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5 Tips from a Presentation Rock Star

I consider myself an outgoing introvert. I don’t like to go to social events, I don’t like to boast about my work and I don’t like to speak in public. So far, my work has spoken for itself allowing me to quietly build a reputation as a knowledgeable digital marketer. But every now and then if we don’t push ourselves, or in my case get shoved, out of our comfort zones we’ll hit a wall and progression will cease.

I was recently given a “stretch” assignment in the form of a 2-hour speaking engagement for upwards of 75 people. The topic was social media marketing, which is a topic I know well and am passionate about. So I knew I could put together two hours’ worth of strong content. But even with great content how do you keep that large of a group entertained and engaged for two hours? I was terrified. But with a lot of research, preparation and some great advice I came out on the other end proud and ready to do it again.

Throughout it all I learned some great lessons. Here are 5 tips that will ensure your next presentation is a success:

1. Doomsday Prep

So this headline might be a little exaggerated, but the number one thing you must do in order to have a successful presentation is prepare for the worst. So many things can go wrong that could potentially throw you off or ruin your presentation altogether. Here is a must-do list to prevent presentation doomsday:

  1. Using video or sound files in your presentation? Take your own speakers. Don’t assume that they’ll be set up for audio.
  2. Upload a copy of your presentation files to Google Drive. It never fails that your computer crashes at the worst possible time. Or maybe you need to hook your computer to a projector and need a copy of your slides close by for reference. As long as you have a copy on Google Drive, you can view them on any computer.
  3. Bring your own VGA cable. They may have a projector for you, but they don’t know what setup you’ll have. So they expect you to bring your own connections.


2. Videos are Your Friend

No matter how entertaining you are, two hours is a long time for a large group to listen to you speak without getting bored or distracted. Videos can be a fantastic way to break up your presentation and keep your group entertained. It’s also a great way to illustrate real-world examples of how other people and organizations have successfully implemented (or poorly implemented) the strategies, methods and skills you’re presenting on.

There are several ways to include video in your presentation. It is possible to embed a YouTube video in your PowerPoint slide deck, but it isn’t my first suggestion. First of all, it’s difficult to do. You have to use the developer controls within PowerPoint and you have to have several plugins downloaded. If you’re successful in getting the video embedded, there’s still no guarantee that the place you’re presenting at will have the bandwidth to play the video glitch free.

Your best option is to download the video directly from YouTube (or wherever you’re getting it from) as an MP4. With a quick Google search, you can find simple, two-click instructions for downloading and saving a copy of a YouTube video as an MP4 file. Then, when it comes time in your presentation to play your video, you can flip over to your computer’s media player and play the file directly from your hard drive, or wherever you have it saved.


3. Don’t Rehearse

When you rehearse your presentation, you sound rehearsed when you deliver your presentation. The best presentations don’t feel like presentations at all. They feel like a conversation. You still need to know your content. Like really know your content. Spend your rehearsal time getting familiar with the order of your slides, the content in your slides, and any additional information necessary or relevant to the content you’re presenting. If you really know your material, it won’t sound like your reading from a script and you’ll be able to making that personal connection with your audience so that they feel like they’re part of a two-way conversation even if they’re in a room with 100 other people.

4. Give them Distractions

Give your audience something to do with their hands during your presentation. Candy or small trinkets (stress balls, mini play dough, etc.) on the tables to play with will actually aid concentration and memory instead of distract. They’ll be more likely to mess with those than they’re phones and devices.


5. Keep It Real

Think of your audience as B.S. detectors. Don’t try to make up an answer to a question you don’t know the answer to. If you start to tap dance, they will call you out. Maybe not immediately, but you can guarantee it will show up in your evaluation or on social media. The best thing to do is keep it real. Be honest with them. Tell them that you aren’t sure about their question, but offer a solution. Give them your card or get theirs and tell them that you’d be more than happy to look into it for them and get them a good answer or connect them with someone who can. But make sure to follow through with your promise.

Now you’re ready. Take a deep breath, be yourself and you’re going to be a rock star. Good luck and be sure to tell us how it goes! Do you have a special presentation tip or trick you’d like to share? Leave it in the comments, because secrets are no fun.

Am I Eligible for a GSA Discount?

ASPE has a special approach and consideration for government clients in order to address their unique needs and concerns. We offer reduced pricing on many of our products for federal, state and local government clients through the GSA Discount. But who qualifies for this great opportunity?

