April 21st, 2009
If a Susan Boyle look-alike stood in front of the Board Rooms that I’m familiar with, she would have been exposed to the same ridicule and condescension she experienced at her televised audition which I just saw on You Tube.
It would have been politely concealed, but the corporate elite occupying the seats around the table would have fidgeted on their leather cushions.
The video made me cry, especially when the judges finally gave voice to what I was feeling, although I thought the complete version on You Tube was incredibly cynical and manipulative. (I’ve linked to it, above.)
It made me cry because Ms. Boyle seemed to take it in stride that everyone spoke to her as though she were the village idiot.
Why is it that a middle-aged woman without a figure or a chic wardrobe is an object of ridicule?
In this youth-obsessed, status craving, competitive world, she took the stage with no apparent ammunition, until she opened her mouth. And suddenly we learned she had nerves of steel, talent, and a depth of humanity that made her seem more powerful than all the glitzy show-offs, and we all felt like idiots.
Which means we’re not really idiots, because when we see or hear something profoundly beautiful, we acknowledge it, and shake our heads at our own folly.
“Deep down, we’re all shallow,” said Oscar Wilde. I have to disagree.
I’d say we’re shallow until we witness something deep, like Susan Boyle’s talent, and then we are moved out of our shallowness, and into appreciation.
May 23rd, 2008
Webinars seem to be a promising, cost-effective way of building relationships with prospects, but they’re hard to do well. As a medium for communicating with groups, they have their own quirks and require a lot of preparation. Here are a few rules of thumb.
First, define your desired outcomes in terms of what the audience will get out of attending your webinar. What are the problems they want to solve, and what are the questions they want to have answered? Then outline your main points (not too many) and gather evidence to support your main points.
Finally, create or select your PowerPoint slides. Please note that strategy comes first, then the selection and arrangement of content, then the slides come last…not the other way around!
Then rehearse. Time yourself. Build your confidence by building your certainty that you know how to bring your material to life and get it done on time.
Okay, now that you’ve prepared well and rehearsed, it’s SHOWTIME!
Start with a really good visual. Get them to focus right away.
Follow the new 45-60 second rule: display no visual longer than 45-60 seconds.
Use color to divide each slide into thirds: beginning, middle, and end–each a different color.
Slides should be even simpler than normal.
Timing is key. Work through your material rapidly.
Have an engaged listener in the room with you so that you have a real face to talk to–one that sends you signals to which you can repsond.
Maintain a high energy level. Webinars are like radio: The higher the excitement level, the more likely listeners are going to stay tuned. Rev it up.
Use a second speaker. Get yourself interviewed, or interview someone else.
Prepare questions for Q&A, just in case nobody has a question.
Keep your answers to questions as brief as possible. Be diplomatic at all times. And hit one of your main points in your response.
Eliminate all extraneous graphics.
Beware clip art and cutesy stuff. No puppy dogs.
Keep it business like and professional. Do not hype yourself with give aways and promotions.
Finally, make it crystal clear what is the next step for your listeners. It should be easy to contact you by phone, email, or regular mail.