Thursday, March 24, 2011

Today's Question: At times, is it OK to be a Sell-Out?

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Lady Gaga concert in Columbus. I wouldn't characterize myself as a huge fan, nor have I passionately followed her rise in fame, but I know her top hits, watched her on top news shows and kind of know her background.

What I wasn't ready for was her INTENSE following! She's preached to her fans about being true to his/herself--and believe me, they are!

What disturbed me was the juxtaposition of this genuine message with blatant product placement in the middle of the concert! After extolling her thoughts on being yourself, she whipped out her Virgin Mobile phone and called an audience member!

Really? Be true to yourself, but you'll name drop your presenting sponsor?

At first, I couldn't get over this, but the more I've thought about it, I suppose if is a necessary step for reaching the masses. Without Virgin Mobile, would millions of fans know or hear her message--probably not.

So, be a sell-out to deliver your message, but don't let your financial partner change what you have to say!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Today's Question: What Basic SCUBA diving principles can be applied to communications?

Yes, SCUBA diving in on my mind…I've just returned from the clear, blue waters off of Turks & Caicos. I swam with sea turtles, eagle rays and sharks 80 feet underwater...yes, in some ways we swim with sharks everyday in business. It had been a while since I was last diving so before I left, I took a refresher course. I was not only reminded of proper dive techniques and skills, but it also made me think of how this skills can be applied to the business world—especially when you have to give a big presentation.

  • Equipment Check: In SCUBA diving, one of the first things you do before you hit the water is a thorough equipment check…again, another key factor when presenting. Having a faulty BC or regulator can quickly derail your dive, this same effect can occur if you walk into your presentation with an uncharged laptop or the improper connection cables.
  • Always Check Your Surroundings: You need to be extremely aware of your surroundings and the conditions. How deep will you be diving? What will you be seeing? What's the bottom terrain? Having this knowledge will make for a much better time deep underwater and it gives you a sense of what to expect and anticipate. Aren't these some basic "must-haves" for a successful presentation?
  • Continuous Breathing: Once you hit the water, you must always continue to breath…slow and steady breaths calm your nerves, conserve your air supply and also make for a more enjoyable dive. So simple, but so easy to forget. Slow and steady breathing has many advantages for SCUBA diving, just as it does to help calm nerves and allows us to gather our thoughts in stressful situations. I can’t tell you how many presentations that have felt like they have been completed in 30 seconds…or about one breath of air. That’s simply because I didn’t take the time to breathe, that or perhaps I couldn’t remember the content…

So remember, check your equipment, familiarize yourself with the surroundings and breathe deeply, that way, you can take the time to enjoy what’s going on around you…you don’t want to miss the shark whether it’s underwater or in the conference room.