Is There an Inspired Thought Leader Inside of You?

Sixteen years ago, as legend has it, I read a book in six days and everything in my life changed. Upon finishing it, I knew that I needed to leave my marriage and to change the course of my career–writing novels–which I had adored.  I woke up from that book knowing I needed to do something that was more real and substantial than creating fictional plots and characters had been for me. The words that I said–in the privacy of my own head—were, ” I want to change the world.”

For two years, all dressed up with no where to go, I searched for the venue that would help me to do that and finally came upon coaching. It was not what it is today: no one had heard of it, no one understood it (I think most still don’t) and so it was wide-open terrain. I was passionate about it because I knew its empowering methodology could indeed change the world.

accelerated learning mapFive years later, at a seminar, I was captivated by a method of working with audiences derived from education science called “accelerated learning.” It was another life-changing few days, as I decided to leave coaching and immerse myself in learning everything I could about accelerated learning and brain-based learning. Eighteen months later, passionate and convicted, I launched my second business—Inspired Leaders’ Academy—with a new kind of public speaking training just for entrepreneurs, using these technologies. I knew that when used properly, this “new paradigm of audience leadership” could change the world.

It’s been many years since that launch and many more since my realization that I wanted to change the world, but the drive is as real and fresh in me as it was when I closed the cover of that book.  I still believe coaching can change the world; I know that leading audiences with the technology of brain-based-learning will change the world—and now I work with coaches and other experts to help them change the world with a third element: Thought leadership.

Here’s my conviction: No business will make it now without leaving the pack and standing far apart from everyone else. And the way coaches, consultants and other experts will do that is with a fresh, provocative, even radical, message that shatters the status quo. A thought leader message. It’s essential for survival, and the only option for changing the world.

But a thought leader message isn’t enough. I named my business Inspired Leaders’ Academy years ago because I knew to stand out, and to change the world, you must lead with inspiration.  The fact is, inspiration sells as no data, evidence, or sound intellectual arguments ever will. My father was a minister and I adapted his natural ability to inspire, so when I began leading my public speaking trainings and free events, I saw that truth in action: inspiration is the ultimate call-to-action.ShieldHighResVersion

So, to be successful and change the world, you can’t just have a thought leader message that is intellectually satisfying; you need the fire and passion of inspiration to move an audience to truly “hear” that message and make it their own. On the other hand, you cannot just have an inspirational message—heat and heart—without a solid idea that confounds common understanding, fries brain circuits and destroys conformist thinking. You need them both.

I’ll be leading a virtual event in a couple of weeks: Is There an Inspired Thought Leader Inside of You?” It’s not an easy road; it requires rigorous thinking and a commitment to excellence beyond anything you’ll see around you–but if you are here to change the world, there will be only one answer for you, as there was for me sixteen years ago: Yes, and it’s ready to come out!

So…Is There an Inspired Thought Leader Inside of You?

Introduction of New Ebook: Why Being Invisible In Business Hurts Your *Psyche*

Here is the next excerpt from “One of a Kind: The Powerhouse Strategy for Standing Out and Leading the Way with Your Business.” I’m releasing the ebook next week on an inteview call I’m doing with Therese Skelly. Definitely get on that here so you can hear me share with her how to get a truly one-of-a-kind business identity!

INTRODUCTION

If you are on this planet to serve the people on it through your business, you must succeed. You were not graced with the calling, talent and skill that you have just to fade into the background, unrecognized.

Yet, as you’ve heard countless times, talent and skill do not equate to business success. So many follow their passions only to end up sharing the very best of themselves with only a tiny circle of friends and family. They end up giving up and packing up because they cannot support themselves.

But then something far, far, far worse ensues. They end up living a life “unused.”

“This is the true joy in life: the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature…I want to be thoroughly used up when I die…” --George Bernard Shaw

To be used up, I believe, is what every one of us wants. Not being so may be the only cause of our depression, the only thing that truly ages us.

You must be thoroughly used up when you die. And if your purpose is linked to your business, you must get your business right. But so many don’t take the time to understand all that is involved. This book isn’t designed to give an overview of all of the elements essential in building a successful business—there are plenty of those out there. This book is here to impress upon you one single thing:if you are not different in the marketplace, you will die with your song still in you.

The pain of blending in is a primal one, and will affect you on deep levels.

