Archive for April, 2009

Tom Antion: Shock Em

When I was planning for my last all day presentation I was
considering the post lunch sleepiness that most audiences
experience. I wanted to do something totally different that I
knew would shock them out of their afternoon low. So I bought a
muskrat trap.

I was talking about the “traps” AKA deep trouble you could get
into by spam email marketing. I set the trap with great care.
Then I put a pencil into the trap to set it off. The pencil
snapped showing the trap to be real . . . This got their
attention. I then reset the trap and talked about how learning
what I was going to teach them in the next section would keep
them from getting hurt in the email spam trap.

Then, with lots of suspense building as I approached the trap, I
set it off with my bare hand, I let out a fake Karate-like
scream, the trap slammed on my hand and I held it up hanging from
my fingers.  . . . Believe me this got their attention!

I know how to do this without getting hurt. I am not responsible
if you break your finger or get hurt in any way !!!

There are many other ways to shock people. You could put a needle
through a balloon, you could stick a knife through one of their
coats. Stop by any magic or gag shop for tons of ideas. Just
don’t get too outrageous and scare people unnecessarily.

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Tom Antion: Sound Effects

Making noises on stage just for fun or to represent your concept
is a way to get some laughs from the audience.

To get people’s attention I use a thing called a “rubber razzer”
that makes a funny sound when you blow in one end. Sometimes I
use an electronic horn from Radio Shack that plays short segments
from 60 different recognizable tunes. In the old days I used a
train whistle which always got a chuckle.

Most recently I use a .wav file that I keep on the desktop of my
laptop. I tell the audience how I use Internet marketing
techniques to bring email orders into my inbox. I’ve set my
Outlook email program to recognize an order and go ka ching, ka
ching, ka ching, ka ching which, of course, is representative of
the cash register ringing. It always gets a laugh.

You can buy sound effect CDs at just about any major computer
store, or you can search in any major search engine for sound
effects files which you can download and use according to the
permission granted by the site.

Think about any of your concepts that could be represented by a
sound and you’ll have a very easy way to add some humor to your

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Tom Antion: The Eyes Have It

The Eyes Have It
by Tom Antion

Try this in your next five speeches. Hold eye contact with
each audience member you look at for a full four seconds.
When I am critiquing videos of even very experienced speakers
sometimes I feel like the speaker is watching a tennis match or
worse yet a ping pong match. They oscillate back and forth never
really connecting with anyone. If you hold that eye contact just
shy of the point where you would be considered staring, I will
bet you find that more people want to talk to you after your
speech. Try it and let me know how it works.

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Tom Antion: Postcards

Ok OK I know this isn’t the high tech stuff I’m always using, but
the truth is that hitting someone with a marketing message in
several different fashions will get more results than depending
on only one. I still love email because it is the cheapest and
less risky of all, but post cards come next.

I sat in on Nancy Miller’s session
at the National Speakers association and got my first taste of
organized post card promotions. She showed me really innovative
and inexpensive ways to get your message across with postcards.

I then got a course from Alex Mandossian that filled in all the

I haven’t done anything fancy yet, but I got immediate results
just by sending out a plain black on blue cardstock postcard. I
made it by cutting a regular sheet of cardstock in half which
gave me two postcards per sheet. I had it duplicated at Office

It immediately generated seminar attendees that just don’t use
their email as much as I do and at least one joint venture is
coming out of it.

You can also use post cards to get the email address of people on
your database. You could offer some incentive to sign up for your
email newsletter so your marketing to that prospect is free from
then on. Tapping your database is always valuable and postcards
are a great way to do it.

Tom Antion: Spread Your Content

The business model for a content website is that the site owners
gather as much content as they can on a particular topic. They
then try to attract as many people as possible who are interested
in that topic. The more people that visit the site, the more the
advertising on the site is worth. You can tap into this large
volume of website visitors for free.

Let’s say a site is totally about automobiles. They have all the
new models listed along with articles on leasing, finance,
insurance, how to buy a used car etc. Guess where they get all
these articles. Of course, from subject matter experts like you.
You generally don’t get paid for the articles (it’s possible you
could), but you get paid by your bio line and link back to your

This is good in several ways. First, a link from a very high
traffic site is worth more to you than a link from a low traffic
site. The link alone helps your search engine rankings because of
“link popularity.” Second, the article you write has high
credibility for appearing on a large respected site. This means
that people that click over to your site are already predisposed
to like what you have to say and believe you are credible before
they ever pick up the phone to call.

You only need to land a few of these deals to add a tremendous
number of website visitors to your site . . .  all of whom could
spend money with you in one way or the other.

To get your content listed, search the Internet for sites that
are related to your topic area. They don’t have to be “exactly”
related. For instance, customer service experts would be welcome
on any business related site either small or large.

Email, write, call, fax or do anything it takes to get through to
the powers that be at the website of interest. Persistence pays
off in this game. Offer your credentials and sample articles and
you just might be their next featured columnist . . .  and that
means millions of potentials leads for your business.

