By Cyndi Maxey, CSP, and Kevin E. O’Connor CSP
Many professionals, when asked to speak at a conference, put off doing much about it until the last minute. While most don’t have a fairy godmother, they operate as if they do—as if a tiny person with a magic wand will appear and make everything come together as they walk in the room. If that conference presenter is you, read this article instead of investing in a magic wand. You’ll be able to work your own magic.
The Invitation to Speak Is to You…but Is Really About Someone Else
Being invited to speak at a professional conference is a compliment to your skills and talents. You’ve been asked to share your wisdom; the meeting planner is counting on you as well as your audience. There are those early in their careers who will learn from you as well as peers and higher-ups who will catalog your presentation in their minds to use for future networking, research, and promotions.
Therefore, the first order of business is to consider who is coming to hear you, what do they want, what do they need, and what do you have that will be useful to them.
Most of you have changed jobs a few times in your career; in fact, you will probably have about seven to thirteen jobs in a lifetime. Think for a moment of the jobs you’ve had to date, including your current work. What do you recall about the environments, the people, and the unspoken rules—the cultures of each workplace? Chances are they were all fairly unique. Most of us have experienced several organizational cultures before we’re thirty. We have learned from them and how to adapt to them. The successful presenter can do the same—and yet this important step to presentations planning is often overlooked.
Culture is important. The emotional impact of culture is important. An understanding of culture is priceless for the stellar presenter. When you understand the culture of your potential audience, you have an edge on influence. This is especially true and important for women presenters who are often left out of inner circle discussions and male executive networks. Culture is tricky; it’s often difficult to find immediately; it is unspoken and is comprised of traditions, language, experiences, and environmental changes.
How you use your telecommunications tools says a lot about you, and if you’re a marketer, your telecommunications should say “excellence”! Today’s business marketing professionals must know not only how to use technology with excellence but also how to select the appropriate telecommunications tool. Is e-mail best? A phone call? A fax? For people who began their business careers with only a telephone, the latest telecommunications choices can be especially daunting. A baby-boomer–aged client recently told me, “It gets so I just don’t know what to use. Sometimes I send an e-mail and leave a voice mail—to make sure I’m covered, and then I still think that maybe I should have sent a fax. ”
As I shared with him, it is best to return the message using the same medium the sender used, if possible. At least you’re being consistent. If that’s not possible, explain that you did receive the message (i.e., e-mail) and why you’re responding in the manner (i.e., telephone) you’ve chosen.
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By Karen Deis and Cyndi Maxey, CSP
From trade shows to yard sales to speaker showcases, showcasing your wares in a limited amount of time in any scenario presents a challenge. You are thinking: What do I bring? What will grab the eye and the ear of the potential buyer? Can the buyer make the leap from this to what I have in entirety? It’s a tough format to plan for. Yet, showcases also present a great opportunity for valuable face-to-face time (not Internet, video, CD, DVD or email time) and interpersonal impressions. They provide an open entrance to you and your skills and talents.
Being in the buyer’s slot is a challenge too. We are thinking: Which service is best? Which will meet my needs most often? Who has the credibility, skill, and talent to look great in front of my customers? Here are some deceptively simple things to remember to make your next showcase impression a stellar one.
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Sales trainers are lucky. Salespeople are among the most positive, effervescent learners in the workplace. They typically buy in to discussions, activities, case studies, how-to’s, and how-not-to’s with admirable commitment. They are motivated to excel, often against difficult odds. Often they are very vocal and exploratory with new concepts. This makes most sales training initiatives (a) involving, (b) fun, and (c) rewarding.
But the economy lately has caused more stress for all employees—including hardworking sales teams. If you have been training salespeople for a while, you may have noticed your learners’ faces and voices noticeably showing stress—centering on their quotas and the challenges of work and life. You sense this, and you would like more time to address concerns like stress and work/life balance. Continue Reading →
New York gossip columnist M. Barker once wrote, “The idea of strictly minding your own business is strictly rubbish. Who could be so selfish?” Making conversation, especially with the boss, is very UNSELFISH. Look at it as GIVING and GROWING.
However, the typical executive today is busy; he or she has a lot going on every day. You’ll need to take the initiative. For the boss to know you, you need to be able to reach out and ask about and share about. Continue Reading →
By Cyndi Maxey and Kevin E. O’Connor
Even the best presenters get nervous. Normal nervousness is very, very normal. The abnormal kind is the worst of all and it is often self-induced. You arrive late, audiovisual is nowhere to be found, you tell a joke that has been told by a prior speaker, or you see nothing but vacant looks on the faces of your audience.
None of this is ever the fault of the audience, audiovisual company, or the limo driver. It is always the speaker who is responsible.
Don’t fall on your face by learning the secrets of presenting like a pro. Continue Reading →
By Cyndi Maxey, CSP, and Kevin E. O’Connor, CSP
The Challenge: Make your Ordinary Meetings Memorable
One thing we know as coaches to hundreds of presenters is that you are never remembered if you are ordinary. Every year your meetings team works to find extraordinary keynote speakers to challenge and inspire members. Wouldn’t it be great if you could achieve the same effect with everyday meetings—training sessions, Board reports, or project meetings?
The Solution: Break the Rules!
You can create the same effect if you step outside what others think they should be and make them what you know they could be. To do this, you may need to break some rules—or maybe just old habits, like the Medical Group Management Association did in their recent leadership development trainer training.
Being you is more important than being perfect. Memorable speakers are effective because they convey a natural rapport. Adrienne Antink, CAE, Vice President, Learning and Networking Center of the Medical Group Management Association, shares, “I remind our leadership development presenters that they don’t always have to have the answers. Get the audience to solve the problem, not you. “
By Cyndi Maxey, CSP and Kevin E. O’Connor, CSP
Abstract: “Jitter Busters: Scaring Away Presentation Nerves with Skill and Success”
This article outlines ten key areas for battling nervousness for pharmaceutical professionals who present one on one and to groups. Readers will learn techniques that the pros know to set themselves up for calm, confident one on one or group presentations when inside they may be quaking. These techniques focus on planning, preparation, practice, and presentation options. The final points review how the ten jitter busters can work on behalf of the presenter.
The best presenters get nervous. The best singers, dancers, and actors all get nervous. Many worry when they are not nervous! Whether presenting one on one or to a group, normal nervousness is very, very normal—and very, very necessary. When you are gearing up to perform at your best, adrenalin kicks in—causing your temperature to rise, your breathing rate to increase, your hands to shake, your mouth to dry out, your words to stumble and your palms to sweat. While most professional salespeople, speakers and performers will admit to feeling these symptoms, few understand “what else” they can do when the normal jitters start to rock their world and feel oh, so not normal. Continue Reading →
Business & Professional Communication
DePaul University, Chicago, IL
College of Communication