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Media Appearances: Your Guide to PR Professional Dress

Guest Blog post

As a PR professional, knowing how to dress for media appearances is of utmost importance. There are few departments who represent a company more directly then the PR team themselves. Though preparing yourself for an appearance with the media can be a bit stressful in the beginning, creating your wardrobe is essential. When you prep for your next media appearance, be sure to use the tips below as your guide for PR professional dress.

Embody Your Company

First and foremost, your attire when you step out into the eye of the public should always embody your company. Whether your office wear is business casual or completely casual, onlookers should be able to tell who you work for from your dress. Ask yourself if someone else in your workplace would be comfortable in the same outfit you plan on wearing in front of the media; if the answer is yes, you’re probably on the right track with your look. Remember that you are the direct link between your audience and your company. Allow your audience to get a glimpse of all your business has to offer through the professionalism of your look.

Play it Safe

Going in front of the media is not the time to step out of the box with your attire. While it might be tempting to make a bold outfit choice in order to stand out, playing it safe is always your best option.

Keep your look simple, modest, and clean. Whether you opt for a simple button up shirt or sleek black capris, stay to what’s familiar to you. Most name brands offer in-season looks that will keep you feeling professional and prepared.

Online thrift shops like thredUP even have great names like Madewell to help you save on the perfect top as well as anything else you might need.

Avoid clothing with large pockets as they might tempt you to store clunky items on your person. Bring a small briefcase or purse with you to the appearance to store those extra items you need with you and leave them in the greenroom or wherever it’s safe to store them during your appearance. Being free of pocket items such as your phone and wallet will give you clean lines and leave you feeling more comfortable and less weighed down when you address the public.

Be Color Conscious

The colors you wear can tell a lot about you and about your company. If the branding of your organization revolves around a specific color, it doesn’t hurt to incorporate it into your professional look.

Stay away from bright and bold color choices along with excessive patterns. Opt for safe and simple neutral tones that won’t leave your audience feeling distracted by your look.

Allow the colors you wear to compliment you as it will make your words have more of an impact. A neutral tone of red, like burgundy, is both a subtle and powerful example of a color that will help you feel brave and bold in front of a crowd. Be aware of colors that might show off sweat stains, or end up being see-through. Choose a color that you feel confident in and you’re sure to make a great impression on your listeners.

Know Your Location & Audience

While your professional dress should always embody your company, it should also take into account the environment of the media appearance. Always consider the location of your appearance and who your audience is. An outdoor conference will more than likely mean you should opt for sensible and simple footwear.

Check the weather outlook for the day to be prepared for the heat, rain, or a cold spell. The more prepared you are, the more professional you’ll look to your audience. Access the age range of your viewers as well to ensure your outfit remains timeless. The more you let your look speak for itself, the more comfortable you’ll feel as you represent your company.


My Radio Show Disaster

I just did a radio interview and totally muffed it.

It was a huge disaster.

I didn’t take my own advice – and even some of the advice I’d planned to talk about – on how to interrupt someone!

I completely forgot in the moment.

Here’s what happened…

The phone rang on my landline. There was music. Then the host came on and shared a short bio about me. He didn’t mention the topic of the interview – which he had requested: 5 Essential Assertiveness Skills Your Daughter Needs to Know to Become an Entrepreneur/Executive Tomorrow.

Long story short he first told me the advice I gave was essential full of sh-t. But he misinterpreted my answer and I couldn’t understand what he was asking me or what he objected to. His questions made no sense. Then he went on a tirade, actually about five of them, about how bad parents were. How both parents were terrible human beings because they both worked and let their kids run wild. And that kids today were cr-ap too. I had to disagree and did so a number of times.

I got in 2 out of 5 of my points in 35 minutes. Not a good track record.

I’ve done dozens of radio and TV interviews, but I was still at a loss of how to break in to his blitherings that went all over the place – and had nothing to do with our topic.

My advice to myself, clients and course participants after every interview? Review it and note what you did well and what you could improve next time. And be kind to yourself (I need work here, too). Boy do I have a long list of improvements.

There is so much to learn about pitching the media, following up, and then being a great guest. The kind of guest that your audience and the media loves. And there are more opportunities than ever for you to be a part of the good news, sharing your advice, your perspective, your opinion and how your products, courses or consulting can help others.

Here is my advice on how to be kind to yourself and consistently get better every media appearance.


Get More Product Publicity With Editorial Calendars — and Get a Free List of 2017 Magazine Editorial Calendars for a Limited Time

By Guest Blogger Margie Zable Fisher

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get information about your product to a magazine editor, at the exact time when that editor was looking for products like yours? Well, that option exists, if you use Editorial Calendars.

What Are Editorial Calendars?

Editorial Calendars list topics and special editorial coverage, to be included in each issue of a publication.

How to Use Editorial Calendars to Gain Publicity

Savvy product and ecommerce companies will find Editorial Calendars extremely useful when pitching products for media coverage.

