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Authors

Ira Koretsky
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Duane Bailey
(click for all of Duane's posts)
Guest Bloggers
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networking workshop

Looking forward to my workshop with the Society for International Development (SID) Washington, DC Chapter, which is the "largest and most active chapter of SID (See below).

My program, "The Deliberate Networker: Build Stronger & More Valuable Relationships," is always hands-on. We'll be doing my "Treat Everyone Like a CEO" Exercise (watch example on YouTube). 

If you are not a member of SID, they welcome interested persons. Send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and mention me.

 

The Deliberate Networker: Build Stronger & More Valuable Relationships

The best networkers are relationship builders. They are deliberate with the people they spend time with, and at the events they attend. As an art, networking blends human behavior, storytelling, and trust. As a science, it requires you to act like a chess grandmaster. Join us for a fun and hands-on program as we explore proven ways to make the right “next moves” that can get you noticed by recruiters, accelerate career success, and promote your brand to establish yourself in your field.

Following the program, there will be an optional networking session with fellow participants in addition to a Happy Hour at Cities Restaurant & Lounge (1212 18th St NW, Washington D.C.).

 

* Young Professionals in Development Network (YPN) events are open to SID-W members only ($45 for young professionals). However, we welcome all first-time SID-W YPN Event attendees to participate in this "free preview" event. For more information on membership, please click here or contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

SID-Washington is the largest and most active chapter of the Society for International Development (SID), an international network founded in 1957 to serve as a global forum dedicated to sustainable economic, social and political development. Through the locally-driven programs of our member organizations and individuals, the majority of whom work on the front lines of development, we are uniquely positioned to inform and promote more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable international development.  Our network is spread across more than 30 chapters and 3,000 members in more than 50 countries. The Secretariat has offices in Dar es-Salaam (Tanzania), Nairobi (Kenya), and Rome (Italy).

Our individual and institutional members include development practitioners from NGOs, the private sector, bilateral and multilateral institutions, think tanks, embassies, and universities. Our expansive membership contributes to the dynamic exchange of ideas and information that lies at the heart of SID-Washington.

 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day

st patricks day

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all my Irish friends around the world...And to everyone, as today you are Irish (smile).

I look forward to St. Paddy's Day as it is always festive. I wore my green tie and shamrock lapel pin.

It also is a day that starts with a fantastic breakfast event hosted by the Northern Ireland Bureau with Invest NI and Visit Ireland.  Having done some workshop programs in Belfast, Northern Ireland, NI holds a special place in my heart.

I included a few pictures from the breakfast.

Here I am with  Norman Houston, Director of the Northern Ireland Bureau. And a big thanks to the entire team of Stewart, Lorraine, Tracy, Kirsten, and Kelsey.

 TheChiefStoryteller.Blog.2017-03-StPatricks-1

Inside teh beautiful Willard Hotel in Washington, DC.  Mr. Houston has just finished his remarks.

TheChiefStoryteller.Blog.2017-03-StPatricks-2

In front of the big Welcome sign.

TheChiefStoryteller.Blog.2017-03-StPatricks-3

A look into the goodie box everyone received. Delicious Irish Soda bread which we made at home, potato chips my daughter devoured, tea we enjoy, and fudge we have to bake with.

 TheChiefStoryteller.Blog.2017-03-StPatricks-4

presentation emergency kit checklist

All too often, I have witnessed less than successful presentations due to unplanned problems and issues.

Most, if not all, of the impact from an unplanned circumstance, can be minimized or eliminated with your own emergency presentation kit.

Here are some pre-event suggestions to ensure your presentation goes smoothly.

In next week's tip, I’ll cover some suggestions for you when you arrive on-site.

 

EMERGENCY PRESENTATION KIT

- Bring a flash drive with your presentation, workbook, video, and audio files. Test it from the flash drive
- Print your presentation with your delivery notes
- Bring a six-foot USB extension cord. You may need it for your flash drive and/or your presenter
- Bring your own presentation device with backup batteries. Bring only fully charged batteries
- Bring your own laptop with an extension cord. Charge fully your battery
- Print out your biography and/or introduction and bring with you
- Bring your own bottle of water (no caffeinated beverages)
- Bring your own timing device (e.g., watch, mini-sized clock, professional presentation timer) or purchase a reliable app for your smart device
- Print out driving directions

Two other pre-event suggestions:
- Test your presentation, every slide, ensuring the animations, audio, and videos work perfectly
- Research the organization’s key executive and planning staff including short biographies. Bring a printout and review.

Depending upon your own situation, some of the suggestions may or may not be appropriate. Make your own list. Print it out. Check items off.

