Archive for the ‘public speaking’ Category

Words Linger

Words create memories – good or bad

How important are the words you put in print?  We hear about blogging, social media comments and even writing marketing copy.  Your written words are actually more important than your spoken words.


Spoken words may be forgotten, but the written word is permanent.  Once you hit “send” or “submit,” those words are available to be found forever.


Private?  Think again.


That funny party picture you posted as a joke is available also.  I hear some of you saying, “no, I posted in my private setting.  That posting will never be public.”  Wrong.  Regardless of the privacy setting, if someone wants to find it badly enough, they will.  If even one person re-tweets or copies the picture or text, it is now public.


True story


A young woman was so proud of her body building contest results that she posted the picture on her Facebook page.  If you know anything about those contests, you know that the attire makes a string bikini look prudish. What seems like harmless fun in her 20s may come back to haunt her.  Would you want a “nearly nude” picture of yourself on the internet for your parents, children and your boss to see?


Words come back to bite you


Be conscious of the words you write.  You are representing yourself and your company with each comment.  This is the age of the spontaneous comment.  It only takes a second to hit “send” but the results remain


Am I trying to scare you into not posting on the internet?  Absolutely not.  I’m posting this right now.


Another true story


Two individuals in an organization chose to escalate their disagreement into a public display.  Feelings were hurt, words were written which in retrospect should never have been said.  The repercussions are still being felt throughout the organization seven months later.  A disagreement which could have been solved quietly has mushroomed into a major disruption.  The entire organization is suffering.


Once written words become public, they may be retracted, but they are not removed from memories.


Words linger


.Why is writing important in your organization?  Your marketing copy is obviously public.  It represents your company.  The image you project in your marketing materials must be positive, but it must also be honest.


There is a common expression throughout network marketing and other media to “fake it until you make it.”   The catchphrase was originally designed to create a feeling of success; by acting “as If” you have already achieved the desired level of success, you will trick your sub conscious into making that your reality.  The problem is that when that statement goes public, others do not know whether it is an internal statement or the truth.  97% of people fail in network marketing.  Perhaps some entered the business with a false sense of probability.


Be aware of the consequences of your spoken words and your written words not only on yourself but also on others.


For more keys to a successful spoken or written presentation, contact Elaine Love at or  If you want to take your communication from Now to WOW, implement this simple key.  Want more keys to success for yourself and your company?  Hire Elaine Love as your coach, corporate trainer or keynote speaker.


Competitive Advantage or Perish

Product benefit list

Your competitive advantage is your quality, value, delivery or service.

Marketing is designed to present your competitive advantage to your target client.  When you know what problem your product or service solves, your research begins.  The next step is to determine who has that specific problem and how can you reach them.

Do you have an excellent product or service?  Why isn’t the world beating down the doors to purchase from you?  The answer may be your competitive advantage.  What is a competitive advantage?

There have always been a plethora of companies who offer similar products and services.  How many brands of toilet tissue, orange juice or automobile tires are in the marketplace?  If you are in a niche market all alone, fabulous; however with the access to the internet, your competition could be anywhere in the world.  Ideally you will develop some positive variation of the business which would make customers choose your product instead of your competitors offering.  How do you do that? You create a competitive advantage.  Your competitive advantage may be changing the quality, value or delivery.  Your advantage could be your customer service, your speedy delivery, or even the convenience of purchasing.  If price becomes your only advantage, beware.  One price war with a large company and you could be devastated.

BI (before the internet), the majority of your competition resided within less than 100 miles of you.  Now you either compete on a massive scale or pack up and head home. At one time speech coaching was a face to face customer basis.  With the arrival of Skype and web cameras, your speech coaching client could be in France.

Your advantage should change the behavior of the customer.  Entice them to want to come to you and do business with you.  How do you do that?  Offer a benefit to them.  Spend some time speaking with them and discover the problem they would pay to have solved.  Once you know their pain, you know exactly what product or service to offer from your product line which will solve their problem.  They can’t and won’t purchase from you until they know what you have to offer.  Job number one for a company is to be certain their target market knows what they have to offer.

