The 7 Deadly Sins of Speaking that Keynote Speakers Make

I’ve had the privilege of speaking for over 12 years now – starting with small groups and panels and now as a Global Keynote speaker speaking to groups of over 1,000. One of my favorite things at an event is observing other speakers to see what I can learn from them.

Here are the 7 deadly sins of professional speaking that you should avoid.

Pride – It Is About the Audience, Not You

Remember that your presentation is about the audience, not you. Yes you need to build rapport and be relatable, but it isn’t about you. It is about them. What do they want? How can you help them?

Think less about yourself and more about them.

Greed – Share the Podium and Get the Audience Involved

Incorporate the audience into your presentation – get them engaged and interactive. The stage is yours, but sharing it and driving engagement is the key to success. Most keynote presentations are a part of a bigger conference or trade show. This means that people are tired of sitting and listening.

Get them involved and engage them!

Lust – People Fall in Love with Stories, Not Statistics

Don’t worry about making the audience love you or your content. Worry about telling compelling stories that make your point. Studies show people are most likely to remember stories.

Build engaging and memorable stories in to make your points.

Envy – People Should be Jealous of Your Delivery, Not Your Slides

When planning a presentation, most speakers spend most of their time on the slide deck. The slides should just be there to support your story-telling and presentation. The delivery matters more.

Focus on the story and delivery, not the slides. (although your slides shouldn’t suck)

Gluttony – Trying To Cover Too Much

Some meeting organizers or corporate clients want a presentation to cover EVERYTHING. This just isn’t realistic. If you cover too many things, people remember nothing. Focus on 3 key things that your audience should take away. Don’t try to do it all.

Simplify and organize your message.

Wrath – If Things Go Wrong, Have a Backup Plan

Tech issues, lighting, volume, presentation not working, clicker not working, no internet, connections down… there is no end to the problems you can have. What do you do when you encounter a problem? KEEP GOING and work around it. Tech issues? Don’t make the audience sit there and wait – get started with an exercise or an activity. Start telling a story. Start. I’ve done entire presentations with no slides. People loved it.

Work through tech issues – don’t let them ruin or anger you.

Sloth – Lack of Customization with a Canned Presentation

This is one of my biggest pet-peeves that is actually most commonly committed by keynote speakers (panelists, workshop providers and breakout speakers seem to be less likely to make this mistake. Many keynotes have one big presentation, often based on a book or a hook that they came up with, and they deliver the exact same presentation to every audience.

CUSTOMIZE YOUR PRESENTATION!!! Seriously. The audience should feel like you are speaking directly to them, not delivering the same presentation they could watch on YouTube.

Focus on Impact

I was at the Facebook HQ in Dublin a few months ago, and while I learned a lot about Facebook features, insights and opportunities, the thing that stuck with me the most wasn’t any of those things.

It was a quick slide shown at the beginning with Facebooks values.

Focus on Impact.

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

One of the best things about running your own business is having the freedom to do what you want and focus on what you love + find interesting. But with great freedom comes great responsibility. It is SO EASY to get caught up in the wrong things – things that seem important… or are interesting… or feel like they could be cool…

But what is the impact?

I thought about how I had spent the last week.

Of all the things I worked on, very few had impact.

Every day before I do anything I recite. FOCUS ON IMPACT.

When I talk to my team: FOCUS ON IMPACT.

When I prioritize: FOCUS ON IMPACT.

My to-do list: FOCUS ON IMPACT.

You get the point.

Time to Relaunch, Refresh and ReEnergize

WARNING: Real, personal content ahead…

You may have noticed (or not) that I haven’t updated in a while. A long while. Like almost 2 years.

Why?

Well, I’ve been busy. Good busy. Bad busy. Busy busy.

  • Personally, I had 2 babies in 2 years.
  • I moved to the Netherlands (for what was supposed to be 5 months and is now almost 2 years) to work with a client.
  • I started working more closely with a global client.
  • I travelled to 15+ countries.
  • I faced the challenges of living in a country where I don’t speak the language.

