Category Archives: Communication

How should I structure my speech?

9 Structures for Business Presentations

See that cursor blinking in the corner of your screen… staring at you as you sit down to craft your speech? And I say craft because giving a great speech is more than slapping a few buy levitra online thoughts together. The same content can be presented in different structures and may have completely different impacts on your audience.

Here are a 9 ideas on how to structure your speech:

1. The Sandwich: Opening, body and conclusion

This is the simplest structure (after not having one at all). More complex structures are a variation on this one. The opening thought needs to engage your audience and also introduce your topic. The middle section expands on the ideas or presents a solution and then the conclusion wraps everything up.

2. Story/Parable

Tell an engaging story that illustrates the topic and wrap up with the moral or objective.

3. Stepping Stones:

Make a point, give an example, build your next point, give another example, make another point, give another example. The beauty of this structure is that you are building one idea on another using narrative, which is a powerful memory hook.

4. Acronym:

Use an acronym to mark the points in your speech. “The secret weapon to giving a great speech is using PIE: Passion, Interesting Visuals and Entertaining stories.”

5. Problem – Solution:

Identify and analyze a problem and then propose a solution. Describe the problem as the introduction in a way that engages your audience with the pain points of the situation. Then use the solution as the body of the speech, expanding on why your position solves the problem. This is a highly effective sales structure for a persuasive speech.

6. Problem – Cause – Solution:

Similar to the above, adding an understanding of what caused the problem in the first place.

7. Pros & Cons:

Organize points by arguments for and against something. This is a more balanced approach and good for educating, not necessarily persuading.

8. 2 options:

Similar to the Pros & Cons approach, this structure describes 2 options available and compares them. This can be an effective tool to educate as well as persuade about a proposed option.

9. Metaphor

This is one of the most powerful structures for speechcraft. A well chosen metaphor will engage your audience and allow them to see aspects of the topic in a new way. Expand on aspects of the metaphor in the body of your speech, building to a conclusion that connects the metaphor back to the topic. “Getting over my fear of public speaking was as tough as climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. In order to do this, I had to have the right tools, an expert guide and the determination to keep climbing, no matter how low my oxygen got. The tools for climbing are… the tools for getting over my fear of public speaking are… A sherpa is an expert of the mountain who knows what the pitfalls are, how to get there faster and in one piece. My public speaking trainer….”

As you listen to other speeches, notice what kind of structure they use. What has the biggest impact on you? What has an impact on the audience?

Have some fun trying out these different speech structures and let me know how it goes.

By: Anne Whitmore


How to Use Features vs. Benefits in Your Business Marketing

 

What kind of language do you use to talk about your business? Do you know what is the difference between features and benefits in your communication?

What are features?

Many business owners try to promote their business by talking about features. Features describe the function of what a product or service does. For example, if you were selling a car, a feature approach is that it has 222 horsepower, all wheel drive, power steering and side impact beams. The thing about features is that they don’t connect the dots between what you do and what it does for your customer. And most potential customers don’t make the connection on their own.

What are benefits?

Benefits, on the other hand, speak about what is in it for the customer. Going back to the car analogy, it would be talking about feeling because your children are protected by the safety features or being confident driving in bad weather because of the differential steering.

Test your own marketing materials

I find myself falling into the pattern of talking about features or the “here is what I do” so I make a point of taking a step back and analyze the way I describe my business. Here is a quick exercise that will show you in a visual way whether you used feature based communication or benefits based communication.

Take a look at your website, brochures, business card and other marketing material either as you create them or when they are done. In fact, I encourage you to take one copy of each communication piece and 2 colored pens. Circle with one color all the times that you use features to talk about your business and then use the other color for when you use benefits language in your marketing communications.

Writing for business marketing using Benefits vs. features
Marketing exercise using DivaFish Communication brochure
Studies have shown that people tend to make decisions based on emotion (the connection with what’s in it for them – or benefits) and then justify their decisions with facts (the features).

 

I’d love to hear what you discover as you work on and review how you talk about your business in networking and marketing communications.

 

By: Anne Whitmore

Want to be a better public speaker?

Would you like to give business presentations with more confidence? Or just work up the nerve to talk about your business with other people? This course is designed just for you!

Over 8 weeks, you will give 6 prepared presentations, impromptu talks and work on your 60 second introduction. You will get immediate feedback from your co-speakers in training as well as 2 facilitators.

John Nieuwenburg and I want you to be successful in giving business presentations. Find out more info here: http://divafish.com/workshops/

The course starts Friday, September 27th in Vancouver.

By: Anne Whitmore


Difference Between Life and Business Coaching

As a certified Life Coach for Entrepreneurs, I am often asked, “What is the difference between a life coach and business coach?” There is some confusion within my profession about this so it is no wonder other people aren’t really sure. Here is how I describe the differences.

At a very basic level, a life coach is working with an individual on their whole life. A business coach is working with an individual, group or organization on the business. Some of the coaching skill sets like listening, intuition, accountability, challenging and active listening might be the same. I see a major difference in tools. Business coaches will often be more focused on strategic planning, expenses, work flow, operations management, financials and performance.

A great way to understand this is to ask, “Who will be the client? Is it the individual or the business?” Often, in a business coaching relationship, it is a B2B relationship between the business and the coach – and the coach may be brought in to work with a business leader, manager, team or multiple parties. There will be an agreement around the level of transparency and confidentiality of the work and with who and what will be shared.

Life coaches are present for whatever aspect of life the client wishes to work on. The client is the individual (a B2C relationship). I always tell my clients that there are no taboo or off limit topics for me. It is up to them where they would like to spend their coaching time focused on. As many of my clients are business owners, often current challenges or situations in their work environments come up. Rather than problem solving and planning our way out of it, our coaching work looks at what values are being crossed, what do they want from the situation, where do they see themselves on the other side of this challenge and who they have to be in order to get there.


Announcement: DISC Workshops

 

I am really pleased to announce our next set of workshops based on the DISC behavioural profile in August and September.

Communicate with Style: DiSC Basics

This 3 hour workshop introduces the DiSC profile of four behavioural styles to help you understand your personal style and awareness of other styles.
Dates: August 22nd or September 20th, 6:30 – 9:30 pm

Benefits of this workshop:

  • Understand the 4 basic behavioural styles (DiSC)
  • Have a clear understanding of your personal style
  • Learn about what issues are important to you in communication
  • Have a strategy to interact more effectively

Build Powerful Networking Relationships with Advanced DiSC

Date: September 29th, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm

You will learn how to use the DiSC profile to identify the behavioral style of people you meet and  dramatically increase your communication effectiveness. Included is a personalized assessment and report of your personal style (value $50).

This is ideal for networkers, sales people and teams, business owners and entrepreneurs who depend on the ability to connect with people they meet to open relationship doors and close sales. It will change the way you approach clients and tailor your style to give them the best environment possible.

Topics covered in this course include:

  • Understanding the DISC profile and your personal profile
  • Assessing typical questions in a prospect’s mind
  • Choosing approaches to connecting based on profile
  • Understanding what motivates prospects (and what demotivates them)
  • Creating ways to stay engaged (customer retention)

For more details and how to register, click here.