How can you extend your reach to “touch” more customers?  Enlist your employees in the process.  It is in their best interest for you to be successful.  Pay checks do not continue to flow out from unsuccessful companies.  Offer unique incentives to employees to assist in promoting the company.  Supply them with the latest marketing promotional materials; keep them informed and “in the loop.”

Once the customer knows you have the solution, it is a matter of selecting the ideal solution from your product arsenal to solve their problem.

Your competitive advantage must do something positive for the product or the customer.  Be specific about the benefits of your product.  Carefully avoid listing features; describe benefits.  A lady sat at my kitchen table recently attempting to sell me her line of skin care.  She recited a long list of ingredients.  Ingredients are features.  If she had said, “Elaine, use this face cream and it will reduce your wrinkles by 30% in 10 days.”  If she had given me that benefit, I would have purchased on the spot.  People buy on benefits, not features.

It is not truly a competitive advantage until your employees or customers take action.  Children react on rewards or penalties.  Employees and customers follow the same pattern of reacting to consequences.

Conduct interviews with current customers, past customers and potential customers.

What do they like?

What do the not like?

What would they like to have but do not have at this time?

What would they pay to have which they do not have right now?  You may be asking yourself what is the difference in the last two questions.  The difference is a “nice to have” which they may or may not be willing to purchase at this time or a “need to have” which they will absolutely pay for right away.

Competitive advantages are improvements in quality, value, delivery or service.  What is your competitive advantage?  If you don’t know, start creating one.

For more information on competitive advantages, stay tuned to  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to or

Now to WOW

Results For Life LLC

Elaine Love

Preview chapter of new book Now to WOW.  Q & A – Are you ready?

Congratulations!  The audience loved your presentation.  They were e

ngaged, laughing at the appropriate times, taking notes and they were not even checking their smart phone for messages.  You scored a hit!


It is now reaching the wrap up time.  You have an outstanding closing story which ties all of your points of wisdom together in a powerful walk away message.


Amazing, but many speakers ruin a fantastic performance by ending with Questions and Answers.  Have you seen speakers end with Q & A?  Unfortunately, that practice is more common than the exception, especially with less experienced speakers.


As a normal procedure, my room host is requested to notify me ten minutes before the end time and then five minutes before session conclusion time.  This room host was an experienced Toastmaster; an excellent five to seven minute speaker.  She flashed the ten minute flag, so I gave a quick wrap- up and opened for questions.  When the five minute flag appeared, it was time for the powerful conclusion story and feedback sheets.  Then the shocking words she uttered next disrupted the flow, “Ok, Elaine now you have ten minutes for Q & A. I saved time at the end for you for questions.”  “Oh, no” or something perhaps a bit stronger flashed through my mind.


Why is that such a disaster?  All it takes is one rouge, off the wall, off the subject question and the audience walks away with that off topic thought in their mind instead of your powerful walk away message.  Ending with Q & A can destroy the entire mood of a perfectly delivered presentation.


The room monitor had taken liberty to adjust the timing.  Though her intentions were probably in the right place, her actions were surprising and not helpful.  So what did I do?  You can bet I informed my room monitors in all future presentations not to change my timing instructions; they were informed that Q & A will come before the closing story.


Now that you know when to conduct Q & A, the question is how do you handle Q & A?  Set the expectation in advance by informing the audience that there will be a time for questions prior to the closing story.  Why tell them a closing story will follow the questions?  Some may depart immediately after the questions assuming that is the end of the session or they will start wrapping up their notes and gathering their materials, causing a disturbance during your powerful closing story.


