10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Engaging and Enjoyable

business-presentation-840x420By Phillippe Narvaez

If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

1. Make your presentation short and sweet

With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

2. Open up with a good icebreaker

At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference.

3. Keep things simple and to the point

Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

4. Use a healthy dose of humor

Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

6. Practice your delivery

Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

7. Move around and use your hands

 Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

8. Engage the audience by making them relate

Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

9. Use funny images in your slides

Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing.

10. End on a more serious note

When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.

As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

I3M Communications

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I3M Communications has years of valuable experience in many online disciplines, including Design and Development, eMarketing and Consulting.
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Cómo conectar con el consumidor.

peopleBy Phillippe Narvaez

Es repetitivo, las preguntas siempre son las mismas: ¿En qué canales debemos estar? ¿Cuál es el mejor momento para publicar? ¿Cómo podemos mejorar el “engagement”?

La respuesta también es siempre la misma: STOP.

Nos estamos obsesionando con las herramientas, canales y tácticas. Estamos olvidando la clave de todo el proceso: escuchar. Entender para ayudar. Empatizar para aportar. La mayoría de marcas ni tienen un conocimiento profundo de las necesidades reales de sus consumidores ni tienen una propuesta de valor ad-hoc para cada uno de sus arquetipos. Esto es inaceptable.

Lo importante no es el dónde, ni el cuánto, ni el cuándo. Incluso podemos ser unos auténticos ases de la analítica y tener un control absoluto de los datos que aún así, no va a funcionar.

La clave no es ni el canal, ni el formato, ni la frecuencia ni siquiera la recurrencia.

Empoderar

Empoderar significa involucrar al usuario. ¿Cómo? Haciendo que participe: preguntas, respuestas, contenido generado por la audiencia, etc.

Y si además de involucrar enseñas o inspiras tienes el 80% ganado para conectar de verdad. Recordemos que la gente se conecta a Internet principalmente para aprender algo nuevo.

Hiper-Personalización

Un mensaje no puede conectar con todas tus buyer personas. Cuanto antes lo interiorices antes conectarás.

Proactividad

No esperes a que la audiencia pregunte: lánzate. Busca diálogos, crea excusas para empezar conversaciones, tírate a la piscina.

Sorprende

Estamos intoxicados de información. No necesitamos más contenido, necesitamos mejor contenido. Piénsalo: 300 horas de vídeo se suben a Youtube cada minuto. Si realmente tienes que hacer vídeo, ¡hazlo diferente!

Acepta el fallo

Cuanto antes lo aceptes, mejor. Acepta que alguna vez cabrearás a alguien. O a mucha gente. O que fallarás. Pero es normal y cuanto más fallas más aprendes.

Recicla

Recicla lo que no funciona en algo nuevo, pero no lo sigas haciendo. No insistas durante meses en algo que claramente no te está ayudando. Y cuando hablamos de ayudar hablamos de resultados lineales. Busca la curva.

Empatía

Acéptalo, esto ya no va de ti. No va ni de logos ni de marcas, va de personas. Va de lo que quieren y necesitan esas personas. ¿Cuáles son tus buyer personas? ¿Qué necesitan? ¿Qué les estás dando para resolver esas necesidades?

Resumiendo, conseguir mejorar el engagement no es misión imposible. Pasa ineludiblemente por pensar en el usuario de verdad y sin condiciones. Por dejar a un lado la marca y por centrarnos en ser útiles.

I3M Communications

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I3M Communications has years of valuable experience in many online disciplines, including Design and Development, eMarketing and Consulting.

5 Ways to Successfully Market Yourself as a Photographer

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By Phillippe Narvaez

Whether you’re an established photographer or a newcomer to the exciting field of photography, you need to incorporate clever strategies to promote your work.

Marketing is an essential aspect of any successful business because photography is a very competitive field, you’ll need a clever angle and edge to succeed.

The following are five essential guidelines you should follow that will help you market and sell your work:

1. Create a Portfolio

Your portfolio needs to contain several important sections. First of all, you’ll want to include an “About Me” page. Talk about yourself and how you became interested in photography.

List any relevant information that will help potential buyers or agencies get to know the person behind the camera.

Your portfolio should also contain references pertaining to your craft. Include names and contact numbers of former employers.

Of course, you’ll want to include samples of your work in your portfolio. Choose the most unique, clear photographs. Be sure these sample photos are varied.

For instance, you might include photography of still-life, nature and people. Do you have a specialty? Maybe it’s baby photos or wedding photography. Perhaps your special talent lies in space photography. Showcase these talents by arranging the samples in a separate folder.

2. Create a Blog or Website

A personal blog or website can be a fundamental way to promote your work. How so? Here you can discuss your future projects, your goals and day-to-day updates on your offerings.

You can also be as creative as you wish, because it is your blog. If you’re creating a website, there’s several options: make your own from the scratch, set one up with a bit of help from Blogger or WordPress or hire a professional website designer.

Having an experienced person or team design your webpage can give your site the polish and professional look you’re aiming for. Be sure your blog or website includes a traffic counter that lets you know how many visitors have viewed your page. You may also want to add a geographic tracker that allows you to keep track of the locations of your visitors.

