Having written two full-length books with another under contract, a handful of ebooks, and thousands of articles and blog posts, I know what it’s like sitting with a blinking cursor in front of you on a blank screen, almost mocking you. It’s not like you don’t have ideas. It’s not like you don’t know your stuff. But golly… when it comes time to put your butt in the chair and roll up your sleeves, something can overcome even the most accomplished, brilliant expert like you.
Call it writer’s block. Call it performance anxiety. Call it procrastination. Whatever it is, if writing a book is on your list of goals for 2012, the name of what’s stopping you from reaching your goal doesn’t matter — you gotta get past it and git ‘er done!
Enter: Public speaking.
If you are an author or want to be an author, one of the easiest places to start is with the speech you’ll give to talk about your book. I call it your Signature Speech™ for Authors and it can help you do a number of things:
1. Clarify your thoughts: when you have a bunch of ideas all rumbling around in your head, for many of us it often helps to talk your ideas out. One way I’ve found to be useful is to put together a list of questions I’d want someone to ask me about my book. Then I can come up with my answers.
2. Determine the hot topics: Yes, your entire book will be filled with useful information that is important to advancing your field, helping your readers, and in general sharing a bit of yours and others’ expertise. However, there will be parts of your book that will get readers extra excited—whether that is a new development in your field, a contrary opinion you have backed up by data, or a new way of looking at or doing something. People will be talking. Putting together your speech will illuminate for you what that will be because in any speech you want to serve from the stage with details that get your audience excited about their experience of listening to you.
3. Think in user-friendly chunks: Writing an entire book can be overwhelming. But when you write a speech, typically you start with the body of the speech, which should contain from 3-5 main distinct points, presented clearly for your audience. Each main point will be chunked into sections. Your book outline can then quickly spring from those sections.
4. Determine your goal for the book: Most savvy authors know it’s not the sale of your book that will make you money. It’s what you do to capitalize on the content from your book (use the buzz word “leverage” if you like) that will bring you the greatest cash flow. When you pull back from the blinking cursor and look at your book from a 20,000 foot view as a cog in a wheel of content and opportunities for you, what details belong in the book become clearer. When you develop your speech first, you can easily see what content needs to be more fully elaborated on in your book and then further in programs, mastermind groups, and membership sites, all of which lead to more money in your pocket, in addition to being paid to deliver the speech itself!
5. Get feedback from audiences BEFORE your book is in print: Making changes in your book after it’s been published can be an expensive and daunting task (trust me… I’m writing the 2nd edition of my first book.). When you present the content of your book to live audiences you get the huge benefit of hearing their feedback on parts they liked best, parts they want to hear more about and parts they don’t care much about at all. You can deliver your speech to live audiences in person, but also think about teleseminars, webinars, being a guest on a blog radio talk show, presenting a podcast or other creative ideas to get your content in front of audiences to get that vital feedback.
If you are an author or want to be, you can pick up a free 24-minute video about getting started writing your own Signature Speech ™ for Authors at http://signaturespeechforauthors.com/.
In July 2008, I attended my first Internet marketing conference. That was my introduction to a whole new world, live and in person.
Because of events that happened at that 3-day conference in Chicago, within a couple weeks I was quickly propelled to success in the Internet marketing crowd, being interviewed on radio shows by some of the biggest name “gurus,” being promoted by others, and began speaking on stages across the country about communication and public speaking. Effective communication is a skill you need in any business and Internet marketing is certainly no different.
It was a very exciting time. Except over and over again, I kept hitting a brick wall in that marketplace. His name is Frank Kern.
Frank Kern has created a persona of himself as “laid back surfer dude done good.” He’s built a wildly successful Internet empire based on his solid concepts and content, which honestly is always good, but isn’t exactly rocket science or anything new. However, because he packages it well and is a master at selling himself, his persona, and his products, Mr. Frank Kern has become a very wealthy and successful man. Good for him.
Along with that success, over the years Kern has accepted many invitations to speak on stage to his marketplace, and has recorded dozens of talking head videos. As he should, he maintained his “surfer dude” persona while onstage or on video, typically wearing shorts, t-shirt, ruffled hair and an unkempt beard. And, even though I’ve never met the man personally, he caused all kind of headaches for ME.