  1. Set the expectations as to the number of questions you will take or the amount of time allotted for questions.
  2. A timely pause serves as impact; however, asking for questions and being met with an uncomfortable silence generates a negative impact.  Asking closed ended questions such as  “Are there any questions?” or “Do you have any questions?” may generate a “no.”  Try asking “What questions do you have?”  This approach leaves the answer open to a valuable question rather than a yes or no answer.  Now they start to think of questions.
  3. If no one speaks, try saying, “Asking the first question may be difficult, May I pose it myself?”  “You may be wondering about _______________.”  (Insert a frequently asked question.  It will break the tension of being the first audience member to speak.)
  4. Not everyone in the audience may be able to hear the question.  Rephrasing the question affirms the person who asked the question and makes them feel heard and understood.  Rephrasing also helps others hear the question as well as the answer.  Rephrasing also gives you a few seconds to formulate your answer.
  5. Preparing your speech is extremely important.  Even though you prepared with the intention of not leaving the audience hanging on any point of wisdom, there will usually be a few questions.  Doing your best to anticipate those questions in advance will assist you in formulating clear, concise answers to the questions which do arise.  Give brief answers in order to allow time to answer more questions.  If the answer will be extremely lengthy, arrange to meet the audience member after the session.
  6. Select questions from each section of the audience: front, back, sides, center and all four corners if possible.
  7. When someone asks an especially astute question, acknowledge it.  It is better to recognize an excellent question than to say good question to everyone who asks a question.
  8. Once in awhile you may choose to ask for confirmation that you totally answered the question they were thinking.  It is possible for you to interpret a question differently than the person who asked the question was intending.  Saying, “Did that totally answer your question” or “Does that make sense to you” can be asked when you detect a puzzled expression on the questioner’s face.  It builds your credibility to care about the audience.
  9. If your response has multiple facets, indicate that you will be giving a three-part response.  Detail carefully each strategy, technique or step in your solution.


Answering questions carefully and as thoroughly as possible within the time frame builds your credibility.  Letting the audience know in advance how many questions you will answer or how much time you will dedicate to questions sets parameters and honors their time as well as yours.  If they have more questions than the allotted time, invite them to join you at your sales table or walk with you to your sales table.  Doing so will honor them, continue the conversation and also bring them to your products.


In the words of the esteemed Patricia Fripp, first female president of National Speakers Association, “last words linger.”  Q & A can enhance an excellent presentation or destroy the walk away impact depending on how the question portion of the presentation is handled.  Insure that they are leaving with your powerful walk-away message.  Let the last words lingering in their minds, be your message.

Thus is a sample of the value to come.  Also on tap will be Industry Specific workbooks and audio.

Elaine Love

Tiger in High Heels

For more information on visionary leadership and positive impact presentations, stay tuned to  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to or


Nerves to Success

Your knees are shaking and your throat is dry.  Your nerves are all firing and the speech is 3 days from now.

Elaine Love

Presentations coach, professional speaker, author, and trainer


You know your subject matter.  You have researched the company, spoken with the meeting planner and know exactly the problem you are being hired to solve, and you even practiced your speech.  What’s the problem?  You are so nervous that your mind is flashing images of suddenly forgetting your speech, being so tongue tied that you can’t deliver a coherent sentence and even having such sweaty hands that you can’t hold the microphone.  Stop!  Breathe!  It is time for a mind shift.


You need to calm down.  Quiet your mind and refocus on positives.


An old Cherokee told his grandson, “My son there is a battle between two wolves inside us all.  One is Evil.  It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies and ego.  The other is Good.  It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth.”


The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”


The old man gently replied, “The one you feed.”


If you fear failure, you are feeding your mind negatives instead of encouragement.  Refocus your thoughts.  It is all about what you think, feel and do.


Give yourself advantages instead of handicaps.  Start with something very easy to do.


If you are like me, you always feel better when you are wearing one of your favorite outfits.  When you wear your special outfit, you hear compliments. “Wow, you look amazing today.”  “That color brings out your eyes.”  “You look great today.”


When you feel attractive, you naturally relax.  Give yourself every advantage possible.  Dressing in one of your favorite outfits increases your feeling of success and relaxes you.


