Tuesday, December 15, 2015

VIP (Very Important Presentation) Day!

A couple of weeks ago I met for four hours with a client to help her put together a presentation she's been struggling with. She had tons of great stuff in her head (and in MANY various PowerPoint iterations)  Been there?

The first hour was spent getting everything out of her head and onto flip charts (see photo) Then we reorder the information until we had a cohesive outline:  Attention Getter, Introduction, 3 sections of the body and conclusion.

From there we fleshed out bits and pieces of what more could go into each section and added that to the flip charts. We also pasted up parts from the PowerPoint she'd already had. By the end of our four hours, I had typed up a rough draft of her speech on PowerPoint slides so that she can work on them on her own -  fleshing out more and adding design elements. As part of her VIP  package, we will have one more hour together to walk through the presentation and polish any non-verbal skills (body language and vocal tone) and anything else that needs work.
It was a fun day and the time flew by. My client was grateful to have feedback and insight to help her create a complete, cohesive presentation out of all her great ideas and information. 
An athlete or musician may have all the raw material to excel in their field but a talented coach knows how to bring out the best in them and help them shine and succeed. I love doing a similar thing  for my clients.  

Monday, December 7, 2015

7 Ways to Stand Out from the Crowd

With tons of holiday parties to attend and maybe some new contacts to follow up with in the new year, what can you do to make sure you're winning people over? Most of us know it can take only 2 seconds to make a first impression. And that almost 90% of that impression is made through your nonverbal communication - body language and vocal tone. But did you know that it can take up to 12 visits to undo a negative first impression! There's a lot of advice out there about how to network but here are 7 tips you may not be doing. 

It Feels Good to DO GOOD!

A few weeks ago I was walking down a busy NYC street near my house and two people at two different times stopped me and asked for directions. I knew exactly where they were trying to get to and guided them on their way. Afterward, it stuck me how “high” I felt. I could literally feel the endorphin (feel-good hormone) flooding through my brain. I smiled broadly, walked a little taller and felt this incredible sense of pride just because I was able to tell a tourist where Union Square was!

That made me think about what it must feel like to help people on a regular basis. I guess I was particularly sensitive to “do-good” feelings because in the past few months the universe has been sending a lot of opportunities my way that involve non-profit organizations. I signed a contract to work for the Girls Scouts USA, been asked to speak at a meetup group for Nonprofit Executive Directors (NED), do a keynote address for National Philanthropy Day in Hudson, NY and work with a large accounting firm that is focusing on consulting for non-profits.
There’s so much bad news being shared all the time. I want to:
  1. a) Focus on individuals and organizations who are committed to doing good.
  2. b) Stress how important it is for those who are “doing good”, to polish their presentation and communication skills so that those good deeds are heard loud and clear. 
Think about it, What good would it have done the people on the street if I knew exactly where Union Square was but was unable to:

1) convey through my presence and body language that I was trustworthy
2) convey in my vocal tone and facial expression that I was confident in my answer. And
3) Explain and describe how to get there in a way that they could understand.

Okay so helping someone find their way around NYC is not going to change the world but some of the projects that the 10 Girls Scouts I worked with just might. And if you’re interested in helping anyone, be it in the corporate world or in the nonprofit world, please realize that sometimes it’s important to get better at speaking well so you can do even more good.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Do you have a Signature Speech?

I'm honored that a colleague at a recent presentation of mine had these great take-aways and wanted to share them in writing. Here's what Whitney had to say:
I went to a networking event recently where the speaker addressed an important topic, “creating your signature speech”.  The event was aimed at women entrepreneurs so it made sense since many of them speak as part of their work or would like to speak more in order to build a bigger following.  I fall into the category of exploring speaking as part of building my business following and would love to be paid to speak so learning about writing that signature speech is a great start.

The speaker was Robyn Hatcher, who is passionate about teaching individuals how to transform their process of communication so that they can express themselves effectively and powerfully.  She is an author and communication skills expert and Founder of SpeakEtc., a boutique communication and presentation-skills training company.

