“One sign of an excellent speech? ‘Can people repeat something they heard, word for word?'” – Sam Horn, Intrigue Expert

Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech was an instant classic.

Why?

It’s original, evocative and revealing.

Gaiman confesses that he ignored the wise advice from fellow author Stephen King to “enjoy the ride of his success.”

However, there’s an even more important reason Gaiman’s 20 minute talk has gone viral and been turned into a book which is coming out next week.

The popular author condensed his speech theme into a single sound-bite that is easy to repeat.

Make Good Art.

Think about it.

How many conventions and graduations have you attended? How many presenters and commencement speakers have you heard? Dozens? Hundreds?

Can you repeat ANYTHING they said?

If you can’t; that means they’re out of sight, out of mind. Their message had little or no enduring impact.

What’s an important message you want to share with the world?

If you want people to remember it and act on it; is YOUR responsibility to distill its essence into a repeatable sound-bite.

Successful film-makers know the importance of this.

“Show me the money.” “I’ll be back.” “You can’t handle the truth.” “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

You probably remember those movies even though it’s been YEARS since you’ve seen Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jack Nicholson and Roy Scheder utter those lines in the movies Jerry Maguire, the Terminator, A Few Good Men and Jaws.

Those movies are STILL top-of-mind decades after their release because their screenwriters crafted memorable lines that have legs.

In fact, check out the top movie quotes of all time. Almost ALL are 7 words or less.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AFI’s_100_Years…100_Movie_Quotes

What’s this mean for you?

Look over your upcoming presentation.

Does it have a resounding idea that has been distilled into a pithy 7 words or less?

Have you condensed your theme into a title or sound-bite people can repeat, word for word?

If so, good for you. You have just increased the likelihood listeners will become YOUR word-of-mouth advertisers because they will be able to remember what you said and recommend it to others.

If not, you might want to pick up a copy of POP! and study Section IV on how to be PITHY with its chapters on:

* Make Your Language Lyrical with Alliteration
* Put Your Sound-bite in a Beat to Make it Easy to Repeat
* Make it Sublime with Rhyme

This is not petty. You’re pouring hours (and lots of money?) into designing and delivering a presentation that will hopefully impact everyone in the room.

Why not invest the time and mind to POP! your message into a memorable sound-bite so people are still being positively impacted by it … years after they’re out of the room?

http://www.amazon.com/POP-Create-Perfect-Tagline-Anything/dp/0399533613/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1368223741&sr=1-1&keywords=sam+horn+pop

“Instant gratification takes too long.” – Carrie Fisher

As a communication strategist and pitch coach, I often have clients tell me, “You can’t say anything in 10 minutes.”

One client, who was pitching a room full of investors at the Paley Center in New York City, said, “Sam, there’s no way I can explain my company, team credentials, business model and exit strategy in 10 minutes.”

I said, “Kathleen, you don’t have 10 minutes. You’re going at 2:30 in the afternoon. Those investors will already have heard 15 other presenters. By that point, their eyes will be glazed over. You’ve got 60 seconds to get their eyebrows up.”

The good news is, we came up with a 60 second opening that not only got the interest and respect of that audience, it helped Kathleen Callendar of Pharma Jet land millions in funding and become selected as one of Business Week’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs of 2010.

(The full story is in this Fast Company article on How to Gain Buy-In to your Idea in 60 Seconds or Less. http://www.fastcompany.com/1751298/how-gain-buy-your-idea-60-seconds-or-less

So, what does that have to do with Super Bowl Sunday?

USA Today editors just selected the top 25 Super Bowl ads of the past 24 years … and all of them are 60 seconds or less.

Chances are, if you’ve seen them, you remember them and remember them … fondly.

They prove you can pack a lot into 60 seconds. You can win buy-in from target decision-makers, tell a compelling story and keep your brand and message top-of-mind, years after the fact.

As journalist Laura Petrecca reports in this article the winning ad “is the 1993 Nothing But Net commercial in which Michael Jordan and Larry Bird shoot an outlandish game of H-O-R-S-E ,” trying to out-do each other to win the right to dine on a McDonald’s Big Mac.”

http://www.freep.com/usatoday/article/1862001

What’s this mean for you?

What’s a communication you’ve got coming up? A communication in which you want to win buy-in from decision-makers and customers?

Don’t waste the first 60 seconds with preliminary, perfunctory remarks. No, “I’m glad to be here ….” Or “When Bob asked me to speak …” or “Before I start, let me …”

In this day and age of instant gratification, you will already have lost the hearts and minds of your audience if you start with … INFObesity.

Instead, jump into something intriguing that gets people’s eyebrows up. It’s the single best thing you can do to make sure your pitch, presentation, commercial or communication wins buy-in for what you care about.

Are you thinking, “I agree with the importance of doing this; I just don’t know how to do it.”

