Kick Off 2014 With These 14 Communication Quotes…

175563453Are you ready to do amazing things in 2014? With every New Year comes the potential for so many great things. Start this year off right with some words of wisdom from those who knew about success and the importance of communication. Happy New Year!

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. – George Bernard Shaw

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said. – Peter Drucker

I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in. – Bill Gates

To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others. – Tony Robbins

Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life. – Brian Tracy

Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know. – Jim Rohn

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. – Hans Hofmann

Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing. – Rollo May

There is only one rule for being a good talker – learn to listen. – Christopher Morley

The two words “information” and “communication” are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through. – Sydney J. Harris

Start with good people, lay out the rules, communicate with your employees, motivate them and reward them. If you do all those things effectively, you can’t miss. – Lee Iacocca

If you have a great idea, you should be able to communicate it as well. It’s like the sound of one hand clapping. You have a great idea but aren’t able to express it – well, how great was the idea? – Douglas Coupland

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. – Dale Carnegie

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. – Mark Twain

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Is It Time for a Refresh?

You are an expert in your field – you know the intricacies and the nuances of your product or service better than anyone. Thus, you are often asked to speak publicly about your area of specialty. And like anyone with a lot to do and little time, you have a stock PowerPoint that you have created that you use over and again. It saves time and it works pretty well. As you read this and think about that PowerPoint you have created, I would encourage you to go through it and dispose of many of those slides.

Why, you ask? Because with each day, you get better and so should your PowerPoint. Think of new and creative ways to present your key points. Brainstorm ways to make complicated topics simpler to understand. Come up with ideas on ways to better engage your audience. Think of areas that went over really well in prior presentations and maybe put more focus there and for those areas that didn’t go over so well, how about a new strategy or eliminating the level of depth in that section.

Of course, you will also want to add slides that pertain to relevant industry news, updated research, and your own headlines – new business, new people, new products, etc. The point is, as you evolve, so should your PowerPoint presentation. While it may save time reusing your old one, it is worth the energy and effort to rebuild and revamp every couple of months. It pushes you to be better and will ultimately leave a better impression on the audience.

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Doritos Commercial? Or Shameless Self-Promotion?

Infinitely Big is known as a world leader in presentation design, development, and execution. However, we support meetings of all sizes with creation of meeting themes, messaging, registration sites, sales tools and now digital video. Earlier this year, Connect 7 Productions, along with Bob Nastasi, executive producer, merged their internationally recognized digital video services with Infinitely Big. Whether producing broadcast video (e.g., TV commercials for Hertz, 1800Flowers, or the UFC) or corporate communications (e.g., C-Level messages, meeting kick-offs, team motivators), no project is too small or large.

Doritos-Behind-the-Scenes

Recently, Doritos launched their 2013 Crash the Super Bowl competition. The requirement: Produce a 30-second commercial that Doritos would like to present during the Super Bowl.  Beginning with the Doritos logo and a blank slate, our story began to form; scripts were written, casting and wardrobe determined, and a site location was selected.

On the day of the shoot, the production crew arrived early to stage the home. Next came the makeup artist, the actors, and of course the adorable 4-year-old star of our commercial, Sabrina. Finally, props were added to set, including more than 30 bags of Doritos. (Hard not to get hungry on this set.)

With days of editing, countless adjustments, and the addition of music and sound effects, a new commercial was born.

If you would like your next event to come to life in ways un-thought of, ask us about our award-winning services. Who knows… you or your product may be the star in our next feature. We got this!

Want to see more video samples?  Click here.

Want to learn more about Infinitely Big? Call 1-888-360-4BiG (4244) or email us! We would be happy to speak with you.

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Take Control of Your Audience’s Memory…

161919220Wouldn’t it be great to control what your audience remembers after your presentation is done? Rather than them going back to the office with a memory of the great coffee or the attractive blonde in the front row or even the bad joke you told, they might actually remember key points you made. Here are a few ideas on how you can help improve retention:

  1. Have a key message. Decide what your presentation is really about. Have one key message (you can have sub-messages but only one key message) and build your presentation around this.
  2. Keep it simple. Just because you only have one key message doesn’t mean you have to pack everything into this one message. Keep it simple and it will be much easier to retain.
  3. Identify the key message. Make it known what your key takeaway is. Say “this is the key takeaway” or “this is the most important point” or “this is the key message.”
  4. Repeat. Do this throughout to remind the audience of what the key message is by coming back to it. If it’s your key message, your presentation should relate to it throughout.
  5. Leave it on the screen. Keep it up on the screen while you are talking so the audience sees it visually. This will help them remember. You may even try associating a picture with your message if one is relevant.

This form of mind-control is perfectly legal in all 50 states. So give it a shot and you will see your audience is much more likely to contact you the next time they need help because they remember that you offered a solution.

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Consistency Wins…

One of the great things about chain restaurants like T.G.I. Friday’s, The Olive Garden, or Burger King – and it’s not their food – is consistency. You can walk into a T.G.I. Friday’s in New York City or Omaha, Neb., and you know what you are going to get. There is no deviation – the look is the same, the food is the same, and the prices are relatively the same. You never have to worry about getting sick or what the bathroom will look like. Again, I am not saying the food is fabulous or the places are immaculate – the point is, you know what you are going to get. And often, that in itself is comforting.

Think about your business for a minute. Do your corporate communications show consistency? Do you use the same logo on your letterhead, in an email newsletter, and in a print ad? Do your salespeople all communicate in the same manner? How about your customer service reps? Do they have a similar personality to one another? Do they provide similar results call after call?

Consistency and confidence in the areas mentioned above will keep your customers around for a long time to come. Just the way you are more comfortable with the golden arches than the local burger joint in a new city, your customers are comfortable with what’s familiar and consistent. They know what to expect and that is priceless.

It sounds easy, but consistency can be very challenging. But, if you can be consistent in the way you operate, you will keep your competitors at bay.

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Free PR for Your Business…

166127053We all need a little public relations in our lives… but PR can cost money, you say. You have to hire a PR person, pay them per project or a monthly retainer, etc. But this is not necessarily always the case. There are many ways in which you can generate free PR for your business. The most obvious is a press release. Write it yourself; there are many sites that offer free press release distribution. This can spread around the web, get picked up by newspapers, magazines, and other media outlets and thereby drum up great business.

Here are some other ways to get free PR:

  • Writing articles: Write about how to do something – this is always valuable for readers. The article doesn’t have to be long, just informative. This also gives you great credibility and can establish you as an expert in a certain area.
  • Newsletters: Create a weekly or monthly email newsletter that you distribute to clients, prospects, and anyone else who wants to hear what you have to say. This is great advertising and keeps you in front of the people you want to be speaking with.
  • Public speaking: Speaking in front of an audience usually makes you an expert. People like to buy from experts. If they’re in your audience, then they’ll remember your expertise and come to you when they need your product or service.
  • Free guides / reports: Offering a free guide or report online is a good way to get an e-mail address from prospects so you may market to them later. The free report can be a dressed-up article, a list, a survey that you’ve done, or some research-based information.
  • Online forum participation: Participate in relevant newsgroups and forums… people will get to see your posts and get to know you. Answer questions, post new questions, etc. LinkedIn is a great place for this if you join industry-related groups.
  • Letters to the editor: Many times a letter to the editor has a better chance of getting published than the actual press release. You’d be surprised how many people read this column in publications. This is also another way to become friends with the editor. If they see you enough and match you with a newsworthy press release, then your chances of getting a press release in print increases.
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Keeping It Real…

The more true to life you can portray an issue you are presenting in your PowerPoint, the better your audience will understand, relate, and identify with it. This is your ideal goal – to get your audience to know that you understand their pain, their issue, and that you have a way to help resolve it or make it better. The impact you can add by using photos, videos, sound, or other media is extremely powerful and should not be overlooked. Here are a couple of ideas on types of media and when to use them.

  • Use illustrations or video to clarify. If your product is complicated, an illustration or video lets you simplify the way it looks. Also, illustrations and videos allow you to show a zoomed-in view or a view normally not seen, such as a product interior.
  • Motion, sound, and music. Just because PowerPoint has this feature doesn’t mean you need to use it. Use sparingly and only when deemed appropriate. Adding animation, sound effects, or music will make your presentation come alive, but it also lessens the seriousness of what you are presenting. Animation can be valuable when offering a product demonstration, but using when not needed will detract rather than add from the overall presentation.
  • Keep charts and graphs simple. Charts and graphs that are used to support a point should be simple and instantly understood. Audiences will be confused by overly complex visuals.
  • Photos have tremendous impact. A picture is worth a thousand words. This holds true in a PowerPoint. Finding a relatable image to put into your presentation can create an significant impression. It will leave your audience with an image resonating in their head when they go back to the office. Make it very relatable to a key point and they will not forget what you had to say.

As you can see, there is plenty of room for creativity in your presentations. Using illustrations and photos or graphs and animations can be very powerful. But beware… overuse these tools and they will detract from your presentation, making it lose gravity and impact.

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Be Equipped with This Equipment…

Y166108959ou never want to be unprepared when presenting. This time, I am not referring to not knowing the contents of your presentation or not knowing your audience. These are the essential items you should have with you when traveling to do a presentation.

  1. A backup of your presentation. So many presenters will say they don’t need a copy because it’s on their laptop and they checked it before they left the office. Or, it’s on a CD that happened to get crushed in transit. Always have at least two versions – one on the laptop, one on a flash drive or on an online storage site, such as Dropbox.
  2. An extra power cord. This one actually happened to me. I went to plug in my laptop and the cord was not supplying power for some reason. “It happens…” I was told by the manufacturer. After time, the power cord can become ineffective. So, as I watched the battery drain, I rushed to get through my presentation. Now there is always an extra in my bag.
  3. A long VGA cable. At least 12 feet in length, if not longer. This way, you can set up your laptop where you want it rather than being restricted by the 3-foot cord the conference center provides for you. Whether you want the laptop up on a table in front or on a podium, etc., this cord will come in handy.
  4. A wireless mouse / remote. This will help with slide transitions and ease of walking through the presentation. You won’t have to keep walking back and forth to the laptop (especially if you don’t have your longer VGA cord).
  5. A USB-powered speaker. If you have audio in your presentation, this is essential. Imagine a room of 50 people trying to hear audio from your laptop’s tiny sound system… it’s not going to happen. With a small but powerful USB speaker, you can plug it right into the side of your laptop, you don’t have to worry about a power source, and the audience will be able to hear what you have prepared.

This is a good starting point so you don’t get caught unprepared. I am sure everyone has their own list (or at least they should). Leave me a comment and let me know what you always have in your travel bag.

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Excel and PowerPoint Don’t Mix…

SpreadsheetVery often presentations will include financials or other figures. And, of course, the presenter believes that the best way to present this data is by cramming as much as he can into a gigantic Excel spreadsheet and then copying and pasting that 6,250-cell spreadsheet onto one small PowerPoint slide. Impressive, right? Think again, presenter… this has zero impact. And, it will even distract from your presentation because people will lose focus as they won’t be able to see what you are referring to and follow along.

Spreadsheets are used for analyzing, not for communicating. They are fantastic for quickly figuring out totals or averages or for doing hundreds or even thousands of calculations instantly on rows and rows of data. They are not, however, great for presenting. Simply put, they contain way too much information. My advice is to simplify: do you really need to present all of the data? Or just the results?

By focusing on the results in some sort of summary fashion like a table, the audience can see the numbers big and clear. You can explain how you arrived at each number if you see fit. You can walk them through it step by step but you don’t need to show the entire process. Use colors, percentages, underlining, boldface, and other effects to highlight key figures or show comparisons or differences within the results. With a summary table you have a powerful, focused image that you can now play around with and be creative.

In the end, the audience will remain more focused and in tune with your presentation and you will be able to get your point across more succinctly and effectively.

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Top 10 Mobile Facts

166153695I came across an insert in my recent issue of Advertising Age that was all about mobile marketing facts and figures. The information contained is eye-opening for anyone trying to reach consumers, especially as “online audiences started shifting away from PCs faster than anyone expected,” according to Michael Learmonth, AdAge’s digital editor.

Here are the top 10 facts:

  1. Google’s Android platform runs on 52.4% of U.S. smartphones, while Apple’s iOS runs on 39.2% (meaning these two service nearly 92% of subscribers)
  2. Facebook is the #2 app on iOS and #4 app on Android
  3. The number of U.S. tablet users is expected to grow from 93.9 million in 2012 to 178 million by 2017 – an increase of almost 90%
  4. Worldwide, 58.1% of the population used a mobile phone in 2012, and that number is expected to reach 69% by 2017
  5. Worldwide, 15.7% of the population used a smartphone in 2012, and that number is expected to reach 34% by 2017
  6. Among U.S. smartphone users, 50.9% used a video app in the last 30 days, while 32.1% used one in the last seven days (YouTube is the most-used video app)
  7. U.S. mobile ad spending is projected to reach almost $28 billion by 2017
  8. The top five social networks in the U.S. are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, tumblr, and LinkedIn
  9. Google’s share of worldwide net mobile ad revenue in 2012 was 52.36%, while Facebook came in at 5.35%
  10. Adults spend an average of 141 minutes a day using mobile devices

Source: Crain Communication Inc., “Mobile Fact Pack: A Guide to Mobile Marketing,” Advertising Age, Aug. 19, 2013.

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