Monday, November 30, 2009

Presenting with Power and Style

It has been said many times that a person’s greatest fear is public speaking, and the second is death. So does this mean to you that “basically we would rather be the one in the casket instead of the one giving the eulogy?” While the fear for many is undeniable, the reality is that every business is a “relationship business”, and we all need to know how to present ourselves and our company in order to succeed.

Every time you encounter another person, you give a presentation. Regardless of whether you are conducting a large group presentation or meeting one on one at a networking event, your ability to present with confidence, style, and enthusiasm will leave a lasting impression.

The keys to giving a strong presentation are simple; but that does not mean they are easy. Becoming a proficient speaker takes practice, practice, and more practice. You must see every encounter you have as a chance to improve, and hone the skills needed for success.

There are many techniques and tools for making your message memorable; here are some of the basics.

Objective: Why am I delivering this message? What do I want this person or group to be able to do when we conclude?

Audience: Who are they and what do they know already? How will I engage them?

Self: How do I appear to others during a presentation? How do I sound, move, and articulate the message?

Content: Do I truly know it, and more importantly can I discuss it “off script.”

Flare: What visuals go with your message? How will you keep the audience entertained, interactive, and interested?

For more real-world tips on Presenting with Style please contact Nancy Beausoleil, president, Soleil Learning at 248.417.8330 or visit our website at

Monday, November 23, 2009

This week, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving — a day of appreciation for all that we have.

Let's think of the word Thanksgiving as two words — thanks and giving.

•Thanks — a grateful feeling or acknowledgment

•Giving — to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation

At the Chamber, we recognize the importance of both words.
We are thankful for the hard work our members put in everyday to make our communities strong, vibrant places to shop, live, work and play. The sweat equity and dedication to ensure a strong business environment is immeasurable and we are grateful to share in that success. We are also indebted to our volunteers and committees for the efforts they put forth throughout the year that help make the Chamber itself successful. I encourage you to make your own “thanks” list and pass on your sentiment of gratitude.

As part of our own giving, the Chamber has had the opportunity to gladly share our accomplishments with our nonprofit community. In 2009, the Chamber coordinated an effort through our Village Fair event to donate more than $19,000 to 23 local nonprofits. We were also able to donate more than $6,000 to Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan from our Vine & Dine event.
Though financial support has its place, giving does not necessarily equate to emptying the piggy bank or writing a check. There are several other ways to give — share your time, donate new or gently used items, donate facility space or share your experience on a particular topic. Winston Churchill said it best, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

If you're a business, you may want to explore the benefits of partnering with a local nonprofit. Not sure where to start? The Chamber has a nonprofit network consisting of 57 local nonprofits. If you're looking for a signature charity to support or a place to donate your time this holiday season, visit the Chamber Web site at There you'll find requests from local nonprofit organizations that are in need of support on our homepage.

If you're searching for a specific type of nonprofit, try visiting With more than 63,000 nonprofits in Michigan, you'll be sure to find one that fits. You can narrow your search by county or cause. Identify a cause that shares in your professional or personal values and determine how you can help support them. Remember, partnering with a nonprofit can be a win-win situation for both parties.

By joining forces with a charitable organization, you can support a cause while boosting business. Often times, supporting a particular charity can help expand your professional network and even, provide opportunities to meet potential customers. Employees feel encouraged to participate when their employer supports a cause they believe in. Chances are one of your staff members or a co-worker may already be active in a cause that makes sense to support. Supporting a charitable cause can even be used as a team building exercise — moving skills from the conference room to the community.

On behalf of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber I wish you and yours Happy Thanks and Happy Giving!

Carrie Zarotney is president of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber.

Your Work as a Business Manager is Sacred

On your business may rest the dreams and hopes of our city and our society.

In his book, Servant Leadership, Robert Greenleaf advises the person who wants to do the most good in society to pursue a career in business. Greenleaf seems to believe that the business community will make a deeper and wider impression on our society than even the church, government, or nonprofits.

This has less to do with the dominance of marketing as a pervasive influence on our popular culture and much more to do with how the culture of business and the outcomes of its activities shape our society.

Every member of our society interacts with business hundreds or even thousands of times every day. The majority of social interactions are likely to take place in the course of business. All of us are customers and employees. The culture of business has profound influence on our lives and our relationships. Therefore, a business culture that is aspirant and ethical in every way is imperative to our society. Business managers have a duty, not only to their customers and employees, but to society to engender excellence.

President Calvin Coolidge’s most famous quote is, “The business of America is business.” Business is the bedrock of our American society and values. Economic prosperity has done more to advance the standard of living and the strength of our values than anything else. Our society needs the prosperity of businesses that are ethical and excellent. Society needs you to provide products and services and, most of all, jobs.

Your work as a business manager is sacred as it affects thousands. You are our best hope. Carry out your daily business with the joy and solemnity that befits its importance.

Brad Irwin
Director of Partnerships
Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County