Last week I spoke at East Bay Women’s Network to a group of wonderful women attended who were curious about how to promote their businesses and themselves. It had been a long time since I’d given a “speech” as I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from speaking engagements or other public events.
My stomach was roiling that morning as I drove the hour to Alameda and before that I’d had weeks of worry, nightmares, and plenty of time to fret about the actual talk.
Afterward many women came up to thank me and tell me what they loved about my talk.
There was one man in the room. But he had no interest in complimenting me.
He wanted to criticize me so bad he could hardly wait his turn.
“I don’t know if you saw me sleeping in the back,” he started out.
“Nope. Didn’t notice,” I said, wondering why someone would bring that to my attention.
He then battered me with questions leading up to his punch line which was designed to tear me down, so he could tell me everything I’d done wrong. My stomach sank and my face fell. My first thoughts: I’m such a failure. I’m a stinky speaker. Why did I accept this gig? What was I thinking?
Then I breathed, relaxed my tummy, let it go and stayed open.
Eventually, he got to his point which was that I didn’t tell a signature story to let the group know who I was. “Oh gosh, I’ve got about 5 signature stories that I’ve told so many times I’m tired of them. I wanted to try something new.”
“Sure,” he said. “But WE haven’t heard any of them.”
He was right. I teach telling your signature story in every media appearance and when appropriate, your speaking engagements. The “why you do what you do” story.
I was out of practice. I had forgotten.
I thanked him and packed up my things. Point taken.
What to do you do when you receive uninvited criticism in person or on the Internet?
I recommend asking yourself these 3 questions (and then doing this last thing – which is the hardest).
1. Consider the source.
Is this person a nutball? If so, dismiss their rant without another thought. Don’t let it sink into your skin for a second.
When a friend had a very revealing piece published in the New York Times the editor warned her to expect a backlash from Internet trolls. She and I discussed not even reading the hurtful replies so she could revel in the glory of achieving her dream. We batted around the idea that later when she had some distance and perspective, she might scan them for ideas to write another article based on the responses she elicited, thus using them for the positive. Distance creates perspective and allows you to see things more “objectively,” and less personally.
2. Is there something I can learn here?
Is there a kernel of truth in anything this person says? Is what they say worth examining so I can improve myself, my course, my talk etc.? If so, great. If not, move on.
3. Did what they said/wrote trigger an unresolved wound?
If you find yourself becoming hurt, angry, embarrassed, ashamed, or experiencing a strong feeling arising, take a few breaths to steady yourself and come back to center in the moment. Later, examine what touched the nerve. The event can show you where there is still work to be done to let go of past patterns that we all have or harbor. Consider tapping to resolve challenging issues.
The hardest part? Staying open. To hear the truth, or someone’s version of it, and not react. Or, if you react, don’t judge your response just let it go so you can listen and assess the situation.
The second hardest part is to ignore the hurtful words and not let them lodge in our hearts and close us down.
There is a time and place to just ignore the offending party. Not give them or their words any energy at all. If you’re up for an “advanced” practice, send them a blazing bolt of love from your heart to theirs. Shoot it straight in. We are all hurt somewhere and if you can soften even a little consider that an accomplishment.
BONUS: Use hurtful words to open an interesting discussion. I witnessed an Instagram influencer do this when she raised over 50k to help a single mom of two in her congregation get a car, apartment and get started on a new life in an unfamiliar city.
It was quite amazing to see all the support her IG community gave and to watch the pot of gold grow. Then came the naysayers who accused her of doing it for the money. None of which she kept, by the way. So she shared the hurt and gave her followers the opportunity to discuss the negative comment and to give her even more support for her good deed, which they did.
Some people make it their mission to make you feel small. Ignore them. Others are devoted to finding infinite ways share in order to inspire you to feel good. Embrace them.
By Guest Blogger Alison Luterman (Plus a poem!) – with my video commentary on how to make a movement go viral — from Erica Mandy’s Show, The News Worthy
I was walking up the street minding my own business when a superhero jumped out in front of me. He landed in a wide-legged stance, arms outstretched, head thrown back in true Olympic superhero style. He was about three feet high and was wearing sneakers that lit up with flashing lights when he moved.
“I’m magic!” he announced.
“You are magic–I can see that!” I said.