Robyn walked us through what it would take to write a signature speech and I found the information clear-cut and direct.  The outline was easy to follow and it made sense since everything can essentially be broken down into steps if you have a clear objective. At the end, we left with enough information about the hows and whys that I felt excited to give it a try.

The next day, I was sitting in the library and decided to take a crack using the outline to get a draft of my signature speech done.  Within an hour or so, I had a rough draft and I felt pretty good.  Of course, it needs to be flushed out, but it’s a start and that’s exciting.  It was easy to have the steps to follow to show me how to get started.

Many of us may have much more than one signature speech in our repertoire but it felt good to use the outline and try to write that first one.  One of the biggest take aways from the talk was to have something clear to teach – you want to leave people with the idea that at the end of your talk they will walk away changed or with new information. 

While I don’t have immediate plans to speak, it is a goal of mine for a number of reasons.  One, I think it’s good to do something that has a teaching component.  I taught for a few years in the NYC public school system and I think teaching is so important.  I am often inspired by information gleaned from a talk.  I feel if you have been lucky enough to receive an education, it is best to share the information not squander it.

Two, I think it’s good to challenge yourself to speak in front of groups. It helps you improve your communication skills as well as your courage.  It’s not easy to be yourself with many eyeballs on you at once but it’s a very worthy goal and one I have worked on for many years.  And Three, the more you speak in front of people, the more potential customers you are reaching. If done correctly, your speech will give them an understanding of who you are and what you can do for them.  That’s a big win.  In my case, I am a writer and entrepreneur so can see how speaking would support both of these endeavors.

So I’d like to encourage you to learn more about writing your own signature speech. It will help you think about what you have to say and teach you how to say it clearly.  In my case, using Robyn’s guidelines proved easier than I had thought.  So go ahead, give it a try.  What do you have to say?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Not Your Mama's Girls Scouts

For many of us, myself included, it’s easy to forget that an organization like the Girl Scouts still exists. My personal experience with Girl Scouts ended when, as a Brownie, I went to sleep-away camp where my mother was a counselor. When I found out I had to share a tent with other girls I didn’t know, I refused and slept in my mother’s tent. That was the end of my Girl Scout days. (For those of you who don’t know, my nickname at that time of my life WAS "SHY"!)
So a few months ago when I was referred to the Girl Scouts USA organization to help 10 of their girls prepare presentations for an upcoming conference, I was intrigued.  I was informed that these 10 girls had been selected to be recognized as National Young Women of Distinction. They had been selected from thousands of girls across the country who had created Gold Award “Take Action” Projects. According to the GIRL SCOUTS USA website:
To earn her Gold Award, a Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador (These are Girl Scouts age 16-19) designs and helms a “Take Action” project that: 

  • She is passionate about—in thought, deed, and action
  • Incorporates organizational, leadership, and networking skills 
  • Fulfills a need within her community (whether local or global) 
  • Creates change that has the potential to be ongoing 
Okay, being my NY jaded self, I had no idea what to expect with these projects: Quilt making for the homeless? But boy was I blown away when I read about what these girls had created: 
  • A traveling mini-van that brings education, food, and hygiene to homeless street children in the Philippines.
  • A martial arts program taught to a girl’s school in India so that they could gain confidence and feel safer dealing with what’s called “Eve-Shaming”: 
  • A heavily researched documentary on Human Trafficking AND another heavily researched documentary on Child Pornography;

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Entrepreneurs need to… Ditch the Elevator Pitch and Embrace the Intro-mercial!

Words are powerful! 
When you think of a pitch, you think of someone throwing something at you or selling something to you. 

That’s why I coined the phrase Intro-mercial - A cross between an introduction and a commercial. Two words that have slightly less emotional baggage. An Intro-mercial is short, concise description of yourself, your business, your product or your service which will ENGAGE a listener and encourage them to take some further action.

