Many years ago I attended Joe Ranft’s memorial service with my sweetie, who, at that time, worked at Pixar with Joe on such films as Monsters Inc. and Cars (soon to be released). Joe was always generous and kind to my sweetie and to me — and it turned out that he was that way with everyone. Joe was the heart and soul of all the Pixar films. He also worked on The Nightmare before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach and many other films on which he left an indelible mark. He was a storyteller in his work and in his life.
Joe Ranft Pixar Animation Studios: Creativity Rules
When one longtime friend of Joe’s asked all the guests who considered Joe their best friend to raise their hands, half the people put their hands up. After a big heart and hilarious sense of humor, what people mentioned most was that Joe Ranft was a storyteller, and that everyone loved hearing his stories.
Joe had 2 sayings on his office door that he lived by:
The journey is the reward.
Trust the process.
I think it’s easy to forget these things as so many of us are overachievers or hyper demanding of ourselves (myself included), working in a world that glorifies speed. It’s ironic that it takes many slow moments to help us go fast.
Make 10,000 bad drawings.
At the reception after the service we were talking to Eric Frierson, the sole survivor in the car crash, about Joe and what he meant to the community of men he was working with in Michael Meade’s organization, Mosaic and Ed Catmull, the President of Pixar joined us. When Eric found out who Ed was (“Oh, YOU’RE Joe’s boss!”) he said, “I’m glad to meet you because I’m a graphic artist and I want to talk to you soon.” Ed said, “Take Joe’s advice. Do 10,000 bad drawings first. Get them out of your system. After you’ve done that, come talk to me.”
Michael Meade Extraordinary Storyteller
Become a master of mistakes.
This is another thing that we forget: to become great mistake makers. To be unafraid to do crappy work. To make a big mess of things so we can discover something in the muck of it all — or not. To follow the harebrained idea even if it leads to a dead end. To get the 10,000 bad drawings out of our system. To play in the waters of failure without a life jacket. To “Trust the process.”
Joe was a master of mistakes. You have to be to consistently come up with the kind of creative ideas and great stories he fostered and hatched. Once you free yourself up from fearing mistakes you’ll have a lot of energy for other things, other thoughts, other people. Busy as he was Joe made time for people. Lots of them.
Speaking from the podium one longtime friend of Joe’s talked about one of the last times they were together. They were sitting on the couch talking about the direction of Joe’s life. The friend asked, “How’s it going?”
He said he was at a place where he now had a hand in, and was overseeing, all the films at Pixar, was comfortable financially, and could devote more of his time to doing community service. He was working closely with mythologist, drummer, and teacher Michael Meade who devotes himself to working with gangs, inner city kids, prisoners, men from difficult circumstances trying to live better lives, and people interested in living deeply.
Michael Meade tells great stories, Storyteller, Mythologist, Drummer
Hearing this renewed my interest in doing more community service with youth. Meade, in his workshops, often talks about needing more elders in our midst and about developing ourselves into those elders, worthy of the respect of youth. I want to grow into being one of the worthy ones.
Do good works in the world.
Toward the end of the service, Joe’s wife Su said, “If you want to honor Joe, I have only one request: Do good works in the world. Find something you can be passionate about. Throw yourself into it. Don’t just think about it. Do it.”
I’m taking her advice, and Joe’s example to heart.
NOTE: COVID has given us all ample opportunity to do good work. If your company can donate time, money, food, masks, or other necessary items to organizations that can help, now is the time.
Pixar’s Joe Ranft’s 2 Rules for Living
Joe Ranft knew how to live. Considered the heart of Pixar’s films his sense of humor and gift for storytelling were legendary throughout the industry and throughout the world. How can you apply his life lessons to promoting yourself, your product, business, service or cause? Storytelling is key along with two others. Learn to tell great stories.
1. The journey is the reward.
I want it now. I can’t wait. Hurry, hurry. Show me the money. What do I get? Life will be better tomorrow.
What about now? What about doing without knowing what will result, just for the fun of it?
Pixar Animation Studios: Onward
Do what feels good without worrying about the goal.
This is what Kathan Brown, a former client of mine who is legendary in the print making/etching world, and who has worked with such artists as John Cage, Richard Diebenkorn, and Richard Tuttle, writes in the opening of her book, Ink, Paper, Metal, Wood:
“Thirty-three years ago (now 47) when I founded Crown Point Press I didn’t have a clear plan, but I liked the feel of ink on my hands and the look of it after I’d printed it onto paper using an etching press. I liked working with polished copper, aromatic liquid tar, rosin from pine trees, and wax, heated and rolled out thin — poetic materials from another age.”
She goes on to say that she started the press for her friends who were painters and sculptors and how they taught her ways to make sense of life in this day and age.
At that time our troops and the Iraqi people continued to die, hundreds have died or were in desperate straits in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, when depression, obesity and anxiety have become as commonplace as the housefly, and now COVID —how does what you do help us make sense of the world?
