Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bad Bad Boring Blogger


I'm a bad bad boring blogger. Any of you reading this blog irregularly already know that.

I don't blog consistently. Just not that prolific of a pontificating pontificator. I'm not that interesting. Don't have the urge to blog daily "sweet nothings." (Emphasis on nothing.)

Only do it when I have something to say, or need to test some new whiz-shebang Web2.0 technology.

I'm just a bad bad boring blogger.

Odious & Odoriferous

I'm bad.

But at least I come by it honestly.

I find it odious (Smell-bad-ifferus) to simply post a blog comment like "Joe Know-It-All" had a great post on "click here to check it out."


Plus - Ive been pretty busy writing and re-writing (and re-writing ad nauseum) a couple stories of my own (screenplays) as well as editing 1o-15 business articles a week for Expert Access, a B2B e-zine with 135, 000 subscribers.

I do have quite a few stories in the hopper I'll post here shortly. Stories I think are interesting, useful and fun - not only for the reader, but for me too.

First Up

Steve Pressfield article/interview - about his new book "Killing Rommel." Steven is one of my favorite writers. More importantly, to readers of all ages, he is a great sharer of life wisdom. Check out his book, "War of Art," if you ever need inspiration to move your life forward or get out of a rut.

The last story I did with Steven, "How To Defeat Your Inner Deabeat," still fuels my email inbox with questions, comments and thanks. Received over 250 email responses in the first couple days after it was first published it in 2007. One has to question why a classic like as "The War of Art," similar in vein to Vicktor Frankl's 'Search for Meaning," ( a best-seller for over 50 years now) wasn't an international best-seller. Maybe someday.

Guy Kawasaki's Alltop

Hmmm - I segued from the "War of Art" to the author of "The Art of the Start," which I haven't read yet. Why write about Alltop.com? Two reasons.

1. It's Good

Alltop collects stories from “all the top” sites on the web - and groups them by topic. It aggregates on a single webpage stories from some of the best thinkers on the web. Alltop refers to it as a “digital magazine rack.” Pretty well describes it.

And yes , I could do it myself. Already know that. I could build my own glitzy whiz-bang content aggregator. In fact, I have many unfinished versions of it already.

Been there.

Done that.

Done it again.

It's easier not to.

Trust me on this one.

2. It's the Way Things Oughta Be.

Why? I sent an email to info@alltop.com because I wanted to get an RSS feed for the Social Media topic category -- http://socialmedia.alltop.com.

I wanted to simplify my industry research and keep up with the biz. In my job you probably need to read 3-4 hours a day. I don't. But wish I could.

The pace of the information explosion is dizzying.

I wonder how William James knew about it so many years ago.
"Wisdom is knowing what to overlook."

James' wisdom is my aspiration. But it's a struggle right now.

Highly Successful Failure

I also wanted to see if they had figured out how to setup or run an RSS feed based on aggregated topics and writers.

Have tried to do it for years with Expert Access.

Been about as successful as a woodpecker with rubber lips.

Anyway, I said all that to say this, not only did I get a quick answer - it came from Guy Kawasaki himself.

Rare - and Highly Under-rated

The personal touch. Simple. Twitter Short. Direct. Concise. Rare - and highly under-rated. No autorespondering going on at Alltop.

Guy not only addressed and answered my question -- but also, as the consummate entrepreneur would, "asked for my vote," in- political parlance, so to speak.

"Please do write about us. It would be great. I would think that small businesses, marketing, and venturecapital.alltop.com would all be relevant to your audience.
Thanks! -- Guy
So, in far too many words, that's why I'm going to do a story on Alltop. Because it's the way things oughta be.

Charlie Rose - working on a story about Charlie Rose. Saw him speak (or be interviewed on stage actually) at a major media relations conference hosted by the Bulldog Reporter in San Franciso a short time ago. It's by far the best Media Relations conference around if you're in the PR/Marketing biz. (Check out Brian Pittman's interviews, he's the Director of Content and moderator for the PR University. Brian Pittman's a real up-and-coming Charlie Rose - if he doesn't sell out and do the Hollywood writer gig first. )

Charlie Rose has BO!
(more on that later)

Charlie was fascinating. Really connected - with everyone there.