How does it feel when you get a blank stare or a look of confusion when you talk about your business? Or when only a few people sign up for your tele-call or seminar? How does it feel when people unsubscribe, or you go days and weeks without a single opt-in? What happens in you when, one after another, prospects slip out of your net?

I’ve seen it. A part of you is thrust back to high school, to the popular guy who never so much as sent you a glance; to the day you were passed over for the team; to all the parties where you hung back against the wall, unnoticed…and to all the times since, when friends, colleagues and even your own family haven’t recognized your value.

IT HURTS.

When your business isn’t special, it’s much too easy to start to think that you aren’t, and your confidence suffers a mighty blow that can too often be fatal to your business and your mission.

There is nothing more painful than not being worthy of someone’s attention. And in business, nothing more deadly than not being worthy of someone’s money.

When you can fill in this sentence, everything will change for you: “My business is the only one you will ever find that ____.”

When you can master this, the pain you’ve felt every time a prospect has rejected you will be replaced by a confidence that surpasses all understanding.

Being the “only one”–not just in your field, but period–is the game-changer.

Being “the only one who____” changes you from the inside out.

It heals the primal pain of going unseen.

It removes the pain of not fulfilling your life’s mission.

It assures you that you will be “used up.”

And it is the answer to most of your business problems:

  • Your vague and fuzzy articulation about what you do
  • Disinterested prospects in your 1-to-1 sales conversations
  • Poor attendance on tele-calls and other speaking events
  • The uphill battle to get clients
  • Low opt-ins on your website

Being provocatively unlike everyone else is the direct route to making money and to bending ears so that you change the world (which you’re here to do, by the way.)

So decide right now that you will put your attention on this. Very few other business efforts will matter if this isn’t right. To thrive–in business and in your own heart–you cannot spend one more minute in oblivion.

You would think this was obvious, but just take a look around at most service-based businesses: you could line them up and not one would stand out. You may notice shades of differences here and there, but overall, nothing would raise your brow in intrigue. Almost instantly, your brain would check out.

Why is this?

The Establishment

I can’t speak definitively, of course, but  after ten years of experience, I believe one answer is that there isn’t a clear enough definition of “what is different enough,” and so service entrepreneurs delude themselves into thinking they’re somehow making the grade….

You can read the rest next week when the book will be available.  Do listen in to my call with Therese, too, on May 5th. We’re bestest friends and it’s going to be a great interview! Check it out here.

A Successful Expert But Still Not Feeling Your Big Purpose? Reason #2

I’d like to round-out this discussion with the other reason you may not be feeling a BIG PURPOSE—though you’re successful. You may not be utilizing your skills and talents for a far-reach aspiration: both yours and your markets’. When I launched my 2nd business, Inspired Leadership Training, in 2006, I was teaching an incredible public speaking program, Secrets of Impact and Influence, based on the latest brain research in learning. What was I helping people do, initially? For a long time, it was “get more clients” by using public speaking as a marketing tool. Then, for an equally long time,  I was helping them to “be the best presenter in their field”—because this program really delivers that. Then, I was helping them be responsible experts, raising their standards so they were teaching with unparalleled excellence—a requirement, in my book, for giving paid presentations, seminars, trainings, etc.  But the problem was, these skills and talent of mine, which were able to produce these promises, were not connecting to a part of me that was alive and well outside of my business: a part that was becoming aware of and studying global human potential. I was watching the central institutions of our world collapse around us, and the rising up of populations demanding freedom and human rights. I knew that this activity was going to reach a climax—and that leaders with great wisdom would start coming out of the woodwork, as if suddenly “activated” or called to their purpose. And I knew my market—a subset of coaches, consultants, authors and speakers–were those up-and- coming leaders. Despite this, I was still promoting SII around more practical goals: getting more business and being one of the best presenters/teachers. Yet, the fact was, this particular public speaking model was tailor-made for the leaders.  For those who would be called to serve in the global human potential movement. Indeed, that’s why I had gravitated to learning neuroscience and applying it to public speaking in the first place!! I had known it could move mountains and mount movements—but I wasn’t talking about that in my promotion of the course, and not even in the course, with those seated before me! My skills and talents were not taking my market far enough, And they were not taking me far enough into things that mattered most to me. Finally, just a few months ago, I leapt off the cliff and made it clear that everything I do is specifically designed for those who want to change the world—who want to be true, inspired leaders. Not every coach, consultant, speaker or author wants my skills to take them there— they’re more attracted to my older, more pragmatic promises–but so many do! Many are being “called” to bigger stages every single day and the higher calling of my skills and talents (that extend beyond public speaking, by the way) is reaching out to them. So, if you’re not feeling your Big Purpose, look at how far you are taking your followers with your skills and talents. Where could you take them that’s bigger, higher, grander, more meaningful—more inspirational? If you’re one of the called—if you know you are an inspired leader—Big Purpose known or unknown—it is your time to lead. Be sure to experience my call Thursday, Feb. 23: A Time to Lead: Do You Dare?

