What have I gotten myself into THIS time?!
You can keep up with my progress on Facebook, YouTube and here on my blog (as soon as I’m home from my vacation and get all the videos uploaded everywhere).
I’ll tell you one thing, if it wasn’t for the accountability with my friend, video marketing expert Lou Bortone, and the public promises I made to keep this thing going, I’d have quit by now, less than a week after posting my first video.
But I’m all in. Keep coming back for a new story and lesson each day.
Today’s guest blog post comes from my friend, Nicole Dean, who at a recent keynote “double dog dared” everyone in the room to be more awesome and launched what she calls her “Awesomization Nation.” I call it 30 days of awesome you! You can call it whatever you want, but I urge you to consider joining us. We officially start tomorrow but many of us have been warming up and being awesome since last week!
I Double Dog Dare You to Be Awesome!
By: Nicole Dean
Question: What is Awesomization Nation?
Answer: The Awesomization Nation is a group of awesome entrepreneurs who want to be their awesomest selves. We’ve got hundreds of members already, and each person in the group is posting at least 3 small awesome things they’re doing each day. We encourage members to do a minimum of one thing in their business, one in their lives, and one thing to impact their world or THE world.
Question: Why NOW?
Answer: I was scheduled to give a Keynote at NAMS in March 2015 and the topic was “I Freaking Double-Dog Dare You to Be Awesome” and so the idea for the Awesomization Nation just happened. I wanted to create a movement and the amazing thing is that it’s already taking on a life of its own and we haven’t even officially STARTED yet.
The Awesomization Nation was supposed to start on April 1st, but the members are so eager that they’re already doing awesome every day and posting about it. I’m amazed watching the group and participating in it, too. Joint Ventures are forming, connections are being made, and inspiration is flying everywhere. I honestly am blessed beyond measure that I get to be in this group of positive people.
People are hungry for an invitation to be better versions of themselves, me included. I’m just shocked at how it’s taking off – and thrilled and excited, too!
Question: Will being part of Awesomization Nation help me grow my business or is this just another distraction?
Answer: Being part of the Awesomization Nation will awaken you to potential in your business and your life that you may have stopped seeing. Yes, you’ll receive all kinds of valuable information and inspiration for moving your business forward. But the other important thing is that I want you to have grace to take small steps forward – as long as you ARE moving forward.
For instance, one item you do for the day may be to take 5 minutes to map out the outline of the book that you want to write. Instead of letting 6 more months go by being overwhelmed by the task, break it down and let Awesome You do one part to move that project ahead. Or perhaps an awesome task you might do one day is to schedule a coaching time to talk with Felicia about your Signature Speech™. Instead of putting it off and letting yourself be overwhelmed, take the 5 minutes to book the call, invest in yourself, and walk away ready to rock the stage. That’s definitely what “Awesome You” would do. So do it!
And, to answer your question, YES, it will help you to move your business ahead. Any time you invest in taking action, you’re moving in the right direction. And, these people are definitely taking action. I can’t wait to see where this leads and the RESULTS that our members will get by the end.
Join us at The Awesomization Nation and become more awesome today!
In the years I’ve been teaching the Signature Speech™, one of the main issues I deal with is helping experts understand that the speech is only the beginning of the conversation with the people in the audience who want to know more.
In fact, one of my clients told me yesterday that from one speech she delivered, she booked $16,000 in consulting business within a week or so of the event. Had she insisted on being paid a speaking fee, she would not have been welcome to that stage where her PERFECT clients were sitting in the audience. Speaking for free, selectively and strategically gets results EVERY time. (Of course you can get the same results speaking for a fee, but sometimes the events that don’t pay can yield the greatest profits!)
So that leads to the question about how to ethically get people to join your email list community so you can keep in touch with them to make great things happen and serve them? Thanks to client and friend Shelley Hitz, book writing coach, who inspired this post by asking:
“Do you give [the audience] a link to sign up [for your list] or get them to sign up on a sign up sheet?”