Try visualizing the audience smiling and nodding approval.  See the audience members taking notes and slightly leaning forward in their seats with rapt attention to you.  Picture them relaxing and enjoying your content; they even laugh at the appropriate sections.


Top salesmen frequently visualize in advance of their presentation how the client will demonstrate signs of approval during their presentation.  The most successful salesman will picture the client smiling as they sign the sales contract.  Top earners picture every deal of a successful sales call in advance of stepping one foot of their designer shoes in the lobby door.


Successful stage performers picture the audience engaged and enjoying their entire performance.  They may even picture the audience giving them a standing ovation at the end.


Sales, actors and speakers are all giving presentations.  They are all seeking approval and repeat performances.  The difference is that a speaker is seeking a standing invitation more than a standing ovation.


Success starts with a positive expectation.  Success starts with the desired image prior to the actual performance.  Success begins within your own thoughts and feelings.  Give yourself every advantage.


  1. Research the company in advance
  2. Know exactly what problem you are hired to solve
  3. Customize your solution to the audience (client)
  4. Think and visualize positive outcomes throughout the presentation before the event
  5. Write, tweak and rewrite your message until it flows easily
  6. Practice, practice, practice.  Practice speaking your message aloud.  Spoken messages need to sound conversational, not as if you are reading.
  7. Dress in your favorite outfit to look and feel your best
  8. Step on stage with confidence.  Focus on doing the best for the audience.
  9. Deliver the message you intend to convey with poise, conviction and authenticity


Remember the words of the wise old Cherokee; the wolf who wins is “The one you feed.”  Rephrased as the tag line of the book Emotional Ice Water, “It is about what you think, feel and do.”  You have control of the situation when you have control of your own mind.


For more information on visionary leadership and positive performance, stay tuned to  Anticipate the arrival of the new book Now to WOW scheduled for publication in 2013.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or presentation coaching.  Go to or



Heart of a Leader

Where is your focus?  Are you focused on personal and                   professional goals or on service to others?


An email popped up today about Ken Blanchard.  You may know Ken from one or more of his 25 books, especially his classic The One Minute Manager.  Ken has been noted for spending 20 minutes to call an 85 year old part time employee on her birthday.  Ken has been credited with spending an hour with a tape recorder to record the kind words from co-workers about an employee to give as a gift to his widow.


We all live busy lives.  Ken exemplifies the heart of a leader.  In fact, The Heart of a Leader is the title of Ken’s new book.


“An excerpt from
The Heart of a Leader

by Ken Blanchard

A river without banks is a large puddle ~ Ken Blanchard


Start your people on a journey to the land of empowerment, but don’t forget that they need boundaries. If you cut them loose without any direction, they will get lost and revert back to their old unempowered habits. Like the banks of a river, boundaries have the ability to channel energy in the right direction. If you take away the boundaries, your people will lose their momentum and direction. Boundaries that create autonomy include:

Purpose—what does your company do?
Values—what are your company’s operational guidelines?
Goals—where is your company headed?
Roles—who does what?
Structure—how is your company organized?

Don’t send inexperienced people off alone and then punish them when they make mistakes. Establish clear boundaries that will free them to make decisions, take initiative, act like owners, and stay on track.”


As we go about our daily lives, where is our heart?  Where is our focus?  Yes, we have to earn money to pay our bills and advance our careers.  Yes, we have commitments to friends, family, organizations and even to walk the family dog.  So what is the answer to the time crunch?  Priorities.  If you are like me, you make time for the priorities in life.


As President of the Rotary Club of Castle Pines, we have a motto of “service above self.”  When it comes to living that motto in our daily lives, do we really practice what we profess?  It is all too easy to sit back and allow others to shoulder responsibility.  It is all too easy to say, “There just isn’t time to call an employee to say “happy birthday” or take the time to offer a kind gesture to a recent widow.  There just is not enough time to accept a volunteer leadership position and really perform as a leader.  Ken Blanchard does not have the time, he makes the time.