Fear of Public Speaking: Part 3–My Story

So, the fear of public speaking is not a fear of speaking, it’s a fear of being humiliated and ridiculed. That is what we fear more than death. Unfortunately, what we fear most, we tend to draw to us. It happened to me years ago. Let me tell you the story. I was attending a weekend workshop with a public speaking teacher from the west coast. He had talked at another seminar I’d been to the previous month, so when I learned that he was coming to New York, I jumped on the chance to see him more “up close and personal.” Once there, I found myself immediately wanting to impress him [self-importance leads to fear, see previous post]. I knew I was pretty good in front of an audience (even before I learned the New Paradigm techniques I teach today) and I wanted to prove that to him. In addition, someone else was in attendance whom I wanted to impress. Can you see it? I was doomed before I even began because I was focused so narrowly on myself, out of feelings of insecurity. We were told, once in the seminar, that over the next 48 hours, we would be giving a 20 minute speech for critique. It could be on any subject. As the hours passed, I began to panic. I had no idea what to talk about; I was in the midst of changing the direction of my business and had no strong thoughts formulated yet that could be worked into a speech. I began to over-think and “downshift.” Downshifting is when we move out of our frontal lobes, where we do our higher-thinking processing, and shift down into the old “reptilian” part of the brain, where there is little thinking, only emotion. By Sunday afternoon, I was fully downshifted when it was my turn to speak.    In that state—with a topic I’d conjured just a few minutes before my turn–I gave an interactive presentation that went beyond the scope of a traditional speech. The teacher, who had become a friend and was, as I said, someone I wanted to impress, hated it and held nothing back in a scathing attack that left me—it felt at the time—stripped of dignity.  There is no question: I was humiliated. I experienced the nightmare everyone tries to avoid when they avoid speaking: public ridicule.  I left the seminar room for sometime that afternoon and when I returned, I was greeted by compassion and warmth from my peers, but the flame of embarrassment burned all else away. I tell you this story for a few reasons. One is that it illustrates a powerful force: the self-fulfilling prophecy. This is, I believe, the only reason we will ever actually get ourselves into a humiliating situation: we have all but “ordered it” from the ethers. The fact is, I was so afraid of making a mistake in front of those two idols of mine that I had no choice but to do just that. And what is at the core of these self-fulfilling prophecies? Once again, much too much self-attention. Needing our “self” to be perfect, admirable, important, respected. What we “need” too much, we will destroy. So, a vital step to being at ease with an audience is reducing your own importance. I help my students move from being speakers to teachers because when we’re teachers, who is important? The ones in the seat, not the one on the stage. Second, you want to acknowledge your neediness because it will sabotage you if it stays unconscious. With awareness, you can summarily dismiss it. The bottom line is, you can only “think yourself” into disaster. I also tell you this story to make this critical point: Despite that weekend debacle, I teach presenting and speaking skills, and most think I’m pretty good. That weekend didn’t break me. It didn’t diminish me, either. Why? Because I didn’t let it (after a day of processing it, that is.). I experienced everyone’s worst-case public speaking fiasco—but I decided what it meant about me and about my future. The event itself—and the man who critiqued mehad no power to determine that. It was up to me. And that is the point I want to drive home: nothing can humiliate—or break—you without your consent. You may one day be in a situation as “bad” as the one I was in. If you have a message in you; a business dream to fulfill; change you want to see…you must be willing to let the “worst” happen, knowing it won’t damage you unless you let it. Years ago, as an empowerment coach, when I felt deep resistance and fear in my clients, I would have them consider their most dreaded future experience, and then have them say aloud, “I am willing to have _________ happen.” They usually choked it out, but they said it. And I would probe deeper: “Why are you willing to have it happen?” And their answer (with my coaching) was, “Because there is nothing I can’t handle.” And that’s the truth. You can handle any humiliation. Know that. Claim it. Stop stifling your vital communication out of the idea that you will die if you make a mistake. Not only did I not die, I went on to become a teacher of public speaking. Fear of public speaking is not the problem; it’s a symptom of the problem, which is  the belief that you can be damaged and diminished by someone else or by an event. As long as you believe that, there will be many things you will not do. Public speaking will just be one of them. And day by day, you will leak away the power vested in you to reach your highest potential. So, I encourage you to do something scary. Tell yourself, “I am willing to be humiliated in front of a group of people.” And ask yourself, “Why are you willing?” You will answer, “Because there is nothing I cannot handle.” Lizabeth, you may ask yourself, isn’t that creating a self-fulfilling prophecy?? The answer is no. A self-fulfilling prophecy occurs because of fear and resistance—both of which are, unfortunately, magnets for drawing just what you don’t want. Allowing the possibility of humiliation because you know you can handle it comes out of a deep inner power.  Very, very different.  There is nothing more important than your voice. Do not allow anything to silence it. Ever.

