Andrea Beaulieu recently joined us for a webinar in which she showed us how to tell your nonprofit’s story in a way that will create a moment of deep meaning with your audience.

In case you missed it, you can watch the full replay here:

Full Transcript:

Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for being here for today’s Bloomerang webinar. Good afternoon if you’re on the East Coast. Good morning if you’re on the West Coast or somewhere in between. Great for you to be here. We’re going to be talking about “Your Story in Three Minutes and How to Make It Matter.” My name is Steven Shattuck, and I’m the VP of Marketing here at Bloomerang, and I’ll be moderating today’s discussion, as always.

And just some housekeeping items before we begin. I want to let everyone know that we are recording this presentation, and we’ll be sending out that recording a little later on this afternoon, as well as the slides. So look for an email later on from me today. You’ll be able to watch the content. If you have to leave early, you can relive the content if you want to watch it again, which I think you should. You’ll also be able to share it with anyone in your office or perhaps other friends and colleagues. So just look for that. We will be sending that out.

As you’re listening today, please do use the chat box there on your webinar screen. Both Andrea and I will see those, and we’re going to save some time for questions and answers towards the end of the presentation. But it’s going to be interactive as well. So Andrea, I may ask you some things throughout the presentation. We always appreciate some interactivity, so don’t be shy at all about using that chat box. We’ll both see that.

Just in case this is your first Bloomerang webinar, welcome. So glad of you to be here and take an hour out of your busy day. We do these webinars just about every Thursday. They’re totally educational and totally free to the public. But in addition to that, Bloomerang offers some donor-management software. That is our core business here. So if you’re interested in that, if you have a need for new software, or perhaps your first foray into that, visit our website. You can learn more. You can watch a video demo. You don’t even have to talk to a salesperson if you don’t want to. So that’s that for that little commercial.

I want to go ahead and introduce today’s guest. She is Andrea Beaulieu. Hey Andrea, how’s it going?

Andrea: It’s great. I’m so glad to be here.

Steven: Yeah. I’m glad to have you too. We’ve been talking about this for a while. We’ve been planning it for a while. It’s great of you to join from a very warm Southwest United States. Thanks for doing this. Thanks for sharing all your knowledge with us for about an hour or so. Just in case you guys don’t know Andrea, she’s a speaker, she’s a trainer, she’s a writer, she’s an author, and she’s even a performer. She’s performed at the Indianapolis 500, big venues. She was the principal of her own business, Andrea Beaulieu Creates, LLC. She’s been doing that since 1987. She’s worked for nonprofits. She’s being an executive director at two nonprofits, actually, and a host of other organizations that she’s been involved with.

Great advice for you guys. I was looking at the slides a little early on this morning, and I’m really excited about it. So I’m going to pipe down. You don’t want to hear me. You want to hear Andrea. So Andrea, why don’t you go ahead and take it away for us, my friend.

Andrea: Wonderful. Wonderful. Thank you so much, Steven. We’re going to talk about “Your Story in Three Minutes and How to Make It Matter.” So I’m going to get rights to the good stuff because I know it can be tough what to say during those brief situations. And lots of times what actually get said can feel a little rushed, a little uninspiring, maybe even flat. So what if, instead, you knew how to use those small pockets of time to create a real connection with your donor and your audience? You could use it as an opportunity to inspire your audience and open the door for even greater support in the future, whatever that happens to look like for you. So wouldn’t that feel better? Actually, wouldn’t that be better?

So Steven, thank you. Hello, everybody. I’m happy to be here. See, when you’re in the spotlight, this is your chance to serve your audience, your organization and yourself. That includes knowing the part that you personally play, and I say, “Yes, you,” because when you know why you’re there and feel the value of your contribution, you can truly, authentically engage your audience.

Today I’m going to talk about how you can use that three minutes as more than a wink and a nod. Right? Instead, it can become the beginning of a relationship. So today you’re going to learn how to create a moment of deep meaning with your audience, use your open and close to engage and inspire the audience by understanding their purpose and absolute essentials of that open and to bring in the creative expression and emotional engagement techniques so you can be your expressive, wonderful self. So if that sounds good, I’m going to move forward.

Now, I’m imagining that you’re all shaking your heads, “Yes. That sounds good.” I’ll also be taking some questions throughout. So please send them through when they occur to you. You don’t have to wait to the end. And use that chat function that Steven explained to you.

But before I begin, I want to share a brief story about an experience I had several years ago. I was teaching a program on communication at a local foundation for women. This foundation helps women get a fresh start. My program was “How to Listen and Communicate to Create Positive Relationships.” And the room, it was your standard conference room type place. You walked in, and it had tables and chairs set up in a U-shape, and the women were all ages. They were from all walks of life. Some had gotten divorced and we’re starting over. Others had been employed for a while.

But one woman in particular stood out to me. She was, I don’t know, probably in her mid-20s. She had brown hair, and it was all spiked up. She had a nose ring and lots of ear studs and lots of tattoos. But her demeanor, I think, was what really stood out for me, because she had that rough, kind of closed-off bearing, you know, someone who had probably seen some very tough times. She sat in the back of the room, and she didn’t really participate much for the course of the two hours we were together.

