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Public Speaking Scam Alert – Warning to Professional Speakers

pirates of the internetProfessional speakers, beware. I hate that I have to write another post like this about scammers, but the pirates of the Internet are wreaking havoc in speaking world again.

The latest scam is a familiar take on a long-existing scam or con against professional speakers I’ve explained before. It seems as though too many good people heard about the previous scam, prompting the bad guys to make a few tweaks. Yet while the con artists have changed the names of the fake parties involved, it is essentially the same ruse. I hope you’ll read this post carefully, and share it far and wide so no speakers get caught up in the scam, losing precious time or money.

Last week a client of mine, who I will call Denise, posted inside my private client Facebook group how excited she was that she had been booked to speak for a church in England. Amid the congratulatory responses, I cautiously asked a couple of questions because there is a common con I still see speakers asking about in which a bishop at in a real church located in Jarrow, England invites unsuspecting speakers to present at a fake conference coming up soon.

Just as in the original scam, the scammers chose an actual church in England and even went as far as finding the name of the one-time lead pastor at that church. My client, “Denise,” has given me permission to share everything with you. including all correspondence, so you can protect yourself against the same or a similar scam.

The 6 warning signs you may be caught up in a speaking scam I addressed in an earlier post were present here to a certain extent; plus there are a few new ones I’ll share.

So here’s what happened. Each message is copied word for word, changing only “Denise’s” name and removing line breaks for space.

Message 1: We’re Interested in Hiring You.

The first thing that happened was my client received an email from her web contact form.

“Sent via website Contact Form
Revd Mark Duggan
revdmarkduggan@gmail.com

BOOKING YOU TO SPEAK!!!

God’s blessing Denise, We hope this message meets you in good health.I am Revd Dr Mark Duggan, presiding
Minister of Bramley Baptist Church, Bramley Leeds, United Kingdom. We are pleased to inform you that we would
like to engage you for a speaking event here in Bramley Leeds at the Church conference coming up on the 25th, 26th
& 27th of October 2014. The conference is tagged: ‘Big things: How to start small’.
Please we would like you to convey to us your availability for one of the dates as it can fit in your schedule.
Also, please we would as well appreciate if you get back in-touch with us in ample time so we can start corresponding
the details.

Thank you and expecting to hear from you soon.

Remain Blessed.

Revd Dr Mark Duggan
+44 7024031690

http://www.bramleybaptist.org.uk/

Bramley Baptist Church,
Hough Lane,
Bramley Leeds,
West Yorkshire,
LS13 3RD
United Kingdom.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim
the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9″

Now Denise is smart. She’s actually an attorney. The first thing she did was to Google the church and the pastor’s name. Both of which are REAL. She was curious as to why the pastor was listed only in one place online she could find as a past leader, but being excited for the opportunity and seeing that the place was a real church, her ideal market, she proceeded.

Yet even from this initial contact there are some curious warning signs such as:

  • The email the reverend used was a gmail address not associated with the church. However, when I visited the church’s contact form, I saw the contact address for email was using the church’s domain, contact@churchname.org,uk.
  • There was no Mark Duggan listed in the leadership or staff of the church.
  • Upon closer inspection of the church’s website, I was able to find their upcoming calendar of events. I went to the October schedule and lo and behold no event was listed for those dates, even though it’s clear this church keeps that calendar very current with ALL meetings listed.
  • At most churches, the pastor is busy with more minister duties such as baptisms, weddings, funerals, marriage counseling, addictions counseling, visiting the sick in the hospital, etc. They very rarely will be the first to reach out when planning any kind of event. That is an administrative duty, and even the smallest of churches has at the very least a lovely church lady volunteering at the desk to answer phones and help plan events. In larger churches, there are people whose full-time occupation is to plan events.
  • There are some English grammar peculiarities such as the use of “in-touch,” which has no hyphen.
  • NO ONE ENGAGES YOU TO SPEAK WITHOUT AT THE VERY LEAST A PHONE CALL FIRST! Even if the meeting planner was referred to you or you know the person, unless you’ve spoken at several of their events in the past, and even then – you usually have at least one phone call to discuss the details.

TIP: Copy and paste the body of any message you receive. This speaker wrote about being contacted in the same way back in 2012 with different names. If you go there, you will notice the same exact wording Denise received in her initial contact. Lazy scammers.

Message 2: We Can Pay Your Fee.

“Thank you very much for your profound interest in this upcoming conference, I have a few
more details to share with you so you can have more insight on the conference and what
the church stands for as a whole.

(Inaugurated in the 19th Century, the annual Bramley Lecture is given in Bramley Baptist
Church on some aspect of the life and work of Bede or of Anglo-Saxon history or culture.
The lecture is published in the year following delivery and copies can be obtained in
Bramley Baptist Church or from the lecture secretary) This is an age-long history of our
church.

It is due to this age-long ritual of giving lectures that we have decided to keep lectures
going though the type of lectures has evolved over the years we are proud to say we are
keeping the hope alive! It is due to this that we are hosting the conference come 25th, 26th
& 27th of October 2014 with about 600 people in attendance and we are pleased to notify
you that you have been chosen by our Event Organizing Committee to speak at this event
on recommendation of a staff of one of our sponsors, the YMF outreach and after checking
your credentials and after reading blogs about you, we received the Lords direction to invite
you to speak in this event and we also believe you are as well more than capable to deliver
in this occasion, We have decided among the Event Organizing Committee to invite you to
this program.

Since I was inaugurated as the Presiding Minister of this esteemed church, God has being
helping us to keep hope and monuments alive and we have also being able to change the
face of Christianity, and the church having a whole lot of history attached to it, for one, the
site of the oldest stained glass and home to the then Venerable Bede (the scientist) and one
of the oldest churches in this part, we also have about the oldest organ in England as well
as the Saxon crypt and we also have an history with the river Don. You can check out more
about the church and its history at:

http://www.bramleybaptist.org.uk/

Apart from the conference coming up by October,The church is as well involved in a few
other projects. For one, the church has dedicated the new school building to the Most
reverend Benjamin Heagreaves,(The second-ever Minister of the esteemed church) in view
of his many achievements, the website is under-construction.