I've seen a plethora, a bevy, a melange (I meant to say "a whole bunch" there but got carried away) of good presenters and speakers. All it takes to be a good presenter is hard work and practice.

If you're not good - you have only one person to blame, yourself.

But to be great you have to be good - and connect. Connecting is pretty special, it's an art. Maybe a gift. A heavenly endowment. You have to be an expert, wise, personable, dynamic, charismatic - and likable.

The only speaker I've seen anywhere near rivaling Charlie Rose was Steve Wynn. He was unbelievable. Excellent. Saw him speak at an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year ceremony in Palm Springs. Steve Wynn is dynamic, inspirational, charismatic. Best I ever saw (how's that for good English?). And, up until I saw him speak, I had very little knowledge of who he was or what he'd done (shows you the circles I don't run in). He had the movie star kinda mystique. But being a gazillionaire sorta lends itself to that. And, this was funny - he had an incredible Dali Lami impersonation.

Charlie Rose was not like that.

Two radically different styles. His talk was on "The Art of the Story: Finding the Heart of the Drama." He spoke about what he looked for in stories and guests for his show (he's done over 20,000 interviews). It essentially boiled down to this.
Interesting people actively engaged in the struggle of life.
Overcoming obstacles and adversity. Authentic. Able to tell their story.

What made him Charlie Rose so special?

He was talking to a group of 600 PR professionals. Each one dreaming up ways to talk to him - pitch him, get his ear. Almost holding up a sign saying "LOOK AT ME!"

And what did Charlie Rose do when his talk was finished?

Get ushered out quickly behind the stage - through some high-security, highfalutin steel curtain designed to protect him from the masses? (Some occasionally use the same word "masses," minus the "M," when referring to PR folks.)

DISCLAIMER: Yes, I do own a gorilla suit - but that's not me. I swear. An amazing coincidence. Two Steve's owning a gorilla suit. What are the odds?

No - he did something totally unexpected. Staggeringly unexpected.

He walked down from the stage and chatted with the sponsors, then slowly walked right out, ... through the masses.

'So what,' you say?

Charlie actually looked directly at each table as he passed. If someone made eye contact he stopped and spoke to them. He engaged. Engaged in the struggle of life. Okay. Maybe that's a little flim-flam flummery, a little melodramatic. But you get my point.

Never - in the History of Business ...

Have so many PR professionals been rendered completely speechless.

What about the Charlie Rose BO comment?

Oh, BO
-- that's simple.

I mentioned I've been to way too many conferences and speeches?

One thing I use as a guidepost now- a barometer if you will - is something I created (patent not-pending, intellectual capital totally suspect) called the ... The BO Scale.

It doesn't mean what you think. An average presenter scores a BO rating of 5. Top of the scale being 10. Think golf here. Low score wins.

The Lazarus Phenomenon

The absolute worst presenter.

The bore the dead type presenter.

The ones capable of provoking a Lazarus type resur-insurrection (resurrection- insurrection) of peaceful souls, drifting on the rivers of the Lethe, to awake and beat you senseless with their own tombstones, -- score a BO-10 rating.

This BO scale was developed after reviewing and analyzing reams of evidence. But, it's not just theoretical. I got out in the real-world and tested it extensively.

I engaged. Sorta like Charlie Rose. Well, maybe not exactly. But I found the bottom. The bottom of the scale is a BO-10.

How do I know that?

The Worst Presentation on Earth

I purposely created the most god-awful presentation ever.

Specifically designed to be horrible. (That means I tried my best to do a great job - but failed miserably. On second thought I was a pretty successful failure. That might be a better way to spin it.)

A Real Stinker

It was terrible. ( I thought, really thought, it was elevating, inspirational and my ticket to fame and $$$$$ as a writer).


I got on stage.

Did it.

And it came in at a BO-10.

What does that mean?

BO-10 means you're so bad people throw their BlackBerry's at you to get you off the stage.

Do you know how expensive BlackBerry's are?


Means you're adequate.

Not bad.

Not good - but bearable.


Some people listen.

But about 50% of the people are shagging their BlackBerry's to do something else.

Anything but listen to you.


Having BO is the greatest of achievements these days.

BO means you have the audience enraptured.


You're great. You're humble.

Dynamic. Charismatic. Likable.

You're real real.


Every damn Blackberry in the place remains off.

