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.
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.
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?
My seedlings got nipped last week.
The worst part is… they could have been saved.
I had plenty of warning. My gardening friend and neighbor called me on her way home from work especially to tell me she’d heard of the frost advisory and to cover my new plants. The weatherman during the evening news shared the frost advisory again later in the evening. My husband even reminded me, “Honey aren’t you going to cover your plants?”
But I took a chance anyway. I didn’t feel like walking ALL the way down to the basement to get the old sheets, going outside into the cold evening, leaving my warm house, to protect my little seedlings that I’d nurtured from seeds for weeks.
Boy was I ever sorry.
They were all lame excuses. I could have easily saved my garden — and some money — because today I had to go a purchase new plants at the garden shop to put into my garden.
One of my mastermind colleagues, psychologist Dr. Pauline Wallin, has a book she calls Taming Your Inner Brat: A Guide for Transforming Self-Defeating Behavior — and I could have use her advice that chilly night to get over my feelings of, “I’m too tired. I don’t feel like it. I don’t waaaaaannnnaaaaa.”
Do you ever have moments like that in your business? Where there is something you know you need to do in order to keep things going along well? You have every indication that now is the time to take action or all could be lost just as it was with my seedlings…
It’s a question of motivation. What are you motivated by? For me, I am always motivated when I take a class or group program related to my business. Joining a live class or program helps me clear time in my schedule to attend live rather than planning to listen to replays, which for me almost never happens. Knowing I’ll be accountable to the group I always get the work done. Not only that but because I took the time and invested in myself — I want to get the most out of it. I also like to take advantage of the fact that I’m in a class with an expert who I can directly ask questions to. I’m motivated to get the work done while the class is in session so I can get all my questions answered.
That’s why I enjoy offering classes and programs to my clients as well. Many business owners are like I am — motivated by being in a class or program and they use that time to take giant leaps forward. If you’re motivated by being part of a program, I invite
you to join me and my colleague Shannon Cherry as we work with a maximum of 15 business owners starting next week. We’ll be working with you on various aspects about getting your message out and being heard. As we enter summer, it’s a perfect time to assess your messages and strategize for the rest of the year. We call it our Accelerated Business Building VIP Intensive and it’s designed to help you put your business on rocket fuel to success! Head over now to http://VIPwithShannonAndFelicia.com to discover more & register today before all the seats are gone.
Knowing what motivates you is important. And the next time I don’t “feel” like doing something I know is the right decision, I’ll think back to my frost-nipped seedlings and get off my duff!
I’d love to know: what motivates you to get moving in your business? Please share in the comments below.
- Planning in advance (in many cases while it’s still winter)
- Deciding which plants and/or veggies to include
- Preparing and amending the soil
- Planting seeds
- Taking care of emerging seedlings
- Protecting the garden from unwanted predators and pests
- Did I say weeding?
Oh and in case you are wondering, you don’t have to be a gardener to participate in this program . Just a business owner with the drive and determination to succeed. Join us at http://VIPwithShannonAndFelicia.com.
For those of you who are gardeners, I’d love to hear your stories on ways you feel like the garden has lessons for your business — or am I full of malarkey? Share in the comments below!
The snow drifts are 3.5 feet high in my yard.
Last night the Chicagoland area was hit with what they’re calling the “snow storm of the century,” lightening and all. So far, according to the news reports, the snowfall amounts to the #3 most snow fallen in a 24-hour period.
Obviously the kids are home from school today. Ha – even if we wanted to leave the house, we couldn’t, with snow piled so high, we are literally snowed in. No slow blower. One shovel.
This after yesterday my younger daughter was home sick with a high fever. The photo is my older daughter, who LOVED being outside today.
I have things for my business running well. I have my to-do lists, goals, and plans so I always know what I should be doing now and need to do next. But on days like yesterday and today– all that pretty much goes out the window. I was reminded of my client, Grace Marshall’s recent post she calls, “What To Do When Everything at Home Explodes.”
If I was running my business living all by myself, today I’d be happily snuggled under a blanket, looking out the port-hole-sized area on my snow-covered office window, working away on my computer. However, that’s not the case. I’m not only a business owner, I’m a Mom and wife with many responsibilities. My colleague Nicole Dean today posted an Expert Briefs blog post sharing ideas from her panel of experts, including me, about balancing work and family life.
Yesterday, as I tended to my sick daughter and watched the first of the blizzard arriving, it occurred to me that because I have my priorities in order, it was easy to let all those to-do lists and business plans go out the window over the frozen tundra.
Tomorrow is another day. My family needs me now. That to-do list suddenly changed. And I’m more than ok with that.
What’d I add? Well, when you have more snow on the ground than you know what to do with, you make snow cream, what else?! If you’re like me and found your day suddenly different than you expected, and you happen to have loads of snow, too… here’s a great little recipe for snow cream. I’m off to fix it now. Yum! I’ll be back at work tomorrow.
Snow Cream -
- 8 cups fresh snow
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Quickly mix together all ingredients in a large bowl and serve immediately. It will not have the creamy thick consistency of regular ice cream, but instead be thinner, yet no less delicious!