As a public speaking consultant, I talk to my clients and audiences all the time about the importance of looking the part of a successful business owner and dressing to that image of success. Then here comes Frank Kern, who, dressed in whatever he wore to bed the night before and cursing at his audiences, is hugely successful with a large following.
The most savvy of business owners in his market realized all along he was dressed that way and speaking in that manner because it worked for his persona. Keeping up that image was a large part of his success, with the implicit message to others just beginning their Internet businesses, “You can do this too.” That led to an interesting phenomenon.
Thousands of 20-something young men believed they could curse and dress like slobs all the way to millionaire status success, because Frank Kern did it. Never mind that persona was completely orchestrated. Like a theme for a party or special event, Frank Kern stayed true to character and his fans ate it up.
Until last week.
Last week, Frank Kern released what he calls his State of the Internet Address. As you can see from the screen capture of the video, Frank Kern has cleaned up a lot. He’s wearing a custom-made suit. He’s trimmed his beard, cut his hair, and is sitting behind a desk in a large office. As of this writing more than 1,900 people have clicked “Like” on Facebook for the video.
In a subsequent post to his Facebook fan page, he talked about how a few people gave him some flack about the new look, but the overwhelming majority of comments were all about how pleased his audience members are to see him cleaned up and dressing the part of a wealthy and successful business owner.
Even in our “occupy movement” world, business owners want to look up to someone who is successful. And that means looking the part.
So this is a public thank you to Mr. Frank Kern. You just made my job a whole lot easier. Here’s what Frank Kern did with this video that made me smile and that you can emulate for your business communication while speaking on video:
- He dressed the part. Finally a guy who’s making millions looks like more than a surfer dude, even if only for one video.
- He used a “Talking Head” video. With all the resources at his disposal, Kern could have chosen to produce ANY kind of video and had it look and sound like Hollywood quality. In fact, he actually employed the services of an Emmy-award winning editor, but at its essence, this is a basic talking head video in a location that screams, “Professional who knows what he’s talking about. Take notice and listen.”
- He was deliberate in his communication decisions and it showed. Here’s the thing: I may not have ever met him, but I’m personal friends with one of Frank Kern’s business partners, and I can assure you, Kern’s decisions about his persona and communication have always been deliberate. But now, with the release of this video, those deliberate decisions are obvious.
So what do you think? How do you “look the part” when you speak? Do you think your appearance matters when communicating credibility?
The weather was crisp in the late afternoon hours as we headed for the choir of the bells Christmas Eve service at the beautiful small-town church in east Tennessee. As my mother-in-law guided us to a place in the crowded pews, warmly greeting friends along the way, the late afternoon sun was streaming in through the circular stained-glass windows. Children looked wide-eyed around the large building in anticipation of the joy to come over the next day.
- Stories enhance any communication situation. Remembering facts and statistics isn’t as easy for most people as it is to remember the details of a well-told story. Include them everywhere, as often as possible.
- The story should illustrate a point. You never want to leave your audience wondering what that was all about. Make a clear connection between your story and the reason for telling it.
- Emotions are important. Use language that evokes emotion. Even if you never say the word “feeling,” you can use adjectives, adverbs, and settings to set the emotional scene of any story.
- Adding little details enhances the story, but don’t sweat the exactness of it all. Maybe I got Leo the Lion when I was 8 years old or the church was in North Carolina instead of Tennessee. As long as the essence of the story remains, don’t stop yourself 15 times as you tell it trying to recall if your story happened on a Monday or a Tuesday. No one is giving a history test after your story.
- Pay attention to your nonverbal expression of the story. Speed up when you’ve reached an exciting point, slow down and lower your volume to invoke intensity, and use gestures to enhance your audience’s overall meanings.
Normally when I do a phone call with a colleague, they send me some bullet points about their talk to share with you, maybe put a picture of me on their website and provide a link so you can register. That’s pretty standard and works well. But that’s NOT what Lon did.
