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Guy Kawasaki . . . Genius in Action,

By Sam Horn, The Intrigue Expert

 “It’s not enough to be the best at what you do; you must be perceived to be the only one who does what you do.” – Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead

I’m always keeping my antenna up for people who are one-of-a-kind at what they do.

I had the privilege of seeing one in action last week.

As The Intrigue Expert and a communication strategist for the past 25 years; I’ve seen and given thousands of presentations. (Really).

So, when I say Guy Kawasaki’s keynote at the Invent Your Future conference in Silicon Valley was one of the best presentations I’ve ever experienced, that’s saying something.

I was compelled to take notes because it’s a privilege to watch a master in action.

I shared my observations with Guy afterwards and am sharing them here so you can learn from his shining example and adopt/adapt some of his approaches so you can enchant (and intrigue) your future audiences.

Here’s why Guy’s keynote Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Action was a perfect 10.

Everyone was drawn in (and enchanted) -sam horn

Everyone was drawn in (and enchanted)

Please note: I’ve distilled this debrief of his brilliant presentations into three blog posts. Check back the next couple days to read and reap additional techniques.

      1.   Guy had us at hello.

“You’ve got to be a good date for the reader.” – Kurt Vonnegut

No perfunctory opening remarks. That would have been predictable and predictable is boring.

Guy pleasantly surprised everyone by starting with an amusing riff about how most speakers run long and no one’s ever angry at a speaker for ending early so he was going to jump right into things.

Guy knows people are BBB – (Busy, Bored or Been there-heard that) and that we make up our minds in the first 60 seconds whether someone is worth our valuable time, mind and dime.

He earned our good will in the first few minutes by being a “good date” and by kicking off with humor vs. the old-fashioned “Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em approach ” which would have had us reaching for our smart phones.

Bestselling author Elmore Leonard gave a keynote at the Maui Writers Conference (which I emceed for 17 years.) During the Q & A, a participant asked, “Why are your books so popular?” “Dutch” smiled and said, “I try to leave out the parts people skip.”

Guy was instantly popular because he left out the parts people skip.

      2.    Guy engaged our head and heart – our left and right brain – with facts and feelings.

“I never developed a plan for where I was going. I just counted on one interesting job segueing into the next. I let the universe do its work.” – Bernadette Peters

Any extreme is unhealthy. Many speakers (think engineers, IT professionals, physicians, professors, etc.) focus primarily on data, theories and facts. This makes for a lopsided speech because it’s long on logic but short on interest.

Other presenters (think motivational speakers) share inspiring stories but there’s no “meat” – no tangible takeaways we can apply to reap real-world results.

Guy was a sublime balance of head and heart. He let us know from the get-go he’d distilled his presentation into ten insights and 45 minutes.

People love top ten lists because it indicates you’ve done the homework for us and edited the superfluous, which means we’ll be hearing only the most salient points, the best of the best.

Anxiety is defined in two words: “not knowing.” If we don’t know how long this is going to take or the format, we may resent the speaker because, in a way, they’re keeping us in the dark and holding us hostage.

Covering 10 points (or 7 steps or 6 keys or whatever) in a specified amount of time builds pace and momentum and keeps a speaker on track because you don’t have time to ramble. Logical left-brainers think “Oh, good. This is clearly going to be bottom-line and a good use of my time because it’s measurable and replicable.”

Furthermore, a 10 point plan provides one of the quickest organizational constructs known to humankind because it provides an easy-to-understand-and-follow pattern. Listeners feel they’re in “the Allstate Plan” (they’re in good hands) and feel well-led as one interesting point segues into the next.

Better yet, Guy balanced rhetoric (words) with photos (senses) throughout his presentation. Everyone was drawn in (and enchanted) because he “peopled his points.” His beautifully produced slides featured intellectually satisfying ideas, visually stunning images and named individuals which produced a holistic sense of symmetry. Well done!

      3.    Guy condensed his concepts into one-of-a-kind sound bites.

“    Remember, you’re more interested in what you have to say than anyone else.” – Andy Rooney, 60 Minutes

“Invoke reciprocity”.

“Conduct a ‘Premortum.”

“Incur a Debt.”

“Frame Thy Competition.”

“Separate the Believers.”

These are just a few of Guy’s featured sound-bites (and chapter titles).

How could you NOT want to know more?

Guy got his ideas in our mental front door because he was not content to be common.

Instead of lazily sharing platitudes and clichés (“Make it a win-win. It’s all about team.”), he coined first-of-their-kind phrases that got our eyebrows up.

(Side note: What’s The Eyebrow Test? It is a technique described in my book POP! that gives you a way to test how compelling your communication is . . anywhere, anytime . . . in 5 seconds . . . for free.

Eyebrow Test? It is a technique described in my book POP!

The goal is to get their eyebrows UP

You don’t have to convene a focus group and spend thousands of dollars to determine whether your idea is commercially-viable.

Simply tell someone your main point (or your elevator speech, business name, book title, the first 60 seconds of your pitch/presentation, or the first paragraph of your marketing copy) . . . and watch their eyebrows.

If their eyebrows knit or furrow, it means they’re confused. They didn’t get it. And if they didn’t get it, you won’t get it.

The goal is to get their eyebrows UP.

Try it right now. Lift your eyebrows. Do you feel intrigued? Curious? Like you want to know more?

THAT’s your goal as a communicator – to get the eyebrows up of busy, distracted decision-makers because it means you just got your message in their mental door.)

Guy’s succinct sound-bites made his content POP! Because no matter how many books we’ve read or seminars we’ve attended, we’d never heard this before.

Comedian Jonathan Winters said, “I have a photographic memory. I just haven’t developed it yet. By developing original take-aways and NURDS (new words like Premortum), Guy made his content memorable and sticky.

Unique sound-bites give his content a long tail of influence. People love “the next new thing” and are more likely to share freshly-phrased ideas around the water-cooler – which means they’ll become Guy’s tribe and take his work viral by becoming his voluntary word-of-mouth ambassadors.

Phrases like “invoke reciprocity” are also monetizable and merchandisable.

People will pay for refrigerator magnets (or coffee mugs or t-shirts) with catchy phrases like this. This keeps you and your proprietary ideas “in sight-in-mind” with your target customers which gives your material even longer legs. It’s all good.

Check the next blog to discover more ways Guy demonstrated
platform brilliance.

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Today’s Washington Post has a fun article about knitting.

Really.

The title Where It’s Knit, Knit, Knit at The Old Ballgame plays off the lyrics of the 7th inning stretch classic Take Me Out to the Ballgame.

The focus of the article is on the Stitch and Pitch phenomenon (since when can the words knitting and phenomenon be found in the same sentence?) that is part of a marketing scheme to attract dye-hard knitters (sorry, couldn’t resist) to 23 Major League Baseball games a year.

I propose this “movement” (yup, that’s what it’s referred to in the article, take it up with the Post) wouldn’t be attracting so much attention if it didn’t have such a fun, immediately memorable name.

What’s the point?

Words that rhyme are remembered over time.

Abby Marks-Beale, a consulting client and one of our country’s experts on speed-reading, wanted to develop a program and book on how to speed-read using the computer. Her initial title, Read More, Faster: Increasing Productivity Online While Saving Paper, Time and Frustration didn’t ring or resonate.

We kept brainstorming and finally came up with Increasing Productivity Online While Saving Paper, Frustration and Time. See how rhyming “online” and “time” made her title POP? What’s amazing to me is that re-arranging the exact same words until they rhymed changed the rhythm so her title has a lilt that makes it fluent instead of flat.

Do you have other instances of rhymed brands, names, titles, slogans and mottos that POP!?

Submit your favorite (s) and I’ll give a free, autographed copy of POP! Stand Out in Any Crowd to the winner and feature your submission (with your permission) in my June 11th blog.

What’s one of the breakout TV shows this season?

“Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?”

Learn from this title. Look at the lead lines in your blog postings, articles, chapters, and Web pages.

Do they start off by simply describing what you have to say or sell?

Why not rephrase those introductory remarks into questions that elicit answers? You’ll be setting up two-way communication instead of a one-way sermon.

Look at the difference between “Don’t Sabotage Yourself” and “Are You Sabotaging Yourself?” One is an order. Do you know anyone who likes to be ordered around? The other Socratically causes people to stop, reflect, and respond.

Next time you write marketing material, ask yourself, “How can I open with a question so I’m capturing interest instead of making a statement?”

Why is that so important? Statements sit on the page. Questions engage.

Best-selling author Elmore Leonard was once asked why he thought his books were so popular. His answer? “I try to leave out the parts people skip.”

I had the pleasure of sharing my POP! tips on a podcast recently with John Jantsch – author of Duct Tape Marketing and creator of Forbes’ and Fast Company’s #1 rated blog on small business and marketing.

