Broadcasting from the Polish Tea Room just off Broadway.
In this episode the 2 Boomer Broads interview Peter Danish, who is a media marketing strategist, author, Emmy Award winner, classical music critic and playwright. Peter worked as an Senior Media Marketing Executive at NBC for many years and is the author of the book, “I’ll Give You Exactly Five Minutes.” It’s a professional guide to the O.R.S.O.N. system of presentation skills. Peter says he was a lifer in the TV industry working ever since he was out of college.
About 10 years ago, he decided on a lark to take 2 weeks off and to go to Bosnia. A friend of his in Nyack, NY, where he lives, mentioned that she was going with a group called the Fellowship of Reconciliation. (similar to Amnesty International) He was burning out at NBC and on the verge of a nervous breakdown from working too much.
His family was originally from Dubrovnik, Croatia. Peter says that Croatia is stunning if you ever want to visit. Game of Thrones is filmed there.
Peter’s boss was upset that he was taking off for 2 weeks because the network was in the middle of the Upfront. That’s when television network executives wine and dine advertisers and press and take them to shows. Right after the Upfront, Peter took off for 2 weeks to Bosnia where he worked in an orphanage.
It was a life changing experience.
It was several years after the war in Bosnia but the children at the orphanage had been abandoned, were victims of rape and incest and were victims of other sad situations. The first day he was there he couldn’t stop crying.
The supervisor at the orphanage made it clear that Peter was not to drop a single tear while he was there. She said the kids didn’t need tears, they needed strength. On the day he left, he was distraught that none of the kids came down to say goodbye. The interpreter said it was harder for the kids than it was for him. They didn’t want the kids to be in the situation where someone says they’ll come back but they never do.
Peter ran up the stairs and told the kids he was going to come back leaving the staff infuriated. He made a promised to return and ended up coming back 8 more times.
When Peter returned to work he was aglow. He started to tell his boss about the trip. His boss didn’t want to hear about it and berated Peter for going. He said that his work was piled high and to never ask for 2 weeks off again. Peter walked into his office and made the decision to quit working there. He went home and booked his trip back to Bosnia.
After that he worked as a freelancer. He found that all the people he’d worked with, after 25 years of writing speeches and sales presentations, wanted Peter to keep writing for them. He ended up working for all the networks including many of the cable networks.
5 years ago a mentor of Peter’s, who was the general manager and head of sales at the Telemundo Network encouraged him to write down his formula for creating presentations. Peter studied the speeches he had worked on with clients and boiled down the components of what made them successful. Many of his clients complained that they had a hard time remembering what they were supposed to say. This inspired Peter to come up with his O.R.S.O.N. System. Overview – Research – Solution – Opportunity – Next Steps.
The logic is that you don’t need notes. Don’t read prepared speeches. If you remember the word O.R.S.O.N., you will never lose your place in your speech again.
An exercise he gives kids in college, when he teaches about working in the media, is to watch one hour of CSPAN on TV and then go online and watch 1 hour of TED Talks. Take a piece of paper with 2 columns and come up with adjectives to describe what you saw on both. Invariably people come up with similar words.
Congress – fake, phony, forced, posers
TED Talks – inspiring, exciting, thrilling, honest
Honest comes up over and over and over again.
Peter says that in most books about giving presentations and speeches the word “honest” is almost completely absent.
- If you want to come across as honest then you must truly be honest.
- If you love your material, the audience will love your material.
- You can never over rehearse.
- When you talk in a natural fashion, you’re endearing and charming. People like you best when you’re being candid or frank.
- When you’re more engaging you’re more persuasive.
The Greats never, ever tire of preparation.
Peter tells stories about how the actor Bill Irwin (from Sesame Street) the Broadway star Rita Harvey and Paul McCartney prepare for their performances (LISTEN IN by clicking on the podcast player at the top of this post)
Peter hated giving presentations and would sweat profusely and stress out. He had to make 40 presentations a year as part of his job. What he hated the most was drawing a blank in the middle of a speech.
Learning from an actor
If you’re a good actor, you’re a good listener and always waiting for a cue to your next line. When you’re onstage alone making a presentation and you forget what you’re going to say it’s scary. If you break down your speech, using the O.R.S.O.N. method, you’ll always know what to say next.
E.L. Doctorow said about writing,
“Writing is a lot like driving in the dark. You can only see as far as the headlights but you can get all the way to the end of the journey that way.”
When you’re presenting a speech, all you need to know is what’s coming next.
The Broads and Peter dish “Harv Eker style speakers” True, True!
Peter says, “If you as the person being interviewed need to seek the approval of the interviewer, you’re not really the expert then. You shouldn’t need the approval if you’re the expert.”
Peter talks about the publishing process. He gave his publisher the idea to give a portion of the sales of his book to 3 charities in exchange for them helping him to promote his book. All they have to do is passively put out a press release, put it on their website. (no money involved) This gives the charities a passive source of income. His idea has been a “grand slam.” All three charities get 10% of the royalties all together.
Covenant House of New York – deals with kids living on the street. Wonderful organization. Peter has taught some of the kids interviewing skills. Covenant House has a Sleeps on the Street event coming up which will include many Broadway performers who will be sleeping on the street in Times Square with sponsorships. They will be starting to do them nationwide.
Homes for Heroes – similar to the Wounded Warrior Project – They don’t necessarily deal with Vets who are wounded but deal with Vets whose wounds are not necessarily visible.
People to People – New York food pantry.
Peter’s book, “I’ll Give You Exactly Five Minutes,” can be found at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It’s also available at brick and mortar stores in the larger cities. It’s also available in digital formats.
His website is www.danishmediagroup.com[bctt tweet=”Listen to Peter Danish, author of “I’ll Give You Exactly Five Minutes #podcast Presentation Skills.”]
Please make sure to listen in to this extra-ordinary interview and improve your presentation skills.