Words Will Die. 2013 Communication Trends

Words are dying.

According to 2013 communication trends research by Davis & Company, words will die. What does that mean for speakers and their presentations? And what will replace words?

Obviously, we won't stop speaking. But visuals will rule. And I don't mean PowerPoint. Pinterest is the fastest growing social media platform.It's usage has increased 1000%.

Engagement on facebook increases 100% when posts are visual. Photos, videos, and infographics have more impact and are quickly making written text outdated.

When coaching transitioning executives on their elevator pitch, I often go to the white board to draw visuals. Instead of scripting words, I use graphic facilitation to create visual cues (graphics, symbols) to  build a storyline and help them remember their core messages.

The transformation is amazing! Suddenly, their presentation flows as they stop struggling to remember the written words. Their presentations become conversational as the visuals serve as concept cues. The job applicant or presenter sounds natural instead of scripted. Graphic facilitation is also effective in leading groups toward a common goal and is becoming more popular for strategy sessions. The facilitator organizes information spatially and visually.

Presenters who use graphic facilitation will increase audience engagement, big-picture thinking, and group memory.

Change the way you communicate or get left behind. Improve your presentation, remember more, and stop reading your notes. Leave a message in the comment box  to learn how to use graphic communication to be a better presenter and to engage your audience.

10 1/2 Ways to Keep Viewers Engaged in Your Video

video cameraVideo marketing is hot. The next best thing to face-to-face public speaking is a video. More businesses are creating video presentations because they know videos attract attention. Youtube is now the second largest search engine after google and for good reason. Video presentations are more engaging and motivational than webinars which have static slides. Video presentations make use of both visual and auditory learning styles but unlike PowerPoint, it's a lot easier to learn a skill by watching a video. But video alone will not engage your audience. There’s a lot of competition for boring videos. Effective video marketing requires compelling content and good presentation skills.

This video immediately engages the listener. I'm not endorsing the content or the speaker but the video serves as a good model for capturing and keeping attention. Notice how this video presentation follows all the guidelines.

Here are some tips to keep your audience listening and engaged to your video presentation from beginning to end.

Attract Attention with a Great Title Titles sell. Here's how to create attractive headlines:

  • Use Numbers: Five Ways to Grow Your Business
  • Pique Curiosity: Untold Secrets Internet Marketers Don't Want You to Know
  • Ask a Question: What is your Reputation Costing You?
  • Use Emotion: All Stressed Out and No One to Choke

Get Started Immediately Attentions spans are short. Make sure the video starts up when opened. Don't allow ads. Introduce yourself and get right to the point. Lengthy introductions are passe.

Get Personal People buy from people they know, like, and trust. So tell them something personal. Add a photo of yourself, possibly a family member or pet. People relate to animals and a picture of your pet humanizes you and creates a bond with the audience.

Provide A Promise What will they gain by listening to your video presentation? Provide an agenda or road map. Listeners want to know where you're taking them. A three point agenda works best.

Keep the Action Going Every Three Seconds The trend in videos is to change scenes every three seconds. Yes, three seconds! I tested this on myself. I noticed that every time I was about to fast forward a video presentation, the scene would change. I found it uncanny that this video was so tuned into my attention span. Looking for a formula, I started to count. One..two..three. The slide changed. One..two..three. The slide changed again. That's how I discovered the three second rule.

Provide Real Value Nobody will stay tuned for a sales pitch or a rambling message. Effective video marketing  offers new information, and promises more data and solutions that the listener desires. Content is king on the internet as well as in videos.

Find Their Point of Pain Education for the sake of knowledge is noble but it won't sell your product, service, or brand. People need to know you understand their pain.Identify their pain points and offer relief. Your presentation must speak to them directly.

Build Anticipation In the above video, they tease the audience with the 4 hormones needed to burn fat that the medical profession doesn't talk about. Just like a good soap opera, build anticipation and people will stay tuned.

