Join Jason Hartman as he interviews Bronwyn Saglimbeni , founder of Bronwyn Communications, on the art of public speaking and how to push yourself beyond the basics so that your presentation captivates your audience from start to finish. Listen at: https://speakingofwealth.com/category/podcast/.
For nearly 15 years, Bronwyn has worked with clients to improve their public speaking and media relations skills, challenging them to bring out more of themselves in their communications. Bronwyn is known for her playful, irreverent approach to coaching, combined with her knack for delivering “tough love” in a way that allows executives to achieve true breakthroughs. Bronwyn encourages clients to be authentic, engaging and approachable, which has resulted in successful interviews for clients in publications such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Business week, and speaking engagements at top industry events including Ad: Tech, AAAAs, AdAge Digital, CreativityandTech, Web 2.0 Expo and others. Bronwyn has also worked with clients preparing for television appearances including American Idol, The Oprah Show, and Home Shopping Network. Bronwyn’s corporate communications career spans from working with digital marketing agencies (Isobar, Carat, Freestyle Interactive, Organic) to enterprise software companies (Jive Software, Interwoven, Savvion, Onyx Software, HNC Software), to financial services organizations (Clear Station, E*TRADE) and consumer technology start-ups (Vello, Anchor Free, Propel).
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Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure to welcome Bronwyn Saglimbeni to the show. She is the founder of Bronwyn Communications and today we are going to talk about media training, presentation training and presentation of self-training as you call it, right, Bronwyn?
Bronwyn: That’s correct.
Jason Hartman: Well, welcome to the show. It’s a pleasure to have you and tell us a little bit about what it is you do?
Bronwyn: Yeah, absolutely. So, I am a public presence coach and that means a lot of different things depending on who I am working with, but predominantly it means I work with people that give presentations, big keynotes or even they just want to brush up on their presentation skills in a conference room. The other side of my business is media coaching so I work with people who go on television or who gives press interviews, anything along those lines as well.
Jason Hartman: Excellent. Well Bronwyn, how can someone be better on the stage? I mean, let’s talk about the platform first, and then I would like to talk a little bit about the media side and presentation of self as well.
Bronwyn: Absolutely, absolutely. Well, to answer your question, how do we become better on stage, really the secret to being fantastic on the stage starts way before you ever sort of walk the steps up to the stage itself? The most important thing for us to begin our work in preparing for an appearance either a keynote or a panel of opportunity whatever it is, is to first ask what does the audience need from me? How do I teach them? How do I inspire them? How do I keep them interested and engaged on the edge of their seats?
And when you start brainstorming sort of what do I want to talk about, what do I want to say, when you start looking at that from the perspective of the person sitting in the fifth row who hasn’t had their coffee that [laughter] morning, you get a much more compelling piece of content to present and that’s half the battle, because the most polished, wonderful charismatic speaker doesn’t do anybody any good if he or she doesn’t meet audience’s needs first. So that’s an absolutely number one is to be crystal clear on what you want that audience to remember, to feel, to do as a result of what you’ve said.
Jason Hartman: One of the mistakes that I think a lot of speakers make including yours truly [laughter] is…
Jason Hartman: Not really maybe distilling that to a small enough number of things or one thing because how much can you impart to an audience in a given amount of time, can they remember and do three main things, just one thing, 10 things, can you give any thoughts along those lines?
Bronwyn: That’s an absolutely very important question to ask and really one of the key questions you have to ask is, what do I want them to remember and to your point, you know, you have to remember it, a lot of times our audiences are on their Blackberries or you know, on Twitter, on Facebook while we are talking.
So, I think sticking to a message of no more than three or four things is key. Having said that, we have to sort of look at it from the perspective of, if there are five absolutely critical things an audience needs to remember, you can make that work if you structure properly, if you use a visual, a PowerPoint presentation that creates a mood and makes a strong impression on somebody’s mind, but I think your point, which is so critical, is ruthless focus, what do they need to remember and work backwards.
And that typically when you are really ruthless about it, it is no more than three, but I don’t want that to, you know, it is not three for the sake of three. It is really just what can I reasonably ask this audience to walk away from given that I am one of million things going on in their mind as they are listening to me.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, I think negative editing or distilling down is really the hardest part for many of us, isn’t it?