And while the journey is the reward, Kathan says, “You can’t just sit around and enjoy. You also have to look for the next step.”
2. Trust the process.
Process is often mysterious, frustrating and slow. Process is also miraculous, easy and instant. They are part of the same continuum.
Margaret Welty artist, drawing free expert
Margaret Welty is a great example of trusting the process. She’s an artist and gifted teacher who had her own cable TV show and gives workshops to set your inner (or outer) artist free. I love the phrase on her website: “No Talent? No Problem! Drawing Free allows anyone—even YOU to start drawing NOW.”
Even me? With Margaret holding my hand I will trust the process and give it a go. No doubt Joe Ranft would cheer me on.
I’ve found that there is always some beauty left — in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself; these can all help you.”~ Anne Frank
E.M. Forster said, “Only connect.” I’ve held this as my motto for PR and it also applies to all of us in this moment of “social distancing.”
I just received an email from psychologist and meditation teacher Tara Brach who wrote: “Many of us are maintaining social distance by staying at home in what has been called a lockdown. You might instead consider that this is a retreat, and take the time to nourish your spirit — love those you’re with, connect (online or by phone) with wider circles of dear ones, offer help to our world however you can, and join in live-streamed meditation classes offered by myself and many others.” or create your own home retreat.
One of my most favorite quotes from the poet Rumi is:
“Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”
During this time of separation there can still be a lot of togetherness and “hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”
Here are some:
Join the Good Fairy Group.
Inspired by a group of school children in Austria this was posted to my NextDoor online neighborhood group:
Show the virus what we’re made of – join the Good Fairy group: Connecting those who can help to those who need help in our community. Can you pick up a prescription or books or a pint of milk, take a dog to the vet, take donations to Goodwill, send a parcel etc. from say, a senior social distancing from the virus?
Do you need support or know someone who does? Just post what you need to this group and a good fairy will pick it up. No task too big or small or weird …I think we’ll maybe take that as a challenge.
A 21 year old girl started this by volunteering to help saying that she wasn’t afraid of the virus and was in good health. Her bravery inspired others and the post about the Good Fairy Group popped up. Once one person steps forward in generosity and kindness more follow.
Share your bounty.
If you grow veggies, fruits or flowers share them with your neighbors. We don’t have fruit trees ourselves, but many of our neighbors do. When I see oranges, grapefruits, lemons and apples rotting on the ground I knock on my neighbors’ door and ask if I can gather their fruit and give it away. I’ve always gotten an enthusiastic “Yes!” I’m now known in the neighborhood as The Apple Fairy. I walk every day so I’ve just incorporated this into my routine by carrying plastic bags to collect the fruit. One of of my neighbors who loves lemons and apples has a 3-year old son with a Tonka truck on their porch. I load it up with fruit so he can “discover” it. So much joy can be found in these tiny moments.
Support your local businesses.
I suggest purchasing gift cards from your massage therapist, yoga studio, cafe, restaurants so the merchants in your community you count on can survive without their usual influx of customers (you).
Send cards to people in assisted living/nursing homes.
Since loved ones can’t visit their family or friends now you can send or deliver cards anonymously to brighten an elderly person’s day. I’m going to do this for the assisted living home near me and perhaps enlist my neighbors to write cards as well. My wonderful friend Sherry Richert Belul is an expert in writing love letters and for her book, “Say it now.” I couldn’t think of a better time to tell the people you love what you adore about them. For people in line shopping for food and supplies you can say something nice that you observe about them, share a recipe or brighten their day with a humorous story.
My Wild Writing group with the wise teacher and dear friend Laurie Wagner, is now meeting by Zoom. When meeting in person we began by eliminating the chocolate nibs and nut bowl that we would all reach into for sustenance and joy during our deep dive into excavating our experience to put on paper (yes we use pen and paper. No computers). It helps to see everyone’s smiling faces and to continue to share our stories with each other virtually.
Author Glennon Doyle decided to create story time. For adults she’s reading from her new book, Untamed and from other authors’ books who have had their book tours cancelled. For all the moms at home she’s reading to children for 20 glorious minutes a day. Check her feed for upcoming story telling times. Fantabulous.
If you find something online consider sending the link to your friends and family. One thing you might not know is about how your prescriptions may be limited or difficult to refill.
According to NorthWest Pharmacy “Global supply chains in numerous industries are affected. When it comes to pharmaceuticals, the vast majority of the active pharmaceutical ingredients or their components used to produce finished dosages in the entire worldwide prescription drug supply chain, including the drugs sold in the United States, are manufactured in China, where the coronavirus has had the most impact on factory production to date. Further complicating things is that some countries, including those our suppliers source products from, have begun to ban the export of at least certain pharmaceuticals in an effort to preserve supplies for their local populations. At this time, we have access to adequate supplies of most of the products we offer but we do not know whether this will remain the case.” Consider calling your doctor now to get an extra supply of your medications now.
Enjoy a virtual tour of twelve museums from across the world.