BO= ALL BlackBerry's off.

BO ... means you have arrived.

You have reached ... Charlie Rose status.

Faux End


Charlie said he uses Google Alerts to monitor what people write about him. Charlie if you're out there ... Steven Pressfield would be a great guest for your show (and no, I'm not his rep - nor work for him in any way). Besides, you two are homey's. You went to the same high school.

Steven has BO too.

P.S.S. - sure would like to get a peak at those list of questions you use as an arc for your interviews. You held them up on a hand-written page-- but never got around to talking about them.


Steve Kayser -- skbigm@gmail.com

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Matt Maupin: The Last Post

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them."

'For the Fallen' by Laurence Binyon

I Never Met Him

But I knew him.

Lived about 15 miles from where I live. Southwest Ohio. A mix of small town farms and businesses. He was like many other young men around here. Grew up playing soccer, football, hanging out, fishing, dreaming of a wonderful life to come - and working hard to achieve that dream.

Was enrolled in the University of Cincinnati Aerospace Engineering Program, using a scholarship he'd received from winning a writing competition. Worked at Sam's Club to help pay for college. But anyone being within a continent (or planet) of the U.S. knows how expensive college is now. So, this young man joined the U.S. Army Reserves to further help with college costs.

He was stationed with the 705th Transportation Company based in Dayton, Ohio... until his unit was mobilized for Iraq.

I Never Met His Parents

But I know them.

They're like so many other parents in this rural part of Ohio - or were, until their son's convoy was ambushed on April 9, 2004 en route to Baghdad International Airport. Their son was taken prisoner. He was 20 years old. Born July 13, 1983.

His Name was Keith Matthew "Matt" Maupin

His parents last live image of him? A videotape broadcast on April 16, 2004, by the Arabic-language TV network Al Jazeera.

In the video, the soldier identified himself as "Private First Class Keith Matthew Maupin," a standard procedure followed by prisoners of war. It's supposed to help protect their rights under the Third Geneva Convention. Supposed to.

War is brutal. Vicious. Ugly. Mean.

Death or capture can happen at any minute. It's a risk and fear all soldiers know. Matt Maupin knew it too. But bravery, courage, belief in yourself and your country help overcome this fear.


Matt grew up in a quickly vanishing part of America - where serving your country is not a bad thing. It's an honor. And honorable. Like that quickly vanishing part of America... Matt Maupin vanished too.

For four years his parents searched, prayed, galvanized the community, did everything they could to try to find their son. For four years they held out hope. I watched their struggles on local TV. They never, ever, gave up.

Medieval Evil - جَبان

But the enemies of this war are not like Americans. Or most humans. The Geneva Convention? Right. It only applies if they're captured. They are medieval cowardly pigs that slaughter prisoners in captivity. The worst kind of putrid satanic wretches. A special place in an eternal hell is reserved for them.

Matt Maupin's body was found and identified last week. His bodily remains are being shipped home. There are no words that can really describe the pain and grief his family is going through. Abraham Lincoln came as close to it as anyone:

" I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

- Abraham Lincoln

Take a look at this young man. He could be your son, or mine. Your brother, or mine. Your friend, or mine.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

I hope our military tracks down the cowardly pig-dogs that executed Matt Maupin, string them upside down from a bridge and slow roast them with flame-throwers.

But we won't. We're Americans.

They cherish death. We cherish life.

They strap bombs on children. We send our children to save theirs.

They kill for cartoons. We die to free them from hatred, oppression and tyranny.

They saw off our heads. We make sure they have air conditioned cells with better living conditions than they've ever experienced before.

They string us upside down from bridges, burn our corpses and dance with joy as they see planes fly into our buildings, killing thousands of innocent men, women and children.

Deja Mein Kampf Vu All Over Again

Recognize evil. That's what this is. Unadulterated. Mocking. In your face.

Stop it, or be prepared to be consumed by Nazi-fied furnaces fired by their medieval excremental vision.

Where Have You Gone General George Patton?

The nation needs you more than you can know. But men like General Patton don't, can't exist anymore. They've been exterminated by cowardly political correctness.

They've vanished.

Like America is vanishing.

Like Matt vanished.

To this fine young man, Matt Maupin, working two jobs to help pay for college, who was the same age as my son, going to the same college as my son, I pay tribute and add to the eternal "Last Post" list of ...