It had been two weeks since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and I was still in a funky mood. Events, both national and personal, had been clouding my ability to see the magic in life. But here it was, on a bright Tuesday afternoon when the dogwood was blooming.
“I’m also the fastest runner,” the super-hero went on. “Wanna see?”
He tore up the sidewalk, his sneakers flashing.
“Wow, you are super fast!!” His Dad was leaning up against the family SUV, chuckling.
“He’s actually the fastest runner in the world,” he clarified. “It’s not everyday you get to see something like that. I can understand if you’re overwhelmed.”
I put my hand on my heart and staggered back. “It’s going to take me awhile to recover.”
In truth I hope never to recover from the magic of children. It may be our only hope as a species.
Like so many other people, I’m still blown away by the power of the young students speaking up now for gun control, especially Emma Gonzalez, the shaven-headed, bisexual, Latinx student (president of her school’s Gay-Straight Student Alliance), who rose up out of the smoke and spilled blood of the Parkland massacre, and has been speaking truth to power like a lioness.
If you haven’t seen the video of her making an impassioned plea for gun control while wiping away tears–weeping freely, but making her points with fierce accuracy, including the amount of money the Great Pretender accepted from the NRA for his campaign–go watch it. (Spoiler alert: 30 million dollars.)
Watch the way she feels deeply, but also has facts and figures at her command, and uses them. That’s not easy. When I’m crying my voice shakes, or it knots up in my throat, my chin quivers uncontrollably, and I feel foolish and naked. I’d prefer to hide under the bed than let people see me like that.
But it’s the job in front of us right now–all of us. Find our deepest feelings and speak from that vulnerable, exposed place.
It turns out many of the young activists effectively challenging Senators and Congress are drama club kids. I was a drama club kid. It was the ultimate safe space for queer kids, outcasts, weirdos. The energy and passion, the intense bonding love that gets generated backstage can be used for so many good things. You can put on a play, you can read your poetry at an open mic, you can start a movement and take your message to Congress.
Art teaches us to be brave. And we need a lot of courage these days. And a lot of love. Hold your friends and companions, fellow-artists, fellow-activists, children and the young at heart extra tightly. And don’t stop speaking truth to power even if it makes you cry.
Watching the Giraffes
The baby giraffe stands
in the shadow of the tall
both of their astonishing
with a perfect mosaic pattern
like kitchen linoleum.
How close the gods come to
Then the tallest one
who has been gazing off into
his small head atop that
like a long lonesome train
high above everything,
lets loose a Niagara of
and another giraffe ducks
a swanlike neck down,
to catch a deep, hot
mouthful of urine,then undulates back up,
gulping and swallowing.So that too is part of it.
How they take
what they are thirsty for
as I am drinking in the gentle
of the child’s small trusting
leaning against my arm
on the bench at the zoo,
both of us watching the
without saying anything.
Alison Luterman’s three books of poetry are The Largest Possible Life; See How We Almost Fly; and Desire Zoo. Her poems and stories have appeared in The Sun, Rattle, Prairie Schooner, Nimrod, The Atlanta Review, Tattoo Highway, and elsewhere.. She has also written an e-book of personal essays, Feral City, and more than half a dozen plays, including Oasis, Saying Kaddish With My Sister, Glitter and Spew, Touched, and two musicals, The Chain and Nasty Women. She performs with the Oakland-based improvisation troupe Wing It! and has given writing workshops all over the country, including at Omega and Esalen Institutes.
She teaches memoir at The Writing Salon in Berkeley, and is available for private coaching in writing or creativity, both in-person or on-line. She also loves to teach easy accessible theater games and writing prompts to groups. For more information, please visit her website at www.alisonluterman.net.
What if I told you that it took me ten years to understand what I was teaching? It looked like I was teaching people how to write, but what I was actually doing, I realized late in the game, was teaching writers how to peel away the layers of their story and dig for something more true, more authentic and just plain honest. And while all that digging and examining is good for writing, it’s also excellent for living. When you chip away at the façade of your story, and you lay down one true word, and then the next true word you will eventually become stripped down and naked to yourself. And when you see yourself like that, there’s no turning back. You may, as many of my students have done, begin the process of changing your life.