Real Simple Editorial Calendar

Here are some tips to make the most of your story pitching:

  • Research the publication. Understand the publication’s focus and how your product or service might fit in. A new beauty product for spring may seem perfect for all publications looking for beauty products. But if your product is a luxury item, and the magazine focuses on low-cost products, it’s not a match.
  • Make sure that the Editorial Calendar topics are still relevant. Editorial Calendars can change throughout the year. Check to make sure that the topics you want to pitch are still in the Calendar.
  • Offer product submissions with enough lead time. The lead time for publications varies, and can be as much as six months or more. If you’re not sure of the lead time, assume three to six months.

People Style Watch Editorial Calendar

Where Can You Find Editorial Calendars?

Typically, Editorial Calendars can be found in advertising sales kits. The calendar topics are included so advertisers can tie their ads into topics covered in the publication. You can sometimes find an Editorial Calendar in the advertising section at the publication’s website. If you can’t find it there, contact the publication’s marketing/sales department and ask them to send it to you.

I’ve just put together a list of Top Magazine 2017 Editorial Calendars. Included are: O, the Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, People Style Watch, Redbook, Woman’s Day, Men’s Journal and more.

You can get it free for a limited time, here.

So remember – you can increase your chances of getting media coverage for your products by utilizing Editorial Calendars. Don’t wait – get your list today!

This post is contributed by Margie Zable Fisher, president of Zable Fisher Public Relations, www.zfpr.com, which specializes in e-commerce and product P.R. and publicity. Get her new free report, “How to Outsource Your Social Media Efforts Inexpensively,” here.


Your Publicity Strategy: You Don’t Need to Be Brash or Loud

I just read a woman’s special report that disparaged one of my colleague’s tag lines saying, “I feel bad for those who’ve built a brand around this message.” (My colleague is a wonderful AND successful person by the way. And her brand is working just fine.). This is a poor publicity strategy.

This gal’s special report blasted me with her loud clothes, wildly colored hair, and audacious language. She made it a point to shock me. Granted, that’s HER brand, and people who resonate with in-your-face brashness will be her perfect clients.

But please don’t think you have to imitate this way of being to get media coverage, fans, followers or clients. And please never disparage anyone’s brand to promote your own. I once had a client who said she chose me over another colleague precisely because I wasn’t as “slick and sound bitey.”

There is a place for everyone, no matter how shy or small you feel. No matter how big and bold you are. No matter if you’re quiet and thoughtful. No matter your race, ethnicity or point of view. We need us all.

Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken. ~Oscar Wilde

And know that often the loud ones get attention more quickly, because, well, they are jumping up and down, blowing a bullhorn and calling attention to themselves, while you made be sitting, listening, pondering and seeking to understand others. As long as you’re sitting tall and centered in your own way of being that’s fine. Sometimes, quieting your voice makes it easier to be heard.

And, if you wish you were other, or want to shift your life in a big way before taking center stage – in the media or online, heed the advice of my dear friend Sherry who shows you how to live the life you want in the now — just as you are.

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Bravery in Small Bits

I’m not a very brave person.

I remember when my friend Diana and I were on the island of Molokai, the former leper colony, and we were hiking in a deep ravine. We came to a place where we couldn’t go any further without leaping over a vast expanse with rushing water beneath. I was terrified.

Diana, a former ballerina, is fearless. She leapt like a proverbial gazelle over the gulf and there I was shaking and sweating on the other side. “Come on!” she called impatiently.

But all I could think about is what would happen if I didn’t make it in the one big leap. Lacerated calves. Crushed ribs. A shattered skull.

I couldn’t quite get my head around the IDEA of getting to the other side. I had to shake off my old notions of can’t, impossible, no. And put on the cape of possibility.

Then I leapt.

In that moment I had a whole new notion of myself.

Brave leap

Leap into the unknown

Bravery comes in many forms. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love just publicly announced her romantic love with her best friend.

Yes, sexuality is fluid and wild and unpredictable. She fell in love with a man. She fell in love with a woman. She leapt into love both times, full heartedly. I admire her commitment to creativity, curiosity, and love in whatever shape it comes in, no matter how unexpected.

There are all kinds of bravery.

My friend Andrea Scher marks her brave acts in her blog. And she’s giving a course in how you, too can be brave in blogging about your declarations, your descriptions, your destiny.

There’s also bravery in allowing ourselves to earn what we’re worth. My friend Tommi Wolfe (with her lilting South African accent) has some advice about that.

Then there’s bravery in how we think, what we say and what we do.

What if you can do one brave act a day, no matter how small to build your bravery?

I may not do it every day, but I’m looking for ways that I can inch my way toward a braver life. I was invited to submit a proposal for the Aiki Extension conference, about Aikido in action in our everyday lives off the mat — and then was paralyzed when they accepted it. The other presenters are third, fourth, fifth, sixth dans (degree of black belt) and I’m the only one who is just a first degree black belt (Shodan). 

Aikido Japanese Martial Arts

Aikido high fall

My topic: How to use verbal Aikido in business and media interviews. I’ve never created such a workshop before and since I’m terrified I’m over preparing. Which is how I cope. I challenge myself to think of everything that can go wrong and then I map out what I would do in such a circumstance. 

