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.
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?
As a professional speaker, I travel often enough to have my share of frequent flier miles. Recently I was surprised when I opened my email to receive a notice from American Airlines, my airline of choice when I fly out of O’Hare. In that email I was assured that the announcement American Airlines made about filing for “reorganization under Chapter 11″ – that’s fancy financial speak for bankruptcy- would not hurt my frequent flier miles in any way. Huh.
Later, as I was enjoying some quiet downtime with my husband watching TV, I saw an ad that made me start thinking. Southwest Airlines announced they are now expanding their service again and will soon be flying into Atlanta.
So there it is–on the same day one airline announces major struggles another airline announces its growth. Harkening back to a song from my shoulder-pad wearing, be-bop dancing college days in the late ’80s/early ’90s by C & C Music Factory, file that under, “Things that make you go hmmm….”
Why is it that one business thrives and another business in the exact same industry is flailing, trying desperately to stay afloat?
In looking at what Southwest Airlines does right, we solo professionals and home-based business owners can learn a few lessons about what it takes to succeed.
- Southwest Airlines employees LOVE their jobs and it shows in the customer experience. This is honestly why I choose Southwest when I have an option. With the FAA and TSA making us remove our shoes, belts, jackets, and just about every ounce of dignity as we have our bodies x-ray searched; weather-related and mechanical flight delays; over-crowded airports and planes; and overpriced everything, let’s face it: flying can be quite a hassle. That’s why it’s such a breath of fresh air to fly with Southwest. The gate attendants are typically pleasant and the flight attendants often have fun ways of welcoming passengers aboard with jokes, songs, and witty comments. What you can learn: When you love what you do it shows and customers are attracted to that. That’s passion and passion is one of the fundamentals of building your charisma and therefore your credibility.
- Southwest Airlines bucks the “industry trends” to do what they feel is right for their customers and their company. I’m talking about those baggage fees other companies charge. With Southwest you get your first TWO checked bags totally free. Active military folks get all their bags for free. At Southwest there is no such thing as a change fee, phone reservation fee, or cancellation fee. No other major airline has as many customer-friendly non-fee policies. Even without all the extra fees other carriers tack on, Southwest is still succeeding financially while the others struggle. What you can learn: Stop watching the “Joneses” in your industry! So what if everyone else is doing something? If you don’t personally believe in it, if it’s not right for YOU and your customers, then it will never work. You must build your business around your values. When you do, customers with similar values will show up and stick around.
- Southwest Airlines focuses on relationships and everything else (including success) follows. Southwest focuses on “high performance relationships based on shared goals, shared knowledge, and mutual respect among all lemployees, and suppliers,” as explained in Jody Hoffer Gittell’s book The Southevels of management, west Airlines Way. When your company is about people, everything else can easily fall into place. W hat you can learn: Build your business around people and your relationships with them. That’s one reason I love public speaking combined with following up on social media. You start a relationship by providing great info and continue the relationship by being social. Respect everyone you work with at all levels including assistants, vendors, prospects, customers/clients, sponsors, and colleagues. Foster those relationships and people will support you and take care of you and you will succeed.
We can all learn lesssons about what to do — and what not to do — from other businesses, whether they are in the same industry or not. Now it’s your turn: What lessons about success have you learned from watching others?
Last weekend was our town’s annual Christmas Walk, where they shut down Main Street, have all sorts of family fun activities, food vendors line the streets, and local merchants keep their doors open later than usual.
One of the shops in out town was hosting a group of eight Tibetan Buddhist monks. These guys were all ordained by the Dalai Lama himself and typically live together with about 2,000 brothers in their monastery near the Himalayan Mountains.
These eight monks didn’t go rogue or want to find some good deals on holiday gifts… they’re on a mission to accomplish three goals and they came all the way to the US to do it:
- To spread their message of peace and harmony across all cultures, countries, and religions.
- To bring awareness of their struggle to Free Tibet from the tyranny and human rights violations of communist China.
- To raise funds to support their cause to provide basic needs to the monks back in the monastery.
In order to achieve their goals, the monks are visiting cities across the US during their 10-month tour where they spend their days praying, selling small trinkets for fund raising, and creating beautiful sand art known as a mandala. As you can see a mandala is a beautiful piece of circular artwork that is designed for a purpose. The purpose of the mandala created in my town was to promote world peace. Each of the sections of the mandala have a special meaning all related to their purpose. The grains of colored sand are laid down using a precise tool that allows them to create fine lines and words.
Here’s what I found most interesting: after the monks create the mandala, working on this particular piece for eight hours per day for three days in a row, they then destroy the art and return the sand to the earth where it came from.
Wow. All that work literally washed away in the river.
As the monks shared their message, I started thinking about their level of commitment to their message. Think about what they are doing to spread their message and ask yourself if you would do the same. They:
- Left the safety and familiarity of their home and their country to travel to the other side of the globe.
- Are going to be gone from home, friends, and country for a total of 10 months.
- Had to learn a new and vastly different language in order to communicate effectively.
Here they are, delivering their own Signature Speech — the leader being interpreted by a fellow monk who learned a bit more English, and they are committed to getting their message out to the world.
When you are passionate about your message and committed to having as many people know about you and what you do as possible, public speaking is THE WAY to make sure you are heard.
Lucky for you, you don’t have to travel half way around the world in order to find those who need to hear your message. You can do it in your own and local towns by creating your unique Signature Speech. Is your Signature Speech ready to deliver at a moment’s notice so when you get your chance to spread your message you can take it? If you are truly committed to your message, you’ll find a way to share it. Public speaking allows you to do that quickly and efficiently.
This week I am launching a brand new version of my trademark, Signature Speech training called Signature Speech Mastery. If you’re not sure what a Signature Speech is or to find out how to get started with one TODAY visit www.SignatureSpeechSecrets.com and download a free mp3 to find out more. You’ll also be on the priority notification list for all program details.
Because when you’re committed to your message and you use public speaking to get the word out… you have a powerful combination indeed! Just ask the monks.
Yesterday on Twitter I wrote:
Wondering out loud: Can too much passion for what you know distract you from effectively listening to your clients?
And wow– did I get a flood of answers! I received many, many YES answers along with a retweet of my original question (a retweet on Twitter means someone copied & pasted what I said so others could see it, too. It’s a huge compliment to get retweeted).
I also got answers from some pretty high profile folks like Leesa Barnes and Coach Andrea J. Lee who said:
Leesa Barnes: @FeliciaSlattery too much passion can label you an entertainer – great for a few laughs, but peeps go somewhere else to change their lives
Andrea J. Lee: @FeliciaSlattery Oh, juicy ? up my alley. I believe def YES! Beyond ego-based passion is a selfless passion that allows us 2 listen…
And other wise answers such as:
Andrea Chin @FeliciaSlattery Not sure amt of passion will distract u from listenin but “know it all” attitude will def interfere w/ “hearing” whats said
Amanda Matchett: @FeliciaSlattery I think it depends. If ones passion for what they know inhibits them from bein open to new ideas, then distraction mayoccur
Patrick Lamb: @FeliciaSlattery Too much passion? Those who excel combine unusual passion with ability to compartmentalize it and listen critically.
Steve Kloyda: @FeliciaSlattery I think yes. When the focus is on what we know, are we really listening? Just a thought.
So now it’s your turn. Do you think there could be such a thing as passion clouding your judgment or ability to listen as effectively as your clients, customers, and prospects would prefer? I’d love your answers in the comments!