I’m a process person. I’m all about getting words onto a page; messy, ugly, imperfect, glorious words. And to do that you need to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
For me, it’s not about what I’m writing or whether I like what I’m writing that’s important. That the pen inks like a river across the page, that I have the courage not to know what the next word is, or the word after that…that I keep going anyway. That’s the spirit, that’s what makes a sound turn into a song. I might only be able to hear bits at first – the merest sound of a refrain – but I’ll swirl it around in my mouth, taste it, roll it on my tongue and Wa La, I start singing. That’s how I make a song. The important part is not that I make a perfect song, but that I have created a channel for song sounds to come through – which means I can make more sounds and more songs.
It’s the same for writing. When I put these words on this page I didn’t know where I was going or what would come next, but if I’ve become a student of anything, it’s learning to not love what’s coming through me and to keep going anyway. That’s just part of the creative process. If I turned back every time I felt lost, or if I judged what I was doing, I wouldn’t make anything. I have to let go of perfection if I want to be a maker of things, because it’s not about the thing that I make, it’s about the making, and I want to be a maker for a long, long time.
Want to be a story maker this summer? Laurie’s 5-week e Course, Telling True Stories starts on June 17th. Laurie is an amazing teacher. Once you start telling the unadorned truth it changes everything. If you want to be a maker of things join Laurie in Telling True Stories – and watch your life change on the page, off the page.
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When I was preparing for my media tour for my book, Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul, I thought that I’d love being on radio and despise being on TV. I’m kinda shy and don’t really relish being in the spotlight. Radio, you can be in your fuzzies, sip your tea, and snuggle in with a cat on your lap.
But it turned out I loved TV. The fast pace, the thinking on your feet, the excitement of the cameras, suited my style and temperament. What I didn’t love was sitting back stage in the make-up chair for an hour while a stranger fussed with my face and hair slathering on grody make-up and misting me with hairspray. I don’t even like to put mascara on myself let alone have someone else that close to my eyes. It’s pretty darn personal.
So when Matthew Kimberley asked me to do a masterclass for his website,daily success deals via Skype split screen video, my first thought was…oh no there goes an hour out of my already hectic morning doing make-up.
But, then I remembered how much I loved doing TV. And since I would be talking all about getting on TV I just decided that I’d reward myself with delicious smoked salmon and cream cheese on a toasted gluten free bagel to start the morning right. Our cat Lucky is always at the ready as soon as I take the cream cheese out of the fridge so he can get his dab.
There’s no opt-in you can just see it as soon as you get to the website. But it only stays up until Monday April 29 so mosey on by.
Confession. It took me longer to do my make-up than it did to make this video. And no, that’s not a bullet hole in the art piece you see behind me in my office. It’s a vintage Purina Dog Chow Tin. I think the holes add to its charm.
The biggest mistake you can make when it comes to getting on TV that can ruin everything.
How to get chosen over your competitors-and still play nice.
How to make yourself irresistible to TV producers.
What you need to think about BEFORE you get booked on TV. (This can make the difference between making a fortune and not making a dime.)
What to wear on TV. (Hint: we talk about socks).
How a flash-drive can be save your skin and your show.
Plus, you’ll get to see something in Matthew’s hotel room that will surprise – and we hope – delight you.
So many people call themselves thought leaders now – but they aren’t. To be a thought leader takes some doing. It’s not so much about being original as it is about putting things together in an original way. Thought leadership marketing comes down to packaging your knowledge, skills, abilities, experiences, and yes, your thoughts in a way that makes you media worthy and worth listening to by your audience—a huge audience. Follow these nine steps to get going on the path to be respected, heard and reverberated out into the world.
1. Cultivate an opinion.
Thought leaders have opinions. They shape a story. They position facts in a context. They make statistics come alive by interpreting them. We value people who give us perspective on things that matter most in our culture today.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and their first woman to sit on their board, said of the differences about how men and women respond to taking credit for their success, “If you ask men why they did a good job, they’ll say, ‘I’m awesome. Obviously. Why are you even asking?’ If you ask women why they did a good job, what they’ll say is someone helped them, they got lucky, they worked really hard.”
To follow her lead take a look at your field or industry and find something that irks or inspires you and start to formulate some opinions about it. Folk singer Joan Baez said, “I’ve never had a humble opinion. If you’ve got an opinion, why be humble about it?” Thought leaders aren’t afraid to voice a strong opinion. The media seek guests who have opinions that help us ponder what’s important.
