How to attract interest from media

Posted February 25, 2008 by alex vidal
Categories: Uncategorized

Dealing with an organization that handles serious matters such as homeless, drunk driving, runaways, spousal abuse, and others is not easy. When promoting these types of services, for the most part, we use a tone that is calm and serious. Even though it is a serious matter, it does not have to be addressed this way all the time.    I worked for a company that owned funeral homes. If you want a serious matter, there you have it. My job was to attract clients. Believe it or not, at the end of the day, that was my job. I was hired to help raise the number of services. So, I know a thing or two about dealing with subject matters that definitely are not about fun.  I knew that I was never going to get air time by handling it the same obligatory way.  So, the first thing I did was find a way to package my information. Your services must always be packaged effectively, if you plan to get air time. Now, usually many organizations wait until it is “their turn” to get air time. This happens, for instance, if the organization has a national pledge where everyone participates in it. Best example is breast cancer and the pink ribbon. This is a problem that is heavily addressed once a year with a pink ribbon. If your organization does not have a visual angle like this one, chances are you will have to find other creative ways to get media attention to raise awareness for your organization.   #2. The package must have a title. Then, you must have a positive objective that will provide a positive outcome for your services.  Since I probably lost you half way through this, I will give you an example. (That’s ok. I’m famous for driving people crazy).  EXAMPLE: One of the programs that I used to package my services was The Texas Family Care Program. This is what I used for my title. I wanted something strong.  The objective was to help families who had lost a loved one and qualified under the state of Texas’ victim of crime program. The state of Texas provides financial assistance under these circumstances. Families that do not have enough money to take care of a loved one, depend on this money to take care of funeral services and cemetery services. It was rumored that some funeral homes made this a part of their business, charging clients most of the money received. I could tell you some stories.  Our objective was simple: We pledged to charge 30% less than what we normally charged for a funeral service. Not only would it give clients enough money to pay for their service, but it would give them the chance to pay for the cemetery services. The outcome was to give families the chance to focus on their loved on, instead of funeral expenses. Now, was that not fun! Of course not! The fact that I had packaged this product this way gave me the chance to get on television. This allowed the tv host to face the topic with a lighter tone. I managed to get us some great television exposure, free. People called our 1 800 number for more details. At the end, I realized that no one had written the official book on funeral homes, yet. When it comes to promoting services, the same goes for non-profit organizations. Many organizations tend to repeat what other organizations have already done. Sometimes that is good because it gives us a solid point-of-reference, but others times it makes things very repetitive and boring.If your organization deals with serious subject matters, the concept of “packaging your product” is not meant to make fun or to have fun with it. I called this the Language of Fun because that is the drive, to make things lighter from time to time. At the end, you want your organization to be approachable.  I have seen how tv producers and newspaper writers don’t want to come anywhere near serious subject matters like the ones mentioned, unless there is a theme or an annual event behind it. You don’t want your organization to be “waiting in line” until it is time to talk about your needs and the type of services your organization offers.   Review: 

  • Package your program
  • Give a title to your package
  • Give it a solid and simple, one-line, objective
  • Give it a solid and simple outcome

 When you package your services, you have the opportunity to give it a lighter tone. 


How to make a powerful speech that gives you long-lasting results

Posted February 25, 2008 by alex vidal
Categories: Uncategorized

 I’ve always said that an effective speech is not the one that gives you a standing ovation; it is the one that gives you RESULTS.

Making an effective speech is not easy. Why do you think this is? Most people believe that this is because they are not professional speakers or because they don’t belong to some speech club. I couldn’t disagree with them more.  

The key is to determine what the word EFFECTIVE means to you in your speech. What are you looking for at the end of your speech? Are you looking for a standing ovation or are you just looking for results…maybe both? There is obviously nothing wrong with that…a good speech that gave you a standing ovation and results all in one. They are not very common, but they are possible.

Most of us don’t really make personal speeches. Let’s face it. Most of our speeches are work-related. You have to speak before your audience because your boss or your job demands it.

This time I want to help you focus on speeches that can give you results and a long-lasting relationship with your audience.

These types of speeches are more common. As a member of your community, whether your speech is for a business or a non-profit organization, most of the time you will see this same audience over and over again. You may be addressing your staff or volunteers or repeat clients on a regular basis.

This type of speech should not be designed to look for that standing ovation. It should be focused on results. Little ones, perhaps. You are not looking for a “first-place trophy” speech. You are looking for a way to create a long-term relationship with your audience.

You will want your audience to like you from the beginning. After all, you will be the one addressing them later on with another speech. Imagine if you prepare a speech that looks for that “standing ovation.” Good luck! Then, your audience will expect nothing less at your second speech.


Let me share something that helped a few of my friends become better speakers. Actually, they became more “relaxed” speakers. I helped them find a common ground that allowed them the opportunity to create a solid platform for their audience.

There are three comments that you’ll want your audience to

express during & after your speech.

 1) “I knew that”

Create a common platform.

Start with information that your audience is familiar with. Don’t start with information that creates and impact or that is an “eye-opener.” There will be time for that later in your speech. By creating a common platform in your speech, you take your audience on a ride. Everyone is familiar with your information and they will understand you better as you proceed with more specific information. Your audience will feel as if they “already know your information.” And that is fine. You want that. It will make them feel comfortable and more willing to listen to the rest of your speech.

Focus on information about your topic that you know for certain your audience already knows. It is like a math class. Students first learn numbers before they get into other things such as multiplying and dividing. Consider the first part of your speech as a review or a warm up.

2) “That’s a good way to put it” or “I didn’t think about it that way!”

