business, customers

Are You Dreading Your Next Presentation?


I just finished another article on what makes a presentation a success.  Bla, bla, bla….great tips and points.  It is the same old, top eight list without really getting to the point of how to make the whole thing successful.  Who has time to add five things or eight points to an office presentation?  Give me one good tip and I am off .  The bottom line is that most people are busy, and almost everyone dreads speaking at meetings– because 9 times out of 10–they are boring.  We know how it goes: blow by blow accounts of bullet points that could have been emailed out.  So how do we overcome this dreaded same-old-same-old feel?

If I had to choose one key factor that makes every presentation successful, it wouldn’t be typing up bullet points in multi-colored fonts.  It should be figuring out who was invited to the presentation!! You see, the only real key to success in any presentation, is understanding the audience you are presenting too! If you can please them, your audience, then you have succeeded.

Let’s start by thinking about Hollywood.  Does Disney make everything “childish” when pitching a new movie?  Of course not.  In that audience of viewers are mom’s, dads, aunts, and grandparents.  Disney knows that each one of these groups of people has their own goals when showing up to the theater.  So it is important for the studio to reach out to each one of those generations and offer an experience like no other.  Sure the bullet points of the presentation (movie) are all about the story of animated characters, and the kids love it, but the themes are about honor, respect, friendship, and valuing our most important relationships.  These are secondary points that are reaching out to the parents and grandparents in the audience.  If it was just a bunch of toys running around having fun, no adult would be able to sit through it.

You need to do the very same thing at your next meeting.  Let’s say its a small group of mixed managers and sales types. Mandatory of course, just after lunch time.  You have the top manager, some young up-and-coming folks, different departments, perhaps a contractor type as well.  All people with different agendas, different goals, different work ethics and directions.  But they all have to be at your meeting, and most probably have 50 other more important things to do, right?

So let’s get down to business.  Look over the information you are required to give. Each and every bullet point should have someone in the audience its directed towards. Don’t just type it all up and hand it out–that is too easy, and very boring.  Address each person (or person type) in the room and include them in your talk.  Call them by name, or department.  Let them know that you are thinking about them, understand them, use their information or services.  Its like meeting someone and repeating their name right after the handshake–everyone likes to feel important.  Author and presentation guru, Nancy Durante calls the audience “the hero.”  She says that once you stop thinking of yourself as the hero, and start addressing each person as being on quest in their job, you become the Obi Wan Kenobi mentor, and it will change everything.  And I know first hand that it does!

So now look over your bullet points again and rewrite them, as if addressing each persons concerns and interests.  Throw in a slide or two that resonates with each department–something visual to wake them up after that heavy lunch.  Now go through those points and include the people at the meeting.  They left their heads at their computer screens because they were called into a meeting just as they were trying to finish their work before 5.  Mention that,  you have been there, put yourself into the equation as someone who understands, make it conversational, story-like–even when in front of hundreds of people.  If the audience laughs (or at least smiles) and is listening to your bullet points–you have a winner!

Need some help?  One of the best tools I use to help me through a presentation is to listen to other speakers.  Go to and find hundreds of speakers and topics.  There is a flow, a connection with the audience.  My personal favorite is Benjamin Zander, the Boston Pops Conductor.  He has his bullet points.  He knows that he is not the hero, but the guy in the room who will bind everyone in the audience together to see, understand, and support his point of view.  He talks to each person in the audience, tells his story, uses a few props (music) and has us listening and supporting him in 20 minutes.  You can do that too.


So write out your points of required information and then figure out who is in the audience.  Do not dread it, in fact, you should embrace it …and don’t worry, you will get better with practice and preparation.  It all starts with an understanding of who is going to be listening to you.  Figuring out who they are, and what they need from you is like listening to them first. We all want to be heard.  And we all want to feel like they are the hero, right?

Design Bear

Ted Talk:


business, customers, Marketing, Social Media

Dove is at it again

I have grown up with Dove Soap.  The lightweight, white bar that has nothing in it that would harm a baby.

Instant brand identification.

Well Dove has been doing something else besides selling soap products.  They are reaching out to women and creating a connection with the basic core of who they are: beautiful.  The Dove Patch.