Before your local library closes check out as many books, magazines, movies and tapes as you can so your family can have cuddly together time. If it’s already closed visit your neighborhood free library and exchange books with your neighbors (wipe them down with a sanitized wipe before bringing them into your home).
Make your own healing tonics.
I bought a bunch of organic Turmeric that I boiled in water for about 4 hours. I fill up empty glass Kavita bottles which are easy to store in the fridge. It’s a simple, potent immune booster. You can squeeze in fresh lemon juice for a refreshing and healthful drink. (NOTE: Tumeric stains everything. I learned the hard way on our white countertops so do your pouring from pan to bottle in the sink!)
Take an online course and boost your learning, expertise and happiness.
Now is a fantastic time to share your expertise on the media — especially for mental and physical health professionals, financial advisors, and creative spirits. We need all your voices for practical and uplifting ideas and advice.
You’ve seen that poster and all it’s hilarious variations: Keep calm and carry on. Not easy to do when we’re blasted with so much drama/trauma and dire news. One of my coaches has advised me to stop every hour and meditate for 1 minute. I’ve set my alarm because I get going on something and forget. I love the idea that I can “command calm” and “command my mind in a moment” from this practice. If you’ve never meditated before you go here where I’ll lead you through or just sit comfortably and follow your breath and note your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations without judgement when they arise. Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh suggests as simple practice I’ve always loved: smiling to yourself.
Dawson Church of EFT Universe made a meditation (“Fear of Infectious Disease “) that incorporates EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique — Tapping) and EcoMeditation, and he is distributing it free to as many people possible. (If you want to skip right to the tapping start at 7: 23) Please share!
Play with your pets.
Pets can sense when you’re stressed and need extra love. Petco noted in their newsletter that it was reported that people were abandoned their pets believing that they could carry the virus. Dr. Thomas Edling, a 25-year veterinarian with a special interest in infectious and zoonotic diseases and a member of the Petco Pet Wellness Council advises, “Pet parents under no circumstances should be abandoning their pets because of COVID-19.
The most important things pet lovers should know today are:
According to the CDC, there is currently no known reason to believe that any animals, including pets in the United States, can spread COVID-19.
To date, the CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19.”
Keep nuzzling your pets for their good and your own to keep calm and connected.
What’s one of the quickest ways to sell a lot more books or bump up your business revenue?
Answer: Get interviewed on a top national radio show and have the host tell their 250,000+ loyal listeners about what you’re promoting because it’s not uncommon to sell 1,000 books from a 10-minute appearance and get your products, programs or services on the map.
Now is the perfect time to do a virtual radio “tour” while you stay at home during these trying times.
50 national radio shows that will interview you
Steve Harrison has helped over 15,000 people land publicity, including the authors of such bestsellers as Rich Dad Poor Dad and Chicken Soup for the Soul.
His clients have appeared on most major national TV shows including The Today Show, Good Morning America, The View, Fox News, CNN and more.
Now Steve is giving away a great tool to help you promote your own book or business on big radio shows – a free PDF directory of the biggest 50 national radio shows that interview guests.
Your copy gives you show profiles and producer contact info for these leading radio shows:
National Public Radio shows (combined weekly audience – 37 million)
The Mark Levin Show (weekly audience – 10 million)
Dave Ramsey Show (weekly audience – 12.4 million)
Michael Smerconish Program (weekly audience – 2.1 million)
Download your PDF of the top 50 radio shows that interview guests and can tell huge numbers of people about you.
I look forward to hearing you on the radio!
50 national radio shows that will book you as a guest
If you’d like to share this with people you like (or love) pass them this info + link: Get your free PDF download for 50 national radio shows who want to interview you! http://prsecrets.com/top-radio.html
This is a story about how a purple bracelet made Will Bowen famous…
Let me give you an example of someone who excels at turning his message into a media sensation.
When I was reading People magazine a few years ago, I came across a feature on a Midwestern minister named Will Bowen. I was impressed, because it’s very hard to get featured in People if you’re not a celebrity (or dating a celebrity).
Bowen had noticed that there had been a lot of complaining among his church members. So he told his congregation, “I’d like you to try to go 21 days without complaining.” Since that’s not an easy task, he decided it might help them to have a bracelet-like wristband to help remind them every day about their goal.
So he placed a large order for purple bracelets bearing this message: “A Complaint Free World.” He gave a bracelet to everyone in his congregation, and told them, “If you take my challenge, and notice that you start to complain about something, take off your bracelet and put it on your other wrist.”
That very simple act got people involved. Most of his church members found that they were complaining way too much and were shocked at how hard this challenge was.
They also started telling their friends about it and a lot of them wanted to try it too.
We caught up with Will Bowen to learn more about his very successful campaign and where he got his inspiration. Bowen says he was “bowled over by the response” to his idea, but is “loving every minute of it.”
“I think most people can agree on two things:
Number 1: There’s too much complaining in the world and Number 2: The world is not the way we want it to be,” Bowen says. “These things are related. We’re so busy griping about the way things are that we’re stuck in the mire and are perpetuating the problems.”
