MICHAELA FENGSTAD

Writing about life as it happens, trends in career development and new inspiration

Date: October 4, 2011

Speech or Toast?

Earlier in the week I read a blog about a Maid of Honour’s duties and of course, one of these would be giving a speech. All through the article, the author interchanged “speech” with “toast” without even blinking. It reminded me of several functions and events where I had the same issue: people don’t realize that these words have different meanings and different roles during an event.

What does the dictionary say? Speech: a formal address or discourse delivered to an audience. Toast can be used as follows: “propose a toast”: ask a group of people at a social occasion to drink to the health and happiness of a specified person or “drink to”: celebrate or wish for the good fortune of someone or something by raising one’s glass and drinking a small amount….

A bit cumbersome, right? Not really. The main difference between the 2 words is that the speech is usually a longer, more elaborate discourse that can last anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes or more while the toast is a short phrase at the end of the speech, raising the glass and taking a sip. A toast should look like this:

 

And the speech:

 

Well, don’t beat yourselves too hard if you didn’t know the difference! President Obama learned it the hard way this year when visiting with the Queen. As the Protocol dictates, President Obama proposed a toast to honour the Queen. Everybody was standing, he toasted the Queen, which prompted the orchestra to start playing God Save the Queen, but instead of taking the hint and stopping right there, Mr Obama thought the Oscar Ceremony followed him to Britain and continued to talk… over the National Anthem… Thankfully the Queen graciously overlooked the incident.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNRXGRFJdDY

 

 

Business Card Reader

We all have piles and piles of business cards all over the office. Personally, I hate seeing so much paper wasted away. Let’s face it: how many of you really take the time to organize the business cards? My husband is the worst of all: every day he comes back home with a pocket full of them and he drops them nonchalantly on the night stand or dresser.

Looking for a way to solve this problem I found a few great applications for the iPhone users. They are all easy to use and let me assure you that it takes a couple of minutes off your time but saves hours. You simply scan the business card, and they will import the card information directly to your address book.

There are a few applications of this kind in the App Store with prices raging from $0.00 to $6.50 or so. As they work on the same idea, I guess it is a matter of preference which one to choose. Word of advice: as they are all developed in the States, some of them have troubles with the Canadian addresses so before downloading one, make sure they can import the Canadian – or other than American address properly!

iPhone Screenshots

iPhone Screenshot 1
iPhone Screenshot 2
iPhone Screenshot 3
iPhone Screenshot 4
iPhone Screenshot 5

Smart Business Cards

I found these funny but smart, bold and so very different business cards, courtesy of  The Fire Wire blog and thought I’d share:

For more ideas, visit The Fire Wire blog: http://larryfire.wordpress.com/2008/08/24/clever-business-cards/?blogsub=confirming#subscribe-blog

Business Card Etiquette

Have you noticed that every person that presents his/her business card has their own way of doing so? And once you have the card, do you put it in the wallet immediately, do you fidget a bit with it and then slip it into the pocket? Has it ever happened you left it behind, on the meeting table? Well, let me guide you through the proper way:

When is it appropriate to present your card? If you are attending a meeting, don’t start throwing out your card right at the beginning, between trying to find a seat and getting a glass of water. Wait until everybody is seated and the introductions have been made but don’t wait too long into the meeting either. Once the presentation/meeting started, it will switch the focus from the product or issue to be addressed to you… in a negative way. If you have a portfolio, or any presentation documents for attendees, it is a good idea to stick your card on the first page.

If you are attending a networking event or any other social gathering, walking with the stack of cards in hand and giving them away to everybody is not quite the best idea. Usually, wait a few minutes, create a rapport, a connection of any kind with the other person before reaching for a card. You want to create that “special” effect on your interlocutor, so as he/she will remember you and associate you with good feelings. Remember, before being business men or business women we all are human beings acting on feelings and senses.

Then, when you present the card, no matter how you hold it (with 2 hands, by one corner, etc..) make sure you hand it with the printed face up and ready to be read by the other person.  If you are at the receiving end, take a few seconds to read the name and title on the card. Making sure you remember the name with the proper spelling is a very important detail in any networking or business deal attempt.

After taking the time to look over it, you are free to put it in the pocket, in the binder or wallet without offending anybody. I usually keep them in front of me during the meetings to make sure I have the names right. It helps breaking the ice, it helps connecting and as we are all vain human beings, if you remember my name, I will be more open to whatever service you present.

Needless to say that before taking that little piece of paper out of your pocket to hand it out, make sure that all the details are correct: names, titles, phone numbers and address including the postal code. The devil is in the details! A quality business card will give the feeling of power and money while a bold design will make a lasting impression.

When you work in Sales, most of your time is spent off site, visiting clients or prospects. Take advantage of these visits and use the power of your business card again. Instead of just stating your name to the receptionist or secretary, charm them with a nice compliment and present them with your business card. First, you have all heard  the saying ” Before reaching God, you need to charm all the angels!” You never know who is sitting in that chair and how much decision power could potentially have on your deal or service being considered. Secondly, it is a very nice way of making sure that your name and the company you represent will be announced correctly. It is a great start of a meeting, accommodating everybody and making sure you are associated with positive feelings within the targeted company.

 

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