Bronwyn: Yeah, it really is and you know Mark Twain was famous for his concepts of you know; sometimes we have to kill the darlings. And I have seen many a presentations where a client will be so excited about a couple of stories they want to tell and they end up on a chopping block because they don’t map back to, what do I want these people to feel, do and remember as a result to this presentation. And I think that’s why that lends not through myself but through the people I’m serving, through the people in the audience, that helps make the decision very clear ultimately.
Jason Hartman: Good, so you were about to say the second point when I popped in with a question, I apologize for that.
Bronwyn: Oh! No, no, no, it was a good question. So, the second piece of what we do, first of course is always, you know, that sense of audience empathy, audience devotion, you know, what am I going to impart to these people? But really the second part of it is working on authenticity and presentation of self. Are we bringing the best possible version of ourselves forward, the version of us that doesn’t have the bad habits or that isn’t held back by anxiety and also is that person that we are marching up there a polished version of me isn’t really the greatest thing in the world, right?
So, if somebody very polished gets on the stage and starts pontificating and talking, a lot of times that person is really hard to connect with. Polish isn’t always the ultimate goal. Authenticity is the ultimate goal. You want to look at somebody on the onstage and go, “Gosh, you know, I can’t relate to that person.”
They are real. They are not just up there talking about everything that’s perfect that they have done or 10 examples of their work in action where they have, you know, achieved magnificent successes. They are willing to be themselves and that generosity of spirit and of being honest about who we are and where we come from and living in parts of our personality that, you know, some people, it’s funny I have seen terrible transformations happen where I am working with a client who is very funny and more down to Earth and engaging and then she will walk on stage and become this just deadly serious buttoned up executive that people tune out after about five minutes because she is boring or he is boring.
So, part of it is making sure you are not making the bad mistakes or any of those bad habits of ruining you back, but really that you are giving yourself permission to be yourself on stage and that’s a lot of what we work on when I work people to is helping them reclaim what is your voice, who are you really and bringing that forward on stage.
Jason Hartman: So, authenticity obviously is key.
Bronwyn: Absolutely. And an audience can tell when it is not there very – even if it is a subconscious thing we pick up on, we can tell when somebody is not, you know, I always if when somebody says, “Oh! God, I saw the boring presenter today”, I always think to myself, “The presenter wasn’t boring, they just weren’t being themselves.”
Jason Hartman: Yeah. And a lot of times that is true because nobody is really that boring if they are being authentic usually, right?
Bronwyn: Absolutely, absolutely. Whenever I talk to groups of people, I always look at the audience and I say, “You know what? I see these faces staring back at me.” If you think about it is each of us comes from a completely unique background set of experiences, work experiences, family upbringing, we are all absolutely unique. There is no way that any of us are boring, anything, but it is just a matter of sparking the authenticity in each of us.
Jason Hartman: Right, right. So, besides authenticity which – that seems like an obvious comment, but would you have anything to say about it as a way to maybe get more in touch with one’s authentic self, not that people are being inauthentic, but I think what happens and I think your point is that when people get on stage, they sort of become another person, right, they become more stilted, and more formal and…
Bronwyn: Right. [laughter] I call it putting on the big boy pants, putting on your big girl pants, exactly.
Jason Hartman: Right.
Bronwyn: That’s exactly right. And one of the things that, one of the techniques that I use to help people to your point, the phrase authenticity is like the phrase, the word innovation. It almost seizes to mean anything. It has been used so much, but what I encourage people to do is listen to themselves and observe themselves when they are talking to their best friend or their spouse or their parent or close relative listening to yourself when you are at your most comfortable, your most confident, your most charming. That is the voice you want to access for getting in front of a room and that’s a scary thing for a lot of people, because they think, “Oh! God, you know, I tend to be kind of funny and I really like to use humor and I am not sure that’s okay or I see the world a little differently, I am afraid to put that out there.”
