Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Where does impact live? 5 tips from the Master Media Coach.

One of the best speakers at last week's World's Greatest Marketing Conference was media coach, Joel Roberts. As a media coach, his job is to get other people to listen to your story which means he has to help you create a compelling, impactful story in the first place. So here are 5 things that I learned from him last week that I thought I'd share:
  1. Don't go to the media expecting to get interviewed or to get publicity until you're ready. Get clarity first and have your marketing in place before you attempt to sell your story.
  2. Clarity comes with concrete, specific language and does not live in the abstract. If you're going to make impact, be as specific and clear as possible. If you try to tell people what you do or how you got to the place you're in now in general terms, not only will you not be able to sell your story but you won't even get listeners. The media favors the concrete over the abstact, every time and all the time.
  3. Sell the problem first, not your solution. What's the problem you remedy for your clients or customers? This is a common mistake that people and businesses make. Make the problem known! Talk about it with drama and grit. Don't just enroll people in the problem but pull them in. Submerge them in it. Steep them in it. Paint that picture. Address it clearly and head on -- or -- get them to have the problem you solve (there are two kinds of problems -- ones people have or ones they don't). Think of yourself as being in the problem distribution business. You can only sell your solution when people can relate or identify with the problem first.
  4. Make it real. Make it human. Look for balance between humanity and your expertise. So in addition to making your story crystal clear, remember to access that place -- that human, vulnerable place in you -- predictably and learn to articulate the message precisely. Access predictably; articulate precisely. Tell the most dramatic story, whether it's your personal story or one of your client's. Choregraph your own energy around it when you tell it and bring the emotion in to it for people.
  5. Follow a model; master it then transcend it. An easy short model to begin with is to use this phrase "Today I'm (insert all the good specifics about your current success) but it wasn't always that way. I used to be (insert the things you were that you're not now) and/or I tried (insert specifics of all the things you tried) and nothing worked. It wasn't until I discovered (insert the thing that turned you around, your revelation or epiphany) that led me to where I am today. Can I tell you more?" If you can begin with this model of how to set up the short version of your story, then you'll be able to pique the media's interest (or anyone you're selling to) about why they should hear more. Basically, you'll use this as "the short memo that explains why the longer memo is necessary." Master this template and then you can revise to make it your own.

Joel is a masterful media coach who has helped many authors and corporate executives prepare for major media interviews on Oprah, the Today Show and radio stations too numerous to mention. His joy comes from teaching intensive 3-day Excellence in Media seminars, and upcoming dates along with contact information can be found at

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Your next lecture. Take a stand.

I'm still being inspired by Randy Pausch's last lecture, the meaning behind his life lessons and what he accomplished by sharing his beliefs with the world (well, he might not have known it would be with the world but YouTube had a different idea).

And certainly the political season is in full force and, no matter your views, we know that it is time for both candidates to take a stand on their beliefs and communicate their strategies and action plans for fixing our economy and keeping us safe. As we hear speeches and listen to beliefs, plans and opinions, we can be influenced to shape our own thoughts in order to vote for the candidate that we feel will be best to lead this great nation.

Whether it's Randy Pausch or a politician, taking a stand for kids or country is vitally important. Mission critical, in fact. There are many professors like Randy Pausch and hockey moms like Sarah Palin and singers like Paul Potts in the world. People who are doing great things but for most of their life hide behind running their day-to-day lives, when the world needs to hear what they have to say. The world needs to hear their voice. To positively impact the lives of others. To inspire a cause. To challenge the status quo. To entertain. To move people at a cellular level.

So if tomorrow you were given a stage and you had a chance to give a speech the whole world may hear, what would you say? What lessons would you like to teach? What talents or experiences would you like to share? In what way would you like to influence others? What legacy would you like to begin creating and leaving for your family?

Each of us already have a stage and we probably don't even realize it. That stage starts in the form of a blog. An ebook. A book. A conversation at the coffee shop. A talk in front of a small group.

Harv Eker once said, "if you've learned something and you don't teach it, you're ripping people off." You know, that couldn't be further from the truth. Some people say they're afraid to put themselves out there. Yes, it does require a decision -- a rather simple acceptance of being who you are.

So what if. What if you share and you don't get any feedback. Who cares? That doesn't mean a life didn't get changed for the better. Some people will never tell you. Or some will tell you years later. As many trainers have said, "if I only make a difference in one life, it will be worth it." And I agree. But what if you could make a difference in 100. Or 1000. Or 1 million. Or 10 million.

Randy Pausch just thought he was giving a lecture for his kids and a few people at CMU. He didn't know that the lecture he would give on September 18, 2007, would be seen by over 10 million people on YouTube. Nor did he know the material would be published so quickly into a book that would live on long past his life. In fact, I just gave a copy of the book to my nephew for his college graduation, with a note that said "may you achieve all your childhood dreams." That one bit of inspiration, or the many millions like it, wouldn't have been possible if Randy hadn't of made the decision to press on, even in the face of impending death, to spend some of his last days writing a speech and putting some slides together. He made a decision. He took a stand. He shared his beliefs.

And so did our country's founding fathers. Proof that we can't take anything for granted.

So what's your next lecture? What of your life will you share with others? And when will you share? Take a stand.
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