RocTalk http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk Stay up to date with the latest of Red Oak Cart Mon, 25 Apr 2016 22:44:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Consuming Your Content – eBooks/Kindle Books http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/consuming-your-content-ebookskindle-books/ http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/consuming-your-content-ebookskindle-books/#respond Mon, 25 Apr 2016 22:44:09 +0000 http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/?p=547 With the explosion of mobile reading devices has come an explosion in eBooks. Or is it the explosion of eBooks that has created an explosion in mobile reading devices? Whichever it is, eBooks, whether it be for the Amazon Kindle platform or another platform, are being sold by the millions. Amazon now claims to sell more eBooks than physical books through their site. Which means you should be definitely be offering up at least some of your content in a digitally published format. The number of digital platforms will probably continue to grow, but the 800 lb. gorilla in the

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With the explosion of mobile reading devices has come an explosion in eBooks. Or is it the explosion of eBooks that has created an explosion in mobile reading devices? Whichever it is, eBooks, whether it be for the Amazon Kindle platform or another platform, are being sold by the millions. Amazon now claims to sell more eBooks than physical books through their site.

Which means you should be definitely be offering up at least some of your content in a digitally published format. The number of digital platforms will probably continue to grow, but the 800 lb. gorilla in the game is certainly Amazon with its Kindle Reader.

Regardless of the platform, the biggest challenge you will face in getting people to consume your content is that many will download an ebook for later and then forget it. Out of sight, out of mind as they say.

If you can get your reader to identify his or herself quickly as a buyer of your eBook you can employ some consumption techniques not available if you don’t know who bought your eBook. If it was purchased directly from your website—great, you know who they are. And you can employ follow-up consumption autoresponder messages to drive people back into your content for an eBook just as you can for any type of information product.

But if they purchased on Amazon or another site the seller doesn’t shoot you an email to tell you who has bought your eBook. That’s why your book has to contain bounceback offers designed to drive them from the book to your website where they will optin for additional content. Then you’ll have them on your list to send your consumption autoresponder series as well as market additional products and services to.

Ideally, these bouncebacks should be as early in your eBook as possible. You don’t want the reader to have to get all the way to the end of your book to find those bonus items they have to go online to collect. Some people have had great success mentioning a bonus item and telling where to retrieve it right on the cover of their book. Then people don’t have to have read any of your eBook at all to possibly get on your mailing list by going to collect your bonus. Heck, they don’t really even have to have bought your book—they may have just previewed your cover online.

Of course, we hope people will buy our eBook and start to eagerly consume our content. Once people get into your content the biggest issue that will affect continue consumption is the formatting of your eBook. If it is poorly formatted it makes you look like an amateur and people won’t take you or your content seriously. It has to look good or it makes you look bad.

Before you make any Kindle book or other eBook live be sure to take advantage of any tools provided to make sure things look good. Kindle has a previewer that will show you what the finished product will look like. Use it.

Look at your eBook in the various reading apps—Kindle, Nook and Apple iBook. Have others look at your eBook before it goes live in these apps. They will often spot issues you never saw yourself even though you’ve proofread your own work ten times.

Bad formatting will simply kill the consumption of your eBook. This is one thing you have to be sure you definitely get right.

Don’t hesitate to use linking within your eBook to increase interactivity. Both internal links and external links can be used to increase reader involvement in your book. An involved reader is more likely to fully consume your book than an uninvolved reader.

Let’s face it—eBooks are here to stay and you should be taking advantage of digital platforms to help you distribute your content. Make sure it is well formatted and, like with any book, physical or digital, make sure that you are delivering quality content that will engage your reader and have them anxiously looking to you for more.

 

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Consuming Your Content – DVDs http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/consuming-your-content-dvds/ http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/consuming-your-content-dvds/#respond Mon, 18 Apr 2016 22:42:56 +0000 http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/?p=545 The first factor influencing the consumption of any information product you deliver in DVD format is whether your DVD will automatically begin to play whenever it is inserted into someone’s DVD player or their computer. You’ll certainly have better consumption of your video content if the disc autoplays upon insertion. You should have a menu similar to what you see at the beginning of most DVD movies which allows the viewer to select what they want to view on the disc. If your content contains several sections you definitely want to put the control into the hands of the viewer

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The first factor influencing the consumption of any information product you deliver in DVD format is whether your DVD will automatically begin to play whenever it is inserted into someone’s DVD player or their computer. You’ll certainly have better consumption of your video content if the disc autoplays upon insertion.

You should have a menu similar to what you see at the beginning of most DVD movies which allows the viewer to select what they want to view on the disc. If your content contains several sections you definitely want to put the control into the hands of the viewer to select whichever section they want to view.

If you opt to put your video content onto a data disc rather than an autoplay disc then people will only be able to watch your DVD in their computer. This will create some confusion with some viewers when they slip the disc into their traditional DVD player and it will not work. It will increase your customer service burden without a doubt.

Just remember that data DVDs can contain much more than just video content. You might have mp4 file formatted video files on your disc but you can also have pdf files, mp3 files, spreadsheets, word documents or any other kind of data on a data DVD. Again, people will have to access your content via their computer by clicking on the specific file they want to watch, listen to, read or view.

If your video content is included on a data DVD you need to have very clear instructions on your disc label as well as the product packaging itself that they MUST access the disc’s content on their computer. Regardless of whether your video content is contained on an autoplay disc or on a data disc you should have a listing of the contents on the disc(s) on your product packaging.

For a multiple disc set be sure to encourage people when they’ve reached the end of a particular disc to continue on with the program by inserting the next DVD in the set into their player. You want to continue to stimulate that consumption by acknowledging their advancement through your materials and by keeping them moving forward. You can even preview coming attractions at the end of a disc with teasers of the cool things they are going to learn on the next disc in your series.

As much as possible you need to break your video content down into bite sized chunks. We recommend no more than a couple of hours of video on a single DVD. But even that two hour piece should be broken down into segments that people can consume in anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes. People need to have that sense of forward progress so don’t inhibit consumption by overwhelming your viewers with segments that are too long.

Another factor that can influence consumption occurs during the mastering phase of your video. There are what are known as “Region Codes”. Wikipedia defines DVD region codes as a digital rights management technique designed to allow film distributors to control aspects of a release, including content, release date, and price, according to the region.

This is achieved by way of region-locked DVD players, which will play back only DVDs encoded to their region along with those without any region code. DVDs may use one code, a combination of codes (multi-region), every code (all region) or no codes (region free).

For maximum consumability of your video DVD products we certainly encourage you to not incorporate any region codes into your disc when it is mastered.

