1. Do you know your audience? It’s important to know who you’re pitching and what they want. Don’t sell ice to an Eskimo living in Hawaii unless they own an ice making business! What’s your big vision and does it fit with who’s buying?  Think it through on paper and make sure it works!
  2. Are you passionate about your idea? Passion makes a big difference in presenting a concept and often, enthusiasm is lost if there’s a publicist or hired gun doing the talking. If you’re the presenter, make sure you have positive energy and communicate with a high vibration. It shows not only in the voice, but also in the body. Twinkling eyes are a bonus!
  3. How professional are you? Professionalism is critical not just in writing, but in delivering. For Good Morning America, Tory needs to know without a doubt that the company presenting is totally operational and can deliver great customer service – even if the company is tiny! Talk the talk and believe it yourself!
  4. Are you prepared? Many entrepreneurs want ‘it’ to happen, but aren’t ready and launch discussions prematurely. If you’re overly excited and not ready with all the facts and figures, there’s a chance you may lose an opportunity and be passed over by someone who’s got their ducks in a row. When you speak up – be ready!
  5. Will you leave a positive or negative impression? Often negative impressions are longer lasting than positive ones. Make it a point to practice your pitch not only in front of a mirror, but test it with people who’ll give you honest feedback. If the feedback is similar from all parties – it doesn’t mean you’re bad, it just means that you need to tweak your pitch!
  6. Are you crystal clear? When it’s your moment to shine, be crystal clear about who you are and what you’re offering. A confused mind never buys and certainly won’t put you on Good Morning America. Again, clarity comes from practice.  At our last SBANE meeting (Smaller Business Association of New England), we talked about this article from Forbes on public speaking lessons from the world’s greatest Ted Talks. It’s worth reading.
  7. How about your confidence? Competence and confidence go hand in hand. Sometimes, we get nervous when there’s a big opportunity and ask for what we want. Frankly, it’s silly because we KNOW OUR STUFF. You might get lucky and who you pitch may be gentle and work it out of you, but that’s not always the case. Go for it. Be confident or you may lose the opportunity if you’re weak in your presentation.
  8. Are you concise and to the point? Tory told the audience she has three minutes on-air to sell five products. So, a thirty minute lunch for her with a prospective entrepreneur is out of the question. She suggests networking and practicing your elevator pitch for brevity – so others can repeat it in a sentence.

You might not know it, but you pitch on a daily basis. Keep it simple. Practice passionately. And, deliver from your heart.

Twinkling is a bonus, especially this time of year.

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.

If you’re in sales, marketing or a public speaker interested in maximizing their brand and image, think about hiring a stylist.

Your initial reaction may be similar to my first thoughts. “That’s way out of my league and too expensive.”

The truth is, a talented stylist is worth their weight in gold – especially if you want to look and feel your best and command the room with confidence and style.

If (and when) you hire a stylist, be willing to be vulnerable and open to suggestions. Your wardrobe advisor and image consultant has been trained, not just in the fashion sense, but in what flatters your body type. What you see as faults, have been seen thousands of times by other stylists and studied.

And yes, there are solutions.Beautiful young stylist near rack with hangers

Your flaws can be minimized and your most attractive features accentuated with a stylist’s recommendations and guidelines.

Here are 5 Reasons to Hire a Stylist: 