The Loved and Lost

Fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, wives, husbands, cousins, nephews, nieces, all.
They passed on not by accident, not by bodily deterioration brought on by the mean ravages of time, but because they had a special job.

A job that ended a too-brief sojourn on this blue-green magical wonder called earth.

A job they chose.

So Costly a Sacrifice

They were American soldiers.

A step ahead.

A step behind.

A look left, instead of right.

Right, instead of left.

Up instead of down.

Down instead of up.

A blink of the eye at the wrong time.

Then... life was over.

What is life?

It is the flash of a firefly in the night.

It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.

It is the little shadow that runs across the grass

and loses itself in the sunset.

Crowfoot, Native American Blackfoot warrior and orator

Life. Over. Gone.

So quick.

So quick.

Where did it go?

It was the fleeting flash of a firefly in the night … gone.

But not.

Their undiminishable light echoes eternally throughout the music of the spheres like heavenly bagpipes playing Amazing Grace across the unfathomable unknowable on their way to The Last Post.

Fireflies in the night, shadows that ran across the grass riding a Sonata of Moonlight on an Ode to Joy - to living, giving and life.


For more information, or to help in anyway you can, please visit the Keith Matthew "Matt" Maupin official website, hosted by Keith and Carolyn Maupin (Matt's Mom and Dad), and the
Yellow Ribbon Support Center.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Life ... Pass it On

It starts with a phone call.

The one moment in life that every parent dreads. A nightmare every parent prays will never happen.

A mad rush to the hospital. An anxious eternity. You finally arrive and burst through the doors. A doctor comes out, maybe two. Their faces tell you what you don't want to know.

It's over. Your child has passed. Gone.

Grief forever sears the moment in your memory. Overwhelming sadness drags your heart into, and then below, a bottomless pit. A primordial scream forms.

But the medical people are speaking to you. Your son, your baby, your beloved gift from God, is gone; but these people continue talking. Can't they stop? They force you to listen.

They tell you your son was an organ donor. Timing is critical. Organ donor? You didn't know.

That's how Vickie Jackson, a Cincom employee, found out. Her son Brandon Jackson, recently returned from the Iraq war, in his quiet dignity, had registered to be an organ donor. The medical people asked for her permission to begin the organ donation process.

The primordial scream turns into a “No! No! No!” Not my baby.

Her mind went back in time.

Where had this precious life gone?

So fleeting.

Where had the little boy in the blue suit gone?

So unpredictable.

So quickly gone.

"There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief."
- Aeschylus

Brandon had grown into a loving, fun, strong, handsome young man.



He served his country in Iraq.

He often did good deeds, but never mentioned them to his mom.

Later, people would tell her stories about how Brandon many times had gone out of his way to help them.

"He would just do something kind, and it was between him, the other person and God," remembered his mom, Vickie.

"It is not length of life, but depth of life."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson





The medical people were still there. Still talking. Asking for her permission to start the organ donation process.

Time was critical.

Brandon kept secrets. Like all children. Like all children that grow into adults.

"If you want to confide in someone who will never tell your business, tell it to Brandon," his grandmother used to say.

This secret, revealed at this time, in this way, was almost too much for any person to take.

Yet it demanded immediate action on her part.

But it was her baby they were asking about.

And ... he had never told her he was an organ donor.

" In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life.
It goes on."
- Robert Frost


So fleeting.

So precious.

So quickly gone.

Little things, seemingly minor at the time, so meaningful now.

Handwritten special notes of love.

Even if they were on a paper plate.

The flowers.

The flowers—just to let you know he loved you.

The thanks.

"The first step in the acquisition of wisdom is silence, the second listening, the third memory, the fourth practice, the fifth teaching others. - Solomon Ibn Gabriol

The thought and the timing of the organ donation process were horrific.

In one of those brief interludes of silence, when lucidity temporarily overwhelms tragedy and pushes back personal grief, Vickie Jackson made the decision.

She listened to her memories. Brandon had wanted it; she would follow his wishes. She would honor his memory. She would respect his choice. And in doing so - she passed life on.

