I’m a big believer in using events to grow your business. Events provide a forum for you to showcase your expertise, grow your database, make new contacts and attract new clients.  And, if you’re in the front of the room as the expert and love engaging with the audience, it’s also fun!

In this article  5 Ways to Grow Your Business with Events by Eventgenioso, you’ll find events other than tradeshows to increase your ROI. Some examples? Experiential events for brand activation or product launches which pique the media’s attention. Training or seminars with high profile speakers in your industry, that even the fussiest client can’t refuse. And, incentive travel for new prospects and to jazz up your sales team. Fuel prices are low, everyone loves to travel and you can mix and match programs to target your goals. Have the courage to make it a mystery trip? 

As an INBOUND Guest Blogger (blogging is a great way to get media mention BTW), Joel Comm talks about using live events to drive business. In his post Live Events: The Fastest Way to Grow Your Business, he discusses the importance of meeting new people and building rapport with your audience. First, there’s getting to the like, know and trust stage. Then comes the opportunity to do business. Yes, live events can be fun and should be – but don’t forget the value of finding out what’s new (and trending) from vendors and starting conversations with strangers, who may one day be your client! 

Lastly, Constant Contact’s UK blog lists 7 Events to Grow Your Business with content definitely worth mentioning. You may be thinking networking or throwing a party right off the bat, but what about an Open House? I’ve suggested this to hospitals to Meet the Doc. There are also events to Get a Taste of “your subject”, expert/customer panels where advice and testimonials can be shared openly (great PR) and of course, Breakfast n’ Learn, to start the day off right. Make your own waffles, anyone?

Events work to build business, expert status, reputation and credibility.

If you’ve ever walked into a room and sensed a tense energy, I’m sure you’ve also seen this body language; arms crossed, polite but stiff interaction and most probably, limited eye to eye communication. Most people look at others but not into their eyes.

Is it because our eyes are the window to the soul?

We can all improve our body language and the way we communicate, which eventually could change or influence certain outcomes.  It could also improve our sales and marketing!

Michael Michalowicz, author and business mentor who writes for American Express Open Forum, outlines best body language practices for selling in 7 Body Language Tips to Help You Sell. He says that body language can kill a deal, and 90% of our communication is non-verbal.  You knew that, right? Tips to show our more confident selves? Slow down, practice the 3 C’s (be cool, calm and collected) and for heaven’s sakes, don’t touch your face, scratch your ears or rub your eyes. It could be a sign that you’re lying.

In this PositivityBlog article by Henrick Edberg, 18 Ways to Improve Your Body Language the author gives, you guessed it, 18 ways to change up the way you present yourself to show more confidence and appear more agreeable, even if you don’t agree! Some suggestions? If you’re in a conversation, mirror each other’s actions but not to the point of being weird, sit with a wider stance to look more comfortable in your own skin, and lower your drink holding it below your heart to look less guarded!

And finally, in CareerOverview.com, we have a comprehensive list of 50 Body Language Secrets. I’ll list some of the don’ts to see if you’re at fault.

Avoid these Negative Body Language Actions

Don’t:

  • Scrunch your forehead
  • Walk away while you’re talking
  • Tap your feet
  • Yawn or cough (it shows you’re bored)
  • Or, clench your fist

I’ve been in more than a few sales calls, meetings and workshops where I’ve witnessed a collection of these actions, all during the sales process. No one’s perfect, but be mindful of your body. Love it and learn what its’ language means.

After all, the right body language not only influences people, but can help you attract the man/woman of your dreams.

PS – Lots of speaking gigs coming up for me this Spring and I’m excited to be presenting more. This week, I got a Direct Message on Twitter asking me to apply as a Speaker for a big social media convention in April. Social Media works but you have to be in it to win it!

This morning, I got up at 6:00 am to launch my Q2 PR and marketing strategy and attend a Boston University Alumni breakfast networking event.  It’s part of a heavily promoted month-long career month to bring alums and professional together – and connect recent grads with seasoned professionals. (Did you like how I said that)?

It was my first networking event sponsored by BU, other than going to cheer on the Terriers in hockey, and I’m glad I went. Why?