2. Make a prediction.
Can you see the future? Look into your private crystal ball and share it in a press release. Ten years ago I told my literary agent that getting on TV and grasping at fame was going to become a national obsession. I wrote up a book proposal about how to get on TV, supplied anecdotes from my own experience as a publicist and media coach, and gathered statistics to show that this was going to be a hot new trend. He pitched my idea to all the top New York publishing houses.
Alas, the traditional book industry didn’t buy it. It was too far ahead of its time. But guess what? Didn’t that prediction come true? Practically everyone is now scrabbling for his 15 seconds of fame. New reality TV shows are popping up every year. The Fishbowl Effect has become our current reality where your iPhone video can make national news.
Know that when you make a prediction you’re intrinsically ahead of your time – and most likely will get disapproval and pushback. No worries. Time will bear you out. The important thing is to stand by your word, continue to accumulate evidence and keep touting your prediction during your media appearances. Thought leadership marketing is a process, not a one time event.
3. Shape thinking.
Keep up on current events. Thought leaders can comment on national radio and TV and in print on events as they happen. They are the first people the media call to put a story in perspective, to help shape thinking. They are often the people who pose the questions to ponder. They don’t necessarily have all the answers. What they have is a point of view that helps others to consider consequences, options, and directions to difficult or perplexing problems. This type of thought leadership marketing is organic and evolves naturally as the thought leader continues to hone his thoughts and message.
Robert Reich, professor of public policy at UC Berkeley, often comments on political and social problems such as how public higher education is being starved which will result in a shrinking middle class. His clearly expressed and statistically well-supported opinions are regularly heard on MSNBC and NPR. He’s a great example of someone who is personal, energetic, and captivating. I’m particularly endeared by how he bounces up when he can’t contain his energy as he delivers his message.
Your delivery and demeanor is every bit as important as the words you speak and can influence people subconsciously. Thought leaders are aware of how they are being perceived and work on refining their inner consciousness and outer appearance. How can you start to shape a conversation that’s at the heart of your business or industry and at the same time reflect who you are and what you think?
4. Have a philosophy.
Have you noticed how many people have written a manifesto? It’s kind of becoming de rigueur. But many aren’t worth reading. They are trite or light. Your audience wants to know not only what you believe, but what you believe in. They want a philosophy that dives into their deepest longings — things that they feel that haven’t been expressed directly in a way that they can understand.
Manifestos are a sort of formalized philosophy. Wikipedia defines philosophy as “In more casual speech, by extension, ‘philosophy’ can refer to “the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group”.
During every media appearance you want to make sure that your philosophy comes through loud and clear in a story, vignette or example so your audience has a sense of who you are. One of my favorite sayings is by Gandhi, “My life is my message.”
When everything you do, say, are and think from your words to your website is in alignment then you’re completely congruent and your life becomes your message. This is what I have my clients and sound bite course participants put into practice before ever sending a press release out to the media. Often publicity hopefuls want to rush their offer to the media before all the pieces are in place. And that’s a big mistake. A reputation is easy to ruin and hard to regain.
In her media appearance on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, Brene Brown told a story about her daughter, Ellen. To my best recollection she said that Ellen’s teacher called her up to tell her she could tell whose daughter Ellen was by how she handled an incident in art class. As I remember it the teacher said, “You’re messy.” Ellen sat up straight and said, “No, I’m not messy. I’ve just made a mess.”
Brown told this story to illustrate a point about self-talk and not calling ourselves names or saying derogatory things about the core of us, but to focus on behavior instead of being. It shows you that Brown is walking her talk by transmitting her values and behaviors to her daughter and it gives you a sense of who she is. Your philosophy should shine through your stories in a natural way in every media appearance.
5. Spearhead a movement.
My client, journalist and author David Sheff who wrote the #1 New York Times best-selling book Beautiful Boy, just wrote his second book called Clean, Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy. The title itself is an opinion. Sheff thinks that addiction is the worst problem in the U.S. today. You can tell immediately that he’s serious about this topic and wants to make an impact on this epidemic.
On his website he has a link to sign a petition to send to President Obama to end the war on drugs and declare war on addiction. Right next to that he has a link to an organization called Brian’s Wish to pull people together into a national movement to end addiction.