How I Came to My Senses After a Fainting Spell and 2 Shady Mechanics

So, I fainted in Target on Sunday. Out of the blue. And no, it wasn’t because of the great sales. In fact, they say it was dehydration, but whatever it was, it was scary. I had the oddest symptoms for about an hour before I crumpled in a heap somewhere between kitchenware and bedding. I found out it was due to loss of oxygen to my brain; apparently we traverse weird territory without our requisite O2—and for sure, I thought I was going crazy. Then, without warning, boom, a man’s kneeling over me, asking if I know why I fell. “I didn’t even know I DID fall,” I answer, groggily looking from left to right. Soon, I was surrounded by paramedics, police officers and Target managers bracing themselves for a lawsuit. Because I hit my head very hard on (something; no one knows because there were no witnesses—but, man, does that bump still hurt!) I was escorted onto a hard, orange plastic gurney and fit cozily with a neck brace. Off we went, sirens wailing, to the hospital for tests. It turned out that every blasted test came back normal —which is what one typically strives for, I know—but when you’ve interrupted your family members’ lives, not to  mention your own all-important shopping spree, you want something to explain the hours in the ER. But, alas, I was diagnosed with syncope— otherwise known as fainting—and released to my own recognizance. Such as it is. As I was reclining back at home, my ex and signifi- cant other took my VW to the dealership to have them resolve an odd sluggishness I’d been experi- encing. After sleeping eleven hours that night, (and not one of them on my left-hand side because of the massive bulb on the side of my head), I headed over to the dealership to await my car’s release. And that’s when I got the female treatment. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say there was some unmistakable shady activity going on. Ten minutes after I declined a $400 additional service, I was told that the issue had, remarkably, “disappeared.” All was fine. Then, a moment later, they came back to say that they had a used part in stock from another car and could slip that in to replace my faulty one. Had I gone ahead and accepted the $400 job, do you think I would have been told of the free used part? Or that the issue had miraculously disappeared? I’ve been feeling increasing disgust over the corruption and secrets so prevalent in our world today—not just on Wall Street, and in government; Big Business, “corporate media,” our religious institutions, etc.— but also in “small business”: the shallow and greed- based antics playing out in internet marketing every day. Having my own mechanics try to shaft me was a tipping point for me and I decided to make some changes in my own business. I have always been honest and trustworthy as a business owner, but I was following many of the Internet Information Gurus—and this week, I unsubscribed from a vast majority of them. I decided they’re too slick and phony for me; they’re the “Internet Hollywood Scene.” The few hours in the ER, not knowing what was wrong with me, plus the massive knock to my head, brought me to my senses: I’m “leaving the pack,” “escaping the wannabees” once again, no longer aspiring to rub elbows with them, proverbially “sleep with them” to get to the next level, attend their parties or adapt their business-building strategies. (Which are, on another note, entirely cookie-cutter, have you noticed?) I don’t want to make money by gouging other people of their hard-earned money. (And I never have.) Isn’t that what the banks do? I don’t want to make money by hosting a seminar that’s really a pitch-fest. I believe that’s called bait-and-switch. I don’t want to make money from obscenely inflated home-study products or memberships. And I don’t want to tell my daughter I made money following. Inspired Leaders don’t follow, they lead through inspiration. I got seduced by the glitter and glam—but now know that all that glitters is not gold. I have created a questionnaire over at Survey Monkey, to see if my own experience reflects the “zeitgeist,” the energy in the culture right now, about slick, internet information marketing. You know –the guys and women making millions of dollars on $20,000 – $100,000 yearly memberships, claiming they can “teach” (ha!) and “coach” (ha!). Have you had it, too? Do they feel like shallow, slick, plastic Hollywood types? Do you want to learn from a different type of leader? If so, what type? I promise to share the comments from your peers in an upcoming blog. By the way, in case you’re wondering: I’m doing fine… except for the nasty bump and the bruises on my leg and knee. I’ll be going to a cardiologist for a “table test,” just to ensure that I don’t have a propensity for losing oxygen to the brain. But I expect everything to come out normal. After all, I’m still young! In fact, the best part of the whole experience was my daughter grumbling to me as we sat in my ER room: “Everyone’s asking me if you’re my sister. It was all worth it for that! Please click here to take my “Have You Had It With The Internet Hollywood Scene?” survey.

