Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ten Things You May Be Doing Wrong When Creating Content - Part 2

"Ten Things You May Be Doing Wrong When Creating Content & Presenting Programs" is a series of brief blogs you can use to make yourself more valuable and more memorable to your clients, and to differentiate yourself in the marketplace. These are in no particular order; they all are important.
#2 Not Being in "Continuous Content Collecting Mode"
Your programs will become stale unless you create new content from time to time. Depending on your situation, you will want to refresh and update your content more frequently.
You should be looking for possible content everywhere and all the time. When the time comes, you will have created a rich resource for relaxed researching in plenty of time. You'll have lots to choose from to find exactly the right content.
It will be even more helpful if you organize it for future reference. Use 3-ring binders, standard manila file folders, or make digital folders on your hard drive. Arrange them alphabetically or by topic, or by topic alphabetically.
If you file future content possibilities digitally, be sure to name each file with something you are likely to remember, or at least might find easily using you computer's internal hard-drive search engine. You might think now that you'll never forget it, but... I'm just saying.
When you come across a quotation, an article, a research report --anything that might have potential to relate to your topic and make it more memorable or easier to understand or interesting, snag it and organize it!
Trolling and Snagging For Fun & Profit
Having the right material to present at the right time becomes part of your brand. It makes your programs more valuable and more popular.
"We still need Guam!"
Our 5 year-old grandson, Isaac, has started to collect the US quarters that commemorate states and territories. We are all doing our bit --er, actually make that 2-bits-- to help him by checking our spare change for a coin he might need. He is lucky to have grandparents so dedicated that they pore over coins every time they receive change in a transaction. And, they go the extra step of specifically asking for change in coins!
We get the coins. We check them against the collection list. We snag the ones that match. Soon we will be on to pennies, nickles, and who-knows-what.
You should do the same thing to capture and collect content for all of your talks, keynotes, classes, PowerPoint, blogs, whatever.
Read newspaper and magazines with your eyes and a pair of scissors. Clip, tear out the part you 'might need someday.' ASAP, get it organized into a topical file.
You can scan almost anything from any printed document with your combo-printer, and even carry a portable scanner in an App like "Genius Scan+" right on your smart phone.
Realplayer and other programs now make easy for you to download video from almost anywhere on the Internet.
Have you seen a related motivation or informational poster, cartoon, or video on Facebook? Snag it! Then use other software to trim, edit, or otherwise enhance the video or image, and even convert to  a variety of viewable formats such as mp4, wma, wmv, mov. And, you can even extract just the audio for an mp3 file.
You should be trolling for material all the time. To paraphrase an old Tom Lehrer song satire, don't shade your eyes, let no one else's work evade your eyes, but do not plagiarize. Always give proper credit and attribution. And snag, snag, snag.
See an interesting sign in a store? Or anything happening anywhere? Use the camera in your smart phone to snag it! Send it to yourself via e-mail for future editing and incorporation into a program. 
Hear a clever phrase while at dinner in a restaurant? Write it down on a napkin; file it later. Or, use your smart phone to record it as a message to send to yourself. Try audio messaging Apps like Tango and Heytell, too.
Always be on the lookout!
If you usually wait until you get a booking or, worse, until the last minute, to look for material, you might still be able to do some quick trolling & snagging content using any of the great search engines, if you know how to do it. That reminds me of my grandmother's advice about being prepared, "If I had some peanut butter I would have a peanut butter sandwich, if I had some bread."
Keep your programs refreshed and powerful with material you find everywhere!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Ten Things You May Be Doing Wrong When Creating Content - Part 1

"Ten Things You May Be Doing Wrong When Creating Content & Presenting Programs" is a series of brief blogs you can use to make yourself more valuable and more memorable to your clients, and to differentiate yourself in the marketplace. These are in no particular order; they all are important.

#1 Not using your own talents America's got talent, how about you?

Can you recite a poem, sing, play a musical instrument, tap dance, or juggle?
Have you memorized poetry or prose that is inspiring or informative?
Could you compose & perform a song parody, or invite the audience to join you in singing it?

Using the natural talents that you have developed to performance level, will make your programs more valuable and more memorable to your clients, and will differentiate you in the marketplace of presenters.

A minister revealed to me that in seminary school he was taught this simple formula for creating a sermon: Three Points and a Poem. I suggest a slight revision: Three Points and Your Talent.

You don't have to be a professional at your talent. Amateur is fine. You may want to get some coaching to craft something for inclusion in your program.

Enumerate your talents. Don't be bashful. Figure out which one(s) you can use to get your point(s) across. Don't make it "The All About Me Show", but use just enough talent-based content to amp up the value of your program a few notches.

Don't brag, just launch right into it. Don't brag about your talents because those are gifts of creation. They came with the territory. You didn't do anything to merit them.  What you can take credit for is what you do by way of developing those talents. And, even more, how you use those talents to help other people face life's challenges, achieve their aspirations, or just enjoy life.

You may have had formal training in some talent, but mine were developed mostly as hobbies, but I stuck with them and fine-tuned them. When I became a professional speaker, I realized I could use them for more than entertaining at family reunions. I could help people remember and be inspired to try making some lifestyle or work style changes. It helps that my audiences are more likely to stay awake and pay attention.

For example, my promotional material says, "To inform and enlighten his audiences, Steve Wilson intertwines substance and humor in ways you would never imagine from dazzling mental magic to expert level yo-yo-ing, to performance pieces." In this video clip I prove the point with a theatrical piece from "The Court Jester" that makes a great set-up for substantive content about applied and therapeutic humor & laughter for a professional audience.

Don't entertain just for the sake of entertaining. Balancing a folding chair on your chin might be impressive at a birthday party, but it is merely gratuitous unless you can clearly connect it to your content in the minds of your clients.

Your talents are your gifts. Use them in behalf of delivering programs with greater interest and benefits. It will pay off all the way around.

Nine more mistakes will be explained in future blogs. Stay tuned. Subscribe to this blog and share this with everyone who might need to be aware.