Here’s the thing. If you want to stand out and be exceptional and be memorable and have a voice, you have to trust yourself. You have to trust the authenticity and the realness of who you are. It is enough. You are enough and if you can make that change, that’s when you jump off the screen. In fact, from some of my works that I do for television, there are just countless talking heads up there on TV, countless. The people that really transcend the person that you just see on an infomercial versus the person that becomes Ryan Seacrest or whomever it is, there are people that are absolutely in touch with their voice, their unique take on the world. We have got enough talking heads out there dared to be yourself.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, I think people can really sense that level of conviction even when they don’t agree with a speaker, they love the conviction. They really appreciate that kind of congruity between the body language, the belief system and what is said and that really is very charismatic probably the most charismatic thing of all, isn’t it?
Bronwyn: I agree. I absolutely agree. I remember several years ago I saw speaker Scott Bradbury. He had written a book on marketing and he was basically the person, the CMO of Starbucks at that time when they really, you know, hit the stratosphere and he was the person at Nike who did the “Just Do It” campaign and I remember being so blown away by how humble he was as a speaker, you know, he had these incredible successes, but he had no problem telling us stories of complete train wrecks that [laughter] happened on his journey. And he said it was such and we were a very large audience, but the way he spoke to us was so conversational and so friendly and so disarming, I mean, I think every single one of us bought his book and every single one of us poured over a story he told and we were able to retell those stories very easily. He wasn’t up there in a suit and tie buttoned up sort of speaking from the voice you think a business speaker wants to speak from. He was himself and he was so generous with his real experiences and that is so key to being one of those speakers that gets off to present and they gets off again and again and again.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, absolutely. I almost, you know, I am just going to be a sort of a cynic here for a moment, but I have noticed this pattern with a lot of speakers that it seems like they got your message and it seems like they are almost doing too much of that or they are doing it on a purpose and it sounds contrived sometimes. They are always telling the story of how, Oh, Gee, I was a poor homeless person and now I am a big successor, you know, it is like and I made all these mistakes, but I got my wife together and [laughter]…
Bronwyn: [Laughter] Right.
Jason Hartman: I think I have heard that so many times. It’s just amazing.
Bronwyn: [Laughter] This is true. It is so funny I recently saw one woman who is a coach, who shall remain nameless and someone in the audience said, “Gosh, how would you manage to balance this and that and do this and be so successful?” And she literally [laughter] looked at the audience and she said, “Drugs.”
Jason Hartman: [Laughter].
Bronwyn: “I’m on anti-depressants and blah, blah, blah.” And I looked her, I thought, okay.
Jason Hartman: [Laughter] Wow.
Bronwyn: Authenticity is key, but there is a fine line [laughter] over sharing and pushing it little too far. So, I agree with you, I think you are obviously right. Some people are taking it way too far and you know, I think that’s where that balance and that lens of looking at it first through the eyes of the audience, I think when we put authenticity first it can often become self-indulgent. And so when you start with audience service and audience under the – in devotion, that keeps you in check. You are not going to go down silly tangent sort of trying to prove how quirk you are if you are laser focused on meeting the needs of the people that are listening to you.
Jason Hartman: That’s a very good point. What else on the presentation skills, I mean, do you go into the body language aspect?
Bronwyn: Yeah, you know, I do. It really depends on each person and there is an advice I got years ago from a mentor of mine that I continue to give out, if you – speaking specifically about body language, if we are standing in front of the group and we are rooted and our feet are, you know, hip distance apart, in Yoga they call it Tadasana or a mountain pose, if the lower half of your body is rooted to the ground and you are in a strong position, your arms and your limbs and your movements will follow, will do what they naturally want to do.
I am not one of these people that is a huge fan of like the five power gestures of public speaking. To me that is contrived. The goal is make sure you are physically grounded in your space and then that becomes a launch pad for your body to do what it naturally and instinctively wants to do, because when we tell stories we gesture and typically nine times out of 10 the gestures match the story, the tempo, the peace where we are going with it. So we need only ground ourselves from the waist down and the rest takes care of itself. Now there are some people that get so firmly planted in the ground they don’ move and they don’t use their physical space.
That’s something we work on and that just takes practice and watching yourself on a video can be extremely powerful, but from my perspective it is the content and the vocal delivery that actually trump body language a lot of times. So, if you would like I can talk a little bit more about the vocal delivery part of it, which I think is just critical.
Jason Hartman: Oh! Okay, good, yeah, vocal delivery, absolutely. That seems very subjective by the way, so I would love to hear more about that.
