Godin Says: All You Need is Love . . . And Respect. Yeah, but how do you get that?

In an interesting post yesterday, marketing guru Seth Godin said that the keys to being a good presenter are love for the audience and respect from the audience.

I agree.  But his prescription for how to get those two values is astonishingly weak, especially for Godin, whom I like a lot.

To get respect he says,

When you create a presentation, think about what your status will be as you begin the presentation. What can you do to prewire, to earn more respect from the start? How can you be introduced? Lit? Miked? What can you wear? If your reputation doesn’t precede you, how do you earn it?

You don’t get respect or show love by being properly “lit”, or “miked”, or dressing properly.

You get respect and show love by making it clear to your audience that you have done everything possible to to get to know their true needs prior to the presentation.

You show love by doing your homework, interviewing attendees and listening to their needs so that you can address their concerns in your presentation.  Your audience will feel the love when you start your presentation by putting your finger firmly on their true concerns.

You earn their respect the same way, by making it clear that you have bothered to understand their needs prior to the presentation.

Do your homework prior to the presentation, and it won’t matter how you dress. They’ll love you and respect you.

What does it mean when your audience is Twittering?

What does it mean that your audience is Twittering when you’re speaking?

 That is a question that is rattling around the public speaking blogosphere these days.

Blogger and New Zealand public speaking coach Olivia Mitchell has weighed in on the topic with a series of tips for helping your audience optimize the use of Twitter during the presentation.

For those who don’t know,  Twitter is the “micro-blogging” tool that allows you to send 140 character messages to your “Twitter page”.  Your Twitter “followers” may read your thoughts and, sometimes, respond. You can send Twitter messages from either your cell phone or your computer. 

 How Twitter is used varies widely.  Some people simply post what they’re having for breakfast. Others post constant messages promoting their business. I’ve started experimenting with Twitter and haven’t yet figured out how to best use it for my business.

Now, apparently, some speakers are encouraging their audience members to Twitter during their presentations. 

My initial reaction has been to say that “if your audience is Twittering, then they’re not paying attention to you. And that means you’re not succeeding as a speaker.” 

But I probably need to revisit that idea.  If they’re Twittering about you, then you’re obviously connecting with them. And that’s a good thing.

But the question is should you accomodate Twitters during your presentation? 

Ultimately, I suppose this all comes down to understanding your audience. While Twitter is currently the “new new thing”, it’s not used much in a corporate setting. 

I spent the last two days coaching a corporate team as they prepared for a new business pitch. Not one of them had a Twitter account. Only a couple of them had even heard of it. 

Right now, anyway, to spend a lot of time focusing on how to accomodate Twittering audience members seems like a lot of squeeze for not much juice.

But if you’re about to speak to a group of edgy technophiles, then you probably need to to consider how to accomodate their Twittering ways.

New Biography of Durwood Fincher, aka “Mr. Doubletalk”


I had a wonderful public speaking teacher in high school named Durwood Fincher.  He was off the wall and innovative. He was the kind of teacher that everyone remembers as one of their favorites. Durwood wanted to be more than your teacher. He wanted to be your friend. And he has remained just that for many of his students including me.  Durwood has gone on to have a highly successful career as “Mr. Doubletalk” in which he gives hilarious, semi-nonsensical speeches at corporate events and on television.

His life is also an inspirational “up by the bootstraps” story, having grown up in modest circumstances near Macon, Ga.  Durwood is now the subject of a wonderful new biography called “Once You Step in Elephant Manure You’re in the Circus Forever.”  The book details Durwood’s roller coaster ride of a life that has taken him to become one of the nation’s most successful, and hilarious corporate speakers.  Written by Ed Grisamore, a columnist for the Macon Telegraph, the book includes a DVD that includes samples of his interviews and a documentary of Durwood’s life.  I watched the DVD last night. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. You’ve got to see it. And you’ve got to read this book.

If you want to see an example of Durwood’s doubletalk at work, check out the above clip from the Today Show.

How to Win Sales Presentations with a Heavy Accent

People with heavy foreign accents often ask me what they can do to become better communicators.  Of course, accent reduction coaching is an option. And we recommend it when your accent is so severe that people have trouble understanding you.


But you can be a great presenter even if you have a heavy accent.  You need to speak with energy and focus.


Consider Freddy N., one of the leading accounting software sellers in the southeastern United States. A first-generation immigrant from Vietnam, this wonderful seller has a very heavy Vietnamese accent. His accent is so severe that he probably could use some remedial accent reduction coaching. I’ve recommended it to him.


But he has never had the coaching.


I probably wouldn’t go to the coaching either if I were doing as well as Freddy. Why bother?


One reason for his success is, ironically, that he is a very effective communicator. He is amazingly energetic in his somewhat broken English. He smiles constantly and he exudes real enthusiasm about his product.


Freddy brings that passionate attitude to every conversation. He is a high energy, fun guy to be around. During every presentation, he brings that fun guy to the pitch.


He also does a nice job of keeping his message focused.  He keeps his message to a few key points. While he is generally tough to understand, his three messages always come through loud and clear.  That focus, combined with his first-rate energy, makes this gentleman from Vietnam, who speaks mediocre to poor English, very effective in sales presentations. Indeed, he is very effective when most native English speakers are not very effective at all.


Freddy and other passionate sellers understand that the products and services are often indistinguishable to their competition. That means that the key distinguishing factor isn’t the product. The key distinguishing factor is the person attached to the product.

Paul Harvey Held Audiences by Telling Stories

Paul Harvey, who died this weekend, never used PowerPoint.  He never interacted with his audience using webinars or modern gizmos like “twitter.”

He just sat in front of a microphone, spoke with energy, and told stories. And people listened.

I used to love Paul Harvey.  Not because I agreed with his conservative politics.  I think the the obituaries have over stated that stuff.

I just loved hearing him tell stories.  When he came on the radio, I would sit in my car until his broadcast was done.  So would millions of others as they waited to hear “The rest of the story.”

And he always had something uplifting to say.

Paul Harvey said, “    I Like this quote I dislike this quote“In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these.”