I’ve been sleep deprived, exercise deprived, inspiration deprived.

My body wasn’t mine.

My time wasn’t mine.

My energy wasn’t mine.

 

I just tried to keep my head above water.

Time to Refresh & Reenergize

After a year or two in a bit of a haze, I’m getting myself back. Probably the #1 contributing factor to being able to breathe again is SLEEP!!! I’m getting more sleep, more regularly and I feel like I am finally functioning like a real and proper human again.

Since January I’ve been re-energizing. Refreshing. Thinking. Doing.

  • I’m exercising again!!!
  • I’m making time for myself.
  • I’m playing guitar.
  • I’m getting inspired.
  • I’m learning.

We just relaunched KristaNeher.com and I am thrilled with the result.

I’m committed to sharing my thoughts, insights and ideas here.

I’ll be posting more videos and experimenting with different content.

If there is something I can share that you are interested in, let me know.

So, thanks for coming back and stay tuned for more.

How I Started a 7 Figure Consulting Business Working 4 Hours a Week in my 20’s (and you can too)

***SPOILER*** I didn’t and you can’t.

I’m so sick of seeing these ads on Facebook. Who the heck falls for them anyways? And how I am in the demographic that they think would?

Ask ANY entrepreneur of any age who started a business that was really successful and what they will tell is that it takes lots of hard work, a little luck and a ton of time.

It isn’t easy.

There is no magic formula.

Most people will fail.

There are no easy answers in this life. No magic weight loss pill. No “secret” to social media that will get you thousands of fans. No formula for building a million dollar business.

The truth is I did start a 7 figure business in my 20’s.

But it was hard.

I work hard. I win some and I lose some. There isn’t a magic formula. I have hard work + some luck + some good choices + some bad choices = success over time.

There isn’t a magic business success formula.

There are things that work, and things that don’t. There are breakthroughs that can accelerate your success. There are strategies that are likely to bring results.

But there isn’t a “SYSTEM” that guarantees success.

If it was easy…

Honestly, if these people could build million dollar businesses so easily with a blueprint they would have more million dollar businesses and less crappy “get rich quick” products. I know tons of super successful business people – they all work extremely hard. They don’t buy an e-book from a social media bro and suddenly figure out the secret to spending their lives on a beach and making millions. I think the only thing these “how to start a million dollar business” people have figured out is how to sucker people in to thinking it is easy.

Whether it is building a social media following or creating a new business, there are no shortcuts.

Put your head down, work hard and you’ll get results. That is the secret. It is hard.

As an Entrepreneur do you Stick the Landing or Blow the Last 10%

Today I’m working on our monthly email – the content for the email is great, but the subject line just isn’t doing it for me yet. I might be tempted to send it out anyways. 90% of it is done great. But the subject line is THE MOST IMPORTANT part.

In gymnastics it is the landing. The last thing that actually matters most.

I don’t know much about gymnastics but I know that if you do the flips great that is all fine and good, but if you can’t stick the landing (the last but hardest part) you’ll never place.

This is true for business also.

As entrepreneurs we are often so busy that we do 90% of the work and then we don’t have the time/energy/whatever is needed to really stick the landing at the end.

I’m guilty of this.

My goal this summer is to start nailing the landing.

Get it over the finish line.

Avoid the distractions.

Give that 10% extra to make it count.

Figure out the most important part and nail the landing.

17 Tips to Travel Like a Pro

17-Tips-to-Travel-Like-a-ProI travel MANY times a year (more than I can count) and I used to hate it… well, maybe not hate it, but I didn’t love it. I was stressed, disorganized and found travel exhausting.

There are a few tricks that I discovered over time that make travel not just bearable but enjoyable. Whether you travel frequently or just once in a while, these are the things that have helped me to enjoy travel the most.