“I’d read a book that had recommended going 21 days without complaining,” Bowen remembers. “My twist on it was finding a unique way of monitoring this. Wearing a bracelet was a practical thing people could do–it was almost like making a game of it. It just exploded.”
When he first announced his challenge, the church immediately began getting requests for the bracelets. After he received thousands of requests, he set up a nonprofit association to distribute the bracelets and spread the word.
The snowball effect of great publicity
As time went by, A Complaint Free World got more and more word of mouth and media coverage.
Bowen really created–or stumbled upon–a mass movement.
His first breakthrough came when he contacted Helen Gray, the religion editor at his local newspaper, The Kansas City Star. She wrote a story about him that was picked up by the McClatchy News Service and ran in 35 other papers.
After he had distributed 50,000 bracelets, he got in touch with Gray again. This time, her follow-up article was picked up by 125 papers across the country. A Los Angeles Times reporter read this story and interviewed him. That article was seen by an NBC News producer, which led to Bowen’s Today show appearance.
It gets better.
A People magazine editor decided to write about Bowen after seeing him on Today.
Then Oprah’s staff saw the People article and invited him on her show.
After that, he lost count of the number of TV, radio and print interviews he’s done, including major features in The New York Times and Newsweek.
will bowen authority about complaining
Although he does remember that for a 3-year period, he never did fewer than two interviews per week.
Naturally, all of this press led to a book deal.
Bowen didn’t have a book when he went on Oprah, but his agent sold it to a major publisher after a bidding war with several New York publishers. He’s since published two books about A Complaint Free World that have been released in over a dozen countries –and was surprised to learn that his first book was the #1 self-help bestseller in China for over a year.
This tremendous publicity also launched Bowen in a new career as a public speaker who has spoken to enthusiastic audiences around the world. It’s been quite a journey, and it’s not over yet.
What campaign or challenge can you offer?
Why did Bowen receive such an outpouring of popular support and media coverage for his quest to reduce complaining?
I think this story worked so well because it wasn’t just about one man. The press could cover what happened to a variety of people when they took this challenge. And radio or TV hosts or journalists could take the challenge themselves and talk about their experiences.
Here are a few takeaway tips to keep in mind if you want to start your own campaign:
Don’t just talk about solving problems– do something about them! It wasn’t until Bowen decided to take action to reduce the negativity around him that he became a newsmaker.
Take on a manageable challenge. Don’t try to solve world hunger or poverty in one go. Tackle something worthwhile that you have a shot at achieving. Bowen’s complaint-free challenge is just a small part of what he does in his church, but it put him on the map.
Be sincere and live your message. Bowen passed on this advice: don’t try to create a movement if you’re being self-serving. He believes people will sense your motivation and whether or not you believe in your cause. “If you’re just trying to make a buck, it’s bound to fail. But, if you’re trying to improve the lives and consciousness of this world, it can’t be stopped.”
When you have a passion for accomplishing your mission, you never know where it will take you. Since he began his challenge in July 2006, Bowen’s organization has distributed more than 11 million bracelets worldwide–and 2 million of those requests came in the first 24 hours after his Oprah appearance.
I hope I’ve inspired you to think about ways you can challenge others to meet a worthy goal or to turn your mission into a campaign that people can rally around.
I haven’t seen much to applaud in the current administration or the recent presidential debates. So I thought I’d harken back to the Obama White House PR campaign strategy for some ideas you can apply to your own publicity campaign.
1. Define your image as a thought leader.
While I don’t particularly like the word “image” what I mean by it here is that in creating a consistent character that embodies your deepest principles, people perceive you as “whole” and trustworthy. We align with leaders who are aligned with themselves.
We know instinctively if thought leaders are who they appear to be and if their facial, body and verbal language match.
According to Joel Benenson, the primary pollster for the Obama campaign, Obama’s image was more clearly defined than McCain’s. Benenson said that Obama had an anti-Washington reputation that was characterized by his insistence that he was “going to tell you what you need to hear not what you want to hear.”
Barack Obama’s publicity strategy
People perceived Obama as a truth teller, which is something we hunger for. To solidify trust as a thought leader, authority, expert, influencer, or burgeoning personality, define yourself clearly, tell the truth, then follow that up with actions that demonstrate you’re committed to those truths at any cost.
2. Create a strong, positive and consistent message.
Barack Obama had one simple, elegant philosophical approach that was easy to understand and to assimilate. “Voters are looking for the remedy not the replica”.
His strategy was to position his opponent, John McCain, as the replica and himself the remedy. This became the core of his campaign.
Distill your message into one clear sentence that has deep resonance. Then build the rest of your your publicity campaign on that core message.
3. Communicate casually via video. David Plouffe, a campaign manager for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, did amateurish-looking videos discussing strategies to keep supporters and organizers excited, engaged and involved. These were not slick productions but were kept consciously rough-hewn to connect casually.