  Five Ingredients for a Tempting Intro-mercial*

 1     Engage Them – Make sure you have their attention and their interest. DON’T START WITH YOUR NAME
a.       Ask questions,If you could design the perfect widget, what would it be like?”Do you ever have trouble finding the perfect widget?”
b.       State a statistic, “8 out of 10 people who buy widgets replace them within one year”
c.        Tell them a story “I bought my first widget in college and ever since then I’ve imagined improving their quality.”
d.      Use a relevant quotation: “To widget or not to widget, that is the question”
2.  Inform Them – Tell them what problem you solve; what need you fill. AND/OR what your mission, goal or objective is.
3.    Assure Them – Tell them your experience/some results you have produced– Give examples, use numbers 
4.    Seduce Them -  Tell them What’s in it for Them - How can what you do or sell improve people’s bottom line,  save them time, money or both? AND/ OR How can you make their lives better, easier, more enjoyable or more successful?
          5.  Invite Them (optional) - Tell them exactly what you’re looking for and/or need. 

Click Here to watch Haiku Deck on Ditching Your Elevator Pitch!

Top Tips for Powerful Communication

1. 60 to 80% of communication is nonverbal. Your visual and vocal message needs to be consistent with the words you are saying. If they are not, we tend to believe the visual and vocal over the verbal.

2    It takes two seconds to make a first impression, so you have to grab someone's attention fast!  Do this with a quote, anecdote, questions, or statistics.

3   The tone and inflection of your voice is responsible for 38% of your message. Habits like – Up speaking, Drop speaking and Whatevering weaken your message and make you sound less than confident.

4     PAUSE.  Give space in between your powerful points so people have time to absorb.  You can pause for up to four seconds

5.      Gesturing - it's essential! Forget that old rule about not moving around.  Gesturing keeps people involved and improves audience retention. Move your hands in upward vs. downward directions.

Remember to think about WIIFT (What’s in it for Them) People take action based on logic and emotion. Emotional appeals, often tend to have the most impact. Whenever you are trying to engage your listener, try to connect your appeal to an emotional need your listener may have and think about what you have to offer them and not just what you need from them. Logic influences thinking, emotion influences decisions” 

Choose words that have power, impact and imagery and compel the listener to ask you for more. 12 Most Persuasive words according to a YALE study: You, Money, Save, New, Results, Help, Easy, Safety, Love, Proven, Guarantee, Discovery.
 Learn to Speak YOU! – There is no one-size-fits all way to pitch. Discover and polish your unique communication style, something I call ActorType*, and cultivate a “pitch” that is authentic to that style. “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” - Judy Garland

 To take my ActorType assessment quiz, go to my website: www.SpeakEtc.com

About Robyn
Once an extremely shy child, Robyn Hatcher is now passionate about helping individuals express themselves effectively and powerfully. Robyn is an author and communication skills expert and Founder of SpeakEtc., a boutique communication and presentation-skills training company whose clients have included C-suite executives and entrepreneurs, as well as academics and human services professionals. Her corporate client roster has included Fortune 500 companies and noteworthy brands, including Lifetime Television, Jones New York, AXA, UBS, Deloitte & Touche and Merrill Lynch, to name a few. Her first book, Standing Ovation Presentations (Motivational Press, 2013), is a complete presentations skills guide that contains a unique communication-style system called ActorTypes Standing Ovation Presentations was listed on Forbes.com as one the Top 100 Coaching Book and was named by Six Figure Startup as one of 4 Fun Business Books. In addition, Robyn has appeared as an expert guest on HuffPost Live, was a contributing media expert in PRNEWS 2013 Media Relations Guidebook, is a contributing subject matter expert for the newly released book Manifique Inside & Out by Bruno Gralpois'. She also wrote a personal essay that became part of the published anthology Dancing at the Shame Prom (Seal Press, 2012) (featured at www.mariashriver.com). Robyn has also written plays, screenplays and for two daytime dramas.