Networking Opens the Doors for Opportunities

  • First, how great to see someone who knows and respects your work. A genuine smile and hug in a room full of strangers is almost always welcome. I’m a hugger, but if you’re squeamish, keep in the comfort of your own boundaries.
  • Networking gives you a chance to hear what others are doing in the marketplace and notice opportunities to connect, partner, refer, work or collaborate together. There were quite a few COM (communications) grads there and possibilities are brewing!
  • Meeting face to face with a brand new circle extends your promotional reach in ways you can’t imagine. It also reinforces your expert status with a whole new group that may one day –become raving fans.
  • There are no rules to revising your elevator pitch. Modify your message according to what you need in the present moment, and the crowd. The elevator pitch police won’t have a warrant out for your arrest if you change it up.
  • Talk with people who may not be your target audience, because they might know someone who might be the perfect fit. Profiling isn’t always in your best interest.

My colleague, who I met while speaking at the Small Business Expo and at the Boston Business Journal enthusiastically endorsed me in front of a room full of strangers. Love that! Thank you, Joy! She’s involved with a new venture working with entrepreneurs and small business owners, and it happens that I’m speaking with her mentor on a national level this week.

From my meeting this morning, I already got invited to speak on a panel in early April and begin preliminary discussions of a potential world-wide tour.

If I didn’t get up at 6 am I would have missed this. Will other opportunities to increase my PR and marketing expertise show up?  Definitely.

Say yes more often than you say no and see what happens.

Oh, and set your alarm clock.

PS:  Sign up now for the Digital Marketing Weapons Event at  Sleek Marketing University on Saturday, 3/26. I’ll be speaking about How to Get Free Publicity for Your Business and Grow Your Brand. Use the code CONTACT for 50% off – since many of you were at the Constant Contact event where I spoke on March 1.

Want more info? Read these other articles on improving your online presence. 9 Cool Free Publicity Tools and Tactics,7 Easy Ways to Get Attention Without Selling Your Soul and How Do I Get More PR and Online Visibility  We’re all experts in training!

Today I’ll be speaking at Constant Contact about PR Power on a Budget. There should be about 100+ people in the room and I’m on first. All good with me.  I sent in my presentation last week, practiced and decided on an outfit, with a backup just in case.

Does What You Wear Make an Impression on Your Audience?

If you said no, I’ll beg to differ. If you said yes, you’re right! I always tell audiences, “you are your brand wherever you go” and it’s no different on stage. There could be a roomful of prospects that are interested in what you have to say and perhaps wonder what you could do for them. In my case, they want to see me at my best, and I want to give them my best. The total package. I’m also speaking about my passion, “How to Market Yourself” or a variation of the PR theme.  Clothes do count so wear them well and smile for the camera!

Here are 5 Tips on Styling for the Stage or Giving a Presentation and Elevate Your Brand:

  1. Always dress a few steps above your audience. You are the expert and should dress like one. If you’re speaking from stage and are any good, the audience wants to aspire to be like you. Confident and successful. And if you’re selling, it’s even more important. Play the part with your dress, attitude and aura. You’re probably not selling a $49 service.
  2. Many years ago, I made the huge mistake of wearing a red jacket with a leopard collar to a blue chip law firm for a Ryder Cup Event meeting.  I thought I looked jazzy, but the client apparently didn’t think so.  I should have worn a more stylized ‘dress code’ selection, but I didn’t even think about it.  If you’re going to give a presentation to a conservative client or firm, don’t wear the leopard collar. Find something appropriate and accessorize gently. Learn from my 5 figure mistake.
  3. If the audience can smell your cologne, perfume or moth balls from the stage, that’s bad. I’ve been in elevators where I’ve held my breath and the ride to the 30th floor almost did me in. Everything you do has to be brand on, and that includes how you smell.  It seems foolish to even have to mention, but I’ve been at 2 events lately where it mattered.  I suppose I didn’t have to sit in the first row.
  4. Shoes count, especially with women. Women check out other women’s shoes. In fact, women check out everything.  And ask questions like, who cuts your hair and other sometimes personal questions you might think off limits.  My advice, answer at your own risk, or not. You were brought up to answer questions, but you don’t always have to.
  5. Tight dresses and short skirts. Men check out how tight dresses are and how short skirts are, but women take it all in too. Needless to say, refrain from daisy duke dresses and ladies, wear Spanx. Also walk in from the side of a room if you have the chance.  I talk about it in my upcoming book, why. Hmmm.