These videos are similar to the ones friends might send to each other to keep in touch on Facebook, Youtube or Instagram.
By keeping it casual they became more like chat sessions than formal lectures. Plouffe speaks directly to the camera with maps pinned to the wall and amidst piles of papers.
Barack Obama publicity campaign secrets you can use
Casual videos on your website where you face the camera and look directly into the eyes of viewers, make you approachable and human and add that “I feel like I already know you” sensibility.
Seeing someone in their personal environment also creates an atmosphere of trust and a sense of intimacy. Over time, this proper intimacy encourages loyalty and builds trust so your supporters come to believe in you in a profound way.
I was talking to my neighbor next door who works for a famous matchmaking firm. She’s a warm and cozy person who people feel comfortable with right away. She has a knack for putting people at ease — including celebrities, princesses and the rich beyond imagination, who are her clients.
Want to listen to this as an audio with lots of extra juicy details? Here you go.
But they all have the same problem we all have. They are looking for love. Yes, sometimes in the wrong places — or with the wrong people or they are focused on the wrong things – like stating that his dates couldn’t have wrinkly, flabby arms – which was a deal breaker for one wealthy patron who was not having any luck with the ladies.
But what my neighbor noticed was that many of her clients didn’t have some skills necessary to connect with potential mates. How to make significant small talk, when to hold eye contact, what constituted appropriate touch, ways to keep a conversation going to find common interests, how to get to that “click.”
Furthermore they missed social cues, and were woefully unaware how they were perceived. (Like one man, a real snoozer, who kept saying how dynamic and engaging he was who put everyone in the office to sleep!)
Perception is reality in both media appearances and in personal relationships.
Which got me thinking about how much fun it would be to coach people who are looking for love but not having any luck — meaning that “the one” or even “the fun one of the moment” was eluding them. Which is essentially what I do everyday with people (clients and course participants) during media coaching or video training, so their audiences (hundreds, thousands, millions of people) and the media (reporters and producers) love them.
So why not extend this training the land of love?
What prompted me to share this with you?
While talking to my neighbor I got a little spark. I thought, gee, would be so delighted to coach her clients on their facial, body, verbal language (+ tone – so important!) so could let their true selves shine through the nervousness and anxiety, the sweaty palms, the fidgeting, the mean voices in their heads, so they could relax and just be themselves — while being an excellent listener who can “read” the situation and respond, creating a deep connection instantly.
In some ways it’s a thought experiment that’s not unique, but the author, Pam Grout, makes a compelling case backed by science, about how to do it. (And in a very conversational and quick read way).
So, I’m giving it a try. (Although I do this all the time in various forms this was a bit of a new challenge).
If any of you would like an hour or two of coaching on camera (via Skype) to role-play potential dating – or domestic scenarios (you’re in a relationship that you’d like to grow the love, kindness, fun, sexiness). I’m offering a limited amount of sessions – 5 max.
Because the usual minimum fee to hire me for $2000 for 4 hours there is no initial consult as these sessions are 1-2 hours only.
So you decide whether this is something you feel is right for you. (Did you get a zing? A full-body yes? Watch for it. Feel for it. Because we often ignore these inklings that guide us toward the right next step.)
You can hop on over here to purchase 1-2 hours (enter either $500 or $1000 in the appropriate field) and one of my team will get back to you ASAP to schedule a time for us to talk on camera from your home or office (via Skype).
Be sure to put “LOVE” in the comments box so I know what kind of consult you want.
Prefer to listen to the rest this as an audio with lots of extra juicy details? Here you go.
One more thing…. If you’ve been thinking that you want to be more comfortable on video – for your website, tutorials, YouTube, Instagram etc. then let’s chat about how to use your personality and the camera to your advantage, connect to your audience, and of course how to Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul™.
Videos not only engage your audience but can be the deal maker or breaker for inviting in clients, customers and sales (and love, right?).
Some things we’ll do together:
3 secrets the top TED talk speakers use to get millions of views – that you can use in all your videos.
How to use your eyes to draw in the right audience (clients, customers, sales, opportunities) for you — and discourage time-wasters.
Methods to apply incantation and intention to tap deeply into who you are to show your true essence so you and your videos stand out—even if you’re in a highly competitive field.
The right way to use your own natural gestures that inspire audiences to like and trust you (no steeples or pyramids or fake, canned movements).
Why you absolutely shouldn’t read a script (and how to get your point across gracefully and effectively).
In the near future I’ll be featuring client, course participant and Ezine subscriber’s success stories on the blog, Instagram + Facebook.
So if anything you’ve read in the Ezine or on the blog or that we did together one-on-one or in a course, that helped you directly and you would like to do a quick video about it, or send in a pic with a description — I’d be delighted to feature you — and of course link back to your website and social media channels. (Instant publicity!). Make sure to include your website URL all your social handles.
Just send me an email with a link to your video, written testimonial and attach your pic. Thank you!!
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.
