Monday, 30 May 2011

Prepare a 20 minute speech in 5 minutes or less

An article on how it's possible to construct a twenty minute presentation in five minutes. Before I read this I was sceptical.

If you like this article I'd be delighted if you'd leave a comment and if you'd like to send me a message or connect you can do so via my website where I've listed links to some of my other profiles on the web - and you can follow me on Twitter.

If you'd like to subscribe there are links on the right hand side of the page. If you're a business networker and would like to connect on one of the business networking sites you can send me a private message via my page, via the Professional Profile site and you can also message me via LinkedIn.

All the best,



Speech Writing… the Marcus Method

Before I delve into the title of this post, let me start off by saying I used to be just like most people – I had a complete and utter fear of speaking in public. In fact, when I was in high school I once gave a ‘speech’ in front of the student body that went so awfully bad (between the heat flashes, shakes, loss of words, and near collapse) that I committed at a young age to never venture in front of an audience again.

But as time went on, somehow things began to change. Where I once dreaded the thought of public speaking I came to love the results that great communication – the idea of changing lives for the better through your own words. As we all know, there is a special power behind the spoken word, and I’m glad that I can now say that I embrace this gift we’ve all been given.

But I digress. What say ye that we get down to the nitty-gritty? You want to know how to prepare a speech fast, and a good speech at that. I’m here to give it to you.

For many, the process of preparing a talk, speech, or seminar is more painful than passing a kidney stone. They spend hours of reading, writing, and editing just to come up with a few pages of words that will hopefully have an impact on listeners.

If you’ve ever gone through such a routine, I’m here to tell you there is a much, much easier way.

Simple Conversation

Let me ask you a question. When you’re at the office on Monday mornings, how long does it take you to ‘prepare’ what you tell your friends and peers?

Or when someone asks you, “How were the holidays?” how much time does it take you to start to answer?

If you’re like 99.9% of the world, these types of conversations are something you don’t think about.
There is no preparation. You simply are telling others about a snippet of your life.

So my question is why don’t we follow these same steps when we speak in a public setting?

Why do we add so much agony to the process of preparation?

Frankly, the whole thing makes no sense.

How to Burn 20 Minutes at the Snap of a Finger

Recently I was asked by a company to give a seminar to a business group. They told me I’d need to speak for about a half-hour, to which I said it would be my pleasure. The only problem, they said, was the fact that they were having this seminar just days away, which meant that I’d have little time to prepare.

Upon hearing this concern I told them to stop worrying, as I could easily talk about business for 3 hours that same night if they wanted me to.

How is such a feat possible?

Think about it, let’s pretend you’re a business owner and you went to dinner with a friend who asked you, “What’s the dumbest thing you’ve done as a business owner?”

I bet you could sit there with your friend and go on and on for hours about different experiences you’ve had over the years and the lessons you’ve learned from each.

And again, you achieve all of this ‘discussion’ without a lick of forethought.

The Magic of Brainstorming Our Past

This same principal applies to the seminar I mentioned above. As soon as the lady asked me to participate, I sat down at my desk and thought about the 5 worst decisions I’ve ever made as a business owner. Within a few minutes, this brainstorming activity had produced over 10 examples of mistakes I’d made, all of which I knew would make for a great personal experience, and corresponding lesson, in the seminar.

Knowing I had only 30 minutes to speak, I chose the 5 experiences I thought would have the best impact and voila.. I was done. That was it. A 30 minute business seminar had been prepared in 5 minutes.

I relate this story because it’s applicable to every speaking opportunity (well over 200 events) I’ve had over the past 10 years. As soon as someone gives me a subject, I sit down and brainstorm experiences I’ve had that had anything to do with said subject, as well as the lessons learned from each.

With the average personal experience/story taking 3-6 minutes to tell, it’s easy to see just how quickly one can come up with 20 minutes of great speaking material.

Now I know some of you may be thinking, “But what if people don’t like my experiences?”
Let me tell you right now this simple rule of thumb that, if followed, will make your speaking days ahead much, much easier:

“If any experience in life has taught you a lesson… it will likely teach others as well.”
So throw away the script, quit with the worries, and start relying on life and her many lessons folks. By so doing, I can assure you that not only will the process of speech preparation become much, much easier, but there will also come a day when you’ll anticipate the opportunity to change lives with your words.

About Marcus – Marcus Sheridan had his first book on Public Speaking published when he was 24 years old. Since that time, he has become a popular speaker and writer, and has been known to produce some pretty awesome articles on business, marketing, and life at his popular blog, The Sales Lion. I hope you liked Marcus's post as much as I did.

Other posts related to public speaking:

Presentation Skills from around the World
Thoughts on Public Speaking
Thinking of joining Toastmasters, here's my experience

Saturday, 28 May 2011

The Three Biggest Killers of Sales Productivity

This post courtesy of The Sales Blog by Anthony Iannarino, (my favourite sales blogger).

