Why Would Oprah Interview You?

Why Would Oprah Interview You?

Being an entrepreneur makes you experience more ups and downs in one day than and hotel elevator! In the morning you can feel so low you can taste the dirt sticking to your tongue and in the afternoon you can be so on top of your game you might just buy a trip to Australia for your family.

While being on tour we have had major ups and large lows. Today I feel unfocused, unmotivated and misunderstood until Chelsea asks me a question to get me back on track.

“Why would Oprah interview you?”

I feel like sometimes my “focus” is all over the place. I needed this question because it helps me focus on what I am doing and should be spending my time on.

When you think of Michael Jordan you think basketball. When you think of Katie Couric you think journalist. When you think of Jerry Seinfeld you think comedian. Sure you think of other things but those are these peoples main identities.

I feel as though I don’t always have a main focus or identity and am struggling with picking just one.

But if we are ever going to be the best in our industry we have to learn to focus. We need to find the one thing that will help us do the other things we are passionate about. Find your focus and if you are having trouble finding what that is… think about yourself sitting next to Oprah. What is she asking you? Why is she interviewing you? What part of your life does she want to find out more about?

Stick with what comes to mind and go with it! This advice helped me today and I hope it helps you. Keep pushing toward your goals. If you are down, get back up, the world needs you. Your story, your message and your ideas matter to us and do what it takes to find the focus to make them happen! As always…

Dream BIG,

How To Break the Ice…Naturally

How To Break the Ice…Naturally

What is the best way to break the ice when presenting?

As one who enjoys coaching and mentoring others, I am very intrigued by the Icebreaker speech (a speech designed for your audience to get to know you. Usually the first speech you deliver to a group or club).

In an Icebreaker, one can sense the speaker’s confidence growing even as they are delivering their short address.

I have learned a lot about and from speakers during their Icebreakers, and also know that, in many cases, their journeys as presenters are just beginning at this point. It’s very cool…or should I say warm and toasty?

An Icebreaker can be organized chronologically or thematically—and there are so many creative ways to organize one thematically (around hobbies or interests, family dynamics, important milestones, etc.).

I look back at my own Icebreaker, and as I recall, it wasn’t as compelling as it might have been. It struck me as being kind of boring and dry. But hey, it was a start, and I did break the ice.

Of course, when breaking the ice, it shouldn’t be dry afterwards—if you forgive the pun and accept that image. The best Icebreakers I have heard have been creative, free of too much formality and genuine. When people make those connections with us, it tends to melt all of the ice away.

A second type of Icebreaker is an activity—perhaps at the beginning of a presentation or seminar—designed to break any tension and to help get everyone involved and “warmed up” in some way.

Recently, I visited a discussion thread on Linkedin about this type of Icebreaker. Strategies for how best to conduct these activities were shared and debated, while some participants were adamant that they never even use Icebreakers.

To the latter point, it brought to mind a seminar I attended earlier this year. It was conducted by two terrific speakers who are also top-of-the-notch trainers. It was well worth my time to attend, and I took many notes—viewing it as both a speaker who wanted a tip or two and as a facilitator/trainer who envisions myself leading more seminars on similar topics.

About 15 or so minutes (precious ones, if you will) were spent on an Icebreaker activity that—as I thought about it both then and now—just didn’t seem to serve much of a purpose. As opposed to the compelling nature of the rest of the presentation, the Icebreaker seemed flat and uninspired. More of a Timewaster than an Icebreaker.

This isn’t written to criticize the presenters who, on the whole, were wonderful. Indeed, they were wonderful because they were knowledgeable, generous with their time and advice, and warm. To my way of thinking, they didn’t need an Icebreaker activity for such a short program. Indeed, their credentials, and the topics discussed, were almost enough to (borrowing a phrase from the movie Jerry Maguire…thanks, Cameron Crowe) “have me at hello.” Rhetorically, not romantically, in this case.

So…what is the most common element of Icebreaker speeches and Icebreaker activities? They are both at their most effective when they are creative, genuine and resonant. There are many ways to connect with your audience, and it is easiest to do so when you are prepared, confident, open to others and…warm.

How to Successfully Break the Ice: There is no single way to deliver an Icebreaker speech or lead (if even needed) an Icebreaker activity.  What is the surest way to break the ice? With your warmth. Naturally!

How to Be a Better Seller

How to Be a Better Seller

At the current stage of my speaking career I sell to, on average, 10-20% of the people in attendance at my keynotes and trainings. A comfortable number but what if you want 30, 50 or if you are dreaming BIG, 100% of the audience to buy from you?

You ask, practice and read.

Ask: Find the people who are doing what you want to do and ask them how they do it! Honestly think about how many people you have reached out to in the past 12 months to get advice on improving your speaking, selling or leadership skills? If it is less than 10 you are not even close to being a good asker!

Practice: Try new ways to sell each time you give a speech. Record what you think worked and didn’t. Record when you mentioned your product, how you mentioned it and what the audiences reaction to it was. How many times do you practice your sales pitch during your keynotes or tranings? Remember, doing the same thing you have always done will get you the same thing you have always gotten.

Read: If you read 10 books on selling, think how great of a seller you would be in the next 12 months! I am not talking about scanning chapters and flipping through pages. I am talking about getting those highlighters out, bending some page corners and taking notes. Selling books you should pick up include SPIN Selling, Hope is Not a Strategy and Meatball Sundae. Pick up a selling book and start reading today!

How to Be a Speaker: If you want to be a better speaker, be a better seller. Ask, practice and read more on selling to improve your bottom line and increase your reach! 

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Speaking Tips

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Speaking Tips

Today I ate breakfast in Russia, lunch in Paris and dinner in Humble, TX. Each meal reminded me of different styles of messages we can deliver while speaking.

Breakfast: Two eggs, a tomato with cheese, flat bread and I am out the door. The meal was fast to make, full of taste and fueled me for half the day. Sometimes the quick meals are the best. Same goes for speakers! Speakers don’t need to talk for an hour to make an impact. Sometimes all we need are the essentials; add flavor and you can leave your audience feeling satisfied by speaking less. Think how you can take your 45-minute keynote and make it have the same flavor and impact in 5 minutes?

Lunch: I catch my plane in Paris and hop on Air France. We have our own TV, we drink any drink for free (hello mimosas and vodka on ice) and we get ice cream cones and endless snacks during our 10-hour flight. They hand us menus, give us headphones and the flight attendants are accommodating and friendly. I am sitting in coach, expecting coach service, but they gave me their first class amenities. I now only want to fly Air France! Same goes for speaking! Let your audience think they are getting a coach experience and give them the first class content and material that leaves them saying wow. The kind of content that they tweet about, talk about and share with their friends.

Dinner: I walk in the door and my mom has grilled chicken, yellow rice and Cuban toast waiting for us. I have been up for 35 hours, I am so tired I might actually be asleep but the aromas of the home-cooked meal fills me with energy. My grandmother, aunt, wife, mom and dad are all around the dinner table. My mom could have fed us Sloppy Joes and it still would have been amazing because it was the first time in a long time we had a big family dinner together and the meal was made with love. Same goes for speaking! Love and family trumps everything. Speak with true passion and talk about things that touch your heart. You will win every time.

How to Be a Speaker: There are different ways to deliver a speech. Sometimes you need an impactful message that is short and to the point, most times you need to over deliver when you are speaking and always think about how you can touch the hearts of those you are speaking to.


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