March 31, 2015

Three ways to win hearts and minds (backed by science)

Children's secretsGot any of these on your Life To Do List?

A message to share

A movement to ignite

A mission to fulfill

An empire to build

All of these require the same thing: an audience.

Call it what you want:

A tribe.

Advocates.

Fans.

Followers.

Constituents.

Employees.

The bottom line is, you need true believers to win the day.

Why you should be persuasive

Being persuasive sometimes gets a bad rap (think “selling ice to an Eskimo”.) But we’re not talking about bilking Granny out of her life savings.

Instead, being persuasive means getting others to adopt a particular belief or pursue a particular action.

It’s not manipulation, which is getting people to do something against their own interests. Persuasion is the art of getting people to do things that are in their own best interest that also benefit you.

Doctors persuade patients to practice healthier lifestyles.

Parents persuade their children to make good choices that lead to happiness and fulfillment.

Political, social, business and religious leaders all use persuasion to gain support for their message.

You should, too.

Here are three tips to be more persuasive, backed up by scientific research:

1. Be bold.

No one is inspired by weak, wishy-washy positions.

“Maybe you should do this. It might work. But something else might work better for you. I don’t know.”

“I kinda think my idea could be right.” “What? You suggest something different? Oh, okay.”

Ugghhh.

I know that taking a stand feels risky. What if you’re wrong and someone calls you out?

What if people don’t agree with you and therefore don’t support you or your work?

A-Listers, I’ve got some news that may delight or dismay you:

How the message is delivered trumps its credibility or reasoning.

Here’s what I mean: we humans are wired to equate confidence with skill. We automatically view people who are confident as being skilled. And we prize confidence over data, when it comes to delivering ideas and information.

The research, by Don Moore of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, shows that we prefer advice from a confident source, even to the point that we are willing to forgive a poor track record. Moore argues that in competitive situations, this can drive those offering advice to increasingly exaggerate how sure they are. And it spells bad news for scientists who try to be honest about gaps in their knowledge. [TheNewScientist.com]

So be bold. Stop saying, “I think” or “I believe.” Stop adding qualifiers to your speech.

It doesn’t mean that you should start baldly proclaiming every thought that floats through your brain as the gospel.

However, if you think something will work, say it will work. If you believe your idea is the right one, sing it loud and proud!

2. Be positive

Sometimes, when we want to persuade others, we use fear-based arguments.

“If you don’t do this, you’ll be losing out…”

“Because I said so!”

Fear and intimidation work, but only for a short time. The long-term play to win over others is to be positive.

Try this natural upper:

Smile.

Can such a simple act really increase the amount of influence you have? Yes. Yes. And, yes.

In a research study, college students were shown a fleeting glimpse of a smiling face, too quickly to consciously recognize it. Others were shown angry and neutral faces. Before being shown the faces, all were asked – by another student, as what they believed to be an unrelated request – to participate in an unpaid beverage study.

Among those subliminally primed with angry faces, 24 percent decided to take part in the beverage study; 41 percent of those subliminally primed with neutral faces decided to participate; and 62 percent of those subliminally primed with happy faces decided to participate. [Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan By Francesca Gino]

Wait, it gets better. Smiling (like all our facial expressions) triggers mirror neurons in others.

Haven’t you noticed that when you smile at a group of people, say, while speaking, most will smile back at you? It’s one of our unconscious behaviors.

There’s major power in your pearly whites!

Use positive words

When you want to influence and persuade, don’t stop at a sunny expression. Use speech that’s positive, too. People respond to positive outcome statements.

Let’s look at the research, this time on presidential elections, from the University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Center. The study concluded that people tend to vote for the more hopeful and optimistic candidate in presidential elections.

In fact, from 1900 through the 1980s, the Center reports, the optimistic presidential candidate has won 80 percent of the time. The only exceptions have been Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his three reelection bids, and Richard Nixon. [University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Center]

3. Use your energy

I’m gonna quote myself here, “A truly ridiculous amount of your success in life is determined by your energy. Fact.” [Famous in Your Field]

The same is true for persuasiveness. When you exude energy and transfer it to your audience, they’re more likely to be convinced.

If you are interested in and enthusiastic about your subject, you increase the level of interest and enthusiasm in your audience. Your voice and your physiology should indicate your level of enthusiasm. If you say, for example, that you are “glad to be here,” your voice and your body should show that you truly are glad. If you look depressed and speak in a small, shaky voice, your audience will believe your appearance rather than your words. [Bowman, Western Michigan University]

The most persuasive people know how to transfer their energy to others, to motivate and engage them.

Here are three ways to wield your energy super powers:

  • Eye contact
  • Warmth in your voice
  • Physical contact

Your fame boosting assignment:

This week, pick two conversations or events where you want to persuasive. Plan how you’ll use these data-backed persuasion tools to win those hearts and minds.

It’s a special kind of magic, my friends.

