“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

Years ago, insurance giant AFLAC had a problem.

Their company name was nonsensical. No one knew what it meant.

And why would customers entrust their money to a company when they didn’t understand their name?

So, their ad agency (brilliantly) asked themselves how they could take this unfamiliar name and relate it to something familiar so it all-of-a-sudden made sense?

They asked themselves, “What does an ‘AFLAC’ look like or sound like in the real world? How can we associate it with something people already know and like?

Hmmm … well, an AFLAC kind of looks and sounds like a duck saying QUACK.

Maybe we can turn that into a lovable duck that says ‘AFLAC.’”

Voila.

They created a visual icon that turned their idea into an image people could SEE.

Another insurance company had a similar challenge.

Government Employees Insurance Company was going “public.”

Instead of just offering policies to federal employees, it was now going to offer policies to anyone and everyone who could afford to pay for one.

So, how did they masterfully manage their transition and make their clunky acronym  G.E.I.C.O  meaningful and memorable?

Well, what do we think of when we hear the word GEICO?  What comes to mind that is close to it?

How about a cute little gecko?

Bingo.

GEICO’s cute green gecko has starred in countless commercials and become an instantly recognizable corporate symbol to millions.

Both of these financial services firms succeeded in making their cold, confusing names … warm and relatable.

The bottom-line?

Both AFLAC and GEICO dramatically increased their market-share and profits;  thanks to their ubiquitous “spokes-animal” ad campaigns that helped them POP! out of their  crowded industry.

So, what’s this mean for you and your business, idea or product?

Your financial success depends – to a large degree – on the “get-ability” of your name.

When prospective customers hear or see your name for the first time; what’s their reaction?

Do their eyebrows crunch up?

That means they don’t get it.  And if they don’t get it – you won’t get their attention, respect  or money because confused people don’t say yes and they don’t remember you or want to do business with you.

Why should they?  They have no idea what you do.  They can’t relate to you.

Your goal is to have a name for your business or product  that makes people’s eyebrows go UP.

That means they’re intrigued. That means they want to know more, which means they’re more likely to remember you and want to try and buy what you’re offering.

This Wall Street Journal  article – What’s In a Name? –  offers fascinating examples and insights into  the financial consequences of the RIGHT or WRONG name.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443854204578058422730170626.html

Would you have gone to see a movie entitled $3000? That was the original name of Pretty Woman.

Would you have paid $8 to go see Anhedonia (the original name for Annie Hall)?

Check out this article to find out why some of your favorite movies might have failed if they had stuck with boring names that bombed with focus groups.

Are you thinking, “I agree that the right name is important;  I just don’t know how to come up with one that gets people’s eyebrows up.”

Well, check out POP!   Its 25 different techniques can help you  create clear, compelling names, titles and slogans that will resonate with your customers and decision-makers.

Have your pen handy so you can do the exercises to coin just the RIGHT name that will help your product, idea or business get noticed, remembered and bought.

http://www.amazon.com/POP-Create-Perfect-Tagline-Anything/dp/0399533613/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352044604&sr=8-1&keywords=pop+-+sam+horn

“In influencing others; example is not the main thing.  It’s the only thing.” – Albert Schweitzer

Agreed.

What’s a situation coming up in which you want to influence someone to give you their time, mind or dime?

If you want to capture and keep their attention – if you want to open their mind and change their mind  – don’t open with information.

Open with an example.

In fact, follow Dr. Brene’ Brown’s shining example …

I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Brene’ Brown at a recent Leadership Colloquium at NASA Goddard.

Brene’s TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability is one of the top ten most-downloaded TED videos.

After the first 10 minutes of her NASA presentation, it’s easy to understand why.

She’s disarmingly honest about her journey from being a left-brained researcher who only valued bottom-line facts to discovering the transcendent, whole-hearted, free-flowing love that comes from having children.

What she didn’t anticipate was the fear that comes from being a mom.

She described how she used to stand in her kids’ rooms at night and watch them sleep … and weep.

Why?

She cherished them so much, she was afraid something would happen to them.

She knew this was illogical. They were perfectly healthy, perfectly fine.  Yet there she was … miserable.

She started researching why the emotion of happiness seems to be irrevocably tied with fear – and used an EXAMPLE to open our eyes to how common this phenomenon is.

A family is driving to their grandparents’s house for Christmas.  The parents are uptight because they’re running late.

The kids, sitting in the back seat, start singing Jingle Bells .

The parents realize how ridiculous they’re being and start singing Jingle Bells along with them.

At this point, Brene’ asked the audience, “And then what happened?”

Guess what the majority said??

