Archive for 2012
Everybody has that go-to text that they consider indispensable to their personal or professional growth and game. For some, it might be a pop-psychology self-help title or a favorite French cookbook. For me, David Meerman Scott’s most recent book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR, is my latest marketing bible. It is no small honor, then, to have this global leader in web public relations and marketing strategy guest blog for my site. He is not only the author of seven books, but also a highly sought-after public speaker. With a wealth of experience delivering addresses to international audiences, he has developed a power-packed, ten-point toolbox for sharpening your public speaking skills. Here, he shares with you everything you need to know (and then some) about how to maximize your impact when you stand up behind the mic.
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Photo of me presenting in Istanbul, Turkey, courtesy of MediaCat.
Post by David Meerman Scott
I’ve been to something like one hundred conferences and corporate events in the past several years as I travel the world delivering keynotes and running seminars. I’ve seen a few great speeches. Sadly, most speeches I see are not very good. Some are downright terrible.
I’ve been collecting some observations on what makes a good presentation and also drawing from my own experience.
Most of us have an opportunity to speak, perhaps at your industry event, or your company’s sales conference, or to a local club.
Make the most of your opportunity.
Take it seriously
If 200 people are in a room and you speak for a half hour, you are taking up 100 hours of people’s time. I see many speakers “wing it” and it makes me feel sorry for the audience. Don’t look bad.
Know the conference organizer’s goals
When I speak, I work with organizers to deliver three goals in equal proportion: Education, entertainment, and motivation. Since I am a paid speaker, I must deliver on all three so the conference organizer is happy they invited me. You need to know the goals for being on the podium too. Why were you invited? How would the organizer define success?
When someone says: “Let me tell you a story…,” you’re interested, right? When someone says: “Let me tell you about my company…,” is your reaction the same? It doesn’t sound like a way you want to spend your valuable time, does it? Stories are exciting. Most presentations are dry. Open with a story. Tell stories to illustrate your point. It’s fascinating to see an audience sit up and pay attention when you start to tell a story on the stage.
Nobody cares about your products (except you)
Yes, it’s just like what I say about Web marketing. What people do care about are themselves and ways to solve their problems. A speech is not about you; it is about your audience. You must resist the urge to hype your products and services. Even if you’re asked to speak about your company or your products, make it about your customers or the problem you solve instead.
Prepare and practice
Run through your presentation as many times as required so that you are completely comfortable with the material. You should know the presentation so well that you could do it without PowerPoint and without notes.
Don’t use PowerPoint as a TelePrompTer
Slides are great for showing images, charts, and the like. Consider showing a short video. But definitely don’t use slides to show bulleted lists of text. Yawn! Way too many people just read off their slides. Don’t! PowerPoint is not a speaker’s crutch; it is a way to illustrate your spoken point. By the way, some of the best speakers don’t use slides at all.
There is nothing worse than a presenter fumbling with technology on a stage. Everyone becomes uncomfortable and it is nearly impossible to make up that bad first impression. You should plan to arrive at the venue with plenty of time to spare and go to the room at least one hour prior to when you go on. You may need to arrive much earlier if there are sessions before yours because you will want to set up and test your equipment and stand on the stage to get a feel of the room. Use the microphone to hear your voice. Get as comfortable as possible with the venue before people arrive (or when they are on a break). The conference organizer and the A/V people will love you for arriving early! And when you are comfortable with logistics, you will deliver a better speech.
Bring an electronic copy of your presentation
I always carry my presentation on a memory stick and wear it around my neck from the moment I step out of my house until after I have presented. I wear it on the plane and in the hotel. I wear it out to dinner. You never know what may happen to your computer (I spilled water on my computer in Brussels once and fried it), so having that backup is comforting.
Don’t go long
When you build a speech and deliver it for the first time, it almost always runs long. Don’t go over time! It’s okay to end short because you can take a few questions, but running long makes the entire event schedule get out of whack. Worse, they may pull you off the stage, which looks awful.
Be aware of body language
My friend Nick Morgan, author of Trust Me: Four Steps to Authenticity and Charisma says: “When words and body language are in conflict, body language wins every time.” If you are nervous, it shows. If you don’t believe what you’re saying, it shows. If you aren’t having fun, it shows. And your audience will always react to your body language instead of your words.
After years of snubbing the iPhoneography explosion, my perspective has changed – thanks to my TWiT Photo co-host Leo. I explained to him that I felt the restrictions and limitations of an iPhone limited its use as a creative tool. I am a tech geek and obsessed with gear, and the fluid ease with which I can snap on a wide-angle lens or create a shallow field are at the core of my photography. Leo responded by saying something interesting: “Catherine, don’t limitations prompt growth and a novel approach to a known situation? Think about it,” he said.
His words challenged and inspired me to shrug off my former prejudices about iPhoneography and to figure out how to use their inherently limited capabilities to approach my craft from a fresh angle. This weekend, at a concert with DJ Morgan Page in San Francisco, I took a series of images with Leo’s words in mind. I guess the “Great Resistance” is finally over.
My mom is a typical Southern belle from North Carolina – and she always carries herself with impeccable grace and greets everyone with genuine warmth and a smile. And like every Southern lady worth her salt, she never stands for poor manners – and my siblings and I would get a serious tongue-lashing if we ever misbehaved. Her ability to maintain grace, empathize and stay above it all has greatly influenced how I run my photography business.
