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Everyone gives the same terrible advice about public speaking–ignore it and do this instead

By Lori

Famous in Your Field public speaking tipsYou are:

  • a budding motivational speaker.
  • an ambitious professional who knows that public speaking will set you apart from all those other people in your industry.
  • a business leader who needs to inspire your team.

You’ve probably taken some kind of “Introduction to Delivering Presentations” course. (Maybe more than one!)

It might have been your high school speech teacher, or a well-meaning seminar leader who drilled public speaking commandments into your head.

But I’m here to tell you that some of the “conventional wisdom”; the stuff we all know about speaking to a group, is just plain wrong.

Let’s dive into three pieces of public speaking advice that you’ve heard again. And again.

Myth #1 – Don’t move your hands while you’re talking, it’s distracting to your audience.

Who hasn’t read or been told that they should keep their hands still? It’s one of the oldest bits of advice that gets passed down, from wise teacher to eager pupil.

Annndd it’s not true.

Sure, you don’t want to make repetitive, nervous tapping or coin jingling noises, but moving your hands – yes, frequently even – to emphasize points you’re making?

THAT builds an impact.

Vanessa Van Edwards is a body language expert who runs a human behavior lab. She talks about science, psychology and body language on her site, Science of People.

Vanessa’s team ran a study on the most popular TED talks. They found that even when two talks covered the same topic:

“…the talks that had the most hand gestures correlated with the talks that were overall favorites.”

Moving your hands from side to side and up and down actually makes your talk more compelling.

Why? It gives the listener visual, as well as auditory content to keep the brain engaged.

Myths #2 – To keep people’s attention, speak quickly. 

The gist: You should speak quickly in order to capture your audience’s attention and keep them interested.

“Speaking quickly shows energy and excitement,” they say. “Don’t take too much time. You need to speak fast, otherwise your audience will be bored.”

No. Just no.

Instead, use your voice to influence others.

UCLA acoustic scientist Rosario Signorello conducted charisma experiments. Here’s what she told the Wall Street Journal: “You have the capacity to shape your voice in a way that makes people perceive you as a leader.”

So, how can you become more charismatic while speaking? By speaking more s-l-o-w-l-y.

Think about the qualities of a nervous (sounding) person:

  • squeaky, high-pitched voice
  • rapid speech

To broadcast confidence, slow down. Don’t rush to get the words out; pause a second or two between points for emphasis. Silence, used strategically, builds interest.

Speaking more slowly and pausing demonstrates that you’re confident in the importance of what you have to say and in your audience’s desire to hear it from you.

Myth 3. Focus on your words.

Here’s a bit of speaking advice you’ve heard over and over, “Script what you’re going to say. Plan it carefully! Using the right word or phrase is crucial.”

In fact, most people who have to give a presentation or a speech spend nearly all of their preparation time crafting the words.

They agonize over this phrase or that. Have they used a certain word too often? Is it the right word? Is there a better word? What if I flub the word?

The content that you deliver matters. There’s no doubt.

But the way that you deliver your content, the non-verbal matters so much more than you think.

For more research-based speaking advice, let’s again look to the Science of People’s TED talk study. SOP recruited over 750 people, asking them to rate hundreds of hours of TED Talks, looking for specific nonverbal and body language patterns.

What the researchers found was amazing. And counterintuitive.

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

Viewers who watched talks with sound and those who watched speakers on mute both rated the same talks highly.

Both the with-sound and the without-sound viewers rated same speakers as the most charismatic, intelligent and credible. (Yes, whether they heard the words or not!)

The lesson here is that anyone who has to deliver a message should spend at least as much time practicing delivering the content as what they’ll say.

Focus on the energy you want to bring and using it to connect with the audience.

“Anyone with a big idea should be able to express their passion both verbally and nonverbally,” advises Vanessa Van Edwards.

Your fame boosting assignment

This week, pick one of these three speaking myths and practice doing the opposite.

If you normally keep your hands at your side while talking, bring them up to your waist and move them to emphasize your points.