“They get in a car accident.”

Is that what you thought?

Do you know what that means?

It means, deep down, you believe happiness is fleeting – you believe it is too good to be true.

How about you?  In the midst of things going well, are you, at some level, waiting for the other shoe to drop?

Arrgghh.

Say it ain’t so.

Brene’ went on to explain that, in an effort to protect ourselves against the pain we feel when something goes wrong  … we prepare ourselves by projecting it so we won’t be blindsided when the heartache happens.

Not only does that cut short any joy we might be feeling, that “failure forecasting” increases the likelihood of something going wrong because that’s what we’re focused on.  Then, if something does go wrong, it reinforces our worst fears and proves us “right.” This sets up an emotionally unhealthy spiral where we have even more cause to worry.

Brene’ continued with constructive ways to change this destructive default … if we choose.

Okay, what’s the point?

Look back over this post.

Were you engaged?  Were you thinking about that insight that some people are afraid of happiness – and thinking how it relates to you?

That’s because Brene’s EXAMPLE pulled you in and helped you SEE this situation.

If Brene (or I) had just talked about how some of us are waiting for the other shoe to drop – even when things are going well – that would have been wah-wah rhetoric.  You may not have related to it because it was information.

People today are suffering from InfoBesity.  They don’t want more information.

They can get all the information they want – anytime they want – online for the click of a button.

People want to be intrigued.

And one of the best ways to intrigue people is with EXAMPLES – not information.

Back to your upcoming situation where you’ll be trying to persuade someone to give you their valuable time, attention, respect, business, account or funding.

Don’t start with information.  Start with a real-life example that helps them SEE what you’re saying so they’re experiencing it – not just hearing it.

Be sure to check out Dr. Brene Brown’s website and blog.  Her insights on how we can be wholehearted – instead of going through life half-hearted because we’re protecting ourselves from pain – are brilliant.  http://www.brenebrown.com/

Bestselling Author Shares 3 Tips for Building Your Blog Audience.

Kudos to Rachel Bertsche – creator of www.MWFSeekingBFF.com  for sharing her insights on how you can create a  “rising tide raises all boats” community by finding related blogs and adding insightful comments that add value for all involved.

If you are looking to expand your “tribe” and connect with like-minded souls, her advice is right on.

Seek out bloggers who focus on similar topics and bring them to the attention of your readers.  Showcase their site and link back to them.

Everyone benefits when you do this.

Shakespeare said, “Be wealthy in your friends.”

When you spread your online colleagues’ wealth of wisdom; everyone wins.

“Winning begins with preparation.” – Football coach Joe Gibbs

A client, who was an executive for a Six Sigma organization, was preparing for an important medical conference. If he did right by his audience, he and his organization stood to win millions in contracts.

The problem?

Have you ever been to a medical conference? Most everyone there is brilliant.

Unfortunately, that brilliance doesn’t always translate to the platform.

The programs are often highly technical and everyone’s power-point slides are packed with facts, numbers, complex case studies and graphs. Lots of graphs.

Furthermore, my client was speaking on the last day. At that point, participants’ eyes were going to be glazed over.

I kept asking him questions about his personal interests to see how he could pleasantly surprise his audience, in the first minute, with something they didn’t expect.

Something startlingly relevant that would get their eyebrows up.

Something that would quickly convince them he was worth their valuable time and mind.

I asked if he had any hobbies.

“Sam, I’m on the road 5 days a week. I don’t have time for hobbies.”

“Hmmm. Do you and your wife ever do anything for fun?”

“Well, sometimes we watch TV.”

“Aha. Any favorite shows?”

“Well, we like to watch Law & Order.”

Bingo.

I now knew how he could title and format his presentation so it captured and kept interest – from start to finish.

Guess what that title was?

FLAW & ORDER

And yes, he featured the signature image on his power point slides and the iconic “Dda-dum” tone to reveal his important points.

The point?

He had his audience at hello.

They thought, “Wow, we haven’t seen this before. Tell us more.”

Best yet, he kept this intriguing theme throughout his presentation. At the end, he was surrounded by participants giving him their business cards and requesting more information on how they could work together.

He had proven to these decision-makers they could trust him to prepare in advance and deliver intriguing, relevant insights and recommended actions that were relevant to their needs.

How about you?

Are you preparing for an important presentation?

If so, you can start by asking yourself the following questions.

That will kick-start your preparation process.

Then, if you want to POP! your presentation and stand out from the crowd; contact us at Sam@SamHorn.com to schedule a complementary 15 minute appointment.