You’d expect a guy who is a master at coming up with innovative and creative ideas to do things differently. And wow–did he ever!
After we scheduled his appearance, the next thing he did was send me a script. Now I had an idea that the audio I recorded from that script was going to be set to a video because that’s what Lon does, but I had no idea what the end result would be. And it turned out to be a riot!
Lon still laughs with me about the audio I gave him because I made a few small “tweaks”, shall we say, to his script. You see, Lon hangs out in the world of “internet marketers” where they use words like “crush the competition” and “create killer” such and suches. But as you may have guessed, I’m not a killer, crusher kinda gal. So when Lon sent me a script with the word “killer” in it, I made a couple changes.
Because I had a script, I was able to get my recording done in one take, on the fly – literally on a Monday morning as I was rushing to get the kids out the door. I said, “Everybody be quiet for 2 minutes. Mommy has to make a recording!”
Then I sent Lon the .mp3 and was done. What he did with it was such fun! I have never received so many positive comments about an invitation in my 5 years online. You can see that here.
As a speech consultant and coach, I often get asked if business owners, experts and entrepreneurs using video in their marketing should write a script. As I was preparing a presentation about this very topic, I was reminded of my experience with Lon. As a result, I came up with a graphic explanation of how, when and why you should use a script and when you don’t need to bother.
It boils down to this: The more “serious” the commitment to your call to action, the more scripted your videos should be. Here are the three levels from the graphic:
No-Low Commitment: If you are using a video on YouTube for example and the most you’re asking is for your viewers to visit a website by clicking a link, no script needed.
Low-Medium Commitment: If you’re using a video on your landing page asking for your visitor to give you their name and email address, there’s some commitment in that. They know you’ll be starting a relationship and emailing them. So you need to have your video a bit more scripted, but it’s ok to make some changes as you go along (that’s what I did with Lon’s script).
Medium-High Commitment: If you’re using video on a sales page that is designed to ask your visitor to make a financial investment (like giving you money for your product or service), then you need a script that ensures you explain why they should do that, share specific benefits, and pay close attention to your language. Write and revise this script until it’s just right to speak to your ideal audience. And don’t make any changes along the way.
With the popularity of marketing your business with online video booming having this guide should help release you from your worries about having to write a script for every video you do.
Recently, I learned from Bill Glazer, who before becoming a highly paid marketing teacher and consultant, ran his own successful menswear retail store for 30+ years. This guy has sales and marketing in his blood.
The purpose of the event was to show new members of the Glazer Kennedy Inner Circle how to move forward with their new membership and learn some basic marketing skills and beyond. The focus of the event was clearly on teaching and training.
However, because Bill is an awesome marketer, when he had the opportunity to talk about his company’s products, he did so, unapologetically. He didn’t come across as pushy or “salesy” – simply suggesting that if audience members were interested in learning more, there was more training to do so, gave them a reason to pick it up today, and casually moved on to his next training point.
It’s like he can’t turn it off.
Even as he went through his training presentation, much of the language was written in a way to sell the audience on paying attention to the next part of the training, keeping us interested and fully engaged. I’ll tell you, keeping an audience fully engaged for an hour isn’t easy to do, but for two very full days, that takes serious skill. Because Bill understands how to keep people engaged – after all marketing is all about engaging an audience so they pay attention to your offers – he was able to keep a room full of 300+ entrepreneurs paying rapt attention the entire two days.
The second entrepreneur was in the audience.
After the main meeting ended, there was a smaller follow-up implementation group with about 95 audience members from the local area. During that meeting one of the people in the audience stood up and started banging on the table, cursing and trying to “fire up” the audience to get excited about their businesses. In doing so, he made one of the official presenters running that part of the event clearly uncomfortable. So here was this guy, who has yet to be successful in his business as a personal trainer talking his talk by trying to be motivating.
However as I looked around the room, most audience members looked shocked, irritated and embarrassed by this person. The reaction had a lot to do with how he was speaking out of turn inappropriately. But something else struck me about why he was sitting in the audience and why his business has yet to be successful. As a personal trainer, his own body is anything but in shape.