Sheff believes that we’re fighting the wrong war and he is making his opinion known – backed with five years of research and facts. This is thought leader marketing at its best.
He’s just started his book tour and has already been on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, NPR’s Fresh Air and Weekend Edition to discuss his views and to shift American opinion with the facts, stories and statistics in his book, speeches, and media appearances.
I media trained him to insure that he incorporated his most important points into every interview since he especially wanted to talk about this new movement.
We also wanted to make sure he could stand firm on his controversial beliefs when challenged. We practiced worst-case scenario questions and surprise ones too so he could maintain his equanimity and stay on point during each media appearance.
The media is interested in people who have inspired a movement. It shows that the topic has enduring value and interest if a substantial number of people have joined it. Spearheading a movement is so much more interesting than just claiming you have a big following. A movement shifts thought into action to create real and lasting change.
6. Be controversial.
Another client of mine, Dr. Sara Gottfried, a Harvard trained integrative physician, science nerd, yogini and author of the New York Times best-sellers The Hormone Cure, and The Hormone Rest Diet speaks out on the overuse of pharmaceuticals for peri-menopausal and menopausal women. She says of women dealing with hormonal issues such as depression, lack of sleep, weight gain, mind fog, low sex drive, “You won’t find the answer in the bottom of a pill bottle.”
Gottfried takes a stand against the practice many physicians have to medicate their patients to appease the problem without seeking the core issue or root cause that’s the source of the complaint. Instead she advocates lifestyle shifts: “How to think, eat, move and supplement.”
Once you take a strong stance you can expect to be pitted against someone with the opposite view during your radio or TV interviews – because friction makes for good TV. Audiences love to see people who have opposing views that might even provoke a tiff, because sparks fly and unexpected things happen — which equal good ratings.
While you can choose to be controversial, you can also choose to appoint yourself the voice of reason and examine both sides of an issue. Susan Freinkel, a journalist who wrote the book, Plastic: a Toxic Love Story, began an experiment that turned into an investigation of how plastic affects our behavior, our environment and our lives. The premise: To go one day without touching anything plastic. What she discovered? It was impossible — starting with her toothbrush and toilet.
Instead of taking one side to the story – plastic is evil. She explored how plastic is both a boon and a bane to the way we live in a New York Times Op Ed piece. In one sentence she played both sides of the topic: “In other words, plastics aren’t necessarily bad for the environment; it’s the way we tend to make and use them that’s the problem.” Op Ed pages thrive on people who take a strong stand on one side of an issue as well as those who can shed light on both sides in an intelligent, thoughtful or provocative way.
In our media coaching sessions together Freinkel and I focused on stories about how certain plastics are negatively effecting our health, children, land and seas, and also which plastics are safe and useful and help save lives.
On Fresh Air, she discussed both sides of this fiery debate with a level head. In other media appearances she backed up her findings with solid statistics and also by moving fascinating facts into the conversation like: “The average person is never more than three feet from something made of plastic.” And, “In 1960, the average American consumed 30 pounds of plastics a year. Today, just 50 years later, Americans consume on average 300 pounds a year.” Here is something a bit startling: “Just because a plastic is made of plants doesn’t make it ‘green.’”
By moderating the positives and negatives, by sharing information not widely known and educating us, and by using stories and statistics, you can become a trusted neutral source for change.
8. Coin a term.
During her appearance on The Ricki Lake show Dr. Sara Gottfried reached into her prop basket and pulled out a gleaming diamond Tiara, put it on her head and offered it to Lake, who said she didn’t want to take it off. Gottfried called taking uninterrupted time for yourself, Tiara Time.™ It’s catchy and easy to remember. Can’t you just imagine saying to your BFF, “I need some Tiara Time™ right NOW.”
Your vision is how you see the world in the future. It’s what you’re aspiring to in the big picture. It incorporates how you are going to serve. For example, I’d like to see Aikido, a type of Japanese Martial Arts, which I’ve been training in for five years, incorporated into every school in the world.
The principles of Aikido, The Way of Harmony, work as a way to polish the spirit, to turn lead into gold. The founder, Morihei Ueshiba says, “True victory is self-victory; let that day arrive quickly!” I believe that, through this practice we can eradicate bullying and practice respect, compassion, and self-mastery on a daily basis in our hearts, homes, schools, and communities. My dream is to combine physical self mastery with verbal and emotional mastery so every child in the world can: Speak your mind. Stand your ground. Sing your song(tm).
