Who is Hank Walshak? Hank Walshak, founder, owner, and CEO of Walshak Communications, Inc., is a communications consultant, executive presentation coach, and author. He focuses on helping knowledge entrepreneurs in small and mid-sized businesses and their owners create expertise-related content to differentiate themselves as experts. Read More

The Zen of Presentations

You’re getting ready to deliver an important presentation to a potential, new client. Getting a yes when you’re done could mean a heap of new business.

But here you are. You know that presenting sets your nerves on high. Your stomach gets nervous. You breathing goes high in your upper chest. Your mouth goes dry. And your palms turn sweaty. What to do?

Well, it’s time to take a hint from the practitioners of Zen meditation. When they sit in meditation, they move the mind inwardly to a point an inch below the navel. Then, they concentrate on their breathing in and out from there.

So what’s the big deal about deep, belly breathing like this?  Deep breathing helps you in three ways:

Before you present, deep belly breathing slows your mental and physical system down and helps to quiet your nerves. By going slower, you’re more focused and productive.  Read more »

Brand Journalism and How We Got To It

Traditional approaches to marketing aren’t working as well as they once did.  That’s because traditional marketing always focused on what’s called mmarketing speak to prompt behavior changes or actions by customers and clients.
You know: “Buy this. Go here. Call us. This is what author Seth Godin callss “interruption marketing.”

People today are fed up with advertising and marketing speak and filter out marketing messages.

Delivering content  used to be a pushy, one-way street. Not any more. Now it’s about having conversations, not selling.

Now a well-told story stands out as one of the best ways to get your messages across. Read more »

Victoria’s Secret: Lots of Skin, Short on PR Sense

I couldn’t believe it, when I saw the news on MSN just days ago that  Victoria’s Secret model, Karlie Kloss, paraded down a runway in a floor-length, Native American headdress. 

It didn’t take the company long to apologize for this public –relations gaffe that drew the outrage of Native Americans. According to Fox News, Victoria’s Secret’s apology went like this: “We sincerely apologize as we absolutely had no intention to offend anyone.” 

Oddly enough, I believe that Victoria’s Secret had no such intention. But this takes the insult even further beyond the pale of wonderment.

Apparently, it occurred to no one at the company to ask a simple, but cardinal question, before staging the event: Who might this offend? Or in this case: Will having one of our models wear a Native American head dress offend the Native American community? Once asked, the answer would have become clear.

Asking a question like this before a highly visible event reminds us that unintended consequences can happen any time, any place, and anywhere.

I’ll wager that the PR goof has probably led to more media coverage than Victoria’s Secret would have garnered had it not happened. Maybe that was the idea to begin with.

Content Marketing Should Be Conversational

 Marketing content, or information, used to be a pushy, one-way street. We called this process outbound marketing. We delivered content to journalists at traditional media. They, in turn, moved the gist of your content to their, and your, audiences. Your content sold you.

This was, and is, what outbound marketing is all about. The information moves in one direction – outbound from you to your audiences.

Social media changed all that. Now, we talk about inbound marketing. You need your content to attract your audience(s) back to you, to your website and blog. To get this done means having a new mindset and taking a radically different approach to writing–to prompt an ongoing give and take between you and your audiences. Here’s how:

Make your copy conversational. If nothing else, writing for content marketing and social media is best done with an informational, conversational style that invites other people to contribute their thinking. Content marketing is about conversation, first, last, and always. Read more »

On November 13, I’ll address the meeting of the Associated Builders and Conracttors of Western Pennsylvania. Time: 6 p.m. Topic: Bolster Your Brand with Content Marketing.

November Speaking Engagements

On November 8, I’ll be speaking at the monthly meeting of the Bethel St. Clair Rotary. Time: 6:00 p.m. Location: South Hills Country Club. Topic: Bolster Your Brand with Content Marketing.

Beyond Mediocrity to the Stars

At the close of the movie, Amadeus, the character of Salieri, played by F. Murray Abraham, who represents the embodiment of mediocrity, utters these words, “Mediocrity is everywhere.” 

Political persuasions aside, let’s hope President Obama and Governor Romney surpass that level into the lofty stratosphere. 

As the Communications Expert for Experts let me suggest three, key dynamics to watch for in the presidential debates:

Clarity of Vision: The clearer and  more well defined vision, the better. Worthy executives spell out abundantly clear visions. Not-so-worthy executives leave critical issues shrouded in fog.  Read more »