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3 Steps to Taking Control of Your Life

A few weeks ago I gave a speech during Catalyst Week. My agency Silverback Social was co-curating the week’s events.

I wrote a post on Linkedin entitled “What’s the ROI of Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project & Catalyst Week?” sharing my thoughts about the amazing team at Catalyst Creativ, and the whole energy surrounding Catalyst Week. I was impressed with everything about the whole week.

Chris Dessi Catalyst Week

Chris Dessi Speaking during Catalyst Week

Today I’d like to share that speech with you here. If you don’t have time to view the video below (13:28 minutes), here is a loose outline of what I covered. This three step process has helped me in my life, I hope it helps you too.

Step 1. Admit to yourself that you’re a loser.

You will never be a winner and a chooser, until you admit to yourself that you’re a loser. I was unceremoniously fired in 2009 from my job at Buddy Media. When it happened I was so stunned I couldn’t speak.

Literally.

No words.

Nothing.

In slow motion I gathered my things and left. The Director of HR escorted me past a gauntlet of gawking colleagues and into the elevator. I felt naked. The elevator doors closed and it dawned on me. Stunned, I turned to her and blurted out,

“My wife is pregnant, what will I do?”

I was “pushed” off the cliff but I refused to let myself fall. Reaching as far as I could, I set a new goal: I’d never let anyone else have control over my income or my future. I felt like a loser. I bet you’ve lost at some point in your life. I want you to think about the times you’ve lost. I want you to take yourself there, and I want you to get angry.

Step 2. Get Angry

Harness your anger. Throughout my entire career I’ve been told that I should never get angry. I’ve been advised that it’s a negative emotion that shouldn’t enter the workplace. However, when I look back at my biggest wins, my most impressive accomplishments have all started with the same common denominator. We all have fear. Some is innate, activating our fight or flight instincts. Some fear, however, is learned. That fear is insidious. It seeps into our unconscious paralyzing us to the point where we choose “safety” over pursuit of our passions. I believe that “learned fear” is the disease of our time. Battle it by taking baby steps. My first step was silent contemplation, and meditation. Another was obsessive note taking. The last step was challenging myself to dream as big as I possibly could, imagining that money was no object, and stepping toward that challenge. I had nothing to lose. Neither do you. Don’t ask for permission to take your life to new heights.

Step 3: If You’re on a Mission, Don’t Ask for Permission

You have the power. It’s up to you and whatever you can conceive. The Technology is free. I wanted to work in social media so I purchased the URLFacebookshouldhireme.com I wanted to launch the Westchester Digital Summit so I bought the URL, Westchesterdigitalsummit.com – I surrounded myself with the right people and made it happen. I was supposed to run the NYC ING Marathon, but Hurricane Sandy had other ideas. I was hoping to run through the streets of New York with other New York City Marathoners, and cheering fans. Instead I was running in circles on a track by myself. I had raised money for ALS research because my Father is living with the disease, and I felt obligated to fulfill my end of the deal with the friends and family who had written checks. I decided to run the marathon anyway. By the time I completed the marathon my family, along with random bystanders were on their feet cheering me on. There may have been 25 people there, but to me it felt like a stadium full of supporters.

I challenge you.

  1. Gather up your defeats, and wear them with honor. They have forged your character.
  2. Let yourself get angry about some things, or some circumstance, and focus that energy on creation.
  3. Stop asking for permission, and run anyway.

Get busy becoming yourself.

Three Reasons Why the Analysts Got it Wrong with Twitter Stock

Chris Dessi on CNBC

Chris Dessi on CNBC

On Monday I was asked to visit 30 Rock Studios and chat with the closing bell team on CNBC about Twitter’s earnings. I’m “bullish” on Twitter stock. The analyst David Seaburg of Cowen and Company is obviously a very smart guy. In his view Twitter is a “one trick pony.” I disagreed. It made for great TV, but I thought I’d articulate exactly why I’m bullish on Twitter, and why I think Wall Street Analysts like David miss the mark when looking at social media networks.

Firstly, I own Twitter stock, and I’m not an analyst. Frankly I’m about as far from a finance guy as you can get. I’m a sales and marketing guy that owns a social media agency. I’m a student of social media, but the key differentiator is that my agency is platform agnostic. We only use technology that will further the agenda of our clients. If Twitter didn’t work, we wouldn’t use it. Period.

Here are the three reasons why I believe Wall Street analysts miss the mark on Twitter.

