Public Speaking — 4 Ways to Own the Room During Your Next Presentation

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This comes to you thanks to Dale Carnegie and Inc:

By Jordan Scheltgen

 

 
 Jordan is Co-founder and managing partner, Cave Social
 
When you’re on stage, finding your groove starts with finding out what the audience really wants from your presentation. It’s not about what you’re saying, but what they’re hearing.

“And next to the stage, we’ve got Jordan Scheltgen from Cave Social.”

A light, non-enthusiastic applause followed.

As I approached the stage I probably looked like I had seen a ghost. I was anxious, full of adrenaline and had one too many cups of coffee that morning.

The long and short, I was terrified.

See I had played football in front of thousands of people during college. That was fine because I had played my whole life but being on a stage was something completely new.

I was presenting to 300 marketing executives, my now peers, to educate them on how they could incorporate content marketing into their businesses.

I was 25 and looked 18.

This isn’t a benefit when you’re trying to gain credibility in your field. Being young means being perceived as inexperienced and untested — I had an uphill battle to win the crowd.

I started my speech like I do most, “So I was 23 and broke…” and then go on to tell the story of how I stumbled into becoming an agency owner. It was important for the audience to know me before I expected them to listen to me. To give any insight or advice you have to earn the attention of the people you’re talking to.

I’ve found an honest story the best way to do this.

I ended up being on stage for an hour, finding my groove, engaging the audience and settling into my talk. Was it my best presentation, not a chance, but it taught me some valuable lessons I wanted to share with you.

Public speaking is often about the story you tell and the lessons learned over the amount of information you provide. If you want to lose the attention of the audience start rolling out stats, figures, and graphs.

1. Put yourself in the shoes of the audience members.

If you’ve been to a conference before, you know there is always one speaker that could put you to sleep after you’ve chugged four Redbulls and another who is doing a glorified sales pitch.

Audience members don’t want to see these speakers. They want to get value through seeing a different perspective or direct strategic takeaways.

In your presentation, think about two things: How can I get my lesson/point across through a story and (ii) how can I give this audience one actionable takeaway for their own work? If you answer these questions, you’re on a solid path to having a useful presentation.

2. Throw out the script.

Scripted speeches feel unauthentic. This will only drive you further away from connecting with your audience.

This doesn’t mean your presentation shouldn’t have structure–it should. Organize your presentation as a loosely scripted presentation. This means you’ll have talking points but not a word-for-word script to follow.

This turns your speech into a conversation with the audience.

3. Leave ample time for questions.

Even though you’re on stage in a place to speak, you need to make time to listen to your audience.

By hearing their questions directly it does two things: (i) it gives you a chance to demonstrate knowledge and connect with the audience in that room further and (ii) it gives you valuable information to possibly incorporate into future presentations.

4. Be real before and after your talk.

If you’re a speaker at an event you are not better or worse than any attendee there. I refuse to hang out in “speaker rooms,” or not engage with event attendees. Just because someone isn’t another speaker at an event doesn’t mean they can’t be a valuable connection, resource or friend.

This means hanging out after your speech, checking out other speakers and talking with other people at the conference.

If you get selected to speak at an event you can have a larger than life persona on stage, but in the time before and after your speech you better be normal. Nobody likes a prima donna.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
PUBLISHED ON: SEP 6, 2017

8 steps to help you find a job in 30 days

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The following appeared in the Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017 edition of the Courier-Post.

BY PETER JONES

THEJOBNETWORK

You need a new job and you need one fast.

Maybe you’ve just been laid off, or quit or you’re just starting out — or you’re doing some secret job hunting from a position in which you’re miserable. No matter your reasons, if you follow these steps, you’ll have a great shot at scoring a new job in 30 days.

  1. Make a spreadsheet.

Excel is your friend in the organization game. And organization is the key to getting a job fast. Keep track of company name, position title, a link to the job posting itself, application materials, due dates, plus the date you applied, follow-up dates and notes. If you hate Excel, try JibberJobber or Fresh Transition instead. But do keep all your details organized and easily referenced — you’ll be glad you did.

