When you’re talking to prospects, customers, the press, colleagues, or any stakeholder, it is important to STAY ON MESSAGE. What does that mean? Don’t let yourself get sidetracked; make sure you get your message across.
I learned this years ago when Texas Instruments sent me to media training in advance of my stint as Technology Spokesperson. TI had an impressive television studio in their Dallas headquarters and we were put through the paces. I learned some of the tricks that television and radio personalities use to get the answers they want. These include asking or saying the following:
I was in Toastmasters for 13 years and learned an easy-to-remember framework of three rules for creating a prepared or off-the-cuff talk. Here it is:
RULE #1 – TELL THEM WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO TELL THEM.
That’s what I just did in the first sentence above. I told you what I’m going to tell you. It alerts the listener/reader to what is coming and sets the stage for the rest of the talk or presentation.
Imagine that you want to buy a new washing machine. You go to the store and a sales clerk blasts you with the details about a certain model. There are many other washing machines to consider with different price points, functionality, etc. so you’re wondering WHY SHOULD I CARE about this particular washing machine? If the sales clerk really wants to make a sale, he/she should ask what is important to you in a washing machine and answer this question for you. If he/she prattles on about features you don’t care about, he/she is wasting your time; you’ll probably go elsewhere to make a purchase.
With PowerPoint, anyone can create a presentation…right? WRONG. Some people just shouldn’t.
Before PowerPoint, presentations were only created by marketing people who worked with graphics professionals to create slides. These are people who know how to write and how to design and use color. Most people now who create presentations don’t have a clue.
Here are some things NOT to do when creating a presentation. (more…)
Years ago, I was a Product Marketing Engineer at Texas Instruments (TI). In that role I wore many hats — writer, event planner, conference speaker, technology spokesperson on radio and television, tradeshow manager, and more.
One of the biggest hats I wore was to present to customers about our artificial intelligence (AI) products — the artificial intelligence expert system software for the PC called Personal Consultant and the LISP machine Explorer. I got quite good at assessing customers’ needs before meeting with them and tailoring my presentation to them. So good, for example, that I was hand picked to present in front of 500 people at a conference in Bogota, Colombia and to the Young President’s Organization there.
One thing I learned rather quickly was the power of story. (more…)