Tag Archives: presentation

Small businesses go social

Recently I hosted  a couple of ‘how to’ seminars for small businesses in Campbeltown, Argyll.Facebook feedback

The attendees were mostly genuine small businesses – one man bands and partnerships who spend their days and nights striving to be a successful enterprise. Their time and marketing budgets are precious so they need to make sure both are targeted to get the maximum return.

They have a head start – many of them have joined together under the Explore Campbeltown banner to help promote the area to the rest of the world. Campbeltown is unique – check out its location on a map and you’ll see it’s a destination for those determined to experience big skies, big surf and a big welcome.

It was Explore Campbeltown who invited me along to present to its members and experience the big welcome for myself. I wanted to show everyone that using social media can generate leads and sales and can act as an effective customer service platform. You can see the slides I used here.

Feedback on the day and afterwards (via Facebook and Twitter) was positive and shows someone was paying attention!

 So what did I learn?

  1.  Small businesses are keen to make the most of social media – if it’s the right thing for them.
  2.  Most of them were comfortable, confident and competent Facebook users. Facebook was the most popular and preferred social media platform.
  3. Twitter is less popular – and perceived to be more difficult – maybe because it’s easier to get ‘likes’ than it is the get ‘followers’.
  4. You Tube is underused as a potential business tool and instead is still viewed (pardon the pun) as a place to watch videos of cats and people falling over. But the groups I spoke to were keen to give it a go as a marketing tool.
  5. There’s not much time for small business owners to train and learn about social media– those who had used social media in a personal capacity found it much easier to make the switch to a business use than others.
  6. Business groups like Explore Campbeltown are in a great position to help each other out using social media. My feeds are now full of group members liking and sharing each other’s posts – increasing the reach of every post and increasing the potential for sales.
  7. The pace of change in social media means there’s always something new to learn. Pretty much everyone – including me – left with a new skill, tip or trick to try.

So if you want to see how small businesses are using social media you could do a lot worse than search Facebook for Campbeltown – and see what the town’s businesses are up to – then come see them all for yourself!

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Can you say a few words?

It’s a question which strikes fear into many – the prospect of speaking in public, giving an interview or making a presentation causes nerves to surface in almost everyone.
And this is probably because almost everyone has been on the receiving end of a truly dreadful presentation. Who hasn’t experienced death by powerpoint, or dozed off during a monotone delivery of complicated financial predictions?
Even people accustomed to performing live in front of thousands get nervous about making a speech or a presentation – just take a look at Tom from McFly’s wedding speech to see what I mean.

Yes, you can see he’s nervous but what gets him through is preparation – there’s more than 10 minutes and a panicked list of bullet points scribbled on a beer mat gone into this speech.

So if you’re asked to make a speech or presentation how can you make it easy on yourself?
Preparation is the key. Know what your key messages are – two or three are enough. Then work out how to put your messages across.
Being well prepared will help your confidence and make sure you don’t miss out anything important. This infographic from www.skillstudio.co.uk , a company specialising in presentation skills training, is a useful checklist to work through so you cover everything you need to.

Presentation planning infographic from Skill Studio

Presentation planning infographic from Skill Studio

There’s a lot of truth in the saying ‘It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it’. If you speak in a dull way your audience will remember your presentation as dull – if they remember it at all.

Regional accents add colour and personality to presentations, and provided you’re speaking clearly and slowly there’s no need to worry people won’t understand you. In fact, regional accents are making a comeback, according to the Daily Mail.

My own Geordie accent had the edges knocked off after living down south for 15 years but living on the west coast of Scotland means it’s creeping back.

Joey Barton received criticism for adopting a French accent when interviewed on French TV but it seems more likely he was just trying to fit in, using what experts call ‘speech accommodation’ – mimicking the accent of those present in an attempt to fit in.

So if your accent is fine what else should you consider?

Good advice is ‘Stand up, speak up and shut up’ – say what you have to say but don’t go on. If your voice doesn’t project very well can you use a microphone? It’s worth practising with one in advance – especially if it’s hand held.

Above all remember you’ve been asked to present or be interviewed because people want to hear what you have to say. So next time you’re asked to say a few words, take a deep breath, smile and say, “Of course!”

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