Results: Fresh Idea Challenge

By Jane Atkinson
Thank you to everyone who submitted a Fresh Idea. Since there were so many, we had to narrow them down. Our top 2 selections are noted, and we’ve put several others on the page in hopes that they might spur on some new ideas for you!We would ask that if you are going to use an idea, to please put your OWN spin on it to allow the original to remain as such.Thanks go out to Joe Calloway, Toni Newman and Kris Young for their help in choosing the winners.


Fresh Idea Winner #1
Keeping The Audience Engaged – Dan Norman
I have an idea that I used in a presentation to a large sales organization at a Fortune 100 company. There were more than 1,000 sales representatives there from retail sales, inside telemarketing and outside sales. I had known that I was going to be the last Speaker before lunch, so I knew that I needed to do something to keep their attention. I figured out a way to keep them involved, make it fun and to have them wondering what was coming next. The title of my presentation was Ten Sales Fundamentals to Assure Success! My opening PowerPoint slide had 16 images on it. (See attached) One image represented my opening, ten of the images pertained to the ten sales fundamentals, one was for a closing summary and three of them pertained to very funny stories about being in sales. You could click on each of the images to open the parts of the presentation as described above.After being introduced, I stepped up on stage and without telling the audience what the images represented I simply picked one, the logging truck, and clicked on it to reveal my opening. Following that I asked the audience to pick an image. Hands went up and there were shouts right away. Why so many people are drawn to clowns, I’ll never know. Frankly, they scare the shorts off of me but that was the overwhelming first choice of the audience. (Incidentally, all of the cartoon characters on the slide are from my comic strip AWFUL WAFFLES ®, From that point it was like an auction. Folks couldn’t wait to call out an image and see how in the heck it was going to relate to a Sales Success Fundamental. It really didn’t matter which one they chose as my presentation was built as 16 separate mini presentations that I could present in almost any order. The beauty of the approach, however, was that I could somewhat manage the order anyway as so many people were calling out different choices. I could simply pick the one I wanted from the choices which were being yelled out. I was lucky as not many people chose the drawing of the cook. Actually, I planned it that way as the cook was for my closing remarks and to announce lunch. I got the highest speaker ratings of the show and sales performance improved as a result of retention and practice of the Sales Fundamentals. In fact every once in a while I still get an e-mail saying, “Hey I used the Clown a lot this month and am over quota again.”Give credit where due:
The idea is actually similar to one used by a speaker I heard many years ago talking about creativity. Using an overhead projector, he had drawn little pictures that represented the things he was going to talk about in his presentation. He would draw an “X” through each one as he finished covering that topic. Unfortunately, I cannot remember his name, his company or how to locate him.
Fresh Idea Winner #2
Piece of Cake Closed the Deal – Joy Baldridge
Here is a marketing idea that I used and I did get the business…I had a prospective client who was impossible to reach. We were at the end of the sales process and I could not get her on the phone. She was based in Greensboro, NC where my sister-in-law lives. I called a local bakery and had them write in frosting on a huge sheet cake the following:Some decisions are hard to make
this one is a piece of cake!
Call me! Joy Baldridge
Kathy delivered it and I got the business! Which was a keynote at their national sales conference in Las Vegas and they have been a 15+ year client.

More Fresh Ideas – In no particular order

Tap into the Crackberry’s – Make your Presentations More Interactive
– Scott Klososky, Technology Expert

During your presentation, there are two things that you can do to run Q&A in a new method using technology. The first is to tell everyone at the beginning of the talk to turn on their phones. They think this is funny. Then put an email address on the screen for them to write down and tell them to email their questions during the talk. Then when you are ready, bring up the email client on your screen and run through them. It works very well in that you can normally answer many more questions and get more than if you do traditional Q&A. I use a Google gmail account I set up because it is easy to keep clean and I do not use it for anything else. You must be online of course so make sure you have an internet connection from stage.

The second way is edgier and cooler. There is a new website called

This lets you create a screen that people can text message to. The messages stay on the screen and just float around. Again, you must have an internet connection. The edgiest way would be to have the screen up the whole time and just deal with the questions as people send them in real time. This is something that you need try at home and test out with some friends, but can really add an interesting way to communicate with the audience while you speak. A variation is to use the Wiffiti screen to ask questions and do an ad hoc survey with people…

Editors Note: Last year, Scott Klososky purchased a cow for his audience from the platform which prompted the Fresh Idea Challenge. Thanks to Scott for making us all think! For more on the cow story – see article on Jane’s Blog

