Case Studies

INDIVIDUALS

Dennis Tito: After Dennis paid the Russians $20 million to be the first Civilian Space Tourist, he wanted to master public speaking. Once he returned from the International Space Station, Dennis wanted to deliver a message of hope and inspiration to American youth. But as a former JPL space scientist, Dennis lacked command of the stage and had no formal public speaking training.

Dennis knew his period of fame might be fleeting, so he contacted Eloqui. We constructed an intensive speaker training program and connected him with agents to promote his second career. Dennis challenged us. We had to support each statement and exercise with quantifiable proof, since his scientific training necessitated analyzing and citing evidence for every concept.

We showed Dennis how to repurpose his “space story”, so that he could focus on negotiation, teamwork, or overcoming hardship, depending on the audience. Together, we also developed non-space stories from Dennis’ youth, to allow audiences to get to better know this iconoclastic figure.

Dennis was soon engaged by a speakers’ bureau, advanced from amateur status to being paid as a public speaker, and now has a long list of speech titles which he delivers to universities and corporations.

Brian Underhill: Brian is a well-known executive coach and author. He was contacted by an international organization to speak at a huge conference in Colombia. The problem was Brian was asked to speak on Leadership, which was not a topic in his sweet spot. Yet, if he couldn’t come up with a satisfactory talk, Brian would miss the opportunity to reach influential professionals and potential clients.

Eloqui reviewed Brian’s coaching processes, as well as the book he authored.  We concluded that his intellectual material was quite adaptable to the topic of leadership. We directed Brian to identify his intention, and to achieve his intention by using the colorful and authoritative role of Seasoned Veteran. Together we chose a personal story from his past for an engaging opening to connect with his audience. Then we had Brian select a theme which demonstrated the best in leadership. He chose the Ernest Shackleton story (based on the book Endurance) and the leader’s amazing expedition to the South Pole.

Although Brian was already an accomplished speaker, he embraced these techniques and incorporated our engagement tools in an effort to excel. Of the many speakers at the conference, we’re pleased to say Brian was voted #1. And his expanded palette allows him to create new talks in a much more efficient and compelling way.

Julie Fleshman: Julie is the President of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in Los Angeles. She is dynamic, organized and intelligent. But her youthful appearance and voice were an impediment to the national speeches that were an integral part of her position. Julie often speaks at major fundraising events to the volunteers and staff who are dedicated to the cause, and before Congress to encourage the passage of critical legislation. Julie felt that she could be more persuasive and successful in these venues, to achieve buy-in, raise more funds, and increase participation from research scientists.

We reviewed Julie’s speeches, and changed her mission from educating to persuading her audiences. This change in focus necessitated editing and re-focusing her content. At each of her five individual sessions, we instructed Julie in specific vocal exercises to strengthen her voice, including how to project and lower her vocal register. And we shaped the openings and closings to her speeches, to include emotive tools which we knew would drive action.

As a result, Julie experiences much less stage fright, is more persuasive in Washington, and at a recent charity event we attended, brought the house down with her closing remarks.

Manny Loya: As President of the Arthritis Foundation of Southern California, Manny does a lot of speaking to inspire his troops, and much hand-shaking to garner donations for a worthy cause. His background as a CPA and CFO required Manny to analyze and report data, not be a motivational speaker. But if Manny couldn’t incentivize his staff and volunteers, and motivate more giving in a difficult economy, the Foundation would severely suffer.

We had Manny reflect back on his personal and professional experience to develop stories that would serve his various audiences. We shared a unique template for how to quickly structure his talks, and then coached him in rehearsal skills that performers use, so that Manny’s material was fresh every time. And we gave him techniques on how to approach major donors without trepidation, that would result in increased funding.

Manny is now known as a world-class speaker (his personality is infectious) and because of his supercharged staff and volunteers, the Southern California chapter is now a model for the National Arthritis Organization.

Joanne Hageman: Joanne began her career at Fisher-Price in what was then called Strategic Sales. She was newly promoted to direct her team, which was squeezed between Sales and Marketing– overlooked and underappreciated by both. Joanne was a leader in the rough, and hungry for tools. She knew that if she couldn’t set herself apart, someone else would receive the advancement she aspired to. And if she couldn’t get her team the acknowledgement it deserved, she would lose valuable head count.

Joanne hired Eloqui to train her team in presentation skills, but also asked for individual coaching to improve her public speaking and communication skills. We trained her team in hand-off skills, to ease their anxiety and engineer the perception that they were united and powerful. We then focused on their intention, how to best structure their content and add persuasive communication skills for maximum buy-in. Their presentations to external buyers improved dramatically, as reflected in their evaluations.

Because of the positive ROI Joanne has achieved, we have been tasked by Fisher-Price to train all their teams. Joanne was promoted, and moved to California to take over a supervisory position with Mattel. She is on track to be a principal in senior management.