I work in B2B sales and if you're about to read this because you do too then I invite you to hook up with me on a few sites and resources that I find useful. You can connect with me at The Fox Den. The Fox Den is a newish community for alumni of Holden Power Base Selling or for anyone that enjoyed the book. If you haven't read Power Base Selling then you can read mine and others reviews and buy the book on Amazon; I also reviewed it on the Goodreads website where it's on my recommended books list. If you haven't read it then I think anyone in B2B sales, (particularly major account sales) will get something from it.


Sometimes you are the real obstacles to producing greater results.

We can easily get bogged down in doing things that make no impact on our sales results, even though these tasks feel like they are important to our sales efforts. Some of the tasks are necessary but can steal time, some are unnecessary but feel important, and some indicate deeper avoidance issues.

Identify and determine which of these three productivity killers destroy your results, and take action to reclaim your time—and produce better results.

Tasks On the Periphery of Sales

There are tasks that are close to sales, but that really aren’t selling. Some of these tasks may be necessary, but if you over invest in these areas, you destroy your ability to be productive and to produce results.

You need to do some research before prospecting. But too much research can result in too little prospecting. You need to send some follow up emails and respond to some emails. But too much time in the inbox means too little time face-to-face with your clients and dream clients.

You need to do some call planning and some reporting; both of these are important tasks. But spending more time than is absolutely necessary on these tasks means that you have less time for producing real results, the results that are only produced by selling.

All of these tasks may be necessary, but they are on the periphery of selling. They aren’t selling. To protect your time for real sales activities, you have to invest only the time that is necessary on these sales-related tasks that aren’t really selling.

Block out time for these tasks at the end of the sales day, and protect your sales time for the real work of sales, like prospecting and face-to-face sales meetings.

Tasks Belonging to Others

There are tasks that feel like they belong to you, but that really belong to someone else in the organization.

When your client calls and needs information, are you the right person to get them what they need? Or is there someone else on your team who is responsible for providing them with the information? Is there someone who, by having the responsibility, would do a better job getting information to your client?

When your client has a service issue, you should make sure that they are heard and that their issue is resolved. You might be the right person to listen and to express that you care, but are really the right person to manage the service problem? Or, is there someone else on your team who is both responsible and better prepared to get them the result they need?

Sales isn’t an operation role (I know that there is always some gray area here).

Learn to turn over the tasks to their rightful owners. If you need to give better guidance on how to serve your clients, invest your time developing the internal relationships that will let you to do so with confidence that the people handling the issues will not only complete the task, but will do so better and faster than you would have.

Tasks That Don’t Belong At All

If you spend your time creating documents, creating forms, creating your own internal paperwork, you are destroying your ability to be productive and to create results. Period.

If you setting up filing systems, cleaning your desk, or organizing and reorganizing your email you are spending time where no sales result can or will ever be produced. Period.

You can rationalize away the wasted time if your wish, but it still won’t move the needle.

The trouble with the tasks listed above is that they have some alluring qualities: your intentions are good in that you believe they will make you more productive. They make you feel like you are busy accomplishing something.

The sad and brutal truth is that you are most likely avoiding the real work of sales because of some deeper and more nefarious reason, like you lack confidence or you don’t believe in what you are doing. Worst of all, it may be that you lack the primary attribute of all successful people: self-discipline, the ability to make and keep commitments to one’s self.

What you believe is the greatest driver of your sales results and the actions that you take. Take some time to reflect on why you are avoiding doing the real work of sales, and get some help finding your way out the wilderness. The sooner you stop wasting time, the sooner you are really productive.


What are the biggest killers of your productivity that you control?

Have you done a time survey to understand how much time you spend on sales-related but non-selling tasks?

What tasks do you spend too much time on that really belong to someone else? Are you able to give the operations tasks to the operations team without a second thought? What you would have to do to be able to do so?

What are the tasks that you sometimes spend on time that really have nothing whatsoever to do with selling? Do you undertake these tasks to avoid doing something that you really don’t want to do? What is at the heart of that issue?


Other posts on a similar theme:

An article I wrote about Presales Qualification
Sales Tips Article courtesy of The New York Times
9 of the Best Sales Tips for Hight Performing Sales People
How to be Interesting and Useful to C Level Executives
What I Love about Sales and Selling
Introducing The Fox Den

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Lotus Esprit Love Affair

Thank you for visiting this blog, if you'd like to subscribe after viewing this article, there are links on the right hand side of the page - and if you liked a post please leave a comment! If you'd like to connect on one of the social networking sites you can reach me via my Facebook page, I have a Myspace page plus you can also send me a message via Google Plus.

I just wanted to give a big thank you to another Esprit nut, Bill Mant for letting me use his pictures. His 'love affair' with the Esprit is similar to mine with the only exception being that we got our colours the other way round: he got a red one first and then a white one and me vice versa. But it's nice to find someone who's so likeminded - and on the subject of being likeminded I'd like to give a little plug to The Lotus Forums which is a great resource for any Lotus enthusiast.


Other posts on a similar theme:

The Ace Cafe London Lamborghini Gallardo spotted
Lotus Esprit Sport 350
All New Landrover to help Motorists Overcome Mountainous Kensington Terrain