Note: My Mom is pretty sure I’m a lot like Taylor Swift. If you do something that upsets me, you’ll not end up in a song, but in a speech, book, and/or blog post as an example of what NOT to do. Here’s an example from my day today. I wrote this and sent it in the mail because the COO’s fax contact information is not readily available.
An Open Letter to Robert Friedberg, Chief Operating Officer of
Delnor Hospital, Geneva, Illinois
Chief Operating Officer
300 Randall Road
Geneva, Illinois 60134
October 2, 2013
RE: Patient Complaint
Dear Mr. Friedberg:
Imagine for a moment that your wife, [name omitted but can be found online], had to make her way to Delnor for a procedure. Yesterday, you would likely have reminded her that the main entrance to the hospital is closed, parking can be a nightmare, and to enter the hospital, it’s probably best to park on the north side because that’s where the entrance is now located. She might have been concerned about whatever health issue was bringing her to the hospital, but it wouldn’t be compounded by the stress and chaos of confusion around where to go and how to get into the building.
I wish I had that same “insider information” this morning. But instead I had to learn all that the hard way when I arrived at the hospital today and tried to find an entrance – any entrance – to the hospital to arrive on time for my appointment to get a CT scan as a follow up to the muco-epidermoid lung cancer I mysteriously contracted last year and had cured by the amazing Dr. Mollie McAfee.
Going to the hospital for most people is stressful enough, or in some cases happy and exciting with the birth of a baby, only to be met by the torn up parking lot, then have that stress exacerbated by severe lack of signage and less-than-friendly staff giving vague directions, and a less-than-empathetic receptionist … I’d be hard-pressed to recommend anyone go to Delnor hospital for any procedure.
I was not the only one lost and confused while trying to get to a destination inside your facility this morning. I was followed closely by several elderly people trying to find their way to appointments and simply an entrance into the hospital. Cutting through the cafeteria or going all the way back to the car to drive around to the other side of the building, all with no signage are not acceptable options. There we were marching through the labyrinth of your parking lot trying to make our way to a front entrance that turned out to be closed, being told by a surly construction worker in broken English that the only way in was to walk back through the parking lot another 250 yards and go in “that door over there with the green roof.” They all have green roofs. Seriously.
All of this confusion could easily have been remedied. I was on the phone yesterday with someone from your staff who called to confirm my appointment. At that time she could simply have mentioned as part of her script that the hospital is undergoing major renovations, to park around the north side of the building, and enter at the temporary entrance on the north (or wherever) side, and to arrive with enough time to allow for the limited parking as a result of the construction. Of course that didn’t happen.
Further, the signage in the parking lot and inside the building for construction-related detours is either abysmal or non-existent. Posted just inside the entrance off Keslinger Road is a small sign with so many directions on it, is impossible to read with traffic following behind, construction vehicles in the way, and the disorientation of the chaos. Why are there not signs posted outside every single entrance with an arrow that say, “Hospital Main Entrance During Construction – This Way?” Why is there not a single LARGE sign with the only two necessary directional lines on them “EMERGENCY” and “MAIN ENTRANCE DURING CONSTRUCTION?” Why are there not ANY easily visible signs at that entrance directing visitors where they should park to enter the building?
I run an international communication consulting practice based out of my home in a nearby suburb. As a best-selling author and award-winning speaker, my clients from around the world pay me to find these communication challenges and suggest easy, quick, and low-cost alternatives to fix them. It seems your organization values good communication, based on the accolades for your nurses posted throughout the hospital. As a patient and a professional, I hope you get this right. Each day that passes is a challenge for your visitors and patients alike. I wonder how many dozens have experienced what I have but instead of alerting you, simply told everyone they know that Delnor is awful?
Felicia J. Slattery, M.A., M.Ad.Ed.
To my blog visitors: Have you ever written a complaint letter to the leader of an organization? What results did you get, if anything? We shall see if I hear anything. I’ll keep you posted.
Content creation is one of those exciting and gray areas all at once. Sure, you know in order to develop your speeches, books and articles you need ideas. And living in the world of ideas is fun! That is — until you’re sitting down at the keyboard for a deadline and that dang cursor is there, staring at you…
…Blinking… (is this thing getting louder?)