  1. After you’re over the initial, OMG, I can’t believe I’m hiring a stylist, you’ll realize that a stylist is a spot coach — just like I’m a spot coach for PR, small business marketing and free publicity. A stylist helps their clients look their best and improve their image with wardrobe essentials. You are your brand wherever you go. So, look fantastic!
  2. A stylist looks at you with different eyes than you look at yourself.  A trained professional sees your assets, not the negative parts of yourself you want to blink away. Stylists have your image, lifestyle and brand in mind for how you want to show up. They have a strategy in mind and a plan. Follow it to get noticed.
  3. Love the fact that your stylist is connected.  They’ll hook you up with their A-list of resources, tailors and beauty folk. They’ll share their favorite store contacts and will call ahead to make sure you’re treated like a VIP. Guys, listen up. This includes you too. The secrets of stylists could save you thousands of dollars and time that you don’t have.
  4. Shopping can be as easy as you like. It’s possible that you’ll fall in love with your UPS or Fed Ex driver every day when they show up with new outfits. Feel weird about all the attention? Love yourself more and more as you look in the mirror and experiment with new styles. Imagine yourself in front of your audience with only two thoughts; how great you look and how much they want to buy from you. (Think positive, right)?
  5. A paid speaker or professional should look like the price they’re charging. Say you’re charging $2500 for a workshop. Shouldn’t your outfit reflect your expertise and the richness of your work? Heck, yeah. Step into your power and awesomeness!  Upgrade your look to be consistent with your talent, skill and offer.

I’m a fan of virtual styling and like to look at clothes on line because it’s relaxing.  Others like meeting their stylists at their favorite stores, or wherever they’re told to go. Every person and situation is unique.

If you invest in your education and mentoring, why not invest in your wardrobe and image.

Tie everything together for maximum impact.

After all, it’s your PR and marketing brand we’re talking about.

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.

I’m blessed to work with clients who want to increase their visibility and take their message to the next level.  They understand that public speaking – or speaking from the stage – allows them an opportunity to reach a bigger audience, have more impact and connect on a deeper and more personal level. 
 
That said, many speakers who haven’t had the privilege to work with Toastmasters, or practice with a private coach or mentor, may feel anxious in front of a room and stop themselves by not sharing their message because of fear of going blank, looking stupid or freezing on stage. I’ve had all those fears and  still take a deep breath and ground myself (as best as possible) before every presentation.  
 
Yes, it does get easier after every speech – and with practice – but it’s always helpful to learn speaker success secrets along the way.  Here are a few I’d like to share:
 
5 Speaker Tips to Take You to the Top

  1. Divide the room into three, and pick one person in each section to look at. This will allow you to connect eye to eye with at least 3 people in the audience, but also give you an opportunity to scan the room.  Think of each of these three people as your friends. They like you.  They want you to succeed. Let them feel that.
  2. Put some energy into your smile. Showcase your personality. Even if you feel like you’re ‘putting it on’,  overdeliver.  Audiences typically have chosen to hear you and want to see that you’re not only an expert, but also enjoy your topic, are informative and in some cases, entertaining. You can be a boring speaker, or an upbeat one. Ask me, I’ll tell you that upbeat trumps boring, any day of the week.
  3. Have a kick to your step. When you walk on stage, come in from the side of the room (so people aren’t looking at your backside, lovely as that may be). Let the audience know you’re enthusiastic about speaking to them. Movement, except jiggling change in pockets, helps a speaker relax and look more experienced as they address the audience from different angles of the room.
  4. Go with the flow.  I once spoke in front of 200 people and the wrong presentation came up on screen. At first I was horrified, then laughed and acknowledged my shock to the audience.  I’m grateful that they laughed too, seeing my vulnerability. The moment of truth came, I showed up fully and got 3 new clients.  Phew!
  5. Give to the audience. Offer to share your presentation. Promote a special offer to connect with them on social media.  Ask for their support  — you’ve got the stage!  This may be the first time you personally engage with them, but it doesn’t have to be the last. Remember that members  of your audience could one day be prospects or clients – and refer you to other revenue generating activities.

Above all, be grateful and appreciative for the opportunity to be in front of a willing audience who is there to hear your message. Practice does make perfect, but you’ll never  know your full potential and power  if you don’t put yourself out there.  

YOUR TURN:

Do you practice a ‘lucky’ routine before every speaking engagement? Care to share?
Who is your favorite at home audience? Your iPhone, kids, or BFF?  
How do you pamper yourself before and after a speech?  

Speak your truth, share your voice, and show up 100%.

