Communications, Inc.

Monthly Marketing and Customer Services Ideas
from June Van Klaveren, Compelling Communications, Inc. -- March, 2004

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Stage Fright Strategies

Occasionally I'm asked about overcoming stage fright, a condition that affects even the most seasoned speakers. Actually, stage fright takes root in the "fight or flight" phenomenon of ancient times. Stage fright may come and go, but it usually does not disappear permanently. According to surveys, the number one fear is of public speaking. If that applies to you, try out some of the ideas here.

  • Concentrate on your own abilities
  • Imagine yourself visiting with friends.
  • Think about your purpose in being there - help the audience.
  • Prepare well.
  • Absolutely memorize your opening statement so you can recite it on autopilot if you have to.
  • Practice, practice, practice.
  • Be in the room at least an hour early if possible to check everything. You can also schmooze with participants arriving early.
    Concentrate on searching for current and immediate things that are happening at the event that you can mention during your talk (especially in the opening).
  • Visit with people as they enter the room.
  • Yawn to relax your throat.
  • If your legs are trembling, lean on a table, sit down, or shift your legs.
  • Take a quick walk.
  • Take quick drinks of water. Don't drink alcohol or coffee or tea with caffeine.
  • Hide notes around the stage area so you know you have a backup if you happen to draw a blank.
  • Do isometrics that tighten and release muscles.
  • Use eye contact.
  • Look in the mirror. Check for unzipped zippers, etc.!
  • Look at the friendliest faces in the audience.

    Remember nervousness doesn't show as much as it feels.

Just for Grins
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Book Review

Good to Great by James C. Collins

After completing Built to Last, Jim Collins was nagged by the lingering question that he had been pondering since before Built to Last: are there any mediocre companies that became great? Once he had established his delimiters, he set out to collect data. Jim and his research team spent over five years and studied every company that made the Fortune 500 from 1965 until now-over 1400 companies-and found only eleven companies had truly gone from mediocre to being a long-term star. Then, they looked at why. Here's where it gets really interesting.

From studying these organizations, Collins and crew came up with some really mind-stretching conclusions. One of the most interesting: every good-to-great company has a "Level 5" leader during the transitional years. However, a "Level 5" leader is unlike strong leaders of our imaginings. All Level 5 leaders have a mix of personal humility and professional will. Fanatically driven to produce results, they are ambitious, first and foremost, for the company-not for themselves. Ultimately, they do whatever it takes to make the company great. A few of the other most useful findings include something called The Hedgehog Concept, which advocates breaking out of mediocrity with a single terrific product or service; and Technology Accelerators, which encourages a fundamentally diverse attitude and approach to technology.

Simply put: this book is going to be talked about for years-it is so solid in its findings, but written so superbly that you will practically learn just by holding it in your hand. But don't stop there: I guarantee that your copy will be as marked up with notes as mine.



In This Issue


Case Study

Case Study

Challenge: Art's Pest Control wanted a more eye-catching Yellow Page ad to increase calls to their pest control copany.

Solution: We redesigned the ad using an attractive headline and graphic. Compare the before and after below.


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