I confess. I was about to throw together this month’s blog post by merely listing a bunch of inspiring quotations around better marketing, effective communication and presentation skills.

Easy. Won’t take me but a little cut and paste time. Color me done. (And on target with the promise I made on my Will Do list to post monthly for one year solid.)

But something happened on my way to The Easy Way Out.

As I dug through my hard drive for effective communication quotes, I found a few I hadn’t used in my presentations or training for a long time. And dog gone it if they didn’t re-inspire (and convict) me.

No way could I now just post a bunch of effective communication quotes. Anyone, everyone and Google already does that. I’m all about being different and helping you be the same. So, not only do you get a few of my favorite quotes around effective communication. You also get my take on them, as well. Enjoy!

People tend to do business with people they like, trust and have confidence in.
David A. Peoples

Who’s he?

David A. Peoples is the author of Selling to the Top. He’s not the PGA golfer David R. Peoples, nor is he the Blade Runner screenwriter David W. Peoples,

My take?

All things being equal or pretty darn close to it, you’re more likely to win the business because the decision maker likes you and can imagine a pleasant future working with or buying from you. In fact, personality and approachability might be the single most effective way to set yourself apart from the competition. They trump a long list of boastful accomplishments or product features, especially when compared to the same long list from You Know Who.

Make sure your sales presentations and marketing copy sound and feel like a human being is behind every detail. Make it feel like a dialogue, not a monologue.

There’s a difference between a sign and an ad. A sign says “Stop!”
An ad says ‘Hey, over here. Look at me. I’m different. Wanna dance?’”
Paul Keye

Who’s he?

Founding partner of Keye/Donna/Perlstein ad agency and creative director behind the familiar TV spot that likens the effects of drugs on the brain to eggs sizzling in a hot skillet. Did I just carbon date myself?

My take?

Intrigue is a mighty powerful tool when it comes to getting people to not only pay attention to your ad or marketing message, but to stay with it. The mind is a curious thing, and it won’t rest (or turn away) until it achieves satisfaction. It’s called the power of the reveal. Both sides of the brain kick in, which makes your message all the more memorable, and more likely to trigger action.

Thunder is good. Thunder is impressive. But it’s the lightning that does the work.
Mark Twain

Who’s he?

C’mon. Really?

My take?

If you’re going to make noise of any kind, you better be able to follow through. Promises made in marketing had better be kept on the delivery side. If not, don’t run with the marketing until everyone is on board. (See last month’s blog post.)

Likewise, it’s one thing for a prospect to talk a big game about wanting to buy your product, about how much they’d love to buy it, or work with you or give you the project. Until you strike a deal, it’s just a lot of noise.

The secret to being boring is to tell everything.

Who’s he?

He wrote the satirical novella Candide, and his best-known play is the tragedy Oedipus, which was first performed in 1718. Voltaire is his pen name! (I thought is was his last name. You know, like Socrates. Except that Socrates didn’t have a last name. Apparently last names weren’t widely used until the 11th century or so.) Voltaire’s real name is Francois-Marie Arouet. Despite controversy and multiple exiles during his lifetime, Voltaire is widely considered one of France’s greatest Enlightenment writers.

My take?

This quote could be a kissing cousin to Paul Keye’s quote, above, punctuating the power of intrigue. However, I usually quote Voltaire in the context of presentation skills training, and especially in the context of a new business pitch or sales presentation. One of the biggest problems I see when it comes to making a presentation is what to do with all the “stuff” we want to say. The stuff we need to say, should say, were told to say but know we can’t say because there’s just too much to say and not enough time.

Which is why I recommend deciding first on what your point is, and then carefully selecting the right mix of information that will support it. By “point” I mean the single most important thing you want remembered and repeated when whatever you had to say is all said and done. Your point is not the same as your desired action or decision.

“Terri hit me up for a raise today.”

Is that what I want my boss to remember and repeat after our meeting? Of course not.

I want my boss to remember and say, “Wow, that Terri is a go-getter, top producer. She’s a keeper. I gave her a raise today.” That’s the point I want to build my message around.

Be still when you have nothing to say.
When genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.
D.H. Lawrence

Who’s he?

A British novelist, poet, painter best known for his infamous novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which was banned in the United States until 1959. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential (and controversial) writers of the 20th century.

My take?

Whether it’s a new idea you want others to champion, the three reasons your firm is the right fit for the job or an enthusiastic restaurant recommendation, if you believe it with all you’ve got—head, heart and gut included—odds are others will too.

When people tell me they are nervous about public speaking or making a presentation, it’s usually because they are focused on the physical aspects of delivering the presentation. They worry too soon and often needlessly over how to stand, what to do with their hands, how to use gestures comfortably. Delivery is important. But it’s not the first thing to think about.

Content and structure come first! Start there, and you will be surprised at how  comfortable, confident—and enthusiastic—you are when it’s your turn to talk. You might even look forward to it. Your passion comes through naturally, not rigidly rehearsed.

A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.
Grace Hopper

Who’s she?

United States Navy Rear Admiral Grace Hopper was also the inventor of the first compiler for computer programming language. Yes, you read that correctly. She is also credited with popularizing the term “debugging” for fixing computer glitches (inspired by an actual moth removed from the computer). The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Hopper (DDG-70) is named for her. (Why haven’t we seen a movie about this woman?)

My take?

Simple. We play it safe all too often, not just with communication and marketing. Which prompts me to ask you a few questions:  What were you built for? What are you waiting for? When will your ship leave the port?

OK, I’ll go first. I have a new keynote presentation sitting on the dock—it doesn’t have a sail, or even a port, not yet at least. When I found Grace Hopper’s quote in one of my files, I realized that this message is the one I was truly built for.

It’s personal. It’s funny. And of course it will have tangible tools for effective communication. Interpersonal communication this time, based on decades of lessons I learned the hard way walking the balance beam of CEO/wife/mom. Not to mention living with and leading teams of people who seem to come from a parallel universe.

So, what am I waiting for? Nothing, now. Now it is on my Will Do list, with a set-sail deadline in six months.

There. Now it’s your turn.

How will you use one or some or all of these quotes to make your message less ordinary and more effective?

Share your comments in a reply, please.

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