Give your website or blog a personal touch. Your potential clients and employers want to get to know the artist – that’s you! You might want to take a few special photos that are used solely for your website or blog.

3. Use Social Media

There’s no better way to promote your work than on a site where all your friends and associates hang out. Post about your latest projects and offerings. Add links to your blog and samples.

Place a survey on the social media website of your choice. Ask for opinions and get people involved. Open and feed your Instagram account. Set up a contest. Make a short & sweet Youtube clip where you can give some tips, or do a review, and spice it up with your personality.

The more interaction you receive, the wider audience you may reach. Make it personal by offering your own perspectives and advice on photography.

4. Use Your Photos on Merchandising Products

Create beautiful postcards of your photography and offer them for sale. Print your own photo books featuring some of your best work. You can find some examples on this page, along with tutorials and templates.

Do you have a photo studio? If so, enlist the service for a customized canvas print to place on your studio wall.

If you’re into landscape and nature photography, why not print a calendar made of your own photos for each month of the year? Let your creativity soar!

Doing all this is not complicated (nor expensive) as it may seem. Many bigger digital printing companies offer all of this in one place, and might give you discount for ordering in a bulk.

Besides, it might be worth investing in some quality printing – impressing your potential client could go easier if you present your work in custom made presentation folders and have stylish business card with your favorite photo printed on it.

Another creative idea for a digital photo marketing strategy is to offer free products that showcase your work.

Your established clients will keep returning for more if they know they are appreciated. Create customized “Thank You” note cards to send to a client following a sale.

Using pre-designed template is an option, but the main attraction will be an original, never-before-seen photo you add to your note.

5. Print Up Referral Cards

These are somewhat like business cards, with a slight twist. Your referral card will have your name and contact information, as well as a unique photo you’ve taken that represents your work.

You give these cards to your clients after a sale and have them refer a friend. When they do, your client receives a bonus. The bonus may be in the way of a discount off their next purchase, or perhaps some kind of prize. Everybody wins.

And there you have it: Five quick and easy ways to promote your photography and help yourself to a successful and rewarding career. Now, that is really the way to “focus”!

I3M Communications

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I3M Communications has years of valuable experience in many online disciplines, including Design and Development, eMarketing and Consulting.

Marketing Online 101

marketing  with business graph and chart hand drawing on blackboardBy Phillippe Narvaez

Want to get into marketing online but wondering what the options are and what online marketing strategies will best fit your business and your marketing budget? This marketing online primer presents an overview of strategies for you to choose from. I recommend choosing and implementing at least three; successful marketing online depends on diversity and persistence for most small businesses.

1) Have a Blog/Website.

The first step to successful marketing online is to have a home base on the web. It doesn’t really matter if you have an official website or a blog or a combination of both. Either will give you a web address where people can find you and a convenient way of referring to you, two things that will facilitate your marketing online efforts. So even if you don’t sell anything online directly, you need a website.

I encourage business people to have a blog on their website or serving as a website because if you blog regularly and have something relevant to say, you will develop a following – and some of those people will help your marketing online efforts by spreading the word about you and your products and/or services.

2) Online Advertising

Many small businesses in particular bother with this marketing online strategy, I suspect because they don’t want to shell out for it. They only want to do free marketing online. I say, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with free marketing online strategies – as long as you realize they’re not. All the ‘free’ online marketing strategies I’m aware of take a considerable time investment, meaning they’re only free if your time is worth nothing.

Traditional online advertising, on the other hand, takes relatively little time and can be a very effective marketing online strategy. The first thing you need to know about it is that there are two cost models, CPM and CPC.

CPM stands for Cost Per Thousand Impressions. With this type of marketing online, you basically buy space on a web page and pay for a certain number of impressions, or the number of times your ad is going to be displayed. Many of the banner ads you see on various websites are being paid for on a CPM model.

CPC stands for Cost-Per-Click advertising. In this model, you pay only for the number of times a viewer clicks on your ad, not on the number of times it’s displayed.

Google AdWords is perhaps the best known Pay-per-click marketing online program. When you’re marketing online with this program, you choose particular keywords that you want your ads to be associated with. When people search on Google using one of your keywords, your ad may appear next to the search results. The theory is that these people are much more likely to be interested in your products or services.

Another online advertising strategy you may wish to try is creating and posting an online video (either to your own website or to a popular video sharing site such as YouTube). An online video can be marketing online gold if it becomes popular.

3) Directory Listings

Adding your business to appropriate directory listings (local directory listings, business directories, etc.) is another way of marketing online that takes little time and is relatively inexpensive. Whatever local business groups you belong to, such as your local Chamber of Commerce, probably have websites where they allow members to list their businesses online and perhaps even place ads on the site at special rates. Search out other local sites, especially those related to tourism, and make sure you’re listed there, too.

Then there are the professional sites. Are you a Virtual Assistant? A CGA? A Canadian retailer? Whatever your professional affiliations, chances are good that organization has a site with a directory of members. There are also a lot of specialized online networking groups/sites that promote marketing online. A Business Advertising package on the Canadian Women’s Business Network, for instance, costs only $36 CAN.

