Deliver a Knock-Out Presentation from the Comfort of Your Home

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Photo courtesy Neil Godding, Unsplash

Virtual events like webinars, teleconferences and online classes are a great way to connect with new audiences and build your list. One of the biggest advantages of virtual events is that you can reach an unlimited number of people because you are not restricted by location or seat capacity.

The downside to virtual events is that you cannot see how the audience is reacting.

Have you ever wondered if your audience is sleeping, watching cat videos, or folding laundry while listening to your virtual program?

It’s difficult to know how your message is being received when you can’t see the audience.

There are several ways to make your virtual event a success:

Prepare as if it is an in-person presentation

Virtual event has many moving parts including conference call technology, slides, fielding questions and, of course, the presentation. By learning and rehearing the material, you firm up one piece of the puzzle so you can be focused on delivering an amazing talk.

Prepare an outline

Prepare notes or an outline of  talking points to use as a guide during the presentation. Avoid writing a script. Your audience is smart and can tell when you’re reading word for word.
Bonus tip – print out your notes and/or slides. Technology is great when it’s working, but it can, and often does fail. Have a back up copy so you don’t have to rely on your computer screen.

Change up the format

If you’re concerned about losing your audience during your presentation, invite guest speakers to join the conversation. The guests can include a former of current client to share their experience or a colleague who is an expert in the topic you’re discussing. Mixing up the format and making it a dialogue will keep the conversation lively.

Stand Up

When you sit at a desk or in front of a computer you tend to slouch forward, reducing your energy and inhibiting your breath. Standing instantly opens your breathing capacity and raise your energy which will be reflected in the tone of your voice. If you are enthusiastic and energetic, your audience can’t help but be engaged.


In my early career I worked as a reporter for a local radio station. A co-worker recommended “smiling” while on-air because the audience can hear the energy in your voice. I felt silly at first, but I quickly realized how the energy increased in my voice. Many retail companies train their employees to smile when speaking with customers over the phone and resolving customer service issues.

Want support with delivering your next virtual presentation? I’d love to help! Begin by scheduling your complimentary consultation.

Get to know your audience, John Hughes style

When movie director John Hughes passed away, several actors from the infamous “brat pack” were interviewed about what it was like to work with the director.

A reporter asked Molly Ringwald how she was cast as Samantha, her character in Sixteen Candles. Turns out, Molly never auditioned for the role. John Hughes had pulled her photo from a stack of casting head shots. He posted her photo above his desk and began to write the script for the girl in the photo. This teenage girl he’d never met became his muse.

He imagined what life was like for her. What was her daily routine? Who were her friends? What were her interests? Dreams? Fears? So began the story of Samantha Baker and Sixteen Candles.

Getting to know your audience whether fictional or real, is the key to powerful storytelling. Like John Hughes, you have the opportunity to get inside your audience’s heart and mind.

Doing so, will empower you to create a presentation that resonates, inspires and makes an impact.

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Photo by Camille Orgel on Unsplash

Why you need to know your audience

Learning about your audience is what will help you create a story that resonates, inspires and makes an impact. Understanding your audience in detail – who they are, what they care about, what keeps them up at night, what problems they’re facing and solutions they are looking for – will help you tailor your presentation to hit on each of these elements.

It will help them feel understood as if you are speaking directly to them. This builds trust and will establish you as a thought leader.

In addition to creating connection with your audience, it will also help you identify which speaking opportunities are right for you. When you know your audience well you can begin to select engagements that attract your key audience saving you time and energy chasing after gigs that are not a fit.

How to understand your audience

As a speaker and entrepreneur, you know who your ideal audience is and what they care about. It’s important to – revisit your audience – or dive deeper because it will eliminate any assumptions or blind spots you have about who they are. It will help you update any information that may have changed and you may uncover new insights!

