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Showing posts from March, 2015

Three Practical Tips to Make Your Pitches More Effective

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Over the years I have coached many speakers and presenters. Some people simply need to put more work into refining the structure and the logic of their presentation, while others just need more practice. But there are also a few practical tips that can bring a very fast improvement to many pitches and presentations.

USE A CLICKER. Standing next to a laptop and pressing keys or giving instructions to another person are both distracting. They are distracting to the audience and they also distract the speaker from her message. Go buy a clicker -- a presentation remote -- and make sure you always have it with you. They are not expensive and they last years. In fact if you present often you should really have two in case one breaks or -- more likely -- you leave the receiver in a computer somewhere and forget it. With the clicker in your hand you can walk about the stage, you can stand in front of the key people in the audience, you can gesture and you can point. You can also switch to the…

Why Careful Speakers and Writers Avoid the “Slippery Slope”

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A Google News search today reveals 7850 articles containing ”slippery slope”. It’s become the go-to rhetorical device for a generation of unoriginal speakers and writers but careful influencers avoid it because it is tired, lame and too easy to counter. Try using this phrase just once when I am coaching you and I will  hit the pause button right there and make sure that you promise never to do it again.
A slippery slope argument is tired because it has been overused to the point that it has become a joke. It is lame because it might sway the unthinking mob but isn't supported by experience, research or logic. And it is easy to counter because any point on a  slippery slope is also on that slope. So gay marriage is the slippery slope that leads to marrying sheep? Well if that were true then classic marriage is also on that same slippery slope – remember, that’s what led to gay marriage. By this reasoning any marriage is dangerous because it inevitably leads to marrying sheep, or w…

Five Things Every Startup Founder Needs to Know About Getting Media Coverage

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A surprising number of the founders I meet are planning to send out a press release or to cold email an important publication to pitch their startup. Neither of these approaches is particularly effective. Press releases work best for established companies – when Apple sends out a release for a groundbreaking new product everyone will cover it -- otherwise it ends up being used only by minor blogs and websites. Cold emails are also rarely successful simply because you are just one in a very large crowd. But there are five things everyone should be doing if they hope to get coverage one day.
BE EASY TO FIND. At this very moment there is probably a journalist somewhere who is writing about your field and you would be mentioned if they could find you. They might try a Google search to see what comes up so make sure that you are easy to find. This is much easier than it sounds. All you need is a website and a few social media accounts to fill a page of Google search results. Google your na…

Social Media Posts Can Come Back to Bite You in Unexpected Places

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When you post controversial stories and images you are probably not surprised when there is a negative reaction. But even if you stick to strictly innocent, professional posts on your social media sometimes they still come back to bite you in unexpected places.

Most people don't expect that their LinkedIn profile could ever do them any harm, but several stories in the news show that this is not always the case.

Recently Apple has been sued for poaching engineers to develop new electric vehicle technology. A report published by the Guardian newspaper on 19 February 2015, Apple Sued for Poaching Engineers with Deep Expertise in Electric Car Systems cites as evidence for the accusation a survey of LinkedIn profiles of company employees. These profiles, individually nothing exceptional, when placed together paint a picture of precisely targeted people moving to Apple at the same time. Very few companies address this problem but employee LinkedIn profiles are well known to be a valuab…