The official blog of Nancy Marshall Communications
offering tips, techniques, and thoughts from Maine's PR Maven, Nancy Marshall

 

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“Hello Charlie” – 6 Tips for Public Speaking

Charlie’s Angels
Image courtesy of www.tv.yahoo.com

Years ago, when I was a recent performing arts graduate, I took part in a nationwide audition for the remake of Charlie’s Angels. Armed with the bravado and naiveté of youth, I made it to the callbacks, which consisted of an interview and screen test. The audition was also covered by a local reporter.

Facing the three-judge panel, I was able to make it through the basic questions of name, age, and height. And then I was blindsided by, “So why do you want to audition for Charlie’s Angels?” Looking back, this does seem like a pretty obvious question, but in the stress of the moment the wheels came off my interview as my eyes widened and a shocked snort of laughter escaped my lips. In the seconds it took for the panel to put a line through my name, my mind raced through several possible answers – all of which were quickly discounted. I then realized my fatal mistake – I wasn’t prepared.

#1 Prepare for questions

I spent all of my time learning the monologue and never considered the possibility of questions – even the obvious ones. I should have made a list of questions or asked a friend to interview me or a least considered that I may have to say something that wasn’t a part of the monologue.

As I gave myself an imaginary forehead slap, my inner dialogue went into hyper-drive. “You idiot, stop fumbling, just say something. NO, not that – say something intelligent!”

Leading to my next lesson in public speaking.

#2 Never give in to negative self-talk

Judging yourself while trying to present is not only distracting, it’s a sure way to ruin any conversation, interview or speech. Negativity causes your body and your mind to tighten, leading to an inability to speak or think clearly, and excessive displays of nervous habits.

When I’m nervous, I stutter and say “uh” a lot. My hands often take on a life of their own and tend to gesture wildly as if to leave my body or flag down a taxi. All of these habits are distracting and take away from any message I’m trying to deliver. Nervous habits are many times so unconscious that you may not even be aware of them. I wasn’t, that is until a director pointed them out, making this tip #3.

Jim Egerton and Juli Settlemire in ACAT’s Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane.

#3 Practice in front of people

You’re going to be presenting in front of people anyway, so gather a few friends together and review your presentation. It helps hone your message, and develop a comfort level with your material and being in front of people.

In the case of my audition, I had the three-judge panel to my right and a large camera with a blinking red light to my left. As the judges nodded for me to present my monologue I wasn’t exactly sure if I should be looking at them or the increasingly hypnotic lens of the camera. In the end, the camera won out and as I stared helplessly into its vortex of distraction, tatters of my monologue hiccuped their way out of my mouth. Leading to my #4, #5, and #6 tips.

#4 Film yourself

I recommend filming and reviewing your presentation. There’s something about having a record of your speech that adds an extra element of importance, stress and distraction, making it a great warm up for the actual presentation.

#5 Research and visit the venue whenever possible

Seeing the venue helps you to visualize where you and your audience will be. It gives you a context for your preparation and helps with the rehearsal process. Now, whenever I have a speech, I set up my kitchen in a mock-up of the room and practice.

#6 Don’t assume – prepare

I have a B.A. in performing arts, I’ve taken post-graduate improvisation classes, I’m used to being in front of people in very stressful situations. I assumed that I could handle whatever this audition threw at me – I was WRONG.

NMC Business Manager, Juli Settlemire

Now I work at Nancy Marshall Communications and can fully appreciate the importance of messaging and media training. If my epic audition failure taught me anything, it’s that drive and talent only get you so far – you need to properly prepare for opportunities. Keep polishing and adapting your speech for each audience and each situation. And never hesitate to call in expert advice. You’ll find a new confidence in presenting yourself and your ideas in professional and social situations.

As for Charlie’s Angels, you’ve probably guessed, I didn’t make it past callbacks. However, I was featured on the nightly news; apparently the reporter really liked my shocked guffaw.

Contributed by Juli Settlemire, NMC Business Manager

Great Success for Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls

Today marks the conclusion of the 2nd annual Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls. The 10-day camp ran June 17-21 and 24-28 on Maranacook Lake in Readfield, Maine. The camp is designed for girls 8-12 as a place to develop self confidence and a healthy lifestyle.

Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls’ campers (red) and staff (blue) on opening day.

Each year, the curriculum for the camp is designed by Olympian Julia Clukey and KV YMCA camp director, Johanna King. The camp features a wide range of activities including swimming, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, nature walks, field sports, arts and crafts, theater and music.

