Archive for July, 2009

Tom Antion: Interplay

I love to interact with the audience. It is much easier now that
wireless microphones are so readily available. I can go right
into the audience, I can sit in one of their chairs, I can sit on
an audience member’s lap if I want to (by now you should have
realized that I am inclined to be totally irreverent if I know
the audience can handle it).

You don’t have to be as wild as I sometimes am to get the job
done. You can calmly go into the audience with a wireless
handheld microphone. Let the audience members ask their questions
directly to you while you hold the mic to their mouths so that
everyone else can hear. (Don’t forget to bring the microphone
back to your mouth for the answer.)

Another technique I use frequently is to speak directly to one
audience member. It goes like this, “Sharon, this is just between
you and me.” Whenever I do this, I can see out of the corner of
my eye everyone else killing themselves to eavesdrop on Sharon
and me. They feel like they are getting to hear something secret.

One-on-one interplay is also good when you are teasing or doing a
little roast humor on someone in the group. “Joe, lots of people
believe that you are one of the top sales managers in the
company. . . . Lots of people believe in the Easter Bunny too!”

I’ll go right up to someone in the audience and touch them on the
shoulder while I’m talking (don’t do this in Asia). I might say
(reading their nametag to get the name) “John here may have the
highest sales volume, but if his net income is no good, John is
not a happy guy.”

Some speakers make up skits and give the audience members easy,
but funny, parts to play. This is just an advanced form of role-

Don’t be afraid to get right in there and get your audience
involved, physically, mentally, and emotionally and you will be
on your way to becoming a NO ZZZZZs presenter.

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Tom Antion: Check Local References

On the international speaking tour I just returned from I could
have made a serious flaw had I not checked out material with the
locals after I got in the country.

Apparently one country hates a certain kind of animal to the
point where some natives actually try to run over the animal when
driving on the road. A nearby country loves the same animal.

Although in this case I chose to avoid any comments about this
animal issue, I could have ruined a speech by saying the wrong
thing about this animal in the wrong country.

This same concept can apply to different areas or the same
country or even different parts of the same city. Always check
comments you plan on making that are localized with several local
people before using them. You might just save yourself a big
embarrassing bomb.

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Tom Antion: Stick Em Up

I use all types of stickers and labels to help market my
business and to save money. You can use labels for all sorts
of things. I use them in the following ways:

=> To turn generic pocket folders into marketing pieces by
putting brightly colored testimonial stickers on the
outside. I pick the testimonials that are appropriate for
the client.

=> To make my packages and mailers really stand out in the
mail room, or on the desk of my client.

=> To promote my website. Just about everything leaving my
office has a bright red website sticker on it.

=> To promote me. Most client packages have a sticker that
promotes my catch phrase, “Tom Antion, a Rare Mix of
Business and Entertainment”

=> To save money. My main mailing label is printed in two
colors and has my photo on it. It is sized so that it
perfectly fits on a business envelope. This gets me out
of buying custom printed envelopes. I use the same label
for all my book shipments and just about everything that
goes out of my office.

I use the computer program “Avery Label Pro” (about 50 dollars)
for everything except my photo label. It allows me to make all
kinds of customized labels in minutes. I even used it to make a
one-of-a-kind label for a specialized audio demo tape requested
by a bureau.

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Tom Antion: Sensitive Audience Members

If you are planning to do a lively presentation that involves the
audience members, you must be careful of what you say at the
beginning of your speech.

Some audience members would rather have you sit down so they
could be the star on stage, but others dread the thought of even
being noticed while they are sitting in the audience.

Here is a critical phrase you can adapt and say during the
beginning of your presentation to help the sensitive members of
the audience relax and pay attention to your content.

“We’re going to have lots of fun and interaction today, but don’t
worry. You won’t be put on the spot to do anything you don’t want
to do.”

That simple phrase will help all of your audience members enjoy
your presentation without anxiety.

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Tom Antion: Test Humor

I was doing a taped interview with a very experienced speaker
last week and I told him about the way I structure my
introduction for a talk. This speaker had more than 20 years
speaking experience. Here’s what he told me, “I’ve never heard of
this technique and I’m going to implement it immediately.”

