Congratulations! You or your firm made it to the short list. It’s between you and who-knows-how-many other folks who do the voodoo you do. Woo-hoo! Let the fun begin. Or maybe not? You may have anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours to give your presentation. Ugh. How do you convince anyone of anything in 30 minutes? You may have anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks to create and rehearse your presentation. Rehearse? You mean “talk about it in the car on the way over.” Input? If it’s a team presentation, and you’re in charge of pulling the pitch….
Don’t get me wrong. Despite my rants about the power of emotion, I don’t hate facts and logic. Facts, studies, numbers, step-by-step logical explanations and reasons are the go-to, default tool we all use whenever we need to support a recommendation, make a point, justify a decision, sell an idea. Facts are my friends, honest. However–you knew that was coming, right?–facts are not necessarily the slam dunk, double dog sure way to get the response you’re looking for. Why? Because facts can be cold and preachy. Numbers, percentages–even when presented as pie charts–can be mind numbing. Statistics? Don’t get me started…..
The client says the logo is too small. The client wants more bullet points. The client says there’s room to put a little snipe across the top that says XYZ. Graphic designers and creative directors all over the planet just twitched and rolled their collective eyeballs skyward. I know this because that was me talking, back in my ad agency and marketing firm days. One day, the creative team had had enough. They called a meeting. Uh oh. Creative people hate meetings. I made a note to arrive early and clear the room of Exacto knives. It was one of….
By “you,” I mean, does it sound human? Most companies want to make sure their web content sounds professional, respectable and trustworthy. Nothing wrong with that. Except that with everyone trying to sound professional, respectable and trustworthy, too many all start sounding the same. By “same,” I mean, boring. “We are a full-service whatever firm, founded by experts who are dedicated to providing high quality, service and value to help you achieve whatever lofty goal or objective you tell us you want.” I’ve always wondered…does anyone ever tout being a half-service firm? Are there any companies willing to admit they….
You know how it is when you learn a new word and then it pops up all over? That hasn’t happened yet–not exactly, anyway—but I’m more nervous about writing this email blast than any other. The word is tautology, and while I have not heard or read it since first learning what it is, I have, to my horror, found evidence of it in my own writing and conversations. A tautology is the opposite of an oxymoron, sort of. An oxymoron combines two contradictory terms, like jumbo shrimp. A tautology is unnecessary repetition of meaning, using different and dissimilar words….
I recently did the closing keynote at a sales and marketing conference in Las Vegas, and I arrived in time to hear the opening keynoter, Tim Wackel. Tim’s the sales guy; I’m the marketing gal. As you can imagine, my antennae are always up, listening for ideas, tips or tools that resist the usual, ordinary or expected way of doing things, and Tim had plenty of them. First a bit of context. Tim reminded us of the statistics that say about 80% of sales are made on or after the 5th attempt. Yuck. For me, that means after I send….
Starbucks Chairman, President and CEO Harold Schultz just sent me an email showing the company’s updated logo. Mind you, all they did was remove the word circle that says Starbucks Coffee and change the color of the mermaid–oh, wait, he called her a siren–from black to green. Why the change? “Our new brand expression [he means logo] reflects our evolving freedom and flexibility to serve and connect with our customers in meaningful ways while continuing to represent the integrity, quality and consistency of the Starbucks Experience,” his email said. Huh? Blah. Blah. Blah. I don’t drink coffee, yet I adore….
I spoke at a marketing conference about three years ago and recently got a call from the new conference committee chair . Apparently someone who heard me speak back then was now on the 2011 committee, and she recommended bringing me back. “Have you got any new material?” the committee chair asked me. Yes, I did, but I hesitated telling him so. I had just been chatting with a colleague about the notion that for a presentation to be worthwhile it has to be full of new, never-heard-before information, and I didn’t want to reinforce that notion. The colleague I….
After I was selected to make a 20/20 Lightening Round presentation at the National Speakers Association annual convention this month, it made me realize how much CAN be said in a short amount of time. If you focus, rehearse, re-focus, reject, revise and rehearse a whole lot more. Context? The Lightening Round is a 6-minute, 40 second presentation that consists of 20 slides that automatically advance every 20 seconds. Whether you are ready are not. You can decide if I was or wasn’t right here.
It was a simple question, but I had two answers. There was the one I didn’t like, probably because it came straight from my gut and, ultimately, I knew it was the right answer. I also had the polite, Pollyanna answer, the one I concocted to say aloud when it was my turn to share with the group. Answer it truthfully, or tell the lie? I went with the lie. I lied to them, I lied to myself and I lied to Mark LeBlanc, who had posed the question at one of his Achiever’s Circle weekends in 2001. I was….