Thinking of writing a book? Ask yourself these questions first

Will writing a book make me famous?About that book you wrote…

So maybe you haven’t written a book (yet), but you KNOW that you’ve got a book inside you, bursting to be read by the world.

You are not alone.

According to writer Joseph Epstein,

“81 percent of Americans feel that they have a book in them — and should write it.”

Ahem, that’s approximately 200 million people who aspire to authorship. But only a small percentage actually do write a book.

And those few who do finish their books take an average of four to seven years to publish it.

The harsh reality

A few months ago, a woman that I’ve known for years made me an offer:

“I want you to help me write a book telling my story. I can’t pay you, but it’ll be big, and I’ll give you a share of the profits!”

Uh-uh.

That’s the sad delusion that some would-be authors believe. Their book will “discovered” as the next Good to Great/Fifty Shades of Grey/Four Hour Work Week/Last Lecture, all rolled into one.

A media juggernaut will ensue.

Oprah will bring back her talk show – one night only – to snag a triumphant interview with you, the author.

Reality really bites

The truth is, there are somewhere between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books published every year in the US alone. About half are self-published. On average, they sell less than 250 copies each. [Forbes.com, Jan 8, 2013]

250 copies. Not enough to spring you to the top of the New York Times Bestseller List or even the Amazon Sub-Sub-Category-Bestseller-During-that-One-Hot-Minute List.

So if most books don’t become bestsellers, make a pile of cash or sell zillions of copies, why the heck should any self respecting future A-Lister slog through the hard work of publishing a book?

I’ll let Seth Godin (the author of 17 books) tell you:

“The return on equity and return on time for authors and for publishers is horrendous. If you’re doing it for the money, you’re going to be disappointed. On the other hand, a book gives you leverage to spread an idea and a brand far and wide. There’s a worldview that’s quite common that says that people who write books know what they are talking about and that a book confers some sort of authority.”

Do it for the authority.

Some PR studies show that becoming a published author increases your credibility by 300%.

More credibility means that more people will listen to your message.

And hire you.

And follow your advice.

So, if you’ve dreamed of the words, “author of…” appearing in your bio, ask yourself these two questions:

1. Why do I want to write a book?

2. Which do I have, time or money?

You should write a book if _________.

You should write a book if you’ve got a big idea that you want to spread far and wide.

If you can offer something more meaningful or useful than the usual advice or inspiration on a topic.

If you can say something that’s already been said, but in a new way, for a new audience.

Time or money? A tale of two authors

Even after you’ve decided to write a book – for the right reasons – you’re flooded with choices to make: Look for a traditional publisher or self publish? Write your book as quickly as possible to “get it out there” or devote years to create your Pulitzer-worthy masterpiece?

Let’s look at two authors I know who’ve both published books in the last two years.

Book #1 is business advice book, aimed at small business owners.

Cost to produce and publish: $10,000-$15,000.

The costs included a ghostwriter, a professional editor, a graphic designer to lay out the cover and interior pages, as well as printing the book. It’s available on Amazon as a Kindle, and a paperback. She also has printed copies to sell or giveaway.

Book #2 is an advice book for career women.

Cost to produce and publish: around $1500.

Her costs included an editor/writer, an overseas graphic designer and a book uploading service and printing the book. It’s available on Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks and as a printed paperback.

Why did one book cost almost ten times more to produce? And was it worth it?

More money than time

The author of Book #1 is a coach for small businesses. She’d conducted substantial research with small business owners to discover what made certain businesses thrive during the Recession (a killer premise for a book!)

Her clients are the owners of small businesses, usually with teams of 5-20 employees, who pay her tens of thousands of dollars each year to be coached. She did not have the time or the inclination to sit down and write 250 pages herself.

Instead, she hired a ghostwriter to interview her, and write the book content in her voice, using her words, but without her time. (That practice is more common than you may know – 80% of all non-fiction books are completely or partially ghost-written.)

Being a published author increased her credibility and positioned her as a small business expert. Which led to more high profile speaking engagements and media coverage.

Getting just one new client covered the cost of publishing the book.

More time than money

Our second author is a career coach for women. Her clients typically book a few sessions with her to get through workplace challenges or to negotiate a promotion and raise.

She wanted to write a book to share the answers to the questions she’s asked most often and to give women a boost of confidence, so that they ask for (and get!) what they want in the corporate world.

Her process:

Author #2 used an editor strategically, to take existing blog posts and arrange the content into a book structure. She then filled in the gaps, added some stories and let the editor take another crack, making it a seamless narrative.

Next, she bargained with a talented designer friend to lay out the page design template, and sent the template to an overseas graphic designer who did the rest for about $200.

She used Bookbaby, a publishing service to design the cover and take care of getting the book on Amazon, Apple and other platforms.

Caveats:

  • Her book is slim (which her readers actually love!) so she was able to produce it in three months or less, from start to finish.
  • She has a designer’s eye, so she was able to coax great cover art from Bookbaby’s basic design service. She is also meticulous about proofreading, so the book is professional and mistake free.