Lots of people call me who want to get on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox and Friends, The View, MSNBC and more. Most don’t know that if they create the entire segment they have a better chance of becoming a guest on a national TV show.
If they can envision the show, map out the theme, plan the guests, create the questions, suggest the props, plan the B-roll (background footage) and then bring their knowledge and expertise to the table, speaking in 10-20 second sound bites, then they’ll have the chance of a winner show.
I know it sounds obvious, but many people aren’t familiar with the show format or the hosts’ style because they haven’t bothered to watch the shows or study the host’s style so their pitches are off-base. These are high-level shows and the producers want you to be intimate with the content, pacing, length of each segment, and host’s manner.
Being unaware of these things shows disrespect and could give you and your business a bad name.
Also, if you don’t perform well on the show you’ve pretty much squelched your chances of being on other top TV talk shows as the producers know each other and talk about the flops. To be one of the successes follow these tips.
1. Start with a Headline that Spells Out the Story.
Supernanny Teams With An Acclaimed Autism Expert To Help A Child Who Is An Outsider In His Own Home On Supernanny on ABC.
While it’s a show from the past, it’s an excellent example of how to create a TV pitch letter.
This is the headline from an well-done press release. It tells you what the problem is and who is going to solve it—but not how. Enticing. “Outsider in his own home” is immediately appealing as you can already feel the emotion that the show promises.
2. State the Graphic Details of the Problem and Your Credentials to Solve it.
Supernanny Jo Frost teams with world-renowned autism expert Dr. Lynn Koegel to tackle the parenting issues faced by a family whose three-year-old son is an outsider in his own home. This episode of Supernanny aired on the ABC Television Network.
Deirdre and Trae Facente don’t know how to integrate their autistic son Tristin into their daily life with their twins, Kayla and Marlana (4). Tristin is completely non-verbal, caught up in his own world of spinning, jumping, swinging and, often, taking off his clothes. The only time he spends with his family is sitting at the dinner table. The twins, who demand much of their stay-at-home mom’s attention, can’t figure out how to play with their little brother.
The parents are at a loss as to how to help Tristin come out of his zone and join the family.
“World-renowned autism expert” lets you know that the guest has weight. You get a clear idea of what family life looks like in the Facente household and can immediately see how divided the family is. It’s a dramatic situation that has pathos and promises to be good TV.
The specific details of “Tristin is completely non-verbal, caught up in his own world of spinning, jumping, swinging and, often, taking off his clothes,” gives you an immediate sense of what the show will look like. And it even has humor. I mean, what mom wouldn’t be mortified if a neighbor dropped in and one of her kids was swinging and spinning about in the nude?
3. Tell How You’re Going to Provide a Solution.
Enter Dr. Koegel and Supernanny. Together they refine the classic Supernanny methods and teach all the Facentes Dr. Koegel’s inclusion and communication techniques to help engage Tristin. For example, when they introduce the new daily schedule to everyone, Dr. Koegel uses a picture board with Tristin to help him understand in a concrete way.
Notice that you’re given just a little detail about “communication techniques,” but not what they are or how they’ll be used. One example is given (picture board) and it is again very visual, conforming with what works on TV.
While this show has already taped and the end of the story is known, in your pitch you’ll imagine what will take place on the show as if it has already taped. You’ll define your role and the actions that you and others will take and map it out visually for the producers.
4. Show Dramatic Visible Results.
In just a week, silent Tristin goes from zero words to speaking hundreds of times using over 20 new words. He is bursting with requests to play a favorite game, be tickled or eat a treat. Step-by-step, Jo and Dr. Koegel help the parents keep Tristin from his disruptive behaviors by including him in family chores and activities.
These efforts culminate in the boy helping his dad set the table, a seemingly mundane task that is so miraculous for Tristin, it brings tears to Trae’s eyes.
In a sense this show is a “make-over” program. It touches on mundane chores, the fabric of a family and creates poignancy. Success is unmistakable and quantified succinctly by explaining that Tristin is transformed from a mute to a chatterer (zero words to speaking hundreds of time using over 20 new words).
how to pitch the media
5. Give Your Credentials.
Lynn Kern Koegel, Ph.D is one of the world’s foremost experts on the treatment of autism. She and her husband, Robert L. Koegel, Ph.D., founded the renowned Koegel Autism Center at the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
She co-wrote the bestselling book on autism, Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies, and Hope that can Transform a Child’s Life, which was released in paperback, and also co-authored, with Robert Koegel, the more recent book, “Pivotal Response Treatments for Autism.”
While you don’t have to have written a book, it helps. Books published by established and respected publishing houses carry clout. This husband and wife team even have their own center at a respected university. What’s critical here is your experience and your results. Especially for TV you must be able to show that you’ve achieved results and have influence in your field.
I thought it would be instructive for you to see the process from pitch to published to get into O Magazine. This is an excellent example of how to pitch Oprah Magazine.
Below are the details of the reporter’s query, my client’s response and the final piece where she landed in O, The Oprah Magazine.