1. Twitter generates conversions for my clients

CNBC has me on their show because unlike an analyst, I actually USE Twitter. I use it for my personal life, my business life, and on behalf of my clients. The most compelling way I use it is for said clients. When we select where we’re going to spend media dollars I’m beholden to nobody. We spend money where it will help to generate the most money for my clients. Twitter converts. Twitter cards work. Twitter has account managers that help my agency understand how to leverage their ad platform. Twitter works. Twitter works, and oh yeah, Twitter works. Phew.

2. Twitter allows for real time engagement between brands and customers

So when our client Bluerock Energy based in Syracuse NY wants to parachute into a conversation on Twitter about energy, in their local geographic area, in real time – the most efficient way to spend their media dollars is on Twitter. Bluerock can answer questions, engage and help to inform potential customers in real time.

3. Twitter should not be compared to Facebook. Ever.

The other part of the argument that always confuses me is when Wall Street Analysts decide that they want to compage Facebook with Twitter. I think it’s because they don’t understand how different these social networks are. They don’t use them, but they have to put them into a category. This is a HUGE mistake. It makes them look very silly in my opinion. It just makes it even more apparent that they don’t use the platforms, and they have no real understanding of how they make money through advertising.

So take look at the video, and let me know what you think in the comments.

Am I off my rocker?

Am I oversimplifying things, or is Wall Street overcomplicating it?

3 Ways Heineken USA’s Newcastle Brand Wins in Social Media

Chris Dessi & Quinn Kilbury

Heineken USA’s Quinn Kilbury sits with Silverback Social CEO Chris Dessi

On May 15th, 2014 I sat with Quinn Kilbury, Brand Director Newcastle at Heineken USA just moments after he stepped off stage at the Westchester Digital Summit. Quinn sat on a panel titled “Navigating the Digital Landscape” along with colleagues from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, ESPN, and The Financial Times.

I chatted with Quinn about his role at Heineken USA’s Newcastle brand and how they have evolved to be a powerhouse brand in the world of social media. He shared three compelling points that I’d like to share with you, and I think will help your social media strategy.

1. Understand that it’s “just marketing”

Quinn made it very clear that you can have a huge audience in social media, but if the audience isn’t going to buy your product, it means nothing. He pointed out that ESPN’s content is inherently social. Heineken (Newcastle) needs to work a lot harder at that. They can’t pretend that a beer is ESPN. It’s not inherently what people want to find online. Kilbury noted that If they’re going to invest money on a social media platform, they need to have a marketing objective and plan. Quinn also pointed out that the social platform must have an age gating system.

2. Give the Internet what it wants

Quinn stressed that as a major brand, you need to know what you mean to your consumer, and you need to give your consumer what they want. The consumer certainly doesn’t want to be drinking beer through the Internet. Stressing that you need to know what you mean to your consumer. Your content can be compelling and fun, but geared toward the wrong target and that could lead to disaster.

3. There’s a time to pay and a time to not to

Everyone on the panel agreed that you need to be in social, but the rules change every day. They’re spending the most of their time figuring out how they can keep up with the changes. They’re also figuring out how to work with the large social platforms. Understanding that there is a time to pay for media, and a time not to pay and allow for your organic distribution to work for you is paramount. Quinn noted that the major social networks like Facebook and Twitter will work very closely with you to help you and your brand better understand this delicate dance. He even noted that Facebook has office hours in our office every week. Noting that “If you want to have success you can’t fight what they’re doing.” referring to Facebook & Twitter and their consistent changes to algorithms etc. He stressed to work with them. Partner with the big social platforms that you leverage.

See the full interview below:

Purchase a ticket to next year’s Westchester Digital Summit in advance.

Creating Your Own Business Playbook: How Networking Equates to Opportunity

People often ask me what my favorite part of my job is.  My answer is always quick and consistent:  it’s that I am lucky enough to meet so many brilliant, driven individuals who are continually disrupting and positively changing the world. Many of these encounters come through meetings that I take with Chris Dessi. Chris and I are similar in that smart people fascinate us. We ask a lot of questions, we get excited, and sometimes we get scared that people are functioning on such a level. Mostly, though, we get inspired.  

One of these individuals is David S. Kidder. Before I met David, Chris described him as “the smartest guy in the room in nearly all rooms.” I think Chris is brilliant, and Chris thinks David is brilliant; Chain Rule –  I knew David was brilliant.