  1. Carry On Only – Whenever possible avoid checking bags. This is obvious.
  2. Bring an Empty Water Bottle – I always feel dehydrated and most airports have bottle fill-up stations.
  3. Check-in Online First – If you already check-in online you can still make your flight as long as you get to the gate before boarding closes (as long as you don’t check bags). This buys you time and relieves stress if you are running late.
  4. Always Bring Snacks – I hate being hungry.
  5. Get Lounge Access – I have access to the frequent flier lounges and it makes a HUGE difference (especially when flights are delayed and I’m waiting around the airport for a long time). They are quiet, have Wifi, free drinks and healthy snacks. It is like an oasis from travel noise.
  6. Accept that you Have No Control – This was the best piece of advice I got from a friend. Accept that once you get yourself to the airport you have no control over anything else that happens. Don’t get stressed over delays.
  7. Take the First Flight in the Morning – This is the least likely to have any delays.
  8. Give Yourself Buffer Time – I always make sure that I can miss at least one flight/connection and get where I need to be on time. This reduces my stress about delayed flights.
  9. Have a Backup Plan – I always have a backup plan for what will happen if something goes wrong with my itinerary.
  10. Avoid the Last Connection at Night – I HATE getting stranded at a random airport because my flight was late and I missed my connection. I’ll spend more $$ or even stay an extra night when possible to avoid a last of the night connection.
  11. Invest in Good Luggage – Good suitcases make travel better.
  12. Invest in Noise Cancelling Headphones – They make flights with crying children more tolerable.
  13. Have a Game Plan for Security – Know what you need to take out and have your bags ready to easily get items in and out.
  14. Smile – Be friendly to airport staff. The constantly deal with angry people and a smile goes a long way.
  15. Keep Your Boarding Pass and ID in the Same Place – I hate it when I have to search through my purse or bag or pockets for 10 minutes to find my ID or passes. I always put them in the same place in my bag to make them easy to find.
  16. You can Ask for Full Sized Cans – If you want more than the tiny cup they give you, ask for a full sized can. They normally say yes.
  17. You can Bring Mini-Alcohol Bottles as Carry-on Liquids – Sometimes you just need a drink. You can bring mini-alcohol bottles as your carryon as long as they are in the Ziploc bag.

Why You Should Ignore the “Next Big Thing” in Social Media

Why-You-Should-Ignore-Next-Big-ThingRemember QR codes? Google+? Ello?

All of these were “the next big thing in marketing” where marketers started investing their time and $$ in new social networks ahead of user adoption.

Marketers seem to believe that there is a first-mover advantage – if they get on the network first they’ll have an advantage and grow their audience bigger faster. So they jump in and invest their time and effort – even before people actually use the network.

Meet your Customers Don’t Beat Them

Unless your goal is to show innovation (which only really matters for tech or social media companies) you don’t need to beat your customers to using something. Meet them. Be where your customers are.

Wait for Some Significant User Adoption

Wait until you see that a significant number of people in your target audience is using something before you jump in and invest your time and effort. People started slapping QR codes on everything despite the fact that most people didn’t have the slightest clue how to use them.

QR codes had faster marketing adoption than user adoption and were ultimately a huge flop.

Optimize vs. Expand

You have limited time, money and resources. Use them wisely. Expanding into new and largely unproven networks takes your valuable resources. Instead of jumping in to something new, consider the results you could achieve from doing what you already do better. Evaluate the pros and cons of each.

Most New Networks Fail

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the reality is that most shiny new objects never reach mass adoption. Wait until you see real traction on a network – most of them will fail and you’ll waste lots of time.

It Takes Time to Get Big

Social networks don’t suddenly explode – they grow over time. Pinterest, which still seems like a new network was founded in 2011. It didn’t get big out of nowhere. There was a slow steady climb to reach mass adoption.

Get Over Your FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

You won’t miss anything if you aren’t the first on something new. You’ll actually save yourself time and effort by waiting until there are some established best practices and case studies. Let other people experiment and learn from them.

