Marketers Galore at Summer Toast

summertoastHundreds of marketers from across Denver came to City Park to meet, greet and visit the booths at the annual Summer Toast event. They came from law, graphics design, P.R., financial services, research, branding, Web design, engineering and marketing firms, plus hospitals, health insurance companies, banks and hotel marketers. Organizers estimated we got 700+ attendees.

I manned the PM Forum table and was the official Bavarian pretzel vendor. Because I was located across from the Coors beer truck, this proved to be a very popular item. Mark Beese, the Marketing Guy for Holland & Hart, loaned me his firm's toaster over, brought a microwave oven and kept me company. He's a heck of a great guy. I also gave away buglike visor clips that will hold your sunglasses safely on your cap visor or car sun visor.

People were snapped up the copies of the Summer issue of Professional Marketing magazine and wante to know all about the PM Forum. While the pretzels were warming up, I explained that we are unqiue because (a) we are interdiscriplinary, (b) aim our programming at the strategic level and (c) are a global organization. People liked the sound of that and I collected many business cards from marketers who wanted to start a local chapter. In North America, the PM Forum has chapters already in New York, Chicago and Toronto, with two more major cities to open chapters this fall.

As the full moon came up, we all packed up our tables and gear. I gained newfound respect for the people who exhibit on the trade show floors; it's hard work but totally worth it. Denver is a beautiful city, with sudden and frightening lightning storms, followed quickly by warm sunny skies. I'll be on a plane early tomorrlw, but I know I'll definitely be back.


Five Lessons in Making Better Presentations

tarkowskiIn marketing professional services, there is no more effective technique than giving an effective public presentation. It establishes the speaker as an authority, it makes an indelible impression in the viewer's mind and it's a great way to get new business.

I've given a lot of talks but I knew I had room for improvement. I got a fantastic speech training session from Kathy Tarkowski of KT Associates, Communication Consulting & Training last weekend. On the tranquil shores of Camp Madron in bucolic Buchanan, Michigan, she taught me five important lessons:

  1. Feeling butterflies before you speak is normal; this is the result of your brain pumping adrenalin in your bloodstream. It also causes a secretion called cortisol, which makes your mind go blank for a moment, usually when you're making an important point. This happens to everyone, so you need to have notes.
  2. Make eye contact with an audience member and hold it for three to five seconds. Don't break eye contact until you've finished your thought.
  3. Pause when you look at your notes, and stop speaking. I have a habit of continuing to speak as I look down at my notes, but it makes for an ineffective presentation. She videotaped me and I saw how poorly it came across. Kathy says when you've finished looking at your notes, look up at someone, make eye contact and then continue.
  4. Make big gestures when you talk; it makes you more interesting to watch (55% of what the audience perceives from you is how you look). Don't put your arms behind your back, clasp them in front of your fly or cross your arms. Open up your arms and move them away from your body.
  5. Move around and use the space you have to work with. It gives you presence and causes the audience to watch where you're going. She recalled an executive whom she coached who, despite her exhortations, refused to budge from the podium. Finally at a big presentation, he took a step away from the podium, but still touched it with one finger. Movement is difficult even for top leaders.

I personally recommend Kathy to anyone who has to sell, run meetings or get up in front of a crowd. She'll give you confidence and poise. You'll learn lots of practical pointers and a neat method she calls "The Echo System" to construct your speech. You can reach Kathy Tarkowski at 773.477.0490 or at

My next public presentation is at the ABA Annual Meeting in Atlanta on August 7. I'll be speaking at 2 pm at the World Congress Conference Center with several other experts on -- guess what? -- the topic of "Presentation Skills for the Courtroom and Beyond." I'll be using the techniques I learned from Kathy, so check it out and see how I do.