At the end of the session, as everyone was hugging and walking out the door, she came up to me, and I’ll never forget what she said. “Andrea, where I come from, you can’t trust anyone. You talk about your feelings, you might as well have a sign on you that says ‘Beat me down.’ I just thought that was how my life would always be. Tonight, after being here, I have hope.”

Well, I thanked her for having the courage to share her thoughts and feelings with me, and I encouraged her. I said, “Go sign up first more classes.” I have to tell you, folks, I was deeply moved by that. Literally, tears came out of my eyes, and this was one of those times when I knew something had just happened. I really felt chills and deep, deep gratitude and humility. Honestly, it was unbelievable to me. But when I was done gathering my stuff together, I walked to the lobby, and on the way out the exit I notice her standing at the front desk. She was signing up to get a mentor and start her next class. So if I thought that all I was there to do was to teach some communication skills, I was very wrong. My real purpose was to be part of this person’s transformation.

The thing is, we can’t necessarily know how we’re going to impact people when we speak, but we can know that when we speak from our authentic voice, from our mind and our hearts, we can make a difference. When we’re intentional and knowing why we are there, we can open that door for that transformation, even in three minutes, because it only takes a moment to plant a seed.

So our first step is to know our real purpose for being there, not be “I’m here to pick up the check” purpose. All right, maybe that’s your real purpose, but I’m suggesting there’s also another one, and this purpose answers two questions. When my times up here, how will my audience members’ lives have improved, and when this interaction is over, will the world be a better place than when we began? Now, I love these questions, because they do three things. They put the focus on your audience member, their needs, and they ask you to get specific about what you can communicate in that moment that will connect with them. They ask you to dig deep for the meaning behind their gift to your organization and to what that gift will accomplish.

Bottom line, here’s what you’re asking. What do I want for my audience, for them, not for me, not for my organization, but for them? What do I want for that person sitting in the front row? And the answer is not necessarily, “I want her to keep contributing to my organization,” although that’s certainly part of it. It might be one of these. It might be, “Do I want her to have a healthier, happier life? Do I want him to feel good about who he is and understand the difference he makes in the world? Do I want her to know why she’s important to me and to our community?” because when we speak from that place, we really start to connect with the essence of why we are there, which is to serve the people in that room at that time, to help them see how significant each one of them is individually and as a group, and that they feel that.

So what do you need to do to share that with your audience? What can you do that might improve their lives and help them see how the world has improved from their presence and their actions? Because knowing this can help you identify the appropriate mini-story or anecdote that you want to share with them during your three minutes.

So once you’ve considered these questions, draft your answer into a statement of purpose, because by doing this, you can begin the process of meeting the first rule of speaking, which is creating a relationship with your audience, because nothing else matters till you do that. Now, I know you sat through lots of speeches, short or long, where the speaker didn’t do this. I have to. This is just one of the mistakes that speakers make, and at the end of the webinar, I’m going to tell you how you can get a copy of my Ten Top Mistakes Speakers Make and How to Avoid Them.

So that’s it, what is your real purpose? Because what we want to do is begin with your end in mind. You decide what you want your audience to walk away with. What is that core message? And this could come out of that statement of purpose. What is your call to action? What you’re actually doing when you ask this question, is you’re identifying your close, because you want your open and your close to be in sync. So at the end of your speech, you’ll circle back to your open. They’re connected. So consider how this message connects to your audience and how it aligns with your mission, that thing that you’re in business to do. Okay, so knowing that core message.

You want to craft your open so they’re going to lean forward and listen. That’s the whole idea. So the purpose of your open is to create that relationship, and you essentially do that by creating that engagement and establishing rapport.

Now, how do you even start doing this? Right? You start by finding out something about your audience before the event. You want to find out things like who am I speaking to? What part of the organization do they represent? What’s important to them? Why do they even contribute to our organization? Get this information together, and then consider how what you have to say can meet their needs, their interests, their goals. What is that connection? What brings you together?

So your open, three absolute essentials. Novelty, because that’s what gets our attention. Essentially, we have parts of our brain that are scanning the environment constantly. What it’s really doing is it’s looking for threats, “Okay. What’s different here? What do I need to watch out for?” But on the way, as it’s doing that, it’s actually looking for things that are new. So what you want your open to do is to be novel. You want it to have emotion, because that’s what’s going to keep our attention and help us retain the information.

Think back to when you were a kid. Think about the things that you remember. Aren’t those things that have some kind of high emotional content? It might be happiness and joy, or it might be some time when you broke your arm and it felt painful. These are the things we remember, because that’s one of the things that emotion does for us.

And then lastly, but not any less importantly, very important that you wanted to be relevant, because that’s what makes me want to pay attention to you. Right?

Okay. So let me give you an example. The open I started with today, I addressed this situation from both and intellectual and an emotional basis, and I did it in a somewhat novel way to make the point that it’s not only what’s important to your audience. It’s not just what’s important to say about your organization. It’s what’s important to you, as well, because your story, the story you’re going to do, I’m going to see this through their eyes. When I’m sitting in that audience, you are the messenger.

