Author Archives: David Calusdian

5 Keys to Communicating a Compelling Retail Investment Story

By David Calusdian, Executive Vice President

For those IROs and CFOs new to the retail sector, the Woman holding shopping bagspractice of investor relations can seem like a whole new field – with new players, metrics and ways to communicate.  And while best practices and the fundamentals of IR still hold true, there is a lot to learn before you can expertly communicate your retail company’s story to the investment community. Here are five tips to get you started.

1) Be Transparent.

Investors in retail stocks are accustomed to receiving robust and quality information about the companies they follow. Continue reading

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Presentation Training: Tips and Tricks

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We’ve called upon our resident body language expert, Sharon Merrill EVP and Partner David Calusdian, to teach us to become better speakers – whether at meetings, investor conferences or in more personal settings. This four-part conversation provides a taste of the good, and bad, habits of executive presenters, with a few tips for improvement along the way. Today’s post is the finale in the series.

The Podium: Well, David. This is the moment we’ve been waiting for, when you share your deepest presentation secrets. What are common mistakes you’ve seen presenters make over the years?

DC: Let’s start with nervous habits. Nervous speakers will fiddle or fidget with anything. The reason is that many people do not know what to do with their hands. Some put their hands in their pockets, making them look stiff. Others fiddle with the keys in their pocket, a pen, a wedding ring or other jewelry.

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Presentation Training: Do You Hear What I Hear?

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We’ve called upon our resident body language expert, Sharon Merrill EVP and Partner David Calusdian, to teach us to become better speakers – whether at meetings, investor conferences or in more personal settings. This four-part conversation provides a taste of the good, and bad, habits of executive presenters, with a few tips for improvement along the way. Today’s post is Part III in the series.

The Podium: As always, thanks again for joining us, David. We’ve had a highly informative series thus far. Today, we’d like to talk about voice. Let’s start from the beginning.

DC: First, I always tell people to speak loudly, clearly and use vocal variety. That may sound obvious, but most speakers aren’t aware that they are being monotone or are not annunciating until they see and hear themselves on video. On a related note, a common voice problem people have is that they drop off their voices at the ends of sentences. They speak loudly for a period, and then suddenly fall off.

The extreme version of the trailing voice is “vocal fry” – a raspy sound you make when you run out of breath, as if you were fighting to get the air to finish each sentence. Either way, your message loses its impact. And without that, there’s really no point.

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Presentation Training: Are You Looking at Me?

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We’ve called upon our resident body language expert, Sharon Merrill EVP & Partner David Calusdian, to teach us to become better speakers – whether at meetings, investor conferences or in more personal settings. This four-part conversation provides a taste of the good, and bad, habits of executive presenters, with a few tips for improvement along the way. Today’s post is Part II in the series.

The Podium: Hello, David. Today we’re going to discuss eye contact and how we can use it effectively during our presentations. Why don’t we start with improving eye contact when using a projection screen, as with a PowerPoint presentation?

DC: Maintaining good eye contact with the audience is a necessity. You should look at a screen only if you need to see the bullet points or graphic on the slide in order to speak to it. Glance very quickly to the screen, then back to your audience — so that you can direct the audience to the screen but maintain their attention.

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Presentation Training: What Do I Do With My Hands?

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We’ve called upon our resident body language expert, Sharon Merrill EVP and Partner David Calusdian, to teach us to become better speakers – whether at meetings, investor conferences or in more personal settings. This four-part conversation provides a taste of the good, and bad, habits of executive presenters, with a few tips for improvement along the way. Today’s post is Part I in the series.

The Podium: Thanks so much for joining us, David. Many readers of The Podium are frequent speakers at conferences or company events, so we’re hoping you can share some of your presentation insights with them.

We thought for today’s conversation we would discuss that most perplexing of body parts for public speakers: the hands.

DC: The hands, and the arms, for that matter, can stump a lot of speakers. Many speakers have no idea what to do with them, and frequently ask me where they should put their hands during a speech or presentation. The answer is that the hands shouldn’t be in one place at all. Speakers are more dynamic when they are free-flowing with their hands. You don’t want them to be too fast and going all over the place, but you also don’t want to look reallystiff and have them constantly by your side.

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Press Conferences in a Crisis: Belichick and Deflate-Gate

By David Calusdian, Executive Vice President & Partner

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New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick held two press conferences to address the “deflate-gate” controversy that has taken over sports headlines since the Patriot’s dismantling of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game. The Patriots, and Belichick as its head coach, are accused of underinflating game-day footballs against league rules.

After nearly a week of increasing hype and Patriot’s silence, Bill Belichick took the podium on Thursday morning in an attempt to quell the deflate-gate firestorm. His performance was lacking both in content and delivery and, thus, only fanned the sports talk radio flames that had been raging since the crisis broke. Then, in a surprising move, Belichick returned to face the cameras again on Saturday. He performed better in his second press conference and public reaction was more positive. Let’s take a look at some “lessons learned” from both of Belichick’s press conferences during the Patriot’s deflate-gate crisis. 

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Reputation Management: Rebuilding Lance Armstrong

By David Calusdian, Executive Vice President & Partner

As bad as things look for Lance Armstrong amidst the doping scandal that has cost him seven Tour De France titles and millions in endorsement deals, he has an opportunity that few in need of reputation management ever have. This opportunity for reputation redemption comes not from his status as the most successful athlete his sport has ever seen, but as the founder of LiveStrong, an organization that provides support for people fighting cancer around the world. It is much easier to forgive athletes like Lance for “on-the-field” discretions when they also are known for altruistic works off the field. 

Armstrong, however, like anyone in the middle of a crisis, needs to be realistic about what type of a reputation rescue is even possible. For example, can the career be saved? Could there be endorsement deals in the future? Can the hearts and minds of the general public be won over again? In Armstrong’s case, the cycling career is over, and so too are the endorsements. But his ability to regain respect as a leader in the cancer community and to take back the LiveStrong chairmanship he recently resigned is entirely possible. Continue reading

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Filed under Crisis Communications, Reputation Management