David Yudovin: David is a Hall of Fame Channel Swimmer with five world records. His sport entailed swimming many hours in shark-infested waters, often covered with jellyfish stings and fighting rip currents. Now nearing retirement, David wanted to go on the speaker circuit, but he lacked both skills and experience as a public speaker. And as a cancer survivor, his mission was to create a financial legacy for the City of Hope.

David contacted Eloqui and alerted us that we might have to adapt to his unique personality and method of learning, i.e. his short term memory and inability to stick to an outline. We interviewed David at length, and learned he had overcome great odds (like heart attack and cancer), assembled and run support teams all over the world, and negotiated very unusual deals, even with local witch doctors or medicine men.

We encouraged David to examine the stories behind his record swims and recall the colorful details that would provide the basis for great speeches. We showed him how to weave his stories together with a central theme. And we taught David simple mechanisms to structure his talks, so that he would still feel confident to improvise, yet fall back on a safety net when necessary.

We recorded all of David’s rehearsals, so that he could monitor his progress, much like his swimming training. David began delivering talks in low-ante situations, testing his new skills and material. He quickly advanced to paying contracts, fulfilling his City of Hope ambitions.

And since we encouraged David to bring his charming personality front and center—he now enjoys going on stage in flip flops and shorts, playing his guitar while revealing the training and self-motivation methods that made him a world-class athlete.

CORPORATE:

RLR Pasadena: An advertising firm in Pasadena, California, RLR was asked to pitch a major telecommunications firm to facilitate their penetration into the Seattle Hispanic market– an RLR specialty. The telecommunications firm asked RLR to come in for a “get acquainted” meeting, which typically would include talking about RLR’s history, background and success stories. The pitch team was composed of junior members, based primarily on their Hispanic extraction. With only two days to finesse their content and delivery, and speaker anxiety increasing by the minute, RLR called Eloqui.

We took them by surprise when we told them to ignore the “get acquainted” direction. From experience, we know what the telecommunications firm was really looking for was what RLR could do for them. We tore apart their entire presentation, placing their company background at the end of the presentation and pitch book. We located a video of one of RLR’s most successful projects, and had them lead off the presentation with it. They introduced it with a simple “this is the way we work”, and then rolled the video. We instructed the pitch team on how to deliver client anecdotes, focusing on their process, and the value to the client. Finally, we delivered a crash course in team presenting skills which gave them confidence and strength.

RLR won the bid hands down, and now has a new generation in the firm who can pitch any client and build a long term relationship.

Hammock Publishing: Hammock is a custom publishing firm. Their largest client, dissatisfied with Hammock’s service, put their contract out to bid, but allowed Hammock to pitch against two larger firms in the beauty contest. The $5 million per year contract was critical to Hammock, and if they lost the client, Hammock would have to close their doors. The beauty contest was in two weeks.

We flew to Nashville, Tennessee and assembled the pitch team. After establishing a common objective, to prove Hammock’s critical value to the client, we assigned key roles to each member. We trained them in team presenting skills, so that everyone knew their role, and no longer felt overwhelmed. We recommended they “axe” the video they had planned, because their competition was better funded and would have produced a slicker product. Hand-offs, facilitation and orchestrating the presentation were more important, so we assigned the President the role of Facilitator. We also had the President admit their past mistakes to the client— but express in no uncertain terms how they were committed to making changes going forward.

Hammock won the contract back, saving the firm. More importantly, they realized that with their newly minted pitch team, they could pitch large clients and no longer needed to depend on a single client for their survival.

Reel Grobman is an architectural and interior design firm in San Jose, California. Although highly skilled in design, they were frustrated with their ability to win pitches and bring in new business. Larger projects were exiting from Silicon Valley, so if they couldn’t win more business, they would soon be laying off staff.

Eloqui came in and assembled everyone who had client contact—from the HR Director and architects, to the designers. We ran them through an exercise designed to elicit and shape their differentiators; for the firm and individual architects and project managers. We trained them in narrative, and how to enliven their project descriptions by including their own individual participation in the buildings and renovation projects. Then we trained them to use low-tech approaches in a pitch, such as sketching ideas on flip charts or white boards, all in an effort to make their presentations more lively and engaging.

A potential project surfaced: SAP was looking for a firm to design a new campus in Silicon Valley. The architects at Reel Grobman tossed out their old approach, and rather than a sit down pitch with PowerPoint, they invited the SAP team to take a tour of downtown San Jose, where they walked them through their completed projects and renovations.

Being hands-on allowed Reel Grobman to exhibit personal pride and enthusiasm for their work, and how their creative designs and innovative plans served each client. Reel Grobman was chosen over much larger firms, the project was nationally featured in architectural circles, and led to many more high-visibility projects for the team.