The Amateur vs. The Professional

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Last year, one of my EMS (Executive Mastery Series) clients came into NYC for our private session. Despite his high level, his impeccable credentials, and his CEO pedigree, he's still committed to learning, growing, polishing, and improving. It was a joy to see and it was a true honor to work with him.

Though he'd put a ton of time into preparing his presentation for an upcoming event, he realized after our first hour that it was off course and he needed to scrap the entire opening and structure.

It wasn't bad. It was OK. And he could easily have just said, "It's fine." But he wouldn't be where he is now if that were his attitude. He stayed up that night rewriting the whole thing.

The professional is ever aware, always improving, and always asking, "How could it be better?" And willing to do the work to make it so.  It isn't ever easy...but it's always worth it.

(c) Victoria Labalme Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The Importance of Accuracy For Your Credibility

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There's nothing like a few missed facts or mispronounced words to create a dent in your status as a presenter, leader, sales professional or service provider.

Are you blowing it?

The Idea that Might Lead to the Idea

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One of the core tenants of my coaching is exactly this: the power of "the idea that might lead to the idea."

In developing new material or even in revamping old, this is critical. We so often get stuck in old patterns of thinking and when get that flash -- that creative impulse (however wacky) -- it is worth paying attention to.

I believe this is your creative genius at work.

When I start working with a new client, I always explain the importance of this -- of not tossing out any ideas too soon. This gives them freedom to brainstorm without fear of judgment and often what follows is a client will say that day or at a future session, "OK. I know this is kind of strange. But it could be 'the idea that leads to the idea.'"  And we are off and running.

So...let's look at that as it applies to your next interaction in which the topic always feels kind of the same in tone, content and delivery: perhaps it's a weekly staff meeting, an annual convention, a regular get together with some family members or friends at which things are always "kind of the same."

What's your wild idea to shake things up? Begin by saying quietly to yourself, "Wouldn't it be cool if...?" and see where your imagination takes you.

(c) Victoria Labalme Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Distinguishing Your Brand - Start With Your Business Card

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Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 11.14.57 AM.pngLooking for ways to distinguish your brand and stand out from the rest of your industry?

Maybe you should start with your business card!

Storytelling, Speaking, Sales - Using Mime as a Metaphor

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Looking for new ways to incorporate stories into your next presentation? 

Consider adding mime and movement to animate your message. 

Your audience will love you for it.

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How much do you reveal about your level of education when you open your mouth? A lot.

It's not only what you say, but of course, it's how you say it.

Like proper manners, proper English speaks volumes -- far more than you can imagine. 

When you blow a simple phrase, you risk losing the respect of the person or people listening to you; you scratch your status ever so slightly; and if the person you're speaking to cares a whit about the English language, you may have damaged the relationship more than you know.

Nobody likes to talk about this because these days, it's so incredibly un-PC. We like to pretend that we're all just fine with however someone speaks...but the fact is, that's just not the case.

(c) Victoria Labalme Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The Power of Analogies

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One common mistake most presenters make is not clearly explaining complex concepts or ideas.

Here are 4 great examples of how to use analogies to take your presentation skills to another level.

The Gumball Machine Analogy

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I often tell my clients that performing and presenting is a bit like turning the crank on a gumball machine. You never quite know which colors will emerge.

And that is just as it should be.

Victoria_Labalme_Keynote_Speaker_Presentation_Skills_Creativity.jpgYour presentation will rarely go exactly as you envision; there are just too many unknown variables. As Steve Martin says in his brilliant book, Born Standing Up, someone in the audience might just cough right on your punch line.

But...if you've done your homework, if you've truly prepared, and if you're on your toes, you'll take advantage of priceless unexpected opportunities.

A great director I worked with used to say in the weeks leading up to the play, "Do your homework."  But on the day of the first performance he would look at us and smile: "Now don't think about it. Just let yourself fly."

(c) MMXIV Victoria Labalme Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The Power of Brevity

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The power of brevity cannot be underestimated. Avoid droning on and on.

Be succinct.

Be clear.

Make your point. And then stop.

The video below says it all.

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A great lesson for life (and a great lesson for great presentations) is that yes, we can plan a bit - structure allows for freedom -  but you must always
present from the present.

It's worth letting go the reigns just a bit and seeing where things lead. Goal setting is overrated. When it comes to speaking (and I've venture to say life as well), find your form organically. THEN set down your markers and your goals.

(c) Victoria Labalme Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved.