Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cure your clammy hands
Whether it’s a casual elevator speech, new student orientation, discussion with a customer, or a formal presentation to Dean of Students, presentation skills are critical. Clammy hands, heart pounding, shaky voice; yes we all know that flustered panicked feeling that prevails before giving a presentation. Just in case you've forgotten what your college speech professor lectured about on proper presentation etiquette, here is your crash course to successful speeches
  • Short and sweet. State your purpose with clear and concise points and support those points with valid and intriguing information. Keep your presentation from going too long and get straight to the point so that you don’t lose your audience in unnecessary information.
  • Rehearse not record. Practice does make perfect but be sure to not make the rookie mistake of memorizing your speech and sounding like a recorded message. Rehearse enough so that you know what to say and how to illustrate your points. The objective is to talk naturally to your audience not rigidly talk at them.
  • Break the ice. Hook your audience by opening with perhaps a (short) story or anecdote that directly relates to your topic. This is similar to writing technique used by journalists called a lead. Its purpose is to catch the reader’s interest and seamlessly lead them further into the story.
  • Take a stance. Be mindful of your body language meaning no fiddling of hands, clothing, or shuffling of feet. Stand up straight and keep your audience engaged with consistent eye contact.
  • Diamond in the rough. Polish up your presentation with compelling images or videos though internet is not always reliable. Overuse of added visuals can make your presentation look rushed and unprepared. Try and only use them when they best illustrate your point. And always be prepared in case of equipment failure.
  • Perfect your poker face. It’s all in the attitude; even if you are nervous pretend that you are exceedingly confident ergo you inherently start to be confident. Never apologize for nervousness, be passionate about your speech, and always believe in the fact that your presentation will go better than you think it will.
  • Make friends. If possible, converse with your audience before your presentation. It may help you relax as you get to know the very people you are going to be speaking to.
  • Interact with your audience. Ask your audience questions: what are their opinions, thoughts, or feelings. Create an active discussion and answer all questions to the best of your ability.

Never forget that everybody gets nervous. Everybody. Those who say they don’t are expertly lying to themselves. Trust in yourself, your ideas, and your ever-dying will to succeed. Best of luck.

Want more? Check these out:
Practice makes perfect. Join a local Toastmasters International club

12 Easy Steps for a perfect pitch

3 Techniques Bill Clinton Uses to WOW an Audience

How to sell (for people who hate sales):

Posted by Sadja Pals, ICBA Marketing & Membership Manager

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

ICBA PRIMEtime Celebrates 10 Years

ICBA PRIMEtime redefined how business is done in the college industry. At ICBA 2014, February 3-6 in New Orleans, Louisiana, PRIMEtime will celebrate its 10th anniversary!

In 2005, after recognizing individually focused meetings as productive, profitable, and cost
effective for buyers and vendors, Independent College Bookstore Association introduced private one-to-one meetings to the college retail industry. PRIMEtime (Planned Retail Innovation and Marketing Exchange) is a series of pre-scheduled appointments between collegiate retail buyers and senior level vendor executives. These meetings provide valuable time for focused presentations and discussions of products and marketing opportunities, to set strategic directions, merchandising strategies, new lines, new items and promotional initiatives.

When buyers and vendors arrive at PRIMEtime, they find a markedly different atmosphere than at a typical tradeshow. PRIMEtime has a business-focused, upscale and exclusive feel. The proactive environment of PRIMEtime appointments helps breed creativity and innovation.

What our attendees have to say about PRIMEtime:
“ICBA PRIMEtime is the all-meeting event designed for buyer and vendor success. Over the past years, PRIMEtime has grown in popularity. Participant surveys indicate the all-meeting format is overwhelmingly preferred by both buyers and vendors.” —University of Missouri-Columbia

“Meeting vendors at ICBA PRIMEtime and seeing the new lines, colors and styles is a great way to begin the buying season! ICBA handles all the details and makes it very easy to attend. Their help with travel expenses enabled us to attend.” —Davidson College

“At PRIMEtime there was no wasted time! What a great way to see so much, so fast. The overview of what vendors have and what's new and different was an excellent education. By the time I was finished I had a pretty good mental image of what my selling floor will look like next fall.” —North Carolina Wesleyan College

“The best thing about PRIMEtime is the interaction between all involved. There is time to meet upper management vendors, as well as being introduced to companies, that in other tradeshow formats, you would probably just walk right by without giving a chance.” —University of Utah

Since the first PRIMEtime meetings in 2005, we have scheduled over 23,500 buyer-vendor
meetings. Owing to the success of PRIMEtime, ICBA has reimbursed member stores over $545,000 in registration and travel costs during this period. This has allowed more than 1,160 buyers and managers to attend at minimal expense and benefit from our annual Retail Conference which offers the strongest solution-oriented professional education in the industry.

At ICBA, we are committed to introducing new ways of doing business with a more personal and intimate approach that helps grow relationships and increase business for all who attend. The most important quest in business is to create and foster human connections. Creating high performance connections in today’s retail environment is critical to your success. PRIMEtime is an event that breeds innovation, interaction, discussion and efficiency.

We hope you will join us in New Orleans, February 3-6 for ICBA 2014. Registration for vendors will open in mid-June and for stores in late July.

For more information about ICBA PRIMEtime and the ICBA 2014 Retail Conference, please contact Marty Duncan, ICBA Program Manager at or 1-866-841-ICBA (4222).

Monday, June 10, 2013

Pop-up Retail Goes Digital

This new trend is the intersection of pop-up retail and the digital shopping wall.

Pop-up retail was first identified in 1999. Since then it has taken many forms.The concept involves a retail venue “popping-up” one day, then disappearing anywhere from one day to several weeks later. These shops, while small and temporary, can build up interest by consumer exposure. Pop-up retail allows a company to create a unique environment that engages their customers, as well as generates a feeling of relevance and interactivity. 

The digital shopping wall brings the convenience of online shopping to the offline world, in locations where the consumer already awaits. The shopping wall can be anywhere the consumer is - airports, subway stations, clubs, and even in a retail store. Shopping digitally in a retail store allows for endless inventory. Adidas for example used a shopping wall to showcase their 8,000+ shoe range. And with the aid of QR codes shopping can be done with mobile devices. The touch-screen portion of the wall can also include marketing content, availability and price. It can also pull in Twitter feeds related to the products being sold to show what customers are saying. Users simply scanned a QR code with their phone, and the product automatically lands in their online shopping cart. When the online purchase is complete the products will be delivered to the customer’s home.

Now, we see the introduction of temporary (movable) shopping walls from eBay. Shoppers will be able to touch the screens to order and have products delivered to them within an hour via courier. Payment will be accepted by the couriers through PayPal.

"This extends the boundary of the store. Suddenly the physical store, by virtue of online technology, extends to any space that's interesting to use," says Steve Yankovich, head of the company's Innovation and New Ventures group, which developed the technology.

"We would never be able to fit all those products in a store in the traditional way," says Fifth & Pacific Chief Executive William McComb. "These things would typically require an extra 10,000 square feet of store space. But through partnerships like this eBay one we could do this through stores that are 2,000 square feet."

At the same time this is representative of ecommerce companies moving into the offline retailing. Something that we will surely see more of soon.

From Stacy Waymire, ICBA Executive Director