So I told you a story about the impact that you can have in a short amount of time. That was maybe a little novel, maybe something different than what some others have told you, that you are the messenger, but you’re not just the messenger. The fact that you feel inspired by what you have to say and how you are saying it is incredibly important.

So here are some thoughts about some of the things that you could use for an open, your story. Obviously, this is my favorite because stories have so much power to connect us. They’re really one of the most powerful things that we can use, because we’re so wired to listen to stories for millennia. This is how we transfer information. It’s how we learn things. Really, stories are wonderful, and they are one of the best tools to persuade people with, because we literally put ourselves in the shoes of the protagonist in the story. We come to empathize with them. And there’s lots of research behind this.

A statistic, if you have a really powerful statistic, one that makes me go “Wow. Didn’t know that,” that can be the way that you open. But then give me an example of what that statistic means. And then humor, I actually recommend that you have some humor in your open in some way, and I’m not talking about a joke, the standard, “Oh. Tell a joke.” No, I’m not talking about a joke, because everybody’s sense of humor is different, and certainly you don’t want to ever offend your audience. But you can find humor in your circumstances or your stories.

I want to give you an example. Perhaps instead of starting out with, “Thank you. I’m so glad to be here representing All Goes Well organization,” you might open with something fun that you know about a person in their leadership, let’s say. Now, this is appropriate in goodwill, and it’s based on the research. You might say something like, “Good morning. On my way here this morning, I went to Starbucks, and as I was getting my Venti decaf, I noticed that so-and-so,” let’s say it’s the CEO, “She ordered a double espresso with a shot of espresso and two squirts of espresso flavoring. Almost turned around, and I realized, ‘No wonder I only have three minutes. She’s a woman with a mission.'” I’m making this up. Right? I’m kidding.

But then you might go into, “Seriously folks, I’m here to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your generosity, because this is how All Goes Well can support,” and then whatever the rest of your story is. The thing is, however you decide to open, your intention is to put the spotlight on your audience and on their good work, because in the story, they are the heroes. Right?

So I want to take a moment and just take a look and see if we have any chat questions that somebody would be interested in looking at. I’m just kind of looking to see what questions we might have. All right. Well, there’s a question that I often get, and it’s “What does creating that kind of open look like? What do I actually do?” because it’s nice to talk about, but what do I actually do.

And when you sit down to write an open and you think about the ways that you could actually connect with someone in your audience, think about putting yourself in their shoes. If I were sitting in that audience, what would engage me? What would I want to know about? What is the experience that I need to hear about and learn about?

Now, I like to have fun and probably things that are a little longer than this, but because of my background, I often put skits together, little, brief phone skits when I’m on the phone with somebody, and I act out what a day in the life would be like for that organization, for those folks, and they love it, because I might not know anything about their organization or these folks. But through my research, I find out, and I can create a really fun open in order to address that group.

And immediately, what’s interesting, is they think, “Oh. She gets me.” So I’ve done my job. I’ve created that relationship. I’ve engaged them in a novel way, even though I may have never known anything about them before.

Okay. I see a question. Let’s see. “What if you cannot find out who the audience is in specific, just in general? How can you cover a broad audience?”

Well, there’s something to know about storytelling, and that’s why I recognize story, that story has two wonderful things. You are addressing the personal, and you are addressing the universal. Stories have to have a moral of the story, and that moral of the story is often something we can all relate to as human beings, something we need, something we desire, whether it’s safety or love or belonging or security, self-actualization, any of those kinds of things. And when your story can address that and it has something to do with your mission and you’re telling a personal story, a story about somebody specifically, what you’re doing is taking that personal story and then putting it into a universal application.

So I guarantee you, if it’s something that has a universal theme about all of our need for love or safety or security, it doesn’t matter if they don’t know your organization specifically or what you do, or they can’t relate to that individual person, they can relate to that feeling. So you can have a very diverse audience, but we can all relate to that. So that’s always a good way to go, is to find, when you’re looking at the point or the moral of your story, what is that need, what is that universal theme we can all experience?

All right. So I’m going to look and see if we can do one more question before . . . “I work for an organization.” Oh. It went away. I’m not sure. Okay. “Everyone’s got the same message when they come into contact with a person or audience on-the-fly, not a planned meeting. Even while I figure out how this works.” Let’s see. “How do you create a story that can be used by all staff volunteers and board so everyone has the same message?”

Okay. Here’s my personal point of view. You want to have your key message, and we’re going to get into this next. What a perfect segue. Thank you. You have your key talking points. You have the key things about your organization, your key message statement you want to continue to deliver to be consistent. But everyone of your board members, your staff, is going to have a personal experience about that.

So let’s say you have three key statements and you say, “Listen. Tell a story, and it needs to address one of these key message statements, but make it your own. How does that matter to you?” Because part of what I do with storytelling is you matter in it, and so there’s a part in the story template I use that says, “What does this mean to you?” and that’s where the person telling the story can interject their own personal meaning, what they feel about this, why they’re involved. And that’s why you are important to it, because again, you are the messenger. You’re the one I’m saying this through, and you’re creating that relationship.

