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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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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.

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How can you make your audience feel special? How can you make your presentation come alive?

There are many ways....

One superb technique is what I call "Site Specific" comments and experiences.



If you've ever seen the video of the one-man show Robin Williams did at the The Metropolitan Opera House in NYC ("Live at the Met"), you will know just what I'm talking about. 

Robin did his show in 1986 and at the time, Imelda Marcos was all over the news.

As the famous Met chandeliers retracted up into the ceiling on their extraordinary cables -- a jaw dropping vision that happens before every show (and a show in and of itself) -- RVictoria_Labalme_Presentation_Skills_Expert_Training_Keynote_Speaker_Met_Chandeliers.jpgobin pointed up to the glorious lights and called out, "Look! Imelda Marcos's earrings!"

He got a huge laugh.

So what can you do in your next speech?

1) Get to the venue early
2) Look around

3) See if you can connect your content and comments in some way to the environment
 
Your creativity doesn't have to be Broadway-level. Even a small reference will add a sense of immediacy.

Victoria_Labalme_Keynote_Speaker_CUNA_Presentation_Skills_Expert.jpgAt a keynote I gave in New Orleans in for CUNA (Credit Union National Association), the event planners had decorated the stage with beautiful colored panels articulating the convention's core themes.

The panels were turquoise, indigo, rose and purple. And so as I talked about colors, The Prism Effect and recognizing opportunity, I referred to the different hues here.

It's these small touches that let your audience recognize that you are mindful of where you are -- that you are present, in the moment, attune.

So whether you're meeting with prospects in a small office or speaking on a stage before thousands, look around.

  • Be creative.
  • Connect your comments to the specific site in which you are presenting
...and remember
  • Audiences appreciate customization, inventiveness and originality.

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

The Importance of Authenticity

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So often people and presenters feel they have to be something other than who they are. But there's nothing the audience wants more than the authentic you.

Think back on a great speech you've heard. Did you notice if the speaker stumbled on a word or said "um" a few times? I'll bet you'd rather have someone who messed up but had a heartfelt & believable message than a phony speaker who had every word perfect.



Matching Your Tone to Your Intention

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Many speaking coaches will tell presenters to "vary their tone". The problem with this kind of coaching is that it leads to "outside in" behavior. The presenter starts to raise and lower his/her voice and gesture "creatively" simply for the purpose of variety. The result: an inauthentic delivery style and self consciousness on the platform.

The fact is, variation will arrive organically when you are truly connected to your material and you are -- as we say in the acting world -- in the moment.

Just think of how a kid tells a story when they're excited or in a state of wonder.

I had an Alexander Technique teacher years ago who used to say "let, allow, permit" when it came to how we moved on stage.

The same is true for speaking. Rather than force a tone, let it happen organically.  On top of this, it's critical that you are connected to what you are saying so that you never are out of sync with your content. Quiet moments should elicit a quiet tone. Excited moments should bring an excited tone.

But all this will come if you structure your presentation so that you have a full spectrum of experiences within it and then you reconnect with those experiences. If you do, you will have more variety than you can possibly imagine because inside of you is a full prism of colored light just waiting to shine.

(c) Victoria Labalme Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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I am always, always, still learning and practicing the importance of prep. It is critical. Even for a short presentation.

When I was on "Sex & The City" now over a decade ago, I had only 5 lines. I only had 5 lines to establish my character and tone.

When you have a brief introduction to give or a short 5 minute segment as part of a larger client or prospect presentation, when you only have a brief moment to say good bye to someone or to welcome them,  how you use those 5 minutes (or 2 or 10 minutes) becomes even more critical. You only have that one opportunity. So don't blow it. Don't take it lightly.

Never underestimate the power of prep - especially when your stage time is limited.

As Stanislavsky said, "There are no small parts; only small actors." Don't be a small actor. Do your part and do it well.

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