Does this bolster my bravery? No. But the actual doing of it it will. It’s only the doing of it, the getting it into your bones that inches you toward a braver life. 

So I’ll continue in my little inchworm ways in challenging myself to do brave things so eventually I’ll become a more courageous person.

Want to snoop on me? [Read or listen]

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This is How to Get Publicity For Your New Business.

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Join me + 40 top experts on how to build a beautiful biz, buzz, body + abundance.

Want more intimate conversations with fascinating folk? Here you go.


The “Right” Way to Steal Other People’s Brilliant Business Ideas

Is it ever OK to “steal” someone else’s ideas – in business? Surprisingly: Yes. 

Not long ago, a friend of mine found herself in the kind of situation that would make anyone’s stomach twist into knots.

My friend (an entrepreneur with a modestly popular website and blog) discovered that a woman in another country had stolen an e-course that she had created. Not just the title, or the general concept, or a few sentences here and there. The entire thing. Every lesson. Every piece. Word for word. The thief was passing the course off as her own, accepting payments for enrollment, and was claiming that all of the money was going to “charity.”

My friend was horrified. Eventually, she was able to shut down this shady operation, but it was a stressful and time-consuming process. Ultimately, she had to go directly to the customer service department of the e-commerce website that the thief was using and implore them to suspend the thief’s account, because she wasn’t responding to any of my friend’s emails.

hands tattoos skull rings

How to steal ideas the right way

This may seem like a “shocking” or “unusual” situation, but I’m sorry to say: it’s not.

Theft is rampant in the business world — especially in these techie times, where lifting someone else’s work (and passing it off as your own) can be as simple as clicking “copy” and “paste.”

This is the part of the blog post where you might expect me to stomp my foot down and say “Stealing is always wrong! Don’t do it, people!”

It might surprise you to know that…

I don’t necessarily believe that stealing is always “wrong.”

In fact — whether you’re studying photography, practicing Aikido at a dojo, or growing your business — “stealing” people’s ideas and “copying” other people’s masterful work is actually one of the best ways to learn, refine your skills, and ultimately, develop your own unique style.

Point being: there are many different types of “stealing.” Some types of stealing are illegal and immoral. Some are perfectly appropriate.

There is a big difference between “plagiarism” and “artful imitation,” but many business owners struggle to tell the difference.

Allow me to de-mystify things with a few Do’s and Don’ts.

When it comes to “stealing” and your business…here’s how to steal ideas the right way

1. DO steal ideas from other industries — not just your own.

If you’ve ever flown on an airplane, you know that most jets are dull, cramped, beige and gray clunkers. Not much “style” or attention to “ambience,” unless you’re fortunate enough to be flying First Class.

But the minds behind Virgin Airlines decided to break away from industry conventions. Inspired by chic hotels and groovy nightclubs, they decided to add soft pink “mood lighting” and mellow electronic music to their planes. When you board a Virgin jet, it feels like stepping into a sultry, celebrity-studded nightclub!

hotel modern room

Virgin Airlines marketing tips

Even the Virgin website feels like a “departure” (pardon the pun!) from ordinary airline booking sites. As Luanne Calvert, Virgin’s head of Marketing, explains in this piece: “When creating the new site, we wanted to break out of the mold of typical airline booking sites, so we looked to popular e-commerce sites like Apple.com or Amazon.com, not other airline sites, for inspiration.”

Both of these Virgin anecdotes are perfect examples of how you can “steal” an idea from a business that’s outside of your industry and then “weave” that idea into your own branding, product development, or daily operations. This type of stealing is totally fine. It’s not “theft.” It’s re-mixing!

You try it: What’s something that inspires and excites you, outside of your industry? Do you love rock concerts? Spa trips? Ogling beautiful product packaging at your local boutique? How could you take an element of something you love and then “blend” it into your own business?

2. DO steal ideas from your mentors and teachers — and credit them as the source.

In the yoga world, it’s common to name and honor your teachers: explaining the “lineage” of your training, where you studied, who you studied under, who their teachers were, and so on.

Musicians, too, will often name their role models and publicly thank them in interviews, in CD liner notes, even onstage while delivering an acceptance speech for a glitzy award.

But in the business world, for whatever reason, people often seem hesitant to name their teachers and influencers outright, or explain where their ideas came from. That’s something we ought to change — and it’s quite simple to do.

If you’re writing a blog post that was directly inspired by someone you know, say so. (“This piece was inspired by a conversation with my mentor, so-and-so.” Then link to their website.)

If you’re creating a program that includes concepts, materials, even worksheets that you’ve sourced from other teachers, get permission first, then cite the source. (“This worksheet was adapted from a worksheet that was originally created by so-and-so, who graciously gave me permission to use some of her concepts here.”)

Another great move: build a “gratitude” page somewhere on your website (like this one) where you publicly acknowledge some of the teachers, mentors, coaches, and influencers who have shaped your approach to doing business.