Try slowing down your speech in a conversation. Use strategic pauses when leading a meeting.

Or, focus on your energy during a presentation, not a script.

The forecast for your week? 100% chance of awesome!

11 ways to get more results from speaking

By Lori

Famous in Your Field tips: 11 ways to get more results from speaking

Famous in Your Field tips: 11 ways to get more results from speaking

Speaking and presenting are super effective ways to bring business in the door. (Skeptical? For all the reasons speaking can ramp up ROI, check out my three part series on speaking engagements.)

Done right, you’ll put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into a presentation. There’s the pitching, the planning, the rehearsal, the travel, and possibly, the stage fright.

After all that, don’t you dare leave business growth opportunities back at the conference. To get the most mileage out of your speaking events, here are 11 ways that you can get a bigger, better results from your efforts.

BEFORE

1. Ask your audience, clients and prospects for input.
Even before you devote hours to developing your speaking topic or crafting a killer slidedeck, solicit input from fans, current clients and prospects. Let them help you drill down on hot button issues.

The very act of asking for input and opinions (especially when you can let them know it’s for an upcoming speaking engagement *wink wink*) promotes your thought leadership and positions you as a playa.

How can you gather insight quickly? Through your blog, via email, Twitter, Facebook, professional forums, Linkedin groups, etc.

Ask a question, create a poll or send out a short (no more than three or four questions, please) survey.

DURING

2. Continue the relationship with your audience.

Use your presentation handouts as part of a lead collection or newsletter signup system. Attendees can sign up for your newsletter or blog to receive slides, notes or resources. By providing additional value, you can keep in touch with more people, even if you didn’t have a conversation at the event.

AFTER

Now that you’ve crafted and delivered your presentation, it’s time to accelerate the marketing momentum. How? By practicing one of the key principles of content marketing and your “be everywhere” strategy: repurposing.

Wait. Just in case that little voice is niggling at you, saying “I can’t distribute the same thing again. My prospects and clients have already seen it – they want something that’s fresh and new. They’ll never come back to my website again!”

Wroooooong.

Your prospects and clients are far, far less aware of the material that you distribute than you are. They’re busy. They don’t remember things. Most of them didn’t see that last article/blog post/tweet/email you sent.

Messages have to repeated, repeated, repeated and delivered in different modes to be absorbed.

3. Create multiple blog posts from the content of your talk. Break down the talk into single idea, bite-sized chunks.

4. Write one or more articles. Hate to write? Hire a freelancer from Scripted.com or elance.com or just speak your presentation into a recording tool and have it transcribed. A teeny bit polishing and boom-pow, you’re done.

5. Post your presentation on a sharing site like Slideshare.net or Scribd.com.

6. Post the presentation slidedeck (or just a few slides) on your blog. Slideshare makes it super easy to paste the embed code right into your post.

7. Republish the talk as a whitepaper or ebook.

8. Link to the presentation via Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.

9. Tweet a series of soundbites from your talk.

10. Record yourself giving the talk and post audio on iTunes, Stitcher and your website.

11. Record and post video on YouTube, Vimeo and other video sharing sites.

Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite way to get more mileage out of a presentation? Am I missing some great ideas? Comment below and share your faves.

Your fame boosting assignment:

Dig out a presentation or talk that you’ve given. Shake the dust off and repurpose it in two ways, using ideas from this list. The world needs more of that magic you’ve got. C’mon, give it to us!

Want to jump start your public speaking? Start here.

Share the Love on LinkedIn

By Lori

Welcome to Famous in Your Field! Here’s your free weekly tip to boost your fame factor.

This week’s tip is all about spreading good will, using LinkedIn. You know all about LinkedIn, right? And you’re using it to market yourself and your business, right?

While LinkedIn might look like a social networking pygmy at only 120 million members, compared to Facebook’s world-dominating 700 million users, Linkedin still has one huge advantage.

It’s about business.

People are on Facebook to post about their personal lives, to share pictures of kids and pets, and to have fun.