We’ll discuss your upcoming communication, including your goals and the audience’s needs.  We’ll explore how we can work together to tailor a presentation that positions you to walk in with confidence because you’ve done everything possible to prepare yourself for a win-win experience.

Sam Horn’s W5 Form for a Presentation That Passes The Eyebrow Test

Want to get your audience’s eyebrows up?

Clarify your W’s so you can customize your communication in advance and make it relevant and intriguing for that particular audience and situation.

Filling out this form can help you walk in with confidence because it will be clear you’ve done your homework and you know what you’re talking about.

That will help engage and impress people in the first 60 seconds. They’ll be motivated to give you their valuable time and mind and they’ll be inspired to care about what you care about.

Who?

Who are you communicating to? Who’s the person you’re trying to connect with, convince or persuade? Describe that person so vividly we can SEE them in our mind’s eye.

Give enough detail so we get a sense of what they look like, what they’re feeling, where they’re coming from, why they might be resistant, and how they feel about us. Man? Woman? Age? Mom of 3? CEO? Tired? Impatient? Angry? Perfectionist? Skeptical?

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What?

What do you want this person to think or say at the end of your communication? What’s your objective? What would make this communication a success? What do you want this person to start, stop or do differently? Make this measurable (“I want them to schedule a follow up meeting by this Friday.”) rather than vague or sweeping (“I want them to like me.”)

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Where?

Where will this communication take place? Will you be speaking in a boardroom, ballroom or your boss’s office? Will you be meeting someone at a bark park or ball park?

Will they be reading your copy online? Will you be talking on the phone, plane, elevator? Is this at a trade fair, networking function or business luncheon? At a 5 star hotel? U.S.? China?

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When?

Will this be at 4:30 pm on a Friday and everyone’s impatient to get out the door? 1:30 pm after a big lunch and everyone’s sleepy? 8 pm and people are tired after a long day? April 15th when people are focused on taxes? January 1st and people are thinking about New Year resolutions?

____________________________________________________________________________

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Why?

Go a sentence deeper. You’ve already identified your goals and what you hope to achieve … but WHY? You hope this company hires you SO you get to work for a business you believe in where you’re getting paid to do work you love? You want this company to donate $10,000 to your non-profit BECAUSE then you can give scholarships to 10 students? You want a more compelling elevator speech SO you feel more confident meeting new people at conferences?

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Good for you for taking the time to fill that out. Your clarity about the W’s will help you customize your communication so you’re better able to quickly capture the favorable attention of your group.

Now, either get a copy of my book POP! so you can make your insights and examples more compelling or contact us at Sam@SamHorn.com so we can help you tailor this presentation so you capture everyone’s interest in the crucial first 60 seconds.

“Remember, you’re more interested in what you have to say than anyone else is.” – Andy Rooney, 60 Minutes

I recently had the opportunity to attend Larry Benet’s SANG – an inspiring gathering of the top speakers, authors, executive coaches, social entrepreneurs, website designers, social media experts and internet marketers in the world.

What a great few days it was – leading-edge insights from Jack Canfield, Brian Tracy, Leigh Steinberg (the “original” Jerry Maguire), Kevin Harrington of Shark Tank, Ken Kragen (creator of We are the World and Hands Across America) and the brilliant Peter Diamantis, founder of the X Prize.

Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine, led a panel on the future of publishing.

With Amazon.com now selling more Kindle books than hardback and paperback books combined (!), and with books now available on aps, everyone was wondering, “What’s next?”

Well, what’s next is INTERACTIVE books – such as the new book from Al Gore from PushPOPPress.com which includes such gee-whiz features as QR codes. Just point your smartphone at one and it whisks you to websites and video clips.

What was clear though is that while the future of books is rapidly changing; the future of your book still depends on how clearly, crisply and compellingly you pitch it.

For example, someone at the program asked me, “What do you think of this idea for my next book?”

Hmmm. A few minutes later, I still had no idea what his book was about.

Yikes.

I told him, “This is why I wrote POP!

At our first Maui Writers Conference, we gave participants an unprecedented opportunity to pitch directly to top agents and editors. It was a rare opportunity to jump the chain of command and meet one-to-one with publishing decision-makers who had the power to give you a deal on the spot.

The first question in the pitch session was usually along the lines of, ‘What’s your book about? Why is it different or better than what’s already available?’

Brain freeze.

Many of the participants wasted ther ten minute-golden opportunity desperately trying to describe their book.

By then, it was too late.

See, publishers think, “If you’re not clear what your book’s about and why it’s worth buying, your readers won’t be either.”

I told my lunch partner, “Your goal is to create a 60 second or less book hook that passes the following 3 question test.