Sending out the invitation to you is by virtue of Gods bearing plus human
recommendation, We need you to use your wealth of experience to sensitize the
congregation, We organized this conference and workshop also in the hope of trying to re-
organize the Church and further extend our impacts, So we can have people listen and be
inspired by speakers like yourself on topics ranging from business growth , surviving in a
bad economy, Futuristic speakers , family matters, to healthy living, which is why we chose
you to speak at this event as a keynote speaker. Also this conference will as well mark my
four year anniversary as the Presiding Minister of this blessed Church.

The conference theme has been carefully chosen by the Lords’ inspiration due to the
backdrop of the present situation in the United Kingdom and this year’s conference has
been tagged. ‘Big things: How to Start small’
You can email us the keynote you would like to speak on as we would want you to be
convenient with the keynote topic so we decided it would be better you choose it yourself as
long as its motivational and inspiring! We will as well need your bio to put up on our
website and start to design posters as well as hand bills,
We are inviting you so you can inspire this people, teach them how to triumph over the
deflating effects of set-backs & self-doubt, how to break free from whatever is keeping
them “small”, and become empowered by their challenges, rather than victimized. And
most importantly, how to start great things with small efforts and steadfastness
We would like to know your standard speaking fee for this engagement as we do indeed
have a sponsor, So we can negotiate this I believe, Our fees are based on budget and we
are not based with our speakers fee, We budget for every speaker according to what the
Event Organizing committee deem fit, But we will also be glad to negotiate.

All travel arrangements such as Flight fare, Speaking fee deposit as well as Hotel
accommodation will be taken care of by us as soon as you honor this invitation. The events
committee will send you all binding documents including a Letter of Invitation and Contract
Agreement as well.

Email us in ample time any questions you may have so we can move ahead.

You are blessed.

Revd Dr Mark Duggan”

Now that she was hooked, they wanted to reel her in. The provided her with a website link to an actual church. Then included some unintelligible detail about a website being under construction. If yellow flags were not raised before, they most certainly should be now. A man who speaks as a pastor in English would have a much stronger command of the language, whether in speech or writing. “God has being helping” is not a typo. It’s awkward phrasing, as is most of the message.

Message 3: We’re Sending You a Contract

Denise responded with another thank you and asked for an appointment to speak via Skype. She also has an online questionnaire for meeting planners to help provide some details, which she pointed the reverend to. She also asked how he heard about her. He ignored the request to speak and never told her how he found her, instead replying:

“Thanks for the correspond.I received your meeting planner information packet and your
speaking fee i will have the events committee contact you and send you the contract
agreement so you can review them and sign.
The honorarium is something we can handle and we are really to make the commitment.
Thank you and anticipating to have you here in United Kingdom.

Stay Blessed.
Sincerely,

Revd Dr Mark Duggan”

(email signature was the same as above, simply removed for space)

Now at this point, as a professional speaker, any of us might be getting excited. They know our fee and can pay it. No negotiation, just ready to pay. But again, there’s that pesky English grammar thing. Hmmmm….

Message 4: We Can Pay You AFTER You Get Us Travel Documents

The con is starting to reveal itself in this message. They bring in another name and email address – this one an outlook address, also not using the church’s URL. I’m highlighting the wording of the next phase of the scam:

Thank you Denise Smith for indicating your interest to be our Guest Speaker at this year’s conference, May God forever be with you.

I am Roselyn Mark, President of the event organizing committee of the Bramley Baptist Church conference . We believe you have been notified by our Presiding Minister Revd Dr Mark Duggan, as we are in charge of the smooth running of this event and by God’s grace we are bound to succeed.
We are very excited to have you in this conference. The event organizing committee had a meeting earlier today to deliberate on getting you available here in the United Kingdom. We believe we serve the lord of Possibilities.Note you are meant to arrive a day before your performance as to get familiar with the audio/visual gadgets that we have in place, and to get used to the environment as a whole and also get to relax from the jet lag.
We have attached a formal Letter of Invitation and a contract agreement,please reconfirm to us your Mailing Address for our perusal and further action.

Please return a copy of the contract agreement duly signed by you for proper documentation. Print it out, sign and scan back to us(Keep a copy as well). We have agreed to buy your flight ticket and to pay your Hotel accommodation expenses. Also your Speaking fee which amounted to $7,500 USD will not be paid in full as yet, $3,750 USD deposit is to be paid as soon as you procure all relevant travel documents so as to avoid any disappointment and the balance will paid in cash upon your arrival here. You are informed to get across your Work Permit in the UK to us so your deposit can be approved according to our mandated regulation as well as your UK visa for travels. If you do not have the permit please let us know so we can make arrangements for the documents to be processed quickly as the event is at hand. But if you do have the work permit just scan and send to us.

Please check the attached documents, It contains your letter of invitation as well as your letter of agreement. We expect your response in regards the documents asap. Thank you and may God bless us all.

Ah ha! Did you see that? At this point, along with the contract which looked close to a real letter of agreement, but was very unprofessional, my lawyer client Denise realized she was being taken. Just to be certain, she went to the church’s website, and contacted them. As we already knew, there is no such event. She played along, and when she tipped her hand that she was an attorney and had some serious questions, suddenly she heard nothing again.

Had Denise continued along the path of showing interest and not realized she was being taken, the next message would have asked her for money so they could expedite her work visa. But here’s the thing: according to the British government website those coming from the United States DO NOT NEED A VISA AS A SPEAKER in the UK! Copied directly from https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y/usa/work/six_months_or_less

Business visits

You don’t need a visa if you’re coming to the UK for activities allowed under the following visas:

From the UK Visa page, if you click on the links above, you’ll see if you choose to apply for a visa as a citizen of the US, you can, but it clearly states that if you are simply a visitor doing a paid speaking engagement you do NOT need a visa if staying for less than one month. If you would like to apply for a visa even though you do not need one, the fee is £83 (about $140 USD). Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to steal your money. Those from other countries of origin, please check the rules for your country of origin.

Please do NOT let that happen to you.

Take a moment now and share this with the speakers you care about. Or even the ones you only like a little bit. We all can do our part to keep our industry as safe as possible from predators.