USE YOUR CHECKLIST EVERY TIME.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Happy Veterans Day 2016

speaking, presenting, keynote, workshop, motivational speaker, storytelling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wishing all of the active duty service members and veterans a happy and healthy Veterans Day.

It all started in college in ROTC. Great experiences that then lead me to active duty in the US Army. I spent five excellent years supporting military health.

speaking, presenting, keynote, storytelling, USAID

Thank you to Mr. Vera and Mr. Canada from the USAID OSDBU Office for inviting me to keynote at the third annual USAID Veterans International Small Business Opportunities Conference (VISBOC) yesterday.

I very much enjoyed spending the day with fellow veterans across all of the services. (Of course, I poked a little fun at them as well)

My topic was "Awaken the Storytelling Giant in You."

Description: What if the right story inspired government offiicals (both USAID and international), prime contractors, partners, and country managers to invite you to hear your ideas and your company's capabilities? What if the right story prompted the small business program manager or contracting officer to recommend your company? What difference could that right story mean to your company? Join Ira Koretsky for a lively and insightful keynote on how to turn your experiences into powerful stories that engage and inspire stakeholders throughout the USAID Community, nationally and internationally.

I shared three main ideas:  1) Think DeliberatelyTM; 2) Make Me Care; and 3) Awaken Your Giant. Several of my favorite videos were also shown including Historia de un Letrero (The Story of a Sign) and Jeff Hoffman's The Power of Wonder (You can find them in the playlist on my YouTube Channel here).

And ended with Treat Everyone Like a CEOTM. This is a high-energy, on-your-feet exercise where I challenge you to think very differently and very deliberately about how you engage people and then maintain relationships with them. (YouTube Channel).

A Navy veteran said to me, "You were really great. I especially liked how applicable your videos were. And I appreciate your energy and passion in helping Vets." A fellow Army veteran said, "Hooah! Your Treat Everyone Like a CEOTM Exercise was the best I have seen in all my years. It was fun, educational, and really, really made me think about how I use my words and actions."

Here are a few pictures...

The-Chief-Storyteller-Blog-2016-12-usaid-visboc-1 

The-Chief-Storyteller-Blog-2016-12-usaid-visboc-2

The-Chief-Storyteller-Blog-2016-12-usaid-visboc-3

speaking, presenting, keynote, workshop, motivational speaker, storytelling

I'm back! Back to kickoff the 2016 Business EXCELerator Series for Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. I had honor of kicking off the 2015 series, with my elevator speech program.

MCCC is an awesome organization that I'm proud to be a member of for years. They do so much for the community...

My topic is "Executive Storytelling:  How Leaders Use Stories to Engage, Persuade, and Inspire."

Brief Description:  Learn how to turn your personal experiences into powerful workplace stories that engage and inspire your stakeholders. Follow a proven framework complemented by practical training aides to develop your high-impact stories that influence change, motivate teams, obtain approval, and secure funding.

I'll be reviewing my executive storytelling framework, having fun with "That's Interesting, Tell Me More" exercise, sharing some powerful videos, and walking through the Leadership Story Framework.

Agenda and More Information

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What a great time. The room was filled with business owners, executives, sales professionals, marketing folks, and those in customer service from corporate, non profits, and government (boy that was a lot of lists!). I had them do my exercise, "That's Interesting, Tell Me More," to set a foundation for their leadership story. This foundation identified what was missing -- powerful words, powerful message, and powerful delivery.  I reviewed my story framework, shared some insightful videos, and was engaged with a variety of great questions.

Here's the excellent write up from the Chamber...

"Ira Koretsky, CEO, The Chief Storyteller® presented “Executive Storytelling: How Leaders Use Stories to Engage, Persuade and Inspire.” A key differentiator in the marketplace for any business is customer service.  Ira stressed the use of effective storytelling to be remembered and to demonstrate your value and that of your organization. When you tell a personal, workplace story, select one that that has a universal message. The best story is one that is easily shared. When developing your story, “start in the middle,” keep it under three minutes, and always inspire your audiences to think or act differently. Your organization can and will be changed by changing the stories executives tell, customers tell, and employees tell."

 

 

 

figure of speech, repetition, speaking, presenting, impact, messaging

I’m often asked, "When it comes to deciding what story to tell, where do I start?”

Great stories are those that touch people, that touch people with a personal experience shared in a memorable workplace message.

When you are thinking about the next strategic presentation, board meeting, report, etc. where a story will help advance your agenda (when won't it?), think about experience moments. These are times in your life where you gained new insights and where you changed because of these new insights. These insights should be profound such that they still affect your thinking and actions today.

Then take these experience moments and turn them into workplace stories with a specific message, a specific idea, a specific action you want your audiences to take.

