Better Words Better Results

Watch your use of “Basically” and “Simply”

Many of my clients offer complex solutions to solve their customers’ problems, streamline their businesses, and protect their valuable assets.

They engage me to help their technology experts simplify the complexity of their offerings so that their buyers will understand why it is a good investment. I tell them, “Speak to be remembered and repeated. Then your message is not diluted and they can better explain to others what they heard enough to get their buy-in.”


When you count your riches, do you do it in money or memories?

For me, memories win out every time. At this point, most of my friends and I enjoy experiences together instead of exchanging gifts.

Don’t fade into the background

Many years ago, on my first and only trip to speak at a series of events in South Africa, my hosts took their speakers to a game park.  A game park is not at all like a zoo, and it was hardly roughing it. By the time we got up for our 6:30 a.m. café au lait, the beaters had been out for an hour. We bundled up in layers of clothes and climbed into big high jeeps. We were all excited to see the animals and they were as magnificent as you would expect.


When I sit down with my clients to discuss their sales presentations, I often ask, “How long is your presentation?”

t used to shock me when they replied, “Twelve slides.” When I inquired, “How do you design your sales presentation?” it was dreadful to hear, “We get the slide deck.”

When you begin the process of designing your sales presentation by organizing your slides, you will sabotage what could be a great presentation. PowerPoint is a valuable visual aid, not a scripting aid.

Creating a compelling sales presentation is a creative process.

Look closely

The technique is often messy and not set in stone until you have completed it. Your finished PowerPoint needs to be tidy and make a logical and compelling case of why your prospect is well served to do business with you.

My suggestion is to begin with a flip chart where you capture all the information you need to include.

Once you have the outline of your new, improved sales presentation structure, you can ask yourself, “Where do I need help telling the story?” How can you visually demonstrate what you’re saying? Charts, graphs, and diagrams are perfect in this medium. However, do not have too many words. This is not your leave behind. You are there to add the context.

If your slides are complex, break them down and reassemble them with “builds” in a way that simplifies and clarifies your message. Now, let’s dive into the best PowerPoint practices for maximum impact:

Use Fewer Words: It’s impossible for your audience to read and listen simultaneously. Consider using more slides with less content. They’ll be more effective if you use the “build” feature when introducing a talking point.


Twelve Years Later: Reliving the Unforgettable Presentation Experience

In 2011, Salve Finance from Slovakia invited Darren LaCroix and me to deliver a presentation skills program in Las Vegas. The audience was their sales winners. Our challenge was… nobody spoke English. As their president, Peter explained, “Our generation grew up speaking Russian. We did not learn English at school.” In advance, we rehearsed our program with our interpreter, and the audience appeared to consider it the reward it was designed to be.

Little did we know that the impact of our presentation would echo through time. Twelve years later, Peter contacted us, and we revisited the experience. He said, “The audience hasn’t forgotten their last experience. We have some of your original audience and many new sales winners.”

Here is how a single presentation became a memorable legacy that continues to influence and inspire, even after all these years.

Advice I learned from past experiences.

Earlier in my career I recorded a video training series for a company that sold the programs in fifty-seven countries. My voice was dubbed into fifty-six languages. That is where I learned to de-Americanize all my examples and remove the names of people, places, books, and companies they would not know.


My friend and collaborator in The Odd Couple seminars, Alan Weiss, PhD told this story in one of his thoughtful weekly messages:

The Odd Couple fight
Alan Weiss and Fripp. we agreed and disagreed to help our audience decide how to build their speaking and consulting practice.

“There’s a small tailor shop run by one tailor on Main Street who has been there for forty years. The place is a mess. Everywhere you look there are threads, samples, and tools. He has to clear the counter to write out a receipt. He’s busy and he’s one-of-a-kind.

I brought him a jacket with a small rip on the lapel. Without even looking inside he felt the material and said, ‘This is cashmere and entirely handmade.’