You don’t need to be on the next big thing in social media. You need to be strategic and be where your customers are.

Want My Advice? Do This First.

Want-My-Advice

A lot of social media practitioners, consultants and “social media experts” complain about people constantly asking to “pick their brain”. Most of the posts complain about people asking for free advice and explain in great detail how and why this is offensive.

While I agree with these posts, many years ago I received some GREAT advice about how to handle these requests.

When someone asks you for help, give them something to do first. Some small first step that they have to complete before you spend your time helping them.

Here are some examples:

Request: Krista, I’m looking for a new position and I was wondering if you could introduce me to some people.

Response: I’d love to help you. Can you take a look at my LinkedIn network and identify a few people who I am connected to who could help you?


Request: I have a startup and I think we need to use social media. Can I pick your brain about what we should consider?

Response: Sure. I wrote a few blog posts about this topic already that I think would be helpful. Could you read them first, let me know your thoughts and then we can schedule a meeting.

Response: Social media is great for startups. Could you send me links to social media accounts of some of your biggest competitors? I’m curious to see what they are doing.


Why This Works

This strategy works for a number of reasons:

1) If I’m going to invest my time I want them to invest theirs.

    It is easy to ask for advice or for a favor. Asking the other person to do a small amount of work before you invest your time shows that they are really interested. It also shows that they really value and want your help since they are willing to do the follow-up step that you suggest before you dive in and help.

2) They are more likely to take action.

    I really don’t mind occasionally meeting with people to help them out. Lots of people helped me with advice to get to where I am. What annoys the heck out of me is when I spend my time giving someone free advice that they don’t follow.
    Asking them to do something upfront shows that they can follow-through on something.

3) It shows that you are thoughtful and value your time.

    It is so easy for people to ask for advice or opinions. A lot of the people who ask for advice don’t realize that they are asking you to basically do your job for free. I like to use this approach because it shows that I have considered what they asked me for and have given them a thoughtful and specific next step. This shows that I value my time, even though I will give it to them for free.

4) Most people don’t do it.

    The reality is that in my experience well over half of people don’t follow through with the simple next step. This weeds out requests that would be a waste of my time since the person doesn’t have great follow-up. It also lets me focus my time on helping people who are action oriented and willing to invest their time when they ask for mine.

5) You don’t have to say no and get all cranky.

    I don’t really like saying no to people – even when they ask for free advice. This helps me to not have to say no and feel like a jerk.
    I know some social media experts who are highly offended by requests for free advice and often respond with cranky rants along the lines of “How dare you ask for free advice?!?! Don’t you know this is how I earn a living?!?!?! Have you no common decency?!?!?!”

6) It is nice to help people sometimes. Even for free.

    I got into what I do because I actually love it. I love talking about social media. I love helping businesses and people. I got to where I am because a lot of people helped me along the way. I’m happy to give back.

This approach has helped me tremendously – I wish I could remember who suggested it to me initially. Giving the requestor a simple next steps shows if they are willing to do something prior to me investing my time. As a bonus I don’t have to say no 😉

Marketing Strategy: Optimization vs. More

Marketing-Strategy

 

Many businesses that I work with are looking for strategies to get more traffic, more followers, more likes.

They want to grow their footprint and reach more people.

One thing to consider is whether or not your time is better spent getting more or optimizing what you already have.

What gets you a better ROI:

  • Spending time/$$ to get 100 new website visitors or turning more of your existing website visitors into customers?
  • Getting more Facebook fans or driving engagement with current fans?
  • Reaching more people or making sure that your message actually grows your business?

The point is that we sometimes focus too much on more when we aren’t even getting results with what we already have.

As marketers it is important to weigh the investment of time/$$/other resources spent on growth vs. optimization. Figure out how to build a system that works before you spend money driving people to something. Get a conversion strategy for your site to turn visitors into leads before getting more traffic.

Carefully weigh your options – often optimization provides a better ROI than growth.

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