All right. So I’m going to move on now. We’re going to continue to create that relationship while you’re sharing those talking points. So this is the information portion of your remarks, if you will. What you need to tell them about your organization? What do you do? What are the stats? What are you accomplishing?

So here are some of the things to think about in terms of your mission, you’re talking points. Obviously, you want to let them know your mission and vision, but we’re talking short. So if you have one of those missions that are a paragraph long, you want to make sure that it’s in spoken word. So “We bring water to impoverished nations,” something like that, might be your mission. So that it’s a short talking point.

Bring no more than a couple of stats to show the breadth of what you do and the power of what you do, and these stats would relate to the story that you shared. They backup your story. So if you haven’t done a story yet, now is the time. Okay? I like to use stories as bookends. I’m going to share a little bit more about that with you. Start in the beginning, and end at the conclusion. But this is the time to take those stats and show me what they mean, because we remember stats in context. If you give them a whole bunch of stats at once, nobody’s going to remember that. I think of them as the pearls. If you have a whole lot of stuff around that pearl, I’m not going to find it. But when you pull it out and let it sit there, or the diamond and let it shine, then I’m going to get what that means.

This is where you can talk about your partners. Who helps you, what other organizations? In addition, you can talk about this particular organization. Who helps you? This helps build that credibility. And then talk about your success and how this opens the door to help even more people, because of your promise. And this actually is going to start to move you into the close.

So the purpose of your close is to inspire. So your open was to engage and kind of entertain a little bit with humor. The body is to inform people, and your close is to inspire. Right? And as I said, this could conclude the store you began with. Share what happened to the family. Share what happened. Or it could be a quotation.

So there are three essential things that your close is about. You want to affirm who they are, the people in your audience and what they’ve done for you. You want to encourage them, individually and as a group, to continue to make that difference, and then you want to inspire them with what you can all accomplish together.

So it might sound something like, “We all want to be part of something that provides hope, but more than that, we want to be part of something that delivers on a promise of success through action. All Goes Well organization does that because of you, year in and year out. Thank you for making the families we serve your priority.” So something like that affirms them. It encourages them. It inspires them to keep going.

What I think of is this is kind of a formula, if you will, for these brief moments that you have, opening story, information, closing story. And you can actually use this formula for remarks as you have them. So for instance, I’ve been asked, “Is there some kind of a formula, if you will,” and while I say “Yes” and “No” because I don’t really prescribe formulas myself, but I would suggest you can use this as a guideline for a short presentation like this.

Think in terms of breaking your open, middle and close into thirds, one minute open, one minute middle part and one minute close. Open with your story. Get me to that point where something happens, and then go into your content on your mission, your stats, your partners, and then begin to close with your promise at the end of the story.

So the important thing in a brief presentation is to engage and inspire. That’s an important piece there. The information, while it’s very important, is secondary.

Now, obviously this is different when you have longer presentations, but for something like this, you really want to get people emotionally connected, because when you have that, and this is what some of the research has shown, when you have that emotional connection, that’s where you get the emotional transportation. That’s where you get the empathy, because it starts to release that oxytocin in the brain, but that’s all an emotional experience. So the most important thing for you to do in these brief things is to engage, to entertain them a little bit, give them some information and inspire them. So have a lot of emotional content there.

All right. So I’m going to take a look and see if I can see some other questions, just briefly, before I get into the rest of this. Okay. All right. “If you are at an event and you get to meet some of your donors for the first time, how would you carry that conversation with them in a short span of time? And you’re doing this for the first time. How would you carry that conversation with them in a short span of time?” Okay.

I do a whole thing on this. It’s kind of hard to say this in two seconds or in a few minutes, but essentially it’s all about listening. I think we all know that, that when you meet someone, you’re basically using questions to find out who they are, how they got involved, what they do, what their connection is to your organization, to any of them. This is listening. There are several different types of listening, and the kind of listening you want to do in these kinds of events is really what I call “listening with your whole body.” You’re watching them. You’re listening to them. You’re inquiring. You’re being very proactive, so that when you hear them say something that you have a connection to or that would open a door for you to start to inquire about who they are or what they might want to get involved in, it will come up.

And then you’re prepared with your what I call “an enhanced introductory pitch” or others call it “an elevator speech,” but you’re prepared with what you can talk about their story, that kind of thing.

Okay? I hope I’ve answered the question you are asking.

Okay. “Please do a session on listening.” Happy to. Happy to. That will be up to Bloomerang, but it’s one of my most favorite topics of all.

Okay. So I’m going to move on to delivery now. Now, delivery is as important as your content. Some people don’t really get that, but it is. There’s a saying that we prepare out of love for our audiences, and we deliver out of love for ourselves. So that when you are delivering your content, the most important thing for you is to be enjoying yourself, to be sharing with your audience who you are, how important they are to you, and to bring in that, what do I want to say, that tenor, that tone, that feeling that you want them to experience.

I often say, when you have the platform, you have such power to set the tone in a room, you have no idea, but it is completely up to you to decide what that is. What kind of tone do you want to bring forth? What energy do you want to bring forth to that room? That’s the power that you have to influence that. So this is your opportunity, because the most inspiring content on the planet will fall flat with an uninspired delivery. And I know you’ve seen that. I have too. Right?

