Right Things Right

inbound marketing expert philadelphia One of my favorite sayings is “There is a right way and a wrong way to do business”. It’s a personal motto, always reminding me to conduct myself in a professional manner that will reflect positively on me and my business. I usually whip this one out immediately after I see an example of the wrong.

And I thought I’d seen it all….

I went online today to look for a death notice of a former co-worker. The listing showed all of the requisite information about the deceased. But where there is usually a photograph, there was a QR Code. Being the geek that I am, I scanned the code and was immediately taken to the funeral home website, not more information about the deceased. Don’t get me wrong… I don’t begrudge this business the right to advertise. Funeral homes routinely list information at the bottom of a death notice.

I go to websites about 100 times a day, and that’s probably a conservative number. Each time I’m looking for information, and most times I see advertising that I can ignore or pursue. I’ve never seen advertising placed in such a deceitful manner. It’s just wrong, and it leaves you feeling a bit icky.

Marketers must take control to ensure their message is not out of place, and mistakes can happen. I’ve seen a few examples of rotating banner ads placed on news sites that have raised a few eyebrows…. like fast food restaurants on a news page reporting a famine in Africa. Always be aware of what is scheduled in the future, making sure to make adjustments if an event occurs. Everyone remembers the Aurora Mall store tweeting about a sale the day following the shootings… not callous, just careless.

The last two examples are mistakes, but someone made a conscious decision to promote a business within an obituary. You have to wonder what was going through the head of the person who decided that QR Code was a clever idea. It’s just not right, on so many levels.

Think. Review. Edit. This post originally included a screen shot of the aforementioned obituary, but I decided that it wasn’t appropriate to include that person’s info. I’m constantly editing myself for many reasons, mostly to make sure I’m accurate and professional.

Back to that motto of mine… The company I work for has taken my already simple mantra and stripped it down. To be fair, they didn’t know they were doing that! We have the standard, small paragraph mission statement that references the company’s two core values… “Do The Right Thing. Do Things Right.” It’s a simple, but powerful concept.

Learn it, live it… love it.

– JL

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About the Author

John Langan Philadelhia MarketerJohn Langan is currently Business Services Director at the Penn Emblem Company, but has worn many hats in his thirty plus years in the corporate identification business… from screen printer to graphic artist to customer service to marketing director. He brings focused and unique perspective to B2B communications, helping people achieve success marketing products, services, and themselves. Learn more here: http://gr8johnl.wordpress.com/about/

How to Make a Bad Presentation

give a good presentationI’m not so far out on a limb saying everyone has sat through at least one god-awful presentation. Probably more than one…

I’ve been to several conferences in the past few months, and I’m not sure which one sent me over the edge. It could have been the speaker who said that he didn’t need the microphone, and was sadly mistaken. Or the guy who stood with his back to the room and read his presentation from the screen. His PowerPoint should have had less detail. Whoever it was, it caused this burst of thought that I had to share.

No one sets out to make a bad presentation, but there are so many pitfalls that it can be tough to avoid. Simple is always best, and some of these suggestions may help.

The Presenter – I hate to tell you this, but no one came to this meeting room to see your slides. They came to see you. I’m sure that you, or one of your minions, spent a great deal of time working on these slides. And I’m sure they look great. Good speakers succeed in spite of bad slides, and I’ve never seen good slides rescue an inadequate speaker. Slides are secondary.

Let’s tackle another myth… “Anyone can be a speaker”. Have you ever seen the same presentation (slides, script, handouts) made by two different speakers? I assure you that they will be completely different because of the abilities possessed by the speaker. Good volume, grammar, pace and command of the subject make your point. Confidence and assertiveness bring it home. Not everyone can pull it off.

Managers need to recognize in their people. Just handing them a PowerPoint file and throwing them to the wolves is a recipe for failure.

Don’t Own The Room – It’s a big space, but only a small part of it is yours. It may sound a little “keep it simple stupid”, but it makes sense. Remain as stationary as possible, because too much movement will be a distraction from the points you are making. Make sure that the audience has only two points of focus… You, and whatever visual aids you are employing. If you are on a big stage in a big room, you may have to move some to give equal balance. This is difficult if you have a “big” personality, but it will permit your audience to focus on the right thing… your content. Dial it down, big guy! You can let “Type A” moose loose during Q&A… then you can work the room, but keep everyone engaged.

Who Are You? – “Good morning, everyone… my name is John Langan. And today I’m going to talk you about head injuries in youth sports. But first I want to tell a little bit about myself and my business…” What follows are three slides about me, my business, and probably some other companies I’ve worked with successfully.

i-dont-careNo offense, but who really cares?  You’ve probably seen this exact opening a thousand times, and have conditioned yourself to tune it out. Say hello, then get down to business. I trust that your credentials got you the gig, so I’m ready to hear what you have to say. I walked into the room to learn something. Engage me. If you do a good job, I’ll ask about you and your background. So have that information ready on a hidden slide, just in case.

Animation Is Cool! – At a conference a few years ago, I was introduced to Prezi, a great presentation tool with fabulous animations and graphics. In my life, I’ve never been so impressed with a slide show.

If you paid me $100, I couldn’t tell you the subject of this presentation.