  1. Do your homework.

Be informed — very informed — about the industry where you’re applying. Research every company and every position. Research the people who might be interviewing you and supervising you. Research the top people and the company’s mission.

The more you know and the more prepared you are, the better you’ll do. And the more you strategize and target your applications, the more efficient your search will be.

  1. Dig deep.

What do you actually want in a job? What have you liked and disliked about your current and former positions?

Why do you want a change?

Think about your values and which kind of work environments suit you best. Try to aim for places that match up with your innate talents and tastes first. You’ll be a better fit right out of the gate.

  1. Budget your time.

Once you have a game plan and an organizational system, you’ll want to devote time every day to your job search for 30 days.

You couldn’t possibly spend all day every day on it, but even just 30 minutes of concentrated work a day will move you that much closer to the finish line.

  1. Get social.

Your promo toolbox consists of your social media platforms. Get them all up to fighting speed. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn … make sure these accounts are active and up to date. Make sure you’re using them correctly and are working consistently toward building your personal online brand.

  1. Network.

The one step you might like to avoid is probably the most important. Sometimes all the difference is made in who you know and who knows you.

Think of it as initiating mutually beneficial relationships.

Keep in mind what you have to offer. It’s not just a one-way street.

  1. Follow up.

Your interviewer will likely tell you that they will be in touch with you soon. Tell them immediately how much you appreciate them taking the time to interview you and mention you are eagerly awaiting a response. Then follow up with the same. Send a handwritten thank-you note — you’d be surprised at how effective this can be. Then follow up with a phone call if you haven’t heard back in two weeks. And don’t forget to note when and how you’ve followed up on your spreadsheet.

  1. Be patient.

Keep looking. Keep working at it. Don’t get discouraged after a few rejections. If you’re consistent and keep honing your tools, you’ll get there.

Peter Jones is a career advice journalist for TheJobNetwork.com, where this article was originally published. He investigates and writes about current strategies, tips, and trending topics related to all stages of one’s career.

 

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Why keywords are so important in a resume

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The following comes from CAREERBUILDER’s Deanna Hartley (June 26, 2016)

HERE ARE THREE REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD USE CERTAIN KEYWORDS THROUGHOUT YOUR RESUME.

Did you know that, according to CareerBuilder’s 2016 Candidate Behavior Study, more than 3 in 4 full-time employed workers (76 percent) are either actively looking or open to new job opportunities?

That means in today’s job market, you need to find a way to stand out among the competition and shine. To accomplish that, the first step is to get the person on the other end to sit up and pay attention to your resume instead of tossing it into a pile of “maybes.”

One trick is to use certain keywords throughout your resume.

Keywords are descriptors of skills and attributes that industry insiders typically use to describe themselves and others in the profession. Hiring managers sometimes use computer programs known as applicant tracking systems — or ATS, for short — to save time and effort on their part. Keywords matter when they’re scanning your resume in these programs to gauge if your skill set is the right fit for an open position.

According to a Forbes article: “Depending on how a specific ATS works, the location and frequency of keywords within your resume can be extremely important. Typically, the better your resume matches the job description requirements, the higher you’ll rank in the ATS. Additionally, it’s common practice for companies to begin reviewing applicants from the top of the ranking list – bad news for job seekers who haven’t customized and keyworded their resume.”

3 reasons to keep in mind

  1. It helps you to get in front of a human being. Remember that applicant tracking systems use keywords to sort and organize resumes and cover letters. This is designed to save the hiring manager some time, so make sure your resume doesn’t get lost in the shuffle simply because you didn’t use the right keywords.
  2. It helps you home in on what’s most important. Some job seekers submit resumes that are multiple pages long — and the truly important information gets buried beneath other achievements that are completely irrelevant (such as how many high school basketball championships you won when you’re applying for an accountant position). Making a list of keywords up front can help you to whittle down your long list of experiences to just the ones that the hiring manager will actually care about.
  3. It shows you’re speaking the same language as the hiring manager. Hiring managers use certain keywords in the job posting or description, and it’s important to show that you’re on the same page by using similar terminology to convey your specific skill sets, qualifications and experience.