Here’s how I answered:
I ALWAYS use a sign-up sheet passed around the room. I do it that way for several reasons.
- People physically commit to receiving your information in their own writing. That cements for them that they really do want to know more.
- I save those pages and keep them as proof to show any autoresponder service (or even the person himself) later on that they did sign up, if ever there is a challenge of any kind. It’s a way to make sure I’m safe and protected because most people are awesome, but every once in a while you’ll get the occasional mean person who wants to create trouble for you rather than just hitting the unsubscribe button. And yes, some people will reply to your messages and say they never signed up. So it’s easy to show them their own handwriting if they get testy about things. And then hit unsubscribe for them!
- No other method works as well to get everyone in the room who is interested in what you have to offer on your list. I usually get 100%. The mobile app and text people will tell you their way is better, but I have tested every way known to business speakers, and there is something powerful about a plain old sheet of paper with a growing list of names on it being passed to you. You see, there is a psychological trigger of being excluded that comes along with seeing everyone else’s name on a list and the feeling (more than the thought even) that “everyone else is getting this, I don’t want to miss out” because they can see everyone else signing up on the spot. It’s also a concept known as social proof. You don’t get that with mobile because we all know people can be checking their email, Facebook, or texting their friend about dinner plans. No social proof there.
It’s powerful for such a simple, old school thing.
Recently my husband and I enjoyed a week of sun and fun on the 9th Annual Marketer’s Cruise, where we were part of a group of 450+ business owners and marketing professionals on a ship in the Caribbean for networking, meeting new friends, and spending time with old friends.
Because this is a group of marketers, some who are seasoned, but very many newer folks, there are strict rules about what is allowed and what is not in terms of connecting with people during and after the cruise to “sell your stuff.” The definition of “cruise spam” is clear. The rules are:
- Don’t blast everyone with your message, whether via email, social media, or even by dropping your business card by every room associated with the event (yes, someone actually DID that! At least we knew who to steer clear of!).
- Don’t add anyone to your mailing lists who didn’t specifically asked to be added, and especially don’t go through the directory and/or addendum to add people who included their email addresses as part of their profile.
- No overt selling, unless it comes up in conversation that someone tells you directly they are interested in your products or services and they specifically request to know more. Believe me, people will tell you if they are interested in what you have to offer and then the door is open.
The rules are made very clear both in welcome messages sent to each cruiser separately and to the group by means of our private Facebook community, as well as spoken out loud several times on the ship itself by the group coordinator and travel agent, Captain Lou. The rules boil down to STOP selling and see how you can help add value to someone else’s life.
That’s where things get fuzzy. How exactly can you add value? What if, as you’re going through the directory of all the people who attended, you read a bio of someone you didn’t meet on the ship (easy to miss many folks when there are more than 450) who, based on their info looks like they could be a great fit for what you offer? How can you take the conversation off the ship and outside of the Facebook community to see if there is some interest?
What led to this particular blog post was a spammy Facebook private message both my husband and I received yesterday. I described it and asked in the Facebook community:
So, is it considered “cruise spam” for my husband and I to have received the same exact “buy my stuff” private Facebook message from someone neither of us is friends with here and someone neither of us had any conversation with? Or is that just to be assumed as “follow up” (albeit it bad form & poorly done) by someone in a group of marketers? Overall I’ve been impressed with the personal follow up and connection, but now I just feel like I need a shower.
After confirming comments from Anita and Sarah that the message would indeed be considered spammy, one kind and forgiving soul, Scott, suggested maybe the person sending me the spammy message was new, but as it turns out, this person is far from new and even appeared on stage at the event, so theoretically should know better. Why I decided to write this post today is other commenters asked what is the best way to connect, summarized nicely by this question from Susan:
“So any suggestions on how to connect beyond the cruise without being spammy? For fear of being spammy, I haven’t really connected with a lot of people on the cruise that much after the cruise. I would love the connection because I want to know what they do, what are their upcoming events, projects and how we can help each other.”