Want good news? My E.Y.E.B.R.O.W. TEST system shows you how to earn the attention and respect of any audience … in 60 seconds or less.

Discover for yourself why these techniques have been won raves from clients around the world (London, Geneva, Toronto and throughout the U.S.) and have helped people receive millions in funding while helping their products, services and business break out instead of blend in.

http://www.intrigueagency.com/products-page/eyebrow/

Purchase it today to instantly have these E.Y.E.B.R.O.W. TEST tips at your fingertips … so you can have people at hello next time you want their attention and respect.

Serendestiny - doing what makes you come alive

Chances are you’ve seen this inspiring quote from H. Thurman,  “Don’t ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive ; then go do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

What makes you come alive?  What puts the light on in  your eyes?

One of the things that does it for me is … writing.

Tennis player Pete Sampras was asked what it was like winning his first U.S. Open.  He said, “No matter what else happens the rest of my life; I’ll always be a U.S. Open champ.”

That’s one of the many  benefits of writing.  It is so TANGIBLY, ENDURINGLY REWARDING.

Many things are fleeting. Quality books are not.

Yes, writing a quality book is a front-loaded project. 

You pour your heart, mind, soul … and plenty of what Bryce Courtenay called “bum glue” …  into writing a quality book.

But it will still be out in the world,  years later, making a positive difference for others and a propserous living for you.

I am just re-experiencing this glorious phenomenon,

We’ve just released a new e-version of Tongue Fu!® … which was first published (ahem) 16 years ago!  http://www.amazon.com/Tongue-Better-Anytime-Anywhere-ebook/dp/B00APRX4FG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357067747&sr=1-1&keywords=tongue+fu+-+get+along+with+anyone%2C+anytime 

How satisfying it is to know this book is still positively influencing people around the globe.  I’ve welcomed this opportunity to update the content and include examples of cyber-bullying, internet gossip and what to do when someone’s texting at dinner.

What’s this mean for you?  It’s the beginning of a new year.  You have a fresh start opportunity to do what makes you come alive. 

If that is writing, then resolve to put pen to paper or fingers to keys today.  It’s time to get your experience, expertise and epiphanies out of your head and into the world.

I promise. You will never regret writing – you will only regreat not writing when you had the chance.

 

What a pleasure and privilege it was having the opportunity to coach top entrepreneurs from around the world – China, Russia, the U.S., Mexico, Saudi Arabia – at the EO Leadership Academy last week.

Our session on public speaking – how to step up and consciously improve our ability to positively impact people through communication – was wrapped up with a celebratory dinner at Lincoln’s Cottage.

When I arrived at the cottage in NW Washington DC, the sun was setting on this life-size sculpture of Lincoln and the horse he rode in on 🙂

This is where Lincoln came to get away from it all.

Lincoln needed space to think. Space, as colleague Jonathan Fields says, to “let his brain breathe.”

The first thing you notice when you walk into this reverent place is how sparsely furnished it is.

Each room has a table, a couch or a couple chairs, and maybe one or two things on the wall. There is a complete absence of visual clutter.

Aaahhh . . . you can almost feel your mind peeking out and celebrating because it’s safe to come out and play.

There’s not a hundred thinks (yes, that was intended) clamoring for your attention. You’re free to steep yourself in a world of your forward-thinking imagination.

It was here that Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation.

Here that he was able to center himself and see into the future. Here that he was able to access the clarity to compose a visionary “rising tide that raises all boats” document that has impacted millions and endured for decades.

I purposely arrived early so I could steep myself in this sacred place for an hour.

I sat on a couch that Lincoln had sat on, got out my pen and paper, (I’m old fashioned that way), and let the thoughts come.

What wanted to be said?

I immersed myself in the legacy of that place and let the words flow out of my mind so fast my fingers could hardly keep up.

What wanted to be said was that Lincoln came from humble beginnings. You’re probably familiar with his roller coaster life – the ups and downs of his many successes and failures. Self-educated. Poor “prairie lawyer.” Lost elections. Death of a son. A divided nation.

Yet he did not let that deter him.

There were many nay-sayers – yet he remained true to his vision and put his thoughts to paper, thereby materializing them so they could change the course of history.

Lincoln didn’t ask, “Who am I?” He didn’t chastise himself for thinking “big” and back off his vision because he was afraid of getting “too big for his britches.”

Or, maybe he did.

Maybe he did have dark nights of the soul where he wondered what hubris caused him to think he could create a sweeping proclamation that would chart the course of our country.

The point is, Lincoln persevered through the desert of his vision.

Even when no one supported this, even when people were telling him he was “crazy,” he had the courage of his convictions and took responsibility for putting his thoughts out in the world – in written and spoken form – so they could become a transcending reality.

What does this have to do with you?