Need tips on how to get your resume noticed by a company’s applicant tracking system? We did the homework for you. Check out our blog on how to get past an ATS and read up on some best practices on how to conduct an ATS-friendly job search.

Deanna Hartley is a writer for the Advice & Resources section of CareerBuilder.com. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

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A bit of bathroom cellphone etiquette — A health disconnet

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From The Philadelphia Inquirer (Oct. 10, 2017)

By Mari A. Schaefer – Staff Writer

Next time you want to check your cellphone on the way to the bathroom sink after using the toilet, fight the urge.

You could make yourself sick, warns a microbiologist at London Metropolitan University.

“Toilet seats, handles, sinks, and taps are covered in germs such as E. coli, which can cause urinary tract infections and intestinal illness, C. diff.,which can result in diarrhea, and acinetobacter, which can cause a contagious respiratory infection,” Paul Matewele recently told the London newspaper the Sun.

Those germs could be transferred to the phone, which then might wind up on your table when you eat out.

There’s more.

A small study in the journal Germ looked at the mobile phones of 27 high school students. They found traces of E. coli and even greater amounts of “potentially pathogenic microbes” such as Staphylococcus aureus, Acinetobacter spp., Pseudomonas spp., Bacillus cereus and Neisseria flavescens.

The good news was that no antibiotic-resistant genes were detected on cellphone surfaces, according to the Germ study.

This news bears a resemblance to studies that found kitchen sponges are also teeming with nasty bacteria.

And it doesn’t stop there.

“Handbags, wallets, purses and tote bags often test positively for whole communities of germs, including norovirus, MRSA and E. coli,” said Matewele. He suggests taking a vacuum and wipes to those items once a week and keeping them off eating surfaces. mschaefer@phillynews.com                                                        

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How to answer tough interview questions

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This comes from the Courier-Post and The Job Network on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017

BY PETER JONES

THEJOBNETWORK.COM

We all know it’s good to prepare answers to the standard interview questions, plus the not-so-standard ones that might come up in a particular interview at a particular company. But often, we are so prepared that we forget to edit our answers down to their most surgical and concise form.

Here are six standard, but tough, interview questions and the snappy sort of answers you should start rehearsing right now:

 1. Why you left your last job

Maybe the answer is as simple as your company was downsizing, but if you left in order to challenge yourself further or pursue more meaningful work, try saying something that emphasizes some skill or experience you wanted to develop professionally.

Talk about how it wasn’t possible to do this at your former job, and so you are committed to mastering it, and you see the perfect opportunity to do so at this company.

Bonus points if you can prove you’re already well on your way to developing this skill, whether by having taken a class or earned a certification.

2. Your greatest weakness 

Step one: Pick a trait that won’t scare them off, and doesn’t in any way affect your ability to perform this job.

Don’t humblebrag. “I’m just too good at work!” But do try and pick something with a positive spin. Maybe you’re too much of a perfectionist or you go flat out until a project’s done without taking a break. Or choose a weakness that you’ve since worked hard to convert into a strength. Formula for the latter: “Well, I was noticing that I was x, so I took step y in order to improve, and ended up in situation z,” (which is infinitely better and makes you a stronger candidatefor the job).

3. Why you seem overqualified

Rather than agree with them and say how much this job is beneath you, emphasize why (and pick three or so specifics) this job is perfect for you right now, and how it fits into your career growth plan.

Your resume probably shows that you can do this job, so use this answer to prove that you want it.

4. Why you’ve changed jobs a lot 

It can be a red flag to some employers who haven’t gotten the memo that job-shifting isn’t necessarily a red flag anymore. Try telling the truth.

Either it’s as simple as, “For reason x, we moved around a lot and so I was forced to…,” or you have a unique opportunity to document your drive and your desire to learn new things and acquire new skills that make you such a stellar candidate with such passion for what you do. Emphasize how all this hopping has uniquely prepared you to land on their precise lily pad, and why you’d want to stay put for a good long while.

