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?
The weather was crisp in the late afternoon hours as we headed for the choir of the bells Christmas Eve service at the beautiful small-town church in east Tennessee. As my mother-in-law guided us to a place in the crowded pews, warmly greeting friends along the way, the late afternoon sun was streaming in through the circular stained-glass windows. Children looked wide-eyed around the large building in anticipation of the joy to come over the next day.
- Stories enhance any communication situation. Remembering facts and statistics isn’t as easy for most people as it is to remember the details of a well-told story. Include them everywhere, as often as possible.
- The story should illustrate a point. You never want to leave your audience wondering what that was all about. Make a clear connection between your story and the reason for telling it.
- Emotions are important. Use language that evokes emotion. Even if you never say the word “feeling,” you can use adjectives, adverbs, and settings to set the emotional scene of any story.
- Adding little details enhances the story, but don’t sweat the exactness of it all. Maybe I got Leo the Lion when I was 8 years old or the church was in North Carolina instead of Tennessee. As long as the essence of the story remains, don’t stop yourself 15 times as you tell it trying to recall if your story happened on a Monday or a Tuesday. No one is giving a history test after your story.
- Pay attention to your nonverbal expression of the story. Speed up when you’ve reached an exciting point, slow down and lower your volume to invoke intensity, and use gestures to enhance your audience’s overall meanings.
“Ow. Ow. Ow. That can’t be good….”
For years it’s been our family’s tradition over the Labor Day weekend that my husband and I take our daughters apple-picking. Last weekend for the second year in a row we went to visit my friend and colleague Dr. Mollie Marti at her family’s apple orchard in northern Iowa.
Mollie and I always have tons to talk about – her upcoming book was a topic of conversation along with the 2nd annual Make an Impact Live event she’ll be hosting here in Chicago where I’ll be the emcee for the weekend. Finally she was sharing with me another exciting initiative she is developing and was telling me how I could be involved.
As we talked, we walked through the beautiful apple orchard on her family’s farm. As you can see from the photo it was a fabulous day. I was engrossed in the conversation while walking along when suddenly, as my right foot stepped just the wrong way onto a small uneven part of the ground, inside my body I heard a loud “crack, crack, pop!” At the same moment a wave of pain shot from my ankle and through my entire body. And thus my thought, the opening line of this article, “Ow, ow, ow… that can’t be good.”
Mollie helped me hobble over to my husband who, as a personal trainer and former football player, has seen more than his share of sprained, twisted, and generally beat up body parts. He had a quick look, we determined it probably wasn’t broken, finished up our conversations and spent several hours on the drive back home.
After we arrived home, we iced my ankle and I kept it elevated. But when I woke up yesterday morning, the swelling had increased and I couldn’t put any pressure on it at all. I called the doctor and they told me to come in for an x-ray that morning to determine if my ankle was broken or not.
Normally, I might have panicked that after taking several days off from being online that I’d have to get back to work. I had a client meeting in the morning and much work to get done during the day. But I didn’t panic and here’s why.
I have emergency contingencies in place for when the unexpected happens.
Think about that for your business… if in 5 minutes from now you suddenly had to drop what you were doing because of some minor emergency, could you? How would the work get handled? How would you contact your clients who were expecting you? Here is how I knew I didn’t need to worry:
Make Use of Available Technology: Even though I hadn’t even turned on my computer I always have my iPhone with me. As my Dad drove me to the urgent care center for my x-rays, I reached out using the technology I had set up and in place. If you don’t have a smart phone and you run a small business, this is a wise investment for a number of reasons, but especially for emergencies.
Have a Go-To Person Who Can Help: I have always worked with a number of assistants and service providers for various aspects of my business, but I like to keep one person as my primary point of contact. My lead virtual assistant knows my schedule, my clients, and the way I like things done. One quick message to her and I knew all would be well for the day.
