Monday, June 18, 2007

Speaking as perfomance

Guy Kawasaki writes on Speaking as a Performing Art with advice from Doug Lawrence, a professional singer and speech coach.

Here's his list of topics:
1. Circulate with your audience.
2. Command attention.
3. Snarl.
4. Bite your tongue.
5. Always perform a sound check before you speak.
6. Use your eyes all the time.
7. Move away from center to make your point.
8. Get quiet.
9. “Underline” certain words with a pause or repetition.
10. Take a risk and be vulnerable.
11. Tee it higher.
12. Know when it’s time to go.
13. Use Q and A as an “encore.”
14. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
15. Perform for a hero.

update: More advice from Doug Lawrence:Eight More Ways To Improve Your Presentations

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The value of concrete details

Dan Heath at Made to Stick illustrates the power of specific detail.

In the book, we talk about how vivid details can make ideas more credible. Here’s an example from the annals of advertising, plucked from an article on the copywriter Claude Hopkins:

Back in 1919, Schlitz beer approached Claude Hopkins. Their beer sales were in 15th place. They asked Hopkins if he could help them sell more beer. He agreed to meet with Schlitz and toured the brewery. He was fascinated with what he discovered. He then returned two months later with an ad campaign.

His ads told of the “crystal clear water from a special artesian well”. They told of the one “mother” yeast cell that produced all the yeast for fermenting the beer. It was the result of over “1,500 experiments and produced a very distinct fresh, crisp taste”. He told of how the bottles were “sterilized 12 times to ensure purity, so that nothing would interfere with the clean taste of the beer”.

The Schlitz people hated it. They explained to Hopkins that this would never work. They told him, “All beer is made the same way.” Hopkins calmly assured them that people would be fascinated with the “behind the scenes” look and, that no other beer maker had ever told the story.

After much discussion, Schlitz relented and let the ads roll out. Six months later, Schlitz beer was the Number 1 selling beer in the nation.

Pitching a new idea

Paul Williams at Idea Sandbox reviews Life's a Pitch

"New ideas often make people uncomfortable. Many new projects and ideas need a champion to gain acceptance from others. Being able to pitch ideas is an invaluable business (and life) tool.

Basic Disciplines of a Good Pitch

* Find a calm space to think in [for preparation].
* Remember that people's emotions count for more than logic
[appeal to the heart as well as the head].
* Think through your proposition before you spell it out.
* Articulate it in the simplest way.
* Don't go for an unattainable perfect solution, go for what works.
* Focus on what it means to them, not what it means to you."