Jack Malcolm

Is Ten Good Enough?

So you finally made it to a 10. After years of study, hard work, and deliberate practice, you can reasonably say you’re among the top in your field. Great news, and good for you. Here’s the bad news: it won’t be good enough tomorrow. Ten...

Max Cred Factor #3: Clarity

In the previous post we saw that the most important component of credibility is sound content. But that only works if you sound like you know what you’re talking about, and if people can understand what you say. Clarity causes understanding, and understanding promotes...

Max Cred Factor #2: Lighthouse Content

There’s an old joke about a battleship cruising through the fog at night when the bridge sees lights approaching. The ship signals: “Move to the right.” Morse code from the light signals back, “You need to move to the right.” The Captain signals again: “I…

Max Cred Factor #1: Credentials

We begin with credentials because they are the one element of credibility that precedes you into a presentation or persuasive conversation. They’re the minimum ticket price to personal credibility, because without some credentials you probably won’t get an audience. Your credentials tell the listener...

Max Cred: How to Build and Preserve Personal Credibility

Unless you’re a dictator, hermit or independently wealthy, a lot of what you need or want to do in life depends on your personal credibility, because of the simple fact that you have to get things done through other people. Especially if you work...

Book Recommendation: The Startup Pitch by Chris Lipp

While I specialize in sales and executive level presentations I’ve always had a spectator’s fascination with startup pitches, because of their high stakes, no-nonsense audiences and emphasis on brevity. That’s the reason I read The Startup Pitch: A Proven Formula to Win Funding, but...

Everybody Is Ignorant

“Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.” Will Rogers This quote came to mind today as I was conducting a personal coaching session for presentation skills. My client, who is an engineer by training who manages teams of engineers in disparate disciplines, and in presenting…

Take the Temperature of Your Audience to Figure Out Your Presentation Goal

In my last post on presentations, I cautioned against taking a one-size-fits-all approach to presentations, and suggested that you should adjust the relative length of different sections depending on the audience’s relationship toward the situation. When it comes to selecting your goal for the...

The Anatomy of Willingness to Pay: Part 1

The previous article in this series introduced the concept of Willingness to Pay as an effective approach to quantify and justify a higher price for your products and services in complex B2B sales. It can never be determined precisely, but you can certainly impact...

Mismeasuring Influence?

Lee Iacocca once remarked that he wished he had learned earlier in life how important the ability to communicate is. That’s a sentiment that I encounter frequently among my executive communications coaching clients, especially those who rose through the ranks on the strength of...

Tailor Your Presentation for a Perfect Fit

Most effective business presentations have a clear structure in which the individual parts fit like pieces in a puzzle. Different structures may be more or less suitable for specific situations, but the benefit of any structure is that it presents information in ways that...

How Good Are They, Really?

If you sell for a smaller company against the behemoths that dominate your industry, you know that their superior resources can make them tough competitors. They have whole staffs that can support their sales teams, unlimited entertainment and expense budgets, slick materials, broad product...

Never Pass Up an Opportunity to Shut Up

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates used this phrase in his memoir, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War. In his case, he was mainly referring to his dealings with Congress and the press, but it’s excellent advice for anyone interested in preserving their...

Book Recommendation: It’s Not All about “Me”

One of the key themes of this blog is outside-in thinking, so it’s no surprise that a book entitled, It’s Not All About Me: The Top Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone, caught my attention. As an FBI agent, Robin Dreeke used these...

Ditch the Logos

How many times have you seen a sales presentation where the slides were plastered with so many different logos and designs that you feel like you’re watching a car race? The marketing people will hate me for this, but I recommend that you remove...

Short Term Gain, Long Term Pain

I had one of those moments this weekend that vividly reminded me of something salespeople know is true but often don’t do a good enough job of reminding their customers. I rolled out the bottom section of our dishwasher to load some dishes but didn’t...

The Hard Core Method to Make Over a Broken Presentation

I was once asked to work with a team of engineers who were slated to deliver presentations at an upcoming conference. I asked to see their existing slide decks before I showed up and was dismayed to see that they averaged 863 words per...

Beyond Value: What Are They Willing to Pay?

You know those infomercials that offer you a $50 “value” for only $19.95? Who are they to tell you what the value is? How do sellers decide what to charge? They usually decide on that value in one of four ways: Cost-plus Me-too Wishful thinking…

How to Move a Stubborn Ass

Does that sound like many of the people you might be trying to persuade? I don’t claim to be a livestock expert, but I did see a technique on TV once that seemed to work pretty well (and we all know that if it’s on...

What Makes You So Smart?

The key premise of consultative or insight selling is that the salesperson can bring new ideas to clients to show them how to improve their business. Put another way, they can bring solutions to problems the clients don’t yet know they have. But what gives...

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