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.

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.

Sunday V-10-19-14-Victoria Labalme .jpgAt some point, most of us want to quit. 

Something keeps us going.

For each person it's different, but for each person, it's a driving force...what I call "The Throughline."

My dear pal Jim Freydberg, the Broadway producer, sent me the image below a few months back.
I loved it. I looked it up and it turns out the image is all over the internet.

What I suspect makes this drawing so popular is that we all feel at times like we're in that tangled mess...and we all think it's wrong.

Sometimes we're the sailing arrow; sometimes we're in the squiggles...(or as the guitarist/songwriter Mark Knopfler says, "Sometimes you're the windshield; sometimes you're the bug.")

It's nice to know that everyone goes through this. Success is filled with screw ups, struggles and sideways steps. Welcome to life.

Years ago in the 1990s, I called Jim in a moment of great despair. I needed some advice and I needed someone who knew the emotional terrain of the performing arts. As a producer, he'd won a Tony award and not many years later, another one of his productions was panned by the press. He'd gone from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. So I knew he'd understand.

"I want to quit," I murmured into the phone. He listened, absorbed what I was saying, and then replied. His voice was calm.

"You can't quit. You can take a break, but you can't quit."

I got back up on my feet, and I kept going. I had something I wanted to share. It wasn't entirely formed, it wasn't entirely clear, but I knew it had something to do with helping people live life on their own terms, risk forward, and express their vision.

I believe The Throughline is at the core of every business, every Broadway show, every presentation...and every life. Your Throughline is why you do what you do, and once you know that, everything changes. It's not about the goal; it's about something much, much larger.

Whether you're in the tangled mess or panned by the press, reconnecting with your Throughline will help you find your way out. Every time. 

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

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.

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.

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.