Bronwyn: Absolutely, absolutely and that is completely my opinion, you know, if you put in a formal study I would be very curious to see who else in my field feels the same way, but one of the people I love to show in my sessions with clients is Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs is a master at speaking slowly and creating enough space between his thoughts that it gives the listener time to catch up and time to digest. He is so excellent at it, you almost don’t even know it is happening and he uses such simple language, simple vivid language to convey what he is trying to say that you get caught up in the stories he is telling or you get caught up in whatever technology he is demonstrating. And that ability to use fewer words, to be more economic with your words is 10x more powerful to me than knowing where to put your hands in air as you are walking around the stage. That’s a huge marker of the powerful communicator.
In fact, they used that in New York Times when Obama first got inaugurated, they had this very interesting tool and they played, you know, his now famous speech that he gave and they timed how long it took him to deliver each time. It was shocking. It took him, you know, what normally would take us five seconds to say, it took him 25 seconds to say because he knew how to give each word weight and to me that is so important because it makes you a better communicator in regular conversation, in makes you a better communicator in meetings, on stage, I don’t care if you are talking to five people or 5,000 and also makes you a better person of use because reporters don’t have to scramble to keep up with you and then we wonder why we are getting misquoted. Well, it is because you said 60,000 things in the course of 90 seconds, right. So, to me that slowing down, that saying less – saying more by saying less is a far more important skill.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, absolutely and I think the other great was Ronald Reagan on that because…
Bronwyn: Yeah, absolutely.
Jason Hartman: I mean, when I watch him speak on YouTube and so forth, it just gives me goose bumps, I mean…
Bronwyn: Oh! Amazing.
Jason Hartman: He is so congruent too, but [laughter] I can ask you a question about Obama. Candidate Obama was a great speaker. President Obama stinks. I mean, [laughter] what happened to him?
Bronwyn: [Laughter]. Well, you know…
Jason Hartman: That he just decide that the job is too hard and he just isn’t inspired anymore [laughter], what happened?
Bronwyn: You know, I think there is a lot that’s changed, change being the operative term here of course.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, [laughter] open change, right, yeah.
Bronwyn: I have to plan words to get there. I think this is just totally personal opinion, this is by no means it’s assumed true, but candidate Obama was in the business of really selling a philosophy, a movement, an inspirational sort of view of politics and Washington President Obama is now faced reality of what it really takes to run the country and being far more careful about every statement, every sentence. So, I don’t agree with you that he has got more, it is in fact I think there are some places he has got a lot better, he makes much better eye contact with interviewers when he is interviewing. I think he is doing a much better job there.
But I do think that the idealist that was out banging on the podium has now been on the job for couple [laughter] of years and has learned a few things and I think that has tempered maybe some of the enthusiasm or even some of the real that he have that wonderful miracle lyricism to the way he spoke and I think in assuming that Commander-in-chief position he became a little less miracle, a little bit more of a Commander-in-chief and I think that’s part of the transformation that happened.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, I think the reality has hit the guy hard and his idealism and the movement has gone. That’s really what’s – what you – I think, you know, the first part of what you said was very interesting. Let me take a brief pause. We will be back in just a minute.
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Jason Hartman: One of the things on your blog is about the five public speaking mistakes we continue to make. Give us some insight into those five mistakes if you would?
Bronwyn: Yeah, absolutely. So, at that posting sort of sparked by several keynotes and presentations I saw over the fall and the winter which is a really busy time in the conference circuit especially here in the valley and I was just shocked by people that should know better, getting up and boring an audience within an inch of its life. I just, I think that’s unacceptable. And so I got all round up and I – these five things really stuck out for me. And the first one was, you know, we all have the tendency when we get a gig or we find out we are going to be on a panel or we find out that we are speaking in a conference, we immediately open an existing get or we immediately go back to existing talking points.
Now, I am not saying that you don’t get to go back and refer to the work that you have already done because to be honest we are all busy, but it is not where you begin. You don’t get fresh breakthrough ideas by opening existing presentation. You don’t connect with the needs of a specific audience that you have yet to meet with by opening something that’s stale. The key is to always start – turn off the computer, go for a walk whatever it takes, but get into the mindset of that group you are going to be addressing.