As a part of the support for the camp, the Maine Beer & Wine Distributors Association, and organization that has partnered with Julia Clukey as their responsibility spokesperson, donates scholarships each year to provide the opportunity for underprivileged girls to attend summer. In total, the association has donated $7,000 in scholarships for the camp.

For more information, visit www.clukeyluge.com/camp.

 

Sam Shain and the Scolded Dogs’ New Album Keeps You Dancing

Sam Shain, front man of Sam Shain and the Scolded Dogs

In a recent webinar, the host suggested a modified version of the Pareto principle was applicable to social media, saying that 80% of your content development should be personal items that make you relatable to your audience and that sliding in the sales and marketing pitches in the remaining 20% is the key to social media success.

If that’s the case, then this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Sam Shain of Sam Shain and the Scolded Dogs, is doing social media very well!

Shain grew up in Hallowell and credits its “charm and strong community” for keeping him here. Sam also adds, “I’ve been going downtown to listen to music since I was a little kid—Hallowell has an outstanding scene for such a small city!”

If you’ve been downtown yourself, then you have most likely popped into the Liberal Cup, Higher Grounds, The Wharf, Hoxter’s, Easy Street Lounge or one of the many other venues that host live music on a regular basis. The scene has come a long way since Sam first started booking gigs. He says, “I used to make events for gigs, but I rarely use that feature anymore.”

Why not? Facebook.

Shain says, “My Facebook page is a great outlet when it comes to getting the word out and posting my schedule.” Another thing Shain does on his Facebook page is connect with his fans (over 1,000 of them) by asking them questions, and getting their feedback on his show and music. He says, “More activity equals more awareness, so I try to keep it light in my posts and have fun.”

Sam Shain during an interview at WBLM discussing the band’s latest album, A Song We Know.

So, what’s next for Sam Shain and the Scolded Dogs? They are working their way into the Portland music scene and are currently pushing their latest album, A Song We Know. It is currently on sale at all of their shows and Musicians First Choice in Augusta, and will soon be available on iTunes and in Bull Moose.

Shain says, “With any luck, we’ll have a 2014 release to follow up on the success of A Song We Know. In the meantime, we are going to keep gigging it up and keep all of the awesome people that come to our shows dancing.”

To learn more about Sam Shain and the band, like their Facebook page at facebook.com/samshainmusic.

The Value of a Strategic Marketing Communications Plan

Marketing can be expensive, especially if you have no idea where it’s taking you or what you are getting in return for your investment.

I’ve seen way too many companies and organizations flying by the seat of their pants when it comes to their marketing. They tend to do the same things they’ve always done, like advertise in the Yellow Pages or sponsor the local Little League team, in the hopes that these things will get them the results they’re after.

You’ve heard the definition of insanity, right?  It’s doing the same thing over and over again expecting to get a different result. Does your company’s marketing program fit this definition? I hope not.

When it comes to nailing down specific, measurable goals that will direct a marketing effort, most organizations don’t even know what kind of results they want. Just hoping to create more business is not specific enough. For the past 14 years, my agency has been developing strategic marketing communications plans, branded The Marshall Plan™, to help our clients develop attainable marketing goals and the tools needed to successfully achieve them. Over the years, we have developed plans for many different industry sectors, including non-profit, information technology, banking, government, legal, tourism, academia, economic development, and more.

We’ve witnessed some amazing results with these plans for numerous reasons, namely:

  • The three-month process brings together the key stakeholders of an organization (management team, board of directors, front-line staff people) to work together with NMC to carefully define their goals, determine their realistic marketing budget and decide what resources can be allocated to achieving the goals. For many organizations, having an outside agency impose this process is exactly what they need to make crucial decisions that will guide the organization into the future.
  • The process starts with a three-hour Discovery Meeting during which the NMC team guides stakeholders through a thoughtful discussion about goals, strategy, tactics and resources.
  • Having goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely is just plain SMART.  The Marshall Plan™ process includes SMART goal setting.
  • The process also includes a thorough competitive analysis, SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats), and analysis of what has and has not worked in the past.
  • A detailed list of tactics (social media, website restructuring, media relations, marketing, advertising, public outreach, sales, and more) designed to reach specific goals is created and vetted by the group during a mid-term review meeting.
  • During the final four to six weeks of the process, NMC finalizes the tactics based on feedback received at the mid-term meeting and develops a timeline, budget, measurement dashboards and a variety of marketing tools such as media lists, press release templates, and stakeholder contact lists that will enable our client to hit the ground running when it comes to implementation.
  • The final meeting is a time to review the plan, celebrate the accomplishments and make some big decisions about next steps. Every plan is designed so it can be either implemented by NMC, the organization itself, or another agency.