So once you’ve prepared your presentation, you want to rehearse it a lot so you know the content inside and out, and that means you can bring that delivery, all of the stuff that we’re going to talk about next, to your delivery of that three-minute, incredible presentation.

But what I want to do briefly is talk a little bit about stage fright, because many of my clients experience this, and I can tell you, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. We come by it naturally, and I dealt with it for decades, even though I was out there performing. I had performed in front of millions of people, literally millions, and I can tell you . . . Stage fright, don’t even get me . . . Well, I’m going to share a little bit with you about it, because for some of us this is very real.

So let me tell you a little bit about what’s happening. As I mentioned earlier, our brains are really looking for threats, and I was actually told that there may be an evolutionary reason for this, that a very long time ago we were out on the veranda or the savanna, and the last place you wanted to be was by yourself. So standing in front of a horde of people, can you imagine? So there’s something in our brains that say, “It’s not really a good deal to be up here by myself facing all of these people.” That’s one thing.

Some of us don’t have much experience at this. So there’s the fear of the unknown, a lack of experience. We don’t have it, so that’s going to be right there. It’s going to be natural to have a little stage fright or little nervousness.

And not being prepared well. A lot of times people have not prepared for something this short. They think they can just get up there and wing it, and they can, but they’re going to be losing an opportunity.

And then our conditioning. For some of us, this goes deeper. This was the case with me, where you’re actually touching into things like shame and vulnerability, and no amount of imagining people in their underwear is going to help you. Okay? That was mine.

So I just want to tell you briefly that I am going to have a call here next Tuesday, if you’re interested, those who would be helped by this, “How to Stop Fear from Bullying You When You Speak,” and it’s going to be from noon to 1:00 Pacific time in the U.S. And I would suggest if you’re interested, here’s the URL, and to sign up by May 30th to make sure that you get the call and the information. And I just wanted to let you know about that briefly.

Okay. Moving forward, delivery. When you’re on the platform, you have the power, as I said, to set the tone. The reason is this. Now, this is probably research that you’ve seen in the past, I’m not sure, maybe some of you haven’t, about the Moravian research, and depending on what you’ve seen, they either indicate that 55% body language, 38% tone of voice, 7% words or a 60/40 facial to vocal split. But whichever way you go here, it makes a difference, because you’re communicating more than your words.

In fact, I have a client who said this really powerfully for me. I know this is a lot of words on a slide, and I don’t usually do this, but I thought this was an important enough comment to make, and she’s the CEO of a nonprofit. She essentially is saying that it’s not enough to have one or the other, words or delivery. You need them both, because when you have them both, the way that you present yourself, people believe you, and it’s all about believability, trustworthiness, those kinds of leadership qualities. So it’s essential not just in what you say, but how you say it.

So here are some of my tips, and I will get to some more questions, I promise. So I just want to share a couple more tips with you about delivery and some things to think about that I call the “creative expression and emotional engagement pointers.” Everybody has an ability to do this. Everybody has a special, unique way of being in front of others. So it’s really finding your way. But the most important thing is to be honest in your delivery. When you say the words you’re saying, think about what you’re saying. Really think about it.

One of the things that I noticed, and we all do it, is we get into speaker mode. Have you ever noticed that? Where you’ll start to just kind of go into a singsongy thing, and it’s almost automatic. But when you slow down and you start to really find the truth of what you’re communicating and you communicate from that truth, you’re authentic, you’re sincere, then you’re telling of it becomes very natural. This creates that trust. It creates that interest and that engagement. It creates that believability. So that’s what I mean by “be honest,” not “don’t tell a lie,” although that’s a good thing too, but really be honest from the standpoint of who you are in that moment with that information with your audience.

Share your passion. Share your emotional connection. I don’t know if you’ve heard of something called “mirror neurons.” Try to say that really fast. Mirror neurons. Mirror neurons. It’s hard to do. Anyway, what that means, what those are, is think about when you’re in a movie, and whatever emotion is being displayed, somebody cries, somebody laughs, we tend to mirror that. We cry with them, because when you feel something, I feel it. So when you share your laughter, your fun, your joy, your tenderness, then I’m likely to feel that as well.

Show and tell. This is about using your body. This is about showing what’s going on, not just telling me what’s going on, to where I can see it in your face, I can see it in your body language. This is really a lot of fun. This is when you get to loosen up. And yes, gestures are part of it, but more than that, really get into showing me, expressing what is going on, especially as stories. In fact, one of the things I love from Mark Twain is “Don’t say ‘The old lady screamed.’ Bring her on and let her scream.” Really get into your storytelling. Regardless of whether you’re actually telling a story or giving a stat or whatever you’re doing, really get into that.

Make every moment purposeful. Now, this is a technique from acting and what all performers do. You are in the moment. You’ve probably seen bad acting, let’s say, when an actor is saying the lines and you don’t believe them at all, you know they’re not there with it. Or even when somebody is speaking to you and they’re like not there with you, they’re somewhere else. We’ve all had that experience. What this means is make every moment purposeful. Be there. Be present to what’s happening, and be purposeful with it. There are no empty moments.