Entities Eligible for GSA Discount:

    1. Executive Agencies
      • Example: Export-Import Bank of US
    2. Other federal agencies, mixed-ownership Government corporations, the District of Columbia, qualified nonprofit agencies for the blind or severely handicapped individuals for providing service to the Government
    3. The Senate, the House of Representatives, and activities under the direction of the Architect of the Capitol
    4. State, local, regional, and tribal governments
    5. Institutes for higher education (excluding private institutions)
    6. Tribes and Tribal Organizations
    7. Certain Institutions that assist the disabled:
      • Howard University
      • Gallaudet University
      • National Technical Institute for the Deaf
      • American Printing House for the Blind
    8. Governments of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and the US Virgin Islands
    9. The American Red Cross and other voluntary nonprofit relief agencies

We strive to provide our customers with the highest quality and most challenging education programs. Whether it is for a Fortune 500 corporation or government agency, we have an excellent track record of transferring knowledge that delivers real results. When you take advantage of this great discount and classes, you’ll quickly come to experience the confidence that comes after you let us train your team.

For more specific information on GSA Eligibility click here!

The Surprising Way to Earn a REAL Marketing Education

A marketing degree from a fancy business school is great but is earning your degree really worth the stress, time, and money? Although it’s a necessary evil to get your foot in the door, the best way to learn effective marketing skills is not in the classroom from academics but out in the world through hands on experience and various resources provided by real marketers. The professors teaching at business schools are qualified academics but most of them have little to no hands on marketing experience on their resumes. The people best qualified to teach marketing are busy creating revenue. There is nothing wrong with a traditional education. That is where most careers start and having a degree definitely makes you more marketable to employers but if you want to take your marketing education to the next level it’s going to take more than a degree.

Many top marketing professionals share their knowledge by making it available online and the best part about- it’s FREE! There are several ways to obtain valuable marketing knowledge and at a fraction of the cost of attending one of the top business schools. Some of the best information can be obtained through web seminars, books by top marketing professionals, and individual courses taught by instructors that work in the field. Knowledge gained through experience is far more valuable than anything that could be taught in a traditional classroom.

ASPE offers a variety of resources and training options on marketing and topics across the board. Free web seminars, white papers, and training courses are all at your fingertips. There are so many different resources out there, some better than others, but here are some to get you started on your way to a REAL marketing education.


AMA Chapter Challenge Update

Want to win $1000 for your AMA Chapter to use for a marvelous event or speaker? If that answer is yes, then you should be voting daily in the 2014 AMA Chapter Challenge!

This nationwide competition between AMA chapters challenges each chapter to secure the most votes. The chapter with the most number of votes will win a $1000 cash prize and 1 free day of training hosted by ASPE-ROI.

It is very easy to vote, just visit the AMA Chapter Challenge homepage and choose your chapter and the course you would like ASPE to bring to you!  This link can also be conveniently forwarded to any colleagues, family members, friends, and fellow AMA Members. The more people you get to vote, the better chance your chapter has of winning!

As of April 15th, the current chapter in 1st place is the AMA New Orleans Chapter!  But voting will not close until May 15th, so you have plenty of time to take the lead! Once voting is closed the winner will be announced on the ASPE-ROI Blog.

Vote for your chapter now in the 2014 AMA Chapter Challenge!

A Deep Dive into Google Online Marketing: SEO, AdWords and Analytics

I started my journey to earn an Executive Certificate in Internet Marketing from ASPE-ROI, which is accredited by Saint Louis University, with the three-day Google Online Marketing Boot Camp. The course was held at Dynamic Worldwide Training Consultants’ facility in Cary, N.C., and taught by digital strategist and owner of Dijital Farm, Jon Parks (@JonParks).

The course was intense, interactive and intriguing even for a senior marketing executive and communications expert with more than 20 years of professional experience in the management, analysis, research and execution of strategic marketing plans for a variety of B2B, B2C and nonprofit clients. Much to my surprise, three of seven class participants travelled from Japan to take the course and visit the Triangle area.

My desired outcome from this Google Online Marketing Boot Camp was to ensure my digital marketing skills were up-to-date, as well as to deepen my knowledge about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), paid search tools and Google Analytics.  Mission accomplished!

Here are a few key takeaways and description of class experience.  (more…)

What is the training experience for the ASPE-ROI Executive Certificate in Internet Marketing like?

One Customer’s Review: Part 3

Last week Brett gave us a review about all five courses he took to earn his Executive Certificate in Internet Marketing through training by ASPE-ROI. Below are the final responses he gave about what he sees as the true benefits and impact this certificate program will have for him.