Session #5/8 with 2 Financial Coaches: Marketing Their Seminar!

By the end of the 5th session, M&M no doubt feel a little like this guy. One of them says to me, “I can hardly wait for the next session!” with a little more than a touch of sarcasm. I can be highly creative, but I can also be meti- culously analytical, and this is the session where that side of me comes out in spades! I lead them step-by-step through a detailed discussion of how to market their signature portal seminar. They want to penetrate a local, not national, market, so we explore an entirely local strategy—yet this session will stimulate your marketing juices, even if you are doing on- line marketing. So the question we answer in this session is, “What are all the ways you’re going to reach your market?” We list all Touch-Point 1 venues again–churches, Rotary Clubs and other affinity groups, schools and referral partners, and then (and this is where it got painstakingly detailed), we moved through every step in the communication process with each venue. What does the initial outreach look like for most of them? Usually, it’s calling to ask what form of contact they prefer: letter, brief face- to-face appointment, phone call, email? They would do this with referral partners and the places where they would actually give their seminar. Then, we look at every communication piece they will need, from letters of introduction, to a phone script, to leave-behinds such as fliers or postcards. They’ll need something for their referral partners (marriage counselors) to hand out to their clients about the signature program, and they’d need something to hand churches, schools and affinity groups that would describe the event and its benefit to them. This may all seem common sense, but I tell you, very few people subject their marketing to such microscopic analysis until it’s right upon them, and then they become overwhelmed. M&M may feel blown away with all the initial footwork and planning that’s entailed in formulating all of the promotional communication, but it’s better to be overwhelmed with lots of time on your hands than with very little–which is the case for most. We also talk about networking options for them, such as NAWBO, BNI and Meet-Ups, and the communication pieces that are require for those scenarios. I tell them the secret that helped me stand out at networking events: handing out a postcard–not a flier and not a business card–that described my 2-hour live event and acted as a “ticket,” elevating its status above typical leave-behinds at networking events. And we discuss publicity options such as, of course, the required press release, but also the idea of M&M, as that “older and wiser” couple, videotaping themselves interviewing younger couples on the street, as a way to get some local publicity and also as a way to move them onto the internet, by putting those videos on their blog. Finally, one of the “M”s asks me, “What key phrases tend to get people to take action; that would have them want to come hear this?” And I told them one of the Brain-Sticky tricks of marketing communication: humans hate to not know something; to re- alize there is information they don’t have. We can’t stand it. That’s why the 5:00 news trailers always say something like, “What is the dangerous bug that could be hiding out in YOUR child’s stuffed animal? Tune in to find out.” Are you going to watch? Heck, yes! I’ve even DVR’d a local news segment because they “got me” with one of these. We cannot stand not knowing information—if it is relevant and important to us. So I tell M&M that they want to employ this in their marketing copy, namely teasing couples with the fact (and it is a fact) that they are embroiled in a secret cycle that is causing their financial problems. Because it’s stimulating the brain’s “need to know,” and it is extremely relevant to their couples, they will want to attend the seminar just to find out what that secret cycle is. So, detailed, methodical and not exactly sexy, but the topic of this session was, as M&M both concluded, the “kick in the pants they needed to get all of this started.” Maybe it is for you, too? Here’s an action-item for you: write down all of your Touch- Point 1 venues (where you’ll reach your market). Then next to each, determine the first point of communication—what is it? And what communication piece will it require? Then, what other communi- cation pieces will you need as you deepen your relationship with each venue? TOMORROW you can see the first promotional video about the 8 CD-Set, which will be available on Wednesday! Come back here to find out where to go, or get on my list (above) to get the information sent to your email. Session #5 is tomorrow, so stay tuned for what I do next with M&M!