And then our fearless leader even chimed in, Captain Lou himself, saying others may also be able to benefit from my thoughts. And here we are!
True Connection 101
How you connect with others after a business event of any kind, depends completely on the kind of interaction you had while at the event itself. What follows are my suggestions for how to do that in a way that builds a relationship, whether you buy from each other or not.
Situation 1: Met the person, had a conversation where they expressed interest in what you do as a potential product or service for themselves or someone they know:
This one is the easiest by far. If a person says, “I’d like to talk more with you about this after the event,” that’s your open door. Send an email, private message, or make a phone call to talk with that person more. In the message or at the beginning of the conversation remind the person how you met and a little about your conversation. At longer events and/or where there are hundreds of participants, while we all like to think we are memorable, it’s nice to help the other person connect your name and your face with a reminder of your conversation.
However do NOT simply add that person to your email list without asking first. Better yet, give that person your card and tell her how she can add herself to your list if she would like by offering something for free, for example.
Situation 2: Met the person, hung out for a little while, but business didn’t come up or no direct interest was expressed in what you do.
Let’s say you sat next to a person at one of the shows, or sang karaoke together, or did a cruise excursion to the same place and enjoyed your conversation enough that you decided to check out your new friend because work really didn’t come up. Look for the person in the directory of attendees, visit his social media page, or even Google him or otherwise find his website. Connect on social media for sure. Then if it feels like there might be a good fit, send a private message or email that looks like this:
“Hi John! I really enjoyed hanging out with you at the shore excursion to the Mayan ruins on Belize. I’m sorry we didn’t run into each other much the rest of the cruise. First, I wanted to send you this photo I took of us [or of you and your wife or whatever…].
Second, I had a few minutes to visit your website today and it looks like you’re up to some cool things. I loved your blog post about [be specific about something on his site that you really did like so he knows you’re not just spamming; actually comment on the blog post first. Or watch a video and comment. You get it.]. That got me to thinking we never did get around to talking about business. I don’t know if you had a chance to look at my website, but it’s YourWebsite.com and I thought, if you’re up for it, I’d love to talk to you about what you’re working on. Maybe there’s someone I can connect you with, or a project you’re working on that I might be able to offer help with in some way, and vice versa. What do you think? Of course I understand if you’re busy, and either way, it was great to spend some time with you and look forward to talking more soon!
– Your signature
PS Based on your website [post recently on Facebook, etc.], I think you might enjoy or find value in my free report [webinar, checklist, mp3, whatever…] Title That Would Make Sense to This Person. You can get it here: LinkToYourFreeGift.com
I would not send a link to my calendar at this time. Yes, it would save time if the person wants to say yes, but it presumes too much. If the person emails back yes and does not send you his calendar link to schedule, then send yours. If the person replies back with a no thank you, or a not right now, then stay connected on social media.
Situation 3: You did NOT meet the person or you met only in passing.
With hundreds of people, it’s not likely you will meet everyone. But if you’re looking for leads from the event and don’t want to offend anyone, or worse, get banned from the group, here’s one way to connect.
First, visit the person’s website, blog, or social media accounts and comment on posts, share, retweet, pin, etc. Second, connect on social media. Third, send a PERSONAL message that goes something like this:
We didn’t have a chance to meet each other / or have a conversation on the recent marketers cruise, and now that I’m looking through the directory of attendees, I’m wishing we had. Although between my hubby and I loving all the fun shore excursions and the shows on the ship, I didn’t get to Pizza and Profits until later in the evenings. I’m really sorry I missed you, because as I was reading your entry in the directory you mentioned that you’re looking for help with [be specific, using the same language they used] and that’s just what I do for my clients.
If you want to know a little more about me, you can see me on page 268 of the addendum. I even created a special gift just for cruisers called, “The Marketers Cruise Guide to Speaking and Profits.” You can pick that up for free at http://FeliciaSlattery.com/cruisegift.