4) Participating in Social Media

Joining the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and forums, posting on Flicker and YouTube, commenting on other people’s blogs, are all opportunities for marketing online.

Marketing online through social media requires a much more subtle technique than marketing online through advertising or directory listings. With all social media, the trick is to participate intelligently and actually attempt to converse rather than just advertising your products or services.

The downside of social media marketing is that it’s time-consuming. If you want to do it well and see any real benefit from it, you have to work at it. The upside is that it’s free and can really generate a lot of buzz about your products/services if something that you’ve done online (a post, a video, an article) becomes really popular.

5) Online Networking

LinkedIn deserves special mention in any discussion of online networking. Its stated purpose is to help the world’s professionals connect with one another to accelerate their success. As of this writing, LinkedIn has over 40 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the world. It’s a powerful tool for Internet marketing, giving you the opportunity to connect with potential customers, partners and colleagues.

Like social media, online networking requires taking a subtle approach. The same basic rule applies to online networking that applies to networking face-to-face. Give, give, give and don’t worry about receiving; you will, likely in bigger, more powerful ways than you ever imagined.

6) Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the best and most powerful ways of online marketing in my opinion. For one thing, once you’ve developed an email list, (notice the word developed, not bought), you are, in effect, preaching to the converted, sending your marketing message directly to people who have already indicated some interest in your products or services.

For another, email is an excellent tool for building a relationship with your customers, letting you build both repeat business and good word-of-mouth.

Newsletters can be sent to the email list you’ve built from the people who provided the necessary information on your website, for instance, providing these potential customers with news updates about your company, upcoming events and/or special offers – and, of course, reminding them that your business exists and that maybe it’s time for another visit.

Email programs such as VerticalResponse and Constant Contact allow you to customize your email to your potential customer so you can send selected customers messages specific to their interests and actions.

Marketing Online and Offline Are The Same in One Way…

I3M Communications

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I3M Communications has years of valuable experience in many online disciplines, including Design and Development, eMarketing and Consulting.

Native Advertising

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By Phillippe Narvaez

Native advertising – or ads designed to mimic the look and feel of editorial content – has become an increasingly important practice for publishers trying to engage today’s savvy, ad-blocking web users. As native advertising continues to evolve, the Federal Trade Commission is concerned that consumers may not be able to differentiate advertising from other content. Late last month, this concern prompted the FTC to publish Native Advertising: A Guide for Businesses, a supplement to its Enforcement Policy Statement on Deceptively Formatted Advertisements. These guidelines provide clear recommendations and examples about what is and is not acceptable in terms of digital native advertising.

So how should your brand react to the new guidelines?

The general consensus among marketing and PR pros is that the new guidelines simply reinforce the same principles they have been following all along: as long as sponsored content is compelling, entertaining, and tells a valuable story to your audience, it will comply with FTC guidelines. However, you can avoid crossing over into deceptive territory by reviewing some key takeaways before creating or placing your next native ad.

The Key to Compliance is Transparency

As always, your goal as a marketer is to be as transparent as possible. While a native ad should never suggest to consumers that it is anything else, ads that are less obviously promotional should include a disclosure alerting consumers. These disclosures should:

  • Appear as close as possible to the native ads to which they relate.
  • Communicate in clear, unambiguous language (the FTC recommends terms such as “Advertisement,” “Paid Advertisement,” “Ad,” or “Sponsored Advertising Content” rather than “Promoted” or “Presented By,” which can be misleading).
  • Utilize conspicuous visual cues to distinguish sponsored content, such as easy-to-read fonts, colors and shading.
  • For shared or linked ads, the disclosures must travel with the ad content.
  • In multimedia ads, disclosures should be delivered to consumers before they see or hear the related message. Disclosures should be visible on all devices and platforms consumers may use when encountering the ad.

At I3M Communications we take complying with FTC regulations and protecting our clients seriously.

I3M Communications

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I3M Communications has years of valuable experience in many online disciplines, including Design and Development, eMarketing and Consulting.

 

 

How do you build a brand?

Branding

By Phillippe Narvaez

Building a brand requires multiple steps that include conceptualizing a brand identity and choosing a brand name, creating a brand logo and building relationships with customers. Making a brand memorable requires tapping into customer wants and desires in a way that ignites customer loyalty.

Building a strong brand begins by conveying the mission and values of a company to customers through logo creation. A logo symbolizes the image of a company using unique design elements. Logos can represent a company or a specific product. Some companies create a brand slogan that conveys why consumers want what the company offers. Brand building goes beyond promotion of the company image. Connecting with consumers is essential to attracting loyal customers.

One way to foster this close connection between company and consumers is to engage in tribe building as it relates to business. For example, Apple computer has a tribe of “fan boys” and “fan girls” who are always eager to wait in long lines when the company launches a new product. This type of loyalty comes from a company catering to its target audience of loyal tribe members. Another method used in brand building is personalization. Companies can create products that appeal to the personal lifestyle interests of consumers. This close connection between brand and lifestyle has a powerful influence on consumer behavior.

I3M Communications

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I3M Communications has years of valuable experience in many online disciplines, including Design and Development, eMarketing and Consulting.