April 28, 2016

The "Pre-Talk Talk"

Giving a talk is not as complicated as it seems. Giving a talk that delivers a call to action and having that action realized by a need for each audience member to act is the desired outcome, regardless of what the action is. Maybe it's to get them more involved in some initiative or to better themselves by being made aware of certain "things." 
Only you know what you'd like to see happen and only you can make that a possibility. 

If you did read last week's article you should have quite a few stats and statistics to create your talk. Like any chef with culinary pride you are not just going to go out there and cook (speak to) for your audience with just the ingredients. You are going to "practice" your meal before serving. The right amount of this, a pinch of that, varying degrees of heat and a few trial runs will bring out the best of your creation. The recipe may change here and there and after a few times the recipe is committed to memory, with the help of a few glances at the recipe itself.

Speech writing is prepared the same way. You have;
  1. The ingredients are your facts and statistics that you have gathered. You need to find out which are needed for the base of your speech, the point of the talk. You do this by eliminating redundancies in your ingredients.
  2. The introduction to the speech is the presentation, setting the stage for what's to come.
  3. The body, which is the meal itself with all the "ingredients" you utilized. 
  4. The conclusion which, at the end of every meal, is the satisfaction and the need to desire more.
 Let's take the four points above starting with the introduction;
  • Streamline your facts so you have a clear head on the presentation. This is the part where you draw a crowd into the conversation.
  • Take the best from each streamlined area and make the one clear note for each of your facts.
  • Place them in a sequence that will help set the tone for what is to come.
  • Begin with the end, meaning start with your desired outcome as the focus of the introduction but give the audience "just a taste."
 The body;
  • The work you prepared for your introduction now expands for each point.
  • Don't utilize a lot of words. Remember, the best speeches are not graded on length but on substance.
  • Each segment of the body has to be a building block for subsequent points.
  • You are delivering the meal at this point.
The conclusion;
  • Summarize the hot points from the body in such a way that you create a clear call to action. 
  • What do you want the final "feeling" to be? 
  • Will the conclusion be satisfying to those who consumed your talk?
 The prep work goes to the test run;
  • You have, what you believe to be the words needed to produce your talk (the ingredients).
  • You have the speech written out (the recipe).
  • You read it out loud to a digital recorder or a video recorder (the trial test taste).
  • Play it back as if you were the audience.
  • Did you like what you heard?
  • Was it just someone reading?
  • Was there emotion on points that need to be question marked or exclamation pointed?
  • Were there slight pauses in the talk or was it just rambling to get the words out and failing to deliver a meaningful message?
Make notes on your recording making sure you look to see where you, as an audience member,  would be satisfied. Do a few more test runs, no meal comes out right the first time it was created. You need to add the right amount of certain spices to get the taste just right. The key point is this and a cautionary tale at well; not everyone has the same taste buds so you may not satisfy everyone.

After you have the introduction nailed down, the body just right and the conclusion worthy of the message itself, you have to decide if you read it to the audience or go by memory. Reading it removes your eye contact fro those who are engaged in your talk. Going by memory brings you to points where you may forget key words or even having too long of a pause to try and recapture.

Here's what the pros do;

The keep practicing the talk until they feel comfortable with every word and the pairing of degrees of passion. They then;
  • Write handwritten, or typed, notes for each segment of the speech. These notes or memory joggers should be short but help you remember your practice.
  • This helps with the memory aspect as well as maintaining eye contact.
  • Give the talk to someone they trust as the final preparation making sure that the words flow naturally and the listener feels the words as they are intended; a call to action.
You've done your prep work, bravo! The meal is now ready to serve. 
Next week, the field preparation.

submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP    

April 20, 2016

Public Speaking: Make Like a Boy Scout

Last week's article we talked about how you could "Jump Start Your Personal Business Brand" through public speaking. This is an absolute road to self branding success or it could be a one and done flop. You can control the outcome but you have to have the wherewithal to see it through the right way, or better stated, the prepared way. 

 Make Like a Boy Scout

Is there a particular program you have that will help others? Do you have a fundraiser that needs special attention? Maybe it is rallying members of the association for whatever  the cause may be? What is your message? The items you need to address before you utter one word are short but so important;

1. Do you have the desire to speak publicly? Some people are "naturals" and others have to work hard to accomplish the talk. But make no mistake, if you don't have the desire to publicly speak the rest of these points are relatively useless.

2.  Courage. Even the 'naturals" have butterflies before they speak but self confidence overcomes the butterflies and the courage, that is already inside of you, will flourish. How do you build self confidence? Preparation. Lawyers prepare for court by research, playing the case out in their minds, preparing for worst case scenarios and seeing the finished product in their mind. Same holds true for surgeons or professional athletes. They just don't step up and cut away or hit away. They study, they prepare and their desired outcome is usually achieved.

