Posts Tagged ‘visibility’

Edit yourself!

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

Today I was a guest at 93.1 FM AMOR, a wonderful New York radio station that helped us get lots of participants in a recent HACER workshop for teenagers and their parents. We were discussing the topics of my book “The Latino Advantage in the Workplace” and we opened the lines to get listeners’ questions.We took a few calls but not as many as we would’ve liked because when people spoke to the call screener, they took so long to explain their question that they weren’t put through. You see, if you can’t say it to the screener, you won’t be able to say it on the air!This is a common occurrence in radio. Claudia Morales, the co-host and co-producer of the show (and in the picture with me), shared with me some of her experiences as a call screener. When callers are asked “what is your question,” they don’t get to the point, they give too much context and take up all the available time assigned for the Q & A period. So, instead of taking ten calls, you end up taking three or four.The problem is that this doesn’t just happens on the radio. Latinos tend to beat around the bush instead of getting straight to the point. Sometimes this trait is an asset, like when you are at a party and you are telling a story that has everyone engaged. But if you want to be heard in the media or in a business environment, you’re better off learning how to edit yourself. How to get to the point quickly and succinctly. Otherwise you may loose your audience or loose your chance to speak!

    Here are some tips to edit yourself: 
  • First think of the idea/concept you’re trying to convey
  • Practice saying it aloud and time yourself
  • Now try to cut that time in half!
  • Practice conveying your idea to a friend in ten seconds
  • Ask your friend for feedback. Did they understand your idea/concept? claudia-morales-en-amor.jpg

No questions?

Saturday, December 1st, 2007


 This week I presented two workshops at the GE Hispanic Summit in Los Angeles. It was organized by their Hispanic employee network and many of the top officers and executives of the company were guest speakers and panelists. It was striking to see how very few questions were asked by the participants during the Q & A period. I believe it had something to do with not wanting to ask the wrong thing in front of such a large audience.

Asking the first or second question in a meeting, however, is a great way to gain visibility in a corporation. People notice you and learn about you through your question. Invariably, every time I ask a question in front of hundreds of people, a few people approach me afterwards to talk to me and ask for my business card.

As a matter of fact, that’s the way I got my first book contract. I asked a question to a panel of publishers and after the session was over, three of them asked me write a book proposal. The secret, of course, is to ask something that establishes who you are and at the same time is relevant to the rest of the audience.  

Here are a few rules to maximize the value of this opportunity to gain visibility:  

1. Clearly say your name and title (or your affiliation). 

2. Thank the presenter for his/her presentation, comments, etc. 

3. Establish your credibility in one sentence. I may say something like: “In my books and workshops I usually tell people that asking questions is a great way to gain visibility.”

4. Ask a question that connects with the previous line and with the topic presented. I would go: “I’d like to know what things have you specifically done throughout your career to gain more visibility.”

5. Make sure it’s a smart question but not one that puts the speaker on the spot. Think of something that applies to many people in the audience.

6. Keep the question short.