Tag Archive: public relations


I don’t know about you, but I do not like public speaking.  Last week I had to give two group presentations in my public relations courses. Thankfully it’s over now, but I did learn a few things to help me conquer my public speaking shakes. 

Here are a some helpful hints to get you through your next speech.

1. Above all do not panic. If you can just pretend like you’re speaking one-on-one to someone in the audience then you will calm your nerves. Knowing who your audience is can help you to speak in a familiar way that will come across as cool and confident. It’s important to reassure yourself that you are indeed an expert on your topic, probably more than anyone else in the room is.

2. Research, research, research. Back all of your arguments up with research so that your audience has no choice but to understand what you’re saying. Knowing more than you are presenting helps you to feel at ease. You can also tackle any questions that may come your way during the presentation. Remember to document your sources so that you can explain where you got your research.

3. Make sure your slides are simple. Prepare your slides in a way that is consistent and simple. Keep your bullet points as aids to your speech. They should be no longer than 10 words per sentence. These points are just to help you along your way; they are not meant to be your entire speech.

4. A picture is worth a thousand words. Use visuals to help get your point across. Visuals are a great way to support your points. Don’t  crowd your slide with too many pictures.

5. Make your slides readable. If you and your audience can read what is on your slide, chances are your presentation will go a lot smoother and you can relax. Try not to use below 30 to 32 point font. Also, keep in mind your audience’s eye-line and don’t write on the bottom of the slide.

6. Sound effects are a turn off. Don’t overwhelm the audience with lots of animation or sounds. Most people probably find a sound effect for each bullet point annoying. It can also distract from what you are trying to say.

7. Try to calm down. To relax while up there just remember that in a few minutes it will all be over. Try talking to the wall or focusing on one friendly face in the room.

8. Practice makes perfect. Rehearse, but don’t sound like you’re memorizing a script. If you really know what you’re talking about then, don’t sweat it, breathe and talk. Talk like you’re on the phone with your mom. It’s better to go short than over time.

9. Slide design is important. Be sure to choose colors that are simple and make it easy to read. Dark font on a light background or light font on a dark background, just remember blue and white are not easy to read from a distance. If you’re using a picture make sure that the image and the words do not overlap.

10. Keep your eyes on the prize! Imagine success. If you’re confident people are more likely to buy what you’re selling.

I hope that these tips help you with your presentations. I know that just spending a few minutes in front of the room before you speak can help calm my nerves. It’s all about making yourself comfortable in your environment.

This information was based on a class taught by Pat Curtin.

Advertisements

Groupon is a company that offers discounts and specials to restaurants and different activities in cities all over the nation through the power of numbers. If 100 people use Groupon then it can give the discounts to customers.

During this past Superbowl, Groupon aired controversial commercials that were meant to be funny but were found by some as offensive. The commercials highlighted different social, economic and environmental problems with celebrity spokespersons but then endorsed GroupOn by downplaying the problem with a great coupon they offer. The company has received a lot of negative press since the ads ran.

What the company failed to mention was that part of the profits from the ads was going to the different problems it highlighted in its commercials. This could have combated the negativity that now surrounds the campaign. The fact that Groupon was being generous and giving to various causes in need would have stifled a lot of the bad press.

The public relations team for Groupon should have made sure that the ads said something about part of the profits going to the causes. It could have humanized the company. Since the Superbowl is the most watched television program in the US and the ads were run during the game, the  public relations practitioners had an opportune moment to engage all of their key publics. Had the ads been less offensive to some the company could have avoided the controversy. Groupon did use celebrities to endorse its services which would have gotten it attention regardless of the controversy.

Moving forward, Groupon should acknowledge the people who are upset with the ads and explain what it was thinking and what the point of the ads was supposed to be. Groupon should also express how it gave proceeds away.

What do you think Groupon should do to repair its image? Do you think the commercials are funny? Are they offensive?

Check out Groupopn’s commercial featuring Cuba Gooding Jr. about whales.

Make your ideas concrete.

In the book “Made to Stick,” by Chip and Dan Heath, the two public relations gurus explain how to make ideas “sticky.” In the first few chapters they outline how to use simplicity and unexpectedness to make your point as a professional. In chapter three, the book discusses using concrete images, analogies, examples and exercises to make your concept more real to the audience.

The classic example that the Heath brothers use is the story of 29-year-old Jerry Kaplan. He went in for a meeting with Kleiner Perkins in 1987 to give a presentation and pitch a new idea to local venture capitalists. Before him was another hopeful up-and-comer who had ideas of his own. In fact, he had ideas, charts, graphics and confident answers delivered courtesy of a pin stripe suit Kaplan thought he was toast.