Boom! A marketing tool that spreads her message and gives prospective clients a try-it-before-you-buy-it taste of her coaching. (She sells loads of books at speaking gigs.)

The bottom line

Both of these books are successful tools that promote the authors’ authority. Each was written to offer advice to her target client, based on years of experience solving their challenges.

Your Fame Boosting Assignment

If you know that you have a book in you, this week spend a little time thinking about your motivation for publishing…do you have advice or a message that people need to read? Next, brainstorm how you can use your strengths and resources to get your book written and published.

Your words might be exactly the spark we need! Get shining, superstar.

How to get booked as a speaker when you’re not famous (yet)

Famous in your field: five tips to get started speaking

Famous in your field: five tips to get started speaking

Wendy writes:

I’m just now starting to look for opportunities to speak. It’s getting people to agree to have me since I’m NOT famous! :)

Hey, Wendy, you are not alone. Getting booked as a speaker can feel as daunting as getting your first job. It’s that same conundrum:

You can’t get experience until you get hired, yet you can’t get hired without experience. 

There are about 3,000 professional speakers in the National Speakers Association and about 1,500 more in professional associations in Europe.

But there are millions of people who have information or a message to share.

Here’s what I want you to remember: there is no competition for being you.

And if you can help people improve their lives in some way, there are groups who want to hear from you.

It takes work to gain momentum as a speaker. Here are five tips to get your wheels turning. (Put these into practice and you’ll be tearing up the track in no time!)

1. Start locally

Getting on the main stage at TED, DreamForce or Davos might be on your vision board, but you’ll up your chances of getting there if you start in your own backyard.

Research local groups, events and companies. Reach out to the organizer to offer yourself as a speaker.

Need a little help getting started? I’ve got you covered with a massive list of 17 Ways to Fine Speaking Opportunities.

2. Build your case

Reach out to event organizers to let them know why your topic/info is valuable to their audience.

  • Will it help them be better employees, mothers, fathers, parishioners, etc.?
  • What will they be able to do after they’ve experienced you speaking? What are the outcomes or learning objectives?
  • What’s the benefit the audience will walk away with (the benefit is NOT the information they learn; it’s the “so that” that follows learning the information.)Like this: “Your members will learn how to use gamification with their kids to get them to finish homework, clean their rooms and do their chores, so that they can quit yelling and enjoy more fun as a family.”

3. Reduce the risk

No one wants to be known as the “one who recommended that dud.” That’s why organizers practice risk management by sticking to known speakers and referrals.

Reduce the risk for the event organizer by offering proof up front that you’ll be a hit with their audience.

What can you offer to make it a no brainer? Try these three:

  • Testimonials
  • Video of you speaking to an audience
  • An outline of your talk and how you’ll involve the audience

Bonus: let ‘em try before they buy! If you have any upcoming speaking events, invite organizers from groups you hope to speak to. They get a chance to see you in action and you get to market yourself while you’re speaking. Genius, baby.

4. Build your fan base

Speak for free in return for referrals and testimonials. (Even the pros do this strategically.)

Seth Braun is a paid professional speaker covering leadership and small business topics. Even though Braun earns a six-figure income through speaking and coaching, he still speaks for free at times.

“I am always looking for how can I get more gigs. And the best way that I know of to get more gigs is to speak and the best way to speak is just to speak more, so I’m still booking no fee gigs.”

Seth gives no fee talks for one of two reasons:

  • To give back to causes he supports.
  • To get his “foot in the door” with an organization that he believes will hire him for future work.

5. Go where you want to be

Don’t just sit home, waiting the Universe to magically bring speaking opportunities to your door!

Go to events where you’d like to speak. Before you go, research the event. Create a target list of people that you want to meet.

At the event, ask each person on your target list what they do and about their challenges. Get to know the organizers, members and participants. You’ll get the insight you need to pitch yourself as the must-have speaker for their next event. (Hint: your pitch involves helping them, not just how killer you would be as a speaker.)

Your Fame Boosting Assignment

This week, make a list of ten events or organizations where you’d like to speak. If they have upcoming events, attend them! Make connections and when you’re ready, make your pitch.

It’s time for you to get found in the crowd, superstar.

 

Two ways to find radio interview opportunities

Famous in Your Field tips: get interviewed on the radio

Famous in Your Field tips: boost your fame with radio interviews

Radio? You?

You bet, you.

Even if you’ve got a face just made for high definition TV, darling, radio is a fantastic way to grow your fame factor.

Just think about it:

Learning about your expertise and message from via broadcast media is an excellent way to be discovered by potential clients and fans!

Hearing your voice and your message, straight from your lips increases the know, like and trust factor so much faster than publishing or social media.

You can share your radio interview on your own site and all over the interwebs, boosting that reach.

Plus, you can do it from anywhere. (And you can wear your pajamas…holla for yoga pant interviews!)