Declaring your vision during a media interview moves it out in a big way into the public eye. Not only have you taken a stand but you give thousands or millions of people a chance to take a stand with you. That in itself creates powerful change.
The point of being a thought leader isn’t just to get more media appearances, more sales, more followers, or more money. It’s an opportunity to make great shifts inside yourself and out in the world. So if you aspire to taking yourself and your business forward in small or big ways, then focus on these nine things. And even if it isn’t in your nature to be on national TV or to gain an international platform, just pondering these points will give you clarity for your business as you grow and change.
Have you reviewed your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, website/blog, and Biznik profiles lately to make sure the stories you are sharing are accurate, current, and compelling?
I changed my profiles to reflect a keyword-rich headline two weeks ago and welcomed two speaking engagements and a new joint venture conversation almost immediately. Just imagine what bounty awaits for you when you revisit YOUR online profiles.
Quick Tip: describe yourself in a headline statement with relevant key words within. “Networking Expert Brandy Mychals,” “Boston Elder Care Expert Michael Bloom,” “Business Bio Expert” and “Get Known to Get Paid Mentor” are ways to describe each expert that offer potential clients and the search engines descriptive labels that deliver impact for all.
As the New Year gets off to a fast start, this is a useful exercise, especially if you want to attract more of the right clients faster and more easily. Try it, and share YOUR successes as they unfold in perfect timing to welcome a shiny New Year.
Business bio expert and get know to get paid mentor Nancy Juetten shows mission-driven experts how to get seen, heard, celebrated, and COMPEN$ATED for their expert status. Nancy created Bye-Bye Boring Bio to guide service professionals, speakers, authors, coaches, and those serious about earning expert status to prepare and share their stories so they can Get Known to Get Paid. Nancy’s clients describe her as self-esteem in a can. She sprays it and fabulous things about you are in the air for everyone to see. You feel better, potential clients find you more appealing, and you look and sound like a professional. Just like that.
Join us for a free webinar where you can get Nancy’s help ON THE SPOT for your bio DURING this call. Be there LIVE to give your bio a quick makeover – which can lead to big results.
We were all sitting in Jack Canfield’s living room on a huge couch in his home in Santa Barbara surrounded by giant gems, crystals, artwork and views into the lush gardens reminiscent of Canfield’s beloved Hawaii. Canfield mentioned that he wanted a room where diplomats and leaders of countries as well as his family could feel comfortable. I love the idea that we were sitting on the same couch where those same leaders of countries had sat before us.
Each of us in his living room had won this mastermind day with Jack Canfield for being a top affiliate for his Bestseller Blueprint Program. In the room, brainstorming about our businesses, were some of the most successful Internet Marketers on the web today.
Bill and Steve Harrison led the discussion and asked us each to share something about our business that was working well that others could learn from. A fact about ourselves that no one knew. And then ask a question about our business to get feedback and help from Jack Canfield and the group. I’m going to share with you some of the things that happened in that room that will help make your book a best-seller.
1. Speak With Authority
“I’ve got one question, then I’ll tell you what to do,” one outspoken Internet Marketer said. We all laughed. And then we listened. He had already proven himself as someone who knew what he was talking about. Earlier he had kept us all in rapt attention with the measurement tools he employed to get the highest clicks to conversions as well as his mistakes that lead him to his success. Once you’ve proven that you have solid knowledge people trust what you have to impart. Best-selling books are written by voices who have proven methods and who can impart them in a simple and direct manner.
2. Talk the Language of Your Tribe
When one person in the room asked for advice about stopping slander many people offered solutions to help him let go of his resentment. But he would have none of it and got more and more red-faced and worked up over the unfairness of it all. He said he wanted justice as he filled the room with his fury. He wouldn’t accept anyone’s methods to make a shift until someone said about the slanderer, “F_ck him, then forgive him.”That worked.Why? He spoke the angry man’s language first. Then gave him what he needed to let it go. When you give advice speak the language of your audience so they can hear you. There’s a Sufi joke that goes like this: A tax collector fell in the river and couldn’t get out.. Many people gathered and tried to assist him. Even though was starting to drown he wouldn’t take anyone’s hand so they could pull him out. Mystified and alarmed the people rushed to get advice from the wise fool Nasrudin. He asked what the helpers were saying. “Give me your hand,” they said.