David is the author of the Start Up Playbook. Naturally, my next move, after Chris had lunch with him, was to read it. I couldn’t put it down. It’s described as “Secrets of the Fastest-Growing Startups.” It’s a compilation of stories from over 40 CEO’s. It tells about their success but articulates the full story and not just the end result. There were bumps in the road, moments of fear and panic and valuable lessons that came out of them. The way it’s broken up allows the reader to pick it up, read an excerpt, attain valuable insight, put it down, and rinse and repeat. It’s one of the few books that I go back and re-read portions regularly. When I first started at Silverback Social, this book was literally my bible. As we experienced growing pains, I realized we were going through the same things so many others had already gone through. It became common for Chris and I to tell each other “we are doing all the right things, stay the course”.  That course was outlined in the Start Up Playbook.

John's Tweet I had the pleasure of meeting David at the Westchester Digital Summit where he gave the opening keynote (*worth noting, he was my mom’s favorite presenter. Sorry, Gary V., you won WDS1). The day was a blur for me, and I neglected to ask David one of the questions that I really wanted to – “How did you get such in depth access to so many brilliant/successful CEO’s?” Luckily Chris and I are on the same wavelength, and he had already asked it. David’s response was simple: he “met them over the years through networking, leaned on them as advisors and resources, and offered value to them when he could.” Simple, made a ton of sense, and I didn’t think too much of it.

Fast-forward to two weeks ago, Chris and I were in Downtown Vegas for Catalyst Week, in conjunction with the Downtown Project. For those not familiar, Chris does an excellent job describing it here.  For someone who likes to meet smart innovative people, this is equivalent to an 8-year-old at Disney World.  After four days of inspiration and a ton of valuable knowledge, our minds were racing on the flight back to New York. That’s when Chris mentioned to me what David had said, and the puzzle finally came together for me.

A lot of times, we get caught up in the day to day. We flow from meeting to meeting, project to project, and don’t have a minute to pull back. Last night, I was with a friend who recently started for CommonBond. When he was making the move from big corporate finance to a start-up, he asked for my opinion. I told him to do it immediately. I told him to follow David’s advice: network, ask for advice, bring value to the table, and build relationships. One day, we will both be on our second, third, fourth, or fifth project, and we will have relationships with some of the smartest entrepreneurs/CEO’s in the world. With that will come tons of opportunities, good, bad, ugly and life changing.

Whether you work for a start-up, corporation, you’re a singer or athlete, David’s message rings true. Make the time to create these relationships.

I am fortunate. The list of smart and successful people I meet could go on for days. Here are a few that will one day make my start-up playbook whom I have met in the last month. They are doing and will continue to do amazing things for a long time to come:

Michael LaiMinerva Project

Amanda Slavin and the entire Catalyst Creative Team (Danielle, Katie, Mike, etc.)

Shilpi KumarProgression Labs, Qualifyor, Venture for America

John FazzolariRevivn

Robyn Allen – Energy Entrepreneur

Idia Ogala* – NBA and hopefully back to Silverback Social one day

John GuydonThe Lassy Project

*I didn’t meet Idia in the last month but he’s impressed me too much not to mention.

Follow me on Twitter @johnzanzarella 

 

 

 

What’s the ROI of Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project & Catalyst Week?

Chris Dessi

Chris Dessi

I don’t normally cry in public. But there I was, under the hot lights on a stage in Las Vegas speaking at Catalyst Week and I was crying. I felt a twinge of embarrassment, but I knew that I was in a safe place, and sharing like this was encouraged. I ended my talk, felt the warm applause wash over me, and I knew I had done the right thing. I’d just shared a very personal journey that led me to where I am today.

A few weeks prior to speaking at Catalyst Week I was perplexed. My company was co-curating the week, and I still wasn’t even 100% sure what we were getting ourselves, and our colleagues into.

All I knew is that I trusted the vision of Tony Hsieh. I had enjoyed reading his bookDelivering Happiness, and I was very impressed with the team at CatalystCreativ. I trusted them. When I inquired about Catalyst Week to my colleagues who had been there, I kept hearing the same thing:

“You have to experience it.”

Ugh. All I wanted was some sort of idea about what I had committing to. But I understood that this one time, for this to work I had to let go of preconceived notions. I committed to letting go, and letting it all happen. I’m thrilled I did.

