How One Presentation Turned Into $7,500

walking away from moneyHow much is your presentation worth? If you're not speaking with power and confidence, you're losing money. There is an ROI to your presentation. A few months ago, I met with a coaching prospect and presented myself and my services. He recently confided that he had interviewed a number of coaches before selecting me. He said that I was the most professional, I had a game plan, and I told him the truth about his coaching needs. Some coaches were dressed too casually. Some said they would do whatever he wanted when he asked them about their approach. He didn't feel confident about their services. I closed the sale with one meeting - with one presentation.

People think of public speaking as having intangible benefits - you make people feel good, you get a message across, maybe someone feels inspired. But if you're not selling a product or service, you may think there is no tangible value.

In beauty pageants, the interview is weighted at 40% of the score. The contestant's ability to present herself well yields thousands of dollars in scholarship money. That's tangible.

When you're interviewing for a job, your resume gets you in the door. Your presentation is what gets you the job. The ROI on that presentation is equal to the salary you're offered.

Your ability to sell yourself and your value gives you an extra edge when you get a raise and get promoted. Figure out how much of an increase you'll get, and that is the ROI of your presentation.

Speaking is not a soft skill. It's a powerful leadership skill and can no longer be avoided. You don't have to be a professional speaker to gain financially from your presentation.

How much is your speaking worth?

Delete These 3 Annoying Words in 2013

Resolve to delete three deadly words from your vocabulary this year. We make resolutions on January 1st and then we go back to our usual habits in less than a month. But you can't afford to let your communication and presentation skills slide. Why? It's a new game. It's tougher, more competitive, and harder than ever to be heard above the noise. Your speech can undermine your success in an interview, a sales presentation, or a promotion opportunity. And it can sabotage your leadership. Jargon, non-words, and slang will not serve you.

According to a Marist poll, the most annoying word in 2012 was "whatever", followed by "like', and "you know" was a close third. The word "whatever" topped the list for a third year. Other annoying words included "twitterverse" and "gotcha".

People under the age of 45 in the Northeast were most annoyed by the word "like" while  "you know" was offensive to people over 45 years old. Go figure.

Regardless of demographics, using these words will, like, undermine your executive presence, you know? So choose your words carefully during your next communication or presentation. When tempted to use these three words in presentations, hit the delete button and pause. It's up to you.  Whatever.


Public Speaking: The Power of 7

7I just got back from a networking event.  Networking is a form of public speaking - it's your sales presentation.  If you're like me, you experience the speakers as unclear or they're so long-winded that you tune out.  In business, your elevator speech is the most important presentation.  Speakers who are unclear are leaving money on the table. So I decided to challenge myself to describe what I do in 7 words or less.  There's a magic to the number 7:  Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Seven Seals, Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, and Lucky Sevens.

Here's what I came up with: Reduce speaking anxiety and monetize your mouth.

After I sent this out to our listserve, a number of people commented about how much they loved it and how well it describes what I do as an executive speaking strategist.  So, I decided to offer the same challenge to people in my network.  Admittedly, it was difficult.  But I was proud of some of the responses that came in.  Here is a sampling:

What about you?  What do you do in seven words or less?  Let us know in the comments.

Video Marketing-The New Interview Presentation

How do you make your job interview stand out in a crowded interview? In a previous post I blogged about a woman who was getting ready to pitch her boss for a promotion.  To make her and her presentation memorable we decided to create a short video. Why? Because I see a change in the market. is the number two search engine after google.  Video creates that personal touch and ups the trust factor in presentation marketing.  Well, now it seems that interviewers are catching on.  Is the resume becoming passe? Probably not. But a video presentation can sell you better than any piece of paper. An expert can write a professional resume but nobody can speak for you. Speakmarketing is one of the most powerful ways to promote a business and create visibility inside the workplace. So it makes sense that video presentation would be the next wave in job interviews.  Now more than ever before, everybody must have good presentation skills. Speaking is the new competitive weapon.

Read this WSJ article about the impact of digital media.

71% of Employers Value Emotional Intelligence over IQ

Whether you're interviewing for a job, asking for a raise, or  angling for a promotion, your success may have less to do with your skills and intelligence. You'll have greater success by building relationships, communicating clearly, and presenting yourself with confidence and conviction. It seems that street smarts and people skills will get you where you want to go. It's also true for entrepreneurs. In his newest book, The Education of Millionaires, Michael Ellsberg talks about entrepreneurs who dropped out of college and bootstrapped their way to success. He tells a story of interviewing an MBA for a part time data entry job for his start-up company. The  job candidate talked theory, tables, and projections. He didn't get it. Michael ended up hiring a woman who was a  high school drop out with a good work ethic. She performed well.  A man I knew who worked for the Navy was promoted over others with more experience because he had good people skills. This is true of speakers. Think of motivational speakers. Why are some of them so powerful on the platform? Because they speak from emotion. Their message goes right to the heart. They understand how to communicate. Consider the excellent presenters you know. What makes them excellent? They may be giving an update, describing a product, or convincing the audience of an idea. I'll bet that they all have one thing in common-high emotional intelligence. They connect person-to-person, eye-to-eye. These public speakers inject humor when appropriate and are always aware of the audience and environment. They mirror their audience and keep pace with their energy-toning it down when the group is overwhelmed and pumping up the volume when their energy wanes.  Public speakers and presenters with high EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) instinctively know it's about the audience- not about them. This is why a  "polished" presenter or subject matter expert  may know all the right content and  mechanics of speaking,  but never connects with the audience.  As it's been said many times,  "They don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."