 

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Consuming Your Content – Audio CDs http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/consuming-your-content-audio-cds/ Mon, 11 Apr 2016 22:41:16 +0000 http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/?p=543 In today’s increasingly mobile world one might start to question the viability of the audio CD as a delivery mechanism for your content. Will its’ time pass? Sure. How many of us remember 8 track tapes which eventually made way for cassette tapes which eventually gave way to CDs? Younger generations may have never heard of 8 track tapes but for many years they were the preferred delivery format for audio content. Same for cassette tapes. Audio CDs will remain viable for many years to come. Millions of people still have a daily commute to work and still consume continuing

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In today’s increasingly mobile world one might start to question the viability of the audio CD as a delivery mechanism for your content. Will its’ time pass? Sure. How many of us remember 8 track tapes which eventually made way for cassette tapes which eventually gave way to CDs? Younger generations may have never heard of 8 track tapes but for many years they were the preferred delivery format for audio content. Same for cassette tapes.

Audio CDs will remain viable for many years to come. Millions of people still have a daily commute to work and still consume continuing education products during their travel time. Most vehicles these days do not yet have an mp3 compatible player installed so the traditional CD player is still heavily used. My wife still regularly borrows audiobooks from the library to listen to why she travels to and from her appointments.

If you’ve determined your target market is primarily a group that prefers to learn in auditory format you’d be silly to not offer audio CDs as part of your product mix. But that does raise a question. In what format should you deliver your audio CDs?

There are two primary formats in which audio files are delivered. The first is what is known as .wav format and this is the format which most of us are familiar with related to audio CDs. They play in your car or any portable CD player or play in your computer. The maximum time length a single CD can contain is 74 minutes of content.

The other major format most people know of is mp3. This is the format used for online digital delivery of audio content. It’s what we use on our iPods and other mp3 devices. The major reason mp3 format is used is because the file sizes are much, much smaller. That means faster downloads and it also means that you can pack much more content onto a single disc.

This creates a conundrum for many content providers however. Why? Because the consumability of your audio content can be severely hampered by providing it only on mp3 formatted discs. If your end user doesn’t have an mp3 compatible CD player in their vehicle they won’t be able to play your disc. It must be played on a computer. Not to mention the customer service issues you’ll have to deal with because end users don’t recognize the requirement of the computer to play that type of disc.

That’s why it is so important if you choose to deliver your audio CDs in mp3 format that you have very clear instructions on the disc labels and on the disc packaging that these are data discs and must be played in your computer.

Now, without a doubt if you want to deliver your audio content via online digital delivery you’ll want to do it in mp3 format. But if you plan to have a physical CD as your product you’ll have to make the choice between delivering the content in .wav or mp3 format.

Since you can get slightly over an hour of content on a single .wav formatted CD you are basically talking about one CD for each hour of content. So your product duplication costs will be greater because you have more discs to produce compared with doing an mp3 disc which allows you to pack probably all your audio content onto a single data CD.

Wav discs are more user friendly and, as a result, will typically have better consumability. Since mp3 discs must be played on a computer or in an mp3 compatible player you may have some users who will have challenges consuming your content. But there will also be those that prefer it the mp3 way. It allows them to easily download your content into their iTunes, for example, and then load onto any portable player they may have.

Regardless of whether you go the .wav or mp3 route there are other considerations in order to make your content as consumable as possible.

First, break your audio content into tracks. These tracks can be based either on set time increments, e.g. every 5 minutes or they can be based on subdividing your content into appropriate topic breakdowns. This allows your end user to easily return to a point where they may have stopped listening previously. Do not do one single long 60 minute or so track because nobody wants to have to fast forward from the beginning of an audio CD to try and figure out where they left off.

Secondly, if you’ve broken your content into tracks based on topic you should either on the disc label itself or on the packaging list those tracks and those topics. If you have a multiple disc set this is especially important. Your student may be especially interested in topic “x” and by making it easier for them to find the exact content they want you’ll have a happier customer.

Also with a multiple disc set tell the user exactly what to do when they’ve reached the end of a particular disc. Something to the effect of “This is the end of Disc #1. Insert Disc #2 into your player to continue with the program.” You may even want to “preview” coming attractions at the end of each disc to encourage them to keep consuming your audio content.

Of course, the quality of the audio on your audio CD will affect its consumability. Be sure you have a decent microphone like the Audio Technica AT 2020 (what we use) and that you have a noise free recording environment. If you’re interviewing others give them guidelines on what they can do to deliver you higher quality audio on their end. All those factors that affect you will affect them also.

Finally, although we’re not sure how much of an impact it has on consumability, we recommend you insert some front and back music at the end of each disc. It makes your program sound more professional. You’ll need to use royalty free music such as our good friend Mike Stewart has available on his site http://FrontAndBackMusic.com.

Audio CDs will remain part of the landscape for content delivery for some time to come. They can be particularly valuable in a free + shipping scenario as a lead generation device. We’d encourage you to check out our print on demand service for audio CDs that we call Disc Delivered. More info available at http://DiscDelivered.com.

 

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Consuming Your Content – Books http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/consuming-your-content-books/ Mon, 04 Apr 2016 22:35:02 +0000 http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/?p=524 You can write what many people would consider to be a good book yet have it fall short of being considered a great book simply because it wasn’t as consumable as it could be. Information products about your content, including books, are all about consumption and if your book isn’t optimized for maximum readability then you won’t have the level of success you could otherwise. Bryan and I both love to go into bookstores and browse the shelves, especially the books in the marketing and business sections. I’ll scan the covers and spines that are visible and, if a title

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You can write what many people would consider to be a good book yet have it fall short of being considered a great book simply because it wasn’t as consumable as it could be. Information products about your content, including books, are all about consumption and if your book isn’t optimized for maximum readability then you won’t have the level of success you could otherwise.

Bryan and I both love to go into bookstores and browse the shelves, especially the books in the marketing and business sections. I’ll scan the covers and spines that are visible and, if a title sounds interesting enough, pick the book up and thumb through to the first chapter.

If I look at that first chapter and see that it is twenty or more pages in length in all likelihood I’ll put the book back on the shelf and won’t buy it. Why? Because it looks like it’s just too much work to read. You want people to feel a sense of progress as they read your book and if your chapters are so long that they discourage reading on you’re making a big mistake.

Similarly, many people like to do a little reading before they go to bed. And most people like to consume a book a chapter at a time. If I pick up a book and glance at the next chapter and see it’s very long then chances are I’ll decide not to read any further that night. So I’m not consuming your book as quickly as you would want me to.

A book like this suffers from what I call “consumption obstruction.” You’re far better off having three chapters that are each around seven pages long than a single chapter that is twenty or more pages. As funny as it may sound, people are far more likely to read three or four seven page chapters than a single twenty plus page chapter.

Remember, if you can’t even get them to consume your book the chances of them coming back to you to buy your next book or some other product or service that you have to offer drops dramatically. It really is all about consumption.

So what are some of the other things you need to consider to make your book more readable, and therefore, more consumable?

One thing you certainly need to take into account is the demographics of the audience you want to reach. Let’s say you’re writing a book aimed at, for example, the baby boomer market. Then you’re marketing to a crowd that is largely dealing with bifocals or trifocals and gradually deteriorating eyesight. So if your book interior layout person selects a font size of anything less than 11 point you’re creating readability issues for some of your potential audience.