"In my heart and mind, Brandon is a noble testimony of giving—still living, breathing and enjoying life somewhere. Can you imagine being in four or five places at the same time enjoying life? That's how I imagine Brandon. I may not be able to touch him right now, or hear his voice, but I know he is all over the country within some blessed recipient." - Vickie Jackson, Mother of Brandon Jackson, organ donor.

Life. Pass it On. Brandon did.

Did You Know?

Did you know more that 98,000 people are in need of an organ transplant in the United States right now?

Did you know that each day about 77 people get the organ transplant that gives them a second chance, but 17 to 19 others die because they did not receive an organ transplant?

Did you know as a registered donor you can make a positive impact on the lives of many, and save the lives of 8 people?

Did you know that April is National Donate Life Month in the United States?

Vickie Jackson works for Cincom Systems in Cincinnati, Ohio. Because of her experience she is now a spokesperson and advocate for the Life Center Organ Donor Network. Vickie can be reached by email at vjackson@cincom.com

For more information
: www.lifepassiton.org

In Ohio: http://donatelifeohio.org/ohiodonorregistry/index.aspx

In Kentucky: https://www.donatelifeky.org/NewRegistration.aspx

In the United States: http://www.donatelife.net

Throughout the World: Contact your physician or your organ-donation advocate organization for more information on registration.

The Complex Sale: 10 Hollywood Tips for Being "Good in a Room"

About a year ago, I had the pleasure to co-write an article titled "Ten Tips for Being Good in a Room," with Stephanie Palmer, former Director of Creative Affairs at MGM Pictures. At the time, she had just started a new company called (you're never going to guess ...) "Good in a Room."

The article, updated and included below, (with a surprise at the end) draws on Stephanie's years of experience working with stories, writers, creative people and directors as they "pitched" their ideas and stories trying to get them to the big screen.

In Stephanie's tenure as the Director of Creative Affairs at MGM Pictures she acquired screenplays, books, articles and pitches and supervised their development. Some of her projects include "
Mad Money," "21," "Be Cool," "Legally Blonde," "Sleepover," "A Guy Thing," "Good Boy," "Agent Cody Banks" and "Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London."


The "pitching" of the idea, or the story, and the pitching of yourself can be applied to many different business and life situations. It's particularly relevant and useful in the B2B "Complex Sale" environment.

That Crucial Moment

"Ten Hollywood Tips for Being Good in a Room" focuses on that crucial moment - after you've
worked for months (or years!) on your project, and have the buyer interested. The meeting is set. There’s a lot at stake. You’ll have one chance to effectively communicate the value and uniqueness of your project. Now ... you have to be, what they call in Hollywood, "Good in a Room."

But first, an update.

Since that article was published, Stephanie Palmer has written a thoroughly fantastic and real-world informative book titled, "GOOD in a ROOM: How to Sell Yourself (and Your Ideas) and Win Over Any Audience."

Stephanie recently appeared on MSNBC's "Today Show" to talk about her new book in a segment called "How to Get What You Want,"
along with Jim Cramer, Barbara Corcoran and Dr. Gail Saltz. They discussed the power of persuasion and how to be a master of the art.

She's not only "Good in a Room," she's good on TV. If you want to perform better in high-stakes meetings, check out her book "Good in a Room."

Now, on to ...

The Complex Sale: Ten Hollywood Tips For Being "Good in a Room."

Do You Know …

The one skill that’s considered to be an absolute “must have” in the complex sale?

The Definition

The complex sale typically refers to a high-value purchase, $150,000 and higher, involving a buyer's committee consisting of anywhere from three to 21 people … or more.


The sales cycle is frustratingly long. Anywhere from 12-36 month. Worse still … it involves multiple decision-makers, all with different viewpoints, agendas and radically different personalities.

It’s a Science – It’s an Art

To win at the complex sale, one must be a storyteller, master tactician, strategist, cajoler, evaluator, philosopher, psychologist, bean counter and techno-geek. Yup. All rolled into one. But, even with all of that, there is one skill that is an absolute “must have” in the complex sale.

Without it, success is always a delayed sales cycle away – with a morbidly high improbability rate of closure ranging from 0 to 10 percent.

What is that one trait that’s an absolute “must have” to win the complex sale in today’s competitive sales environment?

I’m sure you’re thinking some highfalutin, corporate gobbledygook, acromoronic description is coming your way now.

You’d be wrong.