Securing permission to use someone else’s material — and then crediting them — is always a smart move. It’s one that ensures you’ll never look like a lazy “thief” —but rather, a thoughtful student and a total class act!

You try it: Who are some of your top influencers and teachers? Do you thank them in writing, acknowledge them on your website, mention them during interviews, or otherwise make their presence (in your life) known? If not, how could you start doing that?

3. DO steal ideas from multiple sources — not just one.

The American playwright and entrepreneur Wilson Mizner once wrote, “If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many, it’s research.” 

Let’s say, for the sake of example, that you are closely focused on one specific business owner — say, an elite life coach who’s doing phenomenal work, making tons of money, helping thousands of customers. You follow everything she does. You enroll in all her programs. She puts out a new product and you quickly follow suit, creating something similar. You imitate her business model, her voice, tone, style, everything she does. You just LOVE her!

don't hero steal

steal ideas ethically

Your intentions may be pure, but sooner or later, this kind of “hero-stealing” is going to get you into trouble. Why? Because you’re stealing from just one source.

Rather than developing your own unique business style, you’re copycatting just one person who seems to be doing it “right.” It’s time to broaden your field of inspiration!

You try it: Start filling your inspiration-tank from lots of diverse sources, not just one!

Go to an art gallery. Watch a silly movie. Listen to music that you don’t normally listen to. Read glossy magazines. Take a vacation. Have conversations with strangers. Read blogs and books written by people who work inside your industry, if you wish, but read LOTS of them — written by lots of different people, not just one author.

As you develop your own products, services, and online content, think: mixed-media collage, not Xerox photocopy.

And now, a few Don’ts.

These are pretty straightforward and will be obvious to most people, yet they’re worth repeating!

4. DON’T steal exact wording. 

Grabbing someone else’s brilliantly written product description, blog post, e-course materials, and so on, and pretending that you’re the wordsmith who wrote it? NOT cool.

5. DON’T steal visuals that you find online (including “stock photos”) without permission.

Nope, crediting the artist with a link back to their website is not “enough.”

Seek permission to use images, illustrations, infographics and photos on your website, blog, and in your marketing materials. A quick email to the artist usually does the trick.

One exception: if the artist has explicitly stated that the image is “OK to use” — through a Creative Commons attribution license, for example, or by posting a note on their website that says “go for it!” — then feel free to use the image.

But if there’s no expressed permission, it’s not a wise move. (Getty Images has been cracking down lately, tracking bloggers and business owners who have used photos without permission and dinging them with hefty fines! It pays to be cautious.)

6. DON’T steal if your gut says, “This just doesn’t feel right.”

If you’re feeling hesitant or uncertain about whether something you intend to do is “OK” or not, listen to that gut instinct. Then take action to prevent heartache (or a lawsuit) later down the line.

Do your due diligence. Check the US trademark website to make sure that a business or product name you want to use isn’t already in use by a similar service provider. Reach out to your mentors and ask for their blessing to re-print their work or re-purpose their concepts and formulas. If you hire a graphic designer and you feel “funny” about a particular logo or infographic that they deliver to you (“Hmm… haven’t I seen this somewhere before?”) do some investigating. Remember: if the people you hire choose to steal inappropriately, it reflects poorly on your brand, too!

Last but not least:

When you’re creating content (of any kind) for your business…

7. DON’T forget to include true stories from your own life.

Nobody in the entire world has the exact same life experiences that YOU have.

Nobody in the entire world can tell the story about that one time you chatted with an elderly Vietnam vet while waiting in line at the DMV and learned a valuable lesson about grit and determination. (For example).

If you weave a “true story” into your next blog post, newsletter, webinar, a talk that you deliver onstage, e-course materials, and so on, then your materials will INSTANTLY become more “unique” and “identifiable” as belonging to YOU. (Remember how I started off this blog post with a true story from my own life about someone I know? Yup. Just like that.)

Even if you go on to discuss a “universal truth” or a “timeless reminder” or “no-brainer tips” that thousands of people have talked about before, adding a true story will elevate your material from “stale and forgettable” to “intimate and original.”

storytelling for business

business storytelling

To sum it up:

Stealing isn’t always “wrong.”

It’s a matter of how you do it, why you do it, and how you credit (or don’t credit) your sources and influencers.

The “right” way to steal other people’s brilliant business ideas

There’s “plagiarism” (ripping off one person, or one source, verbatim, word for word)… and then there’s “artful imitation” (getting inspired by multiple sources and then copying and re-mixing diverse ideas together… combined with true stories from your own life!).

Hopefully, now, you’re seeing and feeling the difference.

Your ideas may spring from other people’s teachings, and your insights might be “timeless” and “classic” rather than “revolutionary,” but as long as you’re stealing the “right” way, re-mixing rather than Xeroxing…

You’ll always be one-of-a-kind.