Entice with your Voice. Video presentations are a form of public speaking. If you can't afford a professional voice over, make sure you use the deeper range of your voice, articulate clearly, and keep an even pace. If your voice is not your best asset, invite a friend to do the voice over.

Don’t Add a Control Bar How many times do you try to fast forward to the end? As much as I desire a control bar as a listener, this gives the audience too much control. As long as the video provides strong content and moves quickly, you'll keep the audience listening.

Save the Offer for the Very End Avoid a sales pitch and focus on education. As you build a convincing case, people will be ready to buy. Make sure the offer happens at the very end on the last slide. Nobody likes a hard sell.

What are your tips for creating a knockout video?

Send me your links to the best videos you've watched.

Confidence Class for Teens: Focus on Image

Public speaking is taught too late, if at all. Confidence results from a good self image and from developing skills. Good public speaking skills are paving the way to a confident self image for these girls.

Speaking in Public: Something to Chew On

Christine Quinn, New York City councilwoman, was caught on TV chewing gum while she was standing behind the mayor. When it was her turn to present,  she folded the gum in her cheek. Yuck! Not a pretty sight and not very  professional.  And this from someone who wants to be the next mayor of New York City. It certainly diluted her image. Gum chewing will quickly destroy the executive presence of any leader.

Before Kate Middleton married Prince William, her family was invited to a major event where the Queen was present. When the camera moved in for a close up, Kate's mother was seen chewing gum. It didn't matter that it was for reducing cigarette craving . It was perceived as insulting and low class.

When giving a presentation, never chew gum. It may seem like a little thing but it's not. And little things make a great impact. A good rule of thumb is to carry hard candy instead of gum.  In most social situations, gum chewing is not polite, it's disrespectful, and certainly a distraction to the listeners.  It competes with your message. The audience will remember the behavior over the words. When viewers saw the Christine Quinn video, they laughed. This is not the image you want as a public speaker unless you're a humorist. If you get caught masticating,  it helps to have a good recovery strategy like Christine Quinn's publicist.

The response was “Yesterday, Chris Quinn announced the creation of 682 affordable apartments and 2,900 construction jobs — now that’s something to chew on.

Creative Idea+Social Conscience+Good Story= Knockout Video Presentation

On the way back from a healthcare company where I gave a presentation demo, I heard an interesting interview on the radio. Two entrepreneurial brothers decided that they wanted to do something with toys that would be creative, safe, foster imagination, and make a socio-economic impact in a third world country. I found the story so interesting that when I arrived at my destination, I plugged in I watched the video on the homepage to see what the product was all about. This 3 minute 31 second video starts with a clear purpose statement and introduces the two entrepreneurs who run the company. The video presentation grabs your attention immediately as you see the photo of the two brothers  on the screen. They share the story of their visit to a third world country and how they were inspired to remove children from working in dump sites and place them in school. The voice over continues as video footage of children and the site are projected on the screen. They continue to tell the story with print, illustrations and lots of video scenes.  All of this is set to light music which adds more emotion to the video presentation. It ends with a strong call to action-"Connect to Tegu and together we'll work to change a nation."

My purpose is to identify a knockout video presentation. I have no investment in this product so I am not endorsing it. I don't even have children. But the video presentation was so well done that I wanted to buy their product.  The lesson: Have good content, tell a good story, provide good editing, add music, and keep it brief. You'll have the formula for a persuasive Knockout Video Presentation.

Get Your Message Across with Knockout Video Marketing

Video marketing is hot.  That's probably because most people are visual and nothing tells a story better than video.  I receive many requests for coaching and public speaking from my youtube channel. But videomarketing success depends on how well you present your message.An email  popped up in my inbox this morning. It was for an online template to make  the process of social media easier. I decided to give it a look and clicked on their  2 minute video. I watched the entire video because it kept my attention.