The skill is critical to your success – in business or life.

You must be ...

Good in a Room.”

What does that mean ... to be "Good in a Room?" To find out, I decided to ask someone that had sat on the other side of the fence. A buyer. But not just a buyer of any high-value product or service. A buyer of ideas. Concepts. Words. A buyer of screenplays and stories. Each one a high-value purchase triggering the complex and bewildering process that may eventually lead to the big screen. And, as you'll see, no movie ever gets started without someone having mastered the "art of the schmooze" and being ...

Enter Stephanie Palmer

Good in a Room founder Stephanie Palmer was named one of the "Next Generation: Top 35 Executives Under 35" by The Hollywood Reporter. As the Director of Creative Affairs at MGM Pictures, she acquired screenplays, books and pitches and supervised their development. Some of her projects include “Be Cool,” “Legally Blonde,” “Sleepover,” “A Guy Thing,” “Agent Cody Banks,” and “Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London.” Prior to MGM, she worked in development at Jerry Bruckheimer Films on “Con Air,” Armageddon,” and “Enemy of the State.” Her first job in the business was as an intern on “Titanic.”

Ten Hollywood Tips for Being “Good in a Room” - Stephanie Palmer

You’ve worked for months (or years!) on your project, and a buyer is interested. The meeting is set, and there’s a lot at stake. You’re going to get one chance to effectively communicate the value and uniqueness of your project. Many people get nervous at this point.

The best of the best, I've learned from many years of experience, follow these 10 steps ... or tips. If you learn them, you can join the ranks of those who know that they are “good in a room.”

1. Silence is the Strongest Start of All

Don’t start talking until the decision-maker is ready. If there have been a lot of people popping in, urgent phone calls or other interruptions, ask the executive if he or she is ready for you to begin.

Make eye contact. Then, start slowly and deliver your first line.

Make sure it is dynamite. Pause. Gauge the executive’s response. Then proceed with your presentation at a relaxed pace.

Remember, even though you’re intimately familiar with your project, the buyer will be hearing it for the very first time.

2. Understand the Buyer’s Secret Dream

Even though top-level buyers can seem cold and recalcitrant, this is the result of seeing a seemingly endless stream of poorly prepared and emotionally needy sellers deliver mediocre pitches.

I Can't Wait to Say No

Decision-makers don’t wake up thinking, “I can’t wait to disappoint people and pass on 30 projects today.” Instead, they hope today will be the day they discover their career-making project.

Thus, you must position yourself and your project in a way that differentiates you from the masses and speaks directly to the buyer’s highest-priority needs.

3. Build Rapport. Then, Build Some More

People want to work with people they like. Think about what you have in common with the decision-maker you’re meeting. Be ready to share a few brief, personal stories that demonstrate the attributes you believe will be most attractive to the buyer. Be prepared to ask a few open-ended questions that will encourage the buyer to speak about a non-business interest in a positive light. All else being equal, you will have the edge if you can establish a personal connection.

4. Make Your Pitch Repeatable

Though you are selling your project to a decision-maker in the room, after the meeting, the buyer – if interested – becomes the seller and must pitch your idea to their colleagues or superiors. In Hollywood, this is known as the “logline.” If you can’t summarize your project in a brief, compelling statement, you haven’t thought about it enough.

Remember, the more you say, the less people hear. Choose your words carefully.

5. Acknowledge the Competition

Be prepared to answer questions such as, “What does my project have in common with other successful projects in the same industry? What were the last projects that the company purchased, and were they successful?

Which of their projects is most similar to my own?

What makes me the best person for this project?”

Answering these key questions early in your presentation demonstrates that you have done your homework. This will encourage them to listen to what follows more closely.

6. The Best Meetings Are Conversational and Interactive

Many professionals make the mistake of performing an over-rehearsed spiel that sounds like an infomercial for their idea.

Instead, pause frequently, especially when there is an opportunity for the buyer to give you a reaction or ask a question.

In an ideal world, you’d spend more time in a dialogue with the buyer, than performing a monologue.

7. Start from the Beginning – Always

Even if you had a long and productive conversation the day before, you’d be surprised how much can change in the buyer’s mind. After all, you’ve been thinking about the meeting and they have, too.