Now don’t get me wrong… I’m not picking on the guy because he has some weight to lose (ha- I could stand to lose a few myself!). His issue goes way deeper than that. He has an integrity issue. And sadly many yet-to-be-successful entrepreneurs and experts suffer the same fate.
If you are not walking your talk and living what you teach others, people will not take you seriously and will not buy from you. The message you communicate is “do as I say and not as I do.” And that’s a major problem.
Who would want to hire an out of shape personal trainer?
Or an organization expert who pulls up to the networking meeting in a messy car?
Or a time management expert who is always late?
Or a graphic designer with a visually boring logo and outdated website?
Or a wealth coach who is in debt?
Make sure your first and best customer is YOURSELF.
When you live and breathe your own message:
You become a walking billboard for what you do.
People are instantly attracted to you because you are in full integrity.
Your credibility is inherent in who you are.
Prospects can see clearly that you are successful at what you teach and are easily motivated to hire you to show them how to do the same thing.
Someone like Bill Glazer, who is a millionaire many times over, has thousands of customers around the world because he lives and breathes his message. His entire world communicates that he IS a marketer. It’s not just his words. His words, his actions, and his life communicate a completely congruent message. So take a hard look in the mirror and ask yourself which entrepreneur are you most like and commit to doing whatever you must so your messages are in full alignment with who you are.
So tell me, how do you live and breathe your own personal message . . . or what changes do you think you can make to start to get your walk and talk to align with your message?
In 1962, communication researcher Marshall McLuhan began to popularize the term “global village.” At the time, he was talking about the implications of the “modern” mass media and technology, such as televisions and telephones, for creating the kind of world where connecting with other people and cultures around the globe was possible. All that then allowed the average person sitting in their homes to communicate with people no matter where they are and to see how they live through the images on the TV right in their homes.
Fast forward to today when we now can take the global village with us on our smart phones, tablet devices, and few well-selected apps, and suddenly any expert or entrepreneur has the capability of reaching out to the world.
Pretty exciting stuff!
In fact, what’s most exciting for folks like us is that if you want to speak, you can easily be in touch with your market. Using video online you can create a feeling of intimacy of being face-to-face while never leaving your own home or office.
So now that you know you can reach your audience ANYWHERE what would you say and how would you say it?
One of the best and easiest ways is with video. Here are just a few of the ways you can use a simple yet powerful way to connect that is just like you face-to-face over a cup of coffee with your viewers:
1. Instructional/Promotional Videos on Free Sharing Sites: Think YouTube. Be careful here. The best uses of videos on sites like YouTube, Viddler and Vimeo, just to name a few is to entertain or provide useful info (or both!). Record a series of videos that are a glossary of terms your market needs to know or one video per frequently asked question. Here’s an example of public speaking tip I put up on YouTube.
2. Welcome Video on Your Website: If you have a more brochure-style website you can use a quick video to welcome visitors and telling them about your site and what you’d like them to do while they are visiting. See the example of how I do this on http://FeliciaSlattery.com.
3. Squeeze Page AKA Opt-In Video Invitation: As you’re building your community of subscribers, record a quick personal invitation to sign up to receive a free report, e-course, white paper, or ….
4. …Video Training Series: After a new subscriber opts in, you could provide a longer video training with some greater details in it.
5. Testimonial Video: When you are thrilled with a product or service or even an ezine, ahem (hint, hint, wink, wink, nudge nudge…), you could record a video to let others know about your good experience, especially if it relates in some way to what you do for others. It shows you’re keeping up-to-date in your field and working to better yourself, just like you’re likely encouraging your clients and prospects to do as well. People are more likely to buy from you or connect with you when they see you modeling the same behavior. Put these videos on your blog, Facebook, or YouTube (or all three!).
I would love to hear from you. What are some creative ways that you have used to reach your audience? Please share in the comments!
You see, I’ve never had a dog in almost my whole life. My Dad had a German shepherd when I was a baby, but by the time I was three years old she was out of the house. My husband, Brent, was raised around dogs and always had at least one dog in the house until the time he was 18 and went away to college. However, he was never responsible for the dog. That means neither of us has ever raised and been responsible for a dog in our adult lives. We’re learning a lot quickly!