According to Wikipedia, here are the “Keep Out of Trouble Rules” regarding font usage in a book:

  • Use 11-point Palatino for text.
  • Use 14-point Helvetica for chapter titles and 12-point Helvetica for section headings.
  • Use unusual fonts only for short items, e.g., the title and author’s name on the cover, or for chapter titles.
  • Don’t use too many fonts. Three should be enough for almost any book.
  • Check books you like the look of, and see which fonts they use. Half an hour in a bookstore looking at fonts can be very useful and enlightening.

During the layout of your book you’ll need to determine how you want to break your paragraphs apart for better readability. Let’s demonstrate.

“Here’s a paragraph where sentence after sentence has been packed together and the paragraph seems to run on forever. Run on paragraphs such as this can make it extremely difficult for your readers to consume the content you want to share with them. And when you’re trying to build your platform as an author, speaker or information marketer if you do anything that makes it more of a challenge to consume your information the more challenges you are putting in front of yourself to achieve success. Don’t make it any hard than it needs to be—there are plenty of other things you’re going to have to deal with that are challenging enough. Run on paragraphs are easily dealt with simply by breaking your paragraphs into two or more paragraphs. Our opinion is a paragraph should be no longer than three or four sentences before you start a new paragraph.”

Now compare that to this:

“Here’s that same basic paragraph broken into two separate paragraphs. The sentences don’t run on and the paragraph doesn’t seem to run on forever. Don’t make it difficult for your readers to consume the information you want to share with them. When you’re trying to share your content if you do anything that makes it more of a challenge to consume your content you’re hurting yourself.

Don’t make it any hard than it needs to be—there are plenty of other things you’re going to have to deal with that are challenging enough. Run on paragraphs are easily dealt with simply by breaking your paragraphs into two or more paragraphs.

Our opinion is a paragraph should be no longer than three or four sentences before you start a new paragraph.”

Which seems more readable? This split paragraphs obviously. So it’s simply a matter of laying out your book slightly differently in order to make it more consumable for your reader.

Another thing you can do to increase readability of your book is to include call-outs or bulleted lists to give the eye a break from the same thing page after page after page.

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“This is an example of a call out”

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Call outs can be a quote or a salient point about the chapter you most want people to remember.

The “Keep Out of Trouble Rules” above is an example of a bulleted list. Both call outs and bulleted lists should be used in moderation. But both are great tools to improve the consumability of your book.

Avoiding “Consumption Obstruction” is something to which very few authors give thought. Yet, turning your book from a good book into a great book by improving its ability to be consumed may be nothing more than improving your layout to make your book more readable.

Here are a few other interior design elements that can negatively impact the readability of your book. You can do 9 out of 10 things perfectly, but the one thing you overlook can quickly undo those 9 things you did right.

  • Ragged Right Text – almost any professional looking book utilizes justified text, where the right edge of the text is all aligned. It gives your book a much more professional look.
  • Widows and orphans – in book layout, widows and orphans are words or short lines at the beginning or end of a paragraph, which are left dangling at the top of bottom of a column, separated from the rest of the paragraph. You want to avoid widows or orphans.
  • No Subheads – you need to remember that a lot of people read by skimming over the text in a book. If the major topic in a particular chapter has key secondary points that, when combined, make up your major point you should highlight the start of your major secondary points through the use of subheads.
  • Poor leading – in book layout, leading (pronounced ledding), refers to the distance between the bottom edge of successive lines of type. The term originated in the days of hands typesetting, when thin strips of lead were inserted into the forms to increase the vertical distance between lines of type. In consumer-oriented word processing software, this concept is usually referred to as “line spacing” or “interline spacing.” You should use 1.15 or 1.5 spacing in your book layout.
  • There may be some disagreement on this one, but in our opinion, a new chapter should always start on the right side page in a book. Makes for a more professional looking book.
  • No hyphenation of text, causing gaps and spaces on the page. When you’re doing justified text (right and left margins both straight) you can have some longer words that kick down to the next line due to their length. This can cause wider gaps than desired in the previous line as it spaces the words out to fit across your page. This can be avoided by making sure you have hyphenation turned on during the layout process.
  • Margins too small, making your book hard to hold. I recently borrowed a paperback from the library, a copy of one of the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child. The layout person had apparently not taken into account at all how readable the book would be, as the left margin of every right side page and the right margin of every left side page in the book was jammed up so tightly to the spine of the book you almost couldn’t open the book wide enough to see all the text.
  • Poor kerning – in book layout kerning is the process of adjusting the spacing between characters in a proportional font, usually to achieve a more visually pleasing result. Kerning adjusts the space between individual letters. In a well-kerned font, the two-dimensional blank spaces between each pair of characters all have a visually similar area.

Remember, it’s your job as the author to make sure your book is as consumable as possible for your reader. Even if you are not doing your own book layout you need to be aware of these factors so that your content will be consumed and you’ll make a bigger impact with your message.

 

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ABCs of Speaking: Chapter H – Hosting Your Own Events) http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/hosting-your-own-events/ Mon, 28 Mar 2016 22:33:03 +0000 http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/?p=522 After you have spoken at a few events for other promoters you may want to consider hosting your own events. After all, it looks so easy, doesn’t it? Well not so fast cowboy. Putting on live events of any type is an entirely different business and has to be treated as such. It is one thing to come into another person’s event and do a presentation and quite another thing to be the one doing all the legwork behind the scenes to pull off an event. The first question you need to answer is what kind of event do you

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After you have spoken at a few events for other promoters you may want to consider hosting your own events. After all, it looks so easy, doesn’t it?

Well not so fast cowboy. Putting on live events of any type is an entirely different business and has to be treated as such. It is one thing to come into another person’s event and do a presentation and quite another thing to be the one doing all the legwork behind the scenes to pull off an event.

The first question you need to answer is what kind of event do you want to put on? Will it be a small informal hands-on workshop with 10 of your best clients, a multi-day event with you as the sole trainer for the entire event, or a multi-speaker event with significant back of the room sales?

All three can be great models and there is certainly no right or wrong answer to the question. Each approach has its own pros and cons and you will need to decide which model you want to start with.

Regardless of the model you might choose the first thing you need to decide if you are thinking about doing a live event is your list. Why your list you might ask? Because your list is where the majority of your event attendees will come from. It will be the people who already know, like and trust you that will be the bulk of your audience.

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You are Kidding Yourself if You

Think You Can Fill an Event with People

Who Aren’t Already Really Sold on You

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You are kidding yourself if you think you can fill an event with people who aren’t already really sold on you. If you are going to do a multi-speaker event and think you can fill your room from the lists of your speakers think again. It just isn’t going to happen.

So you have got to decide if your list is right for an event. Is your list big enough and will they be interested in attending a live event? A lot of first time event promoters have delusions of grandeur, thinking that they can get half of their list to attend a live event. Most event promoters are doing well to get 1% to 5% of their list members to come to a live event. And this has gotten even tougher over the last few years with the economy. It is getting harder and harder to put butts into seats.

So the key question you need to answer first is is your list large enough to support a live event?

If you decide it is a “go” then we recommend a minimum of 16 weeks lead time to successfully plan and pull off your event. If you already have a system and an experienced team in place you can utilize you can execute an event with a 12 week schedule.