If you want to perform well, keep a these tips in mind:

  • Know what you want to say. Have your key points mapped out, on paper. Keep them near you while you’re being interviewed.
  • Say what you think. Good radio is punchy, with a point of view.
  • Practice! Practice answering questions. Practice your witty banter.
  • Speak in sound bites (typically, ten to twenty seconds long.) Radio hosts like guests who can make their point quickly, and with a little pizzazz. If they want you to elaborate more, they’ll ask.
  • Inject your voice with energy. Stand up, and smile, smile, smile.

Now, wondering how to land these magical fame-boosting radio interviews? I’ve got two sources for you:

Radio-Locator.com

Radio-Locator is the most comprehensive radio station search engine out there. There you’ll find have links to over 14,100 radio stations’ web pages and over 9500 stations’ audio streams from radio stations in the U.S. and around the world.

You can search by format, by call letters (WKRP in Cincinnati, anyone?) or by geography. Just type your zip code into the field and RadioLocator will spit out a list of radio stations in your area.

The locator listed 59 stations in my listening area (generally, about 50 miles or less from where I live.)

Each entry links to the station’s website. From there, let your research super powers find the show and producer that fits your expertise.

RadioGuestList.com

Radio Guest List is a daily email service like HARO (Help A Reporter Out) that solicits experts to interview on radio and podcast shows.

As a subscriber, you can sign up for targeted lists and you’ll get a daily email listing the guest requests for those topics.

(The basic service is free, but the premium service promises 50% more leads and is only about $5 per month, so it’s a total steal.)

You can sign up for requests in these categories:

  • Entertainment and Arts
  • Health and Wellness
  • Business and Technology
  • Self-Improvement, Spirituality and Relationships
  • Lifestyle and Sports
  • Paranormal
  • Politics, Law and Society

Interview requests include the show name, description, booking contact for interviews, audience demographics, audience size and show format.

RadioGuestList request

Bonus tip: you can also use this RadioGuestList.com to find guests for your radio show or podcast. It’s completely free for hosts and bookers.

Your Fame Boosting Assignment

Sign up for Radio Guest List and watch for the right match. Then, jump on it and get your genius onto the airwaves. Shine on, rising star.

One sure-fire way to boost your fame factor (that’s surprisingly easy)

Famous in Your Field tip: be a great panelistWant to raise your profile?

Build your business cred?

Maybe even dip your toe into the public speaking waters?

I’ve got a great way to get you noticed and ease yourself into the public speaking game.

Be a panelist.

Panels, in case you aren’t familiar with the term, are a small group of individuals, considered subject matter experts, gathered by an event organizer, who speak on a topic before an audience. Usually, there’s a moderator to ask questions of the panelists and transition between them.

Here’s why being a panelist is 100% awesome:

  • You get the prestige of being viewed as an authority in your field. (Someone chose you to be on the panel after all!)
  • You get to make connections with a few other high flyers (your fellow panelists and the moderator.)
  • You benefit from a halo effect of being associated with the other people on the panel.
    The moderator is often a well-known public figure or prominent person in your industry (aka, someone you’d like to know.)

And here’s why it’s easier than giving a full-blown presentation:

  • You are typically speaking in short bursts, a minute to a few minutes at a time. (Don’t be the talky-talker!)
  • You’re one of several speakers, so you get a little break to collect your thoughts before it’s your turn to speak again.
  • As a panelist, you’re typically responding to questions that you’ve been given before the event, so you have time to craft your response and practice delivering like a pro.

How to shine on a panel

The best panel speakers are prepared. They tell stories, exude energy and make a connection with the audience.

You can be one of them, when you follow these five guidelines.

1. Prepare. 

Why do so many panels stink out loud? Because the panelists don’t take it seriously. They think that they can just “wing it.” So, so wrong.

Whatever you do, do not preface ANY of your comments with this groan-inducer: “I really haven’t prepared anything formal.”

Instead, ask for details on the topic, the focus and the questions in advance. Prepare your answers with good information, punchy sound bites and quick stories. Practice delivering them, in whole and in part (in case you get cut off.)

Practice your transitions, too. These are short phrases that let you take control of the conversation and share your story. Keep these phrases in your repertoire:

“Let me add something to that idea…”

“My perspective is different, I believe/think/experienced…”

“At my company, we…”

2. Get to know the other panelists.

Ask the organizer to schedule a conference call or better yet, a Skype chat or Google Hangout, so that you can see each of your fellow panelists, as well as the moderator.

This is your chance to establish rapport, get to know the other panelists’ speaking styles and refine each of your roles.

3. Guarantee your great intro. 

While the session is being organized, send your bio to the organizer and the moderator. Make it short (three sentences!) snappy, and easy to read.

Practice reading it aloud yourself. Rework any words or phrases that trip you up, and include pronunciation help.