A few other suggestions.  Men, be sure that your pants are zipped because there’s nothing more horrifying than to have your fly open on stage.  No joke, not that I look, but I saved two speakers from a very embarrassing moment and let’s just say they were grateful.  And ladies, make sure that you have extra pantyhose, because runs really do look bad on stage. And the pink polish to stop the run, is so yesterday.

Wake up extra early too and get to your location well ahead of time. Have 3 copies of your presentation in different places or devices. As another piece of advice, just keep the most recent version. I once delivered a presentation to 300 people and it was a near final draft with notes I made to myself.  When I realized it on stage, I covered my mouth in horror then laughed. It was the most authentic presentation I ever gave and one of the most successful.

Go figure.

Style up your brand. Speak to build an audience. And have fun.

Life is short and you can’t be working all the time.

PS – Remember I gave 2 talks to University Students in Puerto Rico? The University of Puerto Rico had a television crew before my event and did a news segment on me, in Spanish and English.  I never expected it, but it was fun.  You can snag publicity while you’re on vacation! I’ll post the interview on Twitter. Follow me @RobinSamora.

Who doesn’t love free PR? If you’ve been running a business for a while, you know the importance of getting your name out there. If you don’t need any more online or offline PR, then do tell – and share your secrets here!

As an expert, or hope to be influencer, speaking in front of a targeted audience is an opportunity to talk about your business, but also show your smarts, personality and skill.
That’s all well and good, but how do you get invited to speak in front of your perfect target audience?

First, you’ll need to do some homework and create a list of leaders, groups and associations who serve your target clients. The decision to speak locally or travel depends on your goals, budget and schedule.  And, what circuit you’re on.

But, before you begin the process, you’ll need to make sure you’re ready to present yourself at your very best.

I highly recommend this article by Sarah Lloyd-Hughes of Ginger Public Speaking. She mentions getting clear on why you’re speaking, creating a video and speaker sheet outlining several of your signature talks.  You might also want to have a ‘speaking page’ on your website so prospects can know more about you, before they call.

Speaking also provides a certain ‘celebrity status’ and a chance to practice your pitch. Lynan Saperstein penned this article Entrepreneur Speaking Opportunities 101: Why You Need to Be Speaking and How to Get Started for TheBigFactor.com. She talks about the importance of speaking to increase your expert status and includes valuable tips on pricing. Even if you don’t think so, there are benefits to speaking for free, especially if you’re persuasive, have a large audience and a powerful call to action!

If you’ve been, there done that with free speaking, and want to get paid, check out this resource from Enterpreneur.com. It gives you a quick overview on where to find paid speaking gigs by targeting industry associations, booking consulting at companies (according to Business Week, last year consulting topped at $39.3 billion dollars) and using the latest technology to sign prospects up for more information – by text or apps in synch with your email provider.

Lastly, I wouldn’t be a good sharer of information unless I gave you this website, which is one of the most valuable I’ve ever found on speaking.  It’s called www.SpeakerNetNews.com.  It’s a keeper with tips on topics key to the speaking business. Use it as a reference for your questions and how to’s.

Speaking is one of the fastest ways to build a mailing list and database of raving fans. Promote yourself as an expert, increase your credibility and like, know and trust factor. Set the stage for client attraction, just by being you.  It takes time and leg work, but the results are amazing.

Travel the world and get paid for it.  Someone has to do it.

Like this article?  Check out other related articles from my blog, 3 Keys to a Better Keynote, Rather Die than Speak in Public? and 5 Reasons to Hire a Stylist and Upgrade Your Look.

Who doesn’t like free publicity?

Free publicity is one of my favorite subjects to talk about because it’s all about PR Power on a Budget. You can get the biggest bang for your buck when you utilize all of the tricks and tools that are available to promote yourself or your business.

I could go on for days about all of your options, but for today – let’s concentrate on 3 Ways to Get Free Publicity to put you on the right path!