Session 3 of 8 With 2 Financial Coaches Who Want More Clients

In my third session with M&M, we delve very specifically into the topic for their “portal,” signature program. In order for this seminar to be Brain-Sticky, it must solve their market’s biggest problem—based on our work on their “Trigger Event.” The couples M&M serve, and want to serve more, bring in a decent income; income is not their problem. Their problem is that despite good income, they keep coming up short every month. They have nothing to show for the hard work and respectable salary. And from the Trigger Event exercise, we realize that the husband most commonly blames the wife for spending too much each month. He’s said it before, but is never heard. The wife believes wholeheartedly that what she purchases is necessary. Then, we uncovered that perhaps the husband is making purchases that aren’t showing up on the credit card—secret purchases. I ask M&M, what is the bottleneck problem? If it were removed, everything else would flow? We bandy about some ideas, but then recognize that the essential issue, the one that must be removed before the subject of budgeting or debt reduction can be addressed, is ineffective communication between the spouses. If that were cleared up, their money struggles would disappear because they could actually work on them together, instead of from opposite sides of the ring. Well, “communication” needs to be defined and pulled apart. We spend a good portion of this session determining what kind of communication is going on, no matter how ineffective. And with some hair-splitting analytical questions from me, I begin to help them form what will become the cornerstone of their teaching concept. We determine that there is a “cycle” that couples go through in communicating (which includes not communicating) about money in particular. It is a 3-phase cycle that is predictable and very common. I said to them during this session, “If you put a name to this cycle, you could brand it.” What I would later say is that “Your entire business can be branded from this ‘teaching concept.’ I call that a brand concept”—a unique, differenti- ating teaching idea you can be known for. (see earlier post.) Once we had this 3-phase ineffective communication cycle, we looked at the “objective” for their portal seminar and decided it was, “to give couples the tools to alter this cycle forever, so that they can begin a life of financial ease.” It follows, naturally, that the free portal seminar would provide those tools. So, next we needed to determine what the tools are that would break this cycle, and how would we move the audience through them to a powerful shift? This would be, as you can see, a transformational seminar. Not merely an informational one. And this is the secret, I believe, to the “new age” upon us: to create transformation in any audience, on any topic, even one as—at first blush— boring as finances. Come back tomorrow because session 4 is the most GOLDEN session of all 8! We plan their 90-minute transformational portal seminar. See you then! And remember…Tuesday is the release of the 8 CD set of these 8 sessions with M&M!

Session 2 of 8 With Two Financial Coaches Who Want Clients

In the first session, M&M and I looked quite deeply at their target market. What would be the natural next question? How do you reach them? I call these your Touch Point 1 venues. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to convince M&M that speaking is hands-down the best way to connect with a market; they had already done some speaking. So in this session, we delve deeply into this subject, again gathering data and building upon it. Where have they spoken before? Where could they speak that they’d never thought of, and which are the three most effective venues? We decide that to attract couples, they would reach out to churches, libraries, Barnes & Noble (they could ostensibly speak on Dave Ramsey’s book), and local boards of education to see if they promote workshops for parents. From there, we begin to touch on content. What have they spoken about in the past? Well, their previous topics have been rather dry, focused on how to budget and reduce debt, so I draw us into thinking about what would be most Brain- Sticky. To determine that, we must know who would be in the audience (target market), and what would get them there. So we need to understand the Trigger Event (see yesterday’s post) and their market’s most acute pain, and of course M&M’s special solution. I advised them that this time, they need to give more than just an information-based seminar. In this day and age, I told them, you want your audiences to be transformed in some way, right away. And you do that by taking them through what I call the “Transformation Arc”: this is a certain trajectory that guarantees a powerful shift in thinking and very often a shift in behavior.  This “arc” begins by getting their market immediately into the ugly emotion they deal with (even unconsciously) every day. I call it “getting them into the  ick.” The male “M” of M&M, who has done all the presenting in the past, is unsure of this direction. He has always worked with audiences in what I call the “Old Paradigm,” where he hauls out a Power Point (aaaaggghh!) and didactically transfers knowledge, without much engagement with those in the room. I point out to him that in order for his audience to be moved enough in this  free “portal” talk to then buy a service package with M&M, they must FEEL—and you can- not tell someone to feel; you must set the stage for them to experience emotion themselves. This, and only this, creates transformation in them, and a far stronger interest in buying. Next, we need to solidly determine what the “ick” is for their particular market. What is the emotional sludge these couples are wading through, as it pertains to their financial struggle? Well, in the next session, three, we hit pay dirt! Together we figure this out and with that knowledge, we begin to sketch out the Brain-Sticky concept of their portal, signature program…that could become the differentiation for their entire business! Be sure to come back tomorrow to see what it is! As for you: is speaking on your list for strategies to get more clients and build your list? What Touch Point 1 venues will best reach your market? And what about the “ick” your market stews in day in and day out—how can you have them experience or come face to face with that “ick” in a talk you give? Would love to hear your thoughts below! And feel free to share this post so others can get eavesdrop, too!

