Archive for May, 2012

Solve Presentation Problems With This Stolen Trick

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

iStock_000006446270XSmallBecause I teach Pitching the Perfect Presentation at UCLA Ext., I’m always asked for tips and techniques about public speaking, which apparently more people fear than they fear death.

I have an effective approach to tamping down your nerves and rising to meet your audience’s desire to be educated and entertained. I stole this trick from the method we use to prepare guests and hosts for interviews on television and radio.

The stolen trick

The trick? Prepare a question guide for yourself. Imagine you’re interviewing the most interesting you.

Start this way. Simply write down the top 5 to 10 questions that are likely to open up a discussion about the most important issues surrounding your topic. Then, to put it into a presentation format: simply answer each questions with facts, examples, success stories, analogies, statistics, testimonials and even dramatic quotations from sages you feel support your desired course of action.

For example: a question might be: Why Take Action Now?

Your answer might be: “As the famous game designer Bill Budge says: ‘After two weeks of working on a project, you know whether it will work or not.’”

Then, in your presentation you would go on about the proposed schedule and other details that support your point of view on the issue.

Why a question guide?

A guide is a framework I provide for broadcast hosts who are going to interview the authors and experts I publish or promote at Pegasus Media World. I also send along a biography, which the host can use to introduce the guest. I include exactly the right mix of information to stir up some excitement about the topic and give credibility to the author. Plus, hosts also get the question guide.

The biography and guide are designed to help structure a broadcast interview so it’s informative and entertaining.  This accomplishes our goals of promoting the book or expert by engaging the audience (who might just be listening and not able to call in with their own questions). And, it helps the host come up to speed in-the-moment if they haven’t had a chance to read the guest’s book.

Your typical audience in business – and even in job interviews – need to be inspired to commit to listening to you and often isn’t prepared for your presentation. That’s why you can treat your audience the way I treat interviewers. Remember, I call whomever is listening to you “your audience,” whether it’s one person or thousands.

For broadcast interviews I typically provide the questions without including the answers so the conversation feels lively and unrehearsed. Occasionally, I’ll include a brief note so that the host will be prepared for the conversation that’s sparked by each question. You can use your question guide as a meeting map, which is what I call an agenda.

For your presentation, you might not want to write out your answers even for yourself. Instead, under each question just jot down some bullet points to prompt yourself. Then, you can appear lively and fresh, rather than rehearsed and stale.

Start your preparation by asking yourself (or those who might be participating in your meeting) these two questions.

  1. “What about me and my background will give me credibility on this topic and inspire the audience to give me their attention?”
  2. “What are the burning questions about my topic that the audience will want me to answer?”

If you are in Southern California, please check out my course this summer: Pitching the Perfect Presentation and Business Development at UCLA Extension. If you can’t make it or need some presentation tips quick, email me at [email protected] with the subject line: Presentation.

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3 Personal Branding Must-Haves

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Business-WomanFundamentally, the process of personal branding includes taking time to define yourself and then intentionally connecting yourself with others who likely want what you have.

The 3 essentials to personal branding

So here are three must-have parts of the personal branding process.

1. Identify your authentic qualities

What is it that you MUST be? Jessica Alba said recently in an interview that she’d only want her kids to choose acting if there was simply no other thing they could imagine doing. Meaning, acting would be there last resort because it was such a driver in their lives that nothing else would be possible. That’s a tall order for authenticity but we all have it within us.

What about yourself – even if you’ve never expressed it to anyone – is the quality that feels like your life force? What is it that is undeniably you – even if that thing seems like no way to earn a living? Even, if it means disappointing everyone who expects you to do or be something else?

2. Identify what look represents you

What are you meant to look like, project, and appear to be? That would be the basis of your visual brand. Kim Kardashian can’t get away from let’s call them her curvy assets. Fundamentally, to quote Joni Mitchell, she’s sitting on her groceries. Call it glamour, trendiness, or whatever it could be; KK can never be understated, classic or demure.

What about you – your inherent, authentic style – wants to be revealed to us? Maybe it’s your desire to never look like anyone else, or to be dark and sophisticated, or teal and airy or blend in to a preppie crowd.