Expect to wear many different hats when you decide to host your own event. Big money can be made and big money can be lost on a live event and your ability to strike a balance between what you opt to do yourself and what you delegate or outsource to others to do for you will have a massive impact on your overall success.

Entire courses have been written on putting on live events and there is enough information on the subject to fill multiple books. In this chapter we want to give you a taste of some of the issues you may deal with in hosting your own event.

Following is the list of those things you should be doing 16 weeks in advance of your event. This is pulled from the SMARTTM Seminar Marketing System (SeminarMarketing.com). You can view the complete checklist in the resources section of this book.

Planning

  • Conduct strategic planning meeting: determine event objectives and goals, select dates and location (check for industry or local conflicts and inappropriate dates)
  • Develop event program; schedule, speakers, content
  • Develop preliminary budget

Hotel – Meeting Facility

  • Research meeting facilities; send out request for proposal
  • Perform on-site review of meeting facility
  • Negotiate hotel contract
  • Set up master account for meeting charges

Speakers

  • Invite Speakers to speak
  • Secure Speakers’ contract
  • Send Speakers information about your event: goals, objectives, audience demographics
  • Secure Speaker requirements (audio, visual, etc.)
  • Verify and approve Speakers’ presentation, product package and pricing
  • Verify and approve Speakers’ close
  • Schedule Speakers’ teleseminar call and email to their database to promote event
  • Secure any bonuses and/or door prizes Speaker can contribute to event

Event Team

  • Select event team and helpers
  • Secure helpers
  • Select and secure subconsultants (audio/video, bookstore, etc.)
  • Make travel arrangements for event

Promoting

  • Identify and contact JV partners and/or alliances to assist in promoting
  • Identify and contact affiliates to assist in promoting
  • Develop on-line and off-line strategy to promote event
  • Design website
  • Write sales letter (This could take 8-10 weeks—start early)
  • Set up shopping cart
  • Write autoresponders
  • Write broadcast emails
  • Create event brochure if promoting through off-line strategies

Wow, seems like a lot, doesn’t it? And you may be saying to yourself I don’t even know what he is talking about with some of the things on this checklist.

That is why it is critical you educate yourself on all the aspects of hosting your own events. If you decide you are the one who is going to wear the hat in a particular area you better be sure you know what you are getting into.

Dealing with hotels is an art form in itself. A great negotiator like Adryenn can have multiple hotels throwing themselves at her and offering her everything under the sun because she’s a pro and understand how it all works.

But, if you don’t know how it all works you can really get hosed by the hotels. I had a colleague who did not like the way the wall in a meeting room behind his stage looked. So he ordered a black curtain backdrop behind the stage that dramatically improved the appearance of his room.

But boy, was he shocked at the end of his event when he got the bill and found out that black curtain cost him $6000! Talk about sticker shock.

If the old phrase “You don’t know what you don’t know” applies to you from an event hosting standpoint you have got to educate yourself first to “Know what you don’t know” and our hope is that this chapter will help get you down the road to that understanding.

There is no doubt that hosting your own events can be wildly profitable. It establishes you even more as the expert in your niche, can help you sell more coaching and consulting services and can provide positive cash flow and quick revenue generation.

I have seen multi-speaker events pull in over a million dollars in just a few days. But I have also had event promoters crying on my shoulder because they lost thousands of dollars by not understanding how to negotiate with the hotel.

You have got to know how to do it the right way. So be smart and learn the ropes. As you are speaking at other people’s events be sure to study how they are doing what they are doing.

Then, when you are ready to host your own event you can dramatically increase your chances for success.

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ABCs of Speaking: Chapter G – Get the Word Out (Your Speaker Sheet) http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/abcs-of-speaking-chapter-g-get-the-word-out-your-speaker-sheet/ Mon, 21 Mar 2016 22:31:32 +0000 http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/?p=520 As we have discussed, speaking is an excellent way to showcase your expertise, meet people, get clients and even get paid just for your speech. In order to get speaking engagements, you first need to get booked and that means you need a speaker sheet. A speaker sheet is a PDF® or electronic document that is your marketing brochure to get you booked as a speaker. If you are a new speaker start with a one-page document. If you have been speaking for a while you may want to go to two pages. This speaker sheet can be downloaded from

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As we have discussed, speaking is an excellent way to showcase your expertise, meet people, get clients and even get paid just for your speech. In order to get speaking engagements, you first need to get booked and that means you need a speaker sheet. A speaker sheet is a PDF® or electronic document that is your marketing brochure to get you booked as a speaker.

If you are a new speaker start with a one-page document. If you have been speaking for a while you may want to go to two pages. This speaker sheet can be downloaded from your website and you will send it out via email to people you want to book you for speaking.

You may want to have some printed on high quality paper to send out for higher end bookings or to have available at your events when someone says they would like to book you.

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If You are a Professional Speaker

Your Speaker Sheet Will be a Key to

Even be Considered for a Booking

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If you are a professional speaker your speaker sheet will be a key to even be considered for a booking. If you are a speaker who uses speaking for marketing having a speaker sheet will get you booked time and time again over other people who do what you do and say they speak but do not have a speaker sheet. This will differentiate you from every other consultant who says they want to speak. This is key.

Decide what you are going to talk about and choose a topic that interests the groups where your potential strategic alliances gather. For example, if you want strategic alliances for women in leadership, you could do a talk on Five Secrets for Chairing the Perfect Board Meeting.

What to include in your speaker sheet.

  • Catchy benefit-focused title at the top of the page. Start your speaker sheet with a catchy phrase or a phrase that clearly captures the benefit of your speech. Emphasize what audience members will get. Here are three examples of titles clients of mine use on their speaker sheets: “Becoming Great with Money”, “How to Add an Hour of Productivity Every Day” or “How to Look Like a Million Dollars on a Budget.”

Here is the big rookie mistake I see all the time. People put their names in huge letters at the top of their speaker sheet. I guess they are thinking of a Broadway show marquee, because we all have a desire to see our name in lights. However, most of us are not yet a household name and your name is not enough to captivate the meeting planner and catch his or her attention. That is why you go with a benefit focused title.

  • Professional photo

Invest in a professional photo session. It is okay to do a little touch up, but do not overdo it as you still want to look like your picture. You want a photo you love and are thrilled to put out there. If you have action shots then even better, use one of these if you are doing a two paged speaker sheet. And remember to update your picture on a fairly regular basis. Nothing turns off someone more than a speaker picture that was clearly taken twenty years ago. Make sure any photos you include on your speaker sheet are a minimum of 300 dpi resolution if your are going to print them. Lower resolution photos are fine for online (72 dpi typically), but not suitable for print purposes.

  • Bio that describes you as a speaker

In addition to your credentials, make sure you include a couple of sentences about your presentation style. For example, ‘Sheila is a dynamic and high-energy presenter who provides an interactive program that keeps the audience engaged.’ Or ‘David is a down to earth presenter who makes tech-speak easy to understand and gives audiences ideas they can apply immediately to improve marketing online.’ This is another key aspect to your speaker sheet that is often overlooked. The purpose of your speaker sheet is only to get you booked. Be sure the language of it describes your speaking style and how the audience will react.