Almost mocking you. “I defy you to come up with something good enough for the world to read!”
Know the feeling? Yep, me too. The funny thing is, even with notebooks full of ideas I thought were brilliant at the time, I sometimes can’t think of a thing to write about. I’ll admit it. Even though my clients have called me an “idea-generating machine,” when it comes down to my own work, sometimes I just get plain STUCK.
That’s when our guest post by the fantastic Jeff Herring can help you. Check out what he has to say about creating your content and share your thoughts on his 3 stages in the comments section below!
Guest Post by Jeff Herring
Content creation is a great way to bring in more prospects and profits. And you do want more prospects and profits, right?
The struggle for many content marketers, both new and experienced, is consistently coming up with ideas for creating content. I’ve noticed that many go through a few stages in their struggle to come up with content ideas.
Let’s take a closer look at those three stages and more importantly, what to do about each one.
Stage 1 – Ideas are not flowing – When you sit down to create content you have to repeatedly stop and think about what to write about. The flow has not stopped, it’s just not as easy as it normally is for you.
What to Do – Step back and brainstorm. Make a list of content ideas. Don’t edit – just brainstorm. This is something you need to be doing anyway, so you always have a list of content ideas from which to pull.
Stage 2 – Ideas are a struggle - Even when you look at a list of your ideas, nothing pops out for you. It feels like you are seeing the ideas on a list, but they are not making sense in your head, and not making the trip from your head to your fingers.
What to Do - Take a trip to your supermarket and check out the titles on the covers of the magazines in the checkout line. Thousands of dollars have been spent deciding how to title these articles. Find titles that you can use in your niche and get busy creating great content.
Stage 3 – You are beginning to believe in writer’s block, even though it does not exist. Ideas are not only not flowing, ideas are just plain stuck. Your frustration level is high, and you’re honestly getting a little bit frightened by your lack of ideas.
What to Do – Go to your topic in EzineArticles and look at some of the top articles in your niche. See which ones are getting lots of traffic. Choose an idea that you know will appeal to your community and simply do a better job with it.This is not plagiarism. This is research because you are simply looking for ideas. You are not copying what someone else has said, you are just going to do a better treatment of it because of your skills.
The Next Step – Your next success step is to grab your spot in our upcoming webinar “Your Content Is Their Solution: 7 Powerful & Profitable Reasons to Unleash Your Content Now (Bonus Workshop Included – unleash your own content in 20 minutes or less)” Hosted by Felicia Slattery on Wednesday June 26th at 12 pm EDT – Join us here => http://JeffHerring.com/felicia
Not only is June a great month for me personally with my birthday kicking off the month, but it’s fabulous professionally because it’s also Effective Communications Month! This year marks my 6th annual celebration of communication in business done in a way that honors the humanness of people involved in the communication, marketing, and speaking processes.
I think you’re gonna love what I have planned! I’m hosting a Grammy winner, a former opera songstress, and a best-selling author who’s books have been translated into 21 languages. No we won’t be talking about the music business, but how to effectively get YOUR message out to the world to attract more (and better!) customers and how to communicate with the customers and audiences you have.
I’ll also be featuring interviews with my clients who will share with you communication tips and tools that have worked for them.
Finally, in addition to the free webinars, interviews, videos, and posts, I’m also launching a number of classes and programs during the month. The first of which is my popular 21 Ways to Make Money Speaking Fast Action Group. It’s a small group of people who will be bringing in more and better money speaking before the end of the summer. Join us!
Here’s a rundown of more of what you can expect:
Up first on Wednesday, June 5, I’m being interviewed by Gary Loper on his Building Better Relationships radio show. We’ll be talking all about my upcoming book, Kill the Elevator Speech: Stop Selling, Start Connecting.
Business people everywhere are taught that we need an “elevator speech” just as much as we need a business card, a website, and air to breathe in order to be successful.
But the crazy part is NO ONE likes to give those canned elevator speeches and NO ONE likes to hear them because they’re usually full of blah, blah, blah meaningless marketing drivel and feel so contrived and just yucky. I need a shower just thinking about it!
More importantly, evidence proves even the most well-crafted and best-delivered elevator speeches don’t work to bring in new business.
So if no one likes them and they don’t work, let’s stop doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results! We’ll talk all about it and you’ll discover something BETTER!!