Do you have a vision of how your world – or the world – could be better?

Are you giving yourself space to think?

Are you giving your brain time to breathe?

Are you sequestering yourself in a place that has an absence of verbal and visual clutter so your mind can come out and play?

Are you putting your thoughts to paper so you’re giving form to the ephemeral and your concepts are becoming concrete?

Are you plagued by dark nights of the soul?

Do you wonder “Who am I?” to have such a big dream?

Do you back down from your vision because it seems too grandiose?

Are there nay-sayers saying you’re crazy – that this will never work?

Do you genuinely believe your process, project, product or program has the potential to help people?

Do you understand that thinking, writing, speaking and acting “big” comes from service, not arrogance?

As Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist, so eloquently says, “Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way.

It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we move toward that dream.

It’s at this point most people give up.

It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst, just before the palm trees appear on the horizon.’”

Are you in the desert of your dream?

If so, remind yourself that, from the beginning of humankind, advances have been made by the people who dare to think, write, speak and act big. People from “humble beginnings” who dare to dream how things can be better.

Your palm trees may be just beyond the horizon. They’re waiting for you to replace fear with faith.

Center yourself in your vision.

Have the courage of your convictions.

Get your dream out of your head (where it helps no one) and into the world (where it has the chance to help someone or everyone).

You serve no one by playing small. Pay it forward for all.

Thanks to Duke Ellington for his insightful lyric that inspired the above title.

This is the final post in a 5-part series sharing some of the coaching tips given to Springboard Enterprises clients.

Part of the advice given was “If you want investors to care, you’ve got to show F.L.A.I.R.”

Many investors have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of pitches. After awhile, they all start to sound alike.

One way to stand out and get noticed and remembered – for all the right reasons – is to use R = Rhythm and Ryhme.

Tip 1. Duke was right. When you put things in a beat; you make them easy to repeat.

Hence the enduring popularity of such “earworm” ad slogans as:

“I Can’t Believe I Ate The W-h-o-l-e Thing” (Alka Seltzer)

and

“Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking” (Timex)

Chances are, you haven’t heard those jingles for years: yet you can still repeat them, word for word, in the same cadence you first heard them.

When I work with clients, one of our priorities is to create a proprietary phrase that pays that showcases their strongest selling point.

We work on saying it with “pause and punch” so anyone can repeat it, word for word, after hearing it once.

Tiip 2. Be sure to pause and punch when introducing yourself and when wrapping up.

When nervous, or when trying to jam a lot of material into a short amount of time, many speakers jumble their words together.

The consequence is people don’t “get” your name – which means they won’t be able to repeat it a minute, hour or week later – which means you’re out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Not good.

Put a pause between your first and last name (i.e., Sam – Horn) so each word is distinct and can be heard clearly.

Then, e – nun – ci – ate each syllable of your business name – and put a 3 beat pause between words – to make sure it’s imprinted and so people get it the first time.

For example, In – trigue . . . In – sti – tute.

This may sound petty or like I’m making a big deal out of nothing.

However, if people can’t repeat your name, they didn’t get your name . . . which means you won’t get their business.

Tip 3. Rhyme is sublime . . . because it helps you get remembered over time.

One of my favorite examples of this comes from the U.S. Government.

They were concerned years ago about the number of fatalities and injuries in car accidents so they invested a lot of money to create a public service campaign called “Buckle Up for Safety.”

Hmmm. Are you motivated to just run out and fasten your seat belt?

No one seemed to care and no one was inspired to change their behavior.

So, they went back to the drawing board. Or, as comedian George Carlin was famous for saying, “What did we go back to before there were drawing boards?”

This time, they put their slogan in a rhyme that had a distinctive beat. I bet you know what I’m talking about.

Yep, Click It or Ticket.

Not only did that phrase that pays catch on, it’s motivated people to buckle up and, as a result, the number of injuries and fatalities has decreased.

All this goes to prove that phrasing isn’t petty.

You can spend hours and thousands of dollars on fancy power point slides, bar charts and graphics.

But if you rush through your material and your audience can’t understand or remember anything you said – it will all be for naught.

Remember these 5 elements when preparing for and delivering your pitch . . .to increase the likelihood YOU’LL be top-of-mind at the end of a long day.

F = Fun. If you’re not having fun; they’re not having fun.

L = Link. Compare what you do to something with which they’re fond and familiar to fast-forward comprehnsion and buy-in.

A = Alliteration. It’s working for Java Jacket. Why not for you?

I = Inflection and In Your Body. Tower (vs. cower) and speak out – loud and clear – with downward inflection so you have the look and voice of authority.

R = Rhythm and Rhyme. Craft a phrase that pays and make it easy to repeat so you’re the one who gets remembered.

Want more tips on how to POP! your pitch, close the deal and get the money?