I love the latest gadgets – and strive to learn more about the fast-changing photography world daily. When running my business, however, I prefer not to forget old-fashioned values. The world might have changed, but people’s desire for high quality and a trustworthy service provider remains the same. Here are a few old-school values that have helped me in my life and my business:
Build long-term relationships
When you build relationships for the long term, you build a reputable brand and the client base to support it. Too many businesses worry more about profit margins than the people they serve. If you take care of your clients, they will recommend you to friends and family and support the growth of your business. I firmly believe that the real proof of a successful business is when you consistently exceed client expectations creating outspoken “evangelists” for your company. A referral truly is the greatest compliment and strongest marketing tool.
Make something that lasts forever
My mom has an exquisite jewelry box that she’s had on her dresser for as long as I can remember. I love new things and I’m not big on nostalgia. But I do miss craftsmanship, where every item was a work of art and a result of dedication and conscientious effort. A lot of photographers are influenced by current trends of retouching, which seem really cool at the time of production, but your clients end up with images that might not stand the test of time. Be conscious of the difference between innovative advancements and passing trends to create timeless art that you can be proud of – 2, 5, 30 years on.
This seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes, we allow our ego or impatience to get the best of ourselves. You might not understand the specific needs of your client so take the time to listen. Then, reflect on what they are saying so you can understand things from their perspective. The key is communication and finding a solution that works for both your business and the client.
Honesty – still the best policy
We live in an age where people are fed so much data and so many sales pitches that in many ways, they’ve become jaded and skeptical. Be honest and completely transparent in all client communication (or all communication for that matter). Communicate your style of photography and pricing to the client, and you will attract the right people. You should not compromise on your style of photography or the value of your work for the sake of gaining a new client.
All these old-fashioned values require you to treat people with respect and recognize that you have to take time to nurture client relationships. Treat your client the way you wish to be treated – and you will not only build better and long-lasting client relationships, you will also build a better public perception of your brand.
This article is originally published on GoingPro2010.com.
Fast forward 12 years through art school by learning excellent design lessons from former NYTimes.com Design Director Khoi Vinh. Named one of “The 50 Most Influential Designers in America,” Khoi discusses how learning to see through a camera is a great way to sharpen your design eye. Always wondered about compositional rules, space and geometry in a frame? Watch this episode to learn how to maximize the graphics and colors occurring in nature to create dynamic, complex imagery. Also, Khoi introduces his social collage app, Mixel. Here are Khoi’s top tips (for both photographers and designers):
1. Learning to see through a camera is a great way to sharpen your design eye.
2. The language of photography is an important part of design literacy.
3. Photography is an essential part of social media now; understanding photography as a social element is essential for any UX designer.
Have questions, suggestions or praises? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nancy exudes the cool magnetism of a native California girl, while her storied adventures abroad – residing in locations as diverse as Italy and China, New York and Hawaii – lend her a cosmopolitan sensibility that’s irresistible. She’s not only a knock-out, but also a key professional figure in Arcata Associates, an aerospace defense firm founded by her father; a lovely mother to her daughter, Maya; and an avid adventurer who has trekked through Nepal and Peru. Such an accomplished woman doubtless needs an equally passionate and driven partner. And Nancy found him.
Her union with the Colonel Steve, whose own life’s narrative is no less storied, is the stuff of a modern-day fairy tale, with a globe-trotting twist. Steve is a consummate gentleman, whose formative years in Texas, Missouri and Florida instilled in him a love for water sports like scuba diving and a keen desire to venture forth into the world. For 28 years, he served in the Air Force as an F-15C Fighter pilot, and his career allowed him to travel extensively and learn important lessons from other cultures.
It was an immense honor to photograph the elegant, resplendent wedding of Nancy and Steve, and to witness the bond between the bride and her daughter, as well as between the groom and his sons. Below, the always well-spoken bride puts into her own words the story of how it all came to pass:
“Although we first met at a holiday party in 2006, it wasn’t until Steve invited me to his farewell dinner before relocating to Saudi Arabia to lead the USAF military advisors to the Royal Saudi Air Force in July 2008 that we knew it wasn’t the last time we wanted to see one another. We spent that year coordinating phone calls with a time-zone difference of 13 hours, exchanging lots of emails, and even sharing four joyous reunions when Steve would visit the States to visit me and my daughter, Maya.
On February 12, 2010, just before the Year of the Tiger began, Steve proposed in Las Vegas. He executed an elaborate plan that included red roses, champagne, limousine rides, a suite at the JW Marriott, manicures and pedicures for my daughter, my mother and me, as a fantastic dinner at Smith and Wollensky. He really surprised me when he presented a ring box at the dinner table and inside was a ring with Pandora charm in it – what?! After giving me his personal copy of The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, he got down on one knee and proposed with the real ring!”
Wedding Coordinator: Jean Marks Weddings | Videographer: Weddings on Film | Floral/Event Designer: Atelier Joya | Invitation Designer: Bella Figura | Ceremony Venue: Stanford Memorial Church | Reception Venue: Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club | Wedding Gown Designer: Enzoani from Jin Wang | Bridesmaid’s Dress Designer: Amsale | Make Up/Hair Stylist: Clifford Hashimoto | Any special jewelry: Tacori Wedding band; Pearl bracelet and hair comb by Haute Bride; Chinese jewelry worn at tea ceremony are family heirlooms