It started with a musical opening and company name. I usually look for the scroll button to fast forward during most introductions but this time I didn't. It was only 3 or 4 seconds long. The video spoke directly to the audience and didn't bore me with the usual company history and "why we're the greatest company since sliced bread" pitch. Instead, they dove right into the  customer's problem and the solution provided by their product.  The graphics in the demo were large and simple and the voiceover was energetic and moved quickly. The call to action was to sign up for the free service.  Your video presentation should tell a story from the listener's point of view, touch on the pain points, and quickly present a solution. End with a call to action and remove any barriers to entry by providing a free sample.  I haven't used this tool so I can't endorse it.  But I can tell you that this is a good example of a well produced video. What do think? Send me your favorite video marketing sites.

Maximize Your One-to-One Communication

One-on-one conversations happen more frequently than any other kind of communication. One of the biggest mistakes people make when speaking one-to-one, is not treating it as a presentation.  While people prepare extensively for group presentations, when it comes to one-to-one, they wing it. Even the most casual conversation benefits from preparation. An effective tool for one-on-one communication is the DiSC Personal Profile System. DiSC helps you to understand your communication style and recognize the communication styles of others so that you can get the results you want. Contact us for a FREE sample report.

Here's an excerpt from Knockout Presentations about one-to-one communication.

Speaking to an individual is different from the group experience. Whether you're training someone, selling, coaching, or asking for a raise, here are some tips for speaking one-to-one.

  • Eliminate distractions. Choose a comfortable setting-perhaps your office or a conference room with good lighting. Block off distracting window views and minimize interruptions. Clear the table of clutter.
  • Sit next to the person at eye level. Sit side by side rather than across a desk from each other. This has psychological and physical effects. It creates a feeling of being on the same side and allows both people to look at materials from the same perspective.
  • Maintain good eye contact but don't stare. In a group, you make eye contact with everyone. With individuals, you don't want to lock eyes. Break eye contact from time to time. A good guide is to look at the person 70% of the time.
  • Use visual aids. Props, pictures, and objects can serve as effective visual aids. Visuals are important learning tools, and you shouldn't overlook them in a one-to-one situation. Be sure your visuals are appropriate to the situation. A few carefully placed props and occasional use of a table easel can enhance your presentation.
  • Clarify but don't repeat questions. In a large group, you repeat the question so that everyone can hear it. But in one-to-one settings, the same technique would be silly. You may ask for clarification: "Are you saying that you need more practice?" Or you may restate the question in your answer: "The procedure for this project is..."
  • Maintain a comfortable physical distance. Don't invade the other person's space. When sitting side by side, don't lean in or take over the person's materials. Ask permission to demonstrate with or alter their materials.
  • Pause. The brain needs a few seconds to process information. Don't overload the learner with too much data. Pause between thoughts to let the information sink in.
  • Use smaller gestures. Show enthusiasm and get involved with the learner. Allow yourself to be natural and expressive. But contain your gestures, because the physical space is smaller in one-to-one situations. Wide, sweeping movements will seem out of place.
  • Prepare and organize. It's easy to lose track of time when you're working with only one person. Whether you train one person or a hundred, the preparation is the same. Without adequate preparation, you'll seem disorganized and unprofessional. Prepare an outline and establish time frames.
  • Watch for nonverbal cues. In a group, different personalities react in diverse ways. Someone in the group will often say what others are thinking. In a one-to-one situation, however, the person may feel reluctant to tell you that he or she needs a break or doesn't understand. Watch for body language and continually check back: "You look like you disagree." "Are you ready for a break?" "Is this something you can use on the job?"

Whether you're speaking to one person or a thousand, communication happens one- to- one.  It's all public speaking.

Contact us for a FREE sample DiSC report to learn your personal communication style.