People are on LinkedIn for business.

Don’t get me wrong. You can have fun on LinkedIn, too. (And you should!) Make sure that your profile conveys your personality and your company’s brand. People who are curious about you and are even casually considering buying your services are checking out your LinkedIn profile. It’s become one of the basic steps in “fact checking” before hiring anyone.

So, how can you amp up the power of your LinkedIn profile? Here’s a tip that might seem counter intuitive: recommend others.

How does recommending others help to boost your own business’ fame factor? Several ways:

  • It shares the love, digitally. People will be more likely to want to hire and work with someone they view as helpful and generous.
  • It feeds the cycle of reciprocity. That doesn’t mean that you recommend someone on LinkedIn and then immediately ask them to recommend you. It’s much more effective to give a genuine, heartfelt recommendation to several people who you believe are doing great things in the world, expecting nothing in return. By being generous with your influence, people who are connected to you on LinkedIn and had positive experience working with you will be more likely to recommend you. That’s just the delicious way the world works.
  • It spreads your name. Now, instead of just reaching the people you’re already connected to, you’re also increasing your visibility to an even bigger network.

Your Famous in Your Field action:

Start sharing the biz love. This week, choose two of your LinkedIn connections that you think are really rockin’ it out, business-wise and recommend them.

Business Boosting Books: Book Yourself Solid

By Lori

Business boosting book: Book Yourself Solid

Business boosting book: Book Yourself Solid

I love books. I read all the time.

And yet, I know that there are brilliant people roaming the streets who are perfectly capable of reading a book but think of reading the same way that Newman from Seinfeld reacted to broccoli. (I may or may not be thinking of my own hubby here.)

So I’m going to justify my book hoarding do you a solid service by passing along some of the very best nuggets from business books, straight to you, without all that pesky nose-in-pages time. You’re welcome.

Today’s book could now be considered a classic for solo business owners: Book Yourself Solid, by Michael Port

(Actually the full title is: Book Yourself Solid, the Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling. Pretty juicy, right?)

But don’t be fooled – his system works for a professional working in a company, too.

Book Yourself Solid gives clear, simple and systematic approach to marketing and selling your services.

In fact, the material Port covers in BYS looks a lot like the what we talk about here at Famous in Your Field:

  • Establishing credibility
  • Creating visibility
  • Getting your message out there in a big way
  • Earning higher fees
  • Increasing your confidence
  • Standing out from the crowd
  • Getting more clients

What’s makes the system truly powerful is that Michael’s book also focuses on your mindset and how it can impact the approach you take in creating and promoting your business.

I’ll zero in on just one, his “velvet rope policy.” (Isn’t that perfect for becoming famous in your field?) Port describes it as determining “your ideal client so that you work only with people who inspire and energize you.”

We’ve all heard this, right?

But are you actually living it in your business?

I know, it can fill you with panic to think about turning down someone who wants to work with you.

Your mind immediately shouts thing like, “what about the money?” And worse, “who do you think you are, turning someone away? What if no one else hires you?”

Here’s how to quiet the panicky voice – instead focus on the energy and satisfaction that you get from your ideal clients. The ones who bring out your best work, and make you enjoy being in business. The others just suck your energy and leave you frustrated.

Book Yourself Solid is packed with exercises that you can use to apply Michael’s teaching directly to your own business. Here’s one to start developing your own velvet rope policy:

Identify the types of clients you don’t want, consider which characteristics or behaviors you refuse to tolerate. What turns you off or shuts you down? What kinds of people should not be getting past the red velvet rope that protects you and your business?

Your Fame Boosting Assignment:

Jump on this exercise today, please. First, make a list of the characteristics and behaviors that suck the life out of your soul. Is it the client or customer who changes her mind constantly? Are certain industries or professions a total turnoff?

And make a list of the opposite; what qualities do your best, most delightful clients, customers, fans and followers have in common?

Now, start creating your own velvet rope policy! When you say “no” to the clients (or ban the followers) that zap your mojo, you magically start to attract the right people. (It might sound a little woo-woo, but you’ve got to trust me on this.)