What is the you that, at least aspirationally, you want us to see as you? Remember, most celebs (read big personal brands) have stylists – so it doesn’t have to be anything you could actually do yourself. The look of your personal brand might be something between you and your graphic designer (or creative partner) that we get when you put the right colors, shapes and typography together. It’s what you want us to “get” when we come upon your online presence and your on-ground presence.

And it might even require some physical modification. Lose weight, gain muscle, have your nose done – you get the range of possibilities.

3. Identify your audience, whom you want to be with or among – maybe even above

That would be the people you can serve –who have a need for what you need to deliver. Seth Godin calls them your tribes. Now, I call everyone you see your audience –whether it’s one person or several thousand. It could be a certain part of the media. It could be specific people who can recommend you or buy from you. It could be your business partners or boss. Maybe people who work with you. Oprah made some big changes about her audience this year – yes it’s a risk. But she is still such a good role model for creating a billion dollar personal brand.

Among the 7 billion of us here, who is in your tribe? Maybe it’s not the one you are born into, or even have chosen to be among for your college or career so far. Don’t let acceptance by a group be your only guide. It’s not enough that someone wants you. Who do you want to be the players in your life? Where are they? And why will they adore you?

We’re nearly halfway through 2012 – so it’s a really good time to reflect before soldiering on with your personal branding efforts. If it’s not working for you, at least tweak what you’ve got going on – and kill the second half. And, I mean kill in a good way.

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Why Fear Leads To Career Fouls

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

office-worker-happiness-007At Pegasus Media World, I publish an author who deals with the silent killer of success: FEAR.  It’s the stealth nature of fear that makes it so dangerous. You don’t typically recognize the majority of times when the deadliest emotion you can have in business is exactly what’s behind the self-sabotaging actions (or lack of actions) you take.

Fear is often hard to recognize, because you think fear should feel like quaking in your boots – like how most people feel about public speaking. People who fear speaking to groups, feel this hair-raising, gut wrenching, dry mouth, heart pounding set of symptoms that are undeniable.  By the way, I earn a great portion of my living by public speaking, so if it helps: public speaking is fun and empowering once you get over yourself.

What fear feels like

But most of your fears aren’t the cartoon version – your knees probably aren’t shaking. It’s not heart pounding most of the time.

Sometimes fear is what makes you sleep in and be late to work. Sometimes, it’s the reason you read a blog but don’t “have the time” to leave a comment.

Fear feels like doubt. Uncertainty. Worry. Concern. Second thoughts. Being tired. Laziness. Disinterest.

Fear looks like a lack of good opportunities to be your best, or show off exactly how you can help someone solve their business problems with your solutions.  Like, geez – how come nobody takes or returns my phone calls? If you listened to your message, you’d probably know right away.  Fear often makes you sound indifferent. We sense you lack belief in – or excitement about – what you have to offer.

Fear will hold you back

So, if you are missing an outpouring of opportunity to be your best self, it’s probably fear that has prevented you from showing up at networking events, or speaking up in a company meeting, or raising your hand in class.

Fear kills your career because it makes you stay home or stay quiet or otherwise stay within your comfort zone. Even though logically you know: if you keep doing only what you are comfortable doing, you’ll never have more than you have now. And what don’t you have now? More money. More influence. More joy. More success.

What has fear stopped you from doing – and enjoying?

You can find out more about yourself and this deadly emotion, by tuning into Michael Luckman – the author of Overpowering Fear: Defeating the #1 Challenge in Sales and Life. He is offering a premium subscription to his weekly tele-seminars for a full year. The price is S1,151.  But – he has 60 spots open for a full year FREE. No strings. Just learning to recognize and overpower fear with the other Platinum members of Michael’s Inner Circle.

Don’t sign up on his website: that will cost you $1,151. Just email him at [email protected]. Subject line: Nance Recommends Me.

All you have to lose is fear. Whew. Wouldn’t that change everything?

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How Outrageous Is Your Personal Brand?

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

ron-artest-hair1If you haven’t caused some kind of outrage, you haven’t got a really big BANG kind of brand. That might work for you. Maybe you’re not in the really-need-to-be memorable kind of place in your career.

Maybe Twitter has so few of whatever you are or do that just by being …. you, you stand out. Maybe your Facebook friends are really friendly. It could be that you believe you really are connected to 6.3 million people on LinkedIn. Maybe you think we’re terrifically pinterested, and we have the G+ circle hots for you.