NOTE: This piece was inspired by a number of people and sources, including Austin Kleon (his book Steal Like An Artist is an excellent read for all business owners), the work of Julie Cottineau, former VP of Brand at Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and CEO of BrandTwist, and dozens of friends and clients (including several folks enrolled in my monthly publicity and business training club) who have reached out to me with plagiarism “horror stories” over the years. Thank you: everyone!


10 Best Resources to Find a Literary Agent – And Sell Your Book to a Top Publisher

Your book. In the hands of a literary agent who loves you. Next year.

Yes!

I have been cleaning house. Literally. My office. My computer. Assessing. Evaluating.

Clearing out the old to bring in the new for next year.

And….I found this extensive list of literary agents in many different genres that I had created a while back for you: 10 Best Resources to Find a Literary Agent: And Sell Your Book to a Top Publisher

Download it here.

Find a literary agent - Write a book proposal

Find a literary agent – Write a book proposal

Here is another resource.

Authors who are seeking to be traditionally published want to find a literary agent who has contacts at all the top publishing houses.

And who absolutely adores you and is willing to work with you on crafting your book proposal – which is essential to securing a top notch publisher. To write a book proposal you want to make sure you’re doing two things:

  1. Follow the instructions on how to write a book proposal that includes all the essential elements a literary agent and book publisher need to see that proves your idea is viable and that you’re the right person to write this book.One of the most important elements in any non-fiction book proposal is your platform. Which means your reach. Your online and offline presence and ability to sell books. It includes your email lists size, your speaking engagements, your blogging and website statistics and more.

    Want to know why our Gluten Free cookbook didn’t pass muster with my agent? No platform. My friend Karen Leland and I wanted to recreate our favorite childhood recipes – gluten free. However…. we don’t have a following and are not famous — in the realm of cooking. Nor have we been on a competitive cooking show (unlike my two clients who have been on The Next Iron Chef). Our book proposal failed because we didn’t have a platform.

    Here’s the video we put in our proposal to show that we could handle ourselves on camera.

2. Pay attention to the literary agent’s guidelines for how they want the book proposal formatted.
For example, my agent wants the proposal to be in a sans serif font like Arial or Verdana for easy online reading. By the way, even though he’s my agent I reviewed his website on how to format my manuscript and to make sure I was giving him my book proposal in the way he wanted it. I wasn’t aware of some of his requests like.. he doesn’t want paragraphs separated by line spaces. He wants them indented. These may seem like trivial requests, but since agents like mine review over 1000 unsolicited manuscripts every month these kind of details make for easy reading — and could make a critical difference if a literary agent is on the fence about your work. You want your chosen literary agent to feel excited about working with you — not frustrated.

Here is a paragraph from his website about making your book proposal interactive:

Accessibility. In most cases, editors and publishers (the publisher is the business person who runs the publishing house – s/he’s the editor’s boss) are often very young, often in their 20’s or 30’s. So you need to try to make the proposal as accessible as possible. This means that you should consider using charts, side bars, graphics, tests, and so forth to make the proposal as interactive as possible, as well as to make it look interesting on the page: remember that you’re giving this to somebody who was raised on TV, so s/he may have a very short attention span. Of course, the extent of the “look” of your proposal really depends on the subject matter – so if you’re dealing with very serious subject matter, and we’ll be targeting an academic or very serious house, you need less of the “look”; but a more commercial house may require more bells and whistles.

How to get a literary agent

Find a literary agent for my book

Jerry Jenkins has recently released an in-depth blog post on how to write a winning book proposal (both fiction and nonfiction) to agents and publishers based on everything he’s learned from 40+ years of experience in the industry and his 190+ written books.

Want help with your book proposal? Ping me here.

Want to do it yourself? I’ve got you covered.

I hope you find the literary agent who is right for you!


The life-Changing Magic of Speaking Up. (This is my story. What’s yours?)

As a high school student in Palo Alto, California, I was irrepressibly curious and constantly looking for strange and exciting new experiences to try out. And if those “strange and exciting” adventures meant that I could make a little extra money on the side? Even better!

That’s how I wound up sitting in a laboratory with a guy in a white lab coat who explained that he was conducting an important scientific experiment. I was going to be compensated for my time and, so it seemed, helping to further a scientific discovery. This was great!

“There’s a man sitting in another room, on the other side of this wall,” Mr. White Coat explained to me. “This man is taking a test and if he answers a question incorrectly, you must give him an electric shock.”

Mr. White Coat shocks me the 15 volts to show me how it feels. Ow! I jerk in my seat. Tolerable, but definitely painful.

“Remember,” Mr. White Coat reminds me. “If the test subject gets the wrong answer, you shock him.”

The test begins. The man taking the test gets a string of wrong answers. I shock him. Wrong answer. I shock him again.

With each progressive shock, the man on the other side of the wall — the man I am shocking — begins to yelp, then cry out, then scream. It sounds like the pain is becoming unbearable. I glance up at Mr. White Coat and he urges me to keep going. After the third shock, the man on the other side of the wall SCREAMS out, “Stop! Please! STOP! Let me out!” and starts pounding frantically on the wall. I yank back my hands and stand up.

“This experiment is over. I won’t shock him any more. He’s screaming. It obviously hurts.”

