Viewing entries tagged
inspirational

Next Step Towards "World Champion of Public Speaking"

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Next Step Towards "World Champion of Public Speaking"

Public speaking champion

Palo Alto, CA- Very proud to announce that I have won the Toastmasters Area A2 International Speech Competition with my inspirational speech, “Failure is not an Option” about my experiences performing with the Blue Man Group.

Huge thanks and gratitude to my home group, SAP Toastmasters and Area A2. Now, on to the Division A Contest, and then onward towards the “World Champion of Public Speaking” Championship in Denver, CO!

group contest.jpg

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The Three Gifts of Mentorship

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The Three Gifts of Mentorship

San Francisco, CA- Can you name some influential mentors in your life? Mentors have been essential in helping me move past my limits to achieve my goals as a trade show presenter, and they’ve inspired me to seek out ways to share my experience with others. I’m deeply grateful, and I hope this post inspires you to seek mentoring opportunities as well.

Luk and Yoda

In general, a mentor provides a protege three things: support, wisdom and experience. Support consists of patient listening and unconditional encouragement. Wisdom can be seen as helping the protege solidify his or her own vision and values, as well as knowing when to offer and when not to offer advice. And finally, experience consists of imparting the knowledge gleaned from years in the business.

In my career as a professional trade show presenter, I’ve been blessed with many mentors, but I’d like to focus on three great guys. While each is spectacular in his own way, the overarching quality shared by each is generosity. When I reached out for advice, each responded with a “how can I be of service?” attitude, showing a true abundance rather than scarcity mentality: a great life lesson. While each of these great guys exemplifies all three mentor attributes, I’ll focus on one attribute for each. Three of my trade show presenter mentors are Brian Taylor, Steve Multer and Andy Saks.

Brian Robert Taylor

Brian Robert Taylor at TaylorSpeak was my first introduction into the world of trade show presenting, and he exemplifies the true meaning of support. A deeply accomplished, professional and positive master of the craft, Brian led the ear prompter workshop that gave me the tools to begin my journey. He provided agency relationship suggestions, equipment tips, demo reel notes and unlimited check-ins, which I absolutely utilized (probably too much)! During those calls and meetings, Brian patiently listened to my early freak-outs, supported me unconditionally and gave me the unending encouragement to keep going. Plus, he’s an impeccable example of a pro on the expo floor. I would not be where I am today were it not for this guy. Thanks Brian!

Steve Multer at SKM Creative

Steve Multer at SKM Creative is the first business person I’ve ever met in any field that I would consider purely vision and values-based. He has generously shared his wisdom with me in the time we’ve known each other. Steve first introduced himself to me at my first Dell EMC World Expo, where he graciously complimented me by saying I was “in rarified air” as a presenter on that show floor. Not only was I included as one of the ‘crew,’ I was also ‘rare!’ That did more for me than he’ll ever know! Steve and his company offer turn-key solutions for events, and from the moment I met him, it was clear he placed customer service first. Steve has been incredibly insightful in helping me navigate the sticky and often gray-area marketing and contract quandaries that I’ve come across as an entrepreneur. Steve can always see through the fog to elegant, mutually beneficial solutions, and always encourages me to keep my values first and foremost. Thanks Steve!

I was actually very intimidated to first reach out to Andy Saks at Spark Presentations. His perfectly executed website and renown on the show floor preceded him. However, once we connected, Andy has been a profoundly helpful source of experience. If you can imagine pretty much any marketing tactic out there, Andy has already implemented it flawlessly. His contracts and fee structures are crystal clear, easy to understand and utterly professional. He just makes everything so easy: a great example of thinking from the customer’s point of view. Andy’s input has totally upped my game in terms of thinking of my trade show presentation services as a business. Thanks Andy!

Andy Saks Spark Presentations

So to summarize, these three fantastic gentlemen have each had a profound effect on my trade show presenting business through their support, wisdom and experience. I look up to each of them as mentors, and I’m inspired to mentor those less experienced than myself in the same generous, abundant spirit. I encourage you to consider where in your life you can offer support, wisdom and experience to those making their way along a path you’ve previously travelled. These guys have made a huge difference in my life, and I hope to get a chance to pay it forward once again. I’m eternally grateful. Thanks guys!

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How to Win Friends and Influence ROI

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How to Win Friends and Influence ROI

San Francisco, CA-  I’ve been rereading Dale Carnegie’s 1936 classic “How to Win Friends & Influence People,” and I’m loving how it applies to the trade show environment. I first read this persuasion classic back in junior high, and I found the content to be exceedingly manipulative. “Speaking in terms of the other person's interests...” “Finding something to admire about others…” These aphorisms seemed targeted at getting what you wanted by showing false attention.

However, now with about 30 years under my belt, I have a much different perspective on the value of these truisms. The difference? Well, I’m a different person now: with more self confidence, more self esteem, and the ability to actually appreciate and enjoy others without expectation. Interestingly, these traits also make a successful and effective booth staff! Here are a few of Carnegie’s tips that you can put to use in your booth at your next show:

1. “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

Sure, it’s hokey to read a person’s name as they walk by in the aisle, and then greet them with a joyful “Hey Name!  Great to see ya!” However, it never fails to get a goofy smile, and offers a potential conversational opener. In what other social situation can we call strangers by their name in public, and not be accused of nefarious activities? However, its critical to take Carnegie’s words to heart: a person’s name is not a joke- it’s the most important sound in the world to them. Don’t be afraid to greet your prospects by name in an honest and joyful manor. Its the easiest expo floor opener out there (if you can read their badge, that is).

2. “Make the other person feel important, and do it sincerely.”

Carnegie suggests finding something (anything) in other people to honestly admire, and then sincerely communicating it to them. On a trade show floor, booth staff has a few seconds at most to connect with attendees as they hustle by to attend their workshops, vendor meetings and keynote addresses. What can be admired in this minuscule slice of life? Well, pretty much just physical appearance. An honest, appropriate comment can go a very long way in snapping an attendee out of their rushed day at the trade show. At your next show, try giving sincere compliments as a way to engage. You may be surprised at the fruitful conversation that follows.

3. “Become genuinely interested in other people.”

Once an attendee is in the booth, booth staff can be tempted to launch into their show-appropriate brand messaging. However, Carnegie offers some profound counter-advice: get the prospect talking. Limit the “I”s and maximize the “You”s in your dialogue. It's about them, after all. Carnegie suggests that good listening makes you seem like a genius conversationalist, and from a trade show perspective, that’s the kind of brand your prospect wants to engage with. After all, a trade show interaction is not about closing the sale, its about establishing a relationship, and there’s no better way to establish a relationship than by listening. To be interesting, be interested. At your next show, get your prospects talking.

As you jump on a plane to your next trade show, do yourself a favor and download “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” The aphorisms are a bit hokey and the examples are a bit dated (Abraham Lincoln, anyone?), but you’ll find ideas that are immediately applicable in your trade show booth. Encouraging these concepts in your booth staff engagement tactics will have a drastic effect on your lead count and ROI. Good luck out there, and I’ll try to greet you by your name when we meet (if I can see your badge)!

trade show engagement for maximum ROI

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