“Never ask a tax collector to “give” you anything,” said Nasrudin. Say, ‘take’ my hand,” which they did and got him safely out of the river.
The examples in a best-selling book need to address both the spoken and unspoken needs of their audience. Best-selling book authors understand the language of their tribe so they can tell them things that others can’t because they may be hard to hear or bear.
3. Tell Stories With Your Own Twist
When it was my turn to offer the factoid that no one knew about me to the group, I told a short story about an experience I had in college.When I was attending UC Berkeley I worked at Zellerbach Hall as an usher. One evening the great ballet dancer Rudolph Nureyev came to perform and, in my naivete, I thought it would be lovely to invite him to tea. After his performance I went back stage and approached him. When I asked him to tea he just stared at me. I thought, well, Russian is his first language, perhaps he didn’t understand. So I asked again. This time he smirked. Not a word, just a smirk. That was my answer. The typical saying goes: Always ask for what you want. The worst that can happen is you get a “No.”“But that’s not the worst thing that can happen,” I said. “The worst thing isn’t even a word. It’s a smirk.”Canfield said, “Good story!” This story didn’t have the same ending we’ve heard before. No one expected anything to come after the “perceived” ending: The worst that can happen is you get a “No.”
We’ve all heard tons of advice – mostly unoriginal – except in the telling and with a twist. That’s what makes you, the best-selling author a unique storyteller – and thought leader – the surprising twist.
4. Put Butt to Seat, Words to Page
“I’ll tell you a secret to working less. Work less,” said one coach. We all sat stunned. Huh? It’s a similar statement to what made the Nike brand truly famous. “Just do it.” But how, people ask. I don’t have the time, others moan.This coach claimed that he only worked three hours a day (Less than Tim Ferriss!) by just allowing himself that time to get his work done. He then had to manage his time around those three hours instead of letting the minutiae of his day frizzle away his time.
Here is my version of his statement on how to write a best-selling book.
Step one: But butt in seat. Step two: Put pen to page. Step three: Move pen without moving mind. Step four: Don’t stop. Step five: Rinse and repeat.
5. Write the Worst Sh_t in America.
Yes, give yourself permission to write the worst sh_t in America, advises best-selling author Anne Lamott, who told an audience recently that her sh_tty first drafts are just as sh_tty as yours. Believe it.You first have to write something in order to create a best-selling book. Editing comes later. I was talking to my client and colleague, Sharon Melnick, Ph.D. – business psychologist and stress resilience expert who has a new book out called Success Under Stress: Powerful Tools for Staying Calm, Confident, and Productive When the Pressure’s On, and she said that to try and write and edit at the same time is at cross purposes for your brain. These are two different functions that aren’t compatible when done simultaneously.
I know how hard it is to get words on a page so I’ll share a few secrets from my writing group.
First, we all follow Anne Lamott’s advice. So write without censoring yourself. When you don’t think you access the deep knowing that is available in the unconscious. This is the same process for creating sound bites. I advise my clients to just talk without pausing or thinking. I then search for the gold, mining the best phrases that come out naturally in the uncensored talking.
Then we follow Natalie Goldberg’s philosophy not to take your pen off the page. You keep moving your pen no matter what.
To do that you can write phrases like, “What I really want to say is….” What I don’t want to say is….” What I’ve hidden from you all along is….” “I am writing the worst sh_t in America….”
These phrases will keep your pen moving on the page. And yes, I suggest that you write by hand before typing your work into your computer. There is something that happens when you’re touching organic objects like paper that allows for a deeper connection to yourself and the world.
All of the brilliant Internet Marketers in that room had written the worst sh_t in America. Then they refined it and refined it again and again. But they weren’t afraid to do it. Or rather, their fear didn’t stop them. “Better done than perfect” is a good place to start.
Editing is not writing. Some of the best “writers” in this country are perceived as such because they have talented editors.
So write the worst sh_it in America – and then edit the heck out of it.
Advertisements for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday filled my inbox and jammed my mailbox. They were littered across my social media networks; they crowded the airwaves and even filtered into my online groups.