For more information on emotional intelligence read this survey from career builder.

Do you agree that EQ is more important than IQ?  What's been your experience?

Media Training Tips You Can Use

Today's times call for broadcasting skills and media savvy. Last week I attended a media training class given by Shawne Duperon. As a life long learner, I always look for ways to upgrade my skills and thought I'd share some media tips from Shawne's wonderful class. New perceptions can alter your destiny.

Gossip is word of mouth. Only 5-7% of gossip is mean. (Shawne is a gossip expert).

Increased knowledge=decreased fear.

Move from expert to authority and miracles happen.

If you're nervous on the phone, you'll be nervous on camera.

Media sets the agenda.

90% of what makes it on TV is pitched. News is passive. The same people pitch the same stupid stories.

Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Words are energy.  Questions hook the brain.

Don't break the cycle of reciprocity.

The average sound bite is 12-15 seconds.

How you do anything is how you do everything.

It doesn't matter what you say; it's what you're being.

67% of the population have a TV on at all times.

Step into the energy of a crisis.

Create relationships now so when a crisis hits reporters will help you out.

Always look at the reporter.

Reporters may ask the same question 3 times to help you get the best sound bite.

Learn how to smile exquisitely.

Meet them where they are and take them where you want them to go.

3 Interview Questions You Must Master

Here are the facts:More people are interviewing for jobs. Hiring decisions are based on 60% chemistry and 40% skills. Your presentation skills are critical for interviewing success.

And there are 3 questions you must master. When I coach C-level executives in transition we begin with these 3 potent questions:

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. Why did you leave your job?
  3. Why should I hire you?

Question number 1 is a selling opportunity. Lead with your 3 strengths or elevator speech. Don't start with your job history. Briefly highlight your job history and accomplishments. Close the loop by saying, "And what I'm looking to do next is..."

Question number 2 must be clear, brief, and stated with confidence. If you give too many details or seem hesitant, the interviewer will seize the moment and drill down. Don't raise a red flag by defending your position. State the facts. "There was a restructuring and my job was eliminated."

Question number 3 is a final opportunity to sell your knowledge, skills, and abilities. Listen to their needs and demonstrate how your skills match the job description.

An interview is public speaking. These 3 questions are the core of every interview. Get ready to prepare, polish and present.

Can A Good Resume Trump a Weak Presentation?

Recently, I had a conversation with one of my C-level clients. He had referred one of his young associates to work with me on building confidence. This bright, hardworking associate didn't show up powerfully at meetings with clients and projected a weak presentation. Although knowledgeable about the research, the associate was soft spoken and simply reported facts from the PowerPoint data. The goal was to eventually lead the meetings. After the coaching program, there was a change in the presentation. The associate was more confident, owned the room, and spoke with authority adding valuable comments and explanations to the charts. My client was pleased with the results and confided in me that initially, he didn't think the job interview would go very long.

He described the candidate as having a weak handshake and too soft spoken. Within seconds of meeting, he thought to himself, "No way am I making a job offer." But he did the polite thing and began asking questions. The more he probed the better the applicant sounded. There was substance beneath that lackluster presence. The references checked out as he learned that this candidate accomplished 50% more work than anyone else. He had discovered a diamond in the rough. To his credit he made an offer. Realizing this was a good quality person, he knew some coaching would enhance the presentation skills.

This associate was lucky. The manager was astute and patient enough to dig beneath the surface. But this is the exception, not the rule. Most job candidates are dismissed early on because of poor public speaking skills and an inability to present themselves. And many interviewers are not skilled themselves in interviewing skills.

It takes seven seconds or less to make a first impression. You can look good on paper. But if you can't pass the handshake test, you may not get a second chance.

Speak Your Way to More Business

What if there were a way to market up close and personal and it was free? The answer is right under your nose - It's your mouth. Public speaking is a powerful and cost effective way to market your business. Small businesses can’t compete with glitzy advertising campaigns but public speaking as a marketing strategy levels the playing field.

When you engage in “speakmarketing

14 Ways to Present a Positive Image

It's the season for holiday parties and networking. Networking is a form of public speaking. Excellent presentation skills can draw people in and keep them interested.