The Precious First Few Minutes of a Presentation

Audiences will not listen to you just because you’re standing in front of a room. Did you listen to your English teachers or Social Studies teachers just because they were there? Of course not. The ones you listened to were the ones who earned your listening. Adults may be more politically correct than kids and give you the impression that they’re listening—but unless you have earned it, they’re tuned out. How do you “earn their listening”? First, let’s talk about how you don’t. Just in any conversation, whether with one or one thousand people, you lose their listening when you start out talking about yourself. They don’t care about you. Not yet. You have to earn that. Begin by entering their world and showing them that you under- stand them. That you respect them. When people are acknowledged, they’re all ears. You lose their listening if you don’t persuade them that they will benefit from something you have to say. My daughter comes home every day telling me “school was boring.” I don’t doubt it. Wasn’t it boring when you went, too?  Her teachers are not enrolling  the kids in the benefits of learning about fungi or Ancient Rome. You must convince them that they’ll gain from listening to you–right from the outset. If you fail at this, you’ve lost them for the rest of the ride. You lose their listening if you’re not speaking their language. Literally. Know the industry lingo. But at the same time, do not use your indus- ry lingo with an audience who’s not in your industry!!! This kind of lack- of-awareness is epidemic. Do you use words others don’t know to impress them–or just because you’re not thinking? You’ll lose their listening really fast if the language isn’t right, either.  A particular pet peeve of mine is incorrect grammar. I can’t tell you how many “professional speakers” don’t speak correct English. They lose my listening the instant they mix up “me” with “I.” As in, “The team went to the meeting with Roger and myself,” or “He was so much better than me at selling.” Please read a grammar book if you’re unsure.  You’ll lose their listening if you don’t tell them why you are up there.  What are the education and credentials that make you worthy of their listening? The best method is to tell us a story that explains what brought you to this spot in front of the room. Perhaps it’s a before and after story; or a story of an “aha” moment that changed everything. I don’t know any- one who won’t listen to a good story. Do you really want to wow them? Then tell them why you’re doing this over any other career/job in the world. What about this compels you? Gets you up in the morning? What’s in it for you? Why are you so passionate? When you answer this for them, not only are they listening, but they’re beginning to see the value of being in their seats. And, of course, you lose their listening if you don’t know that.  If you have no passion for your subject. It will show itself in your monotone voice, flat facial expressions, slow movements, “ums” and slide-reading. If the subject you’re speaking about isn’t worth your energy…it certainly isn’t worth theirs! I teach my clients and audiences how to “earn their listening”  from the very first moment they step on stage, and, of course, how to keep it throughout. There are many more elements to this process that are subtle and absolutely essential. If you don’t get the results you want from speaking in public; if you don’t get the reactions and the word of mouth and the sales, check in to see how you “lost their listening.” Did you start out talking about yourself? Fail to enroll them in the benefits of listening to you? Did you speak “below” or “above” their heads? Give data instead of a story? Don’t worry. There’s always a next time!  Today is the LAST DAY you can bring-a-colleague-free to my 2-day public speaking training based on the latest brain research.  You will learn 2 sequences at this event–and the first is the 7-Point Introduction: How to earn their listening right from the start. There are a lot of videos you can watch on this page to see if this is the seminar you need to attend next month. I hope to see you there!
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