I took a few minutes to visit your webiste [blog, LinkedIn profile, YouTube channel] and really like how you [be specific and give an honest compliment]. Also, I noticed a couple of things you could quickly and easily change that might make a big difference for you. I made you a super short video showing you what I mean that you can see privately here [use Jing or another screen capture video to add value by sharing immediately or don’t make a video, but offer a suggestion.] I’m actually doing a free webinar on that next week / or / if you’d like to talk a little more about it, I’d love to connect now.
You may not hear back right away, or at all. If this person seems like a good fit, you can copy the same message into a social media private message or email (whichever you didn’t use the first time) and suggest that with all the filters in place, you wanted to be sure the person received your message. If you don’t hear back again, and the person honestly looks like a good fit for what you do, move them to your offline direct marketing campaign path and send a print newsletter, your book, a post card, a direct response letter, or something else. Make it personal. Make it about them. Offer a specific solution to a specific problem they may have.
Situation 4: You want to know more about someone’s services (without feeling spammed).
No one likes to feel sold to, but everyone like to buy things, especially things we want and need. If you meet someone you think has a product or service that could help you, you can simply join their email list to see what they send, connect and follow them by paying attention on social media, or if you’re ready for the “big guns” of sales that some marketers use, tell them directly and ask for an appointment to talk more about your needs. Before the conversation, be clear on what EXACTLY you need, how you want it delivered, and what your budget is. Then it’s your job to see if the product or service is a good fit for your needs and the business owner should be listening to you to determine if you are a good fit for them.
Under no circumstances:
- DO NOT: Have an assistant copy and paste the same generic message over and over again, whether it’s in email or on social media. Even if it sounds sort of personal or is written by someone who knows how to write copy, it’s still spam.
- DO NOT: Send unsolicited “here’s my free stuff” messages without any reason related to the person you’re “reaching out” to.
- DO NOT: Treat anyone as a number or just “another lead.” Every number in your funnel represents a person; a human being with needs and wants, hopes and dreams. They deserve to be respected, even if they don’t want to buy from you.
Finally, I’ll end with a story. My husband, Brent, and I met a wonderful couple, Dutch and Vanessa, on the cruise. We spent several evenings chatting, hanging out, and just having fun. If you’ve been married for any length of time, you know it’s rare to find couples friends, where the husbands have things in common, the wives have things in common, and even the opposite husband and wife have things in common. That was us with Dutch and Vanessa.
Naturally, the topic of business came up a few times with Dutch and Vanessa, but it was simply where the conversation went, rather than any one person trying to sell another. During one part of our conversation, after Dutch told me more about what he does for his clients, I suggested maybe we could talk about him helping me. And what he said next will stick with me for a long time. In that moment, he could have moved in to set up an appointment or tried to sell me on the spot. Perhaps instead, he could have been preparing me for a let down that maybe my business isn’t at the volume that his company requires or that we might not be a good fit, but he said,
“I don’t know if we will end up working together or if we won’t. But no matter what happens with work, I’d like to stay great friends.”
Doing business is about creating authentic connections and real relationships so we can help each other succeed.
Anything else just makes you look like a jerk out for only yourself.
Me and my big mouth. (Or maybe I should say “fast fingers” instead.)
When my friend and colleague, Kelly McCausey over at SoloSmarts.com mentioned on her Facebook page that she was issuing a challenge and tagged a few other friends, I chimed in something about how fun a throwdown is. And then she invited ME to do it, too.
Well, I can’t turn down a challenge – it’s my competitive nature. So here is the challenge, as Kelly described it:
Answer my challenge, create your own Best of the Blog list and leave a link as a comment and I promise to share it with everyone in my community (just like I’ve shared mine).Rules of Entry:
- Your post must list and link to at least 10 blog items you’ve chosen as faves.
- Tell your readers you’re answering my Challenge and link back to my post.
- Leave the link in a comment on my post.
- Give your post some social media love of course!
