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3 Ways to Make Your Presentations Sparkle

by Kimberly on August 17, 2011 · 1 comment

I am thrilled to introduce you to Natalie Mullis, a South Carolina-based music therapist who’s the brains behind Key Changes Music Therapy. Natalie (or @KeyChangesMT on Twitter) has spent the last several years building her private practice and, along the way, sharing her knowledge and adventures with her readers. Enjoy!

As a music therapist, I can tell you what I do, how I do it, and what the results are in my sleep. Since educating others about our field is something music therapists do nearly every day, knowing how to be remembered is vital to our individual success, as well as our success as a field.

So how do we make sure that we stand out in the minds of potential employers? How do we make sure that, when the decisions are being made, we stand out from the volunteer musicians, the counselor who plays guitar, and the retired music teacher who has experience with special education?

The automatic answer is this: research, board certification, objectivity, data, etc. Music therapy is a unique field, so as a result, shouldn’t we automatically be remembered?

Unfortunately, that answer isn’t shiny and sparkly enough to stick in the minds of most busy moms, dads, and CEOs who are constantly bombarded with sales pitches. Making a razzle dazzle sales pitch is something I’ve figured out and I’m going to share my secrets with you!

Know What You Bring To The Table

Research who you are pitching your services to and tailor your presentation accordingly. When listing areas of functioning that music therapy has shown effective in, reading skills in young children does not belong on the list for your local nursing home. The more your tailor, the better you look. I even like to use names of the people attending in scenarios and examples. It makes it personal, it makes them smile, and it makes them remember you.

Be Authentic

No one likes a robot. If you are discussing a particular aspect of what you can offer a person or facility, and it happens to get you really excited, tell them! If you have an applicable anecdote to share that highlights aspects of your personality, share it. Odds are that your audience has heard someone pitch a service before. You want them to realize that they aren’t just purchase your music therapy services, but that they are purchasing your music therapy services as well as your spark, drive, and ingenuity.

Let your Passion Show

After my introduction, I start every talk I give with a disclaimer that goes something like this:

I want to let you know that I have a tendency to get really excited when I talk about music therapy. It might send me off on a tangent, so if this begins to happen, could someone please just wave to me to remind me to get back on track?

My audience knows right from the start that I am passionate about music therapy and that I whole-heartedly believe in it. To this day, I’ve never been waved at, but I think it’s because they are enjoying my tangents as much as I am. I’m far from a perfect speaker. I laugh nervously at mistakes, I bounce around the stage, and I often say “really”, “awesome” and “amazing” far too much. But it’s those obvious signs of excitement that have landed me contracts with companies I didn’t even know were in the audience. It’s what made a parent call me 6 months after my talk because they still can’t get me out of their head. It’s what makes people tell their friends about me.

What can you do to give your presentation some sparkle?

About the Author: Natalie Mullis is a board certified-music therapist and owner of Key Changes Music Therapy Services (founded in 2010). She provides music therapy services to children, adults, and elders with a wide range of abilities through the midlands of South Carolina. She is the president-elect for the Music Therapy Association of South Carolina, as well as a member of the SC legislative task force. Natalie can be found at


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Tamara G. Suttle August 23, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Bravo, Natalie! I love your enthusiasm and your self-knowledge! We can all learn from you!

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