Assume that they’ve done more research, talked to some people and something has changed since the time you last spoke. It’s your job to figure out what that is. After some initial rapport building, do another information-gathering session. If appropriate, ask for a recap from their perspective.

8.Watch for Hidden Opportunities

The buyer’s goal for the meeting may not be the same as yours. In addition to hearing your idea, the executive may be evaluating you to see if you would be a good fit for another project.

Remember, when you are in the room, you are selling minimally two things: your project and yourself. Even if the meeting doesn’t result in a “yes,” making a favorable impression can be the beginning of a long-term professional relationship.

9. Don’t Claim Your Expertise - Demonstrate it

Don’t just talk about your experience, show your expertise by positioning your project as it relates to the competition. Don’t brag or boast about past wins. If you must mention a past success, do it off-handedly and with humility. This is similar to the common rule about storytelling, “Show, don’t tell.”

Remember a lot of people talk the talk. Those who are “good in a room” are focused on meeting the needs of the buyer and not on boosting their own ego.

10. Save a Surprise for the End

Plan multiple strategies to exit gracefully.

Some techniques are to have a callback to a personal topic that you discussed at the beginning of the meeting, thank them for a specific, useful contribution they made during the meeting, or leave them a polished piece of material that they haven’t seen previously.

Use a summary statement that you design specifically to be remembered and repeated.

Remember ...

Last impressions last.

Surprise! - Bonus Tip

11. You Are Always in the Room

Develop your skills so that you can handle meetings that occur unexpectedly, like on a plane, at a party, or in a waiting room. More business starts from casual interactions than formal meetings across a conference room table.

The polished professional who is “good in a room” is ready for anything. But don’t feel the need to talk business in all situations, often the best move is to say, “Why don’t we just enjoy the party, and I’ll follow up with you on Monday.”


We saved a surprise for the end.

Like the article?

Want to win a copy of the book?

Email me your feedback and mailing address at skayser@cincom.com. First 20 responses will win a copy of "Good in a Room" by Stephanie Palmer. Put 'GOOD IN A ROOM" in the subject line.

About Stephanie Palmer:

Stephanie Palmer (http://stephaniepalmer.com) coaches business leaders, senior executives and established creative professionals from a wide variety of industries to help them get their ideas the attention and financing they deserve.

In her tenure as the Director of Creative Affairs at MGM Pictures, Palmer acquired screenplays, books, articles and pitches and supervised their development. Some of her projects include "Mad Money," "21," "Be Cool," "Legally Blonde," "Sleepover," "A Guy Thing, "Good Boy," "Agent Cody Banks" and "Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London."

Prior to MGM, she worked in development at Jerry Bruckheimer Films on "Con Air," "Armageddon" and "Enemy of the State." Her first job in the film business was as an unpaid intern on the Academy Award-winning "Titanic."

Palmer has presented workshops and seminars for many organizations, companies and universities, including Merrill Lynch Business Development Programs, University of Southern California, American Film Market, the Asia Media Festival, National Speaker's Association Graduate School and the International Creativity Conference.

Additionally, she has been featured on NBC's "Today," "CBS's Early Show," "National Public Radio" and in the "Los Angeles Times." She serves as an advisor for the American Screenwriting Association, Carnegie Mellon University's Masters of Entertainment Industry Management Program, and the Producing Program at UCLA. She supports Habitat for Humanity and The Fulfillment Fund.

Stephanie Palmer

Good in a Room

10845 Lindbrook Drive, Suite 200,

Los Angeles, CA 90024

Phone: 310.481.3987

Fax: 310.388.0818

Email: info@goodinaroom.com

About Steve Kayser:

Steve Kayser is an award-winning business writer that has been featured in a marketing best practices case study by MarketingSherpa, “A Marketer's Guide to e-Newsletter Publishing,” Innovation Quarterly, B2B Marketing Trends, and Faces of E-Content magazine. His writings have appeared in Corporate Finance Review Magazine, CEO Refresher, Entrepreneur Magazine, Business 2.0, and Fast Company Magazine, among others.

In his spare time, Steve professionally models kilts for Un-Vanity, Non-GQ and The Manly Kilt Wearing Man monthly magazines.

Steve also headlines fundraising events for his run at an Olympic Gold Medal in the kilt-wearing mechanical bull-riding competition to be held in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2050.