Experience Moment Suggestions:
- Experiences that changed you a) Related to a person or b) "Aha" moments/epiphanies
- Firsts:  First win, first loss (playing sports, hobby, tournament), and first promotion
- Friends & Family:  Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt, Uncle, Mother, Father (always great sources of stories, sayings, messages)
- Media:  Movies, books, poems from childhood to adulthood

figure of speech, repetition, speaking, presenting, impact, messaging

The English language has hundreds of figures of speech to help you improve the effectiveness of your communications. Anaphora is an excellent example of repetition.

Look at the examples below. Find ways for you to experiment by including this figure of speech in your written, spoken, and online communications.

As always, test your use of language. Is it engaging, persuasive, and memorable? If not, (ruthlessly) revise.

 

- Definition:   A word or phrase is repeated at the beginning of a successive phrase, clause, or sentence, two or more times
- Pronunciation:  ah-NAF-oh-rah
- Also Known As:  Epanaphora, Iteratio, Relatio, and Repetitio
- Etymology:  Greek, “carrying back”

Example:  “Freedom's Forge," Book Launch Event, Author Arthur Herman, 5/2012
Now, what I want to do here tonight is to tell you a story. And this is a story that usually is told backwards. {If you go to the} textbooks, {if you go to the} movies, {if you go to the} usual discussions...

Example:  Rick Blaine in Casablanca the movie
{Of all the} gin joints {in all the} towns {in all the} world, she walks into mine

Example:  President John Kennedy, Inaugural Address, Jan 1961
{Let both sides} explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us. {Let both sides}, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms, and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.

{Let both sides} seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.

{Let both sides} unite to heed, in all corners of the earth, the command of Isaiah--to 'undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free.'

branding, messaging, content marketing, marketing, positioning

I'm sure you have heard the phrase "Facts Tell…Stories Sell."

It is something I live everyday, especially when it comes to presentations.

That's why I have teamed up with Colleen Jolly from the 24 Hour Company to offer a hands-on webinar, "How to Tell Stories through Visuals:  3 Steps to Winning Presentations." It is a 90-minute webinar on June 15 at 10:00 PST, 13:00 EST, 18:00 BST, 18:30 IST, 23:00 AEST

I have known Colleen for years. One day over lunch we realized, "Why haven't we done this before?" She is a master at visuals - graphics, images, pictures, charts, graphs - you name it. She has an impressive portfolio you can see here.

Together, we will walk you through, in a hands-on approach with examples, how to develop better visuals complemented with high impact storytelling.

Description
Learn how to sell your story -- with words AND pictures -- in this 90 minute webinar and join from anywhere in the world! Ira Koretsky combines his storytelling expertise with Colleen Jolly's eye-catching visuals to give you a simple, three step process to win your pitches, every time. Practice honing your messages with slides that pop in this interactive session, learning from the best edu-tainers around!

Time
90-minutes, June 15, 10:00 PST, 13:00 EST, 18:00 BST, 18:30 IST, 23:00 AEST

Fee & Registration
$97 USD, registration at 24 Hour Company

 

 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Just Be Nice with Your Words

speaking, leadership, leader, ceo, cxo, employee, language, positive, words

Negative words, whether used on purpose or by accident, can have a big impact on your audience. Potentially, an impact you did not want or plan for.

Imagine you are work. Think about when you hear someone say something negative about a co-worker? Or when someone says something critical about a work product such as a report? How does the negativity color your world about the person and the organization? Do you ignore it? Distance yourself from the person? Or even, offer excuses for him/her?

Whatever you say or write, we believe at The Chief Storyteller that whenever possible, be positive. In many cases, you can indeed turn negative words and phrases into positive ones, while still getting your point across.

Often people write sentences such as, “Bill, this is a great idea, but I don’t like xyz.” As such, everything after the “but” is negative…everything. Instead, make it positive with “Bill, this is a great idea. Let’s talk more about xyz to better understand your ideas.”

Examples of negative words include:
- But
- However
- Although
- Except
- Even though
- Unfortunately
- Let me be honest
- This is simple to do

Here are some suggestions to improve your interactions and relationships when it comes to using words:
- Eliminate “but.” Replace it with “and” or a “.” (period)
- Think about the negative aspect of what you are intending to say. Does it really have to be said? If you must communicate a negative idea, re-phrase it to make it more positive.
- Do not write/email while angry or upset. Wait at least 10 minutes.
- Read what you wrote aloud (not in your head). It helps you to “feel” the emotional level of the words.

speaking, presenting, keynote, workshop, motivational speaker, storytelling

I'm honored to be delivering the opening keynote for the 15th Annual Departement of Energy (DOE) Small Business Forum & Expo in Atlanta May 23 to 25.