On Tuesday, June 11, Join Grammy winner Mike Stewart and Felicia Slattery as we share the easiest and most exciting way to make online video for your websites, blogs, video emails, Plus for the first time, Mike will be exploring the new video apps live from his iPad that allow you to make incredible videos.
Discover how to get free visitors to your websites, have friends share your videos on Facebook, Pinterest, your blog and YouTube to rise in Google using Mike’s new concept, the Social Media Video Quadfecta. With the new iPad mini already out, online video has never been easier, or more affordable to master and we will show you in this fun and educational webinar!
In a brand new webinar, my friend and colleague Janis Pettit, is going to share with you the insider system that she uses to generate a healthy 5-figures-per-month in sales. She’s calling it: Experts Freedom Formula — How to Finally Leap to Making an Extraordinary Income, a Profound Difference and Creating Financial Freedom.
However there actually is one strategy that top earning experts, coaches, consultants and service business owners use to do exactly that. It’s not something they often share. And it’s so effective that they not only make an amazing income, they also have raving fans, followers and happy clients because they get stellar results.
Those are the first three big events happening. More to come include webinars with Jeff Herring, Shannon Cherry, Susan Baroncini-Moe, and the fantastic Bob Burg! I’ll also be featured on Kelly McCausey’s world-famous podcast for solo entrepreneurs, as well as presenting some webinars of my own.
Also this month, I’ll find the time to finish my author’s version (that is – pre-editing!) of my Kill the Elevator Speech: Stop Selling, Start Connecting book.
Check back regularly for links, details and information about all the fun events and information I’ll be sharing all month long to celebrate Effective Communications Month! If there’s anything you’d like to see, leave a comment below.
Improve Your Speaking Skills – 5 Tips to Stop Saying Um and Ah When Speaking on a Teleseminar, Webinar, or In Person
Today’s blog post comes thanks to a question on Facebook that one of my online friends, Sharon McPherson, saw, tagged me, and recommended me to help with. So thanks Sharon!
Here’s that question as it appeared on Facebook:
As I read this post, I realized I get this question A LOT and have for years. In fact I even wrote an article about it – I knew I did, I just had to find it. It’s on Ezine Articles here. Apparently I never put that article on my own blog (oh if I had a nickel for every time I knew better, but didn’t do something I’d have a second home on the beach already!). I’m fixing that today, and updating it just a bit.
You see, many business professionals think they sound OK when presenting their content on teleseminars, webinars, or even in person. But it’s when they listen to themselves on the recording later or are confronted with a set of transcripts that they realize they have a few issues to improve. The good news is we all can improve when we take that first step: realizing we need help.
One of those problems is ums and uhs; also “like,” “you know,” and other verbal crutches show up a lot in too many presentations. If you want to cut those out, here are my top 5 suggestions for the most effective ways to get past the ums so your message comes through loud and clear:
- Be Aware
This is the important first step. Many people simply have no idea they rely on verbal pauses or disfluencies until they hear themselves on a recording. The first step in overcoming any addition is to recognize and acknowledge that you have one. And truly, people who say um and uh too much are addicted to their crutch words. Having an awareness that you make this mistake will get you that much closer to stopping it.
- Practice Out Loud
If you have a tendency to um and uh, the reason is often because you have an idea of what you want to say next, but you’re not totally certain. So you insert a verbal filler to fill the space while you figure out the next word. Practicing out loud will get you to the point where you are completely comfortable with what you’re saying, and therefore not have the need to um or uh (or at least greatly reduce it). If you plan on delivering the same material multiple times, you’ll have to practice much less often as you gain more experience. If you can, record yourself while practicing so you can hear where you tend to um and uh the most.
- Work From Detailed Notes and Not a Script
You’d think a word-for-word script would make it easier to stop the ums… and it can. But only if you have experience making a script sound natural. Otherwise you’ll sound like you’re reading. That’s the opposite extreme of um and uh and sounds just as bad. Use detailed notes and be sure of the points you want to make.
- Focus During Your Presentation
Listen to yourself as you present your speech or teleseminar. Do not think about anything else other than what you are saying, how you are saying it and your audience: IN THAT MOMENT. People will um and uh when they are distracted from their planned comments. For example, while on a teleseminar, shut down your email, Facebook, and other instant message features so you won’t be visually interrupted (sometimes just the sound of those things can distract you enough to trigger an um.) Don’t try to multi-task while leading a call or doing any type of presentation. Focus and pay attention to the moment.