But don’t rest there! Bring a printed copy with you. Before the panel starts, hand the moderator the same printed bio and tell him or her to read it verbatim.

4. Talk to the audience.

Panel newbies find it hard to resist the pull to look at, and address their responses to the moderator. It’s natural: after all, the moderator is the person asking you the questions. He or she is also someone you’ve established a bit of a relationship with.

But, no. Nix. Nein.

Never look at the moderator. 1000% of your attention should be focused on the audience.

5. Keep your energy level UP.

When you’re the panelist who’s not speaking, it’s easy to look bored (even when you’re not.)

You forget that even though someone else is talking, you’re still on stage, too. And at least some of the audience members are watching your facial expressions and body language.

Don’t:

  • Hunch or slouch
  • Stare into space
  • Look down at your phone

Being a panelist is a powerful opportunity to showcase your knowledge and your personality. Make it work for you with energy, stories and sound bites.

Your Fame Boosting Assignment:

This week, seek out one opportunity to speak on a panel. (Maybe you should organize one?) If you have trouble finding one, let three people know that it’s something you’d like to do. When you put your intentions into the world, word spreads and opportunities flow your way.

What’s that hot, shiny object? Oh, it’s you, superstar!

The surprisingly simple secret to getting noticed

Want the secret to success and happiness? Want to know how to stand out in the crowd? (Spoiler alert: It’s a major part of becoming famous in your field.)

It comes down to this:

Know your strengths. Show your strengths. Believe in your value.

Boy playing with pilot´s hat and cloudy background

“Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?” — Benjamin Franklin

You may already know your own strengths. Or you may not recognize them and believe that your unique abilities are available to the general population, something everyone has.

Not true. Inside you, there are special talents that others covet.

Want to uncover your special skillz?

I’ve got two resources you’re gonna love, people!

VIA Survey

VIA Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS), formerly known as the “Values in Action Inventory,” is a psychological assessment measure designed to identify an individual’s profile of character strengths.

The VIA-IS is comprised of 24 character strengths. Each of us have our combination of these strengths that make up our own unique profiles. It’s your secret sauce, yo.

Know your character strengths with the VIA Survey

Know your character strengths with the VIA Survey

“The strengths are universally valued, encompass our capacities for helping ourselves and others and produce positive effects when we express them. Knowing your constellation of character strengths is the first step towards living a happier, more authentic life.” ~VIA Institute on Character

(You can take the FREE VIA Survey here.)

Strengthfinders

The good people at Gallup (yup, that Gallup) created an online test that uncovers a person’s natural talents. The “father of strengths-based psychology”, Donald Clifton developed the Strengthfinders on the idea that every one of us has natural talents.

Discover your innate talents with the StrengthFinder test.

Discover your innate talents with the StrengthFinder test.

“From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths.”

The message of Strengthfinders is to flip that formula! When you know your natural, in-born talents, you can focus on doing what you do best. Every. Damn. Day.

What’s funny is that you may not even recognize some of your own talents as strengths. You take them for granted, because they come so easily to you.

My own BFF helped me to recognize something I do naturally as a talent that other people value. My top strength on Strengthfinders is INPUT. (Sounds totally lame, right? I thought so.)

It means that I’m inquisitive. A collector of information.

But when I read this in the Strengthfinders 2.0 book, I got chills:

“You might naturally be an exceptional repository of facts, data and ideas. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to position yourself as an expert. By simply following your Input talents, you could become known as the authority in your field.”

YES, PLEASE.

And it explained why I love to help people become known as leaders and experts in their industry.

It’s the same for you: whether you’re self employed or working within a business or non-profit, you have unique talents that you can leverage. You just have to discover them.

Knowing (and using) your special strengths has three powerful benefits:

1. You stand out from the crowd.

“No one is you and that is your power.” Dave Grohl. Philosopher. Foo Fighter.

Get on Dave’s level, please! When you recognize, use, and OWN your strengths (and by “own”, I mean letting other people know about them), you become distinctive.

2. You are more effective.

When you shift your work to suit your talents, your performance improves. We’ve all struggled to perform tasks that we’re not just not good at…and it sucks. But when we work from our natural strengths and talents, time flies, and we become energized. Work is a joy.

3. You are more confident. 

Confidence is believing that you can do something. It’s what spurs you into action.

Confidence comes from playing to your distinctive strengths and values. And you want to do everything you can to boost your confidence levels because studies show that confidence trumps IQ when it comes to predicting success.

Your fame boosting assignment

Take both these tests to uncover your unique combination of strengths. The VIA-IS is free, but the Strengthfinders 2.0 test requires a special code that you get when you purchase a book. Believe me, the $15 bucks or so that it costs is totally worth it!

Knowing your one-of-a-kind brand of awesome will fire you up with confidence and energy, attracting followers and fans like a magnet. Time to unleash your special kind of magic, friends.

These 3 simple questions will improve your outcome in any situation

Lauren works in the tech sector and is launching a speaking career on the side. Her speaking topic is red hot right now, popping up in the media daily.