 

Nancy Marshall, principal of Nancy Marshall Communications

The Marshall Plan™ ensures your marketing dollars will be well invested rather than just spent. It serves as a highly detailed road map toward successful growth for any business or nonprofit.  In the 14 years we’ve been creating Marshall Plans™, we have seen organizations totally embrace the process and the opportunity to improve their marketing and communications.

It is extremely rewarding for me as an agency owner to work with a client on one of these plans which, if fully utilized, offer guaranteed success in helping an organization grow and prosper.

Summit Natural Gas of Maine Hosts Successful Job Fair

On Wednesday, our client Summit Natural Gas of Maine hosted a job fair at the Senator Inn & Spa in Augusta.

The goal was to fill over 40 job openings in their new Augusta office, and the turnout was incredible! More than 400 people showed up, resumes in hand, to meet with recruiters. The media was also present and the success was captured by The Kennebec JournalThe Morning Sentinel and WGME 13.

Hundreds of people turned out for the Summit Natural Gas of Maine job fair earlier this week at The Senator Inn & Spa in Augusta.

Director of business development, Mike Duguay, was on site to meet with candidates and to further discuss the company’s $350 million investment in the Kennebec Valley project. The project will generate 400 heavy construction jobs and more than $100 million in work for local plumbing, electrical and heating professionals over the next five years.

Keep your eyes open for upcoming job fairs conducted by the contractors to fill the heavy construction opportunities in the near future.

2010 Called – They Want Their Website Back

NMC Interactive Marketing Manager, Matt Rideout

Does it seem too soon to say something like that? It’s not. The truth is, mobile devices have completely changed the Web landscape over the last couple of years. Mobile searches have grown 4x since 2010. More people are ditching their laptops and are using smaller tablets or large smart phones for a lot of their Web browsing now.

Are you trying to drive traffic to your website using social media platforms like Facebook? Did you know that Facebook’s mobile users grew by 50% to over 500 million in 2012? It’s likely that any links you post to Facebook will be viewed on a mobile device.

So far in 2013, NMC’s clients have regularly received 25% – 30% of their traffic from mobile devices. In 2012 we were saying 15% – 20%. In 2011 it was less than 10%.

Full desktop for Summit Natural Gas of Maine.

The problem is, desktop websites just do not display properly on phones. People need to “pinch and zoom” just to read small areas of text. They have to pan when lines of text don’t break within the limits of the screen. Buttons are hard to click, drop down menus do not work, and visitors become frustrated.

If your website is not mobile friendly, your business is literally leaking money. Customers are hitting their phone’s back button and trying elsewhere because they can’t make it through your website without unnecessary effort (it’s like making the entrance to your store into an obstacle course).

This is why NMC is now making all new websites completely responsive. Responsive websites automatically resize and rearrange content and menus according to the size of the screen that the user is viewing the site on. This makes it so that on small touch screens, everything becomes navigable with just a thumb and content is organized much like a mobile app. On larger tablet screens, everything works perfectly through touch with more content filling the entire screen area, and on desktop screens, users get a view that is optimized for a keyboard, mouse, and large viewing area.

Tablet display for Summit Natural Gas of Maine.

To see a responsive website in action, head over to one of NMC’s latest creations at http://SummitNaturalGasMaine.com. Check it out on your smart phone, tablet, and desktop. All of the same information is accessible to everyone, but rearranged and presented differently depending on the screen size. Using Google Chrome, you can watch this transformation live by dragging your screen width from full screen to narrow to see how elements of the page reposition and resize themselves. Watch as it immediately responds to changes in screen size. This website was building using responsive (mobile friendly) technology on the Drupal platform. Our client can easily upload and add new content themselves once, and the system will automatically adapt it to any screen size without any extra work.

To learn more about what responsive Web technology can do for your business, feel free to come see NMC, the mobile marketing experts.

Article by NMC Interactive Marketing Manager, Matt Rideout

Advocacy for Predictive ROI

Nancy Marshall, principal of Nancy Marshall Communications

This is Nancy….welcome to the blog and welcome springtime!

I was invited to speak about economic development marketing to the Broadband Capacity Task Force at the State Capitol on Thursday, March 15, 2013.  I shared the power of “Predictive ROI,” which is a patent-pending process created by author and Web marketing expert Stephen Woessner who is one of my agency’s strategic partners. Predictive ROI allows website owners to predict the return on investment of their marketing expenditure by creating a sales funnel on their site, and understanding how many visitors it takes to convert to a sale.

I talked about our own process to create a marketing communications plan collaboratively with a client, which we call The Marshall Plan™ and explained that having a strategic plan for a website allows a business to exponentially increase traffic and convert website visitors into sales.

