Make Your Point Stick With Mental Velcro

After you’re finished making a presentation and you leave the room, what sticks? What did you say or do that was memorable?

As Karen Post, the Branding Diva, says, “Many of us operate in a space where many others offer a similar product or service. If you want to stand out, you have got to be distinct, compelling and memorable. Boring, ordinary and like everyone else simply does not fly.”* In this article I want to talk about why branding is critical when you’re making a speech or presentation. As you know, it’s not just what you say that’s important, it’s what people remember. If you speak, and your audience or customer deletes what you say within minutes, you’ve failed. You can’t sell anything; a product, service or idea, if you cannot make a convincing argument that continues to influence the decision-maker after you leave the room. In speaking, branding has two elements: the right words or phrase, and the musical and rhythmic delivery of those words or that phrase. These two elements are equally important.

Consider product branding in TV commercials. A concept is developed that is built around a theme home depot health check. Right now Wal-Mart is blitzing the airways with an ad campaign built around the theme, Save Money. Live Better. The next time you see it, listen to how that phrase is delivered. It is consistently delivered with the same music and rhythm. Home Depot has built their brand around the phrase, You Can Do It -We Can Help. Once again, listen to the musical and rhythmic delivery. It’s not musical because they sing it – although many brand phrases are sung – it’s musical because the phrase is spoken with a carefully chosen cadence and rhythm that is consistent. How is this relevant to speaking and sales? While working with clients like Microsoft, Hewlett Packard and Cisco, and in industries as varied as construction, insurance, health care, pharmaceuticals and education, everyone I work with struggles with the same issue. They talk too much and say too little. In other words, they overwhelm their listener with too much content, too many words. And in the end, nothing sticks.

In this age of “experts,” unfortunately, a minority of advisers are just trying to get a marketing space and make money on their “expertise” through videos, books, blogs, websites, lecture tours, etc. Often I find their counsel degrading, insulting, or useless. The profile of their businesses often assumes that older people are weak and unable to make good logical decisions on what is best for them so they can be manipulated. As there is a section of my age group that relate to that profile because of health problems and other disabilities, this section is often the most accessible for scams and being duped by so-called “experts.” Most of us are not there, yet, however.

The majority of experts on aging guides, I find, actually have the well being of older people in mind and give meaningful and often inspiring, life-changing information. It can be daunting for an older person trying to find who can give the best advice.

What are some of the things to look for as good guidelines for useful information to improve our lives as we age? Here are some guidelines I have created for anyone 50+ that seeks assistance in determining the right and helpful information for life long happiness and beyond:

Credentials. Because an author wrote a best seller on guides to aging well, or has many degrees (medical, psychiatric, philosophical, etc.) this does not necessary guarantee that their information is right for you. If the information you perused was not useful to you, seek other resources. The best advice and guidance may not necessary come from a best-seller luminary or certified, highly degreed specialist.

Support. Does the information offer good support and understanding of you and your age group? Does the information resonate, that is, do you feel that you are inspired to make changes in your life and that they will be for the better? If not, perhaps you should move on and keep searching. Find what feels good for you.

Inspiration. Does the information inspire, nurture and give clear, understandable and believable directives towards a better life? What feels good often is good. Feeling good might be a challenge. Many of us have been taught that feeling good about ones life and ones future is questionable. I have learned, by my own experience, that the “feel good” mechanism encourages the body and mind to create, enrich and enhance daily lives. From being an art instructor for over thirty years I see that this “feel good” mechanism can enrich and enhance lives in many ways.

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