First up, read one of my own articles called 7 Reasons to Give a Workshop. Technically, by giving a workshop you aren’t working for free – but there are countless publicity and marketing opportunities you can take advantage of by hosting and promoting your own events. Read the full article here on how events help you get free publicity to promote your brand, raise your expert status and of course – help you get noticed!

Next, let’s look at what promotion vehicles you have in place and how you can use them to your advantage.  If you have a blog and are writing as often as you should be, you have a great way to get free publicity for your own business. Write about your new product launch, where you’re speaking next or your own charity involvement.  Get permission to link to other businesses or influence leaders circles — and make sure to promote your blog articles on social media for that extra punch.

Lastly, I want to point out a tool I use all the time — HARO or Help A Reporter Out.  HARO is a secret weapon I recommend to all of my clients to build their media presence.  In basic terms, you answer queries from hungry journalists and by positioning your responses the right way, you can get quoted and interviewed in a variety of publications, tv, radio and blog sources. If you want to learn about how HARO works and how to use it to your advantage, read this article chockfull of good advice!

I write and speak often about free publicity tools and tricks, so be sure to follow me on Twitter @RobinSamora to learn more!

Ever since I was a kid, I always liked to talk. I wasn’t necessarily a Chatty Cathy, but I loved the opportunity to share my thoughts and sit at the grownups table to listen and give my two cents.  My parents encouraged table talk and it seemed natural, so eventually I went to school for Public Communication.

Fast forward quite a few years, and I still like to talk.

Only now, it’s lead to speaking– on stage, at workshops and to small groups who have interest in promoting themselves or their businesses.  I’ve had several opportunities to speak recently and each time I’m grateful, humbled, excited, nervous and experience a range of emotions – including getting choked up when I’m speaking my truth!

In preparing a speech or talk, the lion’s share of the work is done beforehand– researching your audience, connecting with insiders and choosing your stories and words carefully – to elicit an emotion, inspire a call to action or teach, without preaching.

Inspiration can come from many places and sometimes my inspiration comes from TED talks. You may know their tagline as ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’.

Below I’ll do my part today and ‘spread’ these ideas on design, marketing and branding.  Let me know what you think!

What physics taught me about marketing.

Design is in the details!

The greatest TED talk ever sold.

One last mention. Did you know there’s a TED talk app? I downloaded it to my phone so whenever I have 10 minutes or an hour to wait somewhere — I can choose a talk that inspires me at the moment and listen.

I call that Inspiration on Demand.

As my clients have expanded into greater speaking roles, so have I, and it’s an exciting process to learn and share tips and processes to make a more dynamic presentation.

It’s a given that you have a message to deliver that’s powerful and targeted to your audience. But I’d like to make a few key suggestions to help you go from good to great – so you can deliver a talk that has impact.

These marketing tips can be used for a keynote speech, like the one I’m delivering for #GoBrandYourself week at Fresno State, but also in talks that aren’t designated to kick off an event or end a conference.

Speaking to a group can influence an audience to take action, up-level your branding and create a PR trail that you can’t get engaging one on one.

3 Keys to a Better Keynote (or speech):

  • Do you have a list of questions to ask the organizer or the person that’s hiring you? Get clear on  who your audience really is, what their challenges are and how you’ll share solutions. Questions can be as simple as, “who’s the greatest success story in the room,” or (yikes) “will someone try to undermine me (ie, is there a trouble maker in the room that I need to be aware of)?” There are about 30 questions on my pre-event questionnaire and knowing the answers to most of these in advance of your stage debut will help you – beyond words.  Trust me. Take the time to do your homework.
  • Have you asked if you’ll have your own dedicated A/V technician or are you running solo? From experience, don’t go solo if you have a choice! Ask who your A/V technician will be and an hour before your presentation meet him/her. Bring your presentation on your laptop or other device, plus have it on a flash drive as a safety factor. Also, consider tipping your A/V person $10 before you begin. Tipping doesn’t always work to ensure better service, but in my world it does.  I like to have someone in my corner who has my back (and mic) before I go on stage.  You?
  • If you’re mic’d/miked , be aware that your microphone is always on, until you shut it off. I’ve heard horror stories of toilets flushing and conversations which should have been private while someone was miked.  To ask — will you be using a hand held microphone which is a little more difficult if it’s a long speech, or a lavalier? Ladies, FYI, if you’re using a lavalier, make sure you’re comfortable with your under layers (or jacket off) while you’re getting ‘hooked up’.  No wink intended.