If it so happens and once you had a good think that you have got material that will help you get there even if it is 80 or 90%, they are great, but you never start there, because chances are the audience can tell that it’s old, it often doesn’t feel totally appropriate for the opportunity you can tell this guy just ran out of time and he is thriving out something else. And sometimes the presentation already exists on YouTube somewhere and the people that have done their homework and looked to you beforehand are like, “Well, guy, I already saw this.” So that makes me crazy when I see that.
The second thing that I see a lot of times with clients is, they will come into a session and will have a brainstorm around “Okay, well we have got this keynote opportunity, let’s brainstorm.” And they will come up with, you know, three or four ideas in the first 15 minutes and go, “Okay, let’s build the PowerPoint.”
I really encourage people to go beyond those first few ideas. The first few ideas are usually good, but they have nine times out of 10 been done before. The best way to approach it is to come up with those first ideas that make you excited and then say, “Okay, well what if the audience has heard of all these things already? How do I make them better, more interesting, more edgy, more unexpected?” That is when the really good stuff comes through and that is the beginning of a great presentation.
The third thing is and this is vintage public speaking advice and you may disagree with me on this one, but I feel pretty strongly, we are all sort of raised with this concept of, well, first you tell them what you are going to tell them. Then you tell them and then you tell them what you told them. As an audience member, I am here to tell you that I don’t need you to tell me what you are going to [laughter] tell me in great detail, I don’t need you to recap it in great detail, get to the point. I’ve got my Blackberry out, I am on Tweet deck, I am looking at Facebook, I really want to hear the crux of the message and only then will I decide whether you get to keep my attention for the rest of the time.
So, I am here to tell you, you can let go of that axiom, [laughter] approaching from a completely fresh perspective. Start off with a provocative question, start off with an unexpected story, create a scenario, a visual in their heads and get people thinking. That’s how you start off a good presentation. Don’t start off by saying, “I am here to tell you three things” unless it really works and it is unexpected in this context and it is fine, but yeah, I like to spelling that as a notion [laughter].
Jason Hartman: That was – I heard that so much out of the NSA, the National Speakers Association in the 90s.
Jason Hartman: Back in the 90s, that was the thing [laughter] and so it was that mantra of tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them and then tell them what you have told them, now it is over and over and it is over and over.
Bronwyn: Yeah, exactly and, you know, there is nothing wrong with repetition because there is a lot of research out there that shows that the brain retails what’s been repeated. It is not repetition that I have a problem with. It is this wasting time that I have a problem with.
Jason Hartman: Right.
Bronwyn: And that we all have such short attention spans. Given how short the attention spans are, a new approach is required.
Jason Hartman: Sure. One thing I want to backup on before you get to the next, I think you have two more points left, Bronwyn, you mentioned twice PowerPoint and there are some speaking coaches who disagree on the use of PowerPoint. Certainly, I think PowerPoint or keynote or whatever slide program you are using has made for inferior speaking skills because people think that…
Bronwyn: Great point.
Jason Hartman: PowerPoint will do the job for them. Any advice on the use of slides or other visuals?
Bronwyn: Yeah, that’s a wonderful question. And really it is a multi layered answer I think, really for anyone getting in front of a group, the main focus is you, the speaker. In fact, the rule of thumb I always tell my clients is, if Wi-Fi goes down or if the computer freezes, can you deliver the same messages without any backup from a PowerPoint or a keynote presentation. That’s how you know you are prepared. Having said that, I totally agree with you know, lot of people way over rely on their presentation, they think the crowd is there to see their deck, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
On the other hand, there is a lot of, again going back to sort of research about what we know about the adult’s brain and how it learns and retains information, visuals triumph all other senses when it comes to retaining new information. So with visuals triumph all other senses, you know, having a strong visual component can be very powerful. You can use words to make that visual impression, but you can also use PowerPoint and notice it is not about having words in a 12 inch font on a slide. What images can we use to create drama, to create a mood, to impress a point in the mind of an audience, you know, and I am not advocating like I’ve got this allergy against images, you know, if you are talking about partnership, if I see two hands shaking on a screen to indicate partnership I am going to lose my mind. It is like…
Jason Hartman: Right.