  • List the titles of your talks

A list of topics you speak on and the benefits of each topic. Start with no more than three. One or two titles are fine also. Too many speeches on your sheet is another beginner mistake. If you are a professional speaker, presenting for quite a while then having more topics is fine. Be sure that your talks match your branding, products and services. This way when you make an offer or ever let people know they can purchase your book, the title of your book is the same as the title of your talk.

  • Paragraph descriptions or bullet point descriptions

Underneath each title discuss the benefits audience members will receive by listening to your talk. Tell them not what you are going to discuss but instead the value audience members will take away from what you have discussed. Make sure your language is clear and specific on what they will take away. This will help you get booked more.

  • A list of speaking clients (if you have them)

List the names or companies, associations and organizations you have spoken for before. Make sure they match the kinds of organizations you want to book you. For example, if your aim is to get booked at major corporations do not include the churches or community organizations you presented to. If you want to speak to more churches and community groups then you would create a different speaker sheet for that.

  • Up to six testimonials from groups you have spoken to (if you have them.)

After you do a talk ask your contact for a statement describing what a great job you did and how valuable your talk was for the group. With the testimonial be sure to include their name and organization or company.

We want the speaker booker to think that you are a great match for their group. That is why the same instruction applies here as we mentioned for the client list. Only include testimonials from organizations like the places you want to get booked. For example, on my speaker sheet to get booked to speak at business women’s conferences I only have testimonials from other business women’s conferences.

Another challenge I see with new speakers is that they include participant or audience member testimonials. That is not what you want here. Those you would use for a public seminar that people sign up for individually. Stick with the program chairs, presidents, conference organizers for your speaker sheet testimonials.

  • Your contact information at the bottom of the page

List your email, web-site and phone on the bottom of the sheet so you can easily be contacted.

  • Be sure to get a professional design

I see so many speaker sheets that are well written however they have been sent out to bookers without the benefit of a professional design. Make sure you invest a little money to make your speaker sheet look great and be consistent with your branding. You want to make sure you look like an experienced, professional speaker. Without a professional design that does not happen.

In addition to your speaker sheet, you also want a speaker page on your website to position you as a speaker, which is key if you want people to call you to speak. This would look just like your speaker sheet only be a page on your site that potential bookers can go through. Do have your speaker sheet on this page for downloading.

Follow these key elements to get your speaker sheet done. Once that happens you are ready to get booked. Put together your list of organizations to contact and send an email out with your speaker sheet attached and watch yourself get booked over and over.

The post ABCs of Speaking: Chapter G – Get the Word Out (Your Speaker Sheet) appeared first on RocTalk.

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ABCs of Speaking: Chapter F – Fee or Free? (Speaking Models) http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/speaking-models/ Mon, 14 Mar 2016 22:30:12 +0000 http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/?p=518 Why do you want to become a speaker? Is it because you have a powerful message you want to share with the world? Or, maybe because you recognize that being the one in the front of the room providing training or information automatically establishes you as an “expert?” Maybe you just like being the center of attention. Whatever your reason there is no doubt that being a speaker can establish you as an expert and as someone to which people should pay attention. Even if you don’t want to be a full-time professional speaker we have already talked in the

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Why do you want to become a speaker? Is it because you have a powerful message you want to share with the world? Or, maybe because you recognize that being the one in the front of the room providing training or information automatically establishes you as an “expert?” Maybe you just like being the center of attention.

Whatever your reason there is no doubt that being a speaker can establish you as an expert and as someone to which people should pay attention. Even if you don’t want to be a full-time professional speaker we have already talked in the introduction about all the awesome reasons to become a speaker.

Speaking for Local Organizations

If you are speaking primarily to establish yourself as an expert in order to directly or indirectly promote your primary products or services then chances are most of your speaking engagements will be of the free variety. If you are speaking for local organizations like Chambers of Commerce, Rotary Club or others then your time in front of the room will be non-compensated time and you probably won’t be able to make any direct sales at the actual event.

And there is nothing wrong with this type of speaking. It is a marketing tool for your organization and through careful tracking of where your new business comes from you will be able to tell whether the speaking that you are doing is proving profitable or not. I frequently deliver content-only sessions for various conferences simply for the sharing of information I know will help the audience and will establish me as the expert.

Getting “Paid” Even When Speaking for Free

Even if you are a non-compensated speaker there may be other ways you can be “paid” by the organizations you speak for. Here are a few other ways to get paid when speaking for free from Bryan Caplovitz of SpeakerMatch.com

  • Ask for a professional quality video tape
  • Have them buy your product (book, CD, resource kit) instead.
  • Request a testimonial on the organization’s letterhead
  • Ask for a write-up in the organization’s newsletter
  • Use business cards to your advantage
  • Use your audience as a source for leads
  • Get a professional photo shoot showing audience reaction

But, if you are going to opt to take on speaking as your full-time profession you are going to have to determine which speaking model you want to pursue. Neither is mutually exclusive and you may end up with a hybrid model over time. But, it is important to understand the primary two models when you are getting started, which we will call “Fee” and “Free”.

The For “Fee” Speaking Model

In the “Fee” speaking model you are paid a pre-determined amount by an event promoter to come and speak at their event. This fee can range anywhere from literally nothing when you are starting out and just trying to gain experience up to the tens of thousands of dollars or more when you reach the big time. Commonly known as “Keynote” speakers, there are thousands of people worldwide who make their full-time living delivering keynote presentations for corporations, associations and other groups.

The big name celebrity speakers that command fees in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, or more, are usually celebrities first and speakers second. Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and Colin Powell are great speaking role models we can all strive to emulate, but know that they are the exception rather than the rule when it comes to fees. But do dream big.

As a for “Fee” or “Keynote” speaker your speaking income is your speaking fee primarily and your speaking fee alone. Typically, the event promoter will also cover your travel expenses including airfare, transportation to and from the hotel, lodging and meals. Your individual negotiating skills will determine what above and beyond the norm you are able to get.

If you have a book or other relevant materials you may be able to get the promoter to agree to purchase one for every attendee at the event. So even though you may not be allowed to sell from the platform you may have the opportunity to generate a little extra income from book sales. Again, how good of a negotiator are you?

Be sure to study other speakers in your area of expertise to get a feel for what they are charging for similar speeches. You will find most have a range of fees depending upon the topic and other factors. You need to decide if you are going to compete on the basis of price (not recommended) or quality. Make sure you have an outstanding value proposition for any event promoter for whatever fee level you decide on.

The For “Free” Speaking Model

There is a second kind of speaker, called the “Free” speaker and if you are able to sell effectively from the platform then this is the speaking model you may want to follow. In the “free” model a speaker is brought in by an event promoter to speak to their audience for no up front compensation.