Be Honest: One of the best things about running your own business is YOU are the boss. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to answer to people – we all have clients, vendors, and others who count on us to show up when we’re supposed to. Studies have shown that people like to feel “in the know” about those they work with. So when an emergency arises, rather than sending a cryptic, “something personal has come up can we reschedule” message, provide a few more details. When you do, you send the unwritten message that you value the relationship. You don’t have to get graphic, but share as much as you feel comfortable sharing. Then explain what you’ll do to make it up to them or how they can reschedule so you’re not endlessly leaving message after message for each other.
Social Media Works: Maybe there are other people who might want to know why you’re not returning their emails or phone messages as quickly as you would normally. When you put a message about your minor emergency on social media, other interested parties can look to see what’s happening with you. Again, no need to get graphic, but a simple report or update on your status can go a long way.
Always Double-Check: After the emergency, follow up to make sure your systems worked. In my case, my VA had NOT received my initial message, but she DID see my check in on social media so she knew I’d be away. She texted later in the day with an update of where things were and the next morning we had a brief check-in with how to mop up the rest of the details.
As for me, nothing’s broken and after keeping my foot elevated and iced on and off per doctor’s instructions all day yesterday I’m doing a lot better today. I’m wearing a brace that looks like my daughter’s soccer shin guards and the doc gave me a cane to help me up and down the stairs. Most of all I had peace of mind about my business because I knew with the systems I had in place, work would easily be handled.
What procedures do you have in place to handle minor emergencies that pop up (and they always do!)? Share them with me in the comments.
Normally when I do a phone call with a colleague, they send me some bullet points about their talk to share with you, maybe put a picture of me on their website and provide a link so you can register. That’s pretty standard and works well. But that’s NOT what Lon did.
You’d expect a guy who is a master at coming up with innovative and creative ideas to do things differently. And wow–did he ever!
After we scheduled his appearance, the next thing he did was send me a script. Now I had an idea that the audio I recorded from that script was going to be set to a video because that’s what Lon does, but I had no idea what the end result would be. And it turned out to be a riot!
Lon still laughs with me about the audio I gave him because I made a few small “tweaks”, shall we say, to his script. You see, Lon hangs out in the world of “internet marketers” where they use words like “crush the competition” and “create killer” such and suches. But as you may have guessed, I’m not a killer, crusher kinda gal. So when Lon sent me a script with the word “killer” in it, I made a couple changes.
Because I had a script, I was able to get my recording done in one take, on the fly – literally on a Monday morning as I was rushing to get the kids out the door. I said, “Everybody be quiet for 2 minutes. Mommy has to make a recording!”
Then I sent Lon the .mp3 and was done. What he did with it was such fun! I have never received so many positive comments about an invitation in my 5 years online. You can see that here.
As a speech consultant and coach, I often get asked if business owners, experts and entrepreneurs using video in their marketing should write a script. As I was preparing a presentation about this very topic, I was reminded of my experience with Lon. As a result, I came up with a graphic explanation of how, when and why you should use a script and when you don’t need to bother.
It boils down to this: The more “serious” the commitment to your call to action, the more scripted your videos should be. Here are the three levels from the graphic:
No-Low Commitment: If you are using a video on YouTube for example and the most you’re asking is for your viewers to visit a website by clicking a link, no script needed.
Low-Medium Commitment: If you’re using a video on your landing page asking for your visitor to give you their name and email address, there’s some commitment in that. They know you’ll be starting a relationship and emailing them. So you need to have your video a bit more scripted, but it’s ok to make some changes as you go along (that’s what I did with Lon’s script).
Medium-High Commitment: If you’re using video on a sales page that is designed to ask your visitor to make a financial investment (like giving you money for your product or service), then you need a script that ensures you explain why they should do that, share specific benefits, and pay close attention to your language. Write and revise this script until it’s just right to speak to your ideal audience. And don’t make any changes along the way.
With the popularity of marketing your business with online video booming having this guide should help release you from your worries about having to write a script for every video you do.