Being an Expert Doesn’t Make You a Great Presenter

expert1Have you ever been to a conference or meeting where the expert speaking either made you yawn (more than once) or used words you would have to use a dictionary to look up?  That’s what happened to me recently when I went to a luncheon.  The speaker was very knowledgeable and presented some interesting information but her presentation skills were less than average.  I kept sitting there thinking to myself, “She needs some speaking tips. She needs my services!”

Truth be told, many experts in their fields don’t really have what it takes to command an audience.  They know their subject very well but, often times, they fail to communicate effectively.  According to Kathy Caprino of Ella Communications, “Experts simply fail to engage us on an emotional, heartfelt level – they don’t connect in a personal way, or give the sense that they truly care a whit about the audience and its ability to productively use the vast information they know and share. In the end, their lack of a human connection makes their presentations feel overwhelming and unsettling– they push us away with all data, facts and statistics, and no heart and soul.”

And if you can’t hold a “live” audience, chances are you would really bomb out during a radio or TV interview.

You might be the queen or king of the social media circles but the written word is dramatically different than the spoken word.

Here are some speaker tips for conducting a good media interview or to a live audience: 

1)  Speak with passion about your subject.  No hype–but let the audience know how much you truly enjoy what you do.

2) SMILE—even if you’re doing a radio interview, the listener can “hear” it in your voice.

3) Don’t use $10 words.  No one is going to be impressed with all the big words you know.  But if you do use them, make sure you can explain them in layman’s terms.

4) It’s okay to gesture—yes, even if you’re doing radio.  People who sit stiff as a board will appear more robotic than human.

5) Join a Toastmasters Group in your area.  You will find people at various skill levels all trying to accomplish the same goal of being a better speaker.  Or if you can afford it—hire a personal speaker coach (like me) to help you.

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How Hard Is It To Say Thank You

Thank-You-NoteI recently shared this post on LinkedIn and it drew quite a response so I decided to post it here with a little more information as it relates to promotion and publicity.


The other day someone I know fairly well asked if I could offer some tips on how to get exposure for a conference being held at their church. I suggested they create a flyer and then submit it to the radio and television stations in the area with a letter or note asking them to post it on their community calendar, along with their contact information. Shortly afterwards, I received an email from someone else (I don’t know) who is also connected to the church asking me to help her get on some local stations to talk about the event.

Here is my response:

I have forwarded the announcement you gave me to my contacts at the TV stations in Durham and Chapel Hill.

If you are looking to get on a radio station to talk about the event, my advice is you contact them directly. Some stations will want to charge you for the airtime but there may be some that would have you come in to talk. WRJD in Durham might offer an opportunity to come in and talk about the conference.

I am assuming this was not quite the response she was looking for because she did not follow up to acknowledge the email or to simply say “thank you” for the information. I am also assuming she wanted me to contact my fellow media contacts on her behalf and set her up with interviews. That is part of a media service I normally charge for, but as a courtesy I did give her a nugget to follow through on.

Saying thank you just takes a moment.

It seems as thought we now live in an age where social graces and common courtesies no longer exist. Blame it on social media since we can hide behind a computer. But even in social media, a simple “thank you” on a retweet or LinkedIn comment to your post can go a long way in establishing and building relationships with others.

According to a study conducted by social psychologists at Gonzaga University and the University of South Wales, Australia, “a simple thank you leads people to view you as a warmer human being and, consequently, to be more interested in socially engaging with you and continuing to get to know you to build a relationship with you.”

It doesn’t matter how busy OR how important you think you are, it’s common courtesy to thank people no matter how small the thing they did appears to you.


Any of us who receives a sincere “thank you” knows and appreciates what it means.  Also it takes very little effort to drop a thank you email note if you’re too lazy to send a personalized card.  When you fail to acknowledge someone’s kindness for trying to help you, you should not expect they will be willing to help you again.  And you could end up with some negatively publicity.

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Empire Proves Why No One Should Be Ruled Out in Marketing

empireSince Empire made its debut on the Fox network last month, my husband and I, like millions of viewers, have been glued to our TV sets on Wednesday nights at 9pm hanging on every scene, every word, and anxiously waiting for the next episode.  The show has been the subject of conversations among our friends.  Instead of talking about what our boomerang children are doing and how well the grandkids are doing in school, we are sipping our wine and reflecting on every Empire episode—-what we saw and what we think will happen next.


We’ve over 50—pushing 60 actually—and according to the Nielsen ratings we don’t really count when it comes to measuring the success of Empire.  According to Nielsen, “Empire earned ANOTHER series high this week, notching a 4.7, up a tenth from last week’s series high 4.6 adults 18-49 rating.”  So if the 50 plus crowd were actually included in the ratings, Empire’s numbers would be even more phenomenal than they are now.

Nielsen goes after the 18-49-year-old market because that’s where they believe the advertising dollars are for the products they want to pitch. They have all but written off what the older generation might be interested in for marketing purposes.  Perhaps they think we’re watching Black-ish because Empire is too ghetto and we wouldn’t understand what was going on.  Yeah, whatever!

So much has been said of late about the differences between baby boomers and millennials:

We don’t speak the same language

We didn’t grow up with computers whereas millennials don’t know how to have meaningful conversations without texting

We’re driven by the “hard sell” while millennials are more laid back

We’re pushy, arrogant and inflexible and millennials are just………

I am of the opinion that we can both teach other new things and help each other grow.  I know it is literally impossible to target everybody when it comes to doing business but you can let people rule themselves out.  For example, as a writer I am more inclined to write about subjects for the over 50 crowd but that’s not to say someone in their 30s won’t find my work interesting enough to check it out for herself or share it with her mother and/or older friends.

