Upcoming ACOM Event Calendar

June 2008

2008 Summer Education Conference
June 26-28, 2008
Chicago, Illinois
Palmer House Hilton

July 2008

Idea Network
July 17, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
Hotel / Center Track: Procedures from Start to Finish for CSMs
CVB Track: Procedures from Start to Finish for CSMs

August 2008

August 21, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
Revenue Management

September 2008

Idea Network
September 18, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
Hotel / Center Track: Emergency Management
CVB Track: Housing Updates

October 2008

October 16, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
APEX Update

November 2008

Idea Network
November 20, 2008
1:00 PM EST
All Tracks: Discussion on Industry Article

January 2009

2009 Annual Conference
January 9-11, 2009
New Orleans, Louisiana
Westin New Orleans

A special thank you to the Summer Conference Sponsors:

Don’t miss the opportunity to have your name listed above. If you have any questions or are interested in sponsoring ACOM, please contact ACOM Headquarters.

Giving Stellar Presentations

By The Creative Group

Nearly every professional will have to lead a presentation before a group of colleagues or customers at some point. Delivering a good speech, however, is no easy task, even for those who do it frequently.

The Creative Group asked advertising and marketing executives to describe their most awkward presentation experiences. Whether the result of nerves, technical glitches, clothing gone awry or just plain bad luck, it seems that, sometimes, what can go wrong will go wrong. Here are some examples:

• “I was a little nervous and chewing on the end of a felt pen. When I got up to speak, I didn’t realize the pen had broken, and I had ink all over my face. My teeth were black, my mouth was black; I had marker everywhere and didn’t realize it!”

• “I was in a meeting, and my hosiery fell down. I was mortified and stayed seated until the meeting was over.”

• “I spilled a freshly made cup of coffee across the boardroom table, and it poured onto the client’s lap.”

• “We were displaying a TV spot on videotape, and my co-worker hit ‘record’ instead of ‘play’ and taped over it.”

• “When the account manager sat down at the conference table, the back of the chair broke, and she was trapped between the chair and the wall.”

Careful preparation can help reduce the risk of mishaps. Here are some tips for delivering an impressive presentation, no matter how nervous or uncomfortable you may be:

Consider your goal and audience
The first consideration when speaking before a group is identifying the goal you want to achieve. Are you trying to inform colleagues about new procedures, persuade a client to try your service or motivate your direct reports? Once you’ve determined your aim, craft your presentation to offer audience members a tangible set of benefits, such as how a new process or product can save them time or money.

Bring cue cards
It’s wise to have index cards containing key points on hand whenever you’re asked to present. Even if you know what you want to say, your notes will serve as a backup and boost your confidence.

Even the most knowledgeable speakers need to rehearse their delivery. Unless you’re an improvisational whiz, you don’t want to wing it. Practice before a mirror or in front of someone who will give you constructive feedback. Pay attention to any distracting habits you may have, such as clearing your throat or running your fingers through your hair. You can avoid these behaviors once you’re aware of them.

Slow down and relax
When presenting, try to maintain a moderate pace — not too quick or too slow. Start in a calm, measured way and articulate your words clearly so they are easily understood. Take natural pauses when appropriate and don’t forget to breathe. You’ll also appear more personable and relaxed if you avoid reading verbatim from a script and smile from time to time. Along the same lines, don’t use jargon or acronyms with which your audience may not be familiar — it can be both confusing and frustrating for them.

Recover when necessary
Slip-ups happen. If you suffer a presentation snafu, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and focus on keeping your composure. Do your best to get back on track as soon as possible. If it’s a matter that could take a few minutes to resolve, such as a technical glitch or a spill, suggest a quick “intermission.”

Ask for feedback
After you’ve presented, ask for feedback from colleagues and others whose opinion you value. Encourage them to provide constructive criticism and try to learn from their comments.

Overcoming hesitations you may have about public speaking can boost your confidence, enhance your contribution to your firm and, ultimately, help you advance your career. Keep in mind that public speaking is a skill that improves with practice — the more experience you acquire, the better you will be at it.

The Creative Group is a specialized staffing service providing marketing, advertising, creative and web professionals on a project basis. The company has offices in major markets across the United States and in Canada, and offers online job search services at www.creativegroup.com.

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