Read quotes and come up with you own ones 

This is focused on your information. When you deliver a speech, you want to make it unique and give your audience a reason to want to hear you again. I always go back to stand up comedy. Comedians use the same jokes. It is up to them to make them unique and to give it some sort of a trademark. Same goes for your speech. You want to give this information a little “spice.” I recommend that you read poetry or go on line and search for “FAMOUS QUOTES.” This exercise will help you see how people use common words and common topics and replace the information with catchy or poetic sentences. Now, this is not relative to using someone else’s quote for punctuation or to highlight a specific point in your speech or to give additional information. When you re-phrase certain sentences in your speech, you are bound to have your audience say, “Now, that’s a good way to put it.” Or “I didn’t think about it that way.”

When you do this, your audience becomes more engaged. More involved with you and your information.


3) “I didn’t know that”

Provide a fresh and new idea; something that your audience will be able to pass along.

Obviously a speech must have something new in it. You want your audience to learn something new. Your information can be fun or engaging.

This is what makes an effective speech become…well… effective!

Follow these three steps whenever you are required to make a speech. Don’t fall for old, boring and traditional techniques that died at the end of the last century. The concept of immediacy is vital in your speeches. Techniques used by speech clubs are decades old and are designed may not be designed specifically for you or your topic. They may have been designed for a Gala speech or a special ceremony. You must deliver a speech that is direct, simple and effective. One that your co-workers or your community can not only understand but they can also put to practice.  Remember that an effective speech is not the one that gives you a standing ovation; it is the one that gives you RESULTS!

See you next time. Need more tips, learn more about effective communication techniques for non profit organizations at .


How to communicate in another language, effectively

Posted February 21, 2008 by alex vidal
Categories: advisor, communications, marketing, non profit, outreach, public speaking, speech


Next month, I will be hosting my fisrt seminar in Spanish. This seminar will include information that was covered at The power Of Your Voice. If you need to learn effective communications in Spanish, I highly recommend that you attend this seminar. If you cannot attend it, I will include most of the information at Soon, I will include free audio and video tutorials in English and in Spanish.  Many of you signed up already during my last seminar. If you are an Executive Director, I encourage you to sign up your staff for this one.

Don’t make the mistake of running away from this one, simply because of the language barrier. If you live in a community that is more than 40% Spanish speaking, you should start learning the language and effective techniques that will help you communicate with your community effectively. One of the biggest misconceptions about language in communication is that the person MUST be bilingual or at least he/she must be well-spoken. WRONG!

Effective Communication may not have anything to do with language itself. It helps, but language is not always the answer to everything.

Let me give you an example. Last weekend, my wife and I went to a major department store. While browsing, I heard a lady speaking Spanish to a non-Spanish speaking customer service representative(CSR). Now, this was going to be interesting. Under normal circumstances, the CSR would ask another CSR to help be the translator. Instead, this CSR stepped up to the plate and decided to provide good customer service.

 Here is what happened:  

Client: “Can you help?”(Spanish)

CSR: “Yes, I can, but it will take me a while to explain. I cannot speak Spanish, but I do understand it.”

Client: “Ok.”

It turns out the client understood English, but could not speak it very well and felt more comfortable speaking in Spanish. In the case of the Customer Service Representative, it was the same thing. She understood Spanish, but could not speak it. At the end of this conversation, the customer service representative was able to help the client, and the client continued doing her shopping at the store. Where do you think the customer will do her shopping next time? Exactly!

Now that, my friend, is Effective Communication and darn good customer service!

 Here is the other side of coin, straight from the files of “Trust me. This REALLY HAPPENED!” 

I was at a market the day after. My stepson and I were looking at some items. Next to me were a couple of ladies that could not speak Spanish trying to ask questions to a business owner who could not speak English. It got to the point where the business owner turned to me and asked me to help. The customers wanted to know if the owner had more of the same items. They liked it so much that they wanted more. This business owner ran the risk of losing business because of language barrier and for not focusing on effective communication.

Don’t make this mistake. Look, I understanding that learning a new language can be hell. After all, English is not my first language. But you can still communicate information effectively.

In March, I will host this seminar to help improve your communication skills in another language. This will not be a Spanish class in any way. It is focused on Effective Communication in Spanish. Keep in mind that Spanish, just like any other language, is a culture all of its own. Certain words or phrases cannot be translated directly because they will lose their meaning.

If you need tips on how to better prepare yourself in communications to help your own non-profit organization, visit

How to choose a team player for your non profit organization

Posted February 21, 2008 by alex vidal
Categories: Uncategorized

I have been witness to erroneous decisions made by Executive Directors who hire employees for non-profit organizations, and who focus more on filling up a gap their organization needs than on selling the program to their potential employees.  

A non-profit organization is typically designed based on one of these three issues 1)social observation, 2) personal tragedy and/or 3) passion. Sadly, many employees only focus on the hours of employment and their salary. Many of them even go as far as figuring out ways to do less at the office and maximize their “play” time. Those who service the community will hang out at local stores, at a friend’s house or at a local restaurant.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I think that salary is something that an employee should pay attention to. After all, it is what feeds their families. And I also know that an Executive Director cannot always keep an eye on all of his/her employees. And I also know that the percentage of those who do these wrong things may not be too high; none-the-less it’s there. And it does happen. The only question is, What about your non-profit? Is your non-profit a victim of this type of employees?  

When your entire staff understands that their decisions affect the entire organization, you have a team. When some of your staff members join your organization for salary purposes only, you have employees…mixed with the rest of your team. Don’t hire employees. Instead, hire individuals who understand the problem that your organization is designed to solve or to handle. 

 I encourage you to prepare a marketing packet, designed for potential team members, that focuses on the needs of your community and why your organization is currently in existence. You may display this on your website or provide it upon request, probably attached to the job description. It may not be much, but again, you are not trying to hire employees. That is only for regular businesses. What you are trying to bring on board is a team player.  

Best wishes, 

Alex Vidal