In this model your compensation comes in the form of a split of the product sales you make at the event. You pay your own travel expenses usually and both the promoter and you are gambling, in a sense, that you will sell enough from the stage to make the time you are given in front of the audience profitable for both yourself and the promoter.

Most of the events of this type are multiple speaker events lasting anywhere from two to four days. So you are usually competing with many other speakers over the course of the event for a share of the wallets of those in the audience. But, if you bring real value to an audience and you have an outstanding offer for continuing education, products or services then you can make significantly more money as a “Free” speaker then you can as a “Fee” speaker.

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You Can Make Significantly More Money as a

“Free” Speaker Then You Can as a “Fee” Speaker

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I have a colleague who has sold as high as $995,000 in products from the platform at a single event. Even keeping in mind that the traditional split of the sales you make at an event is 50/50 with the event promoter, in this case my colleague pocketed a mere $447,500 for one ninety minute presentation. Not too shabby!

Some promoters offer different splits so always be sure to carefully read any speaker contract before you sign it to make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions associated with working with a particular event promoter. I have seen some cases where the back of the room sales split was 60/40 or even 70/30 in favor of the promoter so be aware.

In a typical 50/50 split the norm in the industry is to have the credit card transaction fees for orders absorbed by the promoter and the hard product costs associated with fulfillment of the sale borne by the speaker. But again, this is another detail of which you should be aware in advance so there are no misunderstandings with a promoter.

There are some rare cases where an event promoter that is paying you a fee to speak may also allow product sales in the back of the room. And I have seen scenarios where a non-savvy promoter has allowed the speaker to have 100% of their back of the room sales in addition to the speaking fee they received. Again, this is rare but always nice to have happen.

Fee or Free? It can be a tough decision for many speakers and you will have to decide which model fits you if you want to be a full-time professional speaker. The real money for the speaker who can sell effectively is in the “Free” model. But the burden is on you to sell to be paid and that may or may not be consistent with your personality and mindset.

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ABCs of Speaking: Chapter E – Environment (Controlling the Room) http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/controlling-the-room/ Mon, 07 Mar 2016 22:28:34 +0000 http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/?p=516 ABCs of Speaking – Environment (Controlling the Room) To maximize your effectiveness as a speaker it is of paramount importance that you control the environment in which you will be speaking as much as possible. Your environment can certainly include things like the room temperature and lighting. But it will also include a lot of other factors you may not have considered previously. Anything that can influence your on stage performance falls under the classification of your environment. Some may be considered major and others minor, but all can affect how well your message is received by the audience and,

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ABCs of Speaking – Environment (Controlling the Room)

To maximize your effectiveness as a speaker it is of paramount importance that you control the environment in which you will be speaking as much as possible. Your environment can certainly include things like the room temperature and lighting. But it will also include a lot of other factors you may not have considered previously.

Anything that can influence your on stage performance falls under the classification of your environment. Some may be considered major and others minor, but all can affect how well your message is received by the audience and, if you are selling from the platform, how well you sell.

We’re talking about things like:

  • Sound quality
  • Your introduction
  • Internet connections
  • Clicker
  • Banging doors
  • Q & A sessions
  • Testimonials from the audience
  • Intro and exit music

Sound Quality

I have seen too many speakers show up too close to the scheduled start of their presentation. So the audio crew is slapping a microphone on them at the last minute and there is not enough time to do a proper sound check prior to the speaker taking stage. And then they wonder why the audio quality sucks during their presentation.

That is why you should get to an event well in advance of any scheduled presentation. If you speak before lunch find out when the audio crew will be in the room either the night before or the morning of your scheduled presentation so a proper sound check can be done. If you speak after lunch then check things out during the lunch break. Find out specifically where on your clothing you should affix the microphone for best sound.

Also, walk the stage when you are mic’ed up to check for spots you should avoid walking during your presentation. Spots where interference is caused and the audience would get a loud “shriek” or other ear splitting sound that will detract from your presentation. Know the “hot spots” going in and you will have a better sounding presentation throughout your speech.

Your Introduction

Should you pre-write the introduction you want the event emcee or whoever will be introducing you to the audience to read? In a word—yes. Does that mean every person who does your intro over the course of your speaking career will read it word for word? Of course not. But if you do not have something for the emcee to follow and they “wing” it who knows what you are going to get. So write something out and get it to the proper person enough in advance so they can at least familiarize themselves with what they will be saying about you.

If you have a colleague at an event who has done a great job of introducing you at a previous event then the event promoter may let that person do your intro rather than the event emcee. If the audience already knows, likes and trusts your colleague that can be a fantastic idea. But if your colleague is someone that won’t be familiar with you you are better off utilizing the event emcee.

Regardless of who will be doing your intro, do NOT make it a complete autobiography. I have seen many speakers lose their audience before they ever uttered their first word on stage. How? With an introduction that went on and on and on and on and on. You get the idea. Many speakers think they need to credentialize themselves on stage much more than they need to. The audience is interested in what is in it for them and the minutes on how wonderful you are and the great things you’ve done just does not do it for them. The fact that you are on the stage in the first place pretty much provides you with all the credentials you need.

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The Fact that You Are on Stage Provides

You With Important Credentials

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And, if I hear another speaker say “I don’t say this to impress you, but rather to impress upon you…” then I might be sick. A two to three minute introduction should be satisfactory and the primary focus should be on what your audience is going to learn, not on how great you are. Some speakers have gone to video introductions to exercise maximum control over their introductions. You will have to decide if this is right for you.

Internet Connection

Never ever ever ever do a presentation where you are relying on a live Internet connection to show something to the audience. This is one of those things in your environment that you have very little control over. I have seen too many presentations ruined by a lost or a very slow Internet connection. You are taking an unnecessary chance anytime you try to go live online.

The way you control this factor is to use screen shots from the web in your presentation rather than the live shot. It works as well and you don’t run the risk of looking the fool with connectivity issues. Internet connections in meeting rooms can also be very expensive—hundreds of dollars per day. So you may also be asking the event promoter to incur an additional expense just for you that could have been avoided.

Clicker

Another seemingly minor factor that can cause you major headaches is the simple clicker. If you are utilizing a PowerPoint in your presentation then in all likelihood you will be controlling your PowerPoint with a wireless clicker. Be sure to test the clicker in advance of your presentation so you understand fully its range and exactly where you should point it when you are ready to advance to your next slide.

Banging Doors

A smart event promoter tries to control audience access to the meeting room through a pre-selected set of doors. They do this for several reasons. One reason is that it gives them the ability to do a better job of greeting their audience by knowing what doors they will be entering the meeting room through. Another reason is it enables them to force the crowd to pass by the sales table whenever they are exiting the room.

During your presentation people will invariably be coming in or going out of the room and if the door bangs noisily shut every time someone passes through it can be a major distraction to the participants. You want them focusing their attention on you and not turning to look and see who is coming in or going out every time they hear the door.

There are a couple of low tech solutions you can suggest to an event promoter if you see that the doors could be a problem. First, you can suggest they tape the push bar of the exit door(s) shut. This does not hinder exit access in any way but does silence the noisy push bar that people hear when the door is being opened.

