Communicating & Connecting - The Reaction Shot

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In the film world, The Reaction Shot is just this: the camera angle/shot that reveals the reaction of a given character to what was said.

This is critical because as an audience, we're not just interested in what one person says; we're interested to see how it affects another.

In life, in sales, in presentations and in communication settings of all kinds, people often forget to check "The Reaction Shot" -- meaning, they are so busy talking that they neglect the critical component of observing how someone responds...and then adjusting accordingly.

Believe it or not, this concept can be applied to yourself. How? Here's one example...

Every New Year's Eve, many people (maybe even you) will write out, share or silently review their goals for the time ahead.

The challenge, though, is that
we sometimes put down goals that are hollow, goals we think we should have but which don't really light us up.

We forget to check in with ourselves. We forget to notice our own Reaction Shot to a given plan.

Look at your list from last year. How do each item feel? Do you really WANT that goal? (Whose goal is that anyway?)  As you plan the year(s) ahead, notice your "Reaction Shot".

It's a short life. Plan the one that lights you up.

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

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As you look towards the fall, think not only of the items, tasks, and jobs you need to accomplish, but also and more importantly, of the experiences you want to create.

Communication is the same way. Rather than simply focus on conveying information, focus on creating an experience.

Life's too short not to.
(c) Victoria Labalme Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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When you're allotted a specific amount of time for your presentation, one of the most useful techniques you can employ is to start to break down your presentation into sections of time.


It becomes far less overwhelming and it lets you realize how little you can do...And, in a good way, it forces you to cut the fat.

Oddly, a 45 minute window becomes much more manageable once you see that you actually don't have that much time. Once you add on a few minutes for your FIRST moment (your opener) and a few for your FINAL moment (your close); once you divide the body of your content into a few sections which each may need a variety of communication styles (stories, examples, statistics, analogies, etc) you will realize that you don't have as much time as you think.

Watch the video to get a better sense for what I'm talking about...and apply the 10% rule: always shave off 10% of your time (i.e. 6 minutes off of a 60 min slot) because
1. your time may get cut
2. you may get started late due to a myriad of issues
3. you may think of something great to add
4. you may experience a technical snafu
5. it's always nice to end a tad early

Give it a try; and let me know what you think!

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

The #1 Way to Ruin Your First Moment

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I think the video kinda says it all.

What do you think?


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When you think of New York City, does Times Square come to mind? That's just the problem...and the point.

The truth is, there's a lot more to New York City than Times Square, Wall Street, Madison Avenue and "Ooooh, the Village." 

So what's the "Times Square" of your industry, service or business? And are you aware of how much people may be holding that up as a lens through which they view you and what you offer?

Whether you're an executive, entrepreneur, sales professional or professional speaker, ask yourself the following:

1) "What's the typical (negative) assumption or misconception people have about the industry, service, business in which I operate?"

Then ask....

2) "How can I do the exact opposite and/or take some aspect of what makes me unique and use it to delight my clients, customers, or audience?" 

There's enough craziness and cacophony where the crowds are already with people clamoring for attention and putting up billboards and lights. Why not plant your tree or better yet, start sharing some of the garden you've been keeping hidden?

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

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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 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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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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Presentation & Communication Skills - The Power of Analogies - Victoria Labalme - Keynote Speaker - Innovation, Creativity - Made to Stick.jpg
In their landmark book, Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath talk about what they call "The Curse of Knowledge" -- a situation wherein professionals forget that what is common knowledge to them might be completely foreign to a newcomer or someone outside their industry.

I love this phrase, "The Curse of Knowledge"....

A few months back, I had a conference call with two top people from a company who asked if I might create a customized keynote for them. The business they're in is not something I'm familiar with and so I was asking what exactly it was they did. After three rounds of this question in different formats, the two experts on the call could only respond using terms from their corner of the industry. I was still confused.

In the end, I called up a third individual who brought it all home for me in a simple, easily graspable analogy. "Ohhhh. NOW I get it." But if I think back on those two from the conference call and ask myself, "Are they experts?" my answer is, "To a certain degree. Are they knowledgeable? Yes. Are they visionary leaders? No." Their view is just too myopic.

Presentation & Communication Skills - The Power of Analogies - Victoria Labalme - Keynote Speaker - Innovation, Creativity - Snow Ball.jpgWhether you're in the financial services or insurance industry, technology or health care, education or a cutting edge B2B offering, if you're going to be a leader with influence and impact, and if you want to sell your product or service, it's incumbent upon you to take what is obvious to you and turn it into something easily graspable to others.

Presentation & Communication Skills - The Power of Analogies - Victoria Labalme - Keynote Speaker - Innovation, Creativity - Bubble Wrap.jpgSo
1) think of one of the most complex,
complicated or confusing components at the core of your work.
2) then think of a crackerjack analogy and
3) see if the next person who serves your cup of coffee can understand it...remember it...and repeat it.

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