Creating FAST and Fabulous Client Results

successGuest post by Shawn Driscoll

As someone in the expertise business, you can package your unique philosophy, approach and content into a one-of-a-kind program that will yield amazing results…for both you and your clients. However, I’ve noticed that many coaches and consultants struggle with program delivery. So, I’d like to share some success tips for delivering powerful and profitable coaching and consulting programs:

  • Tip #1: Focus on the client experience: You’re excited about your content (as you should be), but don’t focus strictly on information. I’ve found that solid content accounts for just 40% of a program’s success-the other 60% is based on the overall experience, level of support and ability to implement. Keep your focus on the client experience – whether the content is presented in a useful and valuable way so your clients can apply what they’ve learned.
  • Tip #2: Keep the level of content manageable: More is not always better when it comes to a program…so don’t feel compelled to pack in everything you know! Your clients are only able to absorb a finite amount of information. Don’t fall into the trap of overstuffing your program with too many details, “special offers,” “one-time bonuses” or “exclusive content.”
  • Tip #3: Match the content to the delivery method: There’s no set method for delivering a successful program; the key is matching the goals and the delivery. For example, don’t bill your program as a “mastermind” session if you have 150 participants. Think about whether your program is best delivered in-person or virtually (webinar, teleseminar, etc.) or via a combination of various methods. Also, consider whether handouts, visuals, video or other examples might make your content more compelling and usable.
  • Tip #4: Know who your audience is: Your program isn’t for everyone. Is a certain level of expertise, prior experience or commitment required for success in your program?  Position your program for the appropriate audience and you’ll be far more successful – and so will your participants. Otherwise, you run the risk of having content that’s too basic for some participants (who will feel they’ve wasted their money) and too advanced for others (who might walk away frustrated).
  • Tip #5: Provide follow up and support: Make sure you have a clear vision of where you’re taking your clients, at what point in the process you’re leaving them, and any issues that might come up once they’ve completed your program. Clearly communicate your vision so that everyone has the same expectations of the desired end state.

One of the ways I teach clients to accomplish the 5 tips in creating their programs is to build everything around what I call the FAST framework.  You can use the FAST framework to structure your program for maximum results:

  • Foundation concepts: It’s important to ground your program participants in your philosophy, approach and process, and to orient them to what you’ll cover and what they can expect out of your program.
  • Application experiences: Your clients want more than information; they want to be able to immediately take action on what they’re learning so that they can see the value of your signature program. So, provide strategies that your clients can begin applying the concepts to their real-life situation.
  • Stick strategies: Your clients signed up for your program because they want to make a positive change toward achieving their goals. But, getting change to “stick” can be a challenge. Help your clients think through the obstacles they might face in making the program stick. Then, develop a plan of action. Sometimes, I have my clients create an accountability system or even make changes in their physical environment to help them avoid drifting back into old habits.
  • Transition: What happens after your clients complete your program? Make sure you have a plan in place for helping them reach the next level of success. Think through the challenges your clients may face post-program and what sort of help they may require, whether its next steps in coaching, tools, ongoing work with a team or a more advanced signature program.

Armed with these five Signature Program Success tips and the FAST framework, you should feel more confident in delivering your Signature Program. And your clients will report amazing results!

About the author:
Shawn Driscoll, known as the “Trailblazer’s Coach”, believes the fastest way to build a respected and profitable business is to dare to be distinctive.  She’s fiercely committed to discovering what makes each business owner unique and supporting them in creating exclusive products and programs around that talent or ability. With a keen eye for strategy and a sixth sense for seeing ‘hidden’ systems within businesses, she has fast become a sought-after coach to many trailblazing entrepreneurs and leading experts internationally.  Connect with her at www.ShawnDriscoll.com

Hot or Not? 5 Questions You MUST Ask Before You Create Your Next Offer

plansGuest post by Shawn Driscoll

You’ve spent a long time and a lot of energy and money mastering your craft and getting your business to where it is today.  And you know you’re great at what you do.

Yet, sometimes it’s a struggle to know just how to put together products, programs and services your clients will be excited to invest in.  And once you’ve designed your offer, you wonder how to get the message out in the right way—so your new program or product sells well and serves the clients who need it.

And even when you think you’ve got a great idea and follow all the marketing ‘rules’—your offering may not attract the clients you know are right for what you do. So what does it take to make sure you’re investing in the best ideas from the start?

It’s not that you haven’t got something valuable to offer.  It’s likely that you’re not asking the right questions before you plan and promote your programs and products. Here are 5 critical questions you MUST ask before you create your next promotion…to make sure your offer truly sizzles:

1. Am I speaking directly to my target audience using language they ‘get’?

If you’re not speaking their language, they can’t hear you.  It’s as simple as that.  So you have to take the time to really listen to how your audience talks about their situation, dreams and goals.  Use vocabulary they relate to.  Forget the buzz words and industry terms you speak.  Translate what you do into words they can hear and that speak to what they deeply desire.

One of the best ways to capture this is in day to day conversation with prospects and clients.  Keep a notebook handy and after every encounter with a client or prospect, write down the exact phrases they used. Record what it is they really, deeply want.  Take note of what they are currently experiencing.  Listen for what gets in their way. Track the questions they ask and the objections they raise. This notebook becomes gold when you want to start talking about your new offer.

2. Have I specifically addressed the problem or situation my ideal clients are INVESTED in resolving?

In business, an idea is only good if your audience is willing to invest in it.  I often say ‘whining isn’t willing.’  Meaning that just because your prospects have an issue they will talk about doesn’t mean they are ready, willing and able to do something about it.  Make sure your product, program or service is directly related to a problem, situation or passion your audience is eager to solve.  If they aren’t invested in resolving it, they won’t invest in your program or service no matter how great you or your content is.

3. Do I have a way to engage my ideal audience around this topic?

Are you in conversation with your market?  Do you blog? Are you visible on social media? Do you write articles or host classes, workshops or teleseminars?  All of these are fabulous ways to engage your audience around the issue your audience faces.

By engaging them you learn the language they speak, the level of investment they have in the topic, and how they are responding to your approach.  This is critical to build a warm list of people eager to join you for a program or buy a product because you’ve become their go-to person on the subject.  And it gives you a real sense of how much impact your idea will have when you launch it.

