Regardless of what you do for a living, the power of communication skills and particularly your presentation skills will take you a long, long way. If you are building a business or selling for one – this is a most critical area for you to master. Think of it as a journey – benchmark your success and areas to improve on. This is the topic of our Monday morning tele-call today – no cost or obligation to join in on. (go here for more info) I have seen some great presenters and influencers over the years – some who you would expect, like Tony Robbins, former president Bill Clinton, Senator John McCain – but also others who, seemingly out of nowhere – are inspiring us to take action. A most amazing presenter I heard last fall was Elwood (Woody) Norris. He holds 47 patents and while I thought I was just going to hear an inventor give what I expected to be a boring presentation at a dinner – he was amazing. Last week one of my colleagues brought up the idea of how wonderful this presentation was – and I was thinking about what it was that really moved me. It came down to three things: authenticity, message, and delivery. Mr. Norris is a humble presenter delivering his backdrop or his roots and being able to laugh at himself. Some of the best sales professionals I’ve heard do this as well – not just in front of a big crowd – but in a 1:1 conversation. We don’t want slick or to be “shmoozed” – we want genuine and real. So know who you really are and be that. When it comes to message – this is the core of the issue. People retain very little of what you say, so make your message clear and concise. Have points and weave them into your conversation – again this works 1:1 or to a group. The more articulate and thought out, often the better. Think of someone you’ve heard recently who says it clearly and to the point. A great place to hone this skill is at Toastmasters or at Dale Carnegie. Finally – the delivery is the art of presenting. Last week at an MIT event, I heard Rich Barton, the founder of Expedia and now Chairman and CEO of Zillow sharing his story about Expedia’s success – he was a most brilliant speaker. First of all, he had a catchy title for a breakfast presentation – Pygmalion, The Wizard of Oz, and Chevy Chase – and from there, shared a great story of hard work and belief in your company’s concept. He stressed simple points and offered proof, in story form, to back those ideas up. The audience of 175 (at a very early morning breakfast) was captivated. (note: Glen Kelman from the previous month was fantastic too, and audio is here) In selling, the things you can tweak to make a big difference in your sales revenues are what you say, who you say it to, and how you say it. That’s it. It is simple, not easy. Become a student of communications – and find ways to turn speaking and writing into art – and track your success as a science……… you’re bound to see improvements as you go forward. Post your thoughts. If you miss our Monday AM call, put it in your Outlook calendar for next Monday. The call happens each and every Monday and your presence is welcomed.