But that doesn’t mean a list of bullet points in PowerPoint.
Years ago, when I worked at Freemans home shopping, I was asked to design some slides for an IT presentation.
“I want you to put a lingerie image in the middle of the slideshow,” my client said, “so it will wake the audience up.”
I refused, saying: “Why don’t you just rewrite it so it’s not boring?”
I’ve just returned from a business exhibition, with bags full of bumph that’s going straight into the recycling box.
As expected, almost every stand displayed a bowl of sweets. What is the objective of giving away sweets? To tempt people to come to your stand and talk to you. But if everyone gives away sweets, they are not a differentiator. Boring!
Many exhibitors offered me a branded pen. I tried to refuse, telling them I already have plenty of pens, thank you. But they’d say things like: “Ah, but this pen has a light on it!” (A light? I don’t think I’ve ever needed a pen with a light.) Boring!
I also came away with a range of branded pads and Post-it notes – which might be useful. But boring!
However, I am not likely to use any of the businesses that pressed their promotional products upon me. I’m only going to use a business that sells something that I want, at a price I want to pay. All the usual giveaways are a waste of money.
3 steps to exhibition heaven
At many networking meetings, you are given the opportunity to give a 60-second ‘elevator pitch’ where you imagine you are in a lift with Bill Gates (or your ideal client) and only have one minute to tell them about your business. It’s like a walking, talking advert.
People often ask me to help with their one-minute speeches. There are endless permutations for things to say, but the objective is always to trigger more referrals.
Read this article for 11 ideas to inspire you, or scroll down to the end and discover the sad truth.
Your favourite band records a single. Perhaps an album. They get cover artwork designed. Then they book a tour.
This all costs money upfront, in the hope that people will like their music and buy it.
They have to promote themselves, so they arrange media interviews on shows that their target audience will see or hear, and in areas where they are travelling.
If they’re lucky, they will earn more money than they spend, and people won’t just download or share their music without paying for it.
It’s not miles away from the professional speaking business.
We create a talk. Perhaps a series of talks. We get slides designed. Maybe publish a book or create a course. Then we go out speaking (our US friends would say we go out to ‘rock the platform’).
I was invited to deliver a workshop at the recent PSA Mega convention. (It was about the 4 x 4 x 4 approach to speaker websites, thank you for asking.) Afterwards, I took my own advice and captured video testimonials from some of the attendees, using my iPhone.
Here’s the video I made.
As you may know, sound quality is important, and you can’t rely on the in-built iPhone microphone to do a good job.
Some people have asked me how I did it. I like to be helpful, so I’ve written this post to answer the question. BUT this is a story about how NOT to do it! It’s a lesson in ‘buy cheap, pay dear’.
Here are the various tools I used, together with the lessons I learned:
You may know LinkedIn as the biggest and best B2B* social network. Like most business-people, you’ve probably created a LinkedIn profile. It may appear on page 1 of Google for a search of your name. But does it work for you?
Most people throw up a profile but then do nothing with it and complain that LinkedIn doesn’t work.
The best way to use LinkedIn is to post articles, get active in the groups, and to arrange introductions via intelligent searching. Let’s look at each of these in turn.