4. Is there a natural first step my ideal clients can take?

It is a big leap to expect someone to come to your site, see what you’re about and invest at your highest level of service.  For most experts, the highest level of service is one-to-one, and too often this is the primary offer being made.

Have an easier first step.  A program or product that engages them around the issue they’re invested in resolving, but that allows them to experience you without having to invest in your highest level service.

A Signature Program is perfect to use as a natural first step to engage clients, show them the value you bring and introduce them to the next steps they could take with you.  Think of using a Signature Program as way to give new clients a solid foundation for becoming a fabulous long term client.

5. Have I showcased my strengths, expertise and skills so my uniqueness shines through?

Let’s be honest.  There just aren’t that many ‘original’, never-been-thought-of-before ideas out there.  To really stand out in a crowded market and be relevant, YOU must shine through.  What’s your unique experience, story, skill or twist on the same-ole solutions your market hears every day?

There’s no right way to design a successful Signature Program or product, but there definitely is a wrong way.  And the wrong way is to model, mimic or force fit yourself into a format that doesn’t work for you and your audience. Choose a format that gives you an opportunity to wow people. Leverage what you do best and ditch the rest.

Now is the perfect time for you to reposition your business and repackage what you know and can do in a way that honors the time and energy you’ve invested, gives you a path to make a significant difference in the world and gets you the rewards and recognition you deserve.

About the author:
Shawn Driscoll, known as the “Trailblazer’s Coach”, believes the fastest way to build a respected and profitable business is to dare to be distinctive.  She’s fiercely committed to discovering what makes each business owner unique and supporting them in creating exclusive products and programs around that talent or ability. With a keen eye for strategy and a sixth sense for seeing ‘hidden’ systems within businesses, she has fast become a sought-after coach to many trailblazing entrepreneurs and leading experts internationally.  Connect with her at www.ShawnDriscoll.com

 

To Be a Successful Speaker: Do Something First

21 Ways to Make Money Speaking by Felicia Slattery“How can I make money as a speaker?”

As the #1 best-selling author of 21 Ways to Make Money Speaking, this is one of the most frequently asked questions I get. And of course, there are at least 21 answers. ;-)

But before you can make any money as a speaker you have to do something first. Multiple choice question — What’s your pick for what to do FIRST:

  • A: Good marketing? (Yes, but that’s not it.)
  • B: Get training in good delivery skills? (Yes, but that’s not it either.)
  • C: Develop a fabulous speech? (Getting warmer, but you don’t start there…)

You have to start with doing SOMETHING in your life or professional career that people want to know more about.

Look at the most highly paid speakers in the world today. Here is a partial list with their speaker fees:

  • Rush Limbaugh: In 2013, the National Conference of American Proctologists paid Limbaugh $3.8 million for one speech.
  • Donald Trump: Reportedly Trump received $1.5 million for The Learning Annex where he delivered 17 one-hour speeches in a 2-year period at real estate conferences and was paid that full amount FOR EACH SPEECH.
  • Bill Clinton: Averages $195,000 per speech; with a high of $700,000 received twice for a local newspaper publishing company in Lagos, Nigeria.
  • Tony Blair: Highest earning was $616,000 for 2 30-minute speeches in 2009 in the Philippines.
  • Nicole Kidman: Was paid $435,ooo for a 25-minute speech to a group of Forbes Global CEO comference in Sydney, Australia.
  • Alan Greenspan: Earned $250,000 speaking at a Lehman Brothers meeting after he retired as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
  • Peyton Manning, Richard Branson, Sarah Palin, Lance Armstrong, Al Gore, and more all make $100,000 for a speech.

So what do all those folks have in common? Clearly it’s not their politics. And it’s not what they do for a living. What they have in common is that they have become well-known for what they do in the world. They are athletes, politicians, entertainers, and business professionals who have accomplished something in their careers and people want to know more about that.

Of course, those people are also celebrities in their own right, which is another thing they have in common. If you’re not a celebrity does that mean you can’t be a well-paid speaker? Absolutely not! In fact, many working speakers make a living with their speaking (or use it as a major source of income).  To be successful in speaking, you must have done something, studied something, accomplished something in your life that others want to know more about. It’s that simple. And it’s that challenging at the same time.

If you’ve long thought that you are born to be a speaker; that you have a message that’s inside you that you know will serve the world, start by taking a good look as your life and your accomplishments from the standpoint of a meeting planner. Why would someone put you in front of their audience? What do you have to share or offer that could impact people for the better? It’s your unique stories, knowledge, and experiences which will make you stand out, get booked, and be successful in the world of talented speakers.

Start by sharing those stories, knowledge and experiences in any way you can so meeting planners can get a feel for who you are and what you’re about. Here are a few ways to begin:

  • Start a blog and on it tell your stories along with a lesson that anyone could learn from reading your story.
  • Record a series of how-to videos or FAQ videos that showcase your knowledge using screen capture technology like Camtasia or simply PowerPoint (learn all about that in this free webinar).
  • Turn the camera on and look right into the lens and tell one of your stories. Similarly to what you’d do in a blog post, this will share what happened, what you learned, and what others can take away from your story. Think of it as practice before getting on stage. Post the video on your speaker website, on your YouTube channel and on social media so people see it and share it themselves.

If you feel like you haven’t yet accomplished anything or have something of value to share with an audience, don’t be so sure. If God put the feeling on your heart that you have a message to share, then you do. It might take some serious reflection and journaling time, a little digging to get there, a bit of refinement of the story and the message, but you likely have SOMETHING inside you that needs help getting out. If you’re not sure what your unique genius is yet, it’s time to find out (and I have a free webinar which talks all about your genius factor that you can watch starting right this minute!).

What’s your story? What’s your message? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

 

5 Sure Signs You Need a Signature Program in Your Business

Guest post by Shawn Driscoll

One of the most-asked questions I hear from ambitious entrepreneur is this:  How do I know if I’m ready to add a Signature Program to my business?  Over the years I’ve discovered there are five key situations that adding a Signature Program to your business can resolve.