Let me explain:

Back in November of 2012, while promoting our inaugural Westchester Digital Summit, one of my star employees, Josh Fenster stumbled across Catalyst Week. We then connected with Amanda Slavin the CEO of CatalystCreativ. She found out about our summit, and we discussed that we were interested in possibly producing a Las Vegas Digital Summit. So she asked if we would be interested in co-curating a weeklong event in Downtown Las Vegas. She explained that CatalystCreativ is

… a community design firm that builds community for cities, brands and movements through educational and inspirational events”

We discussed the Downtown Project and she explained that it’s

…a group of passionate people committed to helping to transform Downtown Las Vegas into the most community-focused large city in the world.”

I was fascinated, and thrilled to be a part of something bigger than Silverback Social. This was our chance to give back, learn, and network on a deeper level than ever. We were in. But truth be told, it was a tough sell to get our network to attend. I mean, how do you explain that you’ll be the guest of a visionary billionaire who is revitalizing a forgotten part of the United States in the most unusual and compelling way?

  • That you’ll be expected to participate, engage, and experience what they affectionately refer to as “collisions” throughout your time in Las Vegas?
  • That you’ll meet people who not only impress you, but also change the way you view the world?
  • That you’ll experience a company (Zappos) that excels at shattering convention – all with a smile while truly delivering happiness to everyone they encounter?
  • That you’ll find yourself locked in such deep and meaningful conversations at such a high frequency that you find yourself texting your loved ones & colleagues “you have to experience Catalyst Week.” oh the irony!!!

You can’t explain it. You can only share what an experience like this has done to you. This isn’t a normal experience.

Nope, not normal at all. Odd in fact.

The oddest experience I’ve ever had in my career.

But let me be clear – odd is a good thing. Odd doesn’t happen enough. Oddballs are rampant in the halls of Zappos, throughout the Downtown project and certainly at CatalystCreativ, and that’s a gloriously good thing. Silverback Social is oddball central! The oddballs are welcomed there, and I dig it big time. Glorious, lovable, intelligent, engaging, and fascinating oddballs like Caleb Edison (pictured below) who gave us our tour of the Downtown Project and spoke of the initiative’s three Cs:

  1. Collision
  2. Colearning
  3. Connectedness

He also pointed out that the Downtown initiative has unintentionally taken the shape of a Llama (Tony Hsieh’s favorite animal, because…well, they’re awesome). Odd.

Caleb Edison

Caleb Edison Downtown Project

 

Odd stories like how Tony gave restaurateur Natalie Young her initial investment to launch her downtown restaurant called Eat. Her story is odd in the most random, and inspiring way. Hearing her story in the video below may inspire others to open restaurants in Downtown Las Vegas. That would be the true ROI of the Downtown Project. A true Ripple OImpact..

Odd encounters like colliding with John Guydon of The Lassy Project in the pool at the Ogden who explained to my CMO John Zanzarella and I that he is changing the way the world will prevent child abductions. We’ve been encouraging everyone we meet to download the APP. It will save children’s lives. Imagine the first child’s life that’s saved because of this technology. That would be the true ROI of the Downtown Project and Catalyst Week. A true Ripple OImpact.

Odd and magical stories like the one told during a Catalyst Week workshop given by Leisa Peterson of Wealthclinic. Leisa shared her moment of clarity about her life that came to her during a random shooting. Powerful, and odd, and glorious. I re-told Leisa’s story to friends over dinner this past weekend. I was encouraging our friend to take the plunge into becoming an entrepreneur. Imagine if she does because of Leisa’s story? That would be the true ROI of the Downtown Project and Catalyst Week. A true Ripple OfImpact.

Odd bursts of mutual admiration for colleagues. Like when Robyn C. Allen organized other Catalyst attendees in an effort to offer a small gift at our closing dinner to the CatalystCreativ team. Which triggered a series of heart-felt thank yous, and applause. Like the speech Katie Vander Ark gave in honor of her boss Amanda Slavin. Public praise and admiration of colleagues? Passing that along to others, bringing a deeper level of humanity to our work? That is the true ROI of the Downtown Project, and Catalyst Week. A true Ripple OImpact.

It’s a rare thing to experience something that you know will change the trajectory of your business. Even more rare still is to experience something that will change your life. The unique five-day experience they call Catalyst Week, changed me personally to my core, and has effectively changed the trajectory of my business.

ROI = Ripple of Impact.

The week has influenced the way I view my business, the way I interact with my wife, and the life I lead at home and in the office. I’m typing this now and I’m welling up with the joy of knowing I’ve made friends I’ll have for life, and that my network will be better with these people in it.