Sendout Cards Convention Las Vegas-Inspiring Presentations

I just returned from the Sendout Cards Freedom convention in Las Vegas. I'm here with Jordan Adler, a top executive in the company.  Sendout cards is an online appreciation marketing tool I use to stay in touch with clients, family, and friends. It's the netflix of the greeting card industry. I attended with my friends Andrea Nierenberg and Jeff Mines. We were so excited and inspired by the presentations and business success. It's amazing how sending a heart felt card can make a difference in a person's life and build your business. Most people crave appreciation and seldom get it. As a presentation coach, I believe your presentation goes beyond your speaking ability. It's about building relationships AND following up with your audience. In an age of digital technology, this tool combines high tech and high touch. From any computer I can send a physical card or gift anywhere in the world. The company prints, stuffs, and mails them. All I have to do is press SEND. Emails may be deleted but people keep my custom-created cards on their desks.

The founder, Kody Bateman, started the company because he ignored a prompting to hug his brother. A week later his brother died in an accident. He wanted a way for people to act on their promptings and wrote his book, Promptings, to encourage people to reach and touch lives.

Click this link and watch a 3 minute video. Go ahead and send a card to someone as my gift.

What TV Anchors Can Teach Executives About Public Speaking

Executives need broadcasting skills. I've been saying it for years.  Media training is critical these days for everybody but especially for executives who are the face of the   organization and who lead global businesses. Public speaking and media skills apply to public service announcements, internal video commercials and now company webcasts are using video. Speaking before a camera is  different from speaking live in a town hall format. So here are some quick speaking and media training tips to keep in mind when your presentation is being filmed.

  • Keep your energy high.  Television can be an energy drain.  Speak with enthusiasm.
  • Smile. It's important to show teeth. Otherwise, you'll look too serious or scared.
  • Use make-up. This applies to men and women. Bright lights can cause perspiration so have some pressed powder handy. Don't use lotions under your make-up. It will create a shiny finish.
  • Avoid metallic or shiny materials which can cause glare.
  • Ask about the backdrop color. Don't wear black if the background is black. You'll look like a mime. Never wear kelly green or shiny, bold patterns that can cause shimmer called moire.
  • Anchor yourself. Even a slight bounce will be exaggerated on camera.
  • Look directly into the camera and not at individuals. The director or camera person will take the necessary audience shots.
  • Use fewer and  smaller gestures.
  • Speak in soundbites. Television is a fast medium. Think of commercials and movie trailers-quick, short, compelling.
  • Rehearse your presentation several times.  If it's a live broadcast and you make a mistake, keep going.
  • Don't say anything more until you're told you're off the air. It's not over 'til it's over.

Video is the hottest marketing tool and in-house video webcasts will become the norm for executive speaking. Get media trained. It's time for your close-up.

PowerPoint is Ruining Our Love Lives

I knew we were PowerPointed out but I didn't realize it was this bad.  A recent survey released by Sliderocket indicated that 24% of people polled for a new study said they'd rather give   up having sex tonight than have to sit through yet another PowerPoint presentation tomorrow. 32% of those polled have fallen asleep during a presentation, 20% dozed off so often that they've lost count. It seems like PowerPoint may quickly become the new birth control. Public speakers unite! Either throw away your PowerPoint or learn to do it better. As  a speaking strategist, I've discovered that too many speakers allow the slides to lead them by the nose.  It's time to take charge. The key word in Visual Aid is AID! YOU are the visual.

Here are some of the most common mistakes I see:

  • Reading the slides.  I can read as well as you can. If you read word-for-word, you'll lose credibility. Experts use the slide as a backdrop and add value from their knowledge base.
  • Talking and changing the slides. Again, are you leading the presentation or is it leading you? Come to the end of a sentence, pause, advance the slide, and then introduce your next point.
  • No transitions. This will make you sound choppy.  Write out your transitions in advance. They can be statements or questions.
  • Too much text. Get rid of the sentences. Substitute photos, pictures, charts, graphs, cartoons, symbol, and key words or phrases.
  • Busy, cluttered slides. Too much content is distracting. Aim for lots of white space.
  • Small font. If people have to squint, the font is too small. For titles use 36 points and for bullets use 32 points for maximum readability.