Oprah Magazine has three versions. The hard copy version of O Magazine, the online version of O, The Oprah Magazine and oprahmag.com (a separate website) so you have plenty of opportunities to get featured!
Here is what happened.
I saw a query in HARO (help a reporter out) from O, The Oprah Magazine that was perfect for my client Dr. Leslie Korn, PhD, MPH, a Harvard Trained Traumatologist and mental health specialist who trains clinicians and consumers on how to improve their mood with food, nutrition, and herbs for optimal brain function. So I jetted the HARO query to her, letting her know the deadline.
Dr. Leslie Korn – Pitching Oprah Magazine + oprahmag.com
NOTE: It’s important to respond to HARO queries ASAP because typically once a reporter or a producer gets enough responses they can use they stop scanning the emails that come in later. So the early bird gets the quote.
Looking for licensed medical professionals or holistic practitioners who can provide suggestions on natural/organic remedies to cure headaches without using over-the-counter medicine or drugs. If it’s instructional, such as using a hot/cold washcloth, please provide steps along with tips.
Must be a medical professional. If a holistic practitioner or integrative health doctor, please reference any studies where you found the suggestion.
The best way to pitch O, The Oprah Magazine
Notice how she specifically answered JUST what the editor wanted to know. And gave the O Magazine editor a number of great options to choose from. The reporter used her mustard soak.
There are so many types of headaches.. each one has a different tip and treatment!
I am Dr. Leslie Korn, a Harvard Medical School-trained Integrative Medicine clinician. I learned as many remedies when I ran a health clinic in the jungle of Mexico for 25 years, as I did in the jungle of Boston. I know what works (and what doesn’t so much) after 40 years in practice. I specialize in the treatment of psychological and physical trauma and its side effects; chronic pain (headaches) digestive disorders, addictions, anxiety and depression. I have written 7 books including 2 textbooks, with an 8th on the way about Herbal Medicine for Women. I also train and certify clinicians in Integrative Medicine and Nutrition for Mental health.
How to pitch Oprah Magazine
Headaches; the cause will determine the best treatment; figuring out what kind of headache it is will enhance treatment efficacy; a frontal headache usually comes from tension in the back neck muscles, so a good acupressure or cranial sacral treatment to the little knobs (called condyles ) on the back of the skull helps, along with placing an iced cloth on the neck.
While heat is soothing, cold kills pain. Headaches often result from vascular changes; changes in blood flow or vessel constriction, and a simple self care technique is to do a mustard foot soak.
Take a bucket of hot water so that you can place your feet and cover up to your ankles with hot water (hot enough, but not burning hot) Add a tablespoon of ground mustard (grinding fresh mustard seed in a small electric grinder is best, but ground mustard will do in a pinch,) then massage some olive oil around your feet and ankles and soak for 30 minutes.
The heat from the water and the mustard will draw down the vascular congestion and release constricted blood vessels in the head bringing blood flow to the feet alleviating the pain. In advance of settling into the soak, prepare a cup of feverfew tea, or have an extract of feverfew on hand to drink to also reduce the headache.
Dehydration is a common cause of headaches and often increasing water intake helps. To calculate how much water one should drink a day, take your body weight and divide it by 50% and that is what you require, in ounces. So a 200 lb. woman requires 100 ounces a day. One can have a little less some days without negative effects but one should shoot for the optimal.
Migraines can be a challenge; I like to recommend the use of the mineral lithium orotate. Unlike the dangerous pharmaceutical lithium carbonate, lithium is a natures gift to us; relieving headaches, giving us the giggles as it boosts our mood and it protects the neurons in the brain.
Lithium can be dosed from 5-25 mg a day, or go on vacation and find a lithium- rich mineral spring in New Mexico, Washington, Texas or Mexico in which to soak. The Native peoples of Washington have a local springs near Mt Tahoma they call “Laughing Springs, rich in healing lithium.
There is also growing evidence for its use in the rare headaches called hypnic headaches. I also supplement with 5HTP, the amino acid precursor to serotonin. Most people do well with from 50-150 mg and Vitamin B-6 helps synthesize it and enhances efficacy.
Finally, I recommend cuddling with a dog; it releases oxytocin also known as the “love hormone” a chemical which reduces the pain of a headache. Dogs also help us put our worries in perspective and remind us of the power of connection.
Michelle, I could go on with lots of methods ; I hope this is a good start and that you will find something useful. If I may be of further support , drop me a note.
How to pitch O Magazine
The response from the reporter once the piece published.
Thanks for responding to my Haro query. Here’s the link to the article referencing your ground mustard and olive oil foot soak. Take a look so you can see how the O Magazine editor used Korn’s information.
My response to Leslie after the piece published.
Fab! Be sure to write Michelle a quick thank you note and let her know that she can tap you anytime for any of her pieces whenever she needs a resource. Also let her know that you could refer her to other clinicians that could be of help if that’s true. You get the idea — you want to make yourself invaluable.
