Archive for the ‘Presentation Skills’ Category

Terry Prone and her 5 Business Tips for women

June 6, 2016

Terry Prone

Quite recently I had the pleasure of being in Terry Prone’s company at a Business Awards night for the Galway branch of Network Ireland.

Terry is one of those character’s that we have all heard and read about so it was really interesting to finally meet her in person. I’m not sure what or ‘who’ I was expecting but I met a really engaging, down to earth person who was very open about her fascinating life including tales from her days as an actress to the successful business woman and public speaker that we all know today.

She loved telling me that her son Anton, is now her boss!

She was at the very earliest days of media training and PR in Ireland, initially grabbing all of her acting tips and applying them to the business and political world. She set up Carr Communications with the well known Irish TV personality, Bunny Carr and her husband Tom Savage.

Terry was the guest speaker at the event and I watched as she diligently took notes during the evening in between our chats and listening to the other speakers. One of the things that impressed me most was that she was a great listener – she was as interested in my, not so interesting story as I was in hers. I hate when some people show no interest in you – I always think its a sign of a good person when they listen to you.

She finally took to the stage – actually she avoided the stage totally and took to the ‘floor‘ and immediately grabbed the attention of the audience with a humorous, down to earth, no messing talk and delivered her “5 Business Tips for Women”

  1. Tell your Story – Stories are powerful ways for people to remember you, so make sure you tell yours
  2. Forget about ‘tricks’ – Just be the honest you, and don’t rely on any gimmicks to grab attention
  3. Stop Multitasking – While women are supposed to be blessed with the ability to multitask, Terry advises to do the opposite. Stick to what you are great at and get others to do the other “stuff
  4. Keep the fight to yourself – This was a simple piece of advice about not washing your dirty laundry in public. Being right does not matter as people remember the fight and then always associate you with it
  5. Drive on, even when things go wrong – Terry shared a story about the Irish actress May Craig who she admired greatly. Her motto was “the show must go on“, and she did just that after personal tragedy in her life

Terry’s speech was perfect – not too short and not too long, designed expertly for the audience with a gorgeous blend of personal vulnerability and real stories that connected with everyone in the audience, even the few token males in attendance.

These were great tips but I think we could all use them, not just the gals!

Thank you Terry!

Terry Prone is the Chairman of Communications Clinic.

Note: Think Visual did a great post after a talk Terry did for the Network Cork branch with some gorgeous visuals and a few extra tips – well done guys!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

Saying the right thing at the right time

October 31, 2015

Bill Shankly

Saying the right thing at the right time is a huge skill.

The team need motivating, the meeting needs cooling, a big point needs to be made, a situation needs rescuing, a group needs convincing, the proposal needs selling ..whatever the situation its important to say the right thing and deliver it in a manner that connects with your audience and has the impact you desire.

Like every other skill it is something that we learn over time and sometimes for important things we might even need a little assistance!

We will never surrender

Imagine Winston Churchill making his speech in the House of Commons on the 4th June, 1940 with a country facing war and in serious trouble and the whole population fearful:

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be.

We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender

Winston Churchill wrote most of his own speeches but drafts went through many hands. Some of the ideas for this speech apparently came from an American newspaper editor, William Simms.

I have a dream

Imagine Dr. Martin Luther King standing in front of 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28th 1963 calling an end to racism in the United States:

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal

Clarence Jones wrote some of Dr. Martin Luther King’s speeches with input from his advisor Wyatt Walker and of course the finishing touches applied by Dr. King. On this occasion Walker did not want there to be any reference to “I have a dream” as he felt it had been overused already by Dr.King in previous speeches.

Apparently Dr King when he felt his prepared speech wasn’t delivering the right impact he decided to abandon his written text and use his “I have a dream” speech. It worked!

Ask not..

Imagine a 43 year old John F Kennedy addressing the crowd in his inaugural, United States Presidential speech in 1961 trying to instil some national pride in it’s citizens:

My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country

Theodore Chaikin “Ted” Sorensen was President John F.Kennedy’s legendary speechwriter as well as his advisor and special counsel. President Kennedy once called him his “intellectual blood bank“.