Think about how you would feel if you delivered one of your best
humorous opening lines and the audience sat there stone faced. It
wouldn’t really make you look or feel that good would it?

That NEVER happens to me because of the following technique: I
put a piece of “test humor” in my introduction. This is a simple,
and mildly humorous line. (I want it to be simple so the
introducer doesn’t mess up the delivery of the line.) During the
introduction I position myself so I can watch the reaction of the
audience when the humorous line is delivered.

When you have seen the same piece of humor delivered by many
different introducers in many settings you get a good feel for
the range of reactions different audiences give to the line.

By doing this, I am able to see if the audience is “in fun” which
means are they in the mood to laugh? If the audience chuckles or
outright laughs, I know that I can deliver a humorous line and at
least get a chuckle out of the audience. If they just sit there
when the test humor is delivered, I go into a straight content
oriented opening.

The use of this technique guarantees that I will never look poor
or uncomfortable during the critical opening moments of a speech.
If they’re ready to have fun, then so am I. If they’re not ready
to have fun, then I give them their content while sizing them up.

Maybe they want to get to know me a little before they trust me
enough to go along with my humor. Maybe they want to see if I
know what I’m talking about before they “respect me” enough to go
along with my humor. This is what “warming up the audience is all

The experienced speaker I mentioned above attempted to warm up
the audience by forcing humorous lines upon them. If they weren’t
ready to laugh, then the speaker had to dig out from a hole he
dug for himself.

In some case the audience may never be ready to laugh for many
different reasons. They might be tired. The time of day might be
bad. They might have gotten some really bad news, It might be
mandatory that they attend when they want to be out golfing. If
you try to force humor to an audience that is not ready to laugh,
you will look, very, very bad.

Use test humor in your introduction to find out if they are ready
to laugh BEFORE you hit the stage..

Visit and pick
a few lines.

Tom Antion: Custom Audio Samples

I learned how to easily make this happen from Mike Stewart at

How cool would it be if your client got off the phone with you
and a short time later you sent a link to a customized audio
demo specifically for his/her group?

Well, not only is it cool — it’s doable with a very small amount
of skill.

I called Mike Stewart from and he had
me totally competent to do it myself in less than a day — and
that includes setting up the equipment.

Although I’m not really technical, I can get around the
computer pretty good so your mileage may vary when it comes to
how long it will take you, but the bottom line is that IT’S WORTH

It’s worth it for many other things too. You can put all kinds of
audio clips on your website for all your different speeches. You
can put an entire speech if you want to. You can also create
areas with your picture on it that says “Click here to hear a
special message from Tom Antion.” You can put audio testimonials
on your site.

AND you can create products without going to a recording studio
which will save you thousands and thousands of dollars.

You can use pretty basic equipment if you have to, but I bought a
portable recording package from Mike that gives me a really high
quality “studio in a box.” I can take it with me if I’m going to
be on the road and record to my laptop.

I don’t remember exactly what the package cost, but I do know it
paid for itself in the first week when I created a three-tape
audio album and also it saved me lots of money by allowing me to
put a regular call from my mentor program on the
web instead of duplicating and mailing sometimes up to 80 tapes a

You will have to be able to put files on your website. If you
can’t, Mike or your webmaster can do it for you.

If you want to hear a sample of what I was able to accomplish on
the first try visit. It’s not perfect, but it cost me nothing to

Not only is this cool, this is necessary to compete in a
marketplace that is used to sound and visuals . . . not just
written words.

Visit Mike’s other site too

Tom Antion: The Columbo Technique

Do you remember the soft-spoken, cigar smoking detective on the
hit TV series “Columbo?” Most people do because the show is still
in reruns all over the world and once in a while a new episode
comes out. One of Detective Columbo’s trademarks is that he would
start to leave and when he was almost out the door he would stop
and say, “Oh. Just one more thing.” The same technique can be used
by speakers (without the cigar).

Here’s how the Columbo technique works: Save one of your really
critical points . . . maybe your most important point . . . then
completely leave your subject . . . then use the “Oh. Just one
more thing” technique and deliver your big point.

Until you’ve tried this out several times, don’t try to use this
technique at the end of your speech because people will start
shuffling their materials in anticipation of the talk being over.
This would cause too much distraction for the technique to have
it’s full effect.