- Connect with Your Audience
Here’s a fun test to do the next time you’re practicing with a friend: try to say um while making direct eye contact. It’s nearly impossible. Why? Because you’re having a conversation and um isn’t a word. Um doesn’t fit and doesn’t make sense. While you’re having a 1:1 conversation, you would likely avoid um and uh. Make your presentations much more conversational and your um and uh will disappear. On a webinar or teleseminar where you can’t see your audience members, you could post a photograph of your ideal client or audience member where you can see it to remind yourself you’re talking to actual human beings and not just to your computer screen.
Is it crucial to get rid of all the ums and uhs? Experts disagree, but in my decades of experience as a speaker, audience member, and instructor, I haven’t thought less of a speaker who had outstanding content with an occasional um or uh. You don’t have to eliminate every um and uh when the rest of your message is solid. The time to get concerned is when your audience is listening for your next um instead of paying attention to your message. So fix what you can, give yourself a break, and um, keep on public speaking.
As to the reply that Contentrix doesn’t know what I offer – for someone who has verbal fluency issues, I offer several personal services. I will watch a video or listen to a recording and analyze the challenges in both content and delivery, which is delivered as a written report; then I’ll work with and coach the speaker via phone or Skype video chat to improve during a series of private sessions. And I guarantee that anyone who works with me in this intense kind of way WILL improve dramatically.
So now you know!
What kinds of challenges do you recognize in yourself as you speak? And what has worked to help you improve? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below.
At any given time I could have 10-15 games going at once. Interestingly, I’ve only met about half the people I play in person. The other half I know from social media. People see I play, and start a game with me. If I recognize the name of the person from my circles of online connections, I accept and it’s game on.
One of those connections is the lovely and strategic WWF player (that’s my abbreviation for “Words With Friends”), Tracey Thorpe Tarrant.
Tracey is a fantastic person. From her Facebook feed, you quickly learn she is beyond your run-of-the-mill animal-lover. She’s such a devoted rescuer of pets from high-kill shelters, she actually formed her own rescue organization, Claws and Paws Animal Rescue, of which she is the CEO. She saves many animals from too-soon deaths and too-sad lives in the Georgia county where she lives.
Yesterday, my friend, Shannon Cherry was commenting on Facebook about how her search for a new Virtual Assistant was yielding some less-than-ideal results, at least with one applicant.
As you can see, that led to a whopping 37+ comments about virtual assistants. A few of those comments were from some who could do the kind of work Shannon needs. And one of those people was my friend Tracey Thorpe Tarrant, the “dog rescue lady!” – and apparently Virtual Assistant and Online Business Manager. Who knew? Not me. And I am her market.
I told her I had no idea that she did customer service work for businesses like Shannon’s and mine. All this time I figured she was living off the dog rescue business (if that’s even possible).
She quickly commented that she should maybe, once in a while, post about her business. I agree!
Then I asked her if it’d be OK for me to write a blog post about this simple mistake so many people make when networking online (or using one of the many games apps to do so as well).
It’s interesting because I see mistakes at both ends of this spectrum. Some people don’t post enough (or at all) anything work-related but others post way too much, and only work-related things – never anything personal.
The trick to social media, and any networking online or offline, is to communicate the whole of who you are as a person. This whole person communication is one of the most beautiful parts of social media, as far as I’m concerned. Because we are in charge of sharing what we choose about our lives, we get to easily build relationships around a number of things we have in common with others, bit business and pleasure.
Knowing what to talk about and what to leave out can be a challenge. But think of social media as a platform where people want to get to know you a bit. The WHOLE you – business as well as personal.
There is a similar mistake I see a lot of entrepreneurs and experts making; not necessarily leaving out or not talking about what they do for a living, but that they also do (or want to do) speaking for their ideal audiences. If people don’t know that you offer a particular service like public speaking, how can they hire you for it? So many of my clients come to me asking for help, and that’s one of the places I always start. It’s likely they haven’t even mentioned in their bio or about page or anywhere that they do public speaking on their area of expertise.
