From deciding whether to choose a PR agency, in-house person or contractor to approaching PR from the right perspective, start-ups have what can sometimes be viewed as a daunting task when determining their PR strategy. That includes knowing when PR isn't the right answer.
This is why we are excited to have our founder Kat Eller Murray speaking as part of the upcoming "PR Secrets Revealed: Go From Sidelines To Headline & Win A Global Audience" Summit. Kat will join host Heather Burgett for a conversation about what start-ups and entrepreneurs need to ask themselves before committing to a PR program -- and what to do to build it.
The free online series, which brings 20+ top PR experts together to share actionable tips, tools and tactics for entrepreneurs, will run April 17 - May 7, 2017.
Other topics that will be covered during the Summit include:
Make sure to join us by RSVPing here.
Today's post comes from ROAM Communications network partner, Dave Yewman. He is co-founder of Elevator Speech and owner of DASH Consulting and a master media trainer.
Most speakers develop their presentations backwards.
How? They start with slides.
It's not a fatal flaw and it's easily fixed, by starting with the "talk track" -- the words you're going to say.
Presentations or speeches are typically delivered by someone standing up and saying words, right? But most presenters don't stand up and say words when they're practicing. Instead they enter a vast presentation wasteland. They obsess about their slides -- what bullet points make sense, what fonts work, do I have the latest images, can I find good clip art? Then speakers go over and over slides, rationalizing that they already know the material, they're experienced and prominent in their industry.
Then they stand up to speak on the big day with no a second of out loud practice under their belts. And things quickly go south.
No wonder public speaking is statistically the top fear most of us have.
It's time to break the cycle, but it requires a different approach. Three steps:
What happens when you go through this process is you get a sense of what works and what doesn't verbally. If you can't make something work when you're standing up and saying it, then you can change it or cut it -- something you don't find out by adding yet another bullet point to your slide deck.
After you've stood and delivered your speech, or at least the opening 5 minutes, then -- and only then -- do you reach for the laptop and start building slides. But remember this mantra: one thing/one slide. Don't write a short novel on the screen. Use high resolution photos or 90-point numbers or short quotes. Have your talk track drive the presentation. You should control the PowerPoint; the PowerPoint shouldn't control you.
To be clear, this is more work for you. But it's much better for your audience. Because you'll have practiced and refined that presentation so much so that when audience members walk out they can actually remember what you said.
In many ways, following this approach is like being an actor learning lines. British actor Michael Caine was interviewed a few years back and told CBS "I rehearse on my own, and by the time I've come onto a set I have said the line to myself a minimum of 1,000 times."
Yeah, 1,000 times. No wonder it looks so easy and effortless. But it's not, and frankly nothing worthwhile that looks easy really is. Graceful actors, athletes and speakers all practice like crazy -- it just happens behind closed doors and we see only the final draft.
PowerPoint slides aren't inherently evil. They're a tool. But when you're getting ready to present, put them to one side until you've hammered out what you're going to say. In doing so you'll be among the best speakers your audience hears on that, or any other, day.
Let everyone else continue to do it backwards. You do it right.
About Dave Yewman
A friend of Dave’s 11-year-old son Aaron asked, “What does your Dad do?” Aaron thought for a minute, then said, “He teaches people how not to say ‘um.'” That’s a pretty good elevator speech for a presentation coach. Dave likes to think there’s a bit more to presentation coaching than that — but it’s a great place to start. In the past 10+ years Dave’s coached CEOs, professional athletes, tech startup founders, engineers, creative designers and pretty much everyone in between.
Dave Yewman is a strategic communications expert with more than 15 years of experience. A former newspaper reporter and columnist, he speaks regularly to groups about how to use clear, concise, compelling language as a strategic weapon when dealing with reporters, employees, sales prospects, shareholders, and consumers.
Dave lives near Portland, Oregon.
Learn more about Dave and ElevatorSpeech at www.elevatorspeech.com.
There's an old saying that many still take to heart: "There's no such thing as bad press."
This saying has been coming into play and been hotly debated quite regularly in recent months. Some would argue that at least people are talking about you and your company so you can remain relevant. That may be true -- for the next 15 minutes -- until some other shiny object gets your audience's attention. But then what do you do? Do you escalate the negative just to remain relevant?
This is a slippery slope and one that isn't sustainable, especially if you are running a business -- with employees, customers and investors watching.
Rather than take whatever press you think you can get, work with your communications team to develop strong messages and story angles that can help position the company in the light you desire. Decline to comment or participate in stories that you aren't comfortable with or work with your team to respond appropriately and provide the reporter with additional information that can help support your viewpoints.
Some negative stories may happen whether you like it or not. That's the beauty of journalism. But look for ways to change the narrative and tell your story on your time and in your own way.
Communications professionals are notoriously called spin masters, an abhorrent description that doesn't apply to everyone, yet it's an easy bucket to toss us all in. Like with all professions, there are good eggs and bad apples. Those that demonstrate everything positive and beneficial with the profession, and those who make everyone else hate us. The latter are typically the spin masters.
As my fellow PR pros have stated, debunking the spin myth is one of the largest battles we deal with (outside of help our clients with their business and communications challenges). We work with journalists to ensure they are telling fair and balanced stories and have all of the correct facts and figures to best inform their audiences. Of course we love glowingly positive write-ups about our clients... who doesn't?? But should we -- and more importantly, ARE we -- spinning information in our favor? No.
Honesty, along with transparency, is the strongest resource we have at our disposal. Our reputations rely on journalists trusting what we say and share with them. If we start stretching the truth, our careers are in jeopardy.
Before making a statement publicly, look at it from all angles and ideally have third party sources to help back up your claims. Also make sure other sets of eyes, ideally from a different department like legal, takes a quick look. If you don't know the answer, don't make something up on the fly. And very rarely, and only in few situations, should you use the terms "never" and "always." When claiming a new product, feature or service is the "first ever", are you 100% positive that is the case? Are there legitimate sources out there that can rebuke your claims?
Things change very rapidly in today's world; everything from a small product review or a data hack to the shifting economy and evolving policies can very easily affect what was said yesterday or 10 years ago.
Like we were all told as children, once you tell a tiny fib, then you have to remember the fib and who you've told that fib to. It gets more and more complicated the further you go down the little white lie road. And it will be all for not at the smallest slip-up. It all unravels and, worst of all, no one trusts you after that.
Spinning makes you dizzy. Why would you do that to yourself or to others?
Welcome to ROAMings, a compilation of thoughts and musings about the PR and media industries. This is an opportunity to discuss the “here and now” of the industry, interesting events or case studies, pivotal moments that affect how we approach PR, etc. It isn’t about brand loyalties or preferences -- and we will not be publishing self-promotional materials or talk about our clients in this setting -- but how those brands, individuals and events are leveraging (or in some cases abandoning) PR.