Thursday, September 24, 2009

Just What I Needed

Today I attended a Vistage meeting as a guest of Richard Jacobs. The program was called You On Your Best Day and the presentation was given by Mr. Michael Allosso. I have to be honest - In looking at my schedule and the piles on my desk, I really didn't have the time to attend this 8:30 - 2:30 meeting today. But I made a commitment to go, so off I went.

I can't tell you how happy I am that I went to this meeting today. My only regret is that I had to leave at 11 because I was the speaker today at the Zonta club. I could have listened to the presenter all day. His name is Michael Allosso. His business card says 'Communication Specialist', but he is so much more than that. He has a background in theater and uses those skills to to coach businessmen and women on how to make excellent presentations and improve their communication skills.

And it wasn't just a one-way communication session. We (the individuals present) had to talk about areas where we need help in with regards to presentations or communications. After each person spoke, he not only had answers/suggestions of ways to improve in those areas, but he then gave immediate feedback on their brief presentation, from the amount of eye contact used, to body language to the speed and tone of their voice.

He coaches businesses and business leaders all across the country, and even abroad. Here are some of the gems that I took away in my brief time with him:

  1. Structure Frees Creativity - Michael teaches that the more structure you have in your day, the more creative you will become.
  2. What You Look Like Matters - Although this is not politically correct to say, good-looking people get more attention and make more of a connection then those who look and dress like slobs. He said the way you dress and present yourself will have a direct impact on how the client thinks you are going to treat their business.
  3. Be Respectful - No matter if it is keynote speaker, client or colleague, give the person speaking respect and your focus. What do you do when you are having a conversation with someone and someone else walks in the room? Do you look away from the person who is speaking with you? Most of us do.
  4. Preparation - No matter how small the group is you are presenting to, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. You will thank yourself for it and your clients will appreciate it as well.
  5. Know Their Names - This can fall into the preparation area. Michael says you make your presentation more personable if you can talk directly to someone you are presenting to by using their name in your presentation.
  6. It's Not All About Content - If you give them data, data, data and stink at the delivery, you will not get their business. He says successful sales presentations are about 7% content and 93% gestures.

And probably one of the most tangible things I took away is in the way you give feedback to others, be it your staff, your family or even your friends. He believes in using TSP - Truthful, Specific and Positive feedback FIRST. And he did this with each person after their talk. And it wasn't just with one comment. He ran down the list of all the positive things each of us did well and then gave us some areas to work on.

Thanks Richard for the invite and thanks Mr. Allosso for a great morning. It was just what I needed today.

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