Today’s chapter in my new book Now to WOW focused on the walk away message.  Whether we are speaking to one, ten or thousands, we leave a walk away impression.  Even more important than the walk away message in one encounter, is the walk away message we leave in our life.


Ken Blanchard leaves a strong walk away message about The Heart of a Leader.  Rotarians leave a strong walk away message about “service above self.”  What walk away message are we leaving in our lives?

For more information on visionary leadership, stay tuned to  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to or

Plan? What plan?

What is your plan?  Perhaps the first question is “Do you have a plan?”  Without a plan, you are probably changing directions frequently.  You are making about as much forward progress as a rocking chair.  You are in motion but not going anywhere.

Only one plan?  That works if everything goes perfectly.  How often in you life has everything gone perfectly as you ideally desired it to happen?  If you are like me, it certainly has not been 100% of the time.

Come with me to my service club.  In my role as President Elect Nominee, I expected to be invited to all board meetings and start preparing for my role as President in two years.  Even though I attended many educational events, learned as much as possible from more experienced members and involved myself in every possible club activity, the board meeting experience did not materialize.  No problem because I could always do all of that in the following year as President Elect.

Excitement filled the air as the members filed into the Country Club for the annual changing of the leadership party June 28.  The gavel passed from the current President to the new President.  The new President spoke and conveyed his vision for the upcoming year to the membership.  The new board of directors was duly installed which moved me from President Elect Nominee to President Elect.

As President Elect this would be the year to plan for my Presidency next year.  There would be board of director meetings, President Elect training and close involvement with the new President as well as prior Presidents.  That was plan A.  There was absolutely no reason to anticipate a need for Plan B.  Consequently, I did not have a plan B.

Through an unfortunate set of circumstances during the next seven days, both the Board Secretary and the new President resigned.  Oh no, that meant instead of a year to plan my Presidency, the situation was immediate.  Had there been a plan B already in place, the trauma and scramble would have been drastically reduced.

Plan B would be to move forward as President and learn on the job.  Oh but it gets better.  The Constitution requires that the President Elect have completed various requirements.  One of those requirements was to have attended President Elect Training.  PET (President Elect Training) classes are held once a year – probably in February.  This is July; February is seven months away.  The move from President Elect to President has hit a roadblock.  We now require a plan C.

You get the idea.  If the world functions perfectly and everything falls into place, plan A might work.  The odds of every little challenge falling into line like ducks in a row is a very slim possibility.  Details may work perfectly for a few situations but rarely will the majority of events line up nicely and quack in unison.  Plan B and Plan C are essential.

How do you decide on plans A, B and C?  Look at every situation and describe in detail the possible outcomes.

Plan A – Start a new business and everyone will flock to your door to purchase your product and service.  The advertising costs will remain low because every marketing campaign will produce high quality results.

Plan B – Several people are coming to your business but not everyone is purchasing.  The advertising costs are slightly higher than anticipated because not every marketing campaign is producing results.

Plan C – Some people are coming to your business but few are purchasing.  A few of the marketing campaigns produced results; however, only 20% of the campaigns were successful.  The advertising costs are significantly higher than anticipated and less effective than desired.  Truthfully, this is the more realistic scenario.

Dan Kennedy, marketing guru said he considers himself successful if one of eight marketing campaigns really hits the mark.  He recommends test, retest and keep testing.

Plans A, B and C all require different budgets, different customer strategy and different long range plans.

There have been times when my game plan evolved into plans D, E, F and G.  Just like marketing, you test, retest and keep tweaking until you discover the best plan.

Even then, there is little rest for the entrepreneur because business changes with the economy.

The exact formula works with speaking.  Test your message, tweak it, test it again and keep adjusting it for every different audience and every different situation encountered by that audience.  Test, retest and keep adjusting.  You will probably have a slightly different speech for every audience, in fact, having a customized speech for each audience is ideal for them and for the speaker.