His confidence now shaken, he went in to pitch his exciting new theory about evolving PCs. The one thing that differentiated him from the first guy was his notebook. Kaplan carried a normal size notepad with blank paper inside for the meeting and this turned out to be his best asset. This notebook gave the new PCs a size, shape, feel and color. Executives were able to use the notebook as a tangible, concrete brainstorming tool. Investors asked questions about the chip size and memory capabilities instead of doubting the presentation idea.

To make an idea concrete you have to give people some sort of way to physically or mentally gauge the new idea.

Read more great ideas from “Made to Stick;” visit  http://www.madetostick.com/.

Jump on with these 5 easy tips.

It has become clear to public relations practitioners that social media is not going anywhere. It is a major tool that can, if used correctly, help an organization grow and become more involved with its audience. Heather Lutz, CEO of The Findability Group, wrote a great piece on five ways to implement social media into your company. Check out her article on the Bulldog Reporter here http://bit.ly/eIG0lY.

  1. Get it in writing. The first strategy Heather suggested was to outline what your company thinks is appropriate to be on social media outlets and what is not. Write up a guideline that suggests topics that employees can talk about and certain things that they should stay away from such as salary information. If employees know what they should stay away from they will be more likely to post something positive about the company.
  2. Give access to certain people first. Start by granting access to the companies social media outlets to only a select few employees. Consider this a trial run. This will allow you to see what works, what doesn’t and how your company can improve. Not to mention it will show you what your audience is talking about. After you have started people on your social media sites Lutz suggests that you allow them to become advocates for your company. Don’t just stop with one group, select a different group of people to see what they talk about, who they talk to and what is being said about your company. You can adjust any policies around the findings from these groups. The main thing is to join the conversation, but to know what and why you are there.
  3. Everyone loves something for nothing. Make it worth your audience’s time. Reward whoever is in the conversation. Lutz says to make it fun. Try giving away your product or service, giving a discount or conducting a contest. Entice the audience in an engaging way. This is more likely to illicit a positive response about your organization.
  4. Consider all your staff’s needs. Lutz recommends to consult your IT department before delving into the social media world. Opening up online is an amazing tool to connect but remember that it lets down your company’s firewalls. Most big businesses have hired a full-time position to manage their social media tools. Lutz suggests that you should start planning for social media now.
  5. No one is too important to join in. Take a cue from GM and encourage everyone in the company, no matter how big or small, to engage in social media for the company. GM’s CEO blogs for the car giant. Heather stated that seeing the head of the company will help all employees become a part of the different social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook or a blog.

Social media is the future and it is not going away. The sooner we embrace it, the better.

Check out more of Heather at http://www.heatherlutze.com/.

“You have 15 seconds.”– Kevin Brett

Super public relations professional Kevin Brett visited my public relations class a few days ago to school all of us on our resumes and cover letters.   His main point? To make sure we know we have 15 seconds to gain the attention of the employer we are courting. Here are a few pointers for your resume and cover letter:

  • Show them what makes you stand out.
  • Get the attention of eyeballs and search engines. Chances are your bosses will Google you;make sure you know what they are going to see.
  • Try applying to hiring managers instead of just applying online.
  • Get to the point.
  • Think search engine terms. Speak the company’s language.
  • Do your research. Know what the company stands for, what it offers and what its public relations team is doing.
  • Network, talk to other people than the hiring manager. It’s all about who you know.
  • Why do you want this job? Be able to answer that question.
  • What do you bring to the table? Know what your value is and how you can improve the company.
  • Copy your cover letter in a contact e-mail. It already says everything you want to.

 

Things to keep in mind with your resume:

  • Sweat the details.
  • Triple check…then check again.
  • Do not rely on abc check to do all the work.
  • Lead paragraphs with active verbs (e.g. develop, participate).
  • Start with your professional background, then go into your education.
  • Include your e-mail, LinkedIn and blog.
  • Show results for what you have done, include numbers. Qualitative details are best.

A few search engine optimization, SEO, words to look for:

  • Message Development
  • Social Media
  • Employee Communications
  • Crisis Communications
  • Investor Relations
  • Analyst Relations
  • Media Training
  • Multimedia Skills
  • Presentation Skills

These are just a few words of wisdom to keep in mind when looking for a job. Good luck, and go get ’em!