5. Why you’ve been unemployed for ages

If you’ve been out of the workforce for a year or more, you’re going to have to explain yourself. Either go for the “I took some time off to evaluate my career needs and wishes in order to come back refreshed and well-prepared and hungry to do this kind of work,” or the “I’ve just completed x course or accreditation in order to make myself more valuable in my field.”

They’ll eat either up.

6. Your age

It’s illegal to discriminate in hiring decisions based on age, but not illegal to ask. If you’re on the older end of the job market spectrum, use your answer to assuage their fears that you’re just in it for the drudgery and the paycheck.

Emphasize how much passion you still have and how much invaluable experience you bring to the table. You’re not done yet!

Peter Jones is a career advice journalist for TheJobNetwork.com, where this article was originally published. He investigates and writes about current strategies, tips, and trending topics related to all stages of one’s career.

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Tips to Succeed: Marketing yourself online

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From Larry’s More ABCs of Strategic Communication (check it out on the website)…

1. Don’t lie – Whether on a resume, application or personal website, make sure facts about you are accurate.

2. Be professional – For college or job applications, use a simple e-mail address with your name or initials that helps connect an e-mail to you.

3. Censor yourself, and friends (if need be) – If you know a college or potential employer might Google® you or search you out on MySpace®, make sure the content posted by yourself or others is appropriate.

From the Des Moines Register

There are nearly 300 Tips and Techniques in both The ABCs and the newer More ABCs Proceeds from the books’ sales go to the Public Relations Student Society of America and Parsons (Iowa) College Alumni Association.

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Techniques to Succeed: The 30-3-30 Principle

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From Larry’s More ABCs of Strategic Communication (check it out on the website)…

Copy should always be prepared using the 30-3-30 principle. Is your copy aimed at the 30-second reader, three-minute reader or the 30-minute reader? To be effective, write for all three audiences.

There are nearly 300 Tips and Techniques in both The ABCs and the newer More ABCs Proceeds from the books’ sales go to the Public Relations Student Society of America and Parsons (Iowa) College Alumni Association.

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How to get a job without connections

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We thank Thejobnetwork.com for this piece, which appeared in the Courier-Post on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.

BY PETER JONES

THEJOBNETWORK.COM

Networking is probably the number one way to get yourself a job if you are looking. Referrals account for nearly 40 percent of all hires — and referred employees often get jobs quicker and make more money out of the gate. But what if you don’t have anyone to refer you to a particular company or within a particular industry? If this is the case, then you’ll need to figure out how to get a job without connections. Luckily, we’ve got the right information to accomplish that.

Here are four steps to follow to help you get a referral even if you lack the relevant connections.

 

1. Find an influencer

Once you’ve determined there’s a job opening somewhere, find someone who has influence on the hiring process for that position. Search for the position you want and the company you want on a site like LinkedIn until you find your influencer.

 

2. Make contact

Find the contact information for that person and get in touch to set up a time to chat. This is just normal networking, remember? Keep it short, sweet and to the point.

Address the new contact by name, briefly explain that you’re interested in working in their company, but ask only for advice. Throw in some modest, subtle flattery to sweeten them up and politely request a quick coffee (your treat) to pick their brain. You can use “Quick question” as your subject line.

If you don’t get a reply, don’t badger them — and don’t worry. Just find yourself another influencer in the same company — or for a different job entirely, and try again. If or when you do get a meeting, make sure to do plenty of homework first. That means researching the company, the field, the contact, etc.

 

3. Prep your question

The absolute most important question you need to ask is this: “What is the biggest challenge your team is facing right now?” That question will make all the difference between awkward small talk and giving your new contact the opportunity to open up and talk about something that matters to him or her — and something that will be extremely informative and helpful to you. Dig in. Listen hard. And send a thoughtful thank-you note.

 

4. Strategize your solution 

You’ve heard from your influencer (and new contact) what their biggest challenge is. Now figure out their solution. Reach out, research, think inside and outside the box. Put yourself in their team’s shoes and consider things from every conceivable angle. Once you’ve got a great idea, make sure to test

it through all the possible hypotheticals you can come up with. Then craft a detailed and elegant proposal.