1. Do people UNDERSTAND what your book’s about? (Could they explain it to someone else after hearing your description?)

2. Are they INTRIGUED by what you just said? (Did their eyebrows go up? Are they motivated to want to know more?)

3. Can they REPEAT what you just said? (If they can’t repeat it, you’ll be “out of sight, out of mind.” Not good.)

How about you? Have you crafted a succinct elevator pitch for your book?

When people ask, “What’s your book about?” does your response elicit an enthusiastic “I want to read that!” If so, good for you.

If not, you might want to get a copy of my POP Your Pitch CD or MP3.

POP! Your Pitch & Proposal  (A MP3 digital audio download 62 min.)

POP! Your Pitch & Proposal

This one-hour program features my step-by-step, proven approach to creating pithy, powerful, persuasive pitches that have helped my consulting clients get publishers, TV/radio/print journalists, meeting planners and readeres interested in what their book has to say.

Be prepared to take notes. You’ll discover why I’m called The Pitch Whisperer and why these “can-use-it-immediately” techniques have been featured on MSNBC, BusinessWeek.com and FastCompany.com.

Hope these POP! Your Pitch techniques help you win buy-in for your book so your message gets out in the world and makes a positive difference for others and a prosperous living for you.

Guy Kawasaki . . . Genius in Action Part 2,

By Sam Horn, The Intrigue Expert

This is Part 2 of a 3-part series in which I share the specific things GuyKawasaki did so well in his keynote presentation at the Invent Your Future conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California.

You might want to have an upcoming presentation in mind while you’re reading this to get maximum benefit.

Guy Kawasaki . . . Genius in Action

Guy Kawasaki . . . Genius in Action - Sam Horn


What’s a situation you’ve got coming up in which you’ll be asking for approval, funding, support or a yes?

Who’s the decision-maker? Who has the power or authority to give you the green light or the support you need to move ahead with this idea or initiative?

What’s that person’s frame of mind? Or who will be in the audience and how receptive or resistant do you anticipate they’ll be?

Factor that into how you design and deliver your remarks – and use these techniques that were so masterfully modeled by Guy – to increase the likelihood you’ll have them at hello.

4. Guy had the courage to be counter-intuitive.

“Only dead fish swim with the stream all the time.” – Linda Ellerbee

The quickest way to lose an audience is to state the obvious.

The quickest way to engage an audience is to state the opposite.

Think about it. If you agree with everything a speaker says, why listen? The speaker is just confirming what you already know; not stretching you or teaching you anything new.

For example, he made a flat out recommendation, “EVERY ONE should go see the movie Never Say Never with Justin Bieber.”

As you can imagine, that got a “Really?!” response from this high-powered group of entrepreneurs and executives.

He then backed up his claim by saying, “It will teach you everything you need to know about marketing. Watch how Justin goes into the crowd before concerts and gives tickets to little girls who don’t have tickets.
Watch how. . . . “

He then upped the ante by promising, “If you don’t like the movie, I’ll give you your money back.” THAT’s putting a stake in the ground.

We appreciate speakers who have a passionate point of view – who dare to address (vs. tip toe around) the elephants in the room. Speakers who challenge our assumptions and admit the emperor has no clothes cause us to rethink what we “knew to be true.” They serve us at a higher level because we walk out wiser than we walked in.

5. Guy honors his family, mentors and contributors.

I want compassion to be the new black.” – American Idol judge Steven Tyler

Guy began by acknowledging a mentor in the audience, Marylene Delbourg-Delphis, who encouraged him to write. He frequently referenced colleagues including a special shout out to:

Facebook marketing guru Mari Smith in her trademark turquoise

Guy talked openly about his love for his wife, kids and parents and shared several “from the home front” stories of neighborhood hockey games, backyard bar-b-ques, etc.

What’s that got to do with anything? We like people who like their families.  In fact, novelist James Rollins, (NY Times bestselling author of Amazonia, etc.) told me he’s researched the ten best ways to create likable characters. Guess what #1 was? “Being kind to kids and animals, in particular, dogs.”

Simply said, our heart goes out to people who are compassionate.
This wasn’t contrived on Guy’s part. It’s simply who he is.

Many speakers think they have to be “serious” when speaking in business situations. Guy modeled that speaking affectionately about who and what has influenced us “warms up” a talk and establishes that all-important likability. He showed that not can we embody intellect and emotion – it’s more powerful and persuasive when we do.

6. Guy used The Power of Three to create oratorical flow.

“There’s a kind of ear music . . . a rhythmic synchronicity which creates a kind of heartbeat on the page.” – Allan Gurganus

Orators have known for centuries that communicating things in threes sets up a rhythmic flow that makes our message reverberate.