You can buy the book on Amazon for an absolute steal. There’s even an illustrated edition. (Nope, I don’t make any money if you do, but you’ll make your business a much happier and more profitable place to be.)

Publicity is your aircraft; marketing is your jet fuel

By Lori

CONGRATULATIONS!

Publicity is your aircraft, marketing is your jetfuel

You were just quoted in The New York Times/O Magazine/Wall Street Journal/Inc (insert your scream-worthy publication here.)

Now what?

You might have been expecting that interview to open up the floodgates for your business, but then…crickets, baby. Nada. (Sure, your mom saw it and she’s telling all her friends, but where are the clients?)

That’s because your publicity needs marketing to pull the business to you.

Being mentioned or featured in the media is terrific for credibility. (Remember that publicity works to create an implied endorsement?)

To really get the full benefits of appearing in the media, you’ve got to market it. Who should you broadcast the news to? Here’s a starter list:

  • visitors to your website (add it to the As Seen In section)
  • your email subscriber list
  • your Facebook fans
  • your Twitter followers
  • write a press release and send it to your local media.

Got more ideas to leverage media mentions? Leave a comment below.

Your fame boosting assignment:

Have you been guilty of letting your publicity idle on the runway? Blast it into the clouds with a little marketing. This week, get your media mentions on your website, in your newsletter and out to your local media.

The Testimonial Tweak that Transforms Skeptics into Believers

By Lori

Famous in your field: testimonial tweak that transforms skeptics into believers

Skeptics into believers: tweak your testimonials

Testimonials on your website from raving fans…you’ve got ’em, right? 

If you’re like most professionals, your testimonials probably read something like this:

“I hired Flowers by Suzanne to provide the flowers for my sister’s surprise 50th birthday party and she did a fantastic job! You should definitely hire her.”

That’s a nice testimonial. But here’s the thing. Your readers are likely to skim right past it.

(Think about it  – when you check Amazon reviews on a book and find seven 5 star reviews all gushing and exclamation-pointy, do you buy that jazz?)

How do you make your prospects stop dead in their tracks and read every juicy word of your testimonials (convincing themselves to hire you in the process?)

Go negative.

That’s right. Instead of having your raving fan clients start off by singing your praises, start with an objection.

When your now-delighted client was considering hiring your company or buying your product, what was their worst fear? What were they skeptical about?

Here’s a great question to ask your clients: “What hesitations did you have about hiring a [marketing consultant/web designer/health coach]?

Then you take your client’s skepticism and start the testimonial with it. This technique is super-effective for two reasons:

1. It breaks down your prospect’s defenses.

He or she *expects* you to have effusive, raving testimonials. So, a testimonial that starts “I was concerned about hiring a web designer. I’d had a bad experience before with someone who didn’t listen to me and missed deadlines…” will stop your prospect’s “skim and go” scan dead in her tracks.

She’ll have to read more.

2. It makes your prospects identify with your clients.

Everyone who is considering buying your services or products has some doubts. By putting those doubts front and center in your testimonials, your prospect feel assured that your satisfied clients are real people, just like them.

And because your once-skeptical client is now delighted, chances are your prospect will be, too.

Your fame boosting assignment:

Ask your happy clients what their biggest concerns were about hiring your or buying your products. Then get those objections into your testimonials, front and center. Show how real people, with real fears and concerns, were wowed by working with you! 

Revealed! How to Measure the Value of PR

By Lori

Welcome to Famous in Your Field! Here’s your free weekly tip to boost your fame factor.

With the new year so close you can already hear the noisemakers,I wanted to share a quick tip that you can use when you’re planning your 2012 marketing. (You do have a 2012 marketing plan, right? With a budget and initiatives mapped out on a calendar, yes?)

Solo entrepreneurs and small business owners often struggle with how to allocate their marketing budget – how much money to spend and where to get the biggest return.