Headline Makes All the DifferenceEamon Murphy, Ric Isaac (Australia)
How the right headline in our press release got us over $200,000 worth of free publicity and made us $75,000 in 8 daysPress releases have been around for years but most are a total waste of time. Even worse are very expensive paid advertisements. Ric, my business partner, and I sent off numerous press releases to promote our self published book that we wrote to help advance our professional public speaking careers. But nobody wanted to know us, or asked us to speak or wanted to buy our book. We only sold 47 copies, mainly to sympathetic relatives and friends. It looked like we were going to lose the $6,000 that we had invested in the book and our speaking careers were going nowhere – except downwards very steeply. Then we thought of a completely fresh idea: an eye-grabbing, sexy headline.The results that we got from that one press release with the new headline totally blew us away. Our telephone and fax ran hot. We appeared many times on radio and television, our story was featured in numerous newspapers and magazines and we were inundated with requests to speak. And then we really hit gold: Australia’s leading current events program Today Tonight produced a feature story on the book and ran a promo on eight occasions in prime time television with an audience of millions – and it cost us not a single cent! The website featuring our book received so many hits that TV Channel 7 had to temporarily close it down. The first print run of 3,000 copies of our book sold out immediately. We reprinted our book which became an Australian number one bestseller giving us a profit of well over $75,000. Ric and I are now flat-out with our speaking engagements, media commitments and completing our second book on health and fitness. And, as a completely unexpected bonus, Ric, in his first year as a professional public speaker, has just received his first speaking engagement from Australia’s leading speaking bureau. All because of a great headline in a single press release!

And the winning headline is…..

Don’t Diet?
Doctors know that you have a much better chance of being cured of cancer than of permanently losing weight.

A New Twist on an Old Idea (Evaluations) – Darla Arni

A few years ago I started asking attendees to fill out my own evaluation in addition to the general one provided at conferences. It started out as one page, which was fine, but often didn’t get filled out because they didn’t want to take the time. So, the last couple of years I have started printing it as a postcard on heavy card stock. I designed it myself, printed it myself and included a big graphic Thank You across the bottom. I get an astounding percentage of responses, I ask simple questions that they can quickly respond to and include a portion for them to fill out if they would like to subscribe to my E-newsletter. Because I print them myself I can easily customize the questions for each group. I put them on the table ahead of time, often while they are entering the room so it also gives me a chance to interact, tell them what it is, and become a real person to them before they see me at the front of the room. What do I get from this little postcard?-Great personal quotes in their own words to use in marketing.
-More people subscribing to my newsletter and in my database
-After each job, I compile the responses and send it to the client afterwards so they can see for themselves what people took the time to say and what the audience thought of my presentation. At the top of the page I make a point to tell the client I have made no corrections or additions to the comments. The feedback has been great!
-I use these same compiled responses (in small doses) in packets to new clients along with testimonial letters.
-It helps me to see where the audience is coming from and how they view me.
This simple item with it’s uncensored, honest responses has been great feedback without being a pain for attendees.

Getting Dressed on Stage – Silvana Clark

My main speech is called “Taming The Marketing Jungle”. I begin my speech wearing a form fitting dress and explaining to the audience that I had to leave my house in a hurry and accidentally forgot the safari-type out fit I usually wear. Then I say, “I heard from… (The groups’ CEO or association president) That you were always prepared to meet any problem that comes up in the workplace. So is there anyone here that possible brought an extra safari blouse with them today?” Lo and behold, someone waves a blouse and offers to let me use it. People are looking surprised. I put it on and ask for a safari skirt. Someone gives me one and now the room knows the items are planted, but it’s still fun. I get boots and a pith helmet from the audience and everyone is laughing because they are “in ” on the joke, plus their members were involved. This always breaks the ice, plus they kid their own members about bringing an extra safari hat to the conference.

Locking in Your Language with the AudienceRandy Park

My presentations are about helping organizations identify and tackle the unrecognized obstacles that prevent their long term success. Typically they are unrecognized because of the thinking of the people in the organization. Both problems and opportunities are “filtered” by people’s past experiences and education. The filtering is the unconscious assumptions we all make. In order to illustrate the filtering, I use slides with my Thinking for Results model and provide everyone in the audience with coloured filter glasses. (These are similar to the old 3d glasses, but with lenses that are either both red or both blue.) The glasses, the slides, and the model illustrate how the unconscious part of our brains blocks information before we start processing it consciously.
The combination of the filter glasses, the slides, and my presentation provides a visual, auditory, and kinesthetic experience that people remember and use. I get comments such as
“We have regularly been hearing the word ‘filters’ in conversations in and about the office. Your talk has definitely opened up the minds of many and has had a lasting effect.”
The model and associated understanding has applications in decision making, problem solving, communications, teamwork, change, and just about any area that people think. And the sight of a room full of people wearing cardboard glasses always loosens everyone up!