My topic is "Awaken the Storytelling Giant in You."
Description: What if the right story inspired your company's targeted program, site office, or laboratory to add your company to their team? What if the right story persuaded the small business program manager to invite you to hear your ideas and company's capabilities? What if the right story prompted the small business program manager or contracting officer to recommend your company? What difference could that right story mean to your company? Join Ira for a lively and insightful keynote on how to turn your experiences into powerful stories that engage and inspire stakeholders throughout the DOE Community.

I will also deliver a complementary workshop that will be a hands-on program later in the day.

*** If you are attending, please send me a note and let's coordinate schedules.

Here's more information on the event:

The Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), is proud to present the 15th Annual DOE Small Business Forum & Expo at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, GA, May 23 - 25, 2016.

Dr. Ernest Moniz, United States Secretary of Energy, will welcome everyone Tuesday morning. Throughout the event, there will be plenaries, educational workshops, a large Exhibit Hall, as well as business matchmaking sessions. Over 800 attendees will represent all levels of Federal, state, and local government agencies, the small business community, large/prime contractors, and many more!

The OSDBU goal is to provide maximum practicable opportunities in the Departments' acquisitions to all small business concerns.  The OSDBU created this 2 1/2 day event to connect small businesses with various DOE offices and programs to enhance DOE's overall mission of ensuring America's security and prosperity by:

- Strengthening and sustaining America's Energy Independence
- Introducing new innovations in areas of Science and Engineering
- Enhancing nuclear security through defense, nonproliferation, and environmental efforts

DOE2016 will provide small businesses with the information needed to help you navigate through the largest civilian agency within the Federal government.  General sessions and breakouts will include subjects, such as:

- Finding and Winning Simplified Acquisitions, Part 1 & 2 (from my friend and colleague, Guy Timberlake of the American Small Business Coalition)
- DOE Headquarters Panel
- DOE National Laboratories and Site Office
- DOE IT Opportunities
- DOE's Supply Chain Management
- National Nuclear Security Administration (East Coast Locations)
- Executive Storytelling: How Leaders Use Stories to Engage, Persuade and Inspire (my breakout session)
- More...

Agenda (click here)

Speakers (click here)

 

 

 

speaking, pause, pausing, art of the pause, presenting, presentation, motivational speaker

The art of the “pause” – knowing when to use a short pause or long pause – offers a lot of benefits to speakers, presenters, and trainers alike.

Everybody reads at a different speed.
Everyone listens at the same speed.
Everyone comprehends in a different way.
Pausing helps smooth out the learning speed bumps.

Here are a few benefits of employing effective pauses. Pauses…
a) Are an elegant way to emphasize points
b) Give your audience important moments to process what you say
c) Enable your audience to catch up, especially if you are a fast talker
d) Make you appear more confident, as you don’t need to fill every second with words
e) Can add tension and suspense
f) Are very effective with international audiences. They allow your audience and translator to catch up to you (similar to C)
g) Keep your audiences engaged

People frequently ask us, “Won’t my audiences notice I am pausing on purpose? It doesn’t seem natural.”

Our answer, “Used appropriately, no one will know you are deliberately pausing. What they will think is that you are an effective speaker.”

If you are new to pausing, start using short pauses in your next conversation. Test out your effectiveness until you are able to master the pause. Then move on to public speaking and training.

speaking, training, presenting, practice, practicingThere isn’t a prospect or client that tells us something close to “I really don’t have time to practice my [blank] like I should.” [Blank] is a presentation to the board, a story to inspire action, a sales presentation, an investor pitch, and so on.

Our response is something like, “There isn’t an Olympic athlete, celebrity actor, famous musician, and New York Times best-selling author that doesn’t practice his or her craft—and some practice daily. Not one.”

One of the more well respected researchers in expert performance, K. Anders Ericsson, PhD, has published numerous papers and articles. One paper is “The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance” (link here). According to Dr. Ericsson, at the intersection of expertise and habit is deliberate practice.

Whatever you do, make practice part of your planning. Practice at least a little. We suggest for really important events, three to five times.

Deliberate Practice helps you.....
- smooth out transitions from slide to slide and big concept to big concept
- identify "bumpy" areas--areas that sound awkward, cause you to hesitate and stumble, etc.
- feel (much) more confident, which then allows more authentic passion and the real you to shine

networking, eating, dining, relationship buildingEver been at a business meal and found yourself finished way before your dining partner? Or perhaps your dining partner was finished way before you?

Generally, this occurs for one of two reasons:  

1) Someone is talking much more than the other person

2) One person is a much faster eater

In either case, it is best to match your partner's eating speed when possible.

We have seen some people eat like vacuum cleaners and exclaim afterward, "Sorry, I know I am a fast eater." Please note, while men are the typical fast eaters, a conversation topic may skew the eating speed one way or the other.