Famous in your field: ask yourself these 3 questions

Famous in your field: ask yourself these 3 questions to improve the outcome in any situation

But when Lauren speaks, she gets a lukewarm response, not the rave reviews she’d like. She knows that she’s one of the leading experts in her field, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference to the audience.

It’s a situation I see over and over, across professionals, authors, speakers and entrepreneurs. They have great information – ideas and topics that interest people – but these would-be leaders just don’t make the impact they want. 

Here’s the bottom line:

You can work day and night on your content.

You can polish the words of your speech until they sparkle.

You can agonize over each syllable in that magazine article or blog post.

You can spend hours carefully crafting each minute on that meeting agenda.

But information alone won’t move hearts and minds. It can still fall flat.

Some of the smartest people on the planet can’t keep an audience of one interested for 60 seconds. And what happens? No one listens to them. The real tragedy is that their brilliance doesn’t impact anyone else.

What can you do to guarantee a better outcome, to have more impact, in whatever you’re pursuing?

It’s simple. Before you go into any situation, ask yourself three powerful questions:

1. What’s my energy level?

2. What do I want to make sure happens here?

3. How do I want that other person/audience/reader to feel?

Let’s take each of these questions, one by one, to see why the heck they pack such a powerful punch.

1. What’s my energy level?

A truly ridiculous amount of your success in life is determined by your energy. Fact.

And no, I don’t mean whether you run or do Crossfit. I’m talking about the energy you give off during interactions. Energy in this sense boils down to how focused you are on the people you’re interacting with and what is happening in that moment.

When you’re distracted, or multitasking or carrying mental baggage from this morning’s minor road rage incident, your energy isn’t working for you.

I know, it sounds a little woo woo, but stay with me here! Energy – good or bad –  is something that even the most left-brained among us respond to (even when we’re not aware of it!)

Think about it…isn’t there someone you know, who, just by being in his or her presence, makes you feel smarter, taller and better looking?

And then someone else who makes you feel exhausted every time you interact with them? That’s energy, baby!

And before you start ranting to yourself, “I’m not one of those loud, chirpy, manic people,” hold up! Energy doesn’t mean someone who’s boisterous and effusive. Energy can be quiet and intense, or calm and soothing.

It’s about being 100% engaged in what you are doing and who you’re with.

2. What do I want to leave the audience with?

This question is pure genius, no matter what situation you’re going into. And it works, even if your audience is one.

Here’s why: asking myself what I want to leave the audience with forces me narrow all my wide ranging ambitions and decide What’s Most Important. And then to structure everything else to meet those goals.

It’s easy to get distracted by details…the specific words you’ll use in your presentation or making d@$%@% sure your coworker doesn’t outtalk you during this morning’s meeting.

But the danger is that you lose sight of your bigger goal. That’s why it’s important to focus on what you want to leave your audience with – what’s the big idea?

When you focus on the big idea, you’ll think and act at a higher level. You won’t be distracted by things that don’t matter.

3. How do I want them to feel?

The most popular speakers and the most beloved leaders share something in common. It’s not that they say the most brilliant things. It’s that they make other people feel brilliant.

When you focus on how you want your audience to feel, rather than simply talking at them, you’ll make a bigger impact. And when you make others feel good, you’ll share much stronger connection. They will have a much more pleasurable association with you or your business.

Take your cue from Apple, which boasts the most profitable retail stores in the world. And all because they designed their entire experience around the question, “How do we want customers to feel when they walk into the store?”

Your fame boosting assignment:

Ask yourself these three questions when you’re prepping for a big presentation or speaking engagement.

And ask yourself these questions when you’re creating an agenda for an upcoming meeting.

And – sorry for blowing your mind here – ask yourself these questions when you’re just going to meet someone for coffee.

Today, pick one interaction and ask yourself these three questions. BOOM, you’re done! How easy was that? Fist bump, slow clap, etc.

Anatomy of a great LinkedIn publisher post: steal these 7 killer elements

Months ago LinkedIn opened its Publisher platform beyond the small group of big-name Influencers. Publishing on LinkedIn can be a total game changer, but only when you do it right.

So, let’s look at someone who’s definitely doin’ it right.

It’s career expert, J.T. O’Donnell and she’s got all the right junk in all the right places (LinkedIn-wise!)

Famous in your field tip: anatomy of a great LinkedIn Publisher post

Want to create LinkedIn Publisher posts that build your fame factor? Follow these tips!

(Wanna see the actual post on LinkedIn? Click here.)

Published back in June 2014, this baby has gotten some eyeballs.

Over 700,000 views

Over 2000 likes

Over one thousand comments. (And they’re still pouring in!)

This post is building the author’s fame factor 24/7 because:

  • It includes internal links within the post to relevant posts and pages on her website.
  • It has a call to action to Follow her and visit her website to solve specific problems.
  • It includes her book and a link to buy it.