So how can you get to know your audience better? Here are a few ways to get started:

Interview your current clients

You spend time with and work with them daily. When was the last time you had a conversation that wasn’t related to business? When was the last time you asked about what they are working on, what their goals are, what challenges they’re having?

Why not take the time to find out? Set up a time outside of your regular appointments to hop on the phone or take them out for coffee. Ask a few questions to get the conversation started and then listen. Let them tell you where they are and what, if any guidance or solutions, they’re looking for.

Survey your community

Surveys are a fast, inexpensive way to learn about your audience. Use tools like SurveyMonkey or Typeform to create a questionnaire and then share it with your community. Send it to your clients, newsletter subscribers and share it on social. Within a few days, or hours, you’ll have new information and insights about your audience that will make your next presentation more impactful.

Leverage social media

If you blog or vlog often, you’re sitting on a goldmine of information. Go through old blogs and read through the comments to glean information about what your audience wants to needs to hear most. Go through your Facebook pages or groups to find out what’s hitting home with your audience.

Gathering all of this information will help you get into the heart of your audience members. The next time you write a speech, you’ll know exactly who you are writing to and what message will make a great impact.

If you’d like, create a fictitious audience member. Give her a name, print out a picture and hang it in front of computer. It worked for John Hughes. Why not you?

Want to understand your audience and make a greater impact? I’d love to help! Reserve your complimentary consultation to get started.

How to Sell Out Your Next Event

Hosting a live event can be a daunting task. Planning the content, finding a venue and managing the logistics can leave you feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. And then you have to get people to register and attend – minor detail!

Whether you are hosting a retreat,  book signing, virtual teleseminar or conference, there are a few key marketing ingredients that will make your event a success.

Set up your sales page 

First things first. Begin by writing a description of the event that highlights the benefits of attending and what people will gain by attending. How will this event help them? What is the format? What is the agenda for the day? Who is the event designed for?

It’s also important to include basic information like the date, time and location for the event as well as the registration information so people can buy tickets!

In addition to your website or sales page, set up an event page on Facebook or Eventbrite so you can can reach a wider audience.

Create a marketing calendar

Depending on the size of the event, you should begin marketing 2-6 months in advance of the event. Creating a marketing calendar will keep you organized and on track with your initiatives as you move closer to the date.

Decide how often you will promote the event and through which channels. For example, will you send an email to your newsletter subscribers or post the information on social media? Write down each marketing piece on a calendar to indicate the date you plan to send it out.

Here are a few marketing channels to consider:

  • Newsletter list and subscribers
  • Client prospects
  • Colleagues and partners who serve similar audiences
  • Social media channels
  • Networking groups and associations
  • Online groups and communities such as Facebook, LinkedIn

Important note: Remember to also mark time on your calendar to write the promotional pieces whether it’s copy for an email or a tweet!

Engage partners to build the buzz

In addition to marketing to your own list and social media channels, enlisting the help of friends, colleagues and business partners will help spread the word to a wider audience.

This can include:

  • Speakers for the event
  • Referral partners
  • JV partners
  • Clients
  • Colleagues from networking or association groups

Provide sample email copy, blurbs for newsletters and social media posts to make it easy for people to share the event with their communities.

Build excitement ahead of the event

Once people begin registering for your event, it’s important to keep in touch with them before the event happens. Sending email updates or engaging with attendees on social media keeps it fresh in their minds and builds excitement. Get creative and start a social media promotion by asking attendees to post pictures on Facebook or Instagram.

Monitor your registration numbers throughout the process to make sure you’re meeting your goals.

Ready to sell out your next event? Begin by booking your complimentary 30-minute discovery call.

Are you hitting an upper limit?

Have you ever lost your voice on the morning of a speaking engagement?

Or missed a flight and had to cancel an important meeting?

Perhaps you are getting ready to go to concert only to realize the show was the night before?

Some would say it’s an accident. Others call it bad luck.

While on the surface, it can seem like a coincidence, on a deeper level these incidents are a sign of hitting an upper limit.