1.  Marketing Muddle

You know you are stuck in Marketing Muddle when people ask you what you do and each time you give a different answer.  Or when others introduce you or describe what you do to their friends and followers, you feel like they’ve missed the mark.  Marketing Muddle is most common when you offer a wide variety of products, programs and services without a clear core concept that unifies everything in your business.  People love your work when they experience you, but the wide variety leaves them confused about what it is you do…exactly. In this situation, you need a Signature Program that serves as a unifier and integrator in your business.  You need to land the core concept of what it is you do so that everything else makes sense.

2. Chronic Reinvention Syndrome

If you find that every few years you are asking “What next?” and set off on a course to create something all new, you may be stuck in reinvention syndrome!  Staying fresh and on the cutting edge is one thing.  But if you are often reinventing your business you may be missing a solid core message and purpose. Perhaps you create great plans but they never quite live up to what you hoped they’d become.  Or you tire of them and go out in search of something you’re more passionate about.

Constant reinvention can be a sign that you are still searching for that elusive clarity about your unique sweet spot. Or that you believe growth comes from creating something new, rather than building something long lasting.  Going through the process of creating a Signature Program can help you uncover what it is you are uniquely designed (gifted) to offer, and help you put a strategy in place to make it stand the test of time and get you off the reinvention treadmill.

3. Content Overload

As a prolific creator you may have developed so much content through the years that you don’t know what to do with it all.  And trying to sort through it is overwhelming to say the least! It’s like dealing with years of accumulation in your ‘business attic’.  You need to sort through it in a systematic way and put all the pieces together in a way that you, and your clients, can manage.

This is why working on your “Signature System” can help.  By taking a step back from the content, and looking at the big picture of what your overall client service system is, you can figure out how to organize and sequence your content into meaningful programs, products and services. And decide what to release, reuse or recycle.

Maze4. Chaos and Complexity

There comes a point in your business growth where you hit a level of complexity that starts to feel an awful lot like chaos.  You’ve got so many ideas swirling in your head you can’t make sense of them all.  There are so many moving parts that keeping track of it all has become a chore.  There are so many demands for your time, attention and energy, you’re drained.  And you’re not sure what to do to restore order.

This may be the time to take that proverbial step back and look at the bigger picture.  Mapping out your Signature Program can help you simplify your business and strategically pull the pieces together and get you back in the driver’s seat of your business and life.

5. Dollars-for-Hours Trap

In a service based business, you start out with the goal of building a ‘full practice’ of clients to work with privately.  Your business model is built around customized delivery of your service.  And that’s a great place to start building.  But at a certain point you hit an income ceiling that you just can’t break through, even if you raise your prices or add more hours to the day.  You are essentially capped out.

This is the perfect time to add a Signature Program to your business offerings.  You’ve got enough of a track record with private clients to know what it is you offer and what clients want.  And you’re ready to create more personal freedom while serving more clients and making more money.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day to day busy-ness of running our business.  But sometimes you need to take a step back and look at your business with a fresh set of eyes.  Going through the process of asking yourself “What is my unique solution” and then finding a way to package that uniqueness into a Signature Program can help you clarify, focus, integrate and simplify—and set your business up for long term growth.

About the author:
Shawn Driscoll, known as the “Trailblazer’s Coach”, believes the fastest way to build a respected and profitable business is to dare to be distinctive.  She’s fiercely committed to discovering what makes each business owner unique and supporting them in creating exclusive products and programs around that talent or ability. With a keen eye for strategy and a sixth sense for seeing ‘hidden’ systems within businesses, she has fast become a sought-after coach to many trailblazing entrepreneurs and leading experts internationally.  Connect with her at www.ShawnDriscoll.com

Getting in the Media 5 Times in One Week – Whew.

felicia slattery media appearancesCall it a dress rehearsal for my upcoming nationwide launch of my next book, Kill the Elevator Speech: Stop Selling, Start Connecting later this year. Except that will be carefully planned and orchestrated. You see dress rehearsals are on my mind because last weekend was also my script-writing, stage production, and directorial debut for my daughters’ elementary school production of the show I cobbled together called, “An Evening at Vaudeville.” So mixed in with the wild speaking and media appearances, were daily after school rehearsals, with late nights of getting the program finished, pulling together costumes, and getting the volunteers organized. It was definitely a busy week.

However, my appearances in the media last week were more of a confluence of getting out there spreading my message through speaking and decent marketing, mixed in with a little bit of luck, I’ll freely admit. However, there are a few factors that led to me being featured in 5 different forms of media over the course of just one week, that I think could help your business as well.

  • Local TV – I spoke at the Batavia, Illinois Chamber of Commerce Women in Business event for a paid presentation about Credibility and Cash Flow in Social Media. The day before the event, I received an email from one of the event organizers asking if it would be okay with me to have the a local film crew to videotape my presentation for replay on their local cable access TV. So some time this week my speech will appear on cable TV. I agreed on the condition that I receive a copy of the recording to use in my marketing.
  • The lesson: Whenever anyone wants to record you, ALWAYS ask for the recording. As a speaker, you need that footage to put on your website, make a demo reel from, or at the very least share on social media as continued social proof you’re out there speaking and doing it well.
  •  Local Newspapers and Magazine – In conjunction with that same speaking gig in Batavia, the Chamber group had their PR pro send press releases to all the local papers and magazines. All I had to do was approve the copy and she sent it out. I did next to nothing to get my name in the media (not to mention the Chamber’s own websites and social media).
    The lesson: Speaking for Chambers of Commerce groups, whether paid or free, you always get the benefit of the Chamber marketing on your behalf. That often means placement in local media, which gets your name out there and allows you to become the “go-to” person in your niche.
  • Blog Talk Radio – One of my clients, Brian Basilico, has his own BTR program, BLT Radio, short for Business Life Transitions. He invited me to be a guest to discuss my upcoming book, Kill the Elevator Speech, Stop Selling, Start Connecting.
    The lesson: Write a book. That’s first. When you have a book, people want to talk to you about it. Next, Blog Talk Radio is a platform that allows the hosts to store the content, so you can go back any time and use it over and over again. If you’re not sure what to say, have a look at Signature Speech(TM) for Authors for a free gift that will get you started.
  •  Podcast on iTunes – About a month or so ago, internationally-known author, trainer, and podcaster, Alicia Dunams held a contest to see who should be her next podcast guest. Alicia and I had met years ago on social media and then in person at a live event where I was one of the speakers. I was one of the finalists and because my message about speaking would resonate well with her authors, she decided to interview me about leadership and being “all in” – the name of her podcast.
    The lesson: Know the people who are influencers in your community and in your niche. Use the internet to reach out a build relationships and meet them in person at live events so they will remember you.
  •  BBC – International TV – I recently began using a new app called “Jelly” for social questions and answers, which was released earlier this year by one of the founders and creators of Twitter, Biz Stone. I tend to jump on the newest social platforms as quickly as possible to secure my username and to check it out because many of my clients often look to me to talk about the newest communication tools. Then I was emailed by a producer for a TV programme (you have to spell it that way, because, you know, it’s British!), called “Click.” They have 330 millions viewers and were conducting a story on Jelly and would I be available to answer a few questions? Um, let me think…. YES!!!! So we scheduled it and I spent more than an hour getting the camera right, hurrying up and waiting, and doing the 10-minute interview that had to be boiled down to my 20 seconds of fame. You can see it below. They found me by being on the app. They invited me through my website, I’m convinced, because I had video of me on air to show I can do okay in a televised interview situation. UPDATE – The BBC has added the video to it’s own website right here.
    The lesson: Be in the forefront in your area of expertise. Know what the newest innovations are and the newest and hottest trends. Plus do what you can to get any kind of local TV publicity. I learned from Shannon Cherry. The national and international media are far more likely to ask you to be a guest when they know you’ll be a decent guest.

