Events and Incentives

May 11th, 2009 by Frank Damelio

While you speak at a networking event, do you expect your audience to be conjuring referral possibilities for you? Depending on the event, in most cases people are not doing so.  Why?  Most people are ineffective networkers because they don’t live the “givers gain” philosophy.  Many of these people aren’t even listening to your message. They are thinking of what they are going to say when it’s their turn to speak, or perhaps they are pondering lunch.  The best networkers WILL listen, but since they are so well connected, there is probably a list of trusted referral partners they already have in your field of expertise.

There is, however, still great benefit to public speaking at networking events as long as you keep in mind the following secret:

People respond to incentives

After you’ve caught their attention using this type of power opener, you must show them how it is in their self-interest to consider who they might know to help you.

Here are some ideas that I’ve seen work at BNI and other networking groups:

1)  Refer a wedding to us and you get a romantic overnight stay at our hotel.

2) When your prospect brings up a price objection use this tactic: “If I can show you how to save that much money off your operational expenses, would you be willing to use that savings to invest in my solution?” This is Ben Hall’s (OverVIEW) strategy.

3) For every referral that turns to a sale, we will give you $100.

4) Everybody take out a piece of paper and write down the names of small restaurant owners to whom you would introduce me.  As a thank you, here is a small box of Godiva for each name you provide me.

I understand that some readers will contest: “but networking should be people just trying to help oneanother.  There is no need for incentives.” Okay, agreed! That would be nice, and there may be SOME groups that live that philosophy.  In general, however, if you want people working for you, never underestimate the power of personal incentive.

What creative ideas do you have to incentivize others to search their mental databases for referrals to help you build your business?  Please share so that our readers can get the most out of their public speaking at networking events.

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