Our own personal experiences and knowledge can make us believe we understand that so-called “target market” when, in essence, we don’t know much if we haven’t actually done any research.

So what is my point?  Very simply put:  You should never rule anyone out when it comes to selling a product, doing business or marketing.  Now I didn’t say everyone can be your customer.  There is a difference between not ruling anyone out and targeting everybody.

Perhaps Nielsen doesn’t have to target us specifically but don’t rule us out because our boomer voices are saying “Empire is RIGHT ON man!”

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Without Publicity Risks There are No Publicity Rewards

selfpromotionWhen I first checked onto the social media scene in 2006, I had no clear idea what I was doing.  All  I knew was I was about to publish this great book I had written and I wanted sales—LOTS of sales.  I knew I was going to have to take some publicity risks.  As I navigated my way onto the Ryze Business Networking site, I started connecting with strangers and, after a few months, started making some valuable connections which I am pleased to say still exist today.

Had I not taken a chance to get my name out there and make myself known, people like you wouldn’t be reading my books, blogs, articles, etc today.  I had to create a self promotion plan that involved some publicity risks.

Here’s what I learned about the importance of taking publicity risks:

You May Risk Missing Out on Something New

If you stay in your own world and limit who you allow inside your world, you may find yourself losing out on the opportunity to connect with strangers who genuinely want to help you succeed.  To this day, I am forever grateful to the Women in Networking group (WIN), who welcomed me with open arms and rallied around to help promote my first book.  They actually took shifts to purchase the book (an Amazon Best Seller strategy).  More importantly, our relationship didn’t end once the book promotion ended.  We found ways to promote each other’s endeavors—and still do to this day.

Social media was very new to me back then.  But I was able to draw from my natural people skills to make connections.  Certainly, I didn’t resonate with everybody but everybody doesn’t count (in my humble opinion).  Find what your natural skills are as it relates to social media and capitalize on them.  Mine was being a natural connector.  Yours may be writing or something else.

You Never Know What Will Happen

Although there is a chance that taking a risk can end badly, you’ll never know if there could have been some really great outcomes too.  I call it stepping out on faith.

Stepping out on Faith + Self promotion = *Risk*

That’s why you have to discover what works best for you and put your own strategy into place.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.  ~Anais Nin (one of my FAVORITE quotes of all time)

Who Wants to Live with Regrets 

Although it can be comforting to take the safe side more often than not, how will you ever know your full potential if you don’t step out of your comfort zone sometimes?  Even if the outcome isn’t what you hoped it would be, it’s still a win-win situation.  When you take those chances you either win–or you learn a lesson, re-group and plan a new strategy.

You’ll Never Get Anywhere without Taking Some Risk

Life is all about taking chances. And you won’t get far in life without taking them. The bottom line is you can either choose to take a chance at whatever it is you want to achieve or stay back in the outfield. But remember that if you stay in the outfield forever, you’ll never get up to bat.

No One Will Ever Know You or What Talents You Offer

Taking chances is something that can take you to higher places and lead you to more opportunities.  As I said earlier, there can be a negative downside but if you look at that as a teaching moment for you, you can learn and grow from the experience.

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Are You a Social Networking Snob?

snobs_smallThere are literally millions of people connected through online social networking. Sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and FaceBook have become breeding grounds for people to do and say whatever they want. Connecting to others can be a very profitable experience for some but what do they offer beyond the “value” they claim to provide with their business or product?  

Here are some things to consider to determine if you, or someone you’re connected with, is a social network snob:

1)  You, or someone you may be connected with, are one of those online networkers who believes everyone should be following you while you are stingy about who you choose to follow.  Celebrities and wannabes are mostly guilty of this behavior.  On Twitter, they even have contests among themselves to see who can generate the most followers.  Why would you want to follow someone who has no interest in trying to personally connect with you?  And the only time they do is when you retweet something they tweeted first.  

But not all celebrities are that way.  I’ve had real conversations with comedian Sinbad, super model Kathy Ireland and journalist Rebecca Jarvis.  As a matter of fact, Kathy came to my defense during a debate I was having with one of her followers and purchased several copies of my book.  (long story).

2)  You’ll connect with any and everybody because the more eyes that see you, the more chances you have to make that sale.  On the surface, that may not sound like a ‘snob’ but think about it.  If the only reason they are connecting with you is to pitch their services that should raise a red flag. Can I get to know, like and trust you first?  Some people have thousands of followers and constantly promote their business or product with little regard for what their followers may be offering.

3)  You, or someone you now, is constantly promoting a business or product. This coincides with #2 and, once again, a behavior found primarily on Twitter.  These are the folks who send out several tweets daily promoting one thing or another.  The language may change slightly but they are still doing shameful self-promotion.  And if you retweet them, they don’t give you the courtesy of saying “thank you.”

4)  You, or someone you know, doesn’t engage with others you in conversation: Unlike a telephone conversation, social media can keep us from having to respond to others.  If I say hi to you and ask how your day is going, you can ignore it and later claim you never saw the post.  If you are connecting with someone, wouldn’t it be in your best interest to find out more about them.  You may discover it’s not a connection you really want. 

5)  You never “like” anything I post.  I had a conversation with a fellow businesswoman awhile ago about this.  she told me if she ‘liked’ a post it meant she endorsed it so she was very cautious to attach her name to different things.  To some degree, I do agree with that thought but if you never find anything I say to ‘like’ or retweet, then why are we connected?

Perhaps, there’s a little social networking snobbiness in all of us.  I’ve actually unfriended a number of folks after reading their facebook posts and tweets.  Maybe it’s really necessary for us to keep certain people at a distance.

What do you think? 

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