And measuring the value of publicity or public relations can be one of the trickiest concepts of all. Getting exposure in the media by buying an ad,  paying an exhibitor’s fee or sponsoring an event are marketing expenses often referred to as “paid media.”

Publicity or mentions in the media that you didn’t pay for are what’s known as “free PR” or, more accurately, “earned media.”

PR coverage generally isn’t free. While you may not pay a fee to have your business mentioned in a local news segment, you (or your PR consultant) have likely invested many hours, researching the right media outlets to cover your business, establishing relationships with reporters, editors and producers and crafting a pitch (a story concept) that’s truly newsworthy.

So when you score some ink for your business, how do you actually measure the value of media mentions?

Here’s a simple method:

“Ad equivalence x 5”.

To break it down, ad equivalence is the cost of purchasing the same number of column inches as an advertisement in the same publication, or same amount of time on TV/radio.

Then, you multiply this equivalent ad cost by 5. Why 5? Because PR has five time more credibility and is five times more authoritative than advertising.

(Readers and listeners are skeptical of advertising. They view it as self-serving boasts, while PR is considered to be news that’s been vetted by an independent party – the reporter, editor or producer.)

Now that you’re armed with your formula to measure the value of PR, make sure that this powerful little tool makes it into your 2012 Marketing Plan!

Top Free Press Release Sites and Why You Should Bother

By Lori

Have you ever sent out press releases announcing a new development in your business and then had reporters blowing up your phone, dying to interview you?

No? Don’t worry. You are not alone.

Unless your company is Apple or Google, the press just doesn’t care much about your latest client acquisition or personnel change. So as a busy entrepreneur, why would you bother to craft, post and send out press releases if it isn’t likely to get media coverage for your business?

Here’s why:

First, you *may* get media coverage for your business’ news. It’s possible, it’s just not that likely. And keep in mind that your best chances for press attention lie with your local media, so always be sure to include them in any of your public relations efforts.

But even without major media coverage, writing and posting interesting and newsworthy press releases can boost your business fame factor.

1. A press release creates backlinks to your website. Google and other search engines use the number of links to your website as a factor in determine how your site ranks in a search engine. (Now, the ‘authority’ of the website linking to yours has a HUGE impact on how your site ranks, but more links are always better than fewer.)

2. It expands your ‘digital footprint’. The more mentions and links to your business name your name and website, the more credible you’ll seem to your prospects.

Here’s some insider scoop:

There are a gazillion free press release sites on the web. The two that perform best are: PRLog.com and WidePR.com. And even though both are free services, extperts recommend that you pay the $20 or so dollars to upgrade because it  widens distribution and more importantly, allows you to create keyword anchor text (otherwise known as links to your website!)

Your fame-building assignment:

  • Brainstorm a few newsworthy stories about your business – it could be a national trend that you’re seeing in your own work, an event you’re holding or how you’re supporting a worthy cause.
  • Craft a press release (try to model a real news story) and post it on one or both of the free press release sites.

Share Your Brilliance with Slideshare

By Lori

There’s a valuable online tool that can build your reputation and boost your fame factor. Best of all, it’s easy to use, versatile and completely free.

I’ll bet you’ve got content – items like powerpoint/keynote presentations, articles and graphics that would interest and amaze your ideal client – if only they knew about it. Deep in the recesses of your computer, you’ve got material that educates, demonstrates your process, shares your point of view.  Unleash your brilliance on the world by sharing it on Slideshare!

Slideshare.net is an online slide hosting service, the world’s largest community for sharing presentations. You can upload PowerPoint and Keynote presentations, Word and PDF documents, and video to the site and then share it, publicly or privately.

How can sharing your material in an online community attract clients and build buzz for your business? Here are three awesome benefits that Slideshare can bestow on your business:

1. Establish your reputation. It’s a given that speaking is the best way to gain credibility and attract clients. Slideshare lets you demonstrate your expertise on a topic or start a movement by sharing presentations, videos, ebooks, or graphics that educate or inspire your target audience.

