Wednesday, December 11, 2013


   How many times have you been faced with a speaking opportunity in front of a group of experts - and you've only got fifteen minutes to deliver?

     That's what I'm preparing for ... as I'll join a panel of speakers at a national conference in our nation's capitol.  And while in theory 15 minutes doesn't seem like a lot of time ... I think it's a great challenge to deliver something valuable, make an impact and leave them wanting more.
     Think about it ... a one hour talk gives you plenty of time, but rarely would it seem that folks who sit through your talk would walk away asking themselves, "I sure wish I could sit there for another hour!"
      This abbreviated speaker's challenge is one gets the juices flowing.  And here's my game plan when I get the smaller window and need to make a positive impression.

* Opening Comments  - that engage and create participation
* Explanation & Expectation - that tells them what I'll be sharing
* PowerPoint - because that's the format and the "meat" of my presentation
* Closing Commentary - something that makes them think
* Final Thought - something impactful and hopefully insightful that leaves them with a lasting impression

    The topic for me in this case ... is "pitching" stories to the media.  Something I've now been on both sides of.  As a 25 year member of the media reporting stories, anchoring shows or interviewing guests, I can't tell you how many press releases or emails I've seen encouraging me to sell my organization on the merits of covering something. 
    Now I'm on the other side, selling the merits of the LPGA, our organization, our players and the collective growth we're seeing.  It's a great challenge and with that, I'll be the first to say that one really can't put a value on the importance of the media.  People may not always agree with what comes from coverage, but there is one thing upon which you can't put a price tag - relevance.
    Now, back to the focus of the speech.  No matter what you're topic... you are are not just a "talking head."  To be effective, you must be a "salesperson" of your ideas and your information.
     We live now in a 24 hour news cycle and a world of :10 attention spans.  So if you've got something to say, or sell.... or "pitch" ... you'd better make it worthwhile and you'd better not waste time in delivering.  And other words, think of trying to make a connection or handshake with the audience - in short order.
Make a Speaker's "Connection"

     Fifteen minutes is plenty enough time to use the stage and sell your ideas.  For me, the challenge becomes how many ideas.
     Here's my suggestion ... find one theme or common thread and then identify no more than three
key ideas you'd like to get across. Then, think of it as a sandwich.  Surround your ideas - which become the peanut butter and jelly - with your favorite bread on top and on the bottom.  The top becomes the "hook" or the attention grabber and the bottom becomes the "close" or the final impact statements that allow the audience to remember or retain and leave with a positive impression.
Don't Think "Clock" .. Think "Delivery"
  Fifteen minutes is plenty ... just realize that everyone gets distracted  - your job (and mine) is to make them focus.  Sometimes, the shorter time means a greater attention span.  And when it comes to having them pay attention to you.... don't just hope they will - make them!

      Thanks for reading this blog and sharing with others.  I'd love to get your commentary right here ... or directly on Twitter @KraigKann

Thought for the Day - The success of your speech is not about the time you're given, it's about the information you'll give and how you'll make the most impact in the amount of time.

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