Polishing Your Presentation Skills? Don’t Make This Mistake.

Polishing Your Presentation Skills? Don’t Make This Mistake.

When it comes to presentation skills, sometimes it’s not the actual presentation that separates the masters from the amateurs. There are moments during every presentation that, at the time seem insignificant, but end up sticking with you for a long time. One of those times for me was an interaction that I had with a conference presenter.

It’s Not Just Presentation Skills – the Interaction Matters

The conference was ASTD 2011 (the largest annual conference for professional trainers) and there were close to 8000 attendees. Most session rooms were filled to capacity. I arrived early for the first session on the first day to snag a seat. Much to my surprise, the presenter was not in the back doing relaxation breathing or sitting behind a curtain looking over his notes one last time. He was mingling with the crowd; walking up and down the aisles. Welcoming the attendees and thanking them for coming to his session. He struck up conversations with various groups (including me and my other Red Feather friends) and then actually incorporated some of those discussions into his presentation.

In her recent Huffington Post article, Seven Speaking Faux Pas That Can Derail Your Speaking Career, RFN’s own Kelly Phillips reminds us of the impact a presenter can have on their audience.

“People gave up their time and money to hear what you have to say, and maybe even get to speak with you for a precious minute. Any interaction they have with you will stick in their memory for the long-term.”

I’m proof that Kelly’s right. Four years after that conference breakout session, I still remember the speaker and some of what he said. There are very few presentations that stick out in my mind that way. Don’t you want to have that kind of impact on your audience?

Polished and professional presentation skills are important, but don’t miss out on those other actions that truly set you apart from the average presenter. Read what else Kelly has to say about audience engagements, being unprepared for the inevitable, and what simple tool you should be using to fill seats and win gigs.

Networking Blunders: How Embarrassing!

Networking Blunders: How Embarrassing!

Embarrassing things happen all the time but what do you do if you find yourself in the ultimate embarrassing situation at a networking event?  Networking events are the one place where we pride ourselves on putting our best foot forward; making that perfect first impression.

Moo.com asked their Facebook followers to share their most embarrassing networking stories.  WOW! The responses ranged from the simple blunders to some pretty unusual errors in judgment.

I’m happy to say that I have never shown up in my pajamas to an event. Poppy seed stuck in my tooth? Maybe. Broken bra strap? Maybe. A high heel pop off causing me to choose between walking with an awkward limp or go barefooted back to the hotel. Possibly. Calling someone by the wrong name all night (still don’t know why he didn’t speak up and correct me). Yes.

Whether you’ve had your fair share of slip-ups or have repeated nightmares about the possibilities, you’ll see that the responses Moo received prove that you aren’t alone.

Misery loves company so pop on over to our Facebook page and tell us YOUR most embarrassing networking story. We promise we won’t laugh (too hard).

See you there~


Mike…Mike…Mike….Guess What Day It Is!

Mike…Mike…Mike….Guess What Day It Is!

(Camel is walking through an office suite)

Camel:  “Uh-oh! Guess what day it is?? Guess what day it is! Huh…anybody? Julie! Hey…guess what day it is?? Ah come on, I know you can hear me. Mike Mike Mike Mike Mike… What day is it Mike? Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Leslie, guess what today is?”

Since this commercial aired, everywhere you turn someone is referencing the Hump Day camel.  If you have not seen a pin on Pinterest, an Ecard on Facebook or received an email with a hump day camel reference, I dare say that you are in the minority (for which you should be thankful).

But let me ask you this…when you think about that commercial does your mind immediately go to the company it represents?  Is it an entertaining commercial that takes you a minute to remember the brand?  Do you remember the brand at all?

Now think back to another commercial you love.  It would depend where you are located geographically but here in the southeast the Publix commercials come to mind.  During the holiday season they have a few commercials with no words at all, just music.  When it hear that music (no matter where I am or what I’m doing) I immediately think of Publix.

The difference between the two has to do with how they make you feel.  Although both commercials are enjoyable, the emotions that they stroke and connection that they make are very different.

Now think about your personal brand.  When you network, meet people, attend luncheons or talk to others about your brand, how easily will they remember you days, weeks or months down the road?  Did you represent your personal brand in a way that will allow it to be an instant recall in their minds much like the wordless Publix commercial?  Will it be the enjoyable encounter that lacks the POP needed to be instantly memorable?

Taking the time to make a true connection is the difference.  A true connection can happen when you focus less on yourself and more on others.  So often we put the emphasis on telling others what we do and how our brand/service/product can help them that we forget to find out exact what their needs are first.  Ask questions, be curious, and learn about who they are and what they do.  When we take the time to do this, we create that something much deeper than the superficial exchange of business cards.  By being genuinely intrigued, you will produce that feeling for others which will create that memorable connection.

This may not come natural for you and that is okay.  Most good communication skills take time and practice.

Today, I challenge you to “ask more and talk less” – the results will make you happier than a camel on hump day!

Thanks for reading~