Monday, September 29, 2008

Presidential Debate: All About Style & Delivery

The first presidential debate is over, and the political pundits have weighed in on both candidates’ performance.

Most of you reading this probably watched the debate, or at least read/heard about it.

So much of endless conversation following the debate had little to do with substance – and much to do with presentation style.

On one hand, this saddens me – and on the other hand, this is no surprise.

I see this regularly as I coach and train people on their presentation skills. We work on the message and the flow, but even with a great message, it can be ruined by poor delivery.

Here are four questions that presenters need to ask themselves (take note Senators McCain and Obama for your next debate):

1) Is my delivery congruent with my message?

2) Do I have good eye contact?

3) Do I have an executive presence (good posture, animated face, open gestures?)

4) Am I credible, believable and authentic?

There will be more presentation skills to analyze this Thursday, as we see the first Vice Presidential debate.

These are certainly interesting times!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ancient Rhetorical Concepts Relate to the Presidential Election

As a communications expert and coach, the whole Presidential election process has been fascinating to watch and listen to.

During the upcoming presidental and vice presidential debates, I urge all of you to think about the principles that the great Greek philosopher and father of all public speaking -- Aristotle -- identified. They are: Logos, Pathos and Ethos. And, think of how you are personally responding to each concept.

Logos is the Greek word for Logic. That means how the candidates (president and vice president) are structuring their messages. Keep in mind that facts and figures, which we think always should be logical, are often manipulated or partial truths.

Do your due diligence, so you’re getting more than clever sound bites. Look at their voting records, backgrounds, etc.

Pathos translates into emotional appeals – information that hits close to your heart and gut. Clearly, your values come into play here. The goal of the candidates and their front teams is to hit those hot buttons (like terrorism, the economy, government involvement and health care) -- so you’ll take action, ie. vote for them.

The third concept Aristotle identified is Ethos, which loosely translates into credibility. We tend to believe the person who we perceive to be the most credible, ethical and shares the same values.

The question is do they really share those values? Are they just espousing this, or do their actions demonstrate them?

The candidates are using Aristotle’s three speaking principles in their commercials and public presentations.

So, as you watch and listen to the first Presidential debate next Friday, September 26th, and subsequent debates, pay attention to how these three principles are relevant even today and note how you are being influenced by them.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Latest Risks Taken ... Waiting for Results

Well, the marketing flash e-mailers went out, and the PR machine has cranked into high gear, notifying professionals and the media about my new BRODY BOOST Camp --

There is lots of great feedback about having this event, but, so far, no one has signed up. Remember the risks I spoke about last week?

It’s early yet, and I have found that being an optimist is a good thing. You do your best, and assume that things will work out – most of the time, they do!

So, what else is new?

On Friday, I recorded some audio files for a new venture with SoundWise. Their slogan is “Concise advice to improve your life 24/7.” My material was on networking, presentation skills and women in business.

Check it out – It’s a real mix of subject matter experts and topics.

And, tomorrow, September 16th, I make my "debut" in Second Life -- the virtual world that has increasing real world applications for leadership and professional development companies like BRODY, and executive coaches like myself.

I will be the guest speaker based on one of my books -- participating in a roundtable discussion titled "Career MAGIC: A Woman's Guide to Reward & Recognition." The event will take place on Athena Isle in Second Life at 3 pm ET -- 12pm PST/SLT.

Second Life residents can attend my book chat by going to:

Here’s my challenge for you all:

What are you doing this week that assumes some risk?

What are you doing that is new and interesting?

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Business Risk I’m About to Take …

For those of you who know me, you know I am a big promoter of risk taking -- In fact, I’ve blogged about it before.

Without risk, you’ve already decided that you will fail. With risk, the chances of success are good.

I have decided to take a big risk, and offer a public seminar – not the typical boot camp stuff – a Boost Camp.

Why is this a risk? Maybe no one will come!

Or, worse yet, only two or three people will be in the large hotel conference room we’ve booked, with breakfast ordered!

Since I am doing this Boost Camp once in October, and once in November, in the Philadelphia area (then will take this on the road), I figure my next five or six blogs will be about this new journey -- and how it's all working out.

That way, you may decide to take a risk yourself – or join me on mine!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Showing Thanks -- It’s Easy to Do & Pays Dividends

Kindness and empathy truly do matter in the workplace.

The Gallup organization did a poll and asked 8 million people to respond to this statement: “My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.”

The result was that people who agreed with this thought were more productive, had strong client relationships, and longevity with the firm. We spend most of our waking hours at work. So, ensuring this statement is true is critical.

Everyone has a bad day, but if you manage others, remember the impact that your words and actions have.

Many times you are not even aware of the subconscious “communication” your body language and eye contact offers others.

So, I suggest you make a CONCIOUS effort to choose your words carefully -- two, in particular.

Say “thank you.”

Sure, it sounds so easy to do – but how often do you show gratitude for members of your team and others around you?

You may think that you are thanking people (and in your head, you are!), but does it actually happen?

You may think you appreciate others, but take a step back and re-evaluate your behavior. There is more than likely room for improvement.

I suggest keeping a daily log or journal of thanks – it may seem hokey, but I guarantee it will reap rewards.

Track how many times you say “thank you” during the business day, and to whom it was said – Joe in accounting, your assistant, client, the mailman, UPS delivery man, or your boss.

These “thank-yous” can be conveyed in person, via e-mails, IMs and text messages, or on the phone. Of course, nothing beats a handwritten note. Just track them during the course of one work week, and see the results.

You don’t have to go overboard, just be genuine. Believe me, people can see through fakeness and transparent attempts to curry favor.

I guarantee you will have a more positive work environment, with more smiling faces. And, over time, your “thank-you” efforts will pay off with increased employee loyalty and longevity, and increased sales.

Two words, said with sincerity and repeatedly – thank you. Try it today. Thank you.