As you may already know, POP! stands for Purposeful, Original, and Pithy – the three prerequisites to sticky messages that capture and keep your attention.

John modeled the POP! process with his succinct definition of marketing. He said, “Marketing is getting somebody who has a need to know you, like you, and trust that you can supply it for them.”

John also mentioned his sure-fire system for test-marketing his material to make sure it POP!s. He runs it by his four teenaged daughters to see if they “get it and want it.” He added, “They’re imaginative, playful and have no time for B.S. If it doesn’t pass their litmus test, it’s back to the editing room.”

Look at your marketing messages and elevator speech.

Are you leaving out the parts people skip? Have you condensed the definition of what you do into a succinct sound-bite? Do you have a litmus test to see if people “get and want” what you have to offer?

If so, kudos. If not, it’s back to the drawing board or . . . listen to our podcast that talks about how you can market your business by developing attention-grabbing names, slogans, and ad campaigns at www.DuctTapeMarketing.com.

When you want to get an important message out to millions of people and a 30-second PSA just won’t do, why not make a movie?

In a recent article by the Washington Post, Ted Leonsis describes his new business model of “filmanthropy.” It’s no surprise to me that Ted has coined such a trademarkable phrase and concept – he was in my 2006 POP! Hall of Fame. Why? A year ago, Ted Googled himself and was unhappy to discover several unflattering articles featured first. Rather than passively complaining about this, he proactivTEd Leonsisely initiated his own blog, Ted’s Takes, so he could control his professional persona. Click here to find out what happened as a result of him joining the blogosphere.

Ted describes this new term “filmanthropy” (what I call a Half and Half Word in my book POP! Stand Out in Any Crowd), and how satisfying it was to make “Nanking,” a movie with a cause that made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in last Saturday.

“It’s where you can shed light on a big issue. You raise the money around your charity and make something that can drive people to understand an issue,” said Leonsis. “It brings together philanthropy and understanding how media works. You’re going to see a lot of people doing this because a studio probably wouldn’t do a story like this.”

The blog OnPhilanthropy.com featured a post describing how socially conscious films are not new – however “filmanthropy” is an innovative way to give donors a more tangible vehicle to bring awareness to a favorite cause. Instead of simply writing a check and having it “disappear” into a foundation’s budget, contributors get to see the fruits of their labor of love.

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Sam Horn, author of POP! Stand out In Any Crowd (Perigee)
Want more? Visit http://www.SamHornPOP.com
Interested in interviewing Sam? Call 1 800 SAM-3455 or email info@samhorn.com

How do you explain an abstract concept so people “get it?” Just ask the 3-time Pulitzer Prize winning author of such best selling books as The World is Flat and The Lexus and the Olive Tree.

In his speeches, Thomas Friedman uses the “Pottery Barn Rule” of “You break it, you own it” to describe his stance on the War in Iraq. The result? An abstract concept crystallizes in the minds of the audience.

Friedman’s quotes have been referenced by such thought-leaders as Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the online anyone-can-contribute encyclopedia, Wikipedia. Such references only increase Friedman’s credibility and expertise on the subject.

Want another example of a company who made their concept concrete by turning the abstract into an image?

When a group of preschoolers was asked what sounds animals made, they gave the usual answers: sheep – baa, cows – moo, horses – neigh, and so on. When asked what sound ducks made, they said….”Aflac!

Do you have a nonsensical business name? Are you presenting an abstract topic? Take notes from Thomas Freidman and Aflac and turn your abstract concept into a concrete image by connecting the unknown to something it looks like or sounds like in the real world. When your audience says “Oooh, I see now,” or “Ahh, now I get it” – you’re in business.

Want more? Visit www.samhornPOP.com
Want to schedule an interview with Sam Horn, author of POP! Stand Out in Any Crowd (Perigee)? Contact Cheri Grimm, Sam Horn’s business manager at info@samhorn.com

We’ve all heard the cliche “Good thinks come to those who wait.” Congrats to AVON for “riffing” off this well-known saying to come up with a catchy slogan for their latest fund-raiser. . . “Good things come to those who walk.”

Just like a jazz pianist “riffs” of chords to create memorable music, you can create memorable taglines, slogans, and titles by re-arranging cliches instead of repeating them – just like AVON did.

Want more? Visit www.samhornpop.com
Want to schedule an interview with Sam? Contact Cheri Grimm, Sam’s Business Manager at info@samhorn.com

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