2. Help future clients find you. When you’re writing the description of your Slideshare presentation, be sure to use relevant keywords and phrases that your ideal client types into Google to get the kind of help that you offer. Once you’ve uploaded your material, it stays on Slideshare, gathering views and downloads (if you allow that) forever – the most popular presentation on the site has been viewed nearly 10 million times!

3. Share the love on your own website, too. One of the coolest features of Slideshare is that, after you’ve uploaded your document, you have the ability to embed the presentation on your own website (or anywhere you wish). Just click on the link labeled “embed”, copy the entire string of computer code and paste it on your own website. Voila, the presentation appears on your site, complete with its own player. Check out a couple of mine here.

Now what?

Take a few minutes right now. Scoot on over to Slideshare.net and set up your free account. Then, start sharing your brilliance with the world!

The best free publicity tool you’ve never heard of

By Lori

Free Publicity - USNPL

“Roommate wanted.”

I see a version of that request at least once a week on forums across the web. (And no, it’s not some Tinder-esque come on.)

The “roommate” request is just a cheeky euphemism for sharing a media database. It’s something solo public relations professionals and small PR companies do, to offset the cost of subscribing to professional media databases.

Publicists and PR agencies spend thousands annually for subscriptions to popular PR databases. (For those who are new to the PR game, a PR database contains the names of media outlets, like magazines and websites, along with contact information for the outlet’s journalists and editors.)

Prices for some of the market-leading subscriptions can range from $2000 to $12,000 a year. If you’re spending most of your day finding and pitching media for coverage, that’s not bad. Spread across multiple clients, it definitely makes sense. But for professionals and small business owners, it can be overkill.

How about a much less expensive alternative? As in completely f-r-e-e!

USNPL - US Newspaper List

It’s USNPL, aka the US Newspapers List. However, it’s so much more than newspapers – USNPL is a free database of television station, radio station and newspaper contacts. (US only, though.) But wait, there’s more: the site also has a list of colleges by state, along with their newspapers.

How USNPL works

The USNPL site features contact information, mailing addresses for US newspapers, radio and TV stations. Looking for online media? Start here.

Most entries have links to:

  • The outlet’s website
  • Contact information, including address, phone, fax, and manager/editor
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Video

The newspapers section event has a link to Local Weather & Forecast.

Free media resource USNPL - links to newspapers' websites, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

Plus, for only $40, you can download the mailing addresses and phone numbers of over 1000 television stations. (Giddiness, people! That’s what you’re feeling.)

Because USNPL lets media contacts update their own entries, it’s remarkably accurate for a completely free resource.

What you can do with it

The site lets you search for contact info for U.S. newspapers, TV stations and radio stations by state. Once you get a list of outlets, you can go directly to the media outlet’s website, or click on links to their Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.

Beef up your local media outreach

Pick your target media outlets and follow them on Twitter. Re-tweet, reply to and comment on their tweets. Build, build, build that relationship, people.

Lather, rinse and repeat for Facebook.

Share their YouTube videos.

Make a splash in a new city

Let’s say that you work for a company planning to open an office in a new city in a few months. Plan ahead and build those relationships now!

Look up the media outlets in that county and start gathering contact information, reading the articles, watching the news reports and creating relationships with the newsmakers through social media.

Then, when your new office opens, you’ll be positioned to get more than the perfunctory press release mention.

Author or speaker traveling to another city?

If you already have a visit to another city on your schedule, try the same approach as above. Find the contacts and create some warm relationships. Then, a few weeks before your visit, pitch a segment for their local morning show or an article about your speaking appearance in the local paper.

When you add USNPL to some of the other top free media tools, like HARO and MuckRack, you’ve got an amazing roster of resources. Use them to get your message into the minds of people who need it, wouldya please?!

Your fame boosting assignment:

There are sooo many ways you can use the USNPL goldmine. Pick one goal – say, increasing your local media presence or warming up a new city before your debut – and spend the next ten minutes finding media outlets and following them on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

We’re waiting for more of your magic.