Your goal...finish approximately at the same time.

speaking, whisper,vocal variety,presenting,presentation,motivational speakerPeople are naturally curious. Suspense heightens curiosity. One of the best ways to build suspense is by varying the volume and tone of your voice.

For this tip, lower your voice to a (near) whisper. In this way, you surprise your audience, as they are not expecting you to whisper. Once they hear your story sotto voce, they will automatically be intrigued by what comes next in your story.

Experiment, mix, and test to find the techniques that work best for you and your story.

speaking podiums presenting presentation motivational speakerHave you ever seen a stage without a podium? Likely not. And like all moths drawn to the light, most speakers are drawn to the podium. Instead, you should avoid them. Podiums:

- Create a physical and psychological barrier between you and your audience
- Force you to remain in one spot - behind the podium
- Block most of your body and therefore block your body language
- Are hand-arm magnets, with most speakers leaning and holding onto the sides of the podium
- Minimize your ability to move around, minimizing your ability to connect with your audience

In advance of your next presentation or training day, coordinate with the event planning team to a) remove/move the podium and b) have a lavaliere (preferred) or hand-held microphone available for you.

Everyone at The Chief Storyteller® wishes you a warm, safe, and relaxing holiday season. Here's a little storytelling humor.

secret-formula-for-great-storytelling

visual words

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” perfectly describes the necessity for you to tell your stories with engaging (and powerful) imagery.

Think of a story you were told recently while at work. Was it interesting? Engaging? Memorable? We bet you a billion (Monopoly®) dollars that for you to say yes to all three, the storyteller used visual words. Words like those of Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, during a commencement she gave to the Harvard Business School Graduates:

Lori has a great metaphor for careers. She says they’re not a ladder; they’re a jungle gym. As you start your post-HBS career, look for opportunities, look for growth, look for impact, look for mission. Move sideways, move down, move on, move off. Build your skills, not your resume.

This excerpt is an excellent example of metaphor and descriptive language. People who love to tell stories...the good storytellers...think visually. When they create stories in their minds, they transform words into engaging and memorable experiences…experiences that draw you in and make you feel like you are part of the experience.

Watch videos of professional speakers. As you do, stop the video every so often. Think about the words you just heard. Do they move you? Try to determine why and why not? What can you learn from these examples?

- Watch videos on TED and TEDx.
- Watch speeches on YouTube from noted academics, business leaders, politicians, opinion leaders, and thought leaders (examples include LinkedIn Speakers, @Google Talks, and Harvard Business School)
- Watch movies with powerful dialogue and memorable scenes (IMDB is an excellent source of movie information)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Master the Art of Active Listening

active listening

James Nathan Miller made an interesting observation some 50 years ago—“Conversation in the U.S. is a competitive exercise in which the first person to draw a breath is declared the listener” (The Art of Intelligent Listening, Readers Digest, September 1965).

Don’t let Miller’s observation describe your conversations. Master the art of active listening.

Whether you are a government agency, association, charity, education institution, or corporation, we all have stakeholders—both internal and external. And what each person or persons needs, changes. Depending upon due dates, unforeseen events, new priorities, and the like, the needs can change quickly or slowly.

Whatever your situation, you really have to listen to “them” to really know what is important to them.

Effective listening benefits you in many ways such as: 
- Improves bonding and rapport building
- Reduces communication misunderstandings
- Reduces interpersonal conflicts
- Increases quality of work-related activities

Here are some suggestions to master the art of active listening:
- Use Non-verbal Body Language: Nod your head, smile, and lean forward are good ways to demonstrate your attentiveness. On the telephone, say words like Right, Sure, Understand, and Yes to demonstrate your attentiveness.
- Paraphrase: Summarize and repeat back to the person initiating the conversation the key points. This ensures common understanding. Use this suggestion for the more important discussion points.
- Communicate: Based on your mutual goals with your stakeholders, communicate in person (e.g., coffee, lunch, drinks, dinner, and meetings). Communicate in other ways such as by telephone, email, text message, and postal mail. 
- Wait Your Turn: Resist the temptation to interrupt and interject. Let your communication partner finish sharing her/his thoughts.

The content we produce – spoken and written words, PowerPoint decks, images, videos, memes, charts, infographics, etc. – tells a story about the importance of establishing a relationship between us and our target audience. The story we tell should be a compelling one that accelerates our success at driving sales and revenue.

After all, we're all selling something and our goal is top-line growth.

An effective content marketing strategy, then, should be laser-focused on the needs of your target audience – identifying those needs, aligning with them and providing evidence that what you're selling can address those needs in a unique and measurable way.