That was my big week in media and speaking. I was so wiped out it took me three days to complete this post!!!
So here it is, my big moment in the international press. The story begins at 12:07 and I come in, literally for 20 seconds, at 14:26. Don’t blink!

 

 

The Best of the Oscar Speeches

Not Quite on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, But a Girl Can Dream!

Not Quite on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, But a Girl Can Dream!

At last night’s 86th presentation of the Academy Awards, on the red carpet it was all about the clothes, the jewels, high fashion and “who are you wearing.” During the Oscars TV broadcast it was all about Ellen Degeneres, ordering pizza, taking selfies, and breaking Twitter. Oh yeah… there were some statuettes given out, too.

Today is now all about who wore it best and an analysis of the acceptance speeches. This year there were no big memorable moments like in 1999 when Roberto Benigni after just winning for best actor, was announced the winner of best foreign language film and triumphantly and excitedly climbed up and onto the arms of the seats and seat backs to bound up onto the stage, applauding his audience all the way (video here for that). Yet even so, there were some touching moments and wonderful speeches.

Yesterday, I promised to share the good, the bad, and the ugly of the speeches. Yet after watching, there were no real bad or ugly moments, just excellent and average ones. Plus, if you’ve been a reader for any period of time, you know I tend to be one for focusing on the positives.

So without further ado, here are my awards for The Best of Oscar Speeches from 2014:

Best Tribute to Mom:
Jared Leto, Best Actor in a Supporting Role for “Dallas Buyer’s Club.” Not only did Leto bring his Mom with him to the event, he thanked her in a sweet way by telling her story. He then had the audience’s attention for when he briefly mentioned the political and humanitarian cause, dedicating his Oscar to AIDS patients around the world.

What You Can Learn: Stories touch the heart and capture your audience’s attention and admiration. Start your presentations with a story and you’ll have your audience hanging on your every word.

Best Location to Keep Your Speech: Catherine Martin, Best Costume Design for “The Great Gatsby.” When Martin arrived on the stage to accept her award, she was smart to be properly prepared for the possibility that she might win and had written her speech and stored it safely — inside her brassiere tucked safely where she wouldn’t lose it and would easily have access to it. Go see how she did it with humor and grace.

What You Can Learn: Be prepared. If there is even a slight chance someone is going to ask you to say a few words, know what you plan to say. It’s also OK to bring notes and to keep them in a place you will quickly and easily access them, even if it does bring some fun laughs with it! :-)

Best Collaborative Acceptance Speech: It’s a tie!! Both winners worked on the animated musical, Frozen. The winners of Best Animated Picture Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho delivered their speech, each saying one phrase at a time in order. The winners of best original song was, “Let It Go” also from “Frozen,” music and lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. The married duo clearly were prepared with a fun song-like speech, starting their speech being grateful the names of their fellow nominees they wanted to share rhymed!

If there was any category that could be discussed as having some bad or even ugly moments in awards acceptance speeches it’s this one. There were many collaborations that won Oscars and many of them all came to the stage to accept their awards together. But then, in the limited amount of time given for their speeches, only one person got to share his or her thanks and left the others hanging to shout “thank you!” as the band began playing and they were being ushered off stage. That was ugly (sad) to see.

What You Can Learn: When you’re working on stage with others, find a way to share the spotlight by PLANNING ahead. Don’t hog the moment or allow someone else to not allow you to properly share your gratitude when it counts so very much. Planning in advance requires practice and conversation long before the moment of truth.

Best Sung Speech: In the Best Documentary category, the film “20 Feet from Stardom” won with producers Morgan Neville, Gil Friesen, Caitrin Rogers, but the most memorable part of their presentation came from one of the film’s singers, Darlene Love, who sang her thanks and message, “I sing because I’m happy!” Even at the time of her acceptance – of an award she didn’t win herself – Love made sure everyone remembered her. Watch here.

What You Can Learn: To be memorable, do something to stand out from the crowd. Do something unexpected. Love brought the audience to their feet and you can, too, by daring to be different.

Best Speech That Wasn’t Live: Prior to the BIG telecast last night, Angelina Jolie was given the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her work in Africa and around the world and she *almost* made me like her. A little. That’s saying something because I’m not now, nor have ever been, a fan of hers. Yet watching her talk about her mother and humbly accepting her award went a long way to improving my opinion of her and likely the opinions of many others who may have felt about her the way I have. You can see the recorded presentation of that here and watch her reaction from the show last night.
What You Can Learn: Humility and true gratitude go a long way.