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Tom Antion: Balance Your Mouth And Your Visuals

I got a nice compliment from the self publishing guru Dan Poynter
who attended one of my Internet Marketing seminars. He said,
“Tom, you have a really nice balance of speaking and visuals.”

This was very pleasing to hear because it’s exactly what I teach
in the “Wake ’em Up Speaking System.” During the course of a
grueling, high content day, I:

1. Spoke
2. Used a variety of video CDs which I paused and discussed when
3. Used a white board on the opposite end of the room (I made
people stand up and walk to the back of the room to see that
4. Used a comical prop to make a point.
5. Used other props as demonstrations and also made people stand
up and move to another part of the room to view them.
6. Used audience input.

Sometimes I use dueling flip charts. Here’s a variety of
positions that will keep them interested:

=> Two or more flip charts at the front of the room

=> Many spread around the room

=> One or more at the front and the others at the back of the
room, or

=> Several at the back of the room.

The idea is to vary as much as possible the type of material the
audience is seeing and hearing in an effort to keep their
attention. Don’t go too long without making a significant change
in delivery technique.

This technique works for keynote length presentations all the way
up to multiday workshops.

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Tom Antion: Fake Phone Calls

This is so much fun.

I keep my cell phone with me when I’m on stage and I either have
someone call me while I’m in the middle of the presentation, or I
just pretend the phone is vibrating and I have to answer the

Since the audience can’t hear the person calling, you could fake
the entire conversation if you wanted to.

Just recently I had the organizer call me on stage just as I was
giving a small discount if the audience members wanted to buy my
back-of-the-room package. The organizer was telling me that the
discount I was giving was not good enough.

We started arguing about it on the phone which was making the
audience members laugh.

Note: If you’ve listened to my 2 hour album on “Selling a Ton at
the Back-of-the-Room” you know
that having the audience laughing in the middle of your close is
a very good thing.

I gave in an dropped the price a little more on the package I was

Immediately the phone rang again, with the organizer telling me
that wasn’t good enough. We had another argument and now the
audience was really laughing.

I gave in again and dropped the price to the rock bottom and sold
a ton.

You could pretend your mother or father is calling and nagging
you about something. Or you could make up just about anyone that
will allow you to make your part of the conversation funny to the

Make good use of your cell phone while you are on stage
and those will be some of the most valuable minutes you ever

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Tom Antion: Contract Marketing

I learned this concept years ago from Dottie Walters.

Smart speakers attempt to maximize the amount of money they make
at each speaking engagement. Contract marketing is one way to do

The idea is to put a mention of other products or services in
your contract / agreement after you have landed the speaking

It could go something like this, “Additional learning materials
available to match this presentation.”

You would put this in a prominent place in your agreement.

Many organizations have budgets to buy educational materials for
their members or employees. Why shouldn’t they buy them from you?

You might say, “Tom, why don’t you just discuss additional
product sales up front with the meeting planner and put the deal
right in your contract?” The reason is that the meeting planner
doesn’t always know how much budget that is available for this
until all the top priorities are under contract.

When the final review of the contracts occurs your reminder in
your contract could land a very big deal doubling or tripling the
value of your engagement.

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Tom Antion: The Front Row

In the research I did on my recent trip to Thailand, I discovered
that a meeting or seminar custom is to seat VIP attendees in the
front row
. No one of a lesser status either socially or in
business would think of sitting closer to the front than their
boss, or someone of a higher social ranking. This is a very loose
and largely ignored custom in Western meetings, and carries a
significantly higher decorum in Thailand and Asia. Since many
meetings are rather westernized anyway, don*t fret if your
meeting is not run this way, but your knowledge and adherence to
this custom can earn you some real points with the people that

Room Setup
I normally use a semi circular theatre style room setup whenever
I can. In my Thailand talk, I found out approximately how many
VIPs there would be and set the front row with plush chairs that
were obviously nicer and different than the rest of the typical
hotel chairs. I befriended one of the attendees who knew what the
VIP attendees looked like. When a VIP was identified, either me
or my assistant escorted them to a front row seat. I had some
time to blow while awaiting the arrival of the Governor so, I
went around the room allowing the attendees to name themselves
and their affiliations. I started at the back of the room and
ended with the most senior official in the front row. These
gestures were very well received and paved the way for a very
productive meeting.

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Tom Antion: E-Course Improvement

Poor and intermittent email delivery rates create lots of hassle for e-course authors. Everything is “supposed” to be automatic, but if one part of a multipart e-course does not get delivered to a person, they are going to contact you to send them the missing part(s) of the course.

A great way to combat this is to put the entire course in a pdf file and put it on a download page in your website. Include the link to the pdf file in each part of your e-course.

In each part of the e-course you might say something like:

“Can’t wait for the entire course? Download it now at

If you do this, if only one part of your 5 part e-course gets to the recipient, that recipient still has access to the entire course in the pdf file. This means they don’t need to call you if they don’t get each email of the course.

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