Focusing on the needs of your target audience is especially important when developing marketing collateral for vertical markets. The companies who do this well instinctively tap into the knowledge and experiences of industry experts – people with a history of success in the field, industry analysts and consultants, influential academics and even students who are pursuing a college major or conducting research in the field.

Understanding the industry you're selling to, and how your customers (i.e., decision-makers) are measured and compensated, are the keys to developing content that is relevant to your target audience and providing them with a compelling call to action. In my experience, people tend to buy when one of three opportunities arise: they have a problem, they see a problem coming or they see a chance to shine.

A content marketer's job is to develop the story that shows potential buyers how you and your brand are best positioned to address these opportunities.

 

For more on the intersection of sales and marketing, please see:
Why Every Marketer Should Have Sales Experience
The Purpose of Marketing Collateral Is to Drive Sales
The Role of Marketing Is to Drive Sales

Body Language Non Verbal Communications

We laugh, we wince, and we empathize…sometimes.

We all receive the emails and telephone calls from non-native English speakers. It’s easy to tell the legitimate from the fake.

I received the email pictured below a few days ago from Flora Lawrence, her self-titled "non de plume." Flora is from India and the way the email is written gives me considerable pause.

As such, this is more of an extreme example of what not to do. This tip of the week is for the legitimate professionals and organizations doing business in countries with different languages.

Since Flora’s first email subject line was “Premium website design,” I deleted it while on my personal computer. Her second email, “Re: Premium website design,” I read because I was on my mobile phone and pressed the arrow for next email.

What caught my eye was the first line, “Have you got a chance to overlook my earlier email…” Ignoring the “got” error, “overlook” made me wince and laugh—I absolutely overlooked your first email.

It doesn’t matter what the language is, you have to translate and localize your materials.

alt


Speaking of localize, here is an example. As I was getting my haircut yesterday, I noticed the bottle in front of me. I read “light styling gel” and then saw the two smaller text lines in French and Spanish. Since I’m a decent conversationalist in Spanish, I gravitated to the message line, “gel un terminado suave.” To me, terminado means end or completed. In context, I knew I had to be wrong here as mine was a literal translation.

I then asked two women at the salon whom I knew were native Spanish speakers. For about three minutes they quickly discussed the word choice. Both agreed “un gel estilo suave” is a better choice. For the curious, in Google Translate “gel un terminado suave” means “over a soft gel” and “un gel estilo suave” means “style soft gel.” Now to me, the crux of this messaging conundrum is whether soft in Spanish is the same as light in English?

By the way, “Xie Xie” is Chinese for thank you.

alt

Body Language Non Verbal Communications

Imagine you are delivering your standard 60-minute presentation. Your audience will understand most of what you say quickly, appreciate your humor (hopefully...), assume your body language is coordinated with your talking points, recognize the use of appropriate colors for the points (e.g., red is a problem area while green is a positive area), and more.

Not always true with international audiences.

When speaking internationally, successfully engaging your audiences becomes more complex. You have to account for differences in greetings, customs, traditions, hand gestures, colors, and more. One common custom is to thank a variety of people – the host, guests, dignitaries, etc.–before you begin your talk. This could be as long as five minutes…not a big deal in a 60-minute presentation…a huge deal if you are speaking for 15 minutes.

With you words, you are leaving nuances, metaphors, sayings, body language, interpretation, etc. in the hands of your translator. Additionally, English is a “shorter” language. Many other languages require more words to say the same thing.

Ira Koretsky, our CEO, ALWAYS spends a few minutes with the translator beforehand, reviewing the purpose of the presentation, high-level ideas, and words/concepts not likely common (e.g., elevator speech, executive story, business story, and networking). He also asks for the words/phrases in the native language so that he may use them in his presentation.

As a result, we suggest reducing your content at least 30% and perhaps as much as 50%.

Items to consider:

- Synchronization: With a simultaneous translator, your audience will be at least 15 seconds behind you in comprehension and timing in your program. If you have complex ideas, perhaps 30 seconds. It takes a little getting used to.
- Language: There are numerous examples of poorly translated words from one language to another that are embarrassing. Check before you go or change your words.
- Examples: Instead of giving one example, we suggest giving two or three examples to illustrate your point.

Body Language Non Verbal Communications

Do you think about what you say when talking? Of course you do. Do you think about your voice and your body language as well? Few people do. When you speak, you are using your words, voice, and body. For most people, the blending of these components comes natural.

What doesn’t come natural is how to purposefully use each of these three separately and together to heighten drama, improve rapport, emphasize points, and a lot more…

Going forward, I’d like to encourage you to think differently and think deliberately about how you use your words, voice, and body. For this tip, let’s focus on body language and how to build suspense.

