How to create a magical performance?

I just returned from my 11 year old daughter’s dance recital and all I can say is WOW!!!

Not only was I extremely proud of her, because she was awesome, but I was impressed with the quality of the production.

The show featured 45 dances and lasted over 4 1/2 hours long. But the time flew, because each song was approximately 3-4 minutes long.

One of the keys to making this night a magical experience, was the preperation by the dancers.

They started preparing last September. Each week they would review what they learned so far and then learn the next few moves of the dance. Although they took the lessons seriously, they also had a lot of fun during practice. I know this because I never had to fight with my daughter to get her to go and practice.

This got me thinking that the same principles that made this night a success can be applied to your next presentation in order to make it a success as well.

Here are the principles:

1. Preparation is the key: According to David Peoples in his excellent book titled, Presentations Plus,

“95% of how well your presentation is going to go is determined before you deliver that presentation.”

Not only figuring out what you want your audience to learn (the content), but how you are going to convey that information (the delivery).

2. Develop it in stages: By breaking down your presentation project into manageable pieces and practicing the opening and then building on it each time, you will avoid feeling overwhelmed (and paralyzed) during the process.

3. Make it fun: When you enjoy something, it feels less like work and more like play. This will help keep you motivated to move forward.

Follow these principles and you will be on your way to developing a magical experience for your audience, just like the Just Dance School of Dance did tonight.

Again congratulations to all who prepared and participated in this wonderful event.



What is the one tip you have learned that has made the greatest difference in the impact of your presentation?

Jennifer Kahnweiler, who is a “workplace guru” who speaks to leaders and aspiring leaders on how to strengthen their people skills. posed this question on LinkedIn:

What is the one tip you have learned that has made the greatest difference in the impact of your presentation?

Great question!!!

Here is my response:

Hi Jennifer,

What was the one tip that made the greatest difference in the impact on my presentations was when I realized that it is not about me and what I was going to get out of the experience. Instead it was about what I was giving to the audience.

When I shifted my focus from what I am doing or saying to what the audience is receiving, everything changed.

I was less nervous and more effective.

Now, when I am developing new material, I customize  it with that audience in mind.

When I deliver my material I am more focused on the audience than myself. I look into their eyes and look for the “light bulbs” to come on.

Overall I view my presentations as a gift to the audience. A gift
that will hopefully, help make their business and life more successful.

I hope this helps.

Making a difference,

Richard Elmes CSP
The Sales Dating Guy

Positioning yourself for success

One of the keys to starting successful new business relationships is positioning yourself correctly in the mind of your prospect when they first meet you.


“You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” – Unknown


In other words how you enter their mind (either as a vendor who is trying to sell them something, or potential business partner who will help them by adding value to their business) will determine  how they treat you, whether they will invest the time to get to know you and how seriously they will take your suggestions.

“Your customer’s perception is your reality.” – Richard Elmes

So how do you do this?

I talk about a couple of ways in the following YouTube video.

Check it out, (but turn up your volume first) and you will understand the concept and how it relates to sales dating.


Oh, and while you are there give it a good rating(5 stars would be nice:) Thanks



What are the 3 keys to great sales training?

I had a potential clients ask me today, what are the top 3 features I bring to the table as a trainer.

Here was my response:

The 3 key features of my work as a Sales Trainer include:

Content: The sales concepts that I teach are based on sound research (from extensive study) and personal experience (from my 21 years in business, in many different industries).
“Obviously your students have learned a great deal about selling in your class”  – Frank Mensink, Dean, School of Business, Conestoga College
Creativity: I deliver those sound concepts in creative and ways that aid in retention. We have a lot of fun, because I believe that when people have fun and laugh, they open the door to learning.
“Richard’s passion, creativity & practical, down-to-earth approaches allow him to effectively relate with his audiences.” -Mark Henderson, CEO, Barrie Hydro
Caring: I genuinely care about my audience’s success and whether they grasp and use the concepts that I teach. This is the fuel that drives me.  
“He demonstrated highly developed sales and communication skills and was very adept at transferring the skills to me. Richard makes it easy to work with him and is very approachable.”  -Lisa Ranson, Territory Sales Representative, Maxill Inc.
I believe if you are going to really connect with your audience all three of those components need to be present.
Missing any one of them will lead to less than optimal performance.

How to calm your pre-presentation jitters – Part 2

In my last post, I counted down the first 5 ways to train your butterflies to fly in formation. Here are the remaining 5 tips.