Want to be sure you’re not making any more common communication mistakes? Pick up my free report Costly Communication Blunders today.
In the meantime, I’d love to know what kinds of things you like to talk about on social media? Please share in the comments below.
It was a last minute decision.
My former head coach from the time I competed on the Bradley University Speech Team (happily now known as BUST), asked me a simple question on my Facebook wall, “Are you going to AWW?” (So many acronyms…) I soon learned AWW stands for Alumni Work Weekend, where the not-quite ghosts of speech teams and national championships past are invited to converge on Peoria and coach the current team members in their quest to continue the legacy and win two more national championship titles, from AFA – American Forensics Association and NFA- National Forensics Association.
Early Saturday morning I found myself driving south, following first the Fox River and then the Illinois River all the way to Peoria, where I don’t think I’ve been in about 20 years. It was a beautiful morning, sunny and very little traffic. As I arrived on campus, it looked a lot different than it did when I was last there.
I made my way to the speech office – wow- when I competed for the team we were spread all over Bradley hall with no one home base beyond a hallway where three of the coaches and college professors had their offices. Now there is an entire state-of-the-art BUILDING dedicated to communication, which both warms my heart and makes me just a wee bit jealous at the same time.
The buildings and campus aren’t all that’s changed.
A couple rules, which were hard and fast when I competed, are now long gone. And some events look different too (I’m talking about a program duo… like cutting one play into 10 minutes wasn’t enough…sheesh.). But what struck me most is what remains the same.
Of course there are common perennial themes that college students like to explore such as sexuality, connectedness, and gender equality. But even more so, beyond the common themes, was the recurring challenge of executing the basics well.
As I coached these students, most of whom had far more talent than I and would likely have crushed me in competition, I noticed an effort to get better without completing the firm foundation. Here are a few things I found myself repeating over and again that can help anyone speaking, not just those in the tiny world of collegiate forensics:
- Slow down and enunciate: I must have written and/or spoken this 15 times on Saturday. The students were excited about their messages and clearly wanted to hurry up and get to the “good parts.” But we all have to remember, every single part of a speech is necessary in order to fully communicate the message of the presentation. Even if your introduction is perfectly memorized and you can spout it at 60 miles per hour, doesn’t mean you should. Take your time and make sure your audience can follow the meaning to your message.
- Move with purpose: This one slays me. Back in my day, walking during an interp piece was taboo. You *might* be able to get away with taking a step to one side or the other, but much like a basketball player has to pivot, there was no leaving your initial spot. So I had to quickly get used to seeing the students move all over the place, books in hand. (If you’re not familiar with the interpretation of literature in competition, competitors choose a piece of literature, poem, or a play, depending on the event; they make a script from a small section of it by cutting the story into an 8-10-minute presentation; they place the story into a small, black, 3-ring binder, and turn the pages as they present the story, bringing the story to life.) Once I got used to the idea of competitors walking around, I could appreciate how it could add to the communication of the message. But then, sometimes, a student would walk or move, just to move. It had no rhyme or reason. When you speak, pacing the stage like a cat on the prowl is distracting, no matter what you’re talking about. Walking is good; it just has to be done with a purpose: advancing the message and continuing to engage your audience.
- Gestures matter: These students, the best speakers in the country, know how to control their bodies and faces to communicate a specific emotion. Yet even the best of them needed an occasional reminder that they have to pay attention to the smallest things. One student told a story where the main character made a phone call, but then the pantomime phone suddenly disappeared into thin air, rather than completing the pantomime gesture of returning the phone to a back pocket or a table. Another student was holding a pantomime gun, but instead of having fingers and hand wrapped around the pistol as if he was really holding it, he pointed his fingers as if they were the gun. These may seem like tiny, picky little things, because they are, but its this attention to detail that will make a difference in getting into a final round at nationals or not. When you speak, be deliberate about your gestures and think about what the audience is seeing.
- One word can make all the difference: In every speech I listened to, there was often one word, one moment that represented a missed opportunity to allow the audience to experience another level of a story’s impact. Just like in real life, those tiny moments and single words can add up and make all the difference between a memorable speech that impacts the audience and one that leaves the audience a little flat. Don’t let the tiniest of moments pass by without giving thought to how you’ll present them and the power of a single word.