This may be an extreme example of how too much animation can be distracting. The lesson is to – again – keep it simple. Resist the temptation to make a cartoon, no matter how much fun it can be! Audiences are easily distracted. Do not create something that will take away from your important message.

Words, Words, Words – One truth learned from the countless presentations I’ve seen… The more words on the slide, the more the presenter will read it word for word. And when he reads the slide word for word, he sounds stupid. I want to hear you speak on the subject, not read about it.

I like to keep the words to a minimum, bulleting when/where I can. A simple graphic can nicely enhance or introduce your next subject. I also try to keep my bullets to 3-4 words max. Tough to do, but it’s clean. Jeffrey Gitomer does it best… words on a slide, black letters on a white background. Sometimes red letters to add some emphasis. Everyone once in a while he adds a graphic to keep it interesting. HE is the focus…

This probably won’t work if you like to print the slides as a takeaway for the audience… good! If you engage your audience correctly, the last thing they need is your slides. If you want to give them a takeaway, prepare a 1-2 page separate summary of your points. But make sure to distribute them AFTER your speech. Put your presentation on SlideShare if they absolutely must have it.

Q&A Session – Always, always, always prepare for Q&A – during and after your presentation. There are many methods to encourage audience interaction. Ask for questions throughout. Start the closing session with a question, and put people on the spot. Engage your audience at every opportunity. When handled correctly, the Q&A session can be more effective delivering your message than entire presentation.

Good communication is about content and engagement. In manufacturing, processes are constantly stripped down to eliminate waste and enhance value. If you apply the same method to your presentations, better engagement is easy to achieve.

– JL

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About the Author

John Langan Philadelhia MarketerJohn Langan is currently Business Services Director at the Penn Emblem Company, but has worn many hats in his thirty plus years in the corporate identification business… from screen printer to graphic artist to customer service to marketing director. He brings focused and unique perspective to B2B communications, helping people achieve success marketing products, services, and themselves. Learn more here: http://gr8johnl.wordpress.com/about/

Top 10 Tradeshow DO’s, And A Couple of DON’Ts

Depending on your business, tradeshows can be a fantastic tool for growth. One cannot underestimate the power of the face to face conversation and solid lead generation opportunity. But tradeshows are a commitment… planning, people, dollars, etc. Some DO’S and DON’TS, if you please…

Imprints USA Trade Show BoothDO Pick Winners – If you traditionally get most of your leads from shows, plan to exhibit where you get the best return.  Tracking and measuring your return for each show could take weeks or months, but you must be diligent. Compare this year to previous years to see trends. If you observe downward trends, make some hard decisions. There is no reason to commit resources because “we always do that show”.

DO Try New Markets – After you’ve made those hard decisions, there might be room for a show in a nontraditional market… Do it! Don’t stick with “same old, same old” if the return isn’t there. Fortune favors the bold.

DO Have A PlanKnow exactly what you want to accomplish each show, each day. Be prepared! Always get to the booth at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the show for a strategy session, and be prepared to stay at least 15 minutes for a recap meeting. No winging it!

DON’T Be Cheap – Exhibiting at a show is an investment. If you cut corners, it’s obvious to attendees. Build a dynamic, colorful booth in the appropriate amount of space, and keep it open so people can enter and engage. Book early and get the best location and comps, bring the best people and make a splash.

DO Bring Your “A” Players – Staff your booth with experts. Attendees are looking for information, and they would rather get it right away versus a follow up call.

DON’T Disengage – Work the booth, don’t occupy it. Your head buried in a laptop or mobile device sends one very powerful message to a show attendee… “I’m not interested in talking to you!” Emails and phone calls will have to wait until you leave to booth area. While in the booth, work the perimeter and invite people to see what you’ve got. “Who can I talk to next?!!!”

DO Get Better Info – Tradeshows aren’t about building your email list. Take advantage of the latest lead retrieval technology. Use the menu and notes section to record the conversation you just had with that potential customer. Post-show follow-up is key, so do a good job with information gathering.  But send out that “thank you” email anyway…

DO Education – Don’t wait for attendees to come to you… herd them up like cattle and drive them to your booth. If you conduct seminars you become a Trusted Source in your industry, and it gives you the opportunity for follow-up on the show floor.

DO Promote Yourself – Make sure you let customers know that you are exhibiting. Lots of tradeshows supply a pre-registration list, so send emails promoting your products and your booth. Blow up your social media throughout the show… How about rewarding attendees for a social check-ins?

DO Work Closely With Show OrganizersProvide positive and/or negative feedback about your show experience. Organizers want to make the tradeshow better, and helping them out can get you some favors in the future.

Most of this should be obvious, and it will make your tradeshow successful. But don’t forget the most important thing to have in your booth… CANDY! I prefer Jolly Ranchers

Have a great next show!!

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About the Author

John Langan Philadelhia MarketerJohn Langan is currently Business Services Director at the Penn Emblem Company, but has worn many hats in his thirty plus years in the corporate identification business… from screen printer to graphic artist to customer service to marketing director. He brings focused and unique perspective to B2B communications, helping people achieve success marketing products, services, and themselves. Learn more here: http://gr8johnl.wordpress.com/about/

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