NOTE: Once you’re in contact with an editor/reporter or producer follow up to let them know that you can be a resource for them in the future.
Recap + additional recommendations to expand your publicity.
Read the reporter/producer’s query carefully. Give them the EXACT information they request. Example: Korn gave the reporter a number of options to choose from.
Tailor your bio to show that you’re an expert on the topic that matches the reporter/producer’s requirement.
Follow up so you can become a trusted source.
Put the logo of the publication or show on your website to build credibility.
Send a link to the piece to your ezine subscribers to share valuable information and increase trust and loyalty.
Put the article on your website and highlight your quote. (You must get permission from the source first.) Otherwise link to the piece on your website so it pops up in a new window.
Post your piece on social media.
Write up a blog post with the information that wasn’t used in the article on the topic and link to the piece where you were quoted.
Dr. Leslie Korn is a Harvard Medical School trained integrative medicine specialist. She has provided over 40,000 hours of care for individuals with chronic mental and physical illness specializing in trauma-related issues. She integrates mental health nutrition, somatic therapies, herbal medicine, energy medicine, yoga and exercise, and detoxification to help people have a happier mood, enhanced cognitive function and optimal physical well being.
She has been in private practice in both Boston and in the jungle of Mexico where she founded a free clinic She trains clinicians and consumers in Integrative medicine for mental health, does career counseling and coaching, and is the director of research at the cwis.org, a native non- profit working internationally. She is the author of 8 books including: The Good Mood Kitchen, Rhythms of Recovery: Trauma, Nature and the Body, Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health, Preventing and Treating Diabetes Naturally, The Native Way, and the forthcoming book on herbal medicine called, Natural Woman (Shambhala Press, 2019).
Client Success Story: Mary Sheehan for Giant Eagle Pharmacy
A few years ago (I can hardly believe how much time has passed!) I worked with an extremely talented pharmacist and spokesperson named Mary Sheehan. Mary wanted to build an online presence and train pharmacists on how to help customers more effectively.
She consistently had repeat clients who found her advice and the way she handled their prescriptions helped them get better faster. (Great going Mary!)
Mary and I worked on developing her essential talking points/ sound bites that she could easily incorporate into her work in order to grow her business.
Together we created a webinar, a course, and downloadable documents (booklets) to help other pharmacists.
By using these booklets and carefully paying attention to not only what she said to her patients and colleagues, but how she said it to her patients and colleagues, Mary was able to create a name for herself. It wasn’t long until the entire staff was using her material, and positive calls were coming in from corporate.
Mary’s shining star took off even more when one day, she received an opportunity to be a spokesperson for her company on a national commercial!
See below for details from Mary on how the shoot went, what she learned, and the result.
“From your media training, I was prepared for the long hours, the criticism and the tedium of the shoot. For instance, my hair wouldn’t stay in place because I moved my head too much, my skirt was riding up and I received feedback that I was too robotic. Normally those comments would cause me to become anxious, but I just reminded myself that it wasn’t personal and to maintain a calm, ‘willingness to please’ demeanor.
My marketing department was on scene, so I was sure to speak to them in a way that let them know they had made the right decision in choosing me. I thought about talking from my heart to one person I care about and who needed to hear what I had to say. That was something I really took away from our training.
Media Coaching for CEOs, Executives, Entrepreneurs, Authors, Pitch Deck Presentations
I did calming mental exercises between takes as well as grounding exercises and breathing. For example, when I was scared, I would close my eyes and feel my feet on the ground. That helped me feel gratitude and reminded me that I was prepared for this.
You’d helped through other TV appearances so I remembered that if I could survive that, I could easily nail these lines and relax and be my confident self. Even though I was facing health battles I had a system in place that I fell back on—knowing what to say and how to say it. All totally in line with who I am and who I wanted to be.
The most nerve-wracking part of the day was that they had another actress on set just in case I left the company or totally bombed. It was very intimidating. She did a take. I did a take. I watched her takes and was complimentary to my marketing team, mentioning how good she was and listening when they told me how they’d like me to do what she did.
I truly was prepared for the entire experience, and I cannot thank you enough.
The effect of the commercial on business?
Last year our pharmacy gave 346 shots
This year our pharmacy has already given 446
Technically the “flu season” is not over and this already represents a 23 percent increase.
In our entire district last year the pharmacies gave 9,470 and this year we have already done 12,594 shots for a 25% increase and the season is not over yet.
Oh, and I got a promotion.”
SIDE NOTE: Mary and I discussed taking out the fact that she got a promotion. I thought it was important to leave it in because when you truly embody your message it affects every area of your life – family, friends, business, social situations — not just media appearances. That’s the beauty of one of my favorite sayings from Gandhi, “My life is my message.”
Kudos to Mary who is doing just that.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you have a success story from any of our trainings together? I’d love to shine the spotlight on YOU! Just jet me an email at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about the sound bite course Mary took go here.
To learn more about one-on-one media coaching go here.
To set up a FREE consult to explore working together go here.