I'll bet the number one reason people are bored with PowerPoint is they're not engaged. The speaker is a talking head. You can be more effective when you use PowerPoint to engage the audience.  Ask a question and then flash the correct answer. Tell a story and then flash a picture. Create a dialogue, engage people, and let PowerPoint fade into the background. When the speaker takes center stage that's when the magic happens.

The Real Meaning of Words

A while back I blogged about the power of the spoken word. As the Chinese say, “A picture is worth a thousand words." Sometimes words can’t capture the emotion of a picture. When giving a presentation, use pictures and photos to evoke emotion and drive home a point powerfully. LOVE






























































































































Speaking Resolutions: Eleven for 2011

Make this your best year. Start by polishing your presentation and communication skills. Resolve to follow these eleven speaking principles to speak with greater impact.

  1. Make a promise to improve your communication skills. A promise is stronger than a goal. When you promise, it's the strongest commitment you can make to yourself.

  2. Follow the 6-by-6 Rule when using PowerPoint. Aim for reader-friendly slides: 6 words or less per line and 6 lines or less per slide.

  3. Give a speech without PowerPoint. We are PowerPointed out! Don't use slides as a crutch. Try connecting with the audience. The key word in visual aid is AID. You are the message.

  4. Get comfortable with silence. Most people fear silence and this causes them to speak too fast and to use lots of 'um's and 'ah's. Practice dramatic pauses.

  5. Listen to the audience listening. There's always a silent communication between the speaker and the audience. Tune in, feel, and hear what the audience is telling you.
  6. Speak from your head and your heart. Speakers either give too much data and stay on the intellectual plane or they just tell entertaining stories without enough substance. Today's audiences want hard data in an entertaining style.

  7. Tell more stories. Stories create word pictures, which are memorable and touch the heart. Even a business presentation is more effective when using stories, analogies, and metaphors.
  8. Don't be afraid to be real. You don't have to be a perfect presenter. Most audiences don't relate to someone who's slick and overly polished. Don't imitate someone else. Be your authentic self - the audience can see through phoniness.
  9. Kick your energy up a notch. Enthusiasm sells and with bigger groups you need greater energy to make an impact. You need to push your energy past your comfort level, especially on video and television, which tend to reduce energy.
  10. Practice the Rule of Three. Most people think in threes. When crafting a presentation, aim for three agenda items, three main points, three benefits.
  11. Get over yourself - it's not about you, it's about the audience. Fear of public speaking is still at the top of our list of phobias. Take the focus off of YOU - when you're nervous, you're self-centered. Focus on the audience.

Good communicators are more successful in all areas of life: relationships, career, and well-being. And speaking is the new competitive weapon.

What Preachers Can Teach Us About Public Speaking

A Canadian preacher told a story  to his congregation during a television broadcast. He recalled two travelers talking to each other on a train platform. One traveler sees the train arrive with a sign to Ottawa. He turns to the stranger and says, "It looks like the train is going  to Ottawa." The stranger agrees as they watch the train pull out of the station and head in the direction of Ottawa. Another train arrives some time later and both men acknowledge that this train, too, is going to Ottawa. The train leaves and neither man ever gets on the train. They both believed that the train was going to Ottawa but belief was not enough. Without the commitment to get on the train they might as well be going to Timbuktu. They would never arrive at their destination. The preacher then compared the action of the strangers watching the train go by to practicing one's faith. It's not enough to believe. One must make a commitment and take action to live one's faith By using the train analogy the preacher created a memorable word picture that will stick in the minds of the listeners. When public speakers use word pictures in place of facts, the message has an emotional and lasting impact. The next time you have a speech or presentation look around for everyday events and like an artist, paint word pictures for your audience.