5. Turn nervousness into enthusiasm:

Athletes do this all the time. They turn that negative nervousness (which is really an adrenaline rush) into positive enthusiasm which drives them during first part of the game. And as presenters we can do the same, by thinking about it that way.


4. Realize that you are not alone:

Tell me honestly, when was the last time you went to hear a presentation and you said to yourself, gee, I hope they really suck. It is important to remember that your audience is pulling for your to be successful, so they can justify their own investment of time, money and energy.


3. Act as if:

I’m sure you have heard the old saying, “Fake it, until you make it.” Well here is a secret about speaking in public. If you fake being confident, your audience will not know. Their perception is that you are confident. Or in other words,

“If you are going after Moby Dick… take the tarter sauce.”


2. Visit the washroom:

I’m not kidding! The last thing you want while you are presenting is competing priorities or giving an effective message and having to go to pee. I do this everytime I deliver one of my keynote presentations, facilitate sales training or even attend a speech and I am glad I do.


1. Just do it!!!

The god of running shoes had this right. The presentation you give tomorrow will be that much better, because of the speech you delivered today. The more you present the more comfortable you will be on presenting. Or as Darren LaCroix the 2001 World Champion of Public Speaking says, “The key to success in speaking is three things. Stagetime, Stagetime and Stagetime.”

Use these tips and I wish you success in your future presentations. If you need any help (or coaching), you can contact me at:


How to calm your pre-presentation jitters

Imagine,  you start to get that sinking, no queezy (technical term) feeling in the pit of your stomach, your heart is racing and your mind is telling you to run away just as fast as you can.


No, you are not under attack and no one is shooting at you. Instead you are just getting ready to do a presentation. And yes those are butterflies, not helicopters inside your stomach.

This is a feeling that most people feel before giving a speech, or presentation, and the following ten tips will help you train those butterflies to fly in formation.


10. Take a deep breath:

When we get nervous our breathing can become shallow, which limits the oxygen that we take it. Oxygen that our brain needs to think clearly. Several deep breaths will help calm you down and allow you to get the oxygen you need.


9. Realize that they want you to succeed:

A good friend of mine Renata Radek once told me that every audience you speak in front of will have 2 types of people in it. The first type have never done public speaking before and they are dealthly afraid of it, so they respect you for being up there. And the second type have done public speaking before and they know how difficult it can be, so they also respect you for being up there. So either way you can’t lose.


8. Speak about what you know:

Knowing your subject matter well will help your confidence level.


7. Prepare thoroughly:

According to David Peoples, author of an excellent book titled: Presentations Plus, 95% of how well your presentation is going to go will be determined before you even start. This will also help you with tip #8, by allowing you to speak about what you know about.


6. Focus on the message, not the medium:

The time to focus on how you deliver your message is before you go on stage, not while you are on stage. In my journey into becoming a professional speaker, my nervousness was greatly reduced, when I took the focus off me and put the focus on my audience.

If you want to read Pre-presentation Tips 1-5 check out my next blog post.



Frustration, Lies and Success

I recently read a couple of friends Facebook messages one title said:

“I’m tired of being lied to…” 

and another that said,

“I don’t like being used by people”

Can you sense that both of these people are frustrated by the way they have been treated.

Can you sense that both of these people are not happy with the relationship with the person who treated them this way.

And can you sense that both of these people are not going to take it anymore. 

I certainly did. And this got me thinking that when someone lies to you, doesn’t do what they say they will, or just uses you for their own purpose and then tosses you aside that they are all acting in very selfish ways.

One of my big eureka’s this past year has been that selfishness is the root of all frustration. Selfishness is the root of all evil. (instead of money) And Selfishness is the root of all sin.

O.K. wait a minute, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking isn’t this blog suppose to be about how to be a more effective sales professional. And you would be right.

Unfortunately, there are a great number of people in the business world and world in general that still think that in order to get what they want and be successful in sales, you need to lie, cheat, use people and generally check your ethics at the door.

Being nice is for losers. Being nice is for chumps. And nice guys (and gals) finish last.

And if this were true, then I would be looking for another profession.

But fortunately it is not true.

The reality of professional selling is that checking your ethics at the door leads to a short career in sales.

Being truthful, coming through on promises and respecting helping others are all key elements to success in sales.

Remember, people will not buy from you is they don’t trust what you say. They won’t buy from you if they don’t believe that your products or services are going to do what you say they will. And they won’t buy from you if they think you are only acting in your own best interest instead of theirs.

So if you want to have a long successful career and make a lot of money then be honest and help a lot of people and they will in turn help you.