But then the door closes, sometimes with a loud bang. So the second thing you can suggest is simply throwing a towel over the top of the door (s) to cushion things when the door shuts. Simply eliminating these two potential distractions can help you to better control your environment.

Q & A Sessions

Should you take questions during your presentation? In all but rare cases I would say no. Turning control of the microphone over to someone in the audience is the quickest way to lose control of your presentation. Invite them to meet you at the sales table if they have any questions or to come and talk with you during a break.

You should already have a sense of what questions people will ask you about your topic and you should have the answers to the questions you are most frequently asked already worked into your presentation.

Testimonials from the Audience

Like Q & A sessions, soliciting testimonials from the audience about your products or services is an area fraught with potential problems. First, you must alert the event promoter ahead of time if you will have need of a microphone in the audience at some point in your presentation. Otherwise, you can have a few awkward moments of silence while they are scrambling around for a microphone.

Even if you have made all the arrangements in advance you are still turning over control of your room to someone else when you give them a microphone. Just like we spoke of introductions that can go on and on I have also seen testimonials get totally out of control and last way too long. Sometimes it is hard to wrest back control of the microphone.

If you are going to use live testimonials you must carefully chose who you are going to use. Give them clear guidelines on how much time they will have when you go to them for their testimonial and make sure you know what they are going to be saying ahead of time so you don’t get any unexpected surprises.

Intro and Exit Music

Music can have a powerful impact on people. Properly selected music played as you are getting ready to take the stage or when you have just finished and are exiting the stage can help you to create some real excitement in the room. You can help by selecting music you feel best fits with your presentation. A smart promoter will be more than happy to accommodate your musical requests.

In Conclusion

While there are some factors in your environment you may have little or no control over, such as the room temperature and event lighting, you can see there are a number of other factors you may exercise some control over. Remember, the better you control your overall speaking “environment” the better are your chances for success.

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ABCs of Speaking: Chapter D – Demographics http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/abcs-of-speaking-chapter-d-demographics/ Mon, 29 Feb 2016 22:24:32 +0000 http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/?p=509 Without question one of the major contributors to the successful delivery of a speech is to have your audience all feel as if you are talking directly to them. The ability to connect at a “heart level” greatly increases the bond you have with your audience and leads to a well received presentation. ——————————————- Connect With Your Audience At a Heart Level ——————————————- It does not matter if your speech is a keynote presentation or a platform selling situation. If you understand the demographics of your audience then you can better tailor your content in order to connect at a

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Without question one of the major contributors to the successful delivery of a speech is to have your audience all feel as if you are talking directly to them. The ability to connect at a “heart level” greatly increases the bond you have with your audience and leads to a well received presentation.

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Connect With Your Audience

At a Heart Level

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It does not matter if your speech is a keynote presentation or a platform selling situation. If you understand the demographics of your audience then you can better tailor your content in order to connect at a deeper level with the crowd.

So what types of information would you want to know in advance of a presentation about the audience that might help you do a better job? This list is not necessarily all-inclusive, but is a good starting point for you.

  • Is your audience primarily male or female?
  • What is the average age of the audience? Are you talking to teens, baby boomers, senior citizens, etc.?
  • Where are the audience attendees from? Is it a local crowd, a regional gathering, national or international?
  • What is their educational background?
  • What type(s) of businesses are represented in the audience? (For example, you would not want to use a bunch of real estate examples if you are talking with a group of restaurant owners)
  • Is it a G—PG—PG13—R—or “F Bomb” type of crowd?
  • Have you delivered a presentation to this same audience previously?
  • If it is a multiple speaker event, who else is sharing the platform and what will they be talking about?

Much of this information should be available from the event promoter. Large events that have been held many times in the past also often have sponsorship packets that contain great demographic information about the attendees because they are trying to attract sponsorship money. But you can use this information also to learn more about the audience to which you will be speaking.

If you are delivering a keynote presentation, particularly to a single corporate client then you will want to do some research to try to figure out who the “movers and shakers” are within the audience. A great way to find this information is to simply call the main switchboard of the company for which you will be presenting. Explain you are delivering a keynote for them at their upcoming event and ask the gatekeeper about the key people who will be attending.

You would be amazed at the kind of information you can gather that will enable you to craft your presentation specifically for that company. When you have the ability to acknowledge key people in the audience during the course of your presentation you really can connect at a much deeper level.

Remember, the more that you can address the specific pain point(s) of the group you will be speaking to the more receptive your audience will be to your presentation. When they feel that you are talking directly to them you come across as much more professional because you have taken the time to truly understand their needs and to deliver information that will be of benefit to them.

And it does not matter if it is a keynote presentation or a platform selling situation. The “pain points” are the critical elements you must incorporate into your presentation. More specifically, your solution for those pain points is what will truly ingratiate you with your audience.

Do not hesitate to do some keyword research in advance of an event to try to find out what the questions are that are being asked online related to your topic. The more you can tie in the current things people are looking for solutions for to your presentation the better you will do.

Now, in a platform selling situation there are some additional pieces of information you will want to try to gather in advance that can greatly increase your chances of increasing your back of the room sales. You will want to ask the event promoter these questions, but do not take the word of the promoter as “gospel.”

If you are speaking at an event that has been held previously you will want to find out who has spoken at the event previously and at what price point their offer was. Ask the promoter what was the price point of the speaker that had the most success at their last event and on what topic did they speak? In general, what price point gets the most action for that promoter’s events? If you come in with a $2000 offer and the crowd has only been exposed to $500 price points in the past you, in most cases, greatly decrease your chances for success.

Admittedly, sometimes it is difficult to get this information from the promoter. But if you explain you want to do the best job possible for them at the event they will usually understand and be as forthcoming as possible.

Another great source of information about what worked and did not work at previous events is from those people that provided testimonials for the last event. If you look at the promotional website for the upcoming event you will typically find testimonials from previous attendees. It is pretty easy to find these people online and ask them some questions about the event.

Also, once you have been around the speaker circuit for a while you will have speaking colleagues you have built a trust relationship with that are willing to share their experiences with you about working with different promoters.

If you have a contract with an event promoter for an upcoming event (and you always should) then you will want to, if at all possible, incorporate some language into that contract that allows you the ability to adjust your offer and price point at the event if you see certain things are not working with other speakers. A reasonable promoter will be willing to work with you because they have a vested interest in your success also.

Knowing as much about your audience as possible before delivering a presentation seems like a no-brainer. But, you would be surprised at the number of speakers who are unwilling to take the time to get to know their audience in advance so they can fine tune their presentation for that audience.

Does it take a little bit of work? Of course it does. But there may be some aspects of your audience marketing research that you can enlist the assistance of a support person to help you with. Whether you do it all yourself or whether someone helps you, the time invested in getting to know your upcoming audiences better will pay massive dividends for you over the long haul.

People definitely buy from those that they know, like and trust. And whether it is simply “buying” your message or whether it is about buying your product, your ability to craft a presentation that is laser-focused to the needs of your audience can only be done if you really know your audience well. And when you do that your know, like and trust factor can grow exponentially.

