When speaking at meetings or being engaged in conversations at conventions and trade shows, the conventional advice for preparing is to tell yourself you're great, there's no way you can fail.
The more effective stratagem: Instead of saying "I'm the best and I can do it," ask "How can I do it?" It's called "interrogative self-talk," and has been shown to be more effective than positive statements alone. Asking questions leads to answers. It gives you strategies for carrying out your task right at the top of your mind, and reminds you of your motivation. Source: To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others
Welcome to the Age of Enlightenment.
Enlightenment is not about knowing as much as it is about unknowing; it is not so much learning as unlearning. It is about surrendering and letting go rather than achieving and possessing. It’s more about entering the mystery than arriving at a mental certitude …On the Threshold of Transformation
We need a different set of tools to navigate in this new paradigm. "It's multidisciplinary. It involves elements of design, empathy, and symphonic thinking. It's self-directed rather than "managed." And it's animated by a sense of purpose."
Below is a snapshot of 'do's that work!
Smile: It is Contagious
“The world is like a mirror; frown at it, and it frowns at you. Smile and it smiles, too” ― Herbert Samuels
Professor Ruth Campbell, of University College London, professes the idea of 'mirror neuron' in the brain that triggers the part responsible for the recognition of faces and expressions and causes an instant mirroring reaction. In other words, whether we realize it or not, we automatically copy the facial expressions we see. Science has proved that the more you smile, the more positively you will be accepted. This is the baseline when it comes to the Rules of Conduct.
Be Interested. Uphold Transparency
"When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen." ― Ernest Hemingway
It easy to read off a script and go into features and benefits. Engaging at trade shows is not about you. It is about them. Inquire about their needs and how you may satisfy them. What are they here for? What are they looking for? Perhaps they are here for the IPAD contest. Listening to your demo is only a pretense. Whatever, that may be, identify it and be transparent in the conversation. Transparency leads to better lead analytics.
Be Interesting. Respond with Humor and Grace.
"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it." ― Charles Swindoll
Every potential prospect is a "viral sparkplug". Use targeted words that captures their attention and augments their curiosity. Be brand specific and benefit intended.
Surprise and Delight
"The most delightful surprise in life is to suddenly recognize your own worth." ― Maxwell Maltz
The element of surprise often consists of giving away things for free — “This one’s on the house” — and can make someone's day. The 'coolness' of the "free" give away sparks delight. "A great gift is buzzworthy; it’s organic, it’s exceptional, and it makes people unable to not say something". A surprised person is a delighted one. Word-of-mouth take a life of its own.
Draw a Crowd. Propagate your Brand.
According to convergence theory like-minded people come together to form a crowd. At conventions and trade shows, comedians and tricksters propels the formation of crowds. However, when you pepper their act with the features of your product, observe what happens. The crowd goes through a distillation process. What remains is the cream of the crop. This is what you want.
The Art of KISS
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”― Leonardo da Vinci
We live in an international age of inter-connectivity. We are faced with increased complexities and the need to adapt to the changes is fast and furious. Perhaps to maintain our sanity we are leaning more towards simplicity. Employ simplicity in your exhibit design and in your product presentation. Break down complex ideas and numbers and express them in its simplest form. Simplify your product message to amplify your brand resonance.
The Act of Gratitude
"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." ―Gilbert Chesterton
Gratitude is the bedrock for building strong code of conduct. Express your commitment. It is not just in your mind but in your heart and gut as well. Thank your customers, appreciate your prospects.
“The New Paradigm requires a leap of consciousness. It invites us to find the balance between rationality and intuition, between inspiration and application. This balance has always been a feature of great geniuses like Leonardo and Edison but now it must become the standard for all.”
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Standing in front of the sacred rock, I gasped in wonderment. What lay before me was a primal definition in astute presentation. It won't be a stretch by any standard if I do say that the Parthenon is the best example where mathematics presents itself in the form of high art. Yes, the golden rectangle have been the defining factor of this architecture. It is a Doric Temple.
When the great Phidias designed this temple to house goddess Athena Parthenos, I wonder if he realized that this rubble of a ruin would one day stand as a testament to the Athenian Golden Age and parade itself as the paragon of Western civilization. Perhaps not. Any here is why?