3. To prepare you need to visualize your end goal which is always needed to prepare for a talk. Think about it; you want to travel to Europe but how do you start? The desire is the motivator but the self confidence comes from planning the journey itself. It requires details; method of transportation, places to stay and the actual dates that are the necessary items which are needed to be known before you take your trip. You just don't wake up and take off and hope all goes well. Without planning you can end up elsewhere or nowhere. The same goes for giving a talk. What is your desired outcome? Once you understand a reasonable destination how do you prepare?

a) Research your material. The internet may be riddled with useless information but it is a vast wonderland of infinite golden resources for any subject matter. Always gather more information than you intend to utilize.

b) Cull the information you believe can help make your case or deliver the "aha" moment.

c) Talks can't be given off the cuff or with 30 minute preparation time. You need to give it thought, bounce ideas off a colleague or spouse and ask others that may have insight to your subject matter for their thoughts. Remember, self-branding holds the same laws of networking as it applies to first impressions. If your first talk is ill prepared or bombs completely you will have a self brand that you didn't want. There is an old carpenters saying goes like this, "measure twice, cut once."

d) Build a plan of attack, not "ready, fire, aim." There is a sequence that is need to be followed in order for your talk to bring out the desired outcome. When writing a movie script the the screenwritier keeps it simple; develop the story by assigning the main characters and supporting cast. Then you write the beginning, a middle and an end that helps to deliver the perfect arch needed in any movie. The audience starts here, was brought there and left with this outcome at the screenwriter's desired destination. Now, this is where it's not so simple; bringing the audience into your world and keeping them engaged through the arch. That's why you don't talk for the sake of talking. You effectively deliver the message which is the overall desired outcome.

Next week will will discuss "walking the field before the game."

submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP 


April 14, 2016

Jump Start Your Personal Business Brand

What is a personal business brand? Well, in simple language, a business brand is how people view your company. A business brand is also valued for its "attractiveness," how your customers and potential customers feel about the company.
A personal business brand goes to you, the individual. It's based on how you package YOU, how you are viewed and your "attractiveness" to those in your world.

Our last five issues of Association Maximization focused, based on my opinions, on the optimum ways to build your networking value in the eyes of your peers. One of the great ways to self brand is by how knowledgeable you are by the information you can provide and the influence you can wield. The absolute best way to accomplish that is through... public speaking.

Public speaking can be in front of as many as 500 plus in an auditorium or as few as a handful of members within a committee meeting. Some people are naturals at public speaking and most will range in spectrum from apprehensive to "I'd rather die!" In fact, to prove my dramatic point, the number one fear people listed; public speaking. Number two fear? Death. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once remarked' "to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy."

So if this is the case, why would I bring up public speaking as the ultimate way to personal business branding? If performed correctly, it will absolutely set you apart from your competition and people will naturally be drawn to you as well as your talks inspiring others. 
The word "correctly" is the key, descriptive word

Why should you want to at least try public speaking?
  •  The ability to communicate effectively begins with one on one conversation. The ability to mass communicate begins with understanding that you have multiple points of view listening so in order to get your point across, in a meaningful way, you may have to change your approach for each occasion.
  • Public speaking is your vehicle to mass exposure. It helps people in assessing your professionalism. They will base their assessments on your knowledge, your passion, your commitment and the clarity you bring to your talk. This is where leadership opportunities take shape, whether you are conversing with co-workers on a project, volunteers on a committee or, taking it to the next level, talking to a group where future business opportunities may emerge.
  • The more you speak publicly the more confidence you will accrue.  Just make sure you have someone, or a few someones, who can give you constructive advice. Everybody needs somebody to help them with feedback.
  • Anyone who wants to have varying degrees of success needs to conquer the communication hurdle, and there are many hurdles. Each hurdle you jump, however, will get easier and more fulfilling. 

Over the next few weeks I will be outline the best ways to begin your public speaking career at the HBA, including the "hows" and "wheres. My opinions are just that; my opinions. I have enjoyed over thirty years of membership in our federation and a very good portion of that time has not seen me shy away from a microphone. I thoroughly enjoy public speaking, but trust me, I was all nerves my first several times. If I can help just one person with these upcoming articles I will be thrilled.

submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP 


April 7, 2016

Networking vs NOTworking, Part Five

All Business is Personal
“It’s nothing personal Sonny, it’s strictly business.” 

Al Pacino's Michael Corleone spoke those very words to his brother in what is, in my opinion, the greatest movie ever made, The Godfather. Michael wanted to, shall we say, take care of a business "situation." The only problem with Michael saying those words? He was making this "situation" personal because in his mind he knew it was personal. All business is personal and the key to business success is personal relationships. Business affects all aspects of our lives, which are of personal nature. Owning a home, having a family, college, weddings, retirements and even funerals are all personal and all cost money. Money, unless you are counting on Powerball to deliver you to independent financial freedom, comes from business success. All business is truly personal. We're all people, how else should we understand it?

We have discussed networking in the previous four articles of Association Maximization and, I believe, we have established that networking, when done correctly, creates, builds and grows relationships. It would be correct to state that networking is the number one ingredient to our business interests. Understanding correct networking gives you an upper hand and you should devote time and treasure to being the best you can be in the networking realm. You want to be laser focused and target oriented. The success of networking does not come from the sale; the success comes from the creation and continuity of the relationship. You may get the one sale now or you could receive many sales later. Closing a sale looks good that day but building a fruitful relationship will last a career lifetime.  
Networking opens up the world to you and that's where business success takes hold. Of course business is personal. Why else are we in business?

submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP