10 ways to grow your business

  1. Advertise on company and community notice boards
  2. Free announcements in local/community newspapers
  3. Barter your services in exchange for free advertising
  4. Word of mouth – tell all your friends
  5. Business cards – never leave home without them
  6. Be outrageous – do something so out of the ordinary that you get free publicity
  7. Offer to write articles for local newspapers or magazines. Note that these are articles and not advertorials
  8. Make contacts with complementary businesses to provide a stronger offering that helps you both
  9. Be contactable make it easy for your customers to find you. Have a website, and respond to emails and phone calls
  10. Follow through on your leads and customer queries

43 Dos and 35 Don’ts of Public Speaing

In some ways, public speaking has changed dramatically over the last 100 years, but in others it as barely changed at all. 

Read about 78 lessons in public speaking from 1916 that are still as relevant today as there were in 1916.

These lists are from the book Talks on Talking by Grenville Kleiser. It was originally published in 1916, and it is amazing how almost 100 years later, the principles hold.


  1. Don’t rant.
  2. Don’t prate.
  3. Don’t fidget.
  4. Don’t flatter.
  5. Don’t declaim.
  6. Don’t be glib.
  7. Don’t hesitate.
  8. Don’t be nasal.
  9. Don’t apologize.
  10. Don’t dogmatize.
  11. Don’t be slangy.
  12. Don’t antagonize.
  13. Don’t be awkward.
  14. Don’t be violent.
  15. Don’t be personal.
  16. Don’t be “funny.”
  17. Don’t attitudinize.
  18. Don’t be monotonous.
  19. Don’t speak rapidly.
  20. Don’t sway your body.
  21. Don’t be long-winded.
  22. Don’t “hem” and “haw.”
  23. Don’t praise yourself.
  24. Don’t overgesticulate.
  25. Don’t pace the platform.
  26. Don’t clear your throat.
  27. Don’t “point with pride.”
  28. Don’t tell a long story.
  29. Don’t rise on your toes.
  30. Don’t distort your words.
  31. Don’t stand like a statue.
  32. Don’t address the ceiling.
  33. Don’t speak in a high key.
  34. Don’t emphasize everything.
  35. Don’t drink while speaking.
  36. Don’t fatigue your audience.
  37. Don’t exceed your time limit.
  38. Don’t talk for talking’s sake.
  39. Don’t wander from your subject.
  40. Don’t fumble with your clothes.
  41. Don’t speak through closed teeth.
  42. Don’t put your hands on your hips.
  43. Don’t fail to stop when you have ended.


  1. Be prepared.
  2. Begin slowly.
  3. Be modest.
  4. Speak distinctly.
  5. Address all your hearers.
  6. Be uniformly courteous.
  7. Prune your sentences.
  8. Cultivate mental alertness.
  9. Conceal your method.
  10. Be scrupulously clear.
  11. Feel sure of yourself.
  12. Look your audience in the eyes.
  13. Be direct.
  14. Favor your deep tones.
  15. Speak deliberately.
  16. Get to your facts.
  17. Be earnest.
  18. Observe your pauses.
  19. Suit the action to the word.
  20. Be yourself at your best.
  21. Speak fluently.
  22. Use your abdominal muscles.
  23. Make yourself interesting.
  24. Be conversational.
  25. Conciliate your opponent.
  26. Rouse yourself.
  27. Be logical.
  28. Have your wits about you.
  29. Be considerate.
  30. Open your mouth.
  31. Speak authoritatively.
  32. Cultivate sincerity.
  33. Cultivate brevity.
  34. Cultivate tact.
  35. End swiftly.

47 Phrases to avoid when speaking

This list is from the book Talks on Talking by Grenville Kleiser. It was originally published in 1916. While many of the phrases have fallen into disuse, it is amazing how many are still being used today! What do you think we should add to the list?

  1. I rise with diffidence
  2. Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking
  3. By a happy stroke of fate
  4. It becomes my painful duty
  5. In the last analysis
  6. I am encouraged to go on
  7. I point with pride
  8. On the other hand (with gesture)
  9. I hold
  10. The vox populi
  11. Be that as it may
  12. I shall not detain you
  13. As the hour is growing late
  14. Believe me
  15. We view with alarm
  16. As I was about to tell you
  17. The happiest day of my life
  18. It falls to my lot
  19. I can say no more
  20. In the fluff and bloom
  21. I can only hint
  22. I can say nothing
  23. I cannot find words
  24. The fact is
  25. To my mind
  26. I cannot sufficiently do justice
  27. I fear
  28. All I can say is
  29. I shall not inflict a speech on you
  30. Far be it from me
  31. Rise phoenix-like from his ashes
  32. But alas!
  33. What more can I say?
  34. At this late period of the evening
  35. It is hardly necessary to say
  36. I cannot allow the opportunity to pass
  37. For, mark you
  38. I have already taken up too much time
  39. I might talk to you for hours
  40. Looking back upon my childhood
  41. We can imagine the scene
  42. I haven't the time nor ability
  43. Ah, no, dear friends
  44. One more word and I have done
  45. I will now conclude
  46. I really must stop
  47. I have done.

3 Tips for Effective Negotiation

This is from a workshop presented by Derek Pead

What is the issue at stake – find out what the issue is (not what the issue appears to be – but the actual underlying issue)

What is your interest – understand why the issue is relevant to you and to the other party

What is your position – know where you stand regarding the issue, and where the other party stands

Knowing these three things will get you a long way towards effective negotiation.

Are you an expert communicator?

Expert_2I have always believed that to get ahead in life, you need to be an effective communicator, regardless of what your field of work is. You need to be able to communicate to:

  • your peers
  • your boss
  • your clients
  • your prospective clients
  • your service-providers
  • your subordinates
  • your partner
  • your children
  • your parents
  • your …

There is an interesting article by Dustin Wax on Lifehack, "How to be an expert", in which he speaks to this.

Dustin says that

"expertise without the ability to communicate is practically pointless",

and you need to 

"learn to use whatever technologies you need to present your expertise in the best possible way",


"an expert should be able to explain to you exactly what they?re doing and why".

It all boils down to the ability to communicate. No matter how knowledgeable you are, your knowledge is worthless if you cannot communicate. Here are a few ways to improve your communication:

  • Practise
  • Get coaching
  • Watch and listen to great communicators
  • Join Toastmasters
  • Get to the point
  • Listen to others

Good luck

(image source)

Barak Obama’s slides – how they could have looked

In my last post, I spoke about the very poor slides from a recent presentation by by Barack Obama. – the so-called "Yes we Can" speech. Firstly an apology- the slides were not created by Obama, but were created by a blogger to demonstrate how poor slides can ruin a presentation. Sorry for the miscommunication.

However, they are a great example of poor slides, so I have dissected them and shown what could have been done.

The main problems with the slides is that there is far too much text, and there is such missed opportunity for great visuals (I have left the original slides in the bottom left for reference).

I removed the agenda and second hope slide – they were redundant.

Yes we can! – simple and patriotic

Thank you – personally I don’t think that you need this slide, but if you have to have it, show visual of what/who you are thanking (I just stuck the picture of the family in to illustrate).

Time for change – representing the diverse culture of American people.

Change isn’t easy – difficult to break out of the mold – Lego people.

What we’re up against – a brick wall.

What I see – the title does not interest me. Obama is actually speaking about what he sees in his country, so I have renamed it to My country. The picture is a vivid picture of inner-city buildings with fences and graffiti.

We cannot loose hope – picture of patriotic child representing hope for the future.

What I know – also boring title. Obama is speaking about we can achieve, so I called it We can. I am not too sure about the picture of the children, perhaps a bit too cuddly. It also makes a good climatic transition into the last slide, which is…

Yes We can – some stars and strips.

Which slide deck do you prefer?

How NOT to use PowerPoint

Barack Obama?s "Yes We Can" speech injustice in PowerPoint

This is a mock-up of a slide deck from Barack Obama – "Yes we Can" speech. It was not created by Obama, but were created by a blogger to demonstrate how poor slides can ruin a presentation.

Let's go through it slide by slide.

All slides: The template is boring. It is one of the default templates that is installed with PowerPoint 2003. The lime green does not work.

Agenda: You are giving a speech, not running a day long seminar – you don't need an agenda slide.

Thank you: Thanking people is great (and important), but do you need a slide for it?

Sides 4-10: Such great opportunity to use visuals lost (change, time, diversity, status-quo, challenges, hope etc)

Slide 6: Can the people in the back row read the text? They will spend their time trying to read the slide, and miss what you are saying.

Slide 9: At last, some pictures, but clipart? How about some high-quality stock-photos illustrating your point?

Slide 11: The pot of gold is just cheezy.

What else could have been changed?

Do you leave effective voicemail messages?

This week I received two voicemails which I were unable to answer. One was because there was too much background noise for me to make out the message, and the other was because I had no idea who had left the message, it sounded like:

“Hi Craig, this is Carwfhsa, and my number is 08dkasldkasd, bye”

This got me to thinking about how voicemail can often be a barrier to effective communication, and not an aid. This is because of the poor quality of messages that we leave.

There are two types of really annoying messages. The first is the long and convoluted message, and the second is the short and garbled message.

So, here is the BCD to leave an effective voicemail, and to get away from those annoying messages.

  1. Be brief. A simple headline as to the purpose of the call is enough. When the call is returned, you can discuss the details. With a long message, I have probably forgotten most of the message by the time you get to the end anyway!
  2. Be clear. Speak slowly and clearly. Telephone quality is not that great, so make it easy. Please don?t leave a message when you are in a noisy place ? understanding the message is just that much more difficult.
  3. Leave your details. Unless you are leaving a message for a personal friend or family member that you are certain has your number, please leave your number. Repeat it if necessary.

For example, this is fine (some people prefer to leave the date & time as well ? also not a bad idea):

?Hi this is Craig, I would like to discuss the proposal you sent me, please call me on 082 xxx xxxx?

Finally, please don’t wait until the beep to start leaving a message until you hang up – blank messages are really annoying.

So remember, be brief, clear & leave your details.

Is lack of communication killing us?

A few days ago a colleague of mine committed suicide. It was completely out of the blue, leaving many people very shaken at what happened. He had a good job, a nice house, a brand new car, and seemed to have so much going for him.

I find it really difficult to understand why somebody who was doing so well for himself decided to end it all. What was happening? Did he have nobody to turn to? Of all his friends, family and associates, was there nobody that he felt he could speak to, to share his problems with?

There must have been things going on in his head that were not showing on the outside. Things that he was bottling inside of him, until he could no longer take the pressure, and exploded in a very tragic manner.

I wonder what would have happened if he had somebody ? just one person ? that he could share his worries with. Would he still be here, or would we still be saying goodbye?

I find it very sad that in this modern world of instant messaging, emails, cell phones and sms we still are failing to communicate with each other. Is it that we are forgetting how to communicate to such an extent that when we really need it, we are unable to do so. Is the modern technology and modern lifestyle making it easier to communicate, or are we forgetting how to communicate to such an extent that when we need to, we simply cannot?

This is one of the reasons that I am so passionate about helping people to communicate ? because we are forgetting how to do so when we most need to be to do so.