- Deadline: 5pm Eastern on Tuesday, December 30th
Did you catch that last line, I highlighted it in red so you wouldn’t miss it? yep. The deadline was only a few hours away.
My first thought… dang, do I even have 10 posts from this year? LOL I share a lot of content in a lot of places, but Kelly’s challenge is a reminder to me to blog even more frequently with some of that content.
So without further ado, here is my list. I decided to share categories:
First, I see part of my job as protecting my readers from scams, so I post whenever I hear about a scam against speakers:
Then there are lessons learned that speakers can use:
(No image – just a cool music video!)
If you want to be a successful speaker, but you’re not sure where to start, here are a few ideas about that and getting past the nerves!
This was a promo I wrote for a webinar that people loved because of the title and how the post pointed out the obvious that just because the advice is common, doesn’t mean it makes sense!
And then was a product I created called Speaker One-Sheet Templates where I shared a bunch of training on how to use those to get more speaking gigs and such, so even if people didn’t use my templates, they could definitely benefit from the posts.
And finally, something you should do in your business, if you haven’t done yet:
I don’t know about you, but with Thanksgiving being so close to the end of November this year, December seemed to sneak up in a hurry and now here we are less than 2 weeks until Christmas!
Much of my shopping is finished, but I still need to get things wrapped and in the mail. Speaking of getting things in the mail, this year I decided to take a break from the greeting card service I’d used for the past several years and send my greetings from home.
For years I’d done a standard Christmas letter, buying Christmas-themed paper at an office supply store (or New Year’s paper depending on how late I was!), and printing them from my own ink-jet printer at home. They were fine, but lacked spark and creativity.
So this year, I went online in search of tips for writing a Christmas newsletter for my family and came across some cool-looking graphic formats online that I loved. I sat down with my blank screen in front of me, ready to model a couple of them as best I could, when I had a “DUH! – halleluiah!” moment.
I already have beautiful graphic templates I can use for my Christmas newsletter! So I opened one of my Speaker One-Sheet Templates, chose a fun font (which took longer than anything because I have thousands of fonts and LOVE them!), and within an hour had the whole thing written, saved, and sent off to my local print shop to print black and white copies. For a grand total of $5 I had them ready to go! I’ll pop them in the envelope with one of the photo cards from the drug store and I’m all set.
If you’re a little behind, and want to create a family newsletter, grab one of the Speaker One-Sheet Templates today and you’ll be done before your head hits the pillow tonight, crossing one more thing off your list! Woo-hoo!
Here’s what I included on ours:
– A short list of the most awesome things that happened as a family for us this year and one from each family member.
– Some stats about our family, how long we’ve been married, and in our home and how old the girls are this year.
– A short memorial to my beautiful grandmother who passed away this year.
– A list of our favorite books we each read in the past year. This was difficult for some of us because we read a TON, but fun to see!
– A list of silly family awards. For example, I gave my 12-year old daughter the award for, “Most Dramatic Eye Rolling, Bed Flopping,Sarcastic Sighing, and Retreating to Her Room, for being 12 – YAY.”
I used icons and free clip art to make it more than just words and then saved the whole thing as a black and white file so the printing costs would be minimal. As nice as the red and green looked on my screen, I know these are getting tossed in the recycle bin after family and friends read it, and I have the family photo in there, anyway, so black and white is just fine.
Plus, you know, you can use your template for all kinds of other stuff, too, like getting speaking gigs ;-).
First, I didn’t love the tone the reporter took about the industry that has inspired millions of people for decades. Throughout the report, her tone of voice said she wasn’t convinced that what we do to teach, motivate, encourage, and inspire others was somehow legitimate. Her incredulous, “Your BEST year EVER?” reply to the owner of a Chicago speaker’s bureau and her challenge to Wayne Dyer, “What do you say to people who think this is all just a bunch of baloney?” were telling, and frankly, a bit unsettling. Not that I would have wanted her to be a cheerleader for our industry, but a little journalistic neutrality would have been better for a story that was not presented as an expose of any sort.