Expect to have plan A, plan B, plan C and even plans D, E and F.  Consider each possible scenario and adjust your plan with “What if this happens?” and adjust for “What if that happens?”

For more information on planning, stay tuned to  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to or

Positive Impressions

Over 12.7 million people were counted as unemployed by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics on June 1, 2012.  5.4 million of those have been jobless for over 27 weeks and another 3.2 million are not counted because they did not search for work in May.  A large percentage of the 3.2 million are discouraged; they believe that no jobs were available for them…  Do the math.  12.7 million plus 3.2 million equals a staggering 15.9 million unemployed.


If you do not want to be a negative statistic, part of the 15.9 million unemployed, there are specific steps you can implement to improve your results.  You must create a positive impression on the gatekeeper and interviewer if you want to hear, “You’re Hired.”

It is a documented fact the National Speakers Association and the American Management Association, 2008, that you have 7 seconds for the interviewer to decide if they like you and 30 seconds to decide if they want to hear what you have to say.

When does your interview really start?  The interview starts with their first impression of you.  It may be your cover letter, resume or the package in which you present your resume and cover letter.  If your cover letter and resume do not make it past the HR gate keeper, you won’t have to worry about an interview – you won’t be called to interview.

Your cover letter is like a beautiful woman; it catches the eye, captivates the attention and awakens interest.  In writing a cover letter, resume or conducting an interview, the job of the first sentence is to entice you to read the second sentence.


Your resume must hold that attention and make them want to know more about you.  If it reads like a technical manual or a job description, you slip into the reject pile.  Design something attractive and interesting to read.  Just as the opening of a speech must be fun, interesting and out of the mundane, so must your cover letter and resume.


Once you make it past the gatekeeper with your cover letter and resume, the time has come for a personal appearance.


When it is time for the physical interview, you are the package.  You will be observed in detail by the gatekeeper from the moment you enter the reception area.


Appear relaxed, confident, well groomed and focused on the benefit to them.  They are Not hiring you.  They are hiring the result you will bring to them.  They are hiring the results which benefit them and the company.


Before you can provide the result, you need to determine what result the company is seeking.  How you ask?  Do your research.


Unless you prefer to remain as one of the 15.9 million unemployed, do your research and prepare for the interview.  Read their website, subscribe to their newsletter, Google the company, and go to Linked In to find current employees to interview.  Read blogs to determine current problems.  Have a prepared list of questions to probe even deeper into the problems to be solved.


Once you know the problem to be solved, be ready to present a story about how you solved a similar problem.  “Tell me a time when. . .” can lead you into your story file of successes or failures and lessons learned,


It is all about appearances:  Think of job hunting like a baseball diamond.  Your cover letter and resume propel you past first base, your personal appearance moves you past the second base and your words and delivery send you scurrying around third base and heading home.  If you want to hit a home run with your job search, remember to have your cover letter, resume and yourself suited up in your most attractive manner.

For more information on interviewing, stay tuned to  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to or

Not hiring You

Look like a professional

If you seek an executive position, look the part

Interview series

It is a documented fact that you have 7 seconds for the interviewer to decide if they like you and 30 seconds to decide if they want to hear what you have to say.

When does your interview really start? The interview starts with their first impression of you. It may be your cover letter, resume or the package in which you present your resume and cover letter.

When it is time for the physical interview, you are the package.

Today you will receive the 3 keys to crafting a message which draws employers and initially HR personnel to you rather than pushing them away. If you do not make it past the HR gate keeper, you are left sitting in the waiting room.

Mentally trade places with the interviewer. What position are you seeking? Look at yourself through the interviewer’s eyes. Dress up a notch above the expectation of the ideal attire for the position. Unless you are Steve Jobs, you are not going to make your best impression is a black t shirt, jeans and tennis shoes. Dressing up honors the company and position and says, “This is your company image. Your employees represent your company.” It is an old adage, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” (Some credit Oscar Wilde, others credit William Safire in his NY Times “On Language” and others say it was in a 1966 advertising campaign.) Why is this important? If you ever state a statistic or quotation, be prepared to document the source. Crediting the source makes you look well read, well researched and honest. Not crediting could make them doubt other statements in your resume or interview.