In a world with over 7 billion people and an internet that never sleeps, I’m guessing there must be at least a million experts who can comment with some authority on ways to increase visibility and offer positioning advice for success.

There is no one formula that works, and every entrepreneur, professional or business owner has to create their own promotional mix that they can commit to, to get the results they are looking for.

The bottom line in both cases is:

If you don’t create a visibility or promotions plan, and ‘work it’ to get your brand, products or services out there, chances are that you won’t build the recognition, leadership position,  or ‘buzz’ that you’re looking for to increase your rates, expert status, or income.  

Here are 5 Ways to Increase Your Visibility in 2014

1.       Choose 3 – 5 Vehicles as the Keys to your Promotion Strategy

Whether you choose Google +, your blog, LinkedIn, video marketing, Twitter, Pinterest, industry-specific websites, or any other vehicles, pick 3-5 and make them the centerpieces of your promotion strategy over the next year. Remember to populate them with engaging and original content that is first and foremost relevant to your target audience. Give them a reason to like, trust, respect, and ultimately, partner with and/or refer you.

2.       Deliver Workshops and Lectures

Don’t worry about not being paid – you’ll be paid a hundred times over with new business opportunities that may come immediately afterwards, or weeks, months or even years after. Just be sure that whatever your share is congruent with your brand, adds value, solves a problem and offers solutions. And if you’re one of the millions of people who dread public speaking, this is the perfect opportunity to face that fear and finally conquer it!

3.       Showcase Your Brand

Make it a point to put your name and website url not just on your business card, but on all collateral material – as well as when you post comments on other people’s blogs, if you’re answering an Op-Ed or publishing a white paper. Be sure to take advantage of every opportunity to promote your business in personal and business settings. The more often you share your brand and what you do, the greater your chances are of success.

4.       Volunteer at Community and Industry Events

Volunteering isn’t just good for the world, it’s also good for you.  And, being of service in your own backyard helps your community as well as presents an opportunity to network one- on- one with fellow business owners and C-level executives. Choose community or industry events that resonate with you and volunteer with an open heart.  You’ll feel rewarded and be of service to a cause that’s important to you as well as make a difference.

5.       Be a News Source

There are free press opportunities every day that can increase your company’s visibility if you know where to find them. One of my favorites is HARO (HelpAReporterOut.com). Sign up for their complimentary service and you’ll receive emails on a daily basis from reporters, researchers and talent scouts who are looking for experts like you – to share their opinions on various platforms. Being published or on the air is an instant way to build credibility and leadership position within your industry, and add content to your all-important press kit.

The Bottom Line

Lastly, I urge you to do yourself what could be the biggest favor of your professional life and ditch attitude of waiting until your marketing is “flawless” before you get out there and start making waves. Yes, you want to make a great impression and build strong relationships, but if you keep holding back until the stars perfectly align, then you’ll be waiting…and waiting…and waiting. Don’t be an obstacle to your potential: take the plunge. It will be worth it.

YOUR TURN:

What will you do differently this year to liven up your PR/promotion plan?

What’s on your list to try – to be more visible in your industry?

Do you have any tips you’d like to share, so others can benefit from your success?

How can you be more charismatic in your presentation?

Questions for thought…as we increase visibility in the New Year.

 

As a mentor to entrepreneurs and PR enthusiast, I’m often asked what to say as part of an elevator speech – those two or three sentences you memorize, rehearse and deliver in front of a business or networking group. I’m a firm believer that your perfected pitch can initiate and spark engaging conversations and open doors of opportunities to connect, anywhere in the world.

“So, what do you do?”

Formerly a Nervous Nellie and reluctant presenter, I can speak from experience that public speaking gets better with practice and you can overcome the anxiety of a mini-introduction when you don’t overthink it, try to impress people or be someone you’re not. How often we forget how fabulous we are!