Check out POP! – which has been featured on MSNBC and in the New York Times and Washington Post – so the next time you present, you are confdient of your ability to intrigue and favorably impress everyone in the room.

“I have a photographic memory. I just haven’t deveoped it yet.” – Jonathan Winters

So, we’ve talked about how having FUN and using LINKS contributes the F.L.A.I.R. that motivates investors to care.

What’s next?

A = Alliteration

Say these words.

Best Purchase.

Dirt Vacuum.

Bed, Toliet, Etc.

Kind of clunky, eh?

Now make those words alliterative. (Alliteration is when words start with the same sound.)

Best Buy.

Dirt Devil.

Bed, Bath and Beyond.

More musical and memorable, right?

This is not petty.

Repeatability is crucial to memorability.

And memorability is crucial to you closing a deal.

At the Springboard Enterpises BootCamp in Boston at the Microsoft NERD Center on June 17; each of the 21 entrepreneurs (selected from more than 100 applicants) started with a 2 minute bio presentation.

Their assignment?

Tell us, in 2 minutes, about your credentials and proven track record so we are intrigued, impressed and convinced you have the clout to carry this off.

Here’s what I told the group at the end of their bio presentations – which took about an hour total.

“Okay, I’m giving you each $10 million. You just heard 21 entrepreneurs introduce their business credentials. Who would you invest in?

Look around the room. WHO DO YOU REMEMBER?

Do you remember ANY of the names of the presenters or businesses? What do you remember that so impresseed you, you’re motivated to walk up to that person and initiate a follow-up conversation?”

It was a sobering moment. Because these entrepreneurs realized that most of what they just heard had gone in one ear and out the other.

They realized that unless they did something special with THEIR pitch, the business they’d invested their head, heart, soul and bank account in . . . may go in one ear and out the other of future investors who have heard thousands of pitches.

Think about it. These were 2 minute pitches.

Many pitch forums feature 20 – 30 ten minute pitch presentations, back to back.

Imagine sitting through 8 hours of pitches.

At the end of a l-o-n-g day, pitches start to blend together. They start to sound alike and it’s hard to remember who was who.

That means, unless you do something special to stand out, you’ll be out of sight, out of mind.

That’s why it’s essential to give your audience a hook on which to hang a memory.

If you care about your idea or business, it’s YOUR responsibility to pitch it so crisply and compellingly, YOU’RE THE ONE they remember . . . YOU’RE the one they respect . . . YOU’RE the one they want to talk to at the end of the day.

Alliteration helps.

Look at your pitch, product description, web copy and business name. Are you using alliteration, i.e., Rolls Royce. Dunkin Donuts. Java Jacket. Merlin Mobility? (Kudos to Springboard presenter Margaret Martin for coming up with that magically alliterative name.)

If so, good for you.

If not, go back and insert words into sentences that start with the same sound. It will make your language more lyrical and help you stand out so YOU’RE the entrepreneur who’s top of mind at the end of a long day of pitches.

“I never metaphor I didn’t like.” – Richard Lederer, NPR’s A Way with Words

In the previous blog, we talked about the importance of having FUN while pitching.

If you’re not having fun; trust me; your audience isn’t having fun.

Now for the second letter in F.L.A.I.R. that helps investors care.

L = LINK

“The quickest way to help decision-makers connect with what your business does is to compare it to something they already know and respect.” – Sam Horn, Intrigue Expert, pitch strategist and author of POP!

Jan Bruce of New Life Solution is already a successful entrepreneur having developed meQuilibrim (talk about a business name that POP!s).

She has a compelling “backstory.” After selling a business to Martha Stewart for millions, for some reason, Jan didn’t feel as happy as hoped.

In fact, as she told our group, she wondered, “Why am I feeling so bad when I am doing so well?”

This prompted a quest to figure out what was going on.

Jan’s research revealed that “stress is the new ‘obesity.'”

It’s reached epidemic proportions and is costing companies billions and compromising people’s health.

She’s developed an “online, guided, self-help progam providing interactive education, behavior tools and peer support on a scalable basis.”

HUH?

See, that’s the problem.

That sentence describes what her business does – but we still don’t get it. And if we don’t get it, SHE won’t get it.

That’s where LINKING comes in.

Comparison provides a shortcut to comprehension.

A metaphor or analogy that links your unfamiliar business to something with which we’re familiar (and fond) fast-forwards our understanding.

Jan knows this and excels at it.

What’s her elevator intro for her business?

“New Life Solution is like Weight Watchers for stress.”

OOOHHHH. Got it.

Are you pitching an idea or venture?

What is it LIKE? Link your new idea or venture to a proven entity your decision-makers respect to turn confusion into clarity.

Believe me, an intrigued “ooohhh” is a lot better than a confused “huh?”

Want to know what the A in F.L.A.I.R. stands for? Keep reading.