Let’s break down the individual elements of this superstar LinkedIn post:

1. “Read me NOW” title.

5 Reasons You May Not Want to Work for Google

This one hits so many hot buttons:

  • It includes a number. (We loves our numbered lists.)
  • It’s counterintuitive (what? Why wouldn’t I want to work at Google? I must know now!)
  • It uses a well-known name (Google, duh.)

2. Easy-on-the-eyes layout

The article itself is clear and organized. It uses lots of short paragraphs, with some bold subheads mixed in, for variety.

And content-wise, it’s a winner. After explaining her five reasons, she offers advice on what to do instead. That gives the reader a concrete action, beyond just bursting their lifelong fantasy of joining the Googleplex.

But look toward the end of her post. This is where brilliant marketing (and fame boosting) comes on like a freight train…

3. She includes links to relevant posts on her own site.

And mixes advice with a subtle – and relevant – offer.

“Just a friendly reminder: don’t start networking with your Interview Bucket List until you’ve optimized your LinkedIn profile.”

Follow that enticing blue text and you’ll end up on her website where she (surprise, surprise, surprise) offers a paid service optimize your LinkedIn profile. Genius!

4. Tell the reader what to do next. 

She asks for comments with a specific question. (People are more likely to comment in response to a specific prompt, rather than a generic request to comment.)

5. Entice the reader to connect with you

This post could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. When you publish on LinkedIn, encourage readers to follow you. And invite them into your home on the web.

Invite your readers to get more of your good stuff.

Invite your readers to get more of your good stuff.

See how J.T. invites the reader to follow her on LinkedIn and lists two other links to her website? Do that.

6. Demonstrate credibility

Ready for more magic? Check out how J.T. shows an image of her book (with a link to Amazon, natch) along with a subtle promo for it. She knows that being a published author gives her credibility as a career expert.

LinkedIn Publisher Post 3

7. Offer free resources

At the end of the post, J.T. clearly tells readers how to connect with her on LinkedIn, plus puts it right out there that she isn’t available for free consulting. (Which is a smart timesaver!)

Then, she closes with a link to the free resources on her website. Brilliant.


Your fame boosting assignment:

If you’ve been invited to publish on LinkedIn, steal these fame-boosting ideas and let your post make you famous on Google!

And if you’re still waiting on your invite to publish on LinkedIn, guess what? These tips are perfect for blog posts on your own website, too. Start sprinkling some of your magic on us, superstar.

The no cost tool that gives you an unfair fame advantage

When you’re busy becoming famous in your field, you should use all the shortcuts you can find.

Why spend hours creating blog posts, videos, podcasts and newsletter content that languishes, alone and ignored?

It’s a beast to get your message to the masses if you don’t have the speaking gigs lined up.

And getting the attention of someone who’s already talking to the audience you want to reach? Priceless.

Luckily for you, future A-Lister, you can find out what’s popular, where the speaking opportunities are and who’s already talking to your perfect peeps. All in 10 minutes or less. For free. 

And free is always a beautiful thing.

This little miracle is BuzzSumo.com, a service that’s so good, I wanted to keep it all to myself. Just like online marketing expert, Larry Kim said:

I was initially a little reluctant to write this review, because BuzzSumo has become nothing short of my secret weapon when it comes to keeping on top of what’s going on in our industry. 

Here are three ways to use BuzzSumo to boost your fame factor:

1. Find the most popular topics

If you pump out content on the reg, you might find yourself struggling for something new to cover on your blogs, videos or podcast episodes. That’s where BuzzSumo can help.

Type your topic in the search box.

You can filter by type (handy!) which separates articles, infographics, videos, guest posts, interviews and giveaways.

BuzzSumo shows you the most popular (most shared) stuff online.

What can you do with this genius information? So, so much people! When you know what people already like, you can do more of what works.

Need an infographic for an article you’re writing? Bam! There it is. And you didn’t have to spend $1200 or 36 hours creating it. (Just be super cool – give proper credit and links.)

Example: find catchy headlines and create your own material using one of those as a model.

Use BuzzSumo to find popular content & great titles

Use BuzzSumo to find popular content & great titles

I searched for the topic, “public speaking.” Check out the #1 most popular article above, “What To Do 15 Minutes Before A Presentation” on the site, BusinessInsider.com. Because I already know that headline was popular, I can use the headline formula when writing my own post.

“What to do [time period] after a [event]” becomes…

“What to do 24 hours after a Presentation.”

“The one thing you must do 3 Days Before Your Next Speaking Gig” 

“What to Do One Hour after You Book a Speaking Opportunity”

2. Find speaking opportunities

How to find speaking opportunities with BuzzSumo

Find speaking opportunities with BuzzSumo

If you’re a speaker, this is huge: you can get speaking opportunities delivered right to your web browser with BuzzSumo.