What do you think are the top 3 benefits of going through the certificate program?

  1. Web/digital marketing is a constantly changing field. You have to keep on the up-and-up if you want to remain competitive and bring about the biggest benefit for your company.
  2. Networking. The people you meet will share a lot of the same frustrations as you. You develop a strong network of individuals to lean back on to bounce ideas off of and share insights.
  3. New Perspective. You not only gain perspective about how big internet marketing is to the future, but how important your role is in ensuring that your company is following the trend, and with that help others gain new perspective in how important a strong internet/digital marketing plan is to the future of the firm. (more…)

What is the training experience for the ASPE-ROI Executive Certificate in Internet Marketing like?

One Customer’s Review: Part 2

Last week we shared why Brett DeLaria, web coordinator for the John Cook School of Business at Saint Louis University, completed the ASPE-ROI Executive Certificate in Internet Marketing and what he thought of the operational process. This week we’re going share his thoughts about each class and instructor.

Could you briefly describe the individual classes – what you learned, what you found most valuable, what you immediately implemented after each class, and any other general comments? Please also describe what you thought about the instructor for each class.

Google Online Marketing Boot Camp with instructor Jon Parks

From this class I gained a better understanding of how Google is shaping the marketing business from SEO to AdWords to social media. The most valuable part of the experience was our instructor, Jon Parks. With his great insight and knowledge he really helped bring the class up-to-speed on what Google is doing and how they’re changing the web game. After class I utilized the skills I learned by closely work with the vendor we use to examine our paid searches and make recommendations about the paid advertising to better optimize our return on investment. I came with new insight and knowledge to really be able to have an in-depth look with them in the same knowledge and skill level to better our ads for the school. (more…)

Leadership is Always Ongoing: A Personal Journey

Life is a journey. I believe that wherever we are on our journey, we can always push ourselves to grow, learn and take ourselves – and others – higher.  Not only is knowledge part of my educational journey, but lifelong learning and teaching others is a passion.  My journey has also been one of constant change. As such, I am always adapting, learning, doing things differently and excited about new adventures. I take risks. I solve problems creatively. I simultaneously think strategically and tactically.  I generate ideas. I embrace collaboration, diversification and innovation. I am in my element, according to best-selling author Sir Ken Robinson, because I am blessed to do something for which I have a natural talent.

Life today is also one speed – FAST! New technologies have forever – and will continue to – change the business landscape. We are living in times of a revolution. Technologies are elevating the game. They are transforming work, culture and life.  (more…)

What is the training experience for the ASPE-ROI Executive Certificate in Internet Marketing like?

One Customer’s Review: Part 1

Recently Brett DeLaria, web coordinator for the John Cook School of Business at Saint Louis University, completed the ASPE-ROI Executive Certificate in Internet Marketing. With full disclosure in mind, the certificate program is endorsed and accredited by Saint Louis University, but Brett hadn’t actually heard of the program until he received a brochure in the mail from ASPE-ROI. Because we had a relationship with the school, and knew how helpful they are, we asked Brett to keep a few notes about his experience and to share his thoughts with us about the entire program. He had so much to say (thanks Brett!) that we’ve decided to break his answers up into a three-post blog series.

This first Q&A post covers what he had to say about why he decided to earn his Executive Certificate in Internet Marketing,  how he found working with the ASPE staff, and the difference between our in-person and virtual training classrooms.

How did you originally hear about the certificate program (I’m told it wasn’t through your employer)? (more…)

Digital Skills in a 21st Century Marketing Career

The Importance of Continuing Education for Adult Professionals

I am both a consumer and a provider in the field of adult continuing education. I began my career in marketing 25 years ago, when “direct mail” still meant paper, and “list” meant US postal service addresses. I have both a technical degree (I started out as a programmer) and an MBA, but when I decided to re-enter the workforce after time spent away from my career raising children, it quickly became clear I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. I urgently needed to update my marketing skills.

In a recent AdWeek Q&A column, 24 Seven founder and CEO Celeste Gudas talked about the need for current marketing skills, and provided a recruiter’s view about the job market in the digital and advertising sector. In it, she says that for advertising/marketing professionals, digital skills are a must, and that digital jobs are outpacing all others in the marketing field.

So I turned to the University of Washington in my hometown of Seattle, and sought out the most efficient means to bring my professional skills up to par. I enrolled in an adult continuing education certificate program: a three quarter, classroom-based, evening program geared toward working professionals called the “Certificate In Social Media Technologies and Implementation.” (more…)