Presentations. Sometimes you love ’em, and sometimes you don’t. I will take you play-by-play through a presentation I recently endured. Your personal brand is everything, and this presenter didn’t do much to help his. Personal branding and company branding are closely related. Let me first start by saying I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I consider myself a fair and empathetic guy. I love people and realize that we all have our strengths and weaknesses. Seriously, I’m not a jerk. Now that I’ve spent four sentences defending my character I’ll get into it.
This was a social media marketing event advertised by an organization that I’m associated with. It was a Lunch and Learn format where you come and network for 15-30 minutes, grab food, have a seat, and learn from a presenter. The keyword here is “learn.” Ok, well, “lunch” is pretty important too.
Some attendees are nonmembers and pay a small fee for these events. They are probably leaving their place of work at about 11:15 to get there by 11:45 to network. The presentation started at around 12:05. I like to attend events like this to get out there, meet new people, and learn from others in my industry. Do I claim to know everything about social media? Nope. So, why not learn something while eating and meeting new people?
TIP #1: PEOPLE WILL CARE WHEN THEY ARE READY TO CARE. EDUCATE, BUILD TRUST, THEN ASK PEOPLE TO CARE.
The presentation started with the presenter introducing himself, which was fine. Then he showed us a three-minute video about his company, which was kind of ok. THEN he told us more about how his company was structured, which is starting to be a bit much. TTHHHEEENNN, he told us about someone on his team that was just diagnosed with cancer. He was a bit choked up, which I can totally understand. TTTTHHHHHHEEEEENNNNNN, he asked if we would all take a moment of silence for this employee of his.
How do I criticize this intro without sounding like a complete and utter jerk? Like this: I’ve had people close to me that have suffered, recovered, or died from cancer. Most of us have, and it sucks. BUT, there is a time and a place for this type of information, and a Lunch and Learn with total strangers that don’t know you or your employee, who may or may not have their mouths full of food, waiting to hear tips and strategies for using Facebook to build their businesses is NOT one of them.
This is where branding comes in.
Already, he’s talked a lot without telling me much, other than who he is, what he’s about, what he’s selling, and asked me to take a moment of silence for someone that I don’t know. I just came for lunch and to learn some things! He’s asking too much of the audience at this point. It’s the equivalent of going on blind date with someone and having them talk about themselves for 15 minutes straight, then tell you about their close friend who has been diagnosed with cancer while getting choked up. That would make for an extremely awkward first date. And, it made for an awkward intro to his presentation.
TIP #2: GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY CAME FOR. I WENT TO A MEXICAN RESTAURANT FOR A QUESADILLA, AND THEY HAD CHANGED THEIR MENU TO ONLY FEATURE SEAFOOD DISHES. I WANTED A QUESADILLA. IF I KNEW THEY WERE SELLING SHRIMP I WOULDN’T HAVE GONE.
After a 15-minute introduction, he starts talking about digital media and introduces the idea of inbound marketing. That’s great! He’s starting to set a solid foundation for where we are going. (Remember, we are here for social media education, which is a component of inbound marketing.) He hits us with a few valuable facts about why digital marketing is important. THEN, he spends the next 15 minutes on one slide. ONE! Don’t get me wrong; explaining every single step of inbound marketing is important… IF I WERE HERE TO LEARN ABOUT INBOUND MARKETING!
Next, we go into social medi–oh wait, nevermind. Not yet. He wants to sell us–I mean talk to us–about why video is important (which it totally is.) He explains there are 4 different types of video: brand videos, FAQs, commercials, and teasers. He even shows us some examples, which is fine, except for the fact that they’re all his company’s videos! Listen man, your video production work is fine, but at this point in the presentation I’ve heard you talk about yourself, your company, and your work for 70% of the presentation.
At this point it’s been about 60 minutes. He even verbalizes that he’s way behind schedule. The audience now knows that he knows he’s not pacing himself and he’s running out of time. Everyone in the room is starting to get a bit anxious. And then, FINALLY, he starts talking about social media! Yes! Let’s do this…in 15 minutes. :(
TIP #3: STOP SELLING! DON’T USE YOUR PRESENTATION AS A SALES PITCH. IT’S A PRECIOUS 75 OR SO MINUTES OF UNDIVIDED ATTENTION ON YOU! USE IT WISELY!
He rushes through six slides with a couple bullets on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. There were some nuggets of good information, but he really only skimmed the surface. He could have gone so much deeper into any of those platforms and really helped the audience. Instead, he spend 60 minutes selling and talking about things that we frankly weren’t there to learn.
What happened next? You guessed it. He started talking faster, flipping through slides faster, and probably sweating a little. People started to get up and leave because, I’m assuming, they had to get back to work. The organizer of the event walked up to the front of the room like she was ready to pull the plug on his mic. So what does he do? HE SHOWS US MORE SLIDES ABOUT HIS COMPANY. He read off their value proposition and showed us testimonials from his clients! And that was it. No time left for FAQ, which was another opportunity lost for him to build trust and listen. The room was tense. Not good.
After dedicating two and a half hours of my day to this, here are my takeaways:
As I said at the beginning, your personal brand is EVERYTHING! And when you’re the head of a company, it not only reflects on you, but on your company, employees, and clients as well. Use the opportunities you have in life to build positive, meaningful experiences. Make me smile. Make me cry. Don’t make me feel like a sales target.
Want to be more effective with the time you have creating marketing strategies? You can read The 5 Step Process For a More Structured Marketing Strategy eBook for a more in-depth discussion of these concepts and how you can begin to implement them.
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