Use natural breaks, beats, pauses. Pauses are your friend. Number one, they give people time to think about what you just said. “Oh. I get it.” Especially after humor, you’ve got to give a beat there and let people get it so they can laugh. And then they laugh and don’t step on their laugh. Let people laugh and then start. So use those beats. See where your content wants to naturally stop and take a moment, and then start up again.

And then finally, be conversational. I like to suggest, imagine you’re sitting with your friend and you’re just sharing this with your friend. This will help you move into human-speak, not speaker-mode, not when we get into that other stuff.

So I’m going to take a look here and see what kind of questions we might have as we’ve been going along here. “How might this formula be effective for a short presentation for an audience who doesn’t already know about our mission and activities?”

Well, that’s what you include in the information portion of your presentation, is your mission and how you accomplish that mission and who you work with, Jessica, yes, and who you work with in order to accomplish that mission, that piece in there. So I hope that helps there.

I want to see what other questions I have here. “I meeting up tomorrow with a large real estate group. I work for a foundation that supports foster care. Would an appropriate open tie in to their helping families find security and home-ownership when creating a home for a child that might not have hope?” Absolutely. That might not have had one before? Absolutely. Yes. The answer to that is yes, that would be an appropriate open to tie in, because what you’re doing there is you are actually giving relevance, Rebecca. You are giving meaning to their work.

Again, if you remember what I talked about in terms of universal and personal, we all want to mean something. We want what we do to mean something. So when you’re able to share with them how what they do means something, that’s huge. Right? So absolutely I would suggest that.

Let’s see. “Aside from generalities, how can I quickly get to know” . . . Okay. We did that one. All right. Okay. “I assume this information applies to one-on-one meetings with donors.” Yes. Yes. Perhaps different, though. If I were sitting in a one-on-one meeting with a donor, I would be doing a lot more asking. I would be doing a lot more asking than listening. There is a way to take people through.

Because I’m not a development officer, when I have sales conversations or I have marketing conversations, I have a process I take people through to determine if we’re a good fit, and it’s a series of questions. I’m helping them walk through a process. You can actually take story format and use it in this process. It’s really phenomenal because, especially when you’re talking with folks who have no idea what you do, you’re essentially helping them find out how they can support you and how they can be the heroes. Your showing them that you can work with them through any parts that they’re uncertain of or they don’t know how by taking them through a story process.

But in general, if I were one-on-one, there are pieces like this that you can take and incorporate into your conversation. But that kind of presentation, if you will, is much more of an asking questions than listening, at least from my point of view. I do work with organizations that do that, and that’s usually how I take them through that, is to really get clear about their pieces and then what they need to know and how they might answer those questions.

Oh, great. We addressed that one. Okay. Great.

So above all, when it comes to your delivery, what I really want to impress upon you is that you smile. And watch this. Watch this, when you watch people give speeches or presentations. See how often they smile. Some people never smile. Really, I just want to go up and give them a hug. I really do. We get so serious, and I am not talking about smiling inappropriately. There was a time when I was learning how to speak and I would share a really tender story, and then I’d put this big grin on my face. I had a coach that called me on that, because I felt so vulnerable and uncomfortable sharing that story, that it was like an automatic coping mechanism or something. I’m not sure. But I would smile. That’s not an appropriate time to smile.

But having a generally open, friendly, approachable facial expression is really going to invite people to want to listen to you. It sends that message. And really, there’s no special skills involved. That’s what I love about it. So if you do anything when you’re up there, smile. Make sure that you present yourself as that approachable, likable person that you are, I’m sure.

I want to just share, if you’re interested. I mentioned this earlier that if you’d like to join my community, this is our URL here. You will receive “Top Ten Mistakes Speakers Make and How to Avoid Them and What They Are.” There’ll be some practical tips, but they’re going to include the kind of information that can take you to the next level. It’s not about um’s and ah’s. For that, you can join the Toastmasters, which I love, by the way. I’m a part of a Toastmasters. So please do that. It’s a great place to practice and get some wonderful information, feedback. But what I’ll be including, what I have included in this, is the kind of information that, in my view at any rate, separates the amateurs from the pros. So why not know what the pros know? Right? Why not?

Then the other opportunity I want to share with you before we get into some more questions, is more information about this teaching call, in case you’re interested, about How To Stop Fear from Bullying You When You Speak. Again, it’s next Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. Pacific time. The sign-up deadline is May 30th.
Just so that you know what we’re going to cover, so you can see if this is something that you’d like to spend an hour of your time doing, we’re going to talk about why we feel stage fright, the first thing that you need to know to move through it, and what you can do right now to deliver your presentation more effectively, whether or not you feel nervous. And when you sign-up, you’re also going to get a PDF from me on the Seven Simple Surefire Strategies to Speak from Your Authentic Voice and Move from Stage Fright to Stage Free.

Now, one thing I will be doing is letting you know something about my stage fright program. But there’s going to be a lot, plenty of information on this call, that you’re going to use right away, whether you decide to do that or not. And you are able to listen by chat. You’re able to get involved in the phone call or listen by webcast, either way that you’d like.