Next time you are going to share a story or experience with a known moment of suspense, use your body deliberately rather than naturally. Complement your words and voice to heighten the dramatic moment.

At a high level, you are looking to add intensity to your words with your body. Adding intensity makes your story more interesting and memorable.

Experiment, mix, and test to find the ones that work best for you and your story.

1)  Posture:  Stand straight up and really stiffen your body like a wood board. Perhaps even clench your jaw

2)  Make a Fist:  Squeeze your hands and make them into fists

3)  Eyes:  Open them wide, really wide and at the same time, slightly move your head and
shoulders backward

4) Arms:  Make exaggerated arm motions while stopping “abruptly,” almost as if your arm was momentarily like a robot

5)  Watch other speakers and presenters. Watch how how the speaker uses his/her body. Would you do the same thing?  What would you do differently? Free resources include TED, TEDx, University Business Schools (e.g., Harvard, Wharton, and Stanford), Company Speaker Series (Google and LinkedIn),  Political Speeches, and more.

6)  Blend:  As you become comfortable using the above techniques, deliberately alternate and blend these suspense techniques together.

Body Language Non Verbal Communications

While working with a client, I discovered something quite amazing and funny. Here’s what happened (short story version)…

My engagement was to help Ed (name changed) and his executive team to improve their influence and thought leadership. One of the easy fixes was to update their much-to-casual photos. In turn, the photos would be posted to touch points like their website, LinkedIn®, Twitter, blog, etc. I encouraged Ed to hire a professional photographer.

My next meeting with Ed was focused on his LinkedIn profile. I went to the website and downloaded his new photo, which looked the first picture below (I posed for this picture to protect confidentiality).

After downloading, I opened the picture in Photoshop to crop and post to LinkedIn®. I then laughed and laughed loudly. I now saw Ed’s entire original photo. Business on top and party on the bottom with his casual blue jeans and somethings in the background that should not have been there. A thought then popped into my head …was this true for everyone? Yes, all six executive bio pages.

What the designer did was take the quick approach by simply changing the HTML code to display a certain part of the image. The designer did not think the situation through as to the possibility a visitor would download the picture. And Ed went the route of asking one of his employees who was an aspiring photographer to take the pictures.

The moral of this story is…validate your visuals -- photographs for the web, visuals for presentations, pictures for Instagram, preview photos for social media sites, and the list goes on.

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Body Language Non Verbal Communications

Cultural differences are sometimes easy to see, understand, and adopt. Others, not to easy.

If you are traveling to another country or interacting with an audience with different cultural backgrounds, be sensitive to language, humor, traditions, and taboos.

For this tip of the week, let’s focus on hand gestures. There are many nuanced and obvious hand gesture differences. Research the country thoroughly to avoid embarrassment as well as the potential for your audience to focus on the "wrong" things rather than your message and you.

Purchase books, ask your local embassy for advice, and use your network to meet/talk with people who grew up in the respective country.

Here are two illustrative examples with answers immediately below.

 

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A few weeks ago, Ira presented a half-day “Executive Storytelling” program to nearly 70 social change leaders from more than 50 countries.

They were the Fellows from the Atlas Corps’ Class 18 “Welcome Week.” One of Ira’s big take-aways was Find the Right Balance. Here is his summary from his blog post.

“Many of the Fellows were tackling sensitive culture, justice, and historical issues. Some of the issues were heart breaking and would bring tears to your eyes hearing some of the stories. I encouraged the Fellows to share these stories while keeping in mind that tugging on someone's heart to inspire them to be part of the solution, you must find the right balance of emotion and benefit.

In general, people do not want to be overwhelmed with an emotional appeal. They want a reasoned set of arguments with clear benefits. Weave your emotional appeal just enough so that your audience truly understands what is at stake. Empathy over sympathy.”

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Here is a helpful info graphic with a variety of interesting and highly relevant data/statistics.

The "Psychology of Influencer Marketing" infographic, by way of Fractl and BuzzStream, includes in the description, "Take your content promotion tactics to the next level by incorporating a few insights from psychology..."

How has been your success with these tactics? Or your own?

 

 

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We couldn’t agree more…“We eat with our eyes first” is a common phrase from Master Chefs around the world. That is why so many restaurants spend time and money perfecting the presentation of your meal. Think of how much you are impressed when everything entices your senses, perhaps even all of your senses.

The smell from the freshly baked bread, the visual beauty of how everything is laid out on your plate, the sizzle of your fajitas, the texture of the moist cupcake, and of course, the expected taste tingling your brain to hurry up and eat already.

In the two study's below, Charles Spence, PhD, Professor of Experimental Psychology, was a co-author. He wrote, "People's perception is typically dominated by what their eyes see."