Actually, it’s kind of like running a business. You do learn a lot quickly as you get rolling. Having a new dog has reminded me of a lot of business lessons. I’ll be sharing with you plenty of stories about our Sadie, I’m sure!
Today, as I was trying to choose which article I’d write for you, I’ve been amazed. My 10-month old puppy – not known for their attention spans, like most children! – has pretty much not moved from my feet. I’d like to say it’s because she enjoys sitting by me, but it’s mostly because she has a steer bone she’s working on.
If you’re not familiar with a steer bone, it’s about seven inches long, circular, and hollow. My in-laws taught us to put some natural peanut butter inside the hollow part. I’ve been sitting here for about 90 minutes working and Sadie has been working too, on this bone the entire time! She’s barely moved other than to reposition the bone – oh and then when I took her photo you see here, she came over to say hi. But then she went right back to her bone.
So…. thank my new dog Sadie for today’s article inspiration: how you can be like a dog with a bone in your business.
- Sheer Unrelenting Focus: Sadie has a good half dozen toys or more to choose from. But she is focused on the steer bone. When you deliver a speech or work on a project, forget that ridiculous “entrepreneurial ADD” we always hear about. Don’t allow your speech to ramble around and don’t allow your focus in your business to waiver. Later on Sadie will be on to another toy, just like you can be on to another project. But in the moment: stay focused.
- Keep It Up: What’s 90 minutes in dog years? A long time, that’s what. And it’s how long Sadie has been working on this bone. Patiently. Consistently. Going after the prize. Communication in your business is also about consistency and persistence. Don’t try one communication tactic or strategy one time and decide it doesn’t work. Keep at it to get it right and get to your prize.
- Use Different Angles: Sadie doesn’t just hold the steer bone one way to get at the peanut butter inside. She moves the bone around and from side to side to get what she wants. Do you want something in your business? I bet there’s more than one way to get at it. For example, if you’d like to make more money, are you using just one way to do it? Or do you have multiple means of bringing in more cash? In my business I work with private clients, sell products online, teach paid virtual classes, get paid to do speaking gigs, and get paid from sponsors. What’s another angle you can look at in your business where you could get more of the good stuff?
- Have Fun!: There’s one thing I’ve learned about my dog… she’s all about having fun. She is clearly enjoying working on her steer bone. What do you love to do in your business? Fun does not have to be about not being productive. In fact, the more fun you’re having the more productive you are likely to be in your business. It’s because you enjoy what you’re doing that you can do more and get more done. If you’re not having fun anymore, maybe it’s time to change your perspective, take a break, or make a switch to a project or task you’ll like better.
So for you pet owners — have you learned any valuable lessons for business, or life — from your four-legged (or feathered) friends? Share them in the comments.
Here is a tale of two tools you may want to use for your blogging & business success:
A couple of weeks ago I created a survey for meeting planning professionals who hire professional speakers. I wanted some insight for an article I’m working on into their experience including stories of the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to hiring & working with speakers. Only problem was, I wanted responses from planners I’m not already friends with. But how to find them?
You’d think Twitter would be a great resource. Sure, my survey did get retweeted by some kind folks in that industry — but still, I only had a tiny handful of responses. Nothing to base an entire article on. Then one of my mastermind partners suggested I directly interview a few people.
That’s when I got the idea to put a query out to the HARO family of more than 100,000 readers. And WOW — was the response amazing! I’ve received exactly the kind of stories I was looking for an have had the opportunity to interview some truly knowledgeable folks. The cost for this fabulous response and now the ability to write an article that will SURELY be picked up by an industry publication? FREE! Three cheers for Peter Shankman otherwise known as @Skydiver. Hip hip hooray, Peter!