Bronwyn: These clichés…
Jason Hartman: The iStockphoto image [laughter], right.
Bronwyn: [Laughter] you got to go for the unexpected because that’s the stuff the brain, the crowded adult brain remembers. So, if you are using PowerPoint as a way to establish a mood or to help an audience remember a concept, I think it is very powerful. I mean, look at how Steve Jobs uses PowerPoint. He gets up on the stage and he is the man to do that, but every so often you will get this gorgeous, gorgeous visual that supports what he is saying and stays with you long after the presentation is over.
Jason Hartman: Completely simplistic, the black with the white font and very few words [laughter].
Bronwyn: Yeah, good.
Jason Hartman: No one can accuse Steve Jobs of reading his slides, that’s for sure. [Laughter]
Bronwyn: Well, that’s exactly right and as an audience we can only do one thing at a time. We can listen to you or we can read the words on your slide. Which one do we want as the speaker? We want you to listen to me, right?
Jason Hartman: Right.
Bronwyn: I appeared singing my heart out for you, we want to listen to me, and so having words on the screen it all is really dangerous. And the really great presenters only have two or three max on a slide.
Jason Hartman: Right. So, you had a couple of other points before I asked you the PowerPoint question.
Bronwyn: Yes, absolutely. So, here is another point that seems obvious but my God, it is shocking how many times we make this mistake. Many times on especially the higher level sort of C level executives will make assumptions about how much time they really have to present. Well, in CEO I get at least what 25, 30, 40 minutes, sometimes it’s 6 minutes. It is so critical that we know before we sit down to brainstorm exactly precisely how much time we have. A 6-minute presentation is world different from a 45-minute one for very obvious reasons.
And so what I’ve often seen is people will make these assumptions about how much time they have and then they get up with literally the wrong presentation for the wrong audience and it is deeply uncomfortable as an audience member because you can tell that it is going way over the conference planners get ensured it is the train wreck and it happens every conference everywhere around the world, I can guarantee that at least one speaker makes that mistake. So, an easy piece of advice, find out how long you are speaking the minute you get the gig [laughter] and work backwards from there.
The final point in terms of the mistakes I have been seeing that we all make is we will pour our heart and souls into a presentation. We will think about the audience and their needs, we will meet their needs, we will tell great stories, we will bring on most authentic souls forward and then the very end of the presentation ends with a sizzle. It just kind of goes, “Well, thanks for having me. This is great to be here.”
That is nothing worse when an audience has connected with you and been inspired and gone with you on this journey. They needed to end with a bang. It needs to be just as strong as at the end that it is at the beginning. Some great ways to end it are powerful quotes or another really powerful story or a sending force question that you ask the audience to discuss and think about as they are leaving something that provides a good strong book end for how you started off and you would be surprised how infrequently people really pay attention to how they end things, but it is critical, because it is the very last point of connection the audience has with you, the speaker.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, very very good point. So, you make me think of that Seinfeld episode where George and you [laughter] may or may not have seen it where George always left the room, you know, at a high note.
Bronwyn: [Laughter] On a high note.
Jason Hartman: [laughter] Yeah, right, you have seen it.
Bronwyn: I love that, thank you very much.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, yeah [laughter].
Bronwyn: Yeah [laughter].
Jason Hartman: [laughter] It doesn’t matter where he is, but if he made everybody laugh, he would just gone out of the room [laughter].
Bronwyn: [laughter] That’s good. At this stage well I would say I had my highlight for the day, exactly [laughter].
Jason Hartman: Exactly. [Laughter] So, was that really the point on that one?
Bronwyn: Well, I think, you know [laughter] George’s timing might have been a little bit off. I think he sort of opportunistically ended and walked out even if it was mid-sentence, [laughter] you know, so I think my recommendation should be a bit more intentional about it and craft the high note that you want to walk out on at the appropriate time, be in control of what that high note is as you walk off stage. [Laughter] I got those, I love George Costanza.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, Bronwyn, he is great and I know we need to wrap up soon here, but I’ve got a question for you. How do you end on a high note when some formats and the format changes, some formats need a Q&A session after the speech, so it is sort of hard to end on a high note, do you take questions and then do the close on a high note after you have some questions so it is not end questions and then the last question is the end, it is pseudo ending questions and then a real close? Is that the way you do it?