So, when it comes to your presentations, what can we learn from this age-old practice when it comes to your slides/visuals such as pictures, charts, and graphs?

Spend as much time as you can to ensure your visuals pass The 3-Second Test. Within three seconds, will your audience completely understand and appreciate what you are “trying” to communicate?

This means your slide has these three aspects well covered:
- Readable:  fonts and graphical elements (boxes, circles, pull quotes, etc.) are easy to read
- Understandable:  easy to understand with one key message
- Appealing:  use colors to their maximum advantage and limit them to three colors with graphs and charts; use pictures where you can with minimal text

Next time you are reviewing or designing a slide, ask yourself, “Do I want to know more?”


Studies:
1. “Assessing the Influence of the Color of the Plate on the Perception of a Complex Food in a Restaurant Setting” by Betina Piqueras-Fiszman, Agnes Giboreau, and Charles Spence, Flavor Journal

2. “The Influence of the Color of the Cup on Consumers’ Perception of a Hot Beverage” by Betina Piqueras-Fiszman and Charles Spence; August 23, 2012, Journal of Sensory Studies

 

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When it comes to presentations, humor is often a controversial subject. Most speaking experts suggest avoiding humor. The undeniable fact is worldwide, people love to laugh. So…why can’t we include humor?

We suggest YOU DO. In fact, we strongly suggest USING humor in your presentations.

The likely question on your mind is “how do I use humor?” or the less flattering, “I’m not funny. There’s no way I’m using humor.”

Change your mindset. Start small.

Here are some suggested sources that come directly from your personal experiences, which are the best way to tell humorous stories:

a) Family experiences. Stories about both immediate and extended families
b) Personal experiences. Travel stories are universal. Everyone laughs at bad travel experiences
c) Humorous quotes. In your favorite search engine, type, "funny quotes" (without the quotation marks)

            Example:  "Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please."  (Mark Twain)

Whenever possible, test your use of humor on friends, colleagues, and in presentation practice sessions. When you say something funny, wait a few seconds for the audience to “get it” – that is the pausing part.

 

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In describing Atlas Corps, Scott Beale, Founder and CEO, shares that Atlas Corps is "an international network of the world's best non profit leaders and social change organizations.  We bring leaders from around the world to serve in the U.S. to learn skills and share their perspectives. And then go back home to create a global network of the world's best social change professionals."

I met Scott about a year ago through a program hosted by CRDF Global and my good friend Natalia Pipia.  We talked briefly and then over the course of about a month outlined a communications program to be offered to the next class of Atlas Corps' Fellows.

Today, I had a the honor of spending a half-day with nearly 70 very passionate social change professionals from more than 50 countries (see picture below). My program was "Executive Storytelling: How to Use Stories to Engage, Persuade, and Inspire."

Two big take-aways:

- Passion opens the door to opportunities. Scalability opens the door to investment. Several of the Fellows are doing great things in their respective countries. They were looking for local partners and investors to help them expand outreach. Someone asked a question sparking a lively discussion of passion and scability. I emphasized investors around the world will always be more receptive to an idea that scales, whether it be for social good or for economic gain.

- Find the right balance. Many of the Fellows were tackling sensitive culture, justice, and historical issues.  Some of the issues were heart-breaking and would bring tears to your eyes hearing some of the stories. I encouraged the fellows to share these stories while keeping in mind that tugging on someone's heart to inspire them to be part of the solution, you must find the right balance of emotion and benefit. In general, people do not want to be overwhelmed with an emotional appeal. They want a reasoned set of arguments with clear benefits. Weave your emotional appeal just enough so that your audience truly understands what is at stake. Empathy over sympathy.

I really enjoyed spending time with the Atlas Corps' Class 18 Fellows. And I sincerely look forward to staying in touch and helping them continue to make a (big) difference in the world.

The next day, Scott posted this very nice recommendation/testimonial. 

Ira did a fantastic job with this public speaking and storytelling workshop to the Atlas Corps Fellows. He engaged a diverse and professional audience of nearly 70 leaders from over 50 different countries and after a four-day training on Marketing and Communication skills, Ira was the favorite presenter for the majority of the Fellows. He is fantastic!

 

With its fantastic history of excellence, Atlas Corps has built a world wide reputation, drawing thousands of applications each year (apply here). What it needs most are host organizations (contact Atlas Corps here). Host organizations receive a variety of benefits. If interested visit the website or email me.

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The Fellows sat at tables of six to eight. On some of the tables I saw name tents with each Fellow's name in a variety of languages. I didn't think of asking them to translate my name until my program was nearly over. I did manage a few...languages and countries of origin are labeled on the next photograph.

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I did manage a few...languages and countries of origin are labeled. Too bad I wasn't able to do more...next time!

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