So now, questions. Questions. Questions.

Steven: Yeah, we’ve got some questions, Andrea. We’ve got a lot of them. So I have flagged them in that little “questions” tab.

Andrea: Two questions I haven’t seen.

Steven: Yeah. That was very right. I know you’ve answered some of them.

Andrea: Right.

Steven: I can kind of just feed them to you if that’s okay.

Andrea: Sure. That would be great.

Steven: I saw one that was kind of interesting. I know that you touched on it a little, but Janice said, “How do you get into that sharing zone if you’re getting resistance?” And I was kind of worried. I was kind of wondering if you were speaking about that whole resistance thing. Maybe you can kind of field that. Either they’re tuning out, or they’re not really nodding their heads. Can you pivot on the side? What you do?

Andrea: Right. Right. Right. I got it. I got it. It’s always how do you connect with your audience? And this can be tough sometimes, because you can’t tell. I mean, you can watch people, and you can think you know what they’re thinking, but you really don’t know what they’re thinking. And I’ve had situations where I thought I died, but only to find out that I got an extremely high score. So you can’t always tell by facial expressions.

What I do is I watch body language. Are they mirroring you? This is like an NLP technique. Do they appear aware? Do they need their coffee? Are they awake? But are they mirroring you? Are they watching you? Do you notice their body language? And if you think you don’t have them, then do something to wake them up. This is when you throw in some novelty, something somebody will laugh at, or get quiet.

When you put a pause in there and you just hold that space, all of a sudden people are, “What she going to do? What she going to do next?” or you ask a question. Have a handy question, something that you would want to check in with them about. And I’m not talking about the “Are you with me?” question, but something that is relevant to what it is that you’re speaking about.

So things like laughter, pauses, quiet, these are all what get people to pay attention, because they don’t want to miss out, if you do something. They don’t want to miss out. So what can happen sometimes, even if it has nothing to do with you, so watch labeling it “resistance,” because we don’t know what it is. We don’t know what it is. So the first thing to do is to not label it for yourself, because I’ve been surprised time and again that what I thought was happening is not happening. But what you can do is your part to influence what’s happening, and that means that you’re really, really present with your audience.

Steven: Makes sense.

Andrea: Did that help?

Steven: Yeah. There’s one that dovetails from Carol. I think she’s talking about speaking in front of a large group, maybe in a more formal setting. “How do you keep yourself on track if you notice people getting up and walking out of the room? I have a tendency to take it personal, and then it affects my presentation.” Now, I think probably maybe you’ve experienced that. I know I’ve experienced that. It can be unnerving when you see people leaving.

Andrea: Right. Again, this is where we don’t know what they’re doing or why. They’re not necessarily walking out because of you. Maybe they’ve just gotten a phone call that they have to take for whatever reason. It’s nice when people come up and say, “Hey. I’m going to have to leave halfway through, and I just want you to know it’s not about you.” I’ve had people say that. But here’s the thing, people have their own life and their own stuff.

I mean, think about it. Let’s say you have 100 people in a room, you’ve got 100 worlds going on there, and they’re each in their own world, and they each have their own thing going on. So your job, what I personally do when I see that happen, especially if it’s in a smaller room and it’s very obvious, I just look at the person, and I smile, and I wave goodbye, and I keep going, because your job is to not take it personally, and I know that’s easy to say, and that’s part of what you deal with. That’s part of what we deal with.

But I guess my number-one thing is you have no idea what they’re thinking. You have no idea why they’re doing it. So your job is for that person walking out of the room. Your job is to stay engaged with the people who are there. So keep your focus on the people who are there and to engaging them, and allow that person to do what they need to do to take care of their self, because we don’t know what that is.

Steven: Makes sense. There was a question here from Dawn, and a couple other people asked a similar question. So I’ll kind of pull hers. When you have maybe a complicated purpose or mission that has multiple facets, how do you communicate that complicated nature of a purpose or mission in such a short time? Do you choose one thing to focus on? Do you try to cover everything? What would you do if you have sort of a multi-faceted thing to explain to someone?

Andrea: Yeah. That’s not unusual. One of the things that I know that we try to do is do all things, include everything. And I always have a friend who says, “Edit. Edit. Edit.” You have to really get down to the bottom line of what it is that you want to say, and that’s what you talked about in that initial core message. So based on your audience and who they are and what they care about, what is the one thing, based on what you do, your mission, that they need to know about you that will give meaning to their gift, will give meaning to what they do? So it’s all that focus. I know that can be a challenge. It can take time. That will have more power for you to say one thing to that group that represents who you are to that group, in that situation, than to try to cover everything, because then it will just be more of a whitewash.

Steven: Yep. Here’s one from Janice I thought was interesting, “What are some opening sentence examples when you are first approaching a new donor or a first-time donor who maybe they don’t want to ask for money necessarily, but maybe get that conversation going so that they can, later on, ask for money as the conversation unfolds?” “How would you actually open that conversation?” is what Janice is asking.

Andrea: That’s like in a networking thing or . . .

Steven: Yeah, probably. Yeah, I think so.

