Master Your Message Blog


Attentive audience membersDo you want to win more business – have more successful persuasive presentations?

The secret: Know your audience.

It’s amazing how many presenters don’t properly research their audience.

I often use the phrase “get under their skin.” In fact, it’s the title of one of the modules of my online presentations course, “Persuasive Presentations 2.0.” It’s so important, I dedicate one of eight modules to it alone.

Here’s why: If you understand your audience’s pain and can alleviate it, your chances of success go through the roof. By “pain,” I mean what’s really bothering them. What is their major concern in the area you’re addressing? Get “under their skin”— really understand them and their challenges. That allows you to deliver your solution more Read More …

I constantly see presenters futzing around with their computers mere minutes before they go on …. and often minutes after they should have started. It simply shouldn’t happen in most of those cases.

Here’s the secret: Show up early.

But, there’s actually more to it than that! To be really successful on stage, there are a number things you need to do before your presentation. If you complete them all, you’ll be much more successful. I’ve seen too many horror stories from presenters who showed up five minutes ahead of time and expected everything to go just fine.

Play for the video below and get the list of “must-dos.”

Check out the room. Walk the stage area. Get used to where the audience will be Read More …

Ever get really, really lost? You’re in the driver’s seat and your navigator hasn’t bothered to keep you up to speed on where you are? It’s the single biggest fault with presentations.

Presenters know where they’re going – they just don’t share the map with the audience.As presenters, we need to keep our audience on track. Tell them what we’re going to tell them up front … and then keep them up to date as we move through the presentation. Otherwise, they get lost.

“Sharing the Map” keeps your audience on track throughout your presentation.

So here are three visuals things you can do to help keep your audience on track.

One. If you have more than say three points, have an agenda slide. Read More …

There isn’t anything that connects you with your audience more than your eyes. We call that eye contact.

Now, I don’t mean cursory, flit around the room eye contact – I’m talking hard core at least two sentences long eye contact. That’s what works.

Beginning speakers know they have to have good eye contact and so they make sure they scan the room and try and spend a couple of seconds on each person. That’s the ADD method.

People know when you’re talking AT them rather than TO them. If you’ve sat in the audience when a speaker scans the group and never really connects with one person, you know you don’t tend to get really involved in the message.

But when a speaker spends Read More …

Our eyes are attracted to shiny things. You know that when you take a walk in the park; the glint of the sun from a gum wrapper lying in the grass draws your attention. Or you look up at the sky on a clear, moonlit night – that big white orb is what catches your eye. Even the stars play second banana to the brilliance of the moon. Our eyes are attracted to light.

Read More …

NOTE: This terrific article comes from Judy Carter and gives a great example of why it’s so important to start any presentation, email, or other persuasive business communication with a problem …
There’s a secret to have your resume rise to the top of a job pile. It’s the same technique that makes a comedy club audience laugh, or that gets everyone at your next meeting to stop texting and start listening to you. You get people’s attention by making your cover letter, your first joke, or your opening remarks about THEM.
I posted a job on Craigslist and LinkedIn recently — and I was immediately swamped with over 100 applicants.
I deleted some of the applications as soon as I read them. Read More …

hi-ferrari119384354-8colThis week, Ferrari—that’s right, the car-maker—issued a directive to its employees to stop emailing so much and start talking to each other.

“From now on, each Ferrari employee will only be able to send the same email to three people in-house,” a statement on the company’s website said.

The target is “injudicious sending of emails with dozens of recipients often on subjects of no relevance to most.”

You know the emails. You’re part of a meeting and after the meeting, every little action or comment on the subject (even though you have on interest in it at all) is copied to you.

Or the colleagues of yours that can’t seem to get to the point – with emails that take a triple read – to Read More …

Painting from cave man daysProfessional speakers know that stories are the most powerful tool they have. Human beings love hearing about other human beings. That’s been the case since early man. Cave dwellers used pictures on rock walls to tell about battles with wild beasts, for example.

Any presentation can use stories to make the subject matter far more compelling and memorable. Even sales letters, which trade on being as persuasive as possible, use stories to connect with the audience. Nobody knows that better than Troy White, one of the premier internet sales letter writers, who has sold millions of dollars of products and services through the use of stories.

I caught up with Troy this week to do an interview on how the power of stories helps him Read More …

I attended a professional speaking event last week and was again hit with the fact that many speakers make it really tough on the audience to read their slides.

The reason? Probably the fact that they really don’t think about it from the audience’s perspective. Or don’t know enough about the technology. In this particular case, the presenter was using dark blue letters on a yellow background – exactly the opposite of what he should have been using.

The problem with a light or white screen is in the light from the projector. A white background can be like looking into a headlight – hard on the eyes. That’s because the projector light is bouncing off the screen right back into your eyes. On top Read More …

I like to travel in a jacket and dress slacks. There’s a reason for that. I think I get better treatment.

Over many years, I’ve proven that theory to myself, although some of the examples are arguable. This has not been a scientific study, after all.

I just got back from Kansas City. On the way there, I had to pick up a pre-booked rental car. The agent tried to up sell me, of course, and I had to tell her that the car was booked by a third party and I had no flexibility in price. However, I ended up getting an upgrade anyway – four levels above what was originally booked. I’m convinced that if I’d been in jeans and somewhat unkempt in Read More …