Here are five (5) Tips to Creating a More Effective (and Personal) Elevator Speech that will Help You Stand Out from the Crowd:

  • Have An Attitude: Be upbeat and animated in your introduction. Your energy should be contagious so people will want to know you.
  • Solve a Problem: What do you do, sell or promote that solves a problem? Your introduction will resonate with someone in the audience who has a need.
  • What Makes You Different? Be memorable, and fun. LOL is free. Sometimes, I introduce myself as ‘Rockin Robin’. What’s catchy about who you are or what you do?
  • Be of Service: Allow people the opportunity to get to know you. Be generous in your time and attention. I give prospects a free 20 minute consultation on how to get more PR. My advice is genuine, to the point and I’m happy to offer new ideas.
  • Connect the Dots: Engage with your audience, expand your circle of influence and be willing to kiss a few frogs! You never know who others may know.

Here’s my last tip. Take out your iPhone, set it up on the counter and push record.

See what others see in you, not just the flaws you see in yourself.

By Victoria Stagg Elliott, amednews staff. Posted Sept. 10, 2012

Online marketing strategies are important, but experts on marketing medical practices say it takes more than a virtual presence to persuade people to visit a particular physician and tell friends and family to do the same. Practices may have to use some good, old-fashioned paper, metal or plastic to get out various messages.

“Patients are seeing 10,000 messages a day,” said Steven V. Dubin, president of PR Works in Kingston, Mass., who works with medical practices “If you want yours to break through the clutter, you need to make sure it’s high-impact and in different forms.”

Such marketing efforts do not have to consume large amounts of money or staff time. Actually, some of these six quick and cheap ways to get the message out are deceptively simple.

1. “Open to new patients” sign. A physician’s current patients may be his or her biggest fans, but they may not know the practice has room for more. A sign in the waiting room saying something along the lines of “Your referrals are among the highest forms of flattery” or “We are accepting referrals at this time. We appreciate recommendations to your friends, family and co-workers,” may persuade current patients to help spread the word.

“A lot of people won’t think of referring until you ask them to,” said Robin Samora, founder and president of Let’s Make You Shine, Business and PR Strategy, a public relations firm in Boston. “You need to tell them you have an opening in the practice.”

The sign should be professionally created out of metal or plastic. Handwritten signage can look tacky and be a turnoff, public relations experts said.

2. Tchotchkes. Another suggestion from experts on marketing medical practices is to offer an item that is appropriate for the practice and that patients would like to use. For example, a pediatric practice could give children silicone wristbands to promote awareness of various health-related causes. Calendars and magnets with the practice’s name and address may work. Practices encouraging physical fitness may do well handing out branded pedometers.

“Practices need to consider their target market and how they are going to reach them,” Samora said.

These tchotchkes may serve as reminders to current patients about the practice, but others also might see the information. For example, a refrigerator magnet may be an easy way for a patient to find a practice’s phone number, but it also could be noticed by visitors.

3. Office open house. Depending on the type of practice, an open house could show established patients that they are appreciated and introduce the office to potential patients. The open house may include an educational component, such as a brief presentation by a physician, or minor health screenings, such as blood pressure checks by other office staff. Or it may be a chance for patients to sit down casually with a physician to discuss philosophy of care. An open house also many be an opportunity for a practice to show off a redesign or new equipment.

“This can be a learning opportunity for both parties,” Samora said. “Patients get to ask questions, and physicians learn what the common questions are.”

These events can be promoted through communication with patients who are asked to invite friends and relatives.

4. Public speaking event. Community organizations usually are looking for speakers, which means opportunities for physicians to talk about their areas of expertise. This, in turn, can make the practice more attractive to current patients and bring in new ones. Marketing experts advocate talking to audiences who mirror the kind of patients the practice is hoping to attract.

“Give your knowledge away,” said Rina Shah, principal and founder of Rilax Strategies, a communications consultancy based in Washington. “What you know about medicine and wellness is interesting and valuable to others. Offer to speak at local health expos, to women’s groups or business clubs on a topic related to public health. You will gain valuable exposure.”