Last weekend was a live event I wish I could have attended but being home with my kids was much more important. So using the Twitter hashtag #NAMS I was able to follow all the fun, see the content from the speakers being shared by attendees, and feel a little closer to all the action all from my home. Blogging for business expert, Denise Wakeman, spoke and gave a tip for getting traffic and comments to your blog. She recommended Cathy Stucker’s Blogger Link Up service, yet another free tool where you can post a request for guest blogger content, responses to a particular post, and more. I’ve only just subscribed today, but if Denise Wakeman recommends it, I know the service is good. Plus Cathy Stuker has been in my tweet stream for what seems like ages now, and I know she is a woman with a lot of great information to share.
So there you have it! A tale of two tools to help you generate great content to communicate with those you can best serve in your small or home-based business. Do you have expereince with either of these tools? I’d love to hear about it!
As I write this I am in the process of multiple projects.
Now I know, you may be thinking, “But Felicia, I heard you’re supposed to focus on 1 thing at a time to be the most successful?”
That advice is only partially correct.
You see, just because I have several major projects happening at once doesn’t mean my focus is split. In fact, I’m able to focus even more clearly on on task at a time, allowing me to get the projects done. How? Read on.
I know as a small business owner or micro business if it’s just you, there are A LOT of tasks to keep up with. So how do you stay productive and focused with so much on your plate at one time? And how in the world can you get it all done?
With a little help.
Right now as I write this, my ezine is being prepared to go out this morning and I’m in the process of a major re-launch of a program I created from scratch. Yet, I’m writing this blog post confidently knowing the other work is getting done. Because I have help from 2 fabulous Virtual Assistants, Lisa Wells and Rebekah Zobel Jones. Both are members of an organization called International Virtual Assistants Association, a group of dedicated administrative professionals whose sole task in their business is to help you with yours.
Pretty cool, right?
You can have the same secret weapon I do — and find your own highly qualified VA to help you with your specific needs by simply going to www.IVAA.org and completing a Request for Proposal (RFP). Likely within minutes you’ll have emails from VAs ready and able to do the tasks you need them to do.
Here are some of the tasks I have my VAs do for me, either regularly or as special projects both now and in the past:
- format & send my bi-weekly ezine Creating Connections
- manage my calendar and appointments
- send email reminders of appointments and events to my clients and group coaching members
- upload new files to my website
- format & upload sales pages to my website
- manage my shopping carts
- manage my affiliate programs
- deal with website tech issues such as hosting and URL management
- respond to email inquiries for affiliate promotion requests, appointment requests, etc.
- send me regular reports and updates on my various projects and provide me with a to-do list based on those projects
- handle customer service and technical issues
- maintain my website to keep it current
- manage my books
- handle all my travel details & create itineraries for when I travel
- format and create pdf files for various teleseminars
- format & create order forms for speaking events
- create and revise powerpoint presentations
- I could go on & on!
What that all means is in the middle of a super busy week I can take the time to write on my blog, Tweet, talk to clients, or any other number of tasks I’d rather be doing. Talk about a win-win situation!
IVAA.org is THE place to find someone to help you. Oh– and my budget for my VAs? One works 5 hours per month and the other is 10 hours per month. As you can see, because they are experts in what they do, it doesn’t take them long to do what needs to get done.
So now you know… my “secret weapon” isn’t a secret at all. It’s getting help from experts who can get the job done!
Have you been baking for the holidays?
I have been in the kitchen making all sorts of goodies from lemon biscotti to caramel toffee popcorn to cranberry apple bread. And this weekend I plan to bake dozens of cookies!
The idea of a baker’s dozen is interesting. It’s a dozen plus one. The concept stems from a time in history when bakers could be fined at the least or have a hand cut off or worse for cheating on the amount of baked goods in a customer’s order. So bakers would add an extra to be on the safe side. More recently, bakers continued making extra just in case one of the baked goods was ruined in the making.
Fast forward to today. My friend, Tammy Landau, the Renegade Business Coach, has created a special giveaway event for small business owners who work with clients. In the spirit of giving extra she’s pulled together 13 gifts — that’s a baker’s dozen– all designed to help you get more clients!
Of course all the gifts are free and there are some really great things you just gotta see. Of course there’s something from me, but others, too like Alicia Forest, Christian Mickelson, and Sandra de Freitas to name a few.
Pick them up at her special giveaway page.
And now back to my regularly scheduled baking