From a recent conference, here are more tips for bad presenters. If any apply to you (please ask somebody about that), heed this advice!

  • If you are a flat presenter, listen to “Renegade Master” by Fatboy Slim before speaking. It will definitely pump your energy level.
  • Arrive early and do whatever you can to ensure your laptop is placed so you can see it from where you’re speaking. Then use it to look at what’s on the screen; stop turning around to look back at the screen as if you’re sharing the view with the audience.
  • Also have somebody stand where you’ll stand and see how the lighting looks. If the presentation area isn’t well lit, get someone to help adjust the lights so you’re not standing in the dark. If that doesn’t work, consider changing where you’ll stand.
  • Stop reading slides.
  • When sharing a list of what you plan to cover, don’t talk about each item in detail on the first pass through the list. Save it for when you’re actually going to be covering it.
  • Don’t tell me you’re not a professional speaker. I can tell.
  • When time’s running out and you announce you’re going to move quickly through the rest of the presentation, don’t read the remaining slides word for word. Instead, share the broad themes that you haven’t touched on yet.
  • Finally, go see Edward Tufte present live. It’s an experience that will help you immensely!

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Even your mentors may need advice and instigation at some point. If you find you have a mentor who is ready to mistakenly pack it in, demonstrate to them why it’s important for them to act, take a stand, or confront what’s confounding them.

I did it recently, and it resulted in a last minute change of course on a major decision.

Do it yourself and some good will assuredly come from you standing up for the right course of action.

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For fun, wanted to share two examples, one bad and one great, of restaurant marketing.

Bad Restaurant Marketing

This shot of the local KFC is from a recent trip back home in Hays, KS. It has a variety of problems:

  • A steak dinner for $2.49 stretches the bounds of credibility. A price that’s TOO low, doesn’t say value; it says WATCH OUT!
  • Extending KFC into steak doesn’t work either. Who is looking for beef when they see the Colonel’s white goatee and suit?
  • It’s misleading. When I showed it to my mom, she said it’s actually a CHICKEN FRIED steak special. But that’s not what the sign says. Maybe everybody in Hays knows that, but just driving by, you figure it’s an overly ambitious franchisee run amok.

Great Restaurant Marketing

In contrast, this February special from Houlihan’s is creative and on-target for several reasons:

  • It’s tied into current events - It builds off of people’s attention to the stock market. Any day in February when the Dow was up, everyone got free Italian donuts. On days when the Dow closed down, customers received a coupon for a free appetizer on the next visit.
  • It drives business when people are watching dollars - The Italian donuts are a higher-priced desert relative to Houlihan’s other small portion deserts. Inducing trial is likely to spur future sales since they’re incredibly good (trust me – I’ve tried them more than once). In the alternative, on down days, getting benefit from the coupon requires another visit to Houlihan’s.
  • There’s some built-in sizzle - The promotion includes an opportunity to win a $5000 savings bond. Strong because it gets attention, has a high perceived valued, and costs Houlihan’s much less than that figure.
  • It has built-in free advertising support - Once getting over the hurdle of people knowing about the promotion, think about how many media outlets provide 5x per week prompts on the Dow’s performance. It’s all free advertising.

Great marketing doesn’t have to be complicated, but it surely benefits from strategic thinking and implementation. Great job Houlihan’s!

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Wrap up for “Let Other People Talk” week features a few more quotes and links on various Brainzooming-oriented topics, nearly all from Twitter.

@CynthiaY29: “Creativity takes courage.” Henri Matisse

@artrox: Charles Handy “The modern economies will not be constrained by lack of resources but only by lack of creativity & ideas.”

RT @boxofcrayons: RT @joevans: From Sir Ken Robinson: “If you are not prepared to be wrong — you will not come up with anything original.

RT @CreativityBoost: Action is the best way to give doubt the middle finger. via @johnhaydon
Best quote heard so far this week: “Slow down and think so you can go fast.”

RT @Orrin_Woodward: “The successful leader gets superior performance from ordinary people”. ~Al Kaltman

RT @sallyhogshead: We were born w/ the ability to do 1 thing better than anyone else on earth. Trick is to find out exactly what YOURS is.

@AdamTheHutt: Some interviewee on NPR just declared that “motherhood is the necessity of innovation”…funny idea if you think about

@Zindella: Aristotle once said: Today I am short of time, so I am going to write you a long letter.


Free Ideas Ready for You to Implement! Wacha Waitin’ For? RT @plish: Hamster Burial Kits & 998 Other Business Ideas http://post.ly/1Yb

50% of companies look for strategic thinking RT @davidharkleroad: Best Companies for Ldrs, Chief Exec Magazine: http://tinyurl.com/bhuc5p

The importance of group dynamics RT @stef: The qualities that make a successful innovator are actually ones a group shares http://is.gd/juOB

Also from Heart of Innovation – 100 Lamest Reasons Not to Innovate in 2009 http://tinyurl.com/79t3t3

Heart of Innovation on “56 Reasons Business Innovation Fails” http://tinyurl.com/5df2mm
RT @mindfulmimi: Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity – Bo Bennett http://ff.im/13vPD

Comment: New way of presenting food groups RT @plish: Mindmap of foods to boost productivity (and creativity!) http://tinyurl.com/cz5h4c

Cool cust exp mktg! RT @gabysslave:..sometimes wish i had clients prepared 2b challenged w/ really great ideas like this http://bit.ly/Po7Fp

Read the Great Springboard Blog! RT @kevinfullerton: Follow Your Connections to the End http://tinyurl.com/cxad3u

Hope you’ve enjoyed the variety this week. See you back here next week!

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Here are innovation thought starters harvested from Twitter. You can follow me on Twitter in two places now: @mikebrown and @brainzooming. There’s slightly different content at each – at least for now!

@ireckon marc andreessen: innovation happens – create, destroys, recreate. Failures free up intellectual capital for next innovation

@DanKok Innovation is now the principal competitive weapon – G. Beaver. And innovation only happens with innovative people.

@pinnovation innovation demands highly motivated and engaged employees…create cultures in which people can bring their passion to the work

@roymap Innovation comes from asking great questions. Not from always having the answers.

@ransomtech Chew on this: “We tend to overestimate the short-term effects and underestimate the long-term effects of innovation” ~Chip Bruce

@Adambow #Novate Innovation is being able to combine frames of reference and draw connections between ostensibly unrelated points of view

@retailsprout “Difficult economic times, often spur great periods of creativity and invention.” – Carisa Bianchi President of TBWAChiatDay

@FullerJohn RT @JeffAbel: The world leaders in innovation and creativity will also be world leaders in everything else. ~ Harold R. McAlindonm

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Here’s a creativity prayer I wrote for a creativity presentation I presented several years ago. Invest a few moments today with this creativity prayer. Use it to ask for a potentially new creative force in your life to help enliven and inspire others with your creativity. – Mike Brown


Thank you for creation itself and the incredible gifts and talents you so generously entrust to me. May I appreciate and develop these talents, always recognizing that they come from you and remain yours.

Guide me in using them for the benefit of everyone that I touch, so that they may be more aware of your creative presence and develop the creativity entrusted to them for the good of others.

Help me also to use your talents to bring a creative spark and new possibilities to your world, living out my call to be an integral part of your creative force. Amen.


“A Creativity Prayer” Copyright 2008, Mike Brown

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Here’s a video recorded for Janine Cahill and the “Foresight Innovation and Sustainability Hothouse” in Sydney, Australia. This opportunity is thanks to connecting with Janine on Twitter.

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