December 6, 2011


Seth Godin autographing Poke The Box at The Art of Sales (Nov 22, 2011)
 In less than two years, I've seen Seth live four times: twice in New York City and twice in Toronto (most recently at The Art of Sales on November 22nd). That's more than I've seen any other speaker.  I didn't buy any t-shirts but did pick up five presentation lessons we can use. Here they are:
  1. recycle
  2. show
  3. give
  4. inspire
  5. follow-up
Need more detail? Read on.


When you see Springsteen, you expect to hear Born To Run (and do). Seth doesn't have such a staple. I don't think he mentioned Purple Cow at all but he did wear a purple tie. Yet Seth reused some content and slides. That's because they are still effective.

In contrast, other presenters recycled out of laziness. Keith Ferrazzi yakked about his tough upbringing which was unmoving in his 2005 book Never Eat Alone. Sally Hogshead again used vile-tasting J├Ągermeister as mildly amusing filler (video clip). In each case, we can predict the outcomes. Wake me up when you’re done.

Seth’s content improves with age. He's building on what worked before and is still relevant for tomorrow. You get a sense of continuity and see his growth. He's certainly not in a rut or out of ideas.

Do you recycle — and for the right reasons?


Seth uses lots of visuals (mainly photos) and many stories. He has the knack of connecting what seems disparate into a larger theme. That shows craftsmanship. The visuals don't always match what he's saying but add to the effect. Either the slides play by themselves (which seems unlikely) or Seth practices a lot.

Seth uses very few slides with words. Compare that with typical business presentations where the slides with visuals are rare (and rarely effective).

You'll see Seth's style in this TED Talk about the tribes we lead.

Are your presentations engaging and easy to follow?


We remember generosity (and notice the absence).

Jerry Greenfield of Ben and Jerry's was the final speaker. He talked about how giving the company was but what did he give us that a video recording would not? He could have wowed us by handing out free ice cream. That would have been unexpected and appreciated. Think of the word of mouth. How much does ice cream cost when you buy in bulk from your own factory?

Seth gave us brain food. Our souvenir was a hardcover copy of Poke The Box ( Isn't that brilliant? You're not going to throw the book away. You'll probably show it to others. Once you've read it, maybe you'll pass it on. In the worst case, you can re-gift it.

Also, Seth took questions from the audience for about 30 minutes. Interaction brings a session alive and shows whether the speaker is also a thinker.

How do you show your generosity beyond what’s expected?


You need excellent content that’s fresh and delivered in a way no one else can match. Seth does research (and gives credit) but what you see is his unique creation.

In the corporate world, I used to develop presentations that the marketing team could use across the country. Since the slides were also the speaker notes and the handouts, the content was a tad bland and corporate. I then started creating presentations with zing that only I could deliver. This was much better for the company and me (except for the travelling).

Do you inspire? How do you know if you are?

The Art Of Sales schedule (Nov 22, 2011)Follow-up

The follow-up is where presenters usually flop. The messages they bring are easily forgotten, especially when they're part of a daylong speaker series. If your goal is to take the money and skedaddle, that's fine. If your goal is to truly help people, you need a follow-up system. No, I don't mean a seminar or book. Something free.

Seth blogs daily. His content is there waiting. If you're interested, you subscribe. He has no mechanism to put you on a mailing list because he doesn't have one. Seth had no slide with contact info. If you want to reach him, you must be interested enough to do a web search. Tough huh? In contrast, Keith Ferrazzi was trying to build a database via email and texting.

What do you offer for follow-up that's free and opt-in?

Overall, Seth gave another excellent presentation. I especially liked his hidden lessons on presenting.


PS Which amazing speakers have you seen lately (live or online)?

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