Here are a few tips for making a good impression:

1. Own the room. Stand tall and walk in with confidence. 2. Smile. You'll appear more approachable and confident. 3. Be the first to reach out. Extend your hand and give a frim handshake. A weak handshake is an immediate turn off. 4. Look directly into someone's eyes. Don't scan the room while talking to one person. 5. Don't chew gum. 6. Speak clearly and pause. Sloppy or hurried speech is perceived as negative. Eliminate slang. 7. Be fully present. Focus on the person and listen non-verbally with body language and with words. 8. Ask questions about them instead of talking about yourself. 9. Find common ground quickly.This will build instant rapport. 10. Give compliments. 11. Paraphrase. It's a form of acknowledging people. This skill makes you very attractive. It communicates you're listening. 12. Have something interesting to say. Comment on the other person's interests. 13. Be a giver. Offer a tip or an introduction to others. Give without expecting anything in return. 14. Mirror the other person. Match their speaking rate, volume level, and words. If they speak fast, quicken your pace. If they are soft-spoken, lower your volume. People like people who are most like them.

Remember:   It takes 7 seconds or less to make a good first impression.You're always on stage.

What Cory Booker Can Teach Us About Media Training

Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, New Jersey was making the rounds on the early morning news shows today. Cory's media interviews went well because of his preparation, focus, and energy. He spoke with passion which is a lesson for any good public speaker but he also demonstrated two principles of good media training. The two principles are honesty and bridging. First, he was straightforward in his answers. When the reporter asked him how could he "sell" the idea of a reduction in city services he responded that there was no good way to sell it. This is refreshing because it's the truth. He then bridged back to his message that it would take innovation, shrinking government, creating enterprise zones, etc. The reporter asked him at a later time how he could sell the reduction of services to his constituents. He again acknowledged that you can't sell it and brought back his solution of innovation. A good reporter will ask a question three different times or in three different ways. An effective public speaker who is media trained will give the same, consistent answer and not allow himself to go off message. Cory did this well. To accomplish this, you must be well prepared and know your message points cold. Effective media interviews require the confidence to stay on message and the agility to bridge from the reporter's question to your message point.

Help! I Have a Video Media Interview

A reader sent me an email today:

Dear Diane,

I will be representing SCORE on a small business management segment online later this week. I know the subject matter well. I just need your suggestions and tips as being interviewed on video is new territory for me.


Video marketing is a powerful medium. When you're invited as an expert will you be ready? Here are some media training tips for when you present on video:

Look at the host who is interviewing you. If it’s a webcam feed, then look directly into the camera. With built in webcams, you may have to look up in order to be eye-to-eye with the viewers. That means you won’t see your notes on the screen too easily.

Begin with a hook to grab their attention-a statistic, a statement. Ex. "Host, Did you know that 80% of small businesses fail when  using ecommerce?"

Build in a quick  success. Ex." One client increased his online revenues when he learned to do this one thing…"

Speak in soundbites. This is critical.  Write down 3-6 main messages. Each point should be one sentence, one thought.  Say it crisply and then give an example. There’s no time for long storytelling in a media interview.

Video segments must move quickly.

Keep your language simple. Aim for 8th grade language. Avoid using  too many technical  terms. Use simple analogies. Ex. "Not having an ecommerce site is like not having a phone".

Talk from the audience view point. Don’t assume they know what you’re talking about. Provide value. What do they care about? Talk to those issues. Don’t be too detailed or they will tune out.

Be passionate. Video is an energy drain. That means you’ll seem more enthusiastic live than on the screen. So push your energy-especially in your vocal tone. Emphasize key words.

Be yourself. Sound like you’re having a conversation. Don’t talk at the audience; converse with them.

Don’t over gesticulate. Fast movements may not televise well.

Smile. You need to look friendly and inviting.

Imagine the audience. If you’re talking into a webcam you won’t be able to see reactions so get a picture in your mind of people responding to you.

Keep your head still.  Your head should be straight on your neck with little or no tilting.

Sit or stand up straight. Slouching will send a negative message.

Know what is behind you as background. Are you in someone’s studio? Ask about the backdrop color. You don’t want to wear black if the background is black.

Check your appearance in a mirror right before the interview. Check for dandruff, a crooked tie,  fly away hair, or shine. Use some dusting powder to avoid shine on the face or bald spots. Use hair spray and take it with you. Hair that stands up is distracting.

Don’t wear loud prints or large check patterns. They don’t televise well.

PAUSE between thoughts. This will eliminate /ums/ and allow time for the message to land.

End  with food for thought or an action step.  Ex. "Businesses are leaving money on the table when it comes to ecommerce. Go to www._________for a free assessment."

Remember it’s not about you-it’s about them (the audience).

Media training is no longer for authors and celebrities.  Whether you're interviewing for a job, speaking as a guest expert online, or even sending a video email to your friends, all public speakers will eventually use the powerful medium of video presentations.