Let’s look at some not-so-basic story basics.

Stories and examples are best when they come from your experience. Your audience has a chance to relive them from their perspective. Here is an important point to make your stories credible.

Point one, make your story part of your own experience. If you tell a story that belongs to the world—in other words, it is well known from a best-selling book, or they’ve been teaching it for years in the Dale Carnegie course—you lose your credibility. If your stories are in the public domain, your audience is familiar with it and knows it does not come from your experience. Your entire presentation then is flavored that it’s not original, fresh, or leading edge.

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Had any good conversations recently?


In this message, we’re going to clarify what you may believe are two conflicting ideas. The point of retelling stories you heard, and the idea of only telling stories from your own experience. If you are retelling stories you heard in conversation, and you make heroes of the people who shared their experience, then great. The assumption is, they are not speakers, don’t work at your company, or will ever address audiences you will speak to. In our world of YouTube, if others are talking publicly about their experiences, and others may have heard them, you need to acknowledge that.

Once you become aware and keep your eyes and ears open, stories that will make great examples are everywhere.

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“The Rule of Three” is a writing principle suggesting that a trio of events or characters is more humorous, satisfying, or effective than other numbers.

Audiences are more likely to remember information conveyed using “The Rule of Three.” This is because the three elements provide brevity and rhythm with the smallest amount of information needed to create a pattern. It makes an author or speaker appear knowledgeable while remaining both accessible and catchy.

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There are no boring subjects. There are only boring speakers.

Make your presentations memorable.

It doesn’t matter what your content or topic is, when presented well, it can be interesting and educational and make an emotional connection to the audience.

There are some who claim that public speaking is merely knowing your subject.

They take the attitude that having something to say is all that is necessary. That is not at all true.

You, perhaps, have listened to many speakers who knew their subjects thoroughly, but who, when they attempted to speak, actually bored their audiences. Merely knowing your subject is as far from public speaking as knowing the words of a song is from singing. Knowledge of your subject is vitally essential, yet that alone does not give you the ability to speak interestingly and hold your audience.

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Robert Fripp performing with King Crimson.
Robert Fripp performing with King Crimson.

In the Court of the Crimson King

In honor of the just released documentary about my brother Robert Fripp and his band, we will revisit an earlier post.

Variety says, “In the Court of the Crimson King is really about as good as any rock documentaries get, in capturing the essence of a group of musicians and how they relate to each other.”

The Next Time You Sit Down to Dinner Reflect

Early in his career, my brother Robert Fripp enjoyed international acclaim with his band King Crimson. He later felt a great need to leave that world and spend time on spiritual self-reflection. Brother went into a retreat with philosopher J.G. Bennett. That experience made a significant impact on Robert and is still reflected in the way he lives his life and influences others, including me.

At the retreat before meals, which they prepared themselves, they said grace. Many decades later, we both enjoy sharing it with friends and gatherings of all faiths.

“All life is one, and everything that lives is holy.

Plants, animals, and people all must eat to live and nourish one another.

We bless the life that has died to give us food.

Let us eat consciously, resolving by our labors to pay the debt of our existence.

Amen.”

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Are you losing sales you feel you deserve to win? 

Are you confident that everyone on your sales team can deliver your company story well?

Are you making the fatal flaw that many sales managers make?

You may like many of my clients before I work with them. You have great products and services, perhaps complicated and technical in nature, and they require an incredible amount of trust to sell.

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Yes, it makes me want to scream! Because “super” is not really super.

It appears that a huge amount of the population has come to believe that everything even slightly pleasant, wonderful, important, revolutionary, impressive, or valuable is now super. How about super-exciting, super-good, or super-great?

Our language is full of hundreds of descriptive words.

We have an abundance or plethora of choices. Please, put yourself on a non-super diet. Be more creative.

One of my clients held a four-day sales meeting. My role was to hold interactive sessions to improve the sales presentations with the relatively young sales teams.

As my client, Greg explained, “They are mostly in their 20s and early 30s. For most, it is their first or second sales job.”

Naturally, I sat in on all the General Sessions where we heard from their middle-aged executives. For four days, I heard no other adjective except “super” from the stage. Everybody was super excited. The new programs were super. The sessions were super.

It felt as if the middle-aged executives were trying to sound young and hip to their young audience.

Shouldn’t they have been role models of the best way to communicate? In my opinion, every leader at every level has a responsibility to demonstrate how to look, act, and speak if you want to advance in your career. This is how you are more likely to build rapport and drive the sale forward with customers of all ages.

Do you agree that too much “super” is not super?

Two virtual engagements where you can Patricia speak in October.

Saturday, October  15, National Speakers Association of Northern California (Small charge)

Your First Thirty Seconds: Secrets To Open Your Presentation With Impact

Saturday, October 29, District 101 Toastmasters (No charge)

How To Deliver Unforgettable Presentations…Frippstyle

Two virtual engagements where you can Patricia speak in October.

Check out Patricia’s new book with Mark Brown and Darren LaCroix

Deliver Unforgettable Presentations, Fripp, LaCroix, Brown
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A great way to build your business is to collaborate with other speakers and consultants.

Yes, you can combine your communities and mailing lists; however, what you learn from smart partners is invaluable. Here is advice you can benefit from that comes from the consultant’s consultant. Alan Weiss, Ph.D., CPAE, CMC is the author of Million Dollar Consulting and for many years my collaborator in The Odd Couple seminars. Alan has now written more than 60 books.

At the opening of one of our seminars, Alan Weiss gave these pieces of advice in an evening Q & A…

Q: How do I build my business?

Alan: “There has to be a market need for what you do; you have to have the competency to meet the need, and you have to have the passion to want to fulfill it. When those three things converge, you have a brilliant career.

It doesn’t matter what the economy is like; it doesn’t matter what the competition is like; it doesn’t matter what government regulation is like. The great thing about what we do is we control our own destiny.

So, look where those three things are and you have a brilliant career.”

Q: How do I stand out in the crowd of other consultants and professional speakers?

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Rehearsal Is the Work in Sales Presentations

Steve Spangler is fired up over the ideas in Deliver Unforgettable Presentations

Oscar winner Sir Michael Caine said, “Rehearsal is the work; performance is the relaxation.” That applies equally to delivering a sales presentation.

During a presentation skills training at one of my client companies, a few of the sales team heard what was going on and invited themselves to join. They obviously found value, as they came back on day 2.

During a break, Dan, the national sales manager,  told me, “It takes us a year to have the opportunity to deliver an hour presentation to executives from the company of one of our prospects. At that point, a new relationship is worth between $5,000,000 – $10,000,000  to us.”

As a matter of curiosity, I asked Dan, “How long do you spend rehearsing for a presentation that important?”

What I expected him to say was, “A week before, the team locked themselves in a boardroom. We reviewed what we knew about the client and their expectations. We confirmed we had their comments woven throughout our presentation. We then delivered the presentation, recorded it, sat down, and reviewed it. We focused on what that team did well and what could be improved.

“We made more adjustments on the script and how we delivered the message.

“The next day we invited in some of our sales associates to observe and then delivered the presentation to them. They gave their suggestions. The second time we delivered it to them, they asked us tough questions and recorded our responses.

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