Posts Tagged ‘BNI 30 second’

Public Speaking: “Ums” and “Ahs”

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

“Ums” and “Ahs” – don’t fight ‘em

If you are among the 95% of people who “um” and “ah” when they present, then you will benefit from this blog.

As a public speaking trainer, I am appalled by the throng of “experts” who suggest that when making a presentation, the speaker should concentrate on not saying “um” and “ah”.  Wrong.

I recall watching a high school student making a presentation.  He was using “ums and “ahs” in some moderation, when a peer hollered, “Greg, ease up on the “ums and ahs”.  It’s easy to predict what happened: Greg’s reliance on the filler words doubled.  Now that he was aware, he became more nervous, and actually focused on the words he was trying to avoid.

In addition, when I was a member of BNI, I counted the number of “ums” and “ahs” each person said in their 60-second commercials, and it averaged five incidences.  The next week, I “educated” them on how much filler detracts from their message.  I asked them to endeavor to omit the filler from their commercials.  What happened?  Despite their sincere efforts, the average rocketed to nine occurrences.

Why does this happen?

I learned the secret at Ananda Yoga Studio  where Tish Roy  shared a story about an instructor who told his student, “Whatever you do, do not think of a monkey while meditating.” After sometime the instructor asked the student how he was doing.  The student replied, “All I could do was think of that Monkey!” 

Case in point: The worst thing you could do when you are about to present is concern yourself with filler.  If you use fillers, no worries, just focus on your message, and you will be better off.

That said, it is important to note that “ums” and “ahs” drastically undermine your credibility and impact.  The time to fix the problem, however, is not right before you present.  It is in your everyday speaking.

1.   Stop saying “um” and “ah” in your everyday conversation with friends and family. Offer them a dollar whenever they catch you.

 2.   Pause when you think.  While it may make you feel awkward and insecure, others will perceive you as very confident and thoughtful.

 3.   Listen to the voice mails you leave to others by pressing the star or pound key. See how many times you “um” and “ah”.  Keep leaving the message until there are none.

Here is the bonus:

Stop the filler and you will speak with authority and confidence in both your presentations and in your personal conversations.  You will always appear in control even when you don’t feel it.  What a great return for such a small effort.

Here  is an excellent blog on “ums” and “ahs” from one of my favorite sources of public speaking wisdom: Six Minutes Speaking and Presentations Skills.

Leave a comment below if you have any strategies to help stop the “ums” and “ahs”.

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Power of Persuasion: The Results Are Clear

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

All referrals were not created equal.

The results are clear.  My latest study reveals the secret to getting referrals that convert to sales.  This discovery may not be something you’ve ever considered.

When someone gives you a referral.  They may be connecting you with a friend, relative or colleague.   In some cases you will be connected with one of their vendors or one of their clients, and it is the latter two types of relationships that I tracked.

Let’s say Amber gives me a referral to John Smith because she thinks he would be interested in what I provide.  The fact is that if John is her vendor he is much more likely to connect with me than if he were her client.

I suspected this at the outset, but I never realized how big the difference would be.  Below you can see the percentage of successful connections made after the referral was given.

Why the difference?

Reciprocity.  One of the pillars of persuasion is the law of reciprocity, which dictates that people feel beholden to “pay back” those who help them.  In addition, people typically give back a great deal more than they received.

Above, we see the law of reciprocity in action.  Imagine yourself in the referral process:  If someone selects you to be his vendor and that person asked you to connect with one of his contacts, would you?  It is probable that you would feel beholden to at least make an initial connection.  However, if you are someone’s client or customer, you would likely be less compelled to reach out and make the connection.

Networker’s application.

I remember learning in Business Network International (BNI) that we should be specific when asking for referrals.  Instead of asking your contacts who they know that could use your services, you might ask which of their VENDORS could use your services.  Work with that population and you’ll have a much better success of making contact and avoiding the blow-off.

Beyond getting better referrals, you now have the secret to giving them.  Consider the BNI philosophy, “Givers gain.”  That creed was built on the law of reciprocity.  If you are able to give higher quality referrals by tapping into your pool of vendors, then the recipients of the high quality referrals will reciprocate.  And that’s how referral networking is supposed to be done.

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Public Speaking: Verbal Branding

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

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?

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

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

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

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

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

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

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

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

Monday, May 11th, 2009

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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Public Speaking: BNI sixty-second commercial

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

stopwatchWhenever you are public speaking at a networking event, your greatest challenge will be getting people to pay attention.  While most will feign attention, very few actually listen intently.  Some will even whisper to one anther while you talk.

We’ve covered some power openers in this blog, but I think the most powerful method is to FORCE them to pay full attention.  How?  Make them DO something.  Here are some examples:

Home Inspector: Everybody take out a pen and piece of paper.  Write down the top three reasons you think you would need a home inspection . . . 

Eye doctor: Everybody stand up cover one eye and try to read the word on this card

Mortgage Broker: Everyone take a quick guess at how much a decrease of 1% can save you on a monthly mortgage of $200,000.  Write down your answer.

Acupuncturist: Everyone make a fist.  It’s very simple right?  How many muscles were activated in making that fist?  Write down your answer.

Attorney:  Everybody grab a pen and write down what you think is the biggest legal liability you are likely to face in your life.

Financial Planner:  Everybody fold your hands in front of you like this. Close your eyes and imagine what it would mean to your lifestyle to be completely debt free.

You get the idea – all these FORCE your audience to pay attention because it would be too conspicuous to whisper or zone while everyone else is following along.  In this particular way, adults are like Kindergarten children in that having them physically do something forces them to mentally focus.

Use this trick with your networking presentations and your BNI Commercials.  You will quickly recognize how easy it is to get everyone to focus on you.  They can’t give you referrals if they don’t understand what you do, and they can’t understand what you do when they are not listening.

Let us know how these techniques work for you and please share suggestions you may have.

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