Yes we can

Imagine another United States President, Barack Obama addressing a crowd in Dublin on May 23rd, 2011 when our country was battered and bruised after a number of torturous recession years with little sign of progress:

Never has a nation so small inspired so much in another. Irish signatures are on our founding documents, Irish blood was spilled on our battlefields, Irish sweat built our great cities. Our spirit is eternally refreshed by Irish stories and Irish song, our public life by the humour and heart and dedication of servants with names like Kennedy and Reagan, O’Neill and Moynihan

This little country, that inspires the biggest things, your best days are still ahead. Our greatest triumphs, in America and Ireland alike, are still to come. And Ireland, if anyone ever says otherwise, if anybody ever tells you that your problems are too big, or your challenges are too great, that we can’t do something, that we shouldn’t even try, think about all we’ve done together. Think about whatever hardships the winter may bring, spring-time’s always just around the corner.

And if they keep on arguing with you, just respond with a simple creed: Is feidir linn. Yes we can. Yes we can. Is feidir linn.”

I watched that speech in our office with the team and I felt it gave everyone in the country an important lift (as well as the Queen’s visit a few weeks previous).

Jonathan E. “Jon” Favreau  was the Director of Speechwriting for President Barack Obama who is quite adept at writing his own speeches. In  his second term in office he changed to Cody Keenan, who Obama refers to as “Hemingway”, writing in a much more grounded style than the lofty grandiose style of Favreau.

Yes we can” was the stand out element or ‘tag line’ of Obama’s famous speeches and this nearly never made it as Barack Obama thought it was too “corny” and he had to be persuaded by his wife Michelle to use it!

When it came to ‘saying the right thing‘ even all of these brilliant individuals needed help from someone..

Maybe you do too?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design, with offices in Dublin and Cork

 

 

 

When harsh criticism can be the best thing ever!

October 27, 2014

Boring conference

I was recently at a large, high profile business conference and unfortunately the first segment of it was dominated and ruined by shockingly poor presentations.

I couldn’t believe how these senior business individuals broke nearly every presentation rule – they used boring powerpoint slides with way too much text laid out in bullet point after bullet point.

What’s worse is they insisted on reading each long sentence, word for word letting these shockingly awful slides hijack the knowledge they undoubtedly possess and in the process making them look very foolish in front of a large audience.

The slides should help guide you not hijack you!

To make matters even worse one of the guys drove on, slide after slide, ignoring the ‘warning‘ bell and selfishly ate into the next presenters time – as a result the whole schedule was forced back, which meant many people had to leave that day before everyone had finished.

Despite this when they finished their presentations they each received a polite round of applause leaving them quite oblivious to the fact that they were truly awful.

At the coffee break the predictable chit chat started ..”weren’t those presentations shocking?” ..”the worst I have seen” …”that’s a real pity because he’s a good guy and his presentation let him down” …”surely someone will say something to him

Just as we were chatting one of the ‘car crash‘ presenters passed by and one of our guys who knew him said “well done” ..”oh ..thanks a lot

Why do we do that?

I have no doubt that these guys would have left the conference feeling satisfied that they had stood up, done their presentations and based on the feedback they did quite well. Next time they are asked to present they will probably do exactly the same again ..it worked last time, didn’t it?

Thankfully the day improved and there were some really superb presentations later, which did a huge job for the profile and the credibility of these speakers – they grabbed the opportunity to shine!

killarney lakes

In 2000 Bridgestone Guide author John McKenna, caused a storm of controversy when he slated the fantastic and nationally treasured tourism gem Killarney. In a review this travel writer and food critic stated that “the best way to see Killarney in County Kerry is through the rearview mirror of a car. He added that discerning tourists will avoid the town as it was an Irish travesty surrounded by beautiful lakeland“.

This review sparked an outrage, which made Mr McKenna a hated figure in the town – how could he say such a thing about our beautiful and perfect place?

Despite despising those words and the cruel messenger the savvy locals started to process this truth – maybe our product has deteriorated, maybe our food offering is poor, maybe the town is dirty and shabby, maybe our service levels aren’t quite what they should be and maybe, just maybe this critic might be telling the truth.

Killarney dug in and got to work on their offering and 11 years later they proudly invited back the much maligned John McKenna as a guest speaker to ‘eat his words’ following the town winning the Irish Tidy Town award. He conceded that “the Kerry holiday hotspot has improved enormously and is the undisputed capital of Irish tourism“.

While hearing the truth might hurt deeply (lets face it we all hate being criticised) it could turn out to be the very best thing for you.

Whatever we do we should always look for the person who will tell us the truth instead of applauding and saying “well done”

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

At Fuzion we help our clients with their Presentation Skills and Speech Delivery from our offices in Dublin and Cork