That is the way most of us seem to think personal branding works, given the volume of posts and the paucity of memorable ones. Or, the endlessly promotional ones. Or, the creepy feeling that 87% of people are “just listening” on social networks and media.

Is that what you’re doing?

Are you waiting to be discovered?

Are you waiting for a personal invitation to comment on every blog you visit?

Are you waiting for the really big opportunity to have a near miss with your future?

This last Sunday was the second annual Comedy Awards on Comedy Central. Robin Williams received the legend award, which went to Eddie Murphy last year. What defines both men who have really different approaches to their craft? Outrageous. Outrageously memorable. Fearless.

Your big BANG

If you’re not doing stand-up, you probably can’t be that outrageous, although being a little bit entertaining wouldn’t be a bad thing.

If you’re at all serious about the power of personal branding, and the powerful truth that you control what you mean to us, then you’ve got to leave the kinds of impressions that, at least occasionally, begin in our brains with: “Wow…”

If you’re not making it big in our brains, you’re probably not making it big with your personal branding, and that may account for the gap between where you really are and where you ideally are.

So, here’s the work to get you going on getting some bang for your brand.

  1. Whittle down everything you are to three words that we can attach to you: smart, creative, brave, patient, funny, strong, simple, silly, artistic, driven, generous, and the list is nearly endless.
  2. Then go about proving up those three words with your posts, pics, updates, links and most everything else you do online and on ground,

Need a boost on the three words that define your personal brand? I’ll send you a list, FREE. Email [email protected], with the subject line: Personal Brand Words.

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Get Sticky With an Acrostic

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

65885Sandler Success Principles: 11 Insights that will change the way you Think and Sell makes you SMARTER. Why the capital letters? Because SMARTER is an acrostic – a word with letters that when taken in order spell out an easy-to-remember phrase.

Sandler Success Principles became an instant Amazon bestseller last week, in part because Sandler’s SMARTER acrostic is famous for changing the lives of people who have taken Sandler Training.

SMARTER turns out to be, a smarter way to set and reach goals in your career and business. What’s does SMARTER stand for? A goal that is:

S = Specific

M = Measurable

A = Attainable

R = Relevant

T = Time-bound

E = Enjoyable

R = Rewarding

See how easy it is to remember Sandler’s method of goal-setting? And, that’s not even one of the 11 major insights in Sandler Success Principles. Personally I love Reach Back and After Burn (more about those next week).

But, SMARTER is super sticky – easy to remember.

Acrostic 101

Why would YOU want an acrostic?

An acrostic would make you “sticky.” It makes a whole phrase or idea memorable. And stickiness is exactly what YOU need, when it comes to messaging your personal brand (what you mean), your solution (what you sell) and your business’ brand (what your organization stands for).

What if you aren’t sticky?

If we can’t remember you, then when that perfect opportunity comes across our desk: we’ll give it to someone else – someone we can remember, or who called at the magical moment when we needed to pay someone well to do something grand (your perfect opportunity). You miss out, if we don’t have a refrain in our brain that’s stuck in our minds about you, as the ideal person to hire for this opportunity.

How do you get an acrostic?

You could create one using your name. For example, let’s call you Ben, an engineer in nanotechnology, looking for an investment in a budding start-up or perhaps, a new job. You’d introduce yourself at a networking event, by saying,

“I’m Ben Frank. You can remember me by remembering this phrase: Best Engineer in Nanotechnology – that’s Ben:

B for best

E for engineer, and

N for nanotechnology.”

Finish that off by saying your whole name: “That’s me, Ben. Ben Frank. Excuse the pun, but frankly, I’m the best engineer in nanotechnology.”

(The bold is for emphasis). Then, present your business card – with your acrostic spelled out on the back of it.

Of course, it’s corny! And it works! (BTW, notice the repetition – try to get in at least three impressions of your name in your introduction).

Almost anything you do can be made into an acrostic. That makes it easy for us to remember you and associate your unique qualities with your brand.

So take what you have: your name, your personal brand’s values, your company name, your product or service, your motto or anything else that will make us know and love you – and leverage it as a way for us to remember you. An acrostic is one way to do that.

Need help getting sticky?

Email me your name, occupation (or what you hope to do), and personal brand values (what you feel defines you) to get some free coaching. Even if you don’t think anything uniquely defines you – in fact, especially if you don’t feel special, email me: [email protected]

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