You’re going to send this proposal to your influencer.

Start a casual email, with an extra thank you for the coffee date, then say that you’ve been thinking about the conversation and mulling through their situation. Explain that you’ve come up with a proposal to help solve their problem.

It’s gutsy, of course, but if your idea is good — even if it isn’t perfect — it will show your value, and your influencer will most likely share it with his or her team.

If any or all of this goes your way, you’ll be able to follow up by inquiring about any open opportunities on this person’s team (knowing already that there is one). Best case scenario: instant referral. Worst case scenario: You’ve netted yourself a new contact or two.

 

Peter Jones is a career advice journalist for TheJobNetwork.com, where this article was originally published. He investigates and writes about current strategies, tips and trending topics related to all stages of one’s career.

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9 tips for a successful phone interview

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(Thank you to the Courier-Post for this. It appeared as an advertorial on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017.  It contains vital information for jb seekers.

BY PETER JONES

THEJOBNETWORK.COM

So you have followed all the best resume tips and land yourself a job interview. You’re prepared to interview, you’re just not prepared to do it on the phone.

Here are nine ways to adapt your interviewing strategy to the phone format, without losing your cool.

1. Be ready

Sometimes you’ll be notified to schedule. Sometimes the call will come straight out of the blue. If you’re not somewhere where it would be convenient or possible for you to chat, ask the interviewer if it would be possible to find a mutually suitable time. If not, don’t panic: You can do it. Once you’ve applied for a job — any job, make sure you start mentally preparing for the interview in case you find yourself thrown into one just by picking up the phone.

2. Be organized

Have a copy of the job description and whatever information you’ve gathered about the company at your fingertips before the call begins. While you’re at it, make sure to also have a copy of your resume and your application materials as well. Otherwise, the interviewer will be able to hear that frantic stalling and rustling around.

3. Be prepared

The phone interview is just like any other interview. You should be well versed in your answers to common interview questions, or questions you think will be likely to come up for that particular position.

The only difference is you’ll have to be charming without your knockout smile and friendly face. Try compensating with more vivid answers.

And cut the rambling and verbal fillers like “um,” which will stand out more over the phone.

4. Smile

Seriously. Not only can people hear the difference when someone is smiling over the phone, smiling will have a massive effect on your demeanor. You’ll sound much more upbeat and confident.

Keep a mirror by the phone if you need reminding.

5. Use the Internet

If it would be too complicated to explain something, or you want to be able to provide a visual, try directing your interviewer to your website, portfolio or LinkedIn page.

That way, you can talk them through it during your actual interview, narrating each accomplishment for them.

6. Be easygoing

Initial interviews, particularly over the phone, are not

the time to start making demands or asking very particular questions about personal time off, benefits packages or job duties. Make them want to talk to you again; hopefully that will score you a proper faceto- face interview where you can proceed with your usual interview protocol.

7. Be smooth

Just like in any other conversation, try and match the tone and speed and volume of your interviewer. Ask a friend to assess your telephone voice for you in advance and give you feedback.

8. Be firm

Don’t let your interviewer off the phone without scheduling another interview. Or the name and contact information of someone you can be in touch with at the company to follow up.

9. Say thank you 

Even though it’s a phone interview, the normal rules apply. That means a written thank-you, emailed or handwritten. Don’t be too pushy, but it’s always OK to subtly remind them of your strengths in your thank-you note.

Peter Jones is a career advice journalist for TheJobNetwork.com, where this article was originally published. He investigates and writes about current strategies, tips and trending topics related to all stages of one’s career.

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From a legend: these strategic communication principles

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Larry Litwin’s The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook for (all) Strategic Communicators contains dozens of important tips that assure effective persuasive public relations is achieved. Here is Play 2 from the books first chapter:

Ivy Ledbetter Lee professionalized public relations by following these principles: (ask yourself, Do you know any C-E-Os who do not follow these basic principles?

1. Tell the truth
2. Provide accurate facts
3. Give the public relations director access to top management so that he/she can influence decisions

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