Furthermore, listing three real-world examples fleshes out your points and increases the odds every person will relate to at least one of your samples.

For example, Guy showcased Amazon.com, Zappos and Nordstrom on a slide to illustrate benchmarks of mutual trust.

He then went deeper by citing empirical evidence that showed how each of these companies have created a culture of mutual trust. But giving varied, yet specific examples (instead of one vague, sweeping generalization), we GOT what he meant.

No puzzled looks – no one left hanging.

For example, Amazon has a policy that says you can return an E-book in 7 days if you don’t like it. As Guy said,
most people can read a book in 7 days so that’s trust.

Next Guy asked, “Who would have believed a few years ago that hundreds of thousands of women would buy shoes online . . . WITHOUT TRYING THEM ON?!” What makes that possible is Zappos  visionary policy of paying for shipping both ways. No risk; all reward.

Nordstrom, of course, is famous for pioneering a generous refund policy that has proven over time that most people will honor the “We trust you” policy which offsets the few who take advantage of it.

Want more examples of how Guy Kawasaki hit it out of the park at the Invent Your Future Conference with his Enchantment keynote?

Sam Horn, Guy Kawasaki and Ruth Stergiou at the Invent Your Future conference in Silicon Valley

Ruth Stergiou, Guy Kawasaki and Sam Horn


Check the next blog for the final 4 ways Guy practiced what he taught.

Guy Kawasaki . . . Genius in Action,

By Sam Horn, The Intrigue Expert

 “It’s not enough to be the best at what you do; you must be perceived to be the only one who does what you do.” – Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead

I’m always keeping my antenna up for people who are one-of-a-kind at what they do.

I had the privilege of seeing one in action last week.

As The Intrigue Expert and a communication strategist for the past 25 years; I’ve seen and given thousands of presentations. (Really).

So, when I say Guy Kawasaki’s keynote at the Invent Your Future conference in Silicon Valley was one of the best presentations I’ve ever experienced, that’s saying something.

I was compelled to take notes because it’s a privilege to watch a master in action.

I shared my observations with Guy afterwards and am sharing them here so you can learn from his shining example and adopt/adapt some of his approaches so you can enchant (and intrigue) your future audiences.

Here’s why Guy’s keynote Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Action was a perfect 10.

Everyone was drawn in (and enchanted) -sam horn

Everyone was drawn in (and enchanted)

Please note: I’ve distilled this debrief of his brilliant presentations into three blog posts. Check back the next couple days to read and reap additional techniques.

      1.   Guy had us at hello.

“You’ve got to be a good date for the reader.” – Kurt Vonnegut

No perfunctory opening remarks. That would have been predictable and predictable is boring.

Guy pleasantly surprised everyone by starting with an amusing riff about how most speakers run long and no one’s ever angry at a speaker for ending early so he was going to jump right into things.

Guy knows people are BBB – (Busy, Bored or Been there-heard that) and that we make up our minds in the first 60 seconds whether someone is worth our valuable time, mind and dime.

He earned our good will in the first few minutes by being a “good date” and by kicking off with humor vs. the old-fashioned “Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em approach ” which would have had us reaching for our smart phones.

Bestselling author Elmore Leonard gave a keynote at the Maui Writers Conference (which I emceed for 17 years.) During the Q & A, a participant asked, “Why are your books so popular?” “Dutch” smiled and said, “I try to leave out the parts people skip.”

Guy was instantly popular because he left out the parts people skip.

      2.    Guy engaged our head and heart – our left and right brain – with facts and feelings.

“I never developed a plan for where I was going. I just counted on one interesting job segueing into the next. I let the universe do its work.” – Bernadette Peters

Any extreme is unhealthy. Many speakers (think engineers, IT professionals, physicians, professors, etc.) focus primarily on data, theories and facts. This makes for a lopsided speech because it’s long on logic but short on interest.

Other presenters (think motivational speakers) share inspiring stories but there’s no “meat” – no tangible takeaways we can apply to reap real-world results.

Guy was a sublime balance of head and heart. He let us know from the get-go he’d distilled his presentation into ten insights and 45 minutes.

People love top ten lists because it indicates you’ve done the homework for us and edited the superfluous, which means we’ll be hearing only the most salient points, the best of the best.

Anxiety is defined in two words: “not knowing.” If we don’t know how long this is going to take or the format, we may resent the speaker because, in a way, they’re keeping us in the dark and holding us hostage.