True change is elusive. Bureaucracy slows it. Indifference is the fuel of stagnation. While the Downtown Project may not be perfect, and may not be for everyone, there is m-u-c-hmore positive than negative happening in a place that was previously left for dead. American cities need more Catalyst Weeks. Our world needs more renegades like Tony and more people who dive headlong into the fray like Amanda Slavin and her team at CatalystCreativ.

I encourage you to learn more about the CatalystCreativ Team (Amanda, Danielle, Robert, Mike, Katie, Cindy, Reyna, and Nicole). Keep up with CatalystCreativ on Twitter, Instagram (@catalystcreativ) or on Facebook.

Have you been to a Catalyst Week or Creativ Week yet? The Ripple OImpact will be felt for years to come, and I’ll do everything in my power to help along the way.

I Have a Secret, & It’s Called Whisper

Whisper App

Whisper App

Whisper is a mobile app that enables users to share secrets anonymously. Users can place text over various backgrounds that illustrate the theme of the secrets they share. The app claims to provide complete anonymity to its user. However, with today’s social media tools at everyone’s fingertips, it may be difficult for users to keep their identities hidden.

The idea of Whisper is similar to that of the popular website PostSecret, which was founded by Frank Warren in 2004 as a way for people to share their secrets in the form of postcards. PostSecret contributors anonymously send physical postcards to a central mailing address to be featured on the website. After generating a huge following, PostSecret even published a number of books of fan-submitted secrets and confessions. Founder Frank Warren also hosts live events for PostSecret fans and contributors to meet each other and listen together to more secrets and stories.

There is an enormous sentiment of community and trust among PostSecret fans. Whisper, only having been around for a couple of years, has the potential to generate a similar community based on trust and common feelings. However, the nature of PostSecret’s process of gathering physical postcards via snail mail enables PostSecret contributors to maintain their anonymity to a greater degree than Whisper contributors. Whisper, which allows users to quickly and easily upload their deep dark thoughts and confessions directly from their mobile devices to an online network of countless other users, might not be able to hide users’ true identities as to the same extent as PostSecret. The nature of the sharing process is different, and so the level of trust among users is also different.

Will Whisper prove to be as influential and popular as PostSecret? Does true anonymity really exist anymore on the Internet or on social media? There’s really no definitive answer yet, but it’s definitely important for Internet users to be wary of what they share online.

Silverback Social CEO Chris Dessi spoke to Fox News last night to weigh in on Whisper. Would you share your deepest darkest secrets on Whisper? Let us know in the comments below.

Google Wants To Use Your Photo To Promote Stuff In Ads

Monday I was invited to join Shepard Smith Fox News to discuss that on November 11th Google will change its policy and Google’s Shared Endorsements will have access to your photo which could potentially be used in ads.  The ads will look like this:

Google

Here are my notes from my appearance.  Let me know what you think about all of this in the comments below?

I’m experiencing cognitive dissonance because as a marketer I get it, as a consumer, I don’t love the OPT OUT model of permission based marketing.

GOOD STUFF: Google is using the information we’ve already provided, and this can be compelling. We like what our friends like. So if we search for an italian restaurant and a friend likes that restaurant, chances are greater we’ll go. It’s a marketers dream. This could enhance users review experiences by putting a face to the name, building trust and helping businesses.

BAD STUFF- FTC- They’re following this sort of bullying – We did this, now it’s up to you to figure out how to undo it” mentality . Facebook has been sued over similar advertising products like Sponsored Stories showing friends’ profile pics next to brands they liked on the social network.

FUNNY STUFF – New Google Ad Policy Sees Users Replacing Their Profile Pictures With Eric Schmidt’s

REALITY Google isn’t big brother – We’re big brother. The trojan horses are our little mega computers in our pockets. The manner in which we aggregate and disseminate information as a culture has changed so the horse is out of the barn.

POINT Whether you like it or not social media/digital is HAPPENING to you. People have the ability to tag you in photos on Facebook, so even if you change your photo, somewhere there is a photo of you floating around.

FINAL NOTE TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR DIGITAL BRAND IDENTITY – hire an agency for your brand, or if your a corporate executive, if not, start to blog, create social profiles with your full name and as little or as much information as you see fit. So if someone searches for you they see what you want them to see.

