Speaking to Rotary Clubs

From My Newsletter – January 15th

Many of you have asked me how to get an opportunity to speak in front of Rotary Clubs to gain exposure for you and your business.  As a 15-year Rotarian, current President of my club, and more importantly a speaker at many clubs over the years, I feel compelled to offer you my five step process.

Step 1 – Determine what value you have to Rotary Clubs.  What benefit will the members get after hearing you speak?  They don’t want to hear a commercial.  They want to know how to improve their business or their lives.  Remember the phrase “What’s in it for Me!”

Step 2 – Find out who the decision-maker is for the particular club you want to speak to.  All clubs run their programs differently for any certain year.  The club president may be the obvious choice, and is more than likely the best place to start.  However, I delegate all program decisions to my Programs chair person who in essence is our “economic buyer.”  The easiest way is to send an e-mail to the club web site and see who responds.

Step 3 – Try to gain a referral from a person in your network who is a Rotarian.  Certainly, with over 1.3 million Rotarians in the world, you should have someone in your circle of family, friends, clients, and acquaintances.  Ask for an introduction to the decision-maker1

Step 4 – Follow up.  If you don’t hear back within a week (and give it a week – not all Rotary clubs follow up promptly), call the number on their web site.  Remember, this is a volunteer organization so you might need to take extra steps to find someone.  Be persistent.

Step 5 – Try to get invited to a club meeting.  Network your value as a speaker, not to your service or product.  See if you can find a hole in their schedule.  Many clubs are dying to get good speakers.  Some, Like mine, are booked up in advance for three months.  Remember, it’s about the value to them, not you.  If you are perceived as simply a commercial, you won’t get a shot.

Bonus – Once you are able to present a program to a club, get at least one testimonial.  Ask the decision-maker if he/she knows any other clubs where your program will benefit their members.  From my experience, Rotarians LOVE to send good speakers on to other clubs because they will get reciprocity.

If you want to have an opportunity to give a presentation to a group of movers, shakers and economic buyers for your services, Rotary is the place to speak.  Just make sure you are providing VALUE to them and not commercializing yourself.  This isn’t a chamber event.  If you give great value, you will receive it back.

Cheers,

Dan

Professional Development – Is it in you?

The famous branding by Gatorade – Is It In You?  The same can be asked in business.  The best way to get “it in you” is through professional development.  Tomorrow, I fly to Rhode Island for a two-day seminar with the “Rock Star of Consulting” Alan Weiss.  I’ve been a part of Alan’s mentor program for 5 months and now I’m anxious to gain more wisdom in person.

For the past few years, I’ve started my year out with education.  In February of 2008, I went to a workshop presented by Darren LaCroix and Craig Valentine on effective storytelling.  It changed how I presentd and taught forever.  I am confident that this workshop will provide the same results.

What about you?  What are you doing to improve yourself and your career?

Professional development – Is It In You?

Cheers,

Dan

P.S.  I jus changed computers and don’t have my signature link.  It’s always something you forget.  I’ll retrieve it when I get back from the chilly Northeast.

Get to the Point

I recently dropped my 18-year old daughter off at the Mall to do some Christmas shopping.  My wife and I then went off to do some shopping of our own by ourselves…I guess you can call that a date.

About 10 minutes after dropping her off, she calls on the cell phone in need of something.  Her pitch starts like this – “Okay, I’m at the Mall and I’m shopping, right…”

I cut her off (Dad’s prerogative) and say, “I know, I just dropped you off there.  Get to the point…”

Here’s my point, as business presenters we often make this same mistake my daughter did.  We make a supercilious statement already known to our audience.  Things like…

“Good afternoon, my name is Dan Weedin…” (After having already had your name introduced)

“I’m very happy to be here with you today…” (Really)

“Boy, how about this weather…” (Unless your a weatherman, nobody came to hear you speak on it)

After you’re introduced, start your presentation in one of four ways – a story, a quote, an interesting fact, or a bold statement.  I prefer starting with a story because I believe stories are the best way to capture your audiences’ attention and connect with them.  If you don’t do either of those very early, you’ve lost them. 

By the way, look how I started off this post – with a story.  If you’ve read this far it obviously worked.  That’s what you want to do with your presentations.  Make an impact right away…Get to the Point!

Cheers.

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Cleaning the Clutter

First day on the job in 2009.  The Rotary meeting is complete and it’s time to get to work.  Since many folks are still not back to work it’s a perfect time for me to do the one thing I’ve been putting off.  Cleaning the clutter that’s my office.

I truly believe one of the factors that keeps me from being fully efficient and disciplined is that I’m “cluttered”.  I don’t do resolutions but I do believe in goals.  This is short-term goal #1.

By the end of this weekend, I hope to have my office de-cluttered, my new i-Mac in place for my tech guy Justin to move all my information from one computer to another, and organized to the poijt that I can actually be dangerous.  If you’re like me, you know things are bound to get back to a busy state of affairs.  That’s why today is the perfect day to start.

What about you?  What clutters your business or personal life?  What is keeping you from being as disciplined as you can be?  Maybe today is the right time to tackle your “challenge”!

Happy New Year.

Cheers,

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Word of the Day

Grammar, vocabulary, and the knowledge of how to use them seem to be eroding skills in our business society.  After reading the book by Stephanie Horton titled, “Are Bad Manners Driving Your Clients Crazy?” (see recent post review), I realized poor vocabulary and usage also has bad potential.  Namely, your message may not get across clearly and/or your prospect/client thinks your dumb.  Neither is good.