Going back to Bradley and working with these student was an honor and a privilege. Just as I feel when I work with my clients today, I can see those students continuing to do great things as they deliver their speeches.
When you create an online course, your purpose is to get people interested enough to sign up, right? Well… here’s a lesson I learned about that just last week that I thought I’d share with you.
It seems the language I was using for my upcoming Speaking on Video Boot Camp 2.0 program was actually turning prospective buyers off!! Who knew?
Boy was I ever wrong about that! LOL
My mastermind group was the first to point it out to me that they didn’t like the term “talking head” videos. So I went to the marketplace and asked there. And they told me in no uncertain terms it reminded them of the 1980s TV character “Max Headroom” or had other generally negative impressions.
Oh and no matter what you call them, videos where you speak directly to the camera build trust, create intimacy, and can transform your business in a way no other form of marketing other than face-to-face marketing can. See how to get started adding these videos to your business now and feel confident doing it!
Ok– so go see what I’m calling the “not talking head videos” now and let me know in the comments if you like the new term or if you have a better suggestion I’d love to hear it!!
I’d love to feature your story in my book! It’s called: Kill the Elevator Speech.
This book is being published by Sound Wisdom in September 2012. I know it’s contrary advice NOT to use an elevator speech — trust me– I’ll be providing info on what to do instead that can be better.
But for now I’d love some stories to pepper throughout the book. Please share your best, worst & funniest experiences with elevator speeches given at networking or other events.
What’s in it for you? Well… if your story gets included you’ll get your name and URL listed in my book with credit for your story. And you’ll be part of a book that we hope to drive to the top of the NY Times best-seller list!! Think about how cool it would be for you to add to your bio, “As featured in the NY Times Best-Seller, Kill the Elevator Speech.”
So in the comments below lay it on me – the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to delivering or being on the receiving end of an “elevator speech.” I can’t wait to hear your story!
Having written two full-length books with another under contract, a handful of ebooks, and thousands of articles and blog posts, I know what it’s like sitting with a blinking cursor in front of you on a blank screen, almost mocking you. It’s not like you don’t have ideas. It’s not like you don’t know your stuff. But golly… when it comes time to put your butt in the chair and roll up your sleeves, something can overcome even the most accomplished, brilliant expert like you.
Call it writer’s block. Call it performance anxiety. Call it procrastination. Whatever it is, if writing a book is on your list of goals for 2012, the name of what’s stopping you from reaching your goal doesn’t matter — you gotta get past it and git ‘er done!
Enter: Public speaking.
If you are an author or want to be an author, one of the easiest places to start is with the speech you’ll give to talk about your book. I call it your Signature Speech™ for Authors and it can help you do a number of things:
1. Clarify your thoughts: when you have a bunch of ideas all rumbling around in your head, for many of us it often helps to talk your ideas out. One way I’ve found to be useful is to put together a list of questions I’d want someone to ask me about my book. Then I can come up with my answers.
2. Determine the hot topics: Yes, your entire book will be filled with useful information that is important to advancing your field, helping your readers, and in general sharing a bit of yours and others’ expertise. However, there will be parts of your book that will get readers extra excited—whether that is a new development in your field, a contrary opinion you have backed up by data, or a new way of looking at or doing something. People will be talking. Putting together your speech will illuminate for you what that will be because in any speech you want to serve from the stage with details that get your audience excited about their experience of listening to you.
3. Think in user-friendly chunks: Writing an entire book can be overwhelming. But when you write a speech, typically you start with the body of the speech, which should contain from 3-5 main distinct points, presented clearly for your audience. Each main point will be chunked into sections. Your book outline can then quickly spring from those sections.
4. Determine your goal for the book: Most savvy authors know it’s not the sale of your book that will make you money. It’s what you do to capitalize on the content from your book (use the buzz word “leverage” if you like) that will bring you the greatest cash flow. When you pull back from the blinking cursor and look at your book from a 20,000 foot view as a cog in a wheel of content and opportunities for you, what details belong in the book become clearer. When you develop your speech first, you can easily see what content needs to be more fully elaborated on in your book and then further in programs, mastermind groups, and membership sites, all of which lead to more money in your pocket, in addition to being paid to deliver the speech itself!