Just as you are observing them, they are observing you. I lived in Steamboat for 29 years and dressed up was clean jeans and formal was new jeans. Unless you are applying for a housekeeping or maintenance job, under dressing devalues the position and the company. Not saying to dress frumpy or blah but a nice suit or dress with a splash of color at the throat draws attention to your face and words. Dark colors minimize the body and draw attention up to your smile, eyes and words. No dangly, bangly earrings, guys.

Someone walked into my office recently and their pants were frayed at the hem on the back. Another lady walked in with shoes which were in need of polish or repair on the back of the heel.

Appear relaxed, confident, well groomed and focused on the benefit to them. They are Not hiring you. They are hiring the result you will bring to them. They are hiring the results which benefit them and the company.

Do you have a smart phone? In our fast paced world, our communications are increasingly on our smart phones. You may use it for your email, calendar, gps, and you may even use it for a phone. Are you connecting or merely communicating?

You only have to connect with an interviewer if you want them to remember you and what you said.

Connecting is key.

For more information on debriefing, stay tuned to Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching. Go to or

Presentation Skills

Connect with the Audience

Connection Relaxes the Audience

Have you ever asked a question of the audience during a presentation and received . . . silence? Some presenters will jokingly say, “This is the audience participation part. It is ok to speak.” Other professionals have filled the silence with the Patricia Fripp, first female president of the National Speakers Association, method, “Asking the first question is sometimes difficult. May I pose it myself? (pause) “Perhaps you are wondering about fill in a frequently asked question about the main point of the message.

Other presenters may say, “Ok, no one seems to want to ask the first question. How about the second question?”

If silence still reigns, you might try the “This is an English speaking crowd, right?”

Either I have been extremely thorough and all of your questions are answered or you are totally confused. In either case, let’s change the game plan and do an exercise.

Let’s do a quick review. Briefly summarize the first main point you made in your presentation. “Now, look at your notes and record on your “ah ha” insights on your “Keepers” page. Record the most significant insights you received from covering that material. (Give them a couple of minutes to do that.) “Now turn to your neighbor and share your Keepers with them and then switch. You have 5 minutes total to share.” This will create a buzz in the room as they share with each other.

After the five minutes, ask who would like to share their Keepers. Remember that if you say it, they can doubt you but if they say it then it becomes truth. This exercise of “Think, Pair, Share” works consistently for me and many other speakers with all audiences.

At this point you should be able to ask for questions and they will relax and interact.

You can repeat this exercise for each main point or do it once after each main point. It is even used effectively at the end of the presentation as an overall wrap-up of the session.

Craig Valentine, 1999 World Champion of Public Speaking, finds the Discuss and Debrief Method as a guaranteed participation method. Ed Tate, the 2000 World Champion of Public Speaking, prefers the Think, Pair, Share method to induce audience participation.

The two systems are virtually identical except for the name given to the exercise. The fact is that the system of allowing the participants to think about what they have learned, share it with a neighbor and call it out to the group reinforces their knowledge, the knowledge of the group and validation to the speaker that the audience heard, remembered and responded.

It never hurts for the meeting planner to hear the happy interchange of information from the audience either.

For more information on effective presentation skills and exercises, stay tuned to Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching. Go to or

Business Success, Debrief #7

Debrief every meetingDebriefing a presentation is in essence a recap of the events placed under an evaluation microscope.

First we asked the participants how they felt. Did we touch them emotionally? You only have to reach the audience emotionally if you want them to remember you and your message. They may forget exactly what you said but they will not forget how you made them feel. Touching them emotionally is a measure of how well you connected with them.

Second was the premise, also known as the purpose, of the meeting. Until you are so clear about your main point that you can summarize it in one ten-word sentence, you are not clear. If you are not clear, your audience does not have a snowball’s chance on a hot stove of being clear. The purpose of the presentation may be to inform, entertain or inspire action. Until they are clear about your message how can they possibly be informed or motivated enough to take the desired action.