And how Dyer answered the reporter’s challenge, was of course classic motivational wisdom. He quoted Henry Ford’s “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right,” and then told her that if she or others see a lot of baloney, they must be attracting a lot of baloney into their lives. BOOM.
Beyond that, the piece had some useful information for professional speakers in it.
One lesson is from the speakers bureau owner’s perspective, who gets 15 new speakers inquiring about having his agency represent them per month, and almost NONE of those speakers fit his criteria of “very good, great, or excellent.” He says he’s not there to be people’s friend and almost proudly admits that he’s crushed a lot of dreams. That means there are a WHOLE lot of speakers out there thinking they are good enough to be paid the big bucks, (this bureau has speakers at the $20K+ level) but in reality, are not even close to having the skill they need to succeed.
That is in line with what I see in the trenches of speaking all the time. Far too may speakers are disproportionately worried about their marketing far more than they are concerned about improving their craft, stage presence, story-telling, and entertainment value of being on stage. There are some well-known speaker marketing people who will tell you to put your speaking skills into a box and put them off to the side while you work on your marketing, in essence telling you to ignore your PRODUCT.
You see, if you get paid to show up and speak, your speech and performance is your product. And if your product stinks, no amount of slick marketing can cover up that fact. Good marketing can get you hired, but if your product isn’t top notch, you’ll never get any referrals, testimonials, repeat business, or “back end” business – things like a juicy consulting contract, or physical book and product sales.
In fact, in the story, you’ll see the second piece of important information about how to succeed as a speaker: you’ve GOT to be entertaining. Now this story focuses on being funny and talks about how you should literally time yourself between big laughs and have no more than two minutes between them. However, if you’re an inspirational speaker, or an instructional speaker, or a faith-based speaker, think in terms of an emotional impact mixed in with the laughs. We are there to create an experience for the audience members.
On the other hand, there is another group of speakers who believe if they only hone their craft better, if only they could deliver that one-liner of a joke with better timing, or pause in just the right spots, they will get more gigs, and so spend far less time than they should on their outdated marketing materials, never writing those books, or not creating any products to serve the audience.
The story’s main point is that the speaking business is healthy and growing and there is room for the best speakers to succeed. Your bottom line: allow time in your business to develop BOTH your marketing AND your stage presence and speech and you will be able to make a very healthy living.
Note: For some reason, this video cannot be embedded. You can view the whole story on Vimeo here.
WE DID IT!!!
Yesterday I launched my new book, Kill the Elevator Speech: Stop Selling, Start Connecting. The image you see here started as a screen capture sent to me by Facebook friend and reader, Frederique Murphy, founder of Mountain Moving Mindset, international speaking and consultant based in Ireland.
Last night I finally crashed shortly after the midnight totals came in here. I was wiped out after all the work I did this week in preparing for the book launch. So I am VERY grateful to Frederique, who was thoughtful enough to grab a few screen captures of my rankings in the early morning hours.
As you can see, we hit #1 AND #2 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases list. For some reason Amazon counts the Kindle book and the physical book as two separate titles (I have no idea why), which is why I was able to be at both the top two positions.
Here are a few other stats from the launch:
The highest best-seller ranking we hit was #2 in it’s category. This image is from my iPhone snapped overnight.
You see, my (very lofty) goal for this book is for it to hit the New York Times Best-Seller List. This internet launch was only phase one. Phase two begins in earnest after Thanksgiving when I start the national media promotion. So if you happen to have any contacts with folks at any of the big business networks, I’ve been interviewed on TV and can certainly handle myself in an interview. Plus, I’m passionate about this message that we should all just stop it with the elevator speech (or elevator pitch) once and for all.
The good news is people are loving the book! It currently has a total of nine reviews, ALL are 5-stars!
In the meantime, there are people to thank. Many thousands of them, actually, but I’ll name just a few here.