Covering 10 points (or 7 steps or 6 keys or whatever) in a specified amount of time builds pace and momentum and keeps a speaker on track because you don’t have time to ramble. Logical left-brainers think “Oh, good. This is clearly going to be bottom-line and a good use of my time because it’s measurable and replicable.”

Furthermore, a 10 point plan provides one of the quickest organizational constructs known to humankind because it provides an easy-to-understand-and-follow pattern. Listeners feel they’re in “the Allstate Plan” (they’re in good hands) and feel well-led as one interesting point segues into the next.

Better yet, Guy balanced rhetoric (words) with photos (senses) throughout his presentation. Everyone was drawn in (and enchanted) because he “peopled his points.” His beautifully produced slides featured intellectually satisfying ideas, visually stunning images and named individuals which produced a holistic sense of symmetry. Well done!

      3.    Guy condensed his concepts into one-of-a-kind sound bites.

“    Remember, you’re more interested in what you have to say than anyone else.” – Andy Rooney, 60 Minutes

“Invoke reciprocity”.

“Conduct a ‘Premortum.”

“Incur a Debt.”

“Frame Thy Competition.”

“Separate the Believers.”

These are just a few of Guy’s featured sound-bites (and chapter titles).

How could you NOT want to know more?

Guy got his ideas in our mental front door because he was not content to be common.

Instead of lazily sharing platitudes and clichés (“Make it a win-win. It’s all about team.”), he coined first-of-their-kind phrases that got our eyebrows up.

(Side note: What’s The Eyebrow Test? It is a technique described in my book POP! that gives you a way to test how compelling your communication is . . anywhere, anytime . . . in 5 seconds . . . for free.

Eyebrow Test? It is a technique described in my book POP!

The goal is to get their eyebrows UP

You don’t have to convene a focus group and spend thousands of dollars to determine whether your idea is commercially-viable.

Simply tell someone your main point (or your elevator speech, business name, book title, the first 60 seconds of your pitch/presentation, or the first paragraph of your marketing copy) . . . and watch their eyebrows.

If their eyebrows knit or furrow, it means they’re confused. They didn’t get it. And if they didn’t get it, you won’t get it.

The goal is to get their eyebrows UP.

Try it right now. Lift your eyebrows. Do you feel intrigued? Curious? Like you want to know more?

THAT’s your goal as a communicator – to get the eyebrows up of busy, distracted decision-makers because it means you just got your message in their mental door.)

Guy’s succinct sound-bites made his content POP! Because no matter how many books we’ve read or seminars we’ve attended, we’d never heard this before.

Comedian Jonathan Winters said, “I have a photographic memory. I just haven’t developed it yet. By developing original take-aways and NURDS (new words like Premortum), Guy made his content memorable and sticky.

Unique sound-bites give his content a long tail of influence. People love “the next new thing” and are more likely to share freshly-phrased ideas around the water-cooler – which means they’ll become Guy’s tribe and take his work viral by becoming his voluntary word-of-mouth ambassadors.

Phrases like “invoke reciprocity” are also monetizable and merchandisable.

People will pay for refrigerator magnets (or coffee mugs or t-shirts) with catchy phrases like this. This keeps you and your proprietary ideas “in sight-in-mind” with your target customers which gives your material even longer legs. It’s all good.

Check the next blog to discover more ways Guy demonstrated
platform brilliance.

Many clients have asked me to post my Top Ten Tips for Delivering a Winning Pitch article online so they can share it with their colleagues and take it viral.

Ask and ye shall receive.

Top Ten Tips for Delivering a Winning Pitch – by Sam Horn, The Intrigue Expert and inventor of The POP Process

You’ve invested months or years into developing your business.

Now, you have minutes to intrigue and impress potential investors.

The following tips can help you command the attention, respect and interest of decision-makers so they’re motivated to request a follow-up meeting.

1. Speak Loud and Clear So People in the Back Row Can Repeat Every Word:

Whether it’s fair or not, decision-makers determine your “clout” – your perceived ability to get things done on a grand scale – by the volume of your voice. People who speak softly aren’t perceived as powerful.

You don’t want to force people to have to say, “I can’t hear you.” That means they’re already frustrated with you. Project and e-nun-ci-ate so everyone in the room can repeat what you just said. Why is that important? If they can’t repeat it; they didn’t get it. And if they didn’t get it; you won’t get it.

2. Use Your Voice Like a Musical Instrument:

Use a warm, lower register voice to resonate with listeners. No iced drinks beforehand. They freeze your vocal chords & make you sound nasal. A high-pitched, “little girl” voice causes investors to doubt your ability to carry off a multi-million dollar venture. Ending with upward inflection makes you seem unsure – as if you’re asking for approval. Follow the example of broadcasters and end sentences with downward inflection so you’re exuding a voice of authority and will be considered an authority.