Third was the change in behavior of the audience. At the conclusion of the presentation were they sufficiently impacted to take the desired action and make positive behavior changes? Presenting a clear point and specific desired action increases the probability of a positive behavior change.

Fourth was the call to action. Did you end the presentation with a whimper and soft throw away words or a specific call to action? Did you achieve your purpose of conveying what you wanted the audience to know, feel and do after the presentation? Hopefully you started planning your presentation with a specific KFD (know, feel, do). How effectively did you achieve that KFD?

Fifth was touching all behavior types in the audience by making your statistics come alive. When statistics are related to people, they lose the cold, impersonal edge and become more human and relatable. If one of every three people will contract a certain malady, will it be the person seated on your right or left or yourself? Relating statistics to people makes them come alive and connect with the audience.

Sixth was the structure model chosen for the presentation. Even though there are several professionally recognized presentation structures, rambling or pontificating are not any of them. One of the best presentation structure models for taking an audience from what currently exists to what could be is detailing the positives and negatives of the current situation and painting a picture of what could be. The future can be painted as a total negative to discourage them from making a bad decision or a rosy picture to encourage them to make a different and more positive choice. Politicians are masters of painting rosy pictures of what they promise will happen if they are elected.

The seventh and final debrief of this series is audience participation. The goal of all presentations is to connect with the audience. Total lack of audience participation could indicate that they are bored, asleep or confused. As we indicated earlier, the confused or overwhelmed mind does nothing.

7. Audience participation or lack thereof could be the result of cramming so much information into a short period of time that the audience became lost.

Craig Valentine, the 1999 World Champion of Public Speaking said, “When you squeeze the information in, you squeeze your audience out.” Have you ever heard a presentation where the presenter said, “We have so much to cover that we are going to go through the material rather quickly.” This frequently happens toward the end of a presentation when the presenter suddenly realizes that he is running out of time. This can be avoided by setting time check points throughout the presentation and keeping each section to its allotted time schedule. Have you ever attended a meeting which ran significantly later than scheduled? Have you ever given one?

Timing the material in advance to know precisely how long it will take to thoroughly cover each point and holding to that time requires planning and organization: such planning and implementation shows respect for the audience. The audience does not want to rush through some of the material in order to end on time or to run significantly late.

The easy way to prepare for efficient time scheduling is to prepare each main point to be delivered in ten minute segments. Frequently checking in with the audience to determine if they understand really helps. The audience participation keeps them feeling involved and allows the presenter to know if the audience is following and feeling connected or lost in a fog of overwhelm or confusion. If you see a glazed look in the eyes of the audience, change the pace by doing an exercise, opening for a brief review and question session or give them a quick break. Checking in with the audience frequently can keep the presentation on track.

A real estate professional recently stood up to give her presentation. She said, “This normally takes ninety minutes but I will try to fit it in the ten minute time slot.” How much do you think anyone absorbed, understood or remembered? Right – Nothing. What could she have done? Take one important section and thoroughly cover it. Indicate that there are also sections on the other important areas. Offer to set individual appointments or take questions after the meeting on the other areas of expertise.

Frequent checks with the audience during the presentation, asking for feedback sheets after the presentation and doing thorough honest debriefs after the presentation improve the productivity of each subsequent presentation. The goal is to enhance the enjoyment of each presentation at the moment and continue to improve the connection with the audience.

Debriefing after the presentation is fully as important as planning before the presentation and concentrating on the connection with the audience during the presentation.

Review the prior six sections of debriefing the meeting for more detail on each one…

For more information on debriefing, stay tuned to Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching. Go to or

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”Elaine spoke to our top leaders from 8 states, she gave us new and positive ways to connect with people
which is EXACTLY what we wanted. Thanks Elaine”
-Tom Fajardo, State Farm