This will start a new category aimed at helping business pros (as well as every day pros) improve your vocabulary and grammar.  We’ll start with a word for the day.

Last Tuesday, my friend Tim brought in a fabulous word of the day for our Toastmasters meeting.  In true Toastmasters style, I’m stealing it.  Well, actually let’s just say I’m using it to help others!

Flustrated

You read it right.  Not frustrated but flustrated.  Here’s what it means…

flus⋅trat⋅ed

–adjective
flustered; agitated.

 

Also, flus⋅ter⋅at⋅ed.


Origin:
flustrate (b. fluster and frustrate ) + -ed 2
Thanks to Dictionary.com.  Basically, it means agitated or frustrated.  I love learning new words like this.  I hope you will too!
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P.S.  Funny thing…my spell check doesn’t like the word “flustrated”.

Better Manners Than Your Dog?

If you’ve spent any time reading my blog posts or hearing me speak, you’ve heard me talk about my dogs.  For the most part, their manners leave much to be desired.  Unfortunately, that can happen in business, too.

The book I just finished is by my friend Stephanie Horton, founder of Top Dog Etiquette.  Stephanie’s book is titled, “Are Bad Manners Driving Your Clients Crazy?”  This is an excellent resource for anyone in business.  Stephanie points out guidelines to be used in any business situation from dinner meetings to social gatherings.

If you have questions about how to act so that you don’t take a chance on losing clients, check out this book.  You can purchase it by clicking here

 

Chasing Your Tail

This is an article from my November newsletter…

The other evening I was watching a rerun of Frasier with my daughter Kelli when our one-year old Jack Russell suddenly discovered his tail.  You may remember hearing me speak or write about Captain Jack.  He’s one “wild and crazy” dog.  He found that tail and went berserk chasing it.  Occasionally he would catch it, chomp on it, let it go, and start chasing again.

What makes a dog incessantly chase its tail? 

Now, having never been a dog that actually chased his tail, I’m assuming there’s a certain level of dizziness that comes into play after seven and a half minutes of spinning in a circle.  Crazy.

What about you? Do you ever chase your tail in pursuit of excellence and find yourself with only dizziness to show for it?

If you’re like me, you’ve on occasion chased a dream as vigorously as Captain Jack chases his tail.  The only problem was, you were chasing something that only made you dizzy.

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results may be insanity.  It certainly isn’t prudent as a business presenter.  As a consultant, I have many opportunities to speak publicly.  When I first started my practice, I thought I could go off my experience as a presenter, even though I hadn’t studied or practiced new skills in some time.  I gave several presentations with mixed reviews.  I kept trying harder and harder, but with the same results.  I was chasing my tail and only getting dizzy.

Finally, a good friend pointed me in the direction of Toastmasters.  I re-joined (after a 16 year absence) and immediately started learning why my presentations were falling flat.  I started gaining advice from people better than me at speaking.  They were what I wanted to become.  So I listened, learned, and eventually hired a couple to mentor me.  The results are all I could hope for from the experience.  Let’s just say I’m not dizzy anymore (at least in this area).

How do you know if you’re chasing your tail?  Here are a few signs:

          Do you give the same boring slide show over and over thinking that magically it will have a different effect on the next audience?

          Do you see your audience looking at their watch rather than sitting on the edge of their seat?

          Do you still get anxious preparing to be introduced, rather than anxiously awaiting your turn to speak?

          Do you get your desired response from the audience?  Do you know what you want them to think, say, or do when you’re done?

          Does anyone ever ask you back to speak?

 

Education is the only way to improve your skills.  But as my friend Craig Valentine (the 1999 World Champion of Public Speaking) says, “If you’re learning the wrong thing, you’re only getting good at getting bad quicker!” 

The solution:  Find speakers who are better than you and learn from them.  Find presenters who are at the level you want to be.   Read their books, listen to their audio, follow their blogs, and/or hire them to mentor you.  It’s worth your investment.  The quickest way to grow your business is by being a dynamic speaker.  Are you committed to taking the right steps to building your skills, or are you just chasing your tail?

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P.S. If you’d like to subscribe to my FREE monthly e-newsletter and continue to add to your speaking education, go to my website – http://www.danweedin.com

Beach Money

What do you know, I read another business book…quickly.  I just finished Jordan Adler’s book titled, “Beach Money”.  It’s short, but full of energy and good ideas.  Jordan is the #1 distributor for a network marketing program I’m involved with – Send Out Cards.  Network marketing can be a challenging concept to some people – in fact in can get a pretty bad rap.  Like all business models – there are good ones and bad ones. 

Jordan’s book is a wonderful expose on his life and business and why he is successful at what he does.  If you’ve ever wondered about the pros of network marketing, give this book a shot.  Grade B+ (I would have liked him to go a little more in depth – but it was a fun read.)

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Read “Made to Stick”

Made to Stick book coverI just finished reading the book “Made to Stick” by Chip and Dan Heath.  If you are in business, this is a must-read.  Why?  Your message is vital to getting you business.  If people can’t remember you or your message, that’s not a good way to increase your income and brand.  Made to Stick” will teach you how to make your ideas and brand “sticky”.  Grade – A

Happy reading!

Cheers,

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