As Gay Hendricks describes in The Big Leap, we typically hit an upper limit when we’re trying to move to the next level. Whether it’s a promotion at work, expanding a business or taking the next step in a relationship, navigating this new territory stirs up our underlying fears. That in turn causes us to self-sabotage.

Have you ever noticed when things are going well – you’re in a great relationship, clients are flowing in, your eating well and exercising – and then, BAM! You get in an accident, get sick or it seems as though “the other shoe” drops. That’s the upper limit.

There are four main reasons that cause an upper limit problem:

Feeling like you’re not good enough – New opportunities can bring up thoughts such as What if I can’t do it?; What if I can’t deliver what I’ve promised?; What if I don’t meet the expectations?

Fear of leaving your tribe behind – When you’re taking a big leap into new territory, you may meet resistance from friends or family. Perhaps they tell you you’re changing or no longer what to spend time with you. When this happens, naturally we want to stay where we are. You hit an upper limit and hold yourself back.

New level, new devil – Have you ever turned down a job because it seems like it will be too much work?

Fear of outshining others – Perhaps you turn down an opportunity because you don’t want to outshine a sibling, parent or friend.

How to break through the upper limit

So what can you do to prevent hitting an upper limit?

1. Raise your awareness – Make a commitment to become aware of patterns that lead to upper limits. Behaviors like worrying, getting sick, breaking agreements or deflecting compliments are good indicators that you’re approaching an upper limit.

2. Shift old patterns – By raising your awareness of upper limit behaviors, you can identify the pattern and change course before you sabotage yourself.

3. Write a new story – When old patterns and fears creep up it’s time to flip the script. Instead of spiraling out of control, adopt a playful attitude towards yourself. Embrace a sense of wonder about what’s causing you to hit your upper limit.

Have you hit an upper limit? How did you handle it? Share your story over on Facebook or Twitter.

How to keep your speaking engagements organized

Good news! You’ve lined up ten speaking engagements over the next few months.

You did the hard work – researching speaking opportunities, submitting a solid proposal, connecting with meeting organizers and finally securing the gig. You’re primed to increase your visibility, connect with hundreds or thousands of people and perhaps, sell a few books.

Now, it’s time to kick back and relax, right?

Not so fast.

If speaking is not your full-time profession, managing your speaking schedule in addition to running your business or career, can get overwhelming rather quickly.

Here are a few tips to keep you streamline the process and stay organized:

Create a form on your website

Set up a Google document or contact form directly on your website to manage incoming speaking requests. Include questions about details for the speaking engagement and event such as:

Name of organization

Contact person

Date and location of the event

Length and format of presentation

Fee or budget for the speaking engagement

Having this form in place will reduce time emailing or calling the meeting organizers to get the information. With all the requests in one place (as opposed to sifting through emails) you can review them at once and respond accordingly.

Create a calendar just for your speaking engagements

Mark the dates of each speaking event on the calendar so you can see everything in one place. Additionally, map out any planning meetings with the event organizers, deadlines to submit slides or materials, promotional or marketing campaigns and most importantly when you will write and rehearse each talk.

Create a file for each event

Create a paper or digital folder with important details for each event including: date, location, on-site contact person, time of the talk, transportation and travel details. This will save you time and energy in the days before a speaking engagement, so you can focus on the content of the presentation.

Plan your follow-up strategy

There are always details to take care of once the talk is over. Have a system set up for invoicing and collecting payments for any speaking fees or travel reimbursements. Also, plan to follow up with the audience by sending a survey or email to thank the audience for attending and share any resources you may have mentioned during your talk.

Creating these systems may take some time in the beginning. However, once they are in place you’ll be able to accept requests and manage speaking engagements more efficiently. That way you direct your attention where it really matters – creating and delivering a powerful talk that makes an impact.

 Ready to ramp-up your speaking strategy? Book your complimentary 30-minute strategy session.