In the search bar, enter phrases like “Call for Speakers” and “Call for Presenters” and your topic. You can filter the results to get only the most recent or collect them all to build your own roster of events.

3. Find influencers

BuzzSumo also lets you search for influencers – people who are active online, talking about your topic and have a big following (of your exact right people.)

Use BuzzSumo to find influential bloggers, companies and journalists in your topic area.

Use BuzzSumo to find influential bloggers, companies and journalists in your topic area.

Start by clicking on the big Influencer button at the top of the screen.

Enter your topic (I chose “public speaking.”)

Again, you can filter by type to see only the bloggers, journalists or “regular people” (love that one!)

For each result, check out their online stats and profile – is this person a public speaker, a trainer? Does she specialize in a particular niche, like real estate? There’s so much gold here!

Let your influencer stalking befriending begin!

Your Fame Boosting Assignment:

This week, check out BuzzSumo. (Relax, there’s no commitment – you get 10 searches before you even have to register for the free account.)

Pick one of the three tips above and take action today. In 10 minutes you could have your next three blog post titles, have applied for a speaking opportunity or connected with an influencer who will change your world.

C’mon, superstar. Get on this ridiculously valuable tool and use it to shine, shine, shine.

Public speakers: the three-step formula to get booked solid

Wanna speak more? Use the simple three step formula to get booked solid.

Wanna speak more? Use the simple three step formula to get booked solid.

Let’s start with a story.

I call it, “A Tale of Two Speakers.”

Let’s say that their names are Aidan and Steve.

Aidan is dynamic. Bold. Charismatic.

His speaking magnetism could out pull Tony Robbins, Steve Jobs and Oprah. (*Gasp*)

At the end of his talks, he’s mobbed by audience members wanting to buy his book and to schedule a (paid) coaching session with him. Each time that he speaks, at least three people in the audience recommend him as a speaker for future events.

It’s partly due to his message – it resonates with almost everyone and doesn’t apply only to a particular occupation or niche.

It’s mostly due to his charming, confident delivery and how he makes his audience members feel.

Then there’s Steve.

Steve is dynamic, too. Audiences also love his energy, empathy and wit. Each time he speaks, about 20% of audience members buy his book and a few sign up for his upcoming coaching event.

Who is the more successful public speaker?

Aidan speaks 5 or 6 times a year. (He wishes it were more, because that’s how he spreads his message and gets most of his clients.)

Steve? He speaks about 25 times a year.

What makes the difference between these two speakers? It all comes down to one thing – consistent marketing.

The best speakers, the most charismatic personalities get gigs without asking. But consistent marketing is the great leveler.

The speakers who get booked the most use a system to market their services, week in, week out. And so they speak, usually as often as they’d like.

A few months ago, a VIP List member named Ed, wrote in asking, “How easy is to break into public speaking?”

Well, Ed, it’s not hard, but to get booked for speaking opportunities before you’ve built your cult-like following, you gotta #werk!

There are three ingredients to create this Magical Mudslide of Speaking Opportunities cocktail:

  • Networking (online or in person)
  • Asking for the opportunity
  • Following up

Wanna make it easy on yourself? Create a system:

1. Research.

Schedule a certain day of the week, or time that you’ll research new opportunities and contacts. (Or give clear instructions to someone on your team to research new speaking opportunities each week.)

Steve tracks organizations and opportunities on spreadsheet. His college intern assistant updates the spreadsheet with new organizations or events and any new information about existing organizations.

Steve and his intern have a status update meeting each week. This keeps Steve up to date and keeps his speaking funnel full.

2. Reach out.

Call or send an email to these meeting organizers/event coordinators/new contacts and offer yourself as a speaker.

Include enough information to demonstrate your message’s fit with the audience and your skills.

To cover the consistent part, commit to doing it regularly. Once a week, every other week…you do you.

And set a number for yourself! “Each week, I will reach out to three new organizations or contacts.” Then, during your scheduled update meeting (even if the meeting is only with yourself), you can track your progress.

3. Follow up!

The fortune is in the follow up, my friend.

Anyone can send out a burst of emails to contacts and event organizers, but you’ll probably still be w-a-i-t-i-n-g for that reply while the Steves of the speaking world are getting booked.

Meeting planners, association staff and organization volunteers are BUSY. Help them pick you by staying in touch on the reg and showing that you’ve got exactly what their audience needs to improve their lives.

Here’s another genius nugget from Steve: during each of his speaking engagements, he asks the audience about other groups that could benefit from the information he shared. Then Steve’s assistant follows up with those people to book more gigs. Moneymaker.

Bam! Full speaking schedule leads to full client roster.

Your Fame Boosting Assignment:

This week, set up your system to book speaking opportunities. It doesn’t have to be fancy! Schedule a regular recurring time slot on your calendar to research, reach out and follow up. If you believe in your ideas and your message, you owe it to us to get it out there.

“I think you should be serious about what you do because this is it. This is the only life you’ve got.” Philip Seymour Hoffman.