He examined the rip and the fabric, hunted around, sweeping everything out of the way, searching for the right color and size thread, a needle, thimble, and scissors. I thought he’d tell me to leave it with him and get it back in a week.

Ten minutes later there was no defect visible at all. I watched him the entire time and still didn’t understand how he did that. No automation, no machines, just skill.

‘There,’ he said, as he finished.

I asked, ‘How much?’


Every story has a “Once Upon a Time.”  Part Two.

The place where the intricate weave of values, experiences, and influences begins to shape the fabric of our lives.

When I was twelve, I knew I was more artistic than academic and enjoyed engaging with, and learning from, adults. It seemed a good idea to become a hairstylist in a high-class salon. That was my goal and vision for the future.

My father was a successful auctioneer and real estate agent.

patricia and robert
Patricia and Robert Fripp

We lived above his business premises. One Sunday, sitting in his front office, I was looking through the Sunday newspapers. In the News of The World was a photo of a glamorous movie star, wearing a designer suit with a mink coat over her shoulders. She was posed standing at the door of a plane, a perfect frame to the photo.

Suddenly, I felt a burst of energy go through my body.


Every story has a “Once Upon a Time.”

The place where the intricate weave of values, experiences, and influences begins to shape the fabric of our lives.

As a speech coach, I guide my clients to revisit their own “Once Upon a Time,” unraveling the threads of their past to better understand the tapestry of their present. It is here, in our early years, where the essence of our unique voices and our authentic selves are formed. My “Once Upon a Time” technique has etched a distinct pattern into my professional journey. Growing up in a time and place with limited expectations for girls, I began to envision a life that starkly deviated from the norm of a small town in the South of England. As a small girl, it was the vision and wisdom from my parents that laid the foundation for my approach as a speech coach and set the stage for a life I had dared to imagine and have very much enjoyed.

“Once Upon a Time”

The One Upon a Time technique

As a speech coach, I always ask my new clients to go back to the beginning of their lives and tell me where they were born and what did their parents do? What advice did they give that helped to form who they are now? What other influences did they have?

When I was growing up in England, it was a time when nobody expected much of girls. Although I could not articulate it, I realized I did not want the same lives my friends had planned for themselves. We were expected to have a job for a few years, then get married and have children.


When we reminisce about Hollywood, it’s often the stories that movies tell that captivate us the most. Screenwriting teacher Robert McKee eloquently states, “Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact.”

Storytelling: The Cornerstone of Effective Leadership

Many of us are natural storytellers, captivating our audiences around water coolers and meeting tables. Yet storytelling isn’t limited to casual conversations. It’s a vital skill that business leaders, sales professionals, and even engineers can hone to engage and persuade. As someone who has spent decades teaching effective storytelling in corporate settings, I’m a firm believer in the impact of a well-crafted narrative.


Criticism, or as you may prefer to call it, “constructive feedback,” is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to refine their presentation skills. While the sting of criticism can be unsettling, embracing it as a tool for growth is a hallmark of a seasoned professional.

The Audience as Critics

In my extensive career as a keynote speaker and executive speech coach, I’ve faced critics every week—my audiences. They don’t just rate me with their applause or silence; they often fill out evaluations that meeting planners scrutinize. My aim? To make those meeting planners look like rockstars by delivering an impeccable performance.


In the competitive world of business, earning the right to win new clients is a crucial skill, especially for those early in their careers.

Whether you’re a financial planner, a salesperson, or an entrepreneur, the challenge remains the same: How do you earn the trust and business of potential clients? Let’s delve into some proven techniques and real-life examples to guide you on this journey.

The Ten-Minute Interview Technique

One young financial planner I interviewed had a unique approach to this challenge. He was new to the industry and had to build his client base from scratch. His strategy? He identified 20 influential individuals in his community and asked for just ten minutes of their time. The catch? He wasn’t selling anything; he was learning. He asked them, “What should I do to earn the right to do business with people like you? “