Browse through a few Case Studies Tom Guggino has gathered over the years.
I had a client, who was the CEO of a large organization, tell me that he doesn’t prepare anything. He just goes out there and sees what happens. He liked to wing it. Well, he winged it one too many times and started getting negative feedback from his board. That’s when I got the panic call asking me to help him. My advice is unless you are an incredibly talented presenter with years of experience, winging it is dangerous if you want to succeed in communicating a successful message.
There was a salesman once, who had the habit of shaking his head “no” when he asked the client if they wanted to buy his product. He couldn’t understand why he wasn’t making sales. It’s tough to answer “yes” when someone is shaking their head “no.” Try it sometime. Ask a friend a question that requires a “yes” answer, but when you ask the question, shake your head no before you ask it and see what response you get from your friend.
When I conduct workshops for presentation and communication coaching, I ask the participants to do a short presentation on anything they choose. During one workshop, a female participant had just finished, and I thought she had done very well. I asked her, “How did you feel when you were presenting?” She said, “I felt nervous, anxious, and my hands were shaking.” She assumed she did poorly.
I then asked the other participants who saw her presentation to tell us what they thought of her performance. They responded that they thought she did very well and didn’t see any of the nervousness or shaking that she was describing. When she heard that, she was surprised. She began to realize that what she was feeling internally was not being projected externally to the audience. After hearing that, she began to relax.
At the end of our performing career, Deanie and I finally found our comedy voice. We were opening a new club in Philadelphia and decided not to do sketches or improvisation. Instead, we decided to talk about our relationship and our kids. Our oldest, Michael, was five years old at the time and was a super fan of the “Blues Brothers” movie with John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd. There was a scene in it that he loved in which the Blues Brothers were escaping from the police. Just before they took off, Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi would check what they had. Our son demanded that he wouldn’t go to nursery school unless we acted out the scene from the movie. So, before we could take him to nursery school, I did the scene with him. So, we would be in the car, and he would say, “Daddy do it.” So I’d have to say, “it’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, a half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses.” And he would say, “Hit it!” Then I could take him to nursery school.
I was coaching high school teachers on their presentations in the classroom, and I asked them, “How do you start your classes each day?” They said, “I take attendance, collect homework, and then start class.” It took about 5 to 10 minutes. I said, “So the students know the class hasn’t started so they don’t have to pay attention.” The teacher said, “Yes.” I said I wanted to try something that might get the students’ attention going even before they started the class. The teacher was an American history teacher covering the Civil War. The teacher agreed. I said, “Why don’t you use that time before you start the class to get their attention. While you are taking the attendance and collecting homework, show pictures from the Civil War in random order on the screen in the classroom and see how long it takes before one of your students asks you about the images on the screen.”
He reported back that it took about two to three minutes before someone asked, “What are those pictures for? And do we have to know them?” The teacher then said, “What pictures?” The student said, “Those on the screen.” The teacher said, “Which one?” Suddenly a conversation started involving more students.
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