Social Media Nirvana Equals Gary Vaynerchuk, Vayner Media, Silverback Social & Panera Cinnamon Buns

Silverback enjoying Gary's Buns

Silverback enjoying Gary’s Buns

If you know anything about Silverback Social, you know that we’re all  huge fans of Gary Vaynerchuk. Our love affair with Gary started when I first saw Gary speak in 2008 at the Web 2.0 conference.  I took that love, and parlayed it into an epic introduction of the entrepreneurial minds when I introduced Gary to Mike Lazerow (my boss at the time) at Buddy Media.  I even dedicated a chapter of my book Your World is Exploding to Gary.

My team here at Silverback all have a similar love for Gary Vaynerchuk  because he keynoted our event we produce: Westchester Digital Summit.  He’s also returning to keynote the second Westchester Digital Summit next year.

 

Gary Vaynverchuk

Gary Keynotes the Westchester Digital Summit.

So we pay attention to what Gary is doing, and we enjoy supporting everything that he does.  In short, Gary is the man. He has a way about him that transcends social media.  But maybe that’s the point. He’s so good at social media because he’s such a good dude and he’s an amazing businessman.  Gary preaches basic human tenants in social media. He encourages brands to grasp onto the human side of their brand, and to push themselves to connect with their customers at this human level.  He preaches this, but he also practices it.

Let me explain:

This morning Gary Tweeted the following:

“If u live in NYC – what are u craving right now in this rainy weather”Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 1.56.28 PMTo which one of our star employees Josh Fenster while manning our Twitter account at Silverback Social spotted and Tweeted back:

“Cinnamon buns”Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 2.09.39 PM

 

We forgot about this brief tweet exchange, until about 4 hours later we received a box of warm, sweet, and delicious Panera Cinnamon buns!

We’re also in the suburbs of New York City (about 35 minutes north of the city). So this means that Gary and his team at Vayner Media had to find a place near our offices, see if they had yummy cinnamon buns and then order them for us.

WOW.

The power of social media to spread joy.  What a novel idea …and we love him for it …and we’ll love him forever for it.  We are Gary brand advocates.  All because he sent us Cinnamon buns.

So when you’re thinking of cool social media ideas for your brand.  Start here – “what can I do for my clients”….”how can I help”….”how can I say thank you”

Gary recently posted a video about how he got out of a taxi early so he could pay it forward to someone standing on the side of the street. The result was magic.

Thank you Gary Vaynerchuk for practicing what you preach. We can’t wait to see you live  at the Westchester Digital Summit May 15th at the Ritz Carlton here in White Plains, NewYork.  Until then, we’ll leave you with some parting social media love:

buns

 

 

 

Facebook Introducing Embedded Posts

3 Ways to Kill It at Your Next Public Speaking Gig: What I Learned from Chris Dessi at Merit Direct’s 2013 Co-Op

Chris Dessi

Chris Dessi Presenting at the 2013 Merit Direct Co-Op

Sure, I’ve seen our CEO, Chris Dessi speak at large-scale events and conferences, like yesterday’s Merit Direct  2013 Co-Op. But no matter how many times I’ve seen him speak, Chris hooks me every time with his presentation style – I always leave so engaged and inspired! In my effort to be a better presenter and speaker, I took notes on how Chris crushes his presentations always leaving his audience wide-eyed and wanting more

1. Slideshows “crutches”, not legs…

Your slideshow is there to support you – not the other way around. Spend less time reading off slides and more time focusing, engaging and creating context around your slides…Think about it: if your slideshow failed, would you still be able to fill up the hour talking about the subject matter you planned to present?

2. In with the pictures, out with the text…

Photos are your friends…The ‘create text box button’? Not so much. Audiences who look at text-heavy slides either spend their time reading them (and not paying attention to the speaker) or furiously trying to copy that text down before the presenter moves forward (and not paying attention to the speaker). See the pattern? Command and keep attention by strategically choosing images that quickly communicate your point. Text distracts, images enlighten.

3. Provide your audience with relevant takeaways…

Social Media Marketing 101: Provide value, right? If we’re doing it in social, why are we not providing this in presentations? Your audience won’t get value if you wax poetic and theorize about your subject matter. Chris provides techniques that users can implement immediately. For instance: When’s the best time to post on Facebook? At Silverback, we mostly adhere to the “Coffee and Cocktails” schedule: post when users are browsing through their newsfeed in the morning over coffee and/or again when they’re out having cocktails with friends. Giving people real, live items helps them to feel more in control, makes you and your presentation more valuable and demonstrates your expertise.

What surefire ways have you discovered to keep your audience engaged while speaking?