3. Speak to People’s Eyes to Engage Everyone in the Room.

The audience is not your enemy. Your goal is to connect with every single person in the room. Instead of having an unfocused gaze where you’re not really looking at anyone; mentally extend yourself to each individual by momentarily looking into their eyes so they feel you’re talking just to them.

You can do this even if there are hundreds of people in a ballroom by “quartering” the room and being sure to make eye contact with people in each corner of the room instead of sweeping the room with a robotic-like UZI approach or looking over everyone’s head with an empty gaze.

4. Pause and Punch:

Nervous speakers rush. Confident speakers deliberately pause before . . . and after . . . their most important points. Punching your most impressive points gives them an audio emphasis that helps them POP! out of everything that’s being said. Putting space around a particularly impressive credential or achievement (i.e., “sold to Microsoft,” “managed a 30 million dollar department,” “MBA from Harvard”) highlights it and gives listeners a chance to absorb and imprint it so they can remember it.

Jonathan Winters said, “I have a photographic memory; I just haven’t developed it yet.” People don’t have a photographic memory so it’s up to you to develop an easy-to-grasp pitch they like, want to listen to and can remember.

5. Eliminate Adversarial Words or Industry Jargon:

Review your slides and comments and remove the words “but,” “should,” “you’ll have to.” These words can make people feel ordered around, argued with or lectured to. Also, be sure to explain acronyms, industry jargon or technical terminology listeners may not be familiar with.

6. Tower, don’t Cower:

Your body posture says a lot about your confidence. Stand up right now and let your shoulders fall forward; put your feet close together and assume the “fig leaf” position. This “cower” stance makes you look and feel tentative and weak.

Now, pull your shoulders back, place your feet shoulder width apart and stand tall. This “tower” stance makes you feel and look more grounded and authoritative. People will conclude you know what you’re talking about and are a lot more likely to give you their respect because you look like a leader.

7. Command Attention and Respect From the Beginning:

Stride (don’t walk meekly . . . . stride confidently) to the center of the room and face the group so you are “open” to them. Pause for a moment and scan the entire room with a warm smile. Some self-conscious speakers start talking before they are “centered” and they never own the room. Some lock themselves behind the lectern to have a “barrier” between them and the group. Make a powerful, positive first impression by facing the group “head on” and by not starting until you have everyone’s attention.

If there are people behind you on a panel, stand to one side of the table so you don’t have your back to the panelists throughout the presentation. Keep your body facing the audience so you’re addressing and honoring the majority of the people in the room – and turn your head (not your whole body) to the panel occasionally to keep them enaged.

I’ll always remember a speaker who spent his entire 10 minutes talking directly to the panel (not even glancing at the rest of the room) because he thought the panelists were the judges. The judges were actually in the back of the room and they disconnected after 10 minutes of being ignored.

8. Move Strategically to Punctuate Your Points:

You don’t want to be rooted to one spot and you don’t want to pace. Repeated, non-purposeful motion is distracting. Determine in advance how you can move from “stage center” to “stage right” to get closer to that part of the audience and then to “stage left” to focus on that section of the audience.

Instead of gripping the lectern with both hands (which comes across as rigid or a desperate need to “hold onto something”) or clasping your hands together behind you or in front of you which lock you in to one stance – hold your hands like you’re holding a basketball so you can gesture freely and naturally.

9. Speak from Talking Points vs. Memorizing Your Speech:

Memorizing a speech or reading from a script disconnects you from the audience because you’re “in your head” repeating words you’re rehearsed. The audience might as well not even be there. The goal is to connect and communicate so compellingly, everyone is listening to and “getting” everything you say.

Instead of keeping notes in your hands, place them on the lectern so you can glance at them (or the tele-prompter or on-stage monitor) to remind yourself of key points without breaking your connection with the audience. Don’t talk to your slides – talk to your audience. Turn your back on the screen and keep your attention on the group so they’re keeping their attention on you.

10. Show and Tell with Props:

At the end of a long day, pitches start blending together and sounding alike. Visually reinforce your product by bringing a sample to the stage. Holding up an iPad or an iPhone while you talk about an app you’ve created helps us SEE what you’re SAYING. It makes your concept concrete and turns your idea into an image.