Sternly, he urges me to sit down and continue. “You agreed to this experiment so you have to finish it.”

“No, forget it, I won’t do it,” I tell him. I gather my things and prepare to leave. Mr. White Coat puts his hand on my shoulder to stop me and says,

“Wait.”

Photo Credit: Death to stock photo Experimenter The Movie

Photo Credit: Death to stock photo Experimenter The Movie

“The man on the other side of the wall is also participating in the experiment. He wasn’t really being shocked. You weren’t hurting him. He was just pretending. He wasn’t the test subject. YOU are.”

You can imagine, my teenage jaw fell right down to the floor. I was stunned and also relieved.

He went on to explain that he and his colleagues were conducting an experiment to see how people obey orders and respond to “authority figures.”

The results were pretty troubling.

Many of the people controlling the “shock” button kept shocking, and shocking, and shocking, and shocking…up to 450 volts (“Danger: severe shock”) despite horrible screams and pleas coming from beyond the wall.

According to The Atlantic Magazine, in one variation of the experiment, 65% of the people shocked the other person to “death.” (Not really, of course, because the actor was just pretending. But they didn’t know that.)

When asked, “Why did you do that? Why did you keep administering the shock?” most people would respond with some variation of, “The guy in the white coat told me to do it!”

Pretty staggering, right? As this experiment, first conducted by Stanley Milgram — which went on to become a famous, historic experiment, and is now a Hollywood movie called Experimenter — demonstrates, most people do not question authority. If someone who appears to wearing some kind of “uniform” doles out an instruction, most people simply obey.

I was one of the few people who wouldn’t obey. Why? Because I won’t be bullied into hurting somebody, even if I’m told that I “must.” (“Must” is not a word that I like and I do not like being told what to do.) But I do know that it comes from my family, who has always taught me to stand up for what I believe no matter what. And to be kind and to help others who are in distress.

So this non-conformist attitude came from the example of my upbringing. As far as I can remember, I’ve always been wired that way — and it definitely carries through to my work today.

Photo Credit: Death to Stock Photo Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. ~ The Dalai Lama

Photo Credit: Death to Stock Photo Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. ~ The Dalai Lama

When a client said to me, “My publisher wants to put out a press release that doesn’t accurately represent my work and the content of my book and I don’t feel right about it, but don’t feel like I can say anything. After all, they know best.” I told my client, “Don’t go against your own moral compass. Let’s come up with a new strategy and present it to them.” That’s what we did and it was readily accepted.

Or when another client said to me, “A sales expert told me I had to use his coaching model to get clients, but those aren’t the people I really want to work with,” I told my client, “Then stop that. We can find another way that reaches the people you resonate with.” I helped her get her first $10,000 client for a new program we devised. She was elated and said, “You turned my world upside down. What you have really opened my eyes to is another level of living. One to which I have aspired, but my only model was ‘become a guru.’  (shudder) Not only are you helping me, you are modeling a way of thinking that uplifts my spirit.”

When I see someone doing something that’s painful, unethical, ineffective, or that just “doesn’t feel right” for whatever reason, I urge them to speak up. I urge them to stop. I urge them to trust their instincts, rather than blindly trusting “The Man in the White Coat.”

Your “speaking up” story can be anything you want. Stopping a person from beating their dog. Telling a teacher that you DO in fact have singing skills. A time when you spoke up in a meeting and suggested something totally opposite to the common group think.

Speak up for what is right

Speak up for what is right

By speaking up and choosing to behave differently than your peers, you could transform your industry, change your customer’s lives, or (who knows?) even save someone’s life.

When you feel the urge to speak up or defy the “orders” you’ve been given, do it.

With very, very few exceptions, you will not regret it.

Can you think of a time when you spoke up and it changed your life or someone else’s life? I want to hear your story.

Here’s how to share:

  • Head over to Instagram (download the app here to sign up if you don’t already have an account).

  • Once you’re logged into Instagram, follow me and then post a photo plus some text. For the text, briefly tell a story about a time in your life when you chose to speak up—where you were, what you said, and what happened next.

  • Include this hashtag somewhere in your text: #TheMagicOfSpeakingUp and tag me @susanharrow

  • Guidelines: please keep your story brief. 250 words or less. Think: “sound bite sized.” Also, please keep your story G-rated and appropriate for kids and teens to read. Extra credit for concise stories!

  • Please do your Instagram post by November 24 and encourage friends to participate, too!

  • Not on Instagram? No problem. Do the same thing on Facebook. Please “like” my page and remember to use the hashtag #TheMagicOfSpeakingUp and to tag me @susanharrow.

Prizes!

Prizes for everyone

Every single person who shares a story on Instagram or Facebook receives my E-book Girl On Fire—which shows you how to speak up in 10 of life’s trickiest scenarios—just for participating!

Here’s how to get that prize (and be entered in the contest for the grand prize):

Go to Instagram or Facebook.