There are multiple platforms for you to share your message.  Speaking is just one avenue, compounded by social media and other targeted marketing.

What’s most important is that you share your brilliance, in any way you can.

Find your target audience, speak from your heart and rock it!

Here’s to your success,

It’s been said (and felt) that a #1 fear of many people is public speaking, with death a close second. Death may be feared because you don’t necessarily know when it’s coming, but speaking in front of an audience is usually a choice.  Why be judged? Why put yourself at risk?

Right off the bat, public speaking gives you an opportunity to convey a message. To make a difference. To showcase YOU and your expertise.

Overcoming the fear of public speaking will open more doors than you can imagine.

To get you started, I’ve collected a few articles that offer some insight on this fear. And, as in many fears and phobias, the first part is acknowledging that you have one!

Let’s start with Five Reasons Why The Fear Of Public Speaking Is Great For You. I read the title twice before diving in.Yes, there are 5 reasons! Find out why a fear of public speaking can actually help you become a better public speaker.

If you’ve ever watched a TED talk, you know they have some of the best and most interesting speakers in the world on their stages. Check out 7 Powerful Public Speaking Tips From One of the Most-Watched TED Talks Speakers. You’ll find tips and a few tricks you can use today.

Then, when you’ve read these two articles and you just KNOW you want to move past your fears, learn from someone who’s been there and done just that.

How I (Finally) Got Over My Fear of Public Speaking gives you a good idea on how to tackle and overcome the jitters of public speaking.
Now as for me? I’ll be giving a keynote address for #GoBrandYourself week at Fresno State in April.

I’ll read these articles again and share.

Dear New Year, Bring it On!

I’m always excited about possibility and my senses are keenly aware of the expansion that’s forthcoming in 2015.  Not just for me and my business, but for my friends and family, and fellowpreneurs I don’t even know yet.

Every year I like to look at highlights of my life in a visual timetable. I’ve borrowed this concept from one of my speech coaches because I’m nervous of forgetting important topics on stage.  We’re not presenting (except to ourselves) so I love this exercise to identify life events and business accomplishments.

Here’s a portion of my timeline for 2014 – want to draw one for yourself?

(Click to View Larger)

(Click to View Larger)

January – Lived in a ski house, seaside furnished apartment and Puerto Rico.

February – Worked from the slopes. Triple time on weekends.

March – Moved in to my farmhouse – I love it! A bittersweet time in my life.

April – Traveled to Prague and Budapest. Got pampered. Really fell in love.

May – Grateful for 3 new clients and writing projects.

June – Wonderful recruiting project.

July – Finished my first children’s book. Family time. Working at the island and Rye Beach.

August – Super busy with client work.

September – Woo Hoo!  The team is cranking! Speaking gigs, articles and panels.

October – Expo talk, trips to NY, birthday love, VIP days.

November – Hiring to fill positions – VIP days.

December – Big expansion plans  Great referrals Family time  Holiday surprises.

Late December – Booking new work, webinars and FUN for 2015!

Remember, you can add whatever events or accomplishments you like to your own timetable.  They can be words or images. Simple or complicated. Pictures or photos. If you create a digital version, it can have links or music or…

In reality, this is a visual map you’ve created for yourself, much like a PR or Promotions Business Building Map we create with clients (with your goals in mind)!

It’s no surprise that I love to schedule my life around my business and am blessed with a talented team to help me get there. I’ve never been a 9 to 5 er, but I can work like the dickens!

When you buy your new calendar, fill in your vacations first, even if it’s just an idea. Then plan your work around it. Writing your dreams on paper is the first step toward making it happen. Then, keep writing.  

Wishing You Happiness, Health and Prosperity in 2015.

PS –Thoughts really can turn into reality. And, it’s all possible. Share your big hopes for 2015 below.