Andrea: It’s wherever you happen to be, just to open a conversation?

Steven: Yeah.

Andrea: Right.

Steven: Yeah. It seems like maybe they have an appointment or a networking thing, like you said.

Andrea: Okay. You know what I do? One of the first questions that I asked any time is, “So tell me about yourself. Tell me about yourself. What do you do? What’s important to you? How do you spend your time? Not ‘What do you do?’ like for a job, but how do you spend your time? Where are you from? How did you find your way to town?” anything general that’s safe. Then when they start talking, listen very closely, and continue to ask questions, and just allow that conversation to flow, and just be very, very clear. I don’t have for you, right off the top of my head, some specific questions, “Here’s the questions to always ask,” but I like to ask, in general, “So tell me about yourself,” because people love to talk about themselves.

And here’s the interesting thing, the more they talk about themselves, the more fantastic they think you are.

Steven: Yeah. Right.

Andrea: They think you’re amazing. And all you’ve done is listen.

Steven: Yeah, that works. It actually works.

Andrea: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Steven: Well, we’ve probably got time for one more question, and I know we didn’t get to all of them. Andrea, would it be fair to say that you can take some questions maybe by email or off-line a little later on?

Andrea: Absolutely. Absolutely. Do that.

Steven: Okay. I’m going to flash your contact info on the slide here. So I would encourage people to reach out. But maybe we can leave on this question from Paula. Paula’s wondering if all your advice can also translate into maybe a written or broadcast marketing materials or communication materials. What changes would need to be made if you were to maybe take some of these ideas and try to translate them to print or radio or things like that? Can it be translated, and if so, how could you go about doing that?

Andrea: Oh, yes. First of all, absolutely yes.

Steven: I thought you would say “Yes.”

Andrea: Yeah, of course. What else am I going to say, right? Of course. Yes. Absolutely. It’ll be different. It’ll be differently written versus spoken. There’s the written word and the spoken word. It will be based on what it is you’re wanting to accomplish for that particular audience in that vehicle.

One of the things that I work with, and I just mention this because this is how it will work for you, is you’re really looking for your brand story. You’re looking for what’s your creation story, what is your personal story, what is your success story, what is your apology or recovery story, what is your success story? I mean, these are the stories you look for what is that clear statement, what I call “beyond clich�” descriptor of what you do so that you can then incorporate all of these things into your story? And then you take that information, and you bring it into all of your marketing vehicles, all of your website and your printed materials in the way that they need to be brought in, based on what it is that you want to accomplish.

Steven: Yeah.

Andrea: So absolutely, this little piece. And every one of those pieces requires a real degree of scrutiny, because it’s always about how do you really connect with that particular audience so that they feel special. You know?

Steven: Yeah, make them feel special.

Andrea: Yeah, make them feel special. A few closing thoughts. Do we have time for just a couple closing thoughts?

Steven: Please. Yes. Absolutely.

Andrea: Okay. Great. So first of all, I just want to thank everybody who showed up. I really appreciate the time you spent with me. Steven, thank you. And I want to thank the woman who actually introduced me to Bloomerang, Carolyn Sechler, with Sechler, CPA, for really making this possible. I’d love to see you in my community. I’d love to see you on the call.

But now until whenever, just remember that you can connect with your audience in that short time by creating a relationship of meaning with them, by sharing a story that’s compelling while also sharing those talking points, and you do that by structuring your remarks. You can shine a light on your organization and why you’re involved by remembering why you’re there, your purpose. And it is possible to do this in three minutes and make it matter. So I just want to say to everybody, good work, and break a leg.

Steven: They’ll do great if they listen to you. Andrea, this is really fun. Thanks for being here. Thanks for hanging out for an hour and sharing all this with us. It was fun for me just listening along because some of these things I struggle with too.

Andrea: Well, thank you. And I would be happy to answer questions. If you want to send these emails, feel free to do that.

Steven: Yeah. Please reach out. Please do that. Please sign up for those three coaching calls. Sign up for all the stuff on her website. We would love for you to get in touch with Andrea a little later on.

In addition to that, we’ve got a lot of resources on our website as well, at You can check out a lot of cool things there if you want to keep the learning going right now.

Again, we do these webinars every Thursday. We’ve got a really cool one coming up one week from today. We’re going to talk about websites like GuideStar and Charity Navigator and how you can maybe optimize your presence there, a very cool presentation.

And then we’re going to have a special Monday webinar. We’re going to buck the Thursday trend, but Simone Joyaux is going to join us on the 15th of June to talk about governance. It’s going to be an interactive presentation. She’s going to incorporate some surveys and some activities right during the hour. So don’t miss that. You can register for those. Just go to our webinar page. We would love to see you again, but if we don’t see you next week, maybe we’ll see you at that Monday webinar as well.

So look for an email for me a little later on today. I’ll be sharing a recording as well is the slides, and we will talk to you again real soon, I hope. So thanks for joining in, and have a great rest of your day.

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. From 2018 - 2020, she served as the Director of Communications for the Public Relations Society of America's local Hoosier chapter. Prior to that she served on several different committees and in committee chair roles.