Visual Impact that the Audience Can’t Forget – Susanne Morrone

I’m a natural health consultant, author and “not as yet famous” speaker, but I do frequently speak to local community groups, occasionally at universities, to support groups, etc. At a recent lecture, I wanted to help the audience appreciate that what we put in and on our bodies impacts our health to a large degree. I decided to use a graphic visual. I cut the leg off a pair of pantyhose and filled a large paper bag with an assortment of commonly-eaten foods from the Standard American Diet. As I talked about all the over- processing, preservatives, chemical additives, sugar, salt, hydrogenated fat, pesticides, gmo’s , growth hormones, antibiotics and such, I was cramming the foods into this dangling leg of the pantyhose. “This is the typical American colon.” The point was made since the audience lined up after the presentation to find out how they could do a cleanse and have a personal consultation. The most wonderful feedback was a mom from the audience who came to see me about a month later. She said, “Darn you! My eight year old daughter was in the audience and took in everything you said. Now, when I start to put food in my mouth she cautions: “Mom, are you sure you want to put that in your colon?”This may not be what you are expecting in feedback, but at the very least I thought it would give you a chuckle. Thanks for your e-mails and I have enjoyed your Speaker Launcher CD’s which I listen to over and again for continual encouragement.

Customized Proposals (with video) for Speakers Bureaus – Nick Bontis

On my interactive video website, I developed a section for speaking bureaus and meeting planners called “THE CUSTOMIZED PROPOSAL WIZARD”. While working on a potential lead, a bureau agent simply fills out a short on-line form that describes the theme of the event, industry, location, function, size of audience, etc. My website automatically generates a customized proposal for the agent which includes other similar clients I’ve worked with and their testimonials, plus the most appropriate presentation topic and outline for that event. The agent then simply “copy and pastes” the text into their email program and sends it off to the client as if they wrote it themselves.RESULTS
Agents are very busy people and clients demand attention. This whole process takes less than a minute and the results are “eye popping”. Once the lead is established, a customized video message is then sent to the potential client. Agents and clients are amazed at how quickly and customizable the service is. Since I launched this feature on my website a year ago, the volume of business I have secured continues to skyrocket and traffic on my site just passed 250,000 hits in the last year alone!

21 Day Challenge BraceletPatrick LeRoux

My idea is to give each participant at the end of my talk a red rubber band bracelet with the title of my presentation on it (I have them made in China). On the inside my website address is written. They have to wear it for 21 days as a reminder of their commitment (21 days is the amount of time to change a habit). The commitment has to be big. Going from your comfort to your commitment zone is my main message.Before I give them the bracelet, they write down their commitment on their hand-out. I also ask them to send their commitment to their boss within 48 hours via email. That way, they have to act on the ideas they have learned during the conference. It works very well since 80% of the time I am the closing keynote speaker. The ROI is big for my clients and it is a good way for the participants to remember me. When their friends or clients ask about the bracelet, I get free publicity.
Continually Reinvent YourselfDr. Gayle Carson
After years of working in leadership and customer service and being known as the “Wiz of Biz” which is still the handle I carry on my Entrepreneur Magazine “Women in Business” show, I wrote a book called “How to be an S.O.B.–A Spunky Old Broad Who Kicks Butt.” I am now known as Dr. Gayle, S.O.B. My tag line for radio interviews is “I’m a 69 year old 3 time cancer survivor who’s an Internet entrepreneur and a kick-boxing S.O.B. It is really positioning me in the female boomer market and creates a lot of buzz. I am having more fun, giving inspiration to women who thought it was too late, and therefore getting a lot of spin. The key to mention here is–you have to be continually re-inventing yourself or either you won’t survive and/or you and your audience will tire of hearing what you have to say. I also commissioned “Spunky Old Broad Day” which next year will be “Spunky Old Broad Month” and we got a lot of press and media coverage.

The Thumb Drive Video – Bob Parker

My newest marketing idea which I will receive and start using tomorrow, is I’ve put my promotional video on a USB 1Gb Drive in Quicktime format instead of a DVD (well, I have that also). The video takes up a small portion of the drive, and people can use it (with my Pit Crew Challenge logo on it) for carrying all their other files. I managed to source a great price on the 1Gb drives making this a unique ‘give-away’ and potentially passive type of promotion. You might discard or file away a promo DVD, but the USB drive – no way. Imagine someone carrying around my USB promotional drive in their briefcase wherever they go, and my supportive ‘fans’ can pass along the file quite easily during a conversation. Even better, this technology allows you to edit and customize the file for each person I’m giving it to. There are plenty of other ideas that I have to use these drives, and we’ll see what others can come up with as well.

Turn Your Audience Around – Pauline Fleming

I was presenting to a group of sales experts and wanted them to get outside their comfort zone. Informed them they needed to stop doing 8 things they always do.To do this, I suggested they would need to learn how to look at things from a 180 degree perspective shift. I then warned them they might not like me for the next action and I went to the other end of the room and asked them to turn their chairs around. Physically doing a 180 degree turn on the room for them to truly step into the learnings I was about to share.It received incredible positive feedback.