Nancy Duarte, the most sought after presentation expert says, 90% of the creative process is actually destructive. You create a slide presentation—and then slowly but surely see what you can peel away. What the mighty Phidias could not possibly achieve, disastrous geo-political affairs managed to turn the temple into a core shell of pristine elegance that seems to follow this destructive law.
When you are presenting at a trade show or an event try using using a single word on a slide to convey your core message. Want your audience to remember various benefits? Don not plaster all bullet-style on a single slide; Reveal them one at a time, unveil a mystery, create a story, and share an example or anecdote to illustrate each one. "Have an image or quote that accurately expresses your idea? Let it! "Don't be afraid to remove everything else from the slide, and let that one powerful image say it all."
The mystery of this Doric temple is gradually revealed when you study the divine proportions. The total height of the building is approximately 1.618 times the height to the top of the columns, and the frieze sculptures (called triglyphs [columns] and metopes [sculptures]) on the entablature closely follow the same proportion.
The mathematical ratio "phi" is a tribute to the phenomenal Phidias. The sculptor of the goddess of wisdom have successfully spread his ideas & moved people over centuries.
Don't just share your ideas or your data; make meaning. Again in the words of Nancy Duarte, don't focus solely on changing minds; put some effort into changing hearts. Powerful imagery and though-provoking video are excellent tools for connecting your audience to your message emotionally—which is how we humans make decisions.
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A metaphor is an image or a story to represent an idea that is abstract or intangible.
The classic metaphor "The Melting Pot" and its message holds a tremendous power on the national imagination – the promise that all immigrants can be transformed into Americans and be part of the American democratic wheel of freedom and civil liberty. Another overused contemporary metaphor that comes to mind is “war”. It is one of the dominating visuals of our current mass psyche....The war on cancer, the war on drugs, the war on terrorism, the war on middle class...We are devoted to war games and ponder about the violence in our society.
Nothing rivals the human body when it comes to metaphors. Since the time of Aristotle architectural metaphor attributed to human anatomy and vice versa. "What walls and beams provide in houses, poles in tents, and keels and ribs in ships, the substance of bones provides in the fabric of man." In our modern techno-machinist society, the computers are described in bodily metaphors. In athletic interplay or in armed conflict human body is nothing less than a high performing machine. In creative expression of ballet, human body is an art form. In fashion, human body is a display. In metaphysics, human body is a vehicle for the spirit and in the skilled hands of Richard Macdonald human body becomes the celebration of spirit.
Metaphors are powerful aid to our imagination. Metaphors shape and define the boundaries of how we think about problems and how to solve them. Metaphors capture our imagination by speaking the language of the brain. It is the language of experiences, attitudes and influences. Metaphors appeals to all our senses and makes dry business messaging a common play ground that is shared by Visuals, Kinesthetics and Auditories. Metaphors make communications easier, richer and quicker to understand. Capture the imagination and you Capture the heart.
Come up with a metaphor to represent your personality or your marketing message. When you are presenting at a company meeting or special venues like trade shows use the magic of metaphors to direct your audience to their senses and transport excitement, imagination and dimension. Your audience will thank you.
As I draw an end, the perennial metaphor about human body comes to mind. In the Katha Upanishad 1:3:3., it has been said “Know that the Self is the rider, and the body the chariot; that the intellect is the charioteer, the mind the reins and the five senses the horses.”........ I will let the richness of this metaphor feast your brain. Good Luck!
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As designers for trade shows or any other medium, we are often required to present our ideas across, in a group environment. Our sub-conscious tend to focus on the body language of the decision maker. However, another approach might be to seek out the influencers in the group. The film below attempts to understand the basic ingredients of what makes a person influential in an esoteric way without any metric analysis. It explores the concept of the role that influencers play.
John Maxwell, the leadership guru, says, when you are talking to the group and you make a statement, observe what the members of the group typically do. More often, they look for the non-verbal queues from the influencer. For example, if the influencer is nodding his head or made an eye-contact with you, many members in the group will agree with what was presented and if the influencer is shaking his head, many members in the group will disagree with what is being stated.
To get into the habit of knowing the traits of influencers, observe people in a group setting and scrtinize how they interact with each other, whether it be a family gathering, in a shopping mall, in a cafe or in a playground. You will learn a lot simply by observing.
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In my writings I am often an explorer, a map maker, sometimes a voyager of the human mind and other times: a creator who is tormented by the inner longing to expand, express and delight !