It is the second in a series of YouTube Videos about becoming beautiful.  And they have done their homework too.

Someone in their boardroom asked: What about the woman who don’t feel beautiful?

Um-mm, that might be most women today.  How can a woman compete with models and actresses who look fabulous, thin, youthful, healthy?  Sure, anyone can get a personal trainer, a chef, a health coach, even plastic surgery…if they made a million dollars a movie, but most people, most women, make under $50,000 a year, and all of that personal stuff just isn’t in the budget.

But Dove has found out how to make a woman beautiful without a million dollar salary, and its not in their soap. 

Someone at Dove was paying attention.

Dove Patches2

It is in “you”, the person looking in the mirror.  They are creating a campaign of beauty that is telling women that it starts with you, your thoughts. What we think is what we are.  It is the best social campaign about connections that I have ever seen.

So how can we make connections that resonate with our customers like that?  What are the insecurities they feel about coming to us for our products and services?  The awesomeness of the Dove campaign is not about selling, it is about understanding and support.  Its about making connections in a fast paced, impersonal world.

How can you make those same connections?  How would you start to find them?  And how would you share them with your customers?

Design Bear


business, customers, Marketing, Social Media

Outdated Blog

Recently I had post show up on my Facebook news feed: ” Hey, I just updated my blog. Please take a look….”

I was excited because I don’t hear much from this business.  I clicked and found a very nice looking Blog.  It has what I call “sneaky” posts, because they have no dates attached to them, but her last post was talking about an event that she was speaking at in October 2011!

Hello, its April 2014 and we are all busy people.  Bogging posts everyday is not possible for everyone (for most people), blogging once a month is challenge, but less than one post per year?  And then you announce it to the masses because you have nothing better to say? Really?

This is my number one pet peeve of any social media.  And I am not free and clear here, in fact I am to blame as well.  Spending so much time on other people’s content that I forget to even do my own!  When people ask me to review their “Social Media” I find that outdated posts (on any site) are worse than not having a site at all.  It is telling your potential clients that you have nothing to say, and I know that everyone has something to say.


Content is everywhere.  Re-posting from other social sites is a great way to update an outdated blog:

Pinterest:  Create boards with interesting content related to your service or business.  Post them and link it to your Bog, Twitter or Facebook. Its visual. It is so easy too.

Goodreads: My newest favorite site. You read don’t you?  Well, post your books, review them, link up with other readers of subjects that pertain to your business and interests.  Post them and then link it to your Blog sidebar widgets menu.  It tells people you are interesting, updated, and on top of your game.

LinkedIn: Post articles that you are reading from a variety of sources….”Like” magazines on you business Facebook page and tons of articles will come across you desk daily.  Like them, share them, re-post them on your other social media sites.  Write a brief Blog opinion about that article.  Show people what you do everyday–learn and grow.

Twitter:  It has not been a favorite of mine since the beginning.  How can a small business compete with celebrities and large corporations?  Well, its just a news-feed if you follow the companies and people that are part of your business.  Scroll down a couple of times a day and learn what people are saying–people who you respect and admire in your industry.  Re-tweet, link that tweet to your Facebook or Blog.  Its circular, share the love and information.

Instagram: Its just putting all those pictures you take, or save, or find (quotes too) and post them to your Instagram account.  Who says a lawyer can’t post something of interest to his or her clients?  Interesting courthouses, judges, or prosecutors (like My lady in South Africa that is flooding the news.)  There must be something that leading people in your industry post, see what it is and then do your own thing.  You will pick it up.

It only takes an understanding of multi-tasking to really get the hang of finding information for your Blog.

And to go back to the Facebook posting from my friends business, really?! You have nothing else to post other than to direct people to your outdated blog?  No jokes, no quotes, no articles you have read.  How about an excerpt from your book that is so prominently displayed everywhere?  You wrote a book, you have lots to say!

It is time consuming, I get it.  I do it all day and really, and I mean really, do not want to do it for myself too.  But it has to be done.  Once a month, once a quarter.  Come on, we can all do once a year.

Design Bear