Best Use of Imaginary Friends on Stage: Spike Jonze winner of Best Screenplay for “Her.” This may have been one of the oddest and more uncomfortable moments of the night for me watching at home. While accepting his award, Jonze looked to his left and spoke mainly to Robert DeNiro and Penelope Cruz, who had nothing to do with the film, but did present him with his Oscar. He thanked his friends saying they were there with him on the stage, behind DeNiro and next to Cruz. But they weren’t, except maybe in his imagination. What worked was how sincere he was and thanking his friends. Next time, it might have worked a little better had he done it less weirdly. Unfortunately, I could find no video of his speech.

What You Can Learn: Try your ideas and material out on real people before doing it on stage. Get someone knowledgeable and who you trust to give you honest feedback. Otherwise that idea that sounded great in your head may not translate as well as you’d like it to in real life.

Best Bi-Lingual Acceptance Speech: Alfonso Cuaron, Best Director for “Gravity.” “Gravity” took home a number of technical awards last night, so when it came to best director, Cuaron was no surprise. What was a refreshing surprise was to see Cuaron, who is from Mexico, deliver part of his acceptance speech in Spanish. Again, there’s no decent video of this to connect to. Bummer.

What You Can Learn: Be true to who you are and people will love you for it.

Best Women-Power Speech: Cate Blanchett, winner Best Actress for her role in “Blue Jasmin.” Blanchett was lovely, funny, and strong starting with tell the standing ovation audience, “Sit down, you’re too old to be standing!” She did a lot of things during her speech well, including thanking her sister nominees, but most notably Blanchett talked about how films about women are not niche and that they earn money – see it here. Let’s hope filmmakers listen to the buzz that’s come from her comments.

What You Can Learn: When you present well, you can share your views in a way that is fun, interesting and will get people talking about you and your cause.

Best Speech Thanking God: Matthew McConaughey, winner of Best Actor for his role in “Dallas Buyers Club.” One of the top acceptance speeches of the night, McConaughey blended emotion, gratitude, humor and fun into a wonderful presentation. Often we hear people thank God in their speeches, but this year there didn’t seem to be as many. So kudos to McConaughey for giving props to his beliefs. He also did a great job in honoring his mother and wife and family, told a great story about how he strives to be his own hero, and ended on a strong note quoting his famous “Dazed and Confused” character, “Alright, alright, alright.” Nice.
What You Can Learn: Many of the lessons from other Oscar acceptance speeches last night apply here as well: tell a story, share your gratitude, and be yourself.

Best Speech of the Night: Lupita Nyong’o, for best Supporting Actress in “12 Years a Slave.” Wow. This first-time nominee and winner blew us away with a perfect example of a beautiful, eloquent and elegant acceptance speech. She thanked the people who made the movie and finished by motivating children everywhere that if they have a dream, it can come true saying, “When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me, and every little child, that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid. Thank you.” This child is inspired and motivated!! I wish I could find video of her entire speech to embed here, but it appears the Academy has made most copies be taken down except what appears to be those sanctioned here. Scroll down to see this heartfelt speech.

What You Can Learn: As you can see from this list of the best speeches at the Oscars, most of were good for one reason or another. What was most striking about this speech is that this young woman from Kenya, who had never appeared in any movie of any kind burst onto the scene doing what she loves, living in her genius, and took home the ultimate award possible in her business. That success story is motivational and exciting to see and to know that when we walk in our own genius the rewards for anyone can be great. Go see more about walking in your own genius here.
I’d love to see in the comments what your favorite speeches were and what moments you enjoyed!

Academy Award PSA for Oscar Winners’ Speeches

Tonight is the 86th Academy Awards presentation. Over the years I’ve vacillated from being a huge fan – one year even attending an officially Academy-sanctioned Oscar party in downtown Chicago dressed in my very own red carpet-style gown (blue sequins from top to bottom as I recall) -  to some years skipping watching the show altogether.  I’ve had clients who had items featured in Oscar baskets and in this very moment I have an email in my inbox from Oscar.com with a live countdown clock.

Mostly, though, since I’ve been training speakers and teaching public speaking for a living, each year during and after the Oscars show, I’ve been pinged on social media and email when one of the winners makes a speech that totally misses the mark. This year, I came across a FABULOUS, funny video as a PSA for the winners that not only is hilarious to watch, but sums up some of the best advice I could ever give anyone who knows they are nominated for an award, especially those who will be nationally televised. Have a look:

Funny, right? That impressions-master Piotr Michael is on his way to some big things.

After watching that, I decided, this year during the Oscars, instead of just tweeting, I’d keep an more official running tally of the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to the winning Oscar speeches. Check back here tomorrow for the full report. Let me know in the comments below your picks for the winners and we’ll see how it all turns out!

In the meantime, I’d like to point out that ALL the nominees have one other thing in common than working in the motion picture industry and being nominated for doing so: they are all at the top of their game, living in their own genius. When you find your own genius, you get noticed, and yes, you can even win awards. Go see the free webinar re-broadcast of how you can get started finding your own genius right away.

The Devil Is in the Details

Don't let the laundry rob you of your life's purpose!

Don’t let the laundry rob you of your life’s purpose!

As I sit here writing this post I have about 927.5 things on my -to-do list that exists, as of this moment, only inside my head. [cue dramatic dum-dum-DUUUUUM music.] Now stop, before you ask how an item can be a .5 on a to-do list. It is inside my head. So there.

There are piles of laundry that have be to tossed into the washer, then other piles that need to be folded and put away; dinner somehow will sneak up on me if I don’t start thinking about planning what that will look like; my assistant asked me this morning about two different projects we’re working on; I have marketing messages to write and send; people to follow up with; a book of my own to review the edits on; a new book to organize, sort out and add to; volunteer activities to coordinate (although that part is done for the moment, I think!); class content to create; sponsors to find for a couple of events this year… and that’s just today. And I’m wondering if my 6th grader has basketball game tonight, gotta check her schedule. Oh and the taxes to do. Ick.

Note to self: Maybe this is why I should be using Bob the Teacher’s Mind Map stuff... to get all this out of my head…

Yet all those “things” that are clamoring for the attention of my ADD brain [squirrel!] that all somehow have to get done, all that “noise” inside my head reminded me of something as I was showering, when I do my best thinking, that the old adage, “the devil is in the details,” can mean more than what it commonly means.