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ABCs of Speaking: Chapter C – Content http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/content/ Mon, 22 Feb 2016 22:22:52 +0000 http://www.redoakcart.com/roctalk/?p=506 There is no question that as a speaker there are any number of different factors you have to consider when you are thinking about the topic on which you want to speak. If you are speaking as a means of establishing yourself as an expert to generate leads for your core product or service then your presentation may be vastly different than if being a professional speaker is your core business. You have obviously gained a lot of experience over the course of your career and, while many recommend you have multiple speeches you can deliver, most encourage you have

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There is no question that as a speaker there are any number of different factors you have to consider when you are thinking about the topic on which you want to speak. If you are speaking as a means of establishing yourself as an expert to generate leads for your core product or service then your presentation may be vastly different than if being a professional speaker is your core business.

You have obviously gained a lot of experience over the course of your career and, while many recommend you have multiple speeches you can deliver, most encourage you have one “go to” speech that is what you are primarily known for.

But what should your “go to” speech be about? If you really want to position yourself as the expert in your market than it is critical you understand that it must be about much more than simply picking a niche.

The best explanation I ever heard about this was from Rich Schefren of StrategicProfits.com. Rich wrote an article a while back for the No B.S.TM Marketing Letter titled “How to Find Your Own Sweet Spot in Your Marketplace.” In his article Rich talked about how many entrepreneurs fail because they go out in search of a niche rather than a sweet spot.

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I would contend that the same exact

conclusion can be drawn for speakers

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According to Rich this is because a niche is solely based on external factors, like a recognized need or a problem in need of a solution. In stark contrast, a sweet spot is based on your own internal factors—such as your strengths, talents, experiences, passions, and so on.

So, what is your “sweet spot” as a speaker? Rich believes that everyone has a sweet spot, but it can take a significant amount of research and introspection on your part to find it. But, it will be well worth the effort.

Your sweet spot is that unique advantage that you have in the marketplace and, once you find it, Rich says that it makes your marketing 100x easier once you can articulate your sweet spot.

Rich offered a helpful exercise that can possible help you find your own sweet spot.

First, get out your journal, and make three lists.

  1. Start by thinking about what you’re passionate about. Ask yourself:
  • What excites you?
  • What motivates you?
  • What conversations do you feel you must take part in?
  • What gets you out of bed in the morning?
  1. Then move on to your strengths:
  • What have you always been good at?
  • What have you used to make a living up to now?
  • What do your friends and family say are your best strengths?
  • Do you already have an area of your life where your friends regularly ask for your advice?
  • Do you have any advice you often give that’s not common knowledge?
  1. Then look at your past:
  • What unique experiences have you had?
  • How have past experiences made you who you are today?
  • Any great stories you always tell?

Once you have all of this written down look at your lists. If there is any crossover between the lists where your passions, strengths, and experience meet up then that is a good place to start looking for your sweet spot in the market.

Maybe you have already determined your sweet spot and know what your “go to” topic is. If so, great and congratulations. But, even after you have answered these questions, there are several other factors related to your content to which you will need to give consideration. This includes questions like:

  • Are you going to customize each presentation for your audience?
  • What will your teaching style be?
  • Will you incorporate humor and/or storytelling into your presentations?
  • Can you somehow tie in current events to your presentations to make your topic more timely to prospective clients?
  • If you are speaking at a multi-speaker event what are the other speakers talking about?

Let’s take a look at each of these questions.

Customization

A common question you should anticipate from prospective clients who are considering you for some type of keynote presentation is “Will you customize your presentation for my audience?” The answer should always be “Yes”.

Will it mean a bit more work on your end? You bet. But the benefits of customizing your presentation to your audience are significant. First, by demonstrating that you are responsive to the requests of your client you will be regarded much more highly and dramatically increase your chances of landing additional speaking engagements with that client.

And word gets around. When you become known as one of those people that are easy to work with and will go the extra mile for their clients then more and more work will come your way.

Second, when you take the time to truly understand the wants and needs of your audience and know the demographics of your crowd then you will be able to craft a much more impactful speech. Ever heard the expression “I felt like he was talking right to me”? When your audience has that reaction you will find them much more receptive to your message and, if appropriate, to your product offerings.

Teaching Style

Are you a “gung-ho take no prisoners” kind of person or a more laid back “just telling some stories” kind of person? There is no right or wrong answer here. Maybe you are somewhere in between. Regardless of what your personality style is, your teaching style will probably be reflective of your personality.

We talk elsewhere in this book about the need to be “authentic”. It applies fully to your teaching style. If you try to be something you are not then more than likely it will catch up with you eventually and your success will wane because you are not being true to yourself.

Whichever side of the fence you fall on you can significantly increase your success on stage by more actively involving your audience in your presentation. We will talk in a later chapter about “controlling your environment” but for now let us stick to the general topic of “interactivity”. The question for you is “How will you get your audience to interact with you in a manner you can control?”

Many do it by asking questions to which they already know the answer. Others informally survey the room to get people to raise their hand, while others get their audience involved with more detailed hands-on experiences. Again, no right or wrong answer here. Just the question of what will you do to get your audience involved in your presentation.

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Use Humor With Great Caution

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Humor/Storytelling

A large part of many speakers teaching style is their use of humor and/or storytelling in their presentation. People generally love stories and if you can call upon your life experiences for a story that helps you to illustrate a point you should take full advantage of that story.

Humor can be great also but one must use humor with great caution. What is funny to you may not be funny to another. You should generally be politically correct and avoid talking about powder keg subjects like religion and politics.

Current Events

The ability to relate any part of your presentation to the current events of the day is another great way to better relate to your audience. When they see that your content is “fresh” and is related to things they are hearing about in the news this makes your topic more attractive and timely for them.

Meeting planners typically schedule their speakers well in advance so this is a little trickier to do when you are trying to attract future speaking engagements. But the customization we spoke of earlier can also include current events and your ability to make your presentation more “trendy” can help establish long term relationships in the industry.

Multi-Speaker Events

If you are speaking at an event that will have multiple speakers across a few day period it is so important that you try to find in advance what each of the other speakers will be talking about.

Let me tell you a story (See, storytelling works great in books also).

A couple years ago I was attending an Internet marketing conference that featured somewhere around 18-20 total speakers over the course of the three day event. The event promoter had selected his speakers based upon name value alone. No thought was given whatsoever (or so it seemed) to what topic each speaker would be presenting.

So, what happened? As it turned out there were three different speakers at this same event talking about the subject of copywriting. So, by the time the third speaker got up to do his presentation the audience was already bored with the subject of copywriting. And when that speaker tried to sell his copywriting products/services at the end of his presentation the audience had already heard two other offers related to copywriting. Bottom line—he bombed!

If he would have found out in advance that two others on the stage before him were talking about copywriting also he would at least have had the opportunity to change his presentation in some way to make it different than the others. But he did not know in advance and was not able to adapt on the fly so his results were not nearly what he wanted.

The post ABCs of Speaking: Chapter C – Content appeared first on RocTalk.

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