Begin by using the technique just before a major transition in
your talk. That way you will eliminate the shuffling of papers
problem noted above. When you get comfortable with this, try the
technique before a break.  Play with your wording so that you
control the audience. Don’t say “Well before we take a break . . .
” This will start them shuffling. Say something like, “That’s all
on that topic . . . Oh. and one more thing” . . . then give your
main point.  As you get really good at controlling the crowd you
can try this as your closing. Coming back with the main point will
be powerful and memorable.

Oh. Just one more thing . . . .only use this technique ONCE  per
presentation. 🙂

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Tom Antion: Public Speaking Humor

=>What kind of coffee was served on the Titanic? Sanka.

=>Do you think that when they asked George Washington for ID
that he just whipped out a quarter?

=>Daylight savings time – why are they saving it and where do
they keep it?

=>An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The
older she gets the more interested in her he is.

=>”Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.”
–Popular Mechanics, 1949

=>”I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
–Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

=>What is it about management? I work for myself and even MY boss
is an idiot.

=>What do Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington, and Abe
Lincoln all have in common?   They were all born on holidays

=>I always wanted to be a procrastinator, but never got around to

=>Last night I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky and
I thought to myself, “Where the heck is the ceiling?!”

=>My opinions may have changed, but not the fact that I am right.
-Ashleigh Brilliant

=>Man is a peculiar creature. He spends a fortune making his home
insect-proof and air-conditioned, and then eats in the yard.

=>How do you drive an accountant completely
insane?   Tie him to a chair, stand in front of him
and fold up a road map the wrong way.

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Tom Antion: Voice Care Tips

=> When speaking all day, if possible, disappear during lunch and
rest your voice.

=> Use a microphone whenever possible . . . even for small

=> Keep luke warm water available on stage.

=> Drink lots of water the day BEFORE your presentation.

=> Avoid alcohol, coffee and tea which tend to dehydrate your
vocal chords.

=> Avoid carbonated beverages which could cause belching.

=> Avoid any creamy food products like ice cream, milk etc.
because it cause phlegm.

=> Avoid screaming and talking extremely loud.

=> In cold weather wear a warm scarf, turtle necks, etc.

=> Warm up your voice before you speak.

=> Test different citrus fruits or fruit drinks (not sugary) to
find the best method for you to clear congestion from your vocal

=> Avoid clearing your throat excessively.

=> Start your speech out in a low range of voice. Crescendo to
peaks in your speech. If you start out in a high range of voice
and then try to crescendo, you may strain your voice.

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Tom Antion: Dollar Bill Gag

Whenever you have any need to speak about money in your
presentation here is a simple gag that always gets a good laugh.

It looks like you printed money

Brand new One Dollar Bills
Padding Glue
Two small boards
Two C Clamps or some bricks

Basically you are making a pad of money so you can tear a bill
off the pad. The top edge of the pad is red or green which gives
the impression that is was printed like a tablet. The color of
the edge is simply the color of the glue you use to make the pad.

I say “Email marketing is just like printing
money. In fact, I just printed some [show the pad of bills]. They
look really good don’t they?” [tear a few off and give them to
audience members] . . . Then I say, “That’s because they are.”
Then I briefly explain that I just padded some up with printer’s
glue. Usually you get a little laughter at this point. Then I go
for the big laugh line.

I say, “You should see the look on the bellman’s face when I tip
him.” [gets big laugh] You could substitute waiter or waitress
for bellman if it’s more appropriate.

Just after I deliver the above line about the bellman I hold up
one of the bills with a quizzical look on my face (like the
bellman would have). I then mention something about the bellman
getting out the pen used by cashiers to tell if money is

Go to the bank and get about 50 brand new, crisp one dollar

Make sure the bills are lined up with each other perfectly.
Sandwich the bills between two small, straight boards. The top
edge of the bills should align with the edge of the boards.
Clamp the boards together with C Clamps, or put some heavy bricks
on them. Brush on a few layers of printer’s glue (purchase
from print supply house or borrow some from your local printer .
. . you could have your friendly printer do the entire padding
process for you if you want.)

Let it dry and you’ve got yourself a gag that you can use for 10
to 20 presentations depending on how many bills you give out at

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