5. Get feedback from audiences BEFORE your book is in print: Making changes in your book after it’s been published can be an expensive and daunting task (trust me… I’m writing the 2nd edition of my first book.). When you present the content of your book to live audiences you get the huge benefit of hearing their feedback on parts they liked best, parts they want to hear more about and parts they don’t care much about at all. You can deliver your speech to live audiences in person, but also think about teleseminars, webinars, being a guest on a blog radio talk show, presenting a podcast or other creative ideas to get your content in front of audiences to get that vital feedback.
If you are an author or want to be, you can pick up a free 24-minute video about getting started writing your own Signature Speech ™ for Authors at http://signaturespeechforauthors.com/.
In July 2008, I attended my first Internet marketing conference. That was my introduction to a whole new world, live and in person.
Because of events that happened at that 3-day conference in Chicago, within a couple weeks I was quickly propelled to success in the Internet marketing crowd, being interviewed on radio shows by some of the biggest name “gurus,” being promoted by others, and began speaking on stages across the country about communication and public speaking. Effective communication is a skill you need in any business and Internet marketing is certainly no different.
It was a very exciting time. Except over and over again, I kept hitting a brick wall in that marketplace. His name is Frank Kern.
Frank Kern has created a persona of himself as “laid back surfer dude done good.” He’s built a wildly successful Internet empire based on his solid concepts and content, which honestly is always good, but isn’t exactly rocket science or anything new. However, because he packages it well and is a master at selling himself, his persona, and his products, Mr. Frank Kern has become a very wealthy and successful man. Good for him.
Along with that success, over the years Kern has accepted many invitations to speak on stage to his marketplace, and has recorded dozens of talking head videos. As he should, he maintained his “surfer dude” persona while onstage or on video, typically wearing shorts, t-shirt, ruffled hair and an unkempt beard. And, even though I’ve never met the man personally, he caused all kind of headaches for ME.
As a public speaking consultant, I talk to my clients and audiences all the time about the importance of looking the part of a successful business owner and dressing to that image of success. Then here comes Frank Kern, who, dressed in whatever he wore to bed the night before and cursing at his audiences, is hugely successful with a large following.
The most savvy of business owners in his market realized all along he was dressed that way and speaking in that manner because it worked for his persona. Keeping up that image was a large part of his success, with the implicit message to others just beginning their Internet businesses, “You can do this too.” That led to an interesting phenomenon.
Thousands of 20-something young men believed they could curse and dress like slobs all the way to millionaire status success, because Frank Kern did it. Never mind that persona was completely orchestrated. Like a theme for a party or special event, Frank Kern stayed true to character and his fans ate it up.
Until last week.
Last week, Frank Kern released what he calls his State of the Internet Address. As you can see from the screen capture of the video, Frank Kern has cleaned up a lot. He’s wearing a custom-made suit. He’s trimmed his beard, cut his hair, and is sitting behind a desk in a large office. As of this writing more than 1,900 people have clicked “Like” on Facebook for the video.
In a subsequent post to his Facebook fan page, he talked about how a few people gave him some flack about the new look, but the overwhelming majority of comments were all about how pleased his audience members are to see him cleaned up and dressing the part of a wealthy and successful business owner.
Even in our “occupy movement” world, business owners want to look up to someone who is successful. And that means looking the part.
So this is a public thank you to Mr. Frank Kern. You just made my job a whole lot easier. Here’s what Frank Kern did with this video that made me smile and that you can emulate for your business communication while speaking on video:
- He dressed the part. Finally a guy who’s making millions looks like more than a surfer dude, even if only for one video.
- He used a “Talking Head” video. With all the resources at his disposal, Kern could have chosen to produce ANY kind of video and had it look and sound like Hollywood quality. In fact, he actually employed the services of an Emmy-award winning editor, but at its essence, this is a basic talking head video in a location that screams, “Professional who knows what he’s talking about. Take notice and listen.”
- He was deliberate in his communication decisions and it showed. Here’s the thing: I may not have ever met him, but I’m personal friends with one of Frank Kern’s business partners, and I can assure you, Kern’s decisions about his persona and communication have always been deliberate. But now, with the release of this video, those deliberate decisions are obvious.
So what do you think? How do you “look the part” when you speak? Do you think your appearance matters when communicating credibility?