Chuck Lawton of Planning Decisions introduced me to the Broadband Commission as a leader in Maine who has fully embraced the power of the Internet in public relations and marketing.

Planning Decisions Chief Economist, Chuck Lawton.

The Task Force’s job is to recommend regulatory, investment, and best practice strategies for expanding the availability and use of high-speed Internet in rural Maine. The Broadband Capacity Building Task Force examines current practices in the fields of health care, education, and economic development; identifies obstacles to greater use; and recommends policies for change.

The Task Force is staffed by Planning Decisions. It operates with funding support from the ConnectME Authority, recipient of a grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Authority (NTIA) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The ConnectME Authority is a Maine government component unit established by the State of Maine legislature in 2006 to facilitate universal availability of broadband service and increase the adoption and use of that service among Maine individuals, businesses, and public organizations.

Social Media and Kids

KVYMCA Program Coordinator and Camp Director, Johanna King

The never ending debate on how old is old enough to participate in social media can be tricky, especially since it is now readily available to people of all ages, children in particular. This week’s Monday Maine Maven, KVYMCA program coordinator and Camp KV director, Johanna King, is well aware of the pressure and bullying that can be found on social media sites, but she believes many concerns can be resolved with open communication, education on social media etiquette and programs that instill positive self-esteem.

King has been working with children for a very long time. She started coaching soccer camps in high school, volunteered at her church’s summer Bible school and did a lot of babysitting. Since graduating from the University of Maine at Orono, she has worked part-time at Indian Elementary School as a tutor and, after receiving her ACE certification as a group exercise instructor, she landed a job working for the KVYMCA as their program coordinator and camp director.

Johanna gives a high-five to a camper last summer.

This role has been a perfect fit. Johanna says, “I went to so many camps growing up and have wonderful memories of camp. It is great to be on the other side of the experience and be able to help create those same great memories for kids today.” A part of this experience is using social media to share these memories with the parents of summer campers.

Johanna King has a firm grasp on social media needs for organizations like the KVYMCA. King adds, “People don’t want to sit down and read a long brochure, they want their information to be more succinct using images and less text; they want information from sites they’re already using such as Facebook and Twitter.” Johanna says that is why social media awareness is so important for not only children, but for communities as well. The information received is the information that is given, and so much of that information is found through the daily use of social media.

That is why King says, “This year, my goal is to update the YMCA Facebook page with a picture and short description each day for the parents to check out while they are at work or at home to see what their children are up to throughout the day.” Facebook and other social media sites are increasing awareness of the KVYMCA and their programs, but one new program is particularly popular due the Olympian namesake that hosts the session.

Johanna with Learning Center Director, Ranae L’Italien and Olympian, Julia Clukey during a recent camp program planning session.

That Olympian would be Julia Clukey. Johanna says, “Social media definitely plays a part in the need for programs like Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls. It is incredibly important to teach kids that their self-worth isn’t correlated to how many Facebook friends they have or how many people have liked their status updates.”

During a recent planning meeting with Clukey and the KV Camp team, they were able to establish the curriculum of this summer’s program. The camp will feature themes such as “Be Healthy,” “Be Your Best,” and “Be Caring.” Kings says, “We received wonderful feedback from parents of Clukey campers and we know that we will be having a lot of repeat campers, so it is important that we present the information in a way that is new to the girls that attended last year.” Programs such as Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls help promote positive reflections of oneself, resulting in confident young women.

To learn more about the summer programs offered by the KVYMCA and to connect with Johanna, you may email her at johanna@kvymca.org.

Painting Fun!

Here at NMC, we go above and beyond to meet the needs of our clients. Last week, we hosted a photo shoot and while tidying up, realized that the walls could use a little sprucing up.

Business Manager, Juli Settlemire makes painting look easy!

NMC Business Manager, Juli Settlemire volunteered and got right to it! Who says you can’t have fun at work?

Have a great weekend!

 

Thomas College Featured on MPBN

Mike Dacri, account coordinator at NMC

Hi, Mike here.

I don’t need to tell you but college is expensive and tuition seems to go up and up all the time! We recently got the opportunity to work on a project with Thomas College, which is working to make college more affordable for their students.

On Thursday, March 14, 2013 Thomas College was featured on “Maine Watch with Jennifer Rooks” on MPBN.  Interviews were conducted with Thomas College President Laurie Lachance, Board Co-Chair Conrad Ayotte and students Sarah Marckoon and Jacob Darveau about Thomas’ tuition freeze, Guaranteed Jobs Placement Program, and how Thomas is working to make college more affordable for its students. Check out the video below. The story about Thomas starts at 6:20.

Great job, Thomas!