  1. On Instagram follow me and then tag EITHER the photo OR the text using @susanharrow.
  2. Post your story and image. NOTE: Make sure that you own the rights to the image or have creative commons commercial use rights. All submissions must have an image as well as text. Need some photo inspiration? Go here.
  3. Use the hashtag #TheMagicOfSpeakingUp.
  4. Tag me: @susanharrow.
  5. Go here to download your prize!
  6. I’ll announce the grand prize winner on December 9! (I hope it’s you!)

(Note: this is purely an “honor system” situation. No big hoops to jump through. If you posted a story, then go ahead and get your prize! It’s yours for the taking. Enjoy.)

Grand prize for one person 

I will also select one story—the one that I feel is the most poignant or had the most impact—and that storyteller will receive the grand prize: My 6 month mentorship program to get prepared for publicity for or to launch your publicity program (Worth $11,500). I’ll announce the grand prize winner on my Instagram account and my Facebook Page on December 9. (Follow me on Instagram at @susanharrow and on Facebook to stay in the loop!)

This will be so fun and inspiring!

Whether you have a story about a huge, life-altering moment—or a small, quiet, everyday act of bravery—I want to see how you decided to speak up.

 

Small print: 

In submitting a photo and story (The Work) you give memy publisher, and its licensees and assigns permission to use any and/or all of the material from your post including the photo in all editions and derivations of The Work throughout the World, in all languages and all media, whether now known or hereinafter devised, and in the advertising, publicity, and promotion thereof. Proper credit will be attributed to you in The Work.

 

In submitting a story with an image/photograph you grant the permission requested above and warrant that the material indicated below does not infringe upon the copyright or other rights of anyone. If you do not control the rights requested by this post in their entirety, please provide me with the name and address of any other party from whom permission is required.

 

I cannot wait to see your story. Whether it’s a story about a gigantic act of courage — or a small, everyday act of bravery — it all counts and it’s all amazing.

This blog post was inspired by a lovely & very popular book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. It’s delightful. You should read it. 

Speak your mind. Stand your ground. Sing your song™.


The Life Changing Magic of Speaking Up – A Story Contest

Share your story & get a prize! For…

The Life Changing Magic of Speaking Up™

Can you think of a time when you spoke up and it changed your life — or someone else’s life — for the better?

Maybe you saw a classmate bullying someone on the schoolyard and you spoke up and said, “Back off!”

Maybe you witnessed harm being done to a child or animal and intervened.

Maybe a colleague made a bigoted or sexist comment and you objected or said, “You need to apologize. That’s not OK.”

Maybe you had a “funny gut feeling” to call, visit or email a friend, parent, sibling, or client at a particular moment and your message changed the course of their day — or life.

Maybe you asked for a pay raise, a promotion, a new project, or an opportunity that you wanted—and you got it.

Maybe you bravely got onstage—or published a blog post—to share a true story from your own life and it led to a beautiful opportunity, inspired your audience to take action, or shifted your whole year in an unexpected way.

When you speak up—honestly, courageously, straight from the heart—your words can unlock incredible opportunities, open people’s eyes, help to correct wrongdoings, biases, and misconceptions, and make the world a better place.

The life-changing magic of speaking up contest

The life-changing magic of speaking up contest

Speaking up is magical.

I love hearing stories about people who have chosen to speak up—what they did, what they said, and what happened next—and I want to hear your story. 

To reward you for sharing your story, I’m turning this into a CONTEST with a delicious prize for EVERYONE who participates! (Hooray!)

Here’s how it works:

  • Head over to Instagram (download the app here to sign up if you don’t already have an account).
  • Once you’re logged into Instagram, follow me and then post a photo plus some text on your feed. For the text, briefly tell a story about a time in your life when you chose to speak up—where you were, what you said, and what happened next.
  • Include this hashtag somewhere in your text: #TheMagicOfSpeakingUp and tag me @susanharrow
  • Guidelines: please keep your story brief. 250 words or less. Think: “sound bite sized.” Also, please keep your story G-rated and appropriate for kids and teens to read. Extra credit for concise stories!
  • Please do your Instagram post by November 24 and encourage friends to participate, too!
  • Not on Instagram? No problem. Do the same thing on Facebook. Please “like” my page and remember to use the hashtag #TheMagicOfSpeakingUp and to tag me @susanharrow.

Prizes!

Prizes for everyone

Every single person who shares a story on Instagram or Facebook receives my E-book Girl On Fire—which shows you how to speak up in 10 of life’s trickiest scenarios—just for participating!

Here’s how to get that prize (and be entered in the contest for the grand prize):

Go to Instagram or Facebook.

  1. On Instagram follow me and tag EITHER the photo OR the text using @susanharrow.
  2. Post your story and image. NOTE: Make sure that you own the rights to the image or have creative commons commercial use rights. All submissions must have an image as well as text. Need some photo inspiration? Go here.
  3. Use the hashtag #TheMagicOfSpeakingUp.
  4. Tag me: @susanharrow.
  5. Go here to download your prize!
  6. I’ll announce the grand prize winner on December 9! (I hope it’s you!)