Most people use the phrase, “the devil is in the details,” to mean that an idea or project or event is fun and exciting and interesting, but in order to pull it off there are a million little things that have to happen in order for the complete idea, project, or event to fully come together. That part isn’t always so fun, thus the usage of “devil.”

Beyond that most common meaning, however, it occurs to me that it’s those same details that can keep you from your most important work. The work you are on this earth to do.

When our brains and our lives are filled with the mundane, the “hurry up and get this done and move on to the next thing,” the minutiae of life, it’s so easy to forget that each us has a gift from God to share with the world; and in fact, we likely have many gifts. Yet, sadly, none of those gifts, our true genius, can be shared with the world if our brains and our laundry baskets are overflowing.

Now, that’s not to say you should chuck your to-do list, wherever it may be (on paper, on your smartphone app, or in your head) and remove yourself from all responsibilities. In fact, I suggest the contrary. Find a system that works for you to get all that “stuff” done and carve out time in your busy life to spend some precious time thinking about, working on, learning about, and doing things that will matter in 20 years. Because if you don’t carve out the time, soon 20 years will have come and gone and you’ll wonder what you did with the time.

Don’t believe me? What day is it right now as you read this? Ask yourself what you did in the past 7 days since the last time you were on the same day of the week. It’s likely you accomplished a bunch of small things. For example, if the laundry doesn’t get done, we have no clean clothes to wear; if the groceries aren’t purchased, dinner doesn’t get on the table; if we don’t interact on Facebook, the world could come to an end. But what BIG things were you able to get done that will impact the legacy you leave the world?

The devil can be in the details, because it’s those very details which are stopping your flow and not allowing your genius to shine through and stopping you in your tracks from sharing your gifts with the world.

For some, it means they don’t even know or remember why they are here. If you are alive and have breath in your body (something I don’t take for granted after surviving lung cancer), you have a purpose, gifts to share and serve the world with, what can be referred to as your unique genius. You simply have yet to discover it because of those darn “details.”

For others their unique genius is evident, but it’s those daily details that stop them from taking the time to truly develop those gifts. It’s like receiving a beautiful rosebush for your garden, but neglecting to water and fertilize it, allowing whatever weather comes to take care of it because you’re too busy. It may survive because it was planted where it belonged, but it will be neglected, and not grow to it’s full potential, and possibly never bloom. You must make the time to develop your genius.

Finally, for a few, they have found a way to carve out time to develop and appreciate their genius and gifts, but allow those daily devil’s details to stop them from sharing with the world. When you don’t, you waste your precious gifts keeping them to yourself, as if you a hoarder of blessings not willing to allow others in to experience your light. We are here to serve others with our gifts and you’ve got to deliver those gifts to the people who need them most.

It’s time to get your life on track for the greater things you are meant to do.

If you’re ready for that, join The Genius Factor today. Don’t let the devil throw the details in your way so you never get to bring your essence, light, gifts and true genius to the world.

7 Reasons You Have Permission – And a Responsibility – To Prosper

I escaped the frigid Chicago winter and snow to Atlanta recently to attend an event called the Novice to Advance Marketing System, or NAMS.

Ironically, as I sat in the last row of the conference room, in my new long-sleeved turquoise cowl-neck sweater, I began to shiver. It was so COLD in that alarm clock in shadowroom. But that didn’t make it any less warm in spirit. :-)

The keynote speakers at the event varied in their content and value they provided, as well as their skill on stage. One evening’s speaker, Ray Edwards, shared a message of hope. One of the things I most appreciated about Ray Edwards’ speech is that he stood in front of a room full of business people and professed his strong religious beliefs because that’s where the content of his speech was inspired.

It’s amazing to see when speakers present from a place of who they really are and what they truly believe because suddenly the room lights up. Not everyone in the room shared Ray’s strong Christian beliefs, but that didn’t matter. It was his message that mattered. Ray was speaking from his own God-given genius and I’d like to share what I learned based on his main points.

  1. You Are a Creator: Regardless of what you do, you are a creator. In our world of speaking, writing, and providing our expertise to others, it’s important to remember that you are constantly creating: content, an experience, a legacy for people to learn from.
  2. Wealth is an Act of Creation: Wealth is the result of creating massive value. Money isn’t something that we covet, but to look at as certificates of appreciation. The more value you can create, the more wealth you can accumulate. Isn’t that an awesome way to look at the money you receive for a job well-done? The cash in your hand represents certificates of appreciation for the value you provided. The greater the value you provide, the more certificates you receive. Woo-hoo! This reminds me of Bob Burg’s book The Go-Giver where he talks about the Law of Value stated as, “Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.”
  3. Change the World: An entrepreneur’s position is to create value where there was nothing before. When you create value where there was none before, you literally change the world. And you get to change it for the better!
  4. To Break Bondage: There is a greed mindset, which says a person has to horde everything to himself because he fears there is only so much to go around. A poverty mindset says there isn’t enough and never will be enough. When you create value and change the world for the better, and in turn receive wealth from that, you can begin to break free of either of these mindsets, and see the world for what it is: an abundant universe of possibilities where we ALL can have success.
  5. Blessed & Blessing: It’s okay to be blessed so you can be a blessing in return. Be willing to receive the fruits of your labor and be blessed by them. Business in and of itself is good because doing business well allows you to receive and when you receive, you can in turn give. In the Bible it says, “To whom much is given, much will be expected.” When you are blessed you get to bless others.
  6. The Alarm Clock: Bad things happen; that is not up to us. How we deal with bad things, however IS up to us. We each have our own alarm clock and will each leave the earth someday. We should focus on what we are here to do without delay, distraction, or fear. I’ve personally been reminded of this fact having survived a childbirth experience that nearly ended in death for me and my child and then most recently cancer; I think I am on my third and final chance to get it right!
  7. What the World Needs Now: Love what you do, love the people you do it for, love the gift of being able to do it as well as you do, and love being able to do it tomorrow and the day after. Take joy in the work. When you work in a place of love, only good can come from it.

 

 

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