One client who created a software program that organized receipts/expenses brought her wallet to the stage and pulled out a dozen receipts from taxis, restaurants, hotels she’d collected in her trip to the NYC pitch forum. She then asked audience members if they had receipts scattered throughout their luggage they were probably going to lose, never report or never collect on. Everyone related to her message, remembered what she was offering, respected its market potential and wanted to talk with her afterwards. Compare that to a talk where she spoke solely about a “receipt aggregation system.”
– – – – – – – – – – –
Sam Horn, The Intrigue Expert, helps clients create clearn, compelling communications that win buy-in from target customers. She is the author of the critically-acclaimed POP! Create the Perfect Pitch, Title and Tagline for Anything which has been endorsed by Jeffrey Gitomer and featured in NY Times, Washington Post, MSNBC and BusinessWeek.com.

Did you find these tipson delivering a winning pitch useful? You’re welcome to forward them to others and share the wealth as long as you attribute them.

Want Sam Horn’s article on Top Ten Tips to Designing a Winning Pitch ?

(And yes, her article covers what to put on your power point slides).

Email us at Cheri@SamHorn.com and we’ll send it to you. And visit http://www.SamHorn.com for video clips on how to capture people’s favorable attention in the first 60 seconds by getting their eyebrows up.

“I learned at an early age that when I made people laugh, they liked me.” – Art Buchwald

This is a continuation of a series of how to capture attention online and in person with intriguing communication.

Tip #3 in the series is to Make ’em Laugh.

It’s based on the premise that we’ve got 30 seconds MAX to capture busy people’s attention. One of the best ways to do that? Get people to smile, chuckle or laugh out loud.

I told that to one client who had flown in for the weekend to consult with me on how to scale her business to the next level. She is aleady a highly successful keynote speaker and consultant in the healthcare industry, but knows she’s leaving money on the table. She is also really, really serious.

She said, “Sam, I’m not funny.”

I said, “Want good news? You don’t have to be. Other people are funny and you can hook and hinge their one-liners (with attribution) to your topic so you preface ‘aha’s’ with ‘haha’s.'”

She said, “But I’m not good at telling jokes.”

I told her, “Good, because that’s NOT what I’m talking about. Jokes come across as ‘canned’ and they often backfire. What I’m talking about is taking a one-liner that’s relevant to your topic and starting off with it to get a SMILE that favorably predisposes people to like you and what you say next.”

For example, if you’re talking about procrastination, you could quote Judy Tenuta, “My parents always told me I wouldn’t amount to anything because I procrastinated so much. I told ’em, ‘Just you wait.'”

Then, segue into your subject, “Are you waiting to schedule that physical exam? Are you procrastinating on seeing your doctor because you hope that ache will go away? Well, in today’s program . . . ”

I also told her, “When something funny happens to you, write it down, and figure out how you can include it in your work.”

For example, I was in the San Francisco airport, riding one of those ‘lazy sidewalks’ on the long walkway to the gates. I noticed a very tall man walking toward me. I couldn’t believe it. People in front of me were pointing at him and laughing. I thought, ‘How rude!’

As he got closer, I could see why they were laughing. He had on a t-shirt that said in very large letters, “No, I’m NOT a basketball player.”

I turned to say something to him and laughed out loud as soon as I saw the back of his t-shirt. It said, “Are you a jockey?”

I had to meet this Fun Fu! black belt. I got off the lazy sidewalk and raced back to catch up with him. I complimented him on his great sense of humor and asked, “Where’d you get your shirt?”

He smiled and said, “I grew a foot between the ages of 13 and 16. I didn’t even want to go out of the house because I was so self-conscious and everyone had to make a smart aleck remark.

My mom finally said, ‘If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.’ She’s the one who made this shirt for me. This is nothing. I’ve got a whole drawer-full of these at home. My favorite says, “I’m 6’13 and the weather up here’s fine.”

The point?

I use this story in my Tongue Fu! presentations to illustrate the power of having a clever, noncombative comeback for sensitive issues. If you’re tall, short, fat, skinny, bald or have acne; you’re going to hear about it. You might as well develop a repertoire of Fun Fu! remarkes so you can have fun with that issue instead of being frustrated by it.

As Erma Bombeck said, “If you can laugh at it; you can live with it.”

Next time, you’re communicating about a serious or sensitive issue, preface it with humor. People will be a lot more likely to like and listen to what you have to say.

Edward de Bono said, “It has always surprised me how little attention people pay to the power of humor since it is a more persuasive process of mind than reason. Reason can only sort out perecptions, humor changes them.”

Agreed. Would you like to learn how to use Fun Fu! to capture and keep attention for your work? Check out my books Tongue Fu!® and POP!
Both have chapters on how to use humor to get people’s favorable attention. Read ’em and reap.