(Note: this is purely an “honor system” situation. No big hoops to jump through. If you posted a story, then go ahead and get your prize! It’s yours for the taking. Enjoy.)

design

Grand prize for one person 

I will also select one story—the one that I feel is the most poignant or had the most impact—and that storyteller will receive the grand prize: My 6 month mentorship program to get prepared for publicity for or to launch your publicity program (Worth $11,500). I’ll announce the grand prize winner on my Instagram account and my Facebook Page on December 9. (Follow me on Instagram at @susanharrow and on Facebook to stay in the loop!)

This will be so fun and inspiring!

Whether you have a story about a huge, life-altering moment—or a small, quiet, everyday act of bravery—I want to see how you decided to speak up.

I can’t wait to see your story!

This contest was inspired by a lovely and very popular book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. You can buy the book here. 

Small print: 

In submitting a photo and story (The Work) you give me, my publisher, and its licensees and assigns permission to use any and/or all of the material from your post including the photo in all editions and derivations of The Work throughout the World, in all languages and all media, whether now known or hereinafter devised, and in the advertising, publicity, and promotion thereof. Proper credit will be attributed to you in The Work.

 

In submitting a story with an image/photograph you grant the permission requested above and warrant that the material indicated below does not infringe upon the copyright or other rights of anyone. If you do not control the rights requested by this post in their entirety, please provide me with the name and address of any other party from whom permission is required.

The Email Pitch Letter That Got Me Publicity – That You Can Copy

This is the email that got me featured in a local paper called The Marin Independent Journal (Marin IJ). The journalist, PJ had written about our garden (Which has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens) before from a different angle—saving the disappearing bees.

You can copy it in a snap.

So you can get free publicity too – either local publicity or national publicity. This email is universal.

Harrow Garden view

Business Coaching Photo credit: Will Csaklos

EMAIL #1 ME TO PJ:

Subject line: Group coaching salons in the garden

Hi PJ!

Loved your piece on going directly to jail to get garden bargains. We’ve been considering getting an owl box so this is great to know!

While we do have native plants and make sure the birdbaths are full for all the birds, bees and insects, we’re also using the garden for something new so other people can enjoy it’s beauty:

Coaching Salons.

Think party, literary salon and laser coaching all wrapped up in an enlivening day.

Kind of like blooming your business.

It’s a new alternative to meeting in stuffy hotel rooms and following a stiff agenda. Instead you…

Come with your business longings, dilemmas, and stuck points.

Leave with a clear mind, a full heart — and a plan.

And though I love virtual trainings (and run a few) people are craving more intimate experiences.

http://prsecrets.com/consult/coaching-salons/

Love to hear your thoughts.

Cheers,

Susan

Here is how our correspondence continued.

EMAIL #2 PJ RESPONSE

Love it!  When does it start?

ME: It’s 1 day on Saturday Sept 19 from 1-5.

Email #3 PJ RESPONSE

Got it.  Does it have a strong garden connection other than just being in a garden. Events need to have a strong connection to the garden : )>

ME: Well, everyone says that this feels like a sanctuary and when they see the trellis they say it’s the perfect place to get married so I see the garden as a way to better connect with yourself and what you want vs. sitting in front of a computer.

We are not just going to sit at the table, but were going to walk and talk down the pathways and use movement and the flowers as a way to loosen our thought process and brainstorm.

We will also deadhead – prune away what no longer serves us, by pruning our roses, echinaceas, or boxwoods.

Everyone will also plant a seed in a tiny pot of dirt as a metaphor to grow their business. (Gloves optional!) When I planted tiny maples that had self-seeded from our giant Japanese Maple, hands deep in dirt with my next door neighbor’s kids, they said, “I wish we could do this more often!”

Everyone will leave with a bundle of beautiful lavender to smell to remind them of the day to stay inspired and to take action on what they say they want.

Is that enough?

How does that sound?

Inspiring Creativity! Entrepreneurs grow their business with business coaching in the garden Photo Credit: Will Csaklos

Inspiring Creativity! Entrepreneurs grow their business with business coaching in the garden Photo Credit: Will Csaklos

RESULT: We set up a time to talk two days later. She interviewed me and the article posted. This short format works for either local or national publicity. It’s short, to the point and doesn’t give away all the nitty gritty details until the reporter / producer is interested and asks.

As soon as the piece posted people called or just purchased their place online the same day the article came out.

There are just 2 spots left. Want to come? (San Francisco Bay Area).

I rarely do in-person events and this is the only one I’ll be doing this year. I’d love to meet you and work with you in person!  I hope one will be for you. ?

Here is PJ’s piece about the garden coaching salon.

For the FREE 100 Word Email That Can Get Media To Call You special report, template + examples that goes into more detail and the psychology behind this strategy go here. You can copy it exactly to pitch YOUR local and national media contacts so you can get publicity. (It’s free!)

design

Follow us on Instagram here for more PR tips, insights, gorgeous images, beauty and fun (See me do a knife takeaway for my Aikido test – but don’t expect to be impressed…).