First, to those who made me graphics throughout the day to help support the book launch, Joe McCready and Craig Carpenter. Joe handles my Facebook page for me and is always coming up with awesome graphics. Craig, well, he just happened to send me a private message in the middle of the day yesterday, about something totally unrelated, and then a few minutes later surprised me with the awesome quotes.
Also, a big thanks to Anita Johnson, Paul Taubman, and Ruth Martin, my tireless help desk manager, webmaster, and virtual assistant. If you’ve ever scheduled an appointment with me (or want to have me on your podcast, radio show, or TV segment!), Ruth is the one who makes all that happen (along with making sure I see and eventually respond to emails!). And If you’ve ever had any difficulty with my websites, Anita has been on the case, getting you taken care of, while Paul makes sure things are clean, backed-up, and secure every month.
Speaking of websites – less than 24 hours before the book launch, my main website went down. Ka-put. Within two hours of a phone call to Regina Smola, everything was back up, running good as new. If you ever have any issues with your WordPress website, Regina is someone you WANT to know and have on your team. I am grateful to know her.
And finally, the person who worked until 3 AM the night before (really the morning of!) my book launch, designing everything, making everything work and run beautifully, is Debra Lloyd. She made some of most fun graphics I ever had in my business, as well as doing SO MUCH more. Being British, she had to add the queen’s crown to the keep calm graphic, and she’s also responsible for the graphic at the top of this page and many (MANY) others. I am in deep gratitude for her hard work on this project. You can see more of her work on Facebook, and I will be using all of her graphics as we go along. I don’t think I can ever thank her enough, but it might well include sharing a bottle of wine the next time we’re in the same room!
And most of all, YOU! For the dozens (possibly hundreds) of people who shared my book on your social media profiles, for the people who gave me quick and early feedback about the launch page, which helped me to make it better, to the private email support, to every person who picked up a copy (and in some cases several copies as gifts!), THANK YOU from the bottom of my very grateful heart.
Now I’m getting offline for the rest of the weekend. I need a break :-).
Yesterday I was at an event where I had the honor of sharing lunch with and learning from Hugh Ballou, leadership expert and CEO Space faculty member. Ballou has been written up in Forbes magazine, and is the author of several books where he shares leadership lessons from his more than 40 years as a conductor and leader of music ministry at one of the biggest mega-churches in the country.
My biggest action item take-away from his presentation is to be successful, we should run our business on our own personal guiding principles and to communicate those guiding principles clearly with everyone we work with.
Different from your mission statement, vision statement, business plan, marketing plan, or strategic plan, your guiding principles are your values, clearly defined, that drive your work. Note the short definition from BusinessDictionary.com:
“Any principles or precepts that guide an organization throughout its life in all circumstances, irrespective of changes in its goals, strategies, type of work, or the top management.” (my emphasis added)
Interestingly, this definition fits perfectly for small and solo business owners, experts, speakers, and consultants because we often change our goals, strategies and even sometimes the type of work we do by adding or subtracting products and services. Even if you don’t have all those other business-y pieces, Hugh Ballou asserted, when you have your guiding principles in place, and those you work with from clients and customers to joint venture partners and even vendors know what you’re about, it’s easy for them to interact with you at all levels. Ballou shares his own guiding principles for his personal life, and for his business on his website.
“The bottom line: leading without guiding principles is like trying to sail a boat without a rudder.” ~ Hugh Ballou
So keeping that in mind, here are my own guiding principles for my business as a speaker, author, and consultant:
Be Myself: In all communication, including on social media, on stage, on video, on TV, in emails, and in person, I will be who I truly am, not a stylized version of me, or some pseudo-representation of who I think people want to see. When people meet me after seeing me online or in the media, I always want their reaction to be, “You’re just like how I thought you’d be!”
Be Creative: I will look for creative and unique solutions to challenges for myself and my clients, and enjoy the creative process as it unfolds. This includes being open to the possibilities I have not yet considered.
Be Grateful: Realizing that all I have is a gift from God, I will show my gratitude and thanks for the good that comes into my business and my life.
