Present Like a Rock Star by Taking a Few Tips from Your Favorite Band


Posted on 9th June 2015 by Kristin Arnold in Uncategorized

Full disclosure: I am a die-hard Vertical Horizon fan.  So imagine my delight when I discover my favorite band is playing in Scottsdale – and Joe and I are in town!

I’ve been to a half-dozen Vertical Horizon concerts, but this was the absolute best – and I think the same principles apply to making your presentations amazing:

  1. Make the Venue.  The concert was at Livewire, a new club in downtown Scottsdale.  It seats about a thousand people, but there was only about 300 people in attendance.  I don’t think the PR for the concert was the best, but that worked in our favor as the venue felt incredibly comfortable and intimate.
  2. Tell a Story.  The lead singer, Matt Scannell would share something unique about each song.  And when you are in an intimate setting, it felt like he was talking to each of us.
  3. Engage the Audience.  Matt encouraged the audience to interact with him by asking them to sing along, hum a tune or answer a question.
  4. Vary the Tempo.  The playlist wasn’t all rock.  They played uptempo, acoustic, and a ballad.  The band took us on a journey of highs and lows culminating in their biggest hit, “Everything You Want.”
  5. VerticalHorizonScottsdalePlaylistListen to the Audience.  At the last minute, Matt added an acoustic segment because I had mentioned that I loved their “old stuff.” – Matt dedicated “The Man Who Would be Santa” adding something like “Thanks to Joe and Kristin Arnold for reminding us that the songs from the past have made us the band we are today.”  They also switched out “Broken Over You” for “Save Me From Myself” in honor of the crowd at the front of the stage.
  6. Mingle with the Audience.  Lastly, we felt like a Very Important Person – because we were!  A few years ago, Vertical Horizon crowdsourced their new CD, Echoes from the Underground through PledgeMusic.  I bought the CD and two VIP backstage passes – so we were able to meet the band before they went on stage.  They were really interested in hearing from us and asking great questions about us, what we do and our VH journey.  It created a bond between us and them – and ultimately, that’s what made it so special.

You too, can make your speech special by taking a few lessons from Vertical Horizon.




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7 Key Questions to Punch Up Your Presentation


Posted on 21st August 2014 by Kristin Arnold in Uncategorized

In my work as a high stakes meeting facilitator, it is not uncommon for a few presentations to be made.  The CEO may talk about the business strategy, the CFO may talk about the financial health of the business, the product leads may talk about the future of the products.

And often times, they ask me for help to punch up their presentation – to make it more lively, interesting and engaging.  They say they don’t want to use by PowerPoint, but truly, that’s their comfort zone.  They don’t know how to do it differently.

Yet, when I talk with them, it’s more than just getting rid of the slides.  We need to talk about what the audience cares about – not just about the incredible information we know.

So here is a series of questions I ask my clients in trying to make sure their “presentation” meets the needs of the audience:

  1. Why is this topic important for this audience?  Why here; why now?
  2. What do they need to know about the topic?  You don’t need to tell them everything you know about it.  Pick three key points (that’s anyone can remember – that includes you as well as the audience!) and build your presentation around those three points.  Include some kind of anecdote, illustration or example that makes your point come alive.
  3. What do you want them think and feel about the topic?  If you want them to feel happy, then you should be happy.  Concerned?  You should be concerned.  And don’t forget to tell your face.  Audiences get really confused when you say one thing and appear differently.
  4. What will the audience DO during the presentation?  Passive listening just isn’t going to cut it.  Change the energy every 6 minutes or so by mixing the format up with a chat group, demo, ask the audience a question, ask for questions from the audience (Q&A), get a testimonial of someone’s experience, show a quick minute video….and the list goes on.  If you are looking for ideas, there are close to a hundred different ideas in my book, Boring to Bravo.
  5. At the end of the session, what’s the key message you want them to remember?  “Bake” that key message into your presentation – saying it several times so it will be memorable.
  6. At the end, what are you going to ask the audience to do as a result of this presentation?  This is the call to action – otherwise, why give a presentation?
  7. End on a optimistic high note.  Plan this out as this is the last point people will remember.

When you ask these questions, it becomes clear how to punch up your presentation so your audience will not only understand, but retain your key messages.





Summer Newsletter is Now Available!


Posted on 9th July 2014 by Kristin Arnold in Uncategorized

The Extraordinary Team Newsletter

The Summer Extraordinary Team newsletter is now available! Updated format (no longer html – we have gone back to pdf) and you can access it in full color or grayscale/black & white.

This quarter, we have featured:

  • Set Your People Up for Success
  • The GM Nod is Pervasive
  • September 11th Webinar on The Team Trifecta: 3 Keys to a Highly Successful Team
  • Practical Team Activities: The 7 Stances of King Butu
  • From the Bookshelf: How the World Sees You
  • Do a Pre-Mortem When You’re Confident
  • Quote of the Quarter: Robert Redford
  • What’s New at QPC, Inc.

Enjoy the newsletter and feel free to forward it on to your teammates – and don’t forget to sign up for the complimentary webinar on September 11th on The Team Trifecta: 3 Keys to a Highly Successful Team.

What’s Your Fascination Advantage?


Posted on 23rd June 2014 by Kristin Arnold in Uncategorized

fascinateThis isn’t about me. It’s about YOU.

It starts with YOU. It ends with YOU.

Intrigued yet?

Branding expert and leading authority on the science of fascination, Sally Hogshead, is launching her new book How the World Sees You on July 1.

To celebrate all of the new insights she’s learned over the past decade of research, she started Project Fascination, with a goal to show 100,000 people how their personalities add value.

To do this, she’s given me a special code “Arnold” (no quotation marks) to give the first 100 people who use it her Fascination Advantage® assessment for free! This has never been done before, and will only last until July 25!

And the best part is – they want this to be a chain reaction. So when you take the assessment using Arnold you’ll receive 100 assessments to share with your circle for free too! That’s $3700 of free market research at your fingertips!

So how do you take the assessment? Simple.

  • Go to and use code Arnold
  • Once you’ve taken the assessment, Sally’s team will load 100 assessments into your new account. Rinse and repeat.

That’s it. Now your ready to discover how your personality is custom built for certain situations, and which situations you should learn to avoid. And it only takes 5 minutes (you can even do it on your phone).

28 questions. 5 minutes. A whole new way to communicate.

Remember, the best way to empower someone is to show them their own highest value. Our goal together is to show people the very best of themselves – the qualities that makes them more successful, more authentic, and more fascinating.

Remember that your code will expire July 25. Don’t let this $3700 value go to waste. Take the assessment today and encourage your friends and followers to do the same to do the same.

Your Fascination Advantage Report is the first big step into knowing how your personality can be heard and remembered in an overcrowded market. And sharing the assessment will help others do the same. Find everything you need to put this knowledge into practice with your co-workers, close friends and significant other in Sally’s new book, How the World Sees You.

Sally is the real deal – She’s incredibly fascinating and her assessment is intriguing. So go take this assessment today before her very generous offer expires!

2014 Panel Report: 63% of Panels are Mediocre or Worse


Posted on 27th March 2014 by Kristin Arnold in Uncategorized

We’re in Times Square!

It’s finally here!

In the largest survey ever conducted about panel discussions, 539 executives, thought leaders and meeting planners shared their frustrations about the panel format.  “The Panel Report: A 2014 Snapshot on the Effectiveness of Panel Discussions at Meetings, Conferences and Conventions,” looks at the effectiveness of the format, the moderator and panelists – what drives the audience crazy – as well as recommendations to enhance the panel session.

Download the report at no charge at

Download Your Report NowDownload Your Report Now

Some of the key findings include:

  • Panels are Pervasive.  The panel format is widely used at meetings.  99% of respondents have seen a panel format during a meeting in the past 12 months. 
  • Panels are a Lazy Format.  The panel format is considered to be a relatively easy format to produce: the meeting planner picks the topic, finds a moderator, selects the panelists and then moves on to more important aspects of the meeting.  Unfortunately, the audience sees this lack of attention and doesn’t enter into the panel space with high hopes.
  • Format Needs to Be Updated.  The traditional, boring panel format needs to be reinvigorated to engage and entertain today’s audiences.
  • Skilled Facilitation is Key to Panel Success.  There is a high degree of correlation between the effectiveness of the moderator and the effectiveness of the panel in achieving the outcomes.  Having a skilled facilitator as the moderator is your best insurance policy to creating a successful panel session.
  • Moderators Bring Out the Best in Panelists.  The biggest “pet peeve” is having a poor moderator with out of control panelists following close behind.  This makes perfect sense; when you have a skilled moderator, then the panelists will be less likely to get out of control.  Yet when you have a lousy moderator, even brilliant panelists can get out of control or miss the mark.

“When you choose to have a panel format, be deliberate and intentional in your choices,” says QPC Inc. President, Kristin Arnold.  “Choose an intriguing topic, pick a skilled moderator, select interesting and articulate panelists, create a lively format, and engage your audience early and often.”

Watch the video of these findings first presented at the FRESH14 Conference in Copenhagen or view the slideshow presentation.

View the press release here

Moderator: Ten Common Mistakes Moderators Make and How to Avoid Them


Posted on 3rd November 2013 by Kristin Arnold in Uncategorized

I’m so excited for my upcoming webinar this Thursday, November 7th on the ten common mistakes panel moderators make and how to avoid them.  It’s based on a survey of executives, managers and meeting professionals (which is still open BTW at  The preliminary findings are that over 50% indicated that the panel discussion format was merely “okay”.  And those odds are just not acceptable to me.  In my humble opinion, ALL panel discussions should be amazingly powerful, delivering on the promise to the audience so they get real value and applicable take-aways.

In this 45 minute webinar, I will share the top ten mistakes that moderators make when facilitating a panel discussion…as well as what to do about them. Learn tips and best practices from the pros so that the next time you moderate or participate as panelist on a panel discussion, you’ll hit it out of the park!

The complimentary webinar is set for this Thursday, November 7th at 9AM PT. And if you can’t make it, not to worry! Register now and you’ll receive a link to the recorded presentation.

You can register at – and I hope to “see you” at the webinar!

Feel the Fear and Speak Anyway!


Posted on 16th September 2013 by Kristin Arnold in Uncategorized

Guest Post from Alan Stevens

OK, you have taken great care to prepare your speech, and the big day has arrived. You stand up, face your audience, and remove your notes from your pocket. For the next fifteen minutes, you read your carefully-crafted words of wisdom, not looking up for fear of losing your place. As you finish, you do finally look up, and receive a polite smattering of applause from those still in attendance. You breathe a sigh of relief. A success? Well, er…no. They’re being polite. The biggest gap between reading and speaking is called fear. It causes people who are normally quite capable of speaking their minds to get the jitters and the shakes when called to the podium. The root of this fear is the human need to be accepted. Put differently, we’re afraid of making fools of ourselves.

When you make a speech, people want you to talk to them. They haven’t come to see you read, otherwise you might just as well have made copies of your script, and handed it out for people to read at their leisure. To become an exceptional speaker, you’ll need to understand the root of fear in speakers. This will mean that when it’s your turn to stand and deliver, you’re ready to look up, speak up and make a difference. Here are a few tips on overcoming the fear of speaking:

  1. If you’d like to conquer the fear of speaking to an audience you need to understand the source of this fear, specifically where it relates to you.
  2. Nervousness is natural – and it can also be dealt with.
  3.  A good technique is to find a friendly face in your audience and imagine you’re speaking just to that person.
  4. It is just as easy to speak to a large audience as it is to a small one. There is no difference. An audience is an audience.
  5. People who occupy high positions are just as human as the rest of us and therefore do not need to be feared more than anyone else.
  6. Channel your excess energy towards the centre of your body – specifically your diaphragm. This will help you with voice control, keep you calmer and remove the fidgeting from your fingers and toes.
  7. Speaking from notes will help you to keep track of your order. Use cue cards rather than an A4 notepad.

These tips, and hundreds of others are from a brand new book called “The Exceptional Speaker” by Alan Stevens and Paul du Toit – two of my international speaking colleagues. It is the definitive book on speaking, and is now available from Amazon in Kindle and hardback format, as well as from as a PDF.

What is Panel, Anyway?


Posted on 3rd September 2013 by Kristin Arnold in Uncategorized

A few months ago, I was facilitating a breakout session to a two-day national conference that started the event with a panel discussion.  It was an interesting choice as most conferences start with something sizzling, dazzling, entertaining and well as impactful.  Each of the panelists were indeed interesting; however put together on the same stage, facilitate by a mediocre moderator, it was not as scintillating as the conference organizers had hoped.

And that’s a darn shame.  It didn’t have to be that way…

Which got me thinking about the panel discussion format.  What it is; what it isn’t.  How to moderate a lively and informative panel discussion.  How to BE a great panelist.  How to engage the audience beyond just a Q&A format.

And I also wanted data.  Sure, I have an opinion about panels, but I also wanted to reach out to the world (that would be you!) and find out what YOU think of panels.  So, please take a few minutes (that’s all it will take, I promise!) and complete this short survey.  When you finish the survey, you’ll be redirected to download a Panelist Do’s and Don’ts Cheat Sheet – quite handy if you are ever asked to be on a panel or moderate a panel!