5. “Buck slip.” A billing statement can do more than ask for money. It can include a “buck slip,” or dollar-sized piece of paper with information about the practice, available services, honors the physician may have received recently and requests for referrals.

“You’re already sending out the piece of mail,” Dubin said. “You might as well take advantage of that.”

These may be created simply and cheaply on office word processing software and then photocopied and cut to size. Or they can be more complicated and glossy if ordered from an online printing house for about $100 per 500.

6. “We miss you” mailing or phone call. Attracting patients to a practice is sometimes less about persuading new ones to come in but more about reminding established ones to return. Patients who have not had contact with the practice for a certain amount of time can be mailed a letter or called by staffers. Some patients may have moved or gone through other changes that mean that it is more appropriate to go elsewhere. Or visiting a doctor may have just slipped their minds.

“People are busy and have lives that are moving at a million miles a minute,” Shah said. “It’s important to get them to think of your practice.”

Experts on marketing medical practices say these efforts should fit in with a plan that includes virtual as well as real-world strategies. All messages should be consistent and suit the practice.


Elliott covers practice management issues. She can be reached at 312-464-5577 or by email (victoria.elliott@ama-assn.org).

Today, as my youngest daughter left to go back to college, I got choked up and my voice changed.

No matter how I tried to hide it, I couldn’t. After seeing this email from Seth Godin, I decided to share it. It was meaningful for me because in business and in life, your voice will give you away. It’s an expression of who you are.

I send this today as a heads up the next time you give a presentation.

Are you you?

Your Voice Will Give You Away by Seth Godin

It’s extremely difficult to read a speech and sound as if you mean it.

For most of us, when reading, posture changes, the throat tightens and people can tell. Reading is different from speaking, and a different sort of attention is paid.

Before you give a speech, then, you must do one of two things if your goal is to persuade:

Learn to read the same way you speak (unlikely) or, learn to speak without reading. Learn your message well enough that you can communicate it without reading it. We want your humanity.

If you can’t do that, don’t bother giving a speech. Just send everyone a memo and save time and stress for all concerned.

Often we’re so consumed in our own thoughts that we forget to realize — if we’re taking the right steps, and have intention and inspired action in our work, and in our passion, that the pieces of the puzzle will fall together. What puzzle? Projects that require multiple strategic steps, by a handful of people, with a purpose and focused end goal in mind.

And so it happened today, or yesterday really, as I write this in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. The start of the week, and a jam packed day, the kind of day with clarity, activity and excitement every entrepreneur dreams of. Baboom. Our press releases were read, noted, and the media were on their way. A photo session was scheduled, as well as plans for an upcoming interview for Let’s make You Shine, and the Make Money Monday Tour. All this, at today’s MMM stop, the Coffee Break Café in Quincy.

Wow.

Even more Wow, was that a young business owner from Canton, came to see me at the Tour stop, and just happening to be there, had photos taken too, with the Patriot Ledger. Tina Prisco, from Te Salon came to meet me for free business advice, got an hour’s worth of ideas, and just by chance, got unexpected added value to promote her salon. That’s what I call great timing.

One person can start a business, but it takes a team to grow a business. That’s tweetable.

Tina, listen in.

Sales, writing, consulting, social media, payroll, technical work, PR, joint ventures, public speaking gigs, newsletters, interview series, and I could go on, take time. Lots of it. The life of an entrepreneur, and the many hats we wear, and the many who wear those hats, work best when pieces fit like a puzzle.

I am grateful to my team who help lay out the pieces to the puzzle, and strategize where to put them.

I am grateful for their expertise, because I’m only one person.

It takes one person to start a business, but a team, a great team like mine, to grow a business.

Don’t force the pieces of a puzzle to fit. Each has its place, and reason to be there.

You can be an expert, but not of everything.

Share the wealth. Let everyone shine.

There’s such pride in a finished puzzle.