Everybody had something to pitch, hoping they’d end the year in the black and surely the White House said a prayer for a surge in spending to help economic growth.
As the first big shopping weekend of the holiday season drew near I pondered what I could possibly do, what could I offer with all the ads promising slashed prices and discounts galore.
What was a B2B to do?
I decided that I wouldn’t sell a thing. Instead I would give something away. I thought this unique selling proposition (USP) would definitely set me apart and stand out in the season’s raging sea of advertisements.
Earlier this year I hosted a marketing bootcamp; I covered eight marketing topics and decided to give away one of those sessions…Design 101. I bought a domain name, built a quick landing page and placed an ad on Facebook and put up a flyer in a few groups. This would be my test to see if this crazy idea would be worth expanding next Black Friday.
Here’s what happened
From November 23 to November 26 my Facebook business page saw likes increase by 5.5 percent. Not too bad given my ad’s parameters.
Twenty-four people signed up to receive the free session and 41 percent of those people had no previous engagement with my brand.
The jury is still out on conversions because those who took advantage of the free offer have a few more days to purchase the entire bootcamp at the discounted price. (It is the holidays and lots of people like to wait till the last minute.)
Will I do this again next year? Definitely. This campaign allowed people to experience my brand in a way typically not available to prospects. Forty-one percent of the people who requested the free session had never engaged with my brand previously.
Free stuff in general. Everyone usually has something they give away for free. It’s how we build our lists right? Amazingly, the other 59 percent of the people who took me up on my free offer were people who were familiar with my brand. To be quite honest I was shocked to see some of the names of the people who requested the session.
My blog is a great source of information, I have a business event list that I put out just to subscribers and other freebies but the session pulled in a different caliber of audience. Giving away something of value hands down seems to be the best draw. So it’s not just about giving away something for free, it’s about giving away something really good for free.
Closing the deal. Next year, I’ll definitely shorten the sales window, no more than a week after receiving the free session.
So that’s it. My USP for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday connected me to new members of my target audience and I was able to offer this group and even those familiar with my brand something they truly valued. I’ll call it a success even without my sales numbers which I’m sure will drive some in the C-suite absolutely nuts.
Known as The Marketing Stylist™, Lisa N. Alexander helps entrepreneurs and small business owners grow their businesses through strategic marketing and planning. Lisa describes this process as helping clients develop their WOW factor for their big marketing red carpet events. Web launches, advertising campaigns, social media marketing, new business launches are all big marketing events that require the expertise of a stylist and her clients love her work. Lisa is also an author, public speaker and was featured as a mom business with a “stellar” unique selling proposition.
By Susan Harrow, Media Coach & Author of Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul
There’s a new study that a cat videos make you more productive. “Japanese scientists found that workers who watched kittens and other cute baby animals on the Internet are more focused and productive the rest of the day,” noted host Peter Sagal on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell me, the crazy funny NPR show. Cat videos cheer you up and energize you.
So the next time you’re doing a video think kittens and cute. What can you interject to give people that boost that they need in the middle of the day? Can you incorporate a real or stuffed animal into some quirky point you want to make? We’re all looking for a lift – even while we’re being taught something useful. Think about how you can animate your information so people will want to pass it around.
Here’s the crazy thing about video. It’s often the video that’s NOT directly about your business that brings you in clients, customers and sales. It’s this back door approach that makes people feel good, then curious about you and your offerings. So give up a little bit of your serious, gotta sell, gotta enroll, gotta get ’em in your sales funnel mentality and look to connect on the cozy. A little cute never hurt anyone.
Here’s my contribution for my favorite cat videos:
By Susan Harrow, Media Coach & Author of Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul
What do a French woman, LA hipster and prissy librarian have in common?
You can tell who they are as much by their tone as by the way they dress, talk and act.
Remember that we judge you in the first three seconds – three seconds – so tone is as important as your visual appearance, body and facial language. Take care that you are the message you want to give.
A colleague said that he wasn’t sure that all three women were really me. Yup, that’s me.
Please weigh in. Which babe is your fav?
For more media coaching and publicity tips, and some outrageous, shocking and provocative stuff that may tick you off or tickle you I invite you to subscribe to my new YouTube Channel here: https://www.youtube.com/SusanHarrow