Be Compassionate: Remembering that I have felt confused, scared, frustrated, and angry at times, I will respond with compassion when others are feeling the same as they interact with my business and online processes that sometimes, as all technologies and systems do, will fail to provide the best possible experience. I will also remind others to please be compassionate with me, as I would never intend for something to not work or go as it should and want people to enjoy their experience of working with me and purchasing from me.
Have Fun: If I’m not enjoying myself and having a good time, it’s likely others I’m interacting with are not either. I will look for the joy and fun in most situations and whenever there is a choice, I will choose to laugh.
Be Collaborative: I will find ways to work together with clients and competitors, realizing that serving the world from our own gifts and genius honors not only the people we work with, but gives glory to God for each using our gifts.
Create Win-Win-Win Situations: Unless every party in a professional relationship will benefit, I will not be involved. That means the person I’m working with has to benefit, I have to benefit, and the people we serve have to benefit. If there’s any “lose” involved, I’m out.
Connect and Create Connections: Regardless of how it may or may not benefit me, I will connect people I know to each other and to opportunities so they can serve each other and create win-win-win situations in their own businesses and lives.
Be a Lifelong Learner: Never be too smart to learn more, to improve my craft, or to discover something wonderful about my business or myself that will help me grow, expand, and move forward. Look for learning opportunities and teachable moments everywhere.
Be Inspiring and Inspired: (This one is a challenge for me, but so many have used this word to describe me, I am learning to embrace it!) – I will inspire others to do their best, be their best, and serve the most people possible using their gifts and their genius. And I will actively seek to be inspired by the brilliance and genius of others to do my best, be my best, and serve the most people possible.
That exercise took some time and in-depth thought about how I will run my business, regardless of my goals, or even the work I choose to do. I may amend these as time goes on and as I realize there is more I want to commit to, but even the Constitution of the United States gets amended every now and then.
Have you done something like this before? If not, consider doing so and then share the link to your own guiding principles in the comments below.
“Picture them in their underwear.” Um, no.
“Picture them doing something demeaning like scrubbing the toilet.” Really?
“Picture them naked.” Gross.
All of the above is nonsense and ridiculous advice I’ve heard at one time or another on how to get past a fear of public speaking.
When I pull it out of context like I did in the title of this post, well, you can see the ludicrousness of telling people to imagine others in their underwear, and so forth.
Those who don’t know any better are well-meaning. They are trying to help. The idea, of course, is that theoretically, anyway, when you picture your audience members in a compromising or less-than-powerful position, you supposedly feel more powerful, and therefore better and less afraid.
You know what makes you feel more powerful? BEING more powerful in your own knowledge of what you can do for others. KNOWING that what you do for people, that your message, can truly change someone’s life for the better, whether in a tiny way or in a HUGE way.
If you are sure that you offer value to people who pay you, if you have happy customers, and if you know speaking is a powerful way to spread your message and attract new soon-to-be happy customers so you can help them with your God-given talents, but have felt held back because of fear, I invite you to a webinar I’m calling, “Get Over It! (Your Fear of Speaking.)”
Tomorrow is Halloween. There is no more perfect day to address something that feels scary, but that you still want to do – and GET OVER IT once and for all.
Now, I can’t promise that by listening to a webinar you can immediately conquer your fears forever on the spot so you are never afraid at all of speaking again (and be skeptical of anyone who says they can – that’s some pretty hypey stuff), but I CAN help you look at your fear in a different way. I CAN motivate you and inspire you to help the people who NEED you. And, just as importantly, I can give you PROVEN techniques that have worked for the thousands of people I have taught them to over the years.
People come to me privately all the time to ask for this kind of help. I want to help you, too, so you no longer have to listen to wacko advice about picturing people in their undies. Sheesh. Here the long link to join the webinar:
Tell all your fraidy cat friends, too! We’ll have some fun and maybe banish that fraidy cat feeling and empower you to speak!