I also started a LinkedIn group, put together a short 7-part free video e-course and wrote a soon-to-be-released ebook, Powerful Panels: A Step-By-Step Guide to Moderating Lively & Informative Panel Discussions at Meetings, Conferences & Conventions.  My long-term intent is to provide a definitive website for all things you need to know about the panel format.

Because I think ALL panel discussions should be powerful, scintillating, lively and informative.

So when I am talking about the “panel discussion format” let’s be clear about what that format is….and what it is NOT:

A panel discussion is a specific format used in a meeting, conference or convention.  It is a live or virtual discussion about a specific topic amongst a selected group of panelists who share differing perspectives in front of a larger audience.

The panel is typically facilitated by a “moderator” who guides the panel and the audience through the event.

The panel, typically 3-4 experts or practitioners in the field, shares facts, offers opinions and responds to audience questions either through questions curated by the moderator or taken from the audience directly.

The panel session typically lasts for 60-90 minutes.

A panel discussion is NOT:

  • A set of presentations, one after another.  The panel format allows for a brief introduction and then discussion among the panelists and audience.  If the majority of the panel agenda is centered around presenting information, then just give each panelist a speaking slot with a Q&A after each speaker.
  • A one-on-one interview with each panelist.  Many untrained moderators simply ask questions of each panelist, one after another, rather than build the dialogue into a conversation.  Unless there is interplay between the panelists, have an “up close and personal” interview with each speaker.
  • Just Q&A from the audience.  When the focus is completely on answering the audience’s questions, then you have a forum or “town hall” meeting.
  • A roundtable discussion which is not moderated.

Not that any of these formats are bad; they are different than and an alternative to a panel discussion.  Just call it like you see it, be it a panel, presentation, interview or forum.

Use a panel when you believe the group of panelists will generate something more interesting than any one individual panel member could generate on his/her own.

Spring Newsletter is Hitting the Streets!


Posted on 16th April 2013 by Kristin Arnold in Uncategorized

The Extraordinary Team Newsletter

The Spring Extraordinary Team newsletter has just hit the streets!  Updated format (no longer a html – we have gone back to pdf, and you can access it in full color or grayscale/black & white.

This quarter, we have featured:

  • Team Manifesto
  • Management as a Calling
  • May 9th Webinar on the 5 Secrets Every Team Leader Can Do to Get the Most Out of Their Meeetings
  • Practical Team Activities: Simple Starter Questions?
  • From the Bookshelf:  Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life
  • What Were You Thinking?
  • Quote of the Quarter: Harold Geneen
  • What’s New at QPC Inc.

Enjoy the newsletter and feel free to forward it on to your team mates – and don’t forget to sign up for the complimentary webinar on May 9th about how to get the most out of your team meetings.


What Makes You Unique?


Posted on 26th March 2013 by Kristin Arnold in Uncategorized

Last week, I attended the ISA-Association of Learning Providers’ Annual Business Retreat where we heard Jeanne Bliss speak about customer loyalty. About a minute into her speech, she laughed….and then snorted.  Yes, like a pig!  She continued to laugh and explained that she’s from the midwest and somehow learned how to laugh with the pigs.  She then warned us that when she laughs, she snorts from time to time.  Sure enough, she snorted several times during her presentation.

Initially, I was a little caught off guard.  Really?  A woman who snorts?  Thankful that she had provided some kind of disclaimer, her speech was well crafted and kept me engaged with stories, examples, and activities that demonstrated key concepts from her book, I Love You More Than My Dog: Five Decisions That Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad.  So an occasional snort here and there just made me giggle (on the inside).

A few days ago, a coaching client asked me about vocalized pauses (ums, likes, you know) and whether I could teach people to stop saying them.  My answer?  Yes, people can be taught to minimize vocalized pauses, but usually there are bigger fish to fry in the coaching relationship – unless those ticks are really annoying.

Which made me think of Jeanne.  Were her snorts a vocalization that needed to be minimized?  Or were they uniquely different to Jeanne?  The fact that I have thought about her presentation and talked about it to at least five people in the last week makes me think otherwise.  Her snorts are sticky.  They are unusual and therefore memorable.

Whatever makes you unique, don’t try to hide it because no one else does that…or that’s not what “good” presenters do.  Be yourself when giving a presentation.  Show your passion.  Be genuine and authentic.  Be YOU.  You and your presentation will be much more memorable.