Bronwyn: That’s a great question. That’s a wonderful question and not enough people ask that question actually. It goes back to a technique in media training and anybody who has been to media training will recognize. And this is the concept of bridging, bridging back to a concept you want to make crystal clear. And regardless of what your final question is from an audience you will absolutely by all means answer it.
But there are really magical little phrases you can use to bridge back to your big closing and these phrases look like, you know, once you’ve answered the question, but you know this thing I am most excited about or this thing I most want you to remember or what is most fascinating about this or what we have most to look forward to? Those kinds of phrases instantly bridge you back to whatever that big concept is you want to end with and whatever that quote is or whatever it is.
I have some clients that literally print out, I have like a list of five or six examples of these bridging statements and they print them out and put them right next to their phone because they are such powerful points of transition and for anyone you are talking to, I don’t care if it is a reporter or a friend or a colleague or an audience of 6000 people, phrases like “what I am most excited about” or “what we all need to remember is”, they act as like they magically snap people back to attention. And so as long as you use a bridging statement, you go back to the big closing and a big statement you want to make. It is very seamless and it doesn’t feel forced, it doesn’t feel contrived, it just feels like an excellent well-thought true ending.
Jason Hartman: That’s a very good point, so bridge back to them. Now, I want you to give out your website and tell people where they can learn more. And by the way, I must compliment you, Bronwyn, on your vocal variety. I really like listening to you.
Jason Hartman: You are very engaging, [laughter] so, and you should be because you are the expert.
Bronwyn: [Laughter] I can tell you how much I appreciate that.
Jason Hartman: Well, you are the expert, you better be good at that.
Bronwyn: You know, its funny nobody ever compliments me darn it, no, I am just kidding. No, thank you so much for saying that. I appreciate that.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, you are very good at it. On media training, just give us a little quickie couple of tidbits on media training because that is so important speakers are revered as experts, they want to be thought of as thought leaders and they want to do radio and television interviews, podcast interviews and so forth, there are so many opportunities to get one’s name out there nowadays with all the new media. What are some quick things that can teach people of media training?
Bronwyn: Absolutely. I mean, for those who don’t have a ton of experience in working with a press, I mean, there is – we could spend an entire day on that, but one really important thing to remember is just how overstretched these reporters are. They don’t have time to know who you are, your background, where you want to take the story. You have to assume they have had absolutely no time to prepare for you and you want to do as much as you can to prepare yourself.
In other words, they may not view you in such a story angle very well, they file five stories where they didn’t talk to you really be in position of what are my key messages, what questions would I love to be asked, what questions am I afraid of getting asked, do I have to think answers that are 30 seconds or less for each of these questions that I just laid out? It is so important to show prepared, I think too often we assume I am the expert, I know the stuff called and we get on the phone, but what ends up happening is that we talk in these endless run on sentences that are almost impossible to quote and then we wonder why we were misquoted.
So, I think the most important thing to remember is reporters and producers are packed beyond the pale. They don’t have time. Therefore, preparation on near end is key. What is the ideal headline you want, what is the ideal pole quote or what do you want to see yourself in print or on TV saying, what questions are you afraid of getting, what questions do you want to get and brainstorm the answers to all of those. There are lots of other techniques that go into it, but that is the most important.
Jason Hartman: Very good point. So, Bronwyn, where can people learn more about what you do on camera coaching, presentation coaching, media training, presenting one’s best self et cetera, et cetera?
Bronwyn: Absolutely. My website is www.bronwyncommunications.com and that’s probably the best way to reach me. On Twitter, I am @bronwynsf like San Francisco and that’s another way to find me, but probably the website is the best place to go. There are lots of great resources there. There is my blog and other things that I find interesting I put up there as well. So, looking forward to connecting with you and anyone in your audience who is looking to polish the skills a little bit.
Jason Hartman: Excellent. Well, Bronwyn, thank you so much. I really appreciate having you on the show today and keep speaking of success. You are doing a great job.
Bronwyn: Thank you so much, Jason. Take care.
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The Speaking of Wealth Team
Transcribed by: Renee’