Do you ever:

• Find people aren’t really listening when you’re talking to them?
• Have a tough time explaining your ideas?
• Notice that what you’re saying seems to be going in one ear, out the other?
• Get frustrated because you can’t get across the value or urgency of
what you care about in a way other people get it and want it?

If so, join the club.

We’re taught math, science and history in school – but we’re not taught how to capture people’s attention and quickly communicate what we care about so other people care about it.

As a result, our priorities and projects may not succeed at the level at which they deserve because we’re not able to win buy-in from key decision-makers.

Want good news?

There’s a solution to this. It’s called The Eyebrow Test®.

It’s both a method for:

1. BEING more intriguing in the first crucial 60 seconds when people are making up their mind whether we’re worth the valuable time.

2. TESTING how intriguing we are so we know whether we’re capturing people’s attention.

Here’s how I discovered The Eyebrow Test®.

Several years ago, I was asked to be on the closing panel of an international conference held over New Years.

Pulitzer Prize winners, astronauts, CEO’s and Nobel physicists were on the panel, so I was excited about this opportunity.

The challenge? I had two minutes max to share my insight with the group.

I skipped the New Years’ celebration the night before the panel to prepare.

My son Andrew (founder of Ability List – http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/yeas-nays/2012/01/andrew-horn-launch-abilitylistcom/2105891) came back to our hotel room after midnight only to find me still up, working on my remarks.

“Whazzup, Mom?”

“Well, I’ve got something to say, but I know it’s not special.”

“Do what you always tell me to do when my brain’s fried. Get up early in the morning and tackle it when you’re fresh.”

“Good advice, Andrew. Thanks.” I set the alarm for 6 am and went to study the inside of my eyelids.

The next morning, I headed downstairs to search for some caffeine to kick-start my creativity.

I turned around after getting my coffee and bumped into a petite powerhouse who was wearing big red, round glasses. I smiled at her and said, “Happy New Year.”

She looked at me, eyes bright, and said, “Start to finish.”

My eyebrows went up at this unexpected response. I was instantly intrigued. “How did you come up with that great phrase?”

She said, “Want to sit for a spell and I’ll tell you?”

I had a decision to make. Was I supposed to go back to my room and work on my two minutes – or was Dr. Betty Siegel (President Emeritus of Georgia’s Kennesaw State University) my two minutes?

Suffice it to say, I went with Betty (literally and figuratively).

Betty turned out to be the most intriguing communicator I’ve ever met.

I was on the edge of my seat through our entire conversation. There wasn’t a second I wished I was somewhere else. There wasn’t a moment I was bored, distracted or confused. She was 100% intriguing – from start to finish.

That’s when it occurred to me. Betty had my eyebrows up the entire time she was speaking.

What was it about it about her?

What made her so intriguing?

I had a triple epiphany.

1. Being intriguing is a rare and welcomed attribute.

2. Being intriguing is a learnable skill and can be (and must be) taught.

3. There is a tangible way to test how intriguing we are.

Just watch people’s eyebrows.

If we tell them something and their eyebrows knit or furrow; they didn’t get what we said.

And if they don’t get it, they won’t want it.

And if they don’t get it or want it, we won’t get what we want – their attention, respect, friendship, money or business.

If their eyebrows don’t move at all; it means they’re unmoved. What we said didn’t reach them. It had no impact at all, which means they’re not motivated to give us their valuable time, mind (or dime).

If their eyebrows go UP; it means we got through. They’re engaged, curious. They want to know more … which means what we just said got in their mental door.

Try it right now. LIFT your eyebrows.

Is your attention activated? Do you feel intrigued? Did raising your eyebrows switch you from an apathetic “I don’t care” state to a more engaged “Tell me more” state?

That’s one of the many benefits of the Eyebrow Test®. It’s a tangible way to gauge how intriguing you are anytime you want, for free, in five seconds.

Just:
• Tell someone your elevator speech
• Read them the first paragraph of your book, blog or article
• Watch someone review the homepage of your website
• Share the 60 second opening of your presentation, pitch or panel remarks
• Explain how you’re going to start a staff orientation or committee meeting
• Give an answer to a key question you’ll be asked in an upcoming interview
• Show a potential client your commercial or the first minute of your video

… and watch their eyebrows.

If their eyebrows go up; you’re in business.

If their eyebrows crunch up. It’s back to the drawing board. (Or, as comedian George Carlin said, “What did we go back to before there were drawing boards?”)

The good news is; if you test an upcoming communication and people’s eyebrows don’t go up; I can teach you how to craft a more intriguing opening so they do go up.

There’s a step-by-step process for having people at hello and I’ve developed it.

More importantly, this process – The Eyebrow Test® – is replicable. It’s helped thousands of people create intrigjuing communications that helped them buy-in to their priority projects – whether that was landing millions in funding, securing sponsorship for a non-profit or landing a dream job.

I may be preaching to the choir, but in case you’re still wondering why it’s in your best interests to learn how to be more intriguing … here’s why.

People today are suffering from info-besity.

They’re BBB. Busy. Bored. Been there-heard that.

They don’t want more blah-blah-blah.

They want epiphanies. They want to feel connected.

And they don’t get epiphanies and don’t feel connected from the old-fashioned “Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em; tell ‘em; then tell ‘em what you told ‘em” approach.

As Carrie Fisher said, “instant gratification takes too long.”

By the time we do all that “telling,” people’s eyes are glazed over.

If we want people’s attention; we need to pleasantly surprise them in the first 60 seconds with something intriguing and relevant they didn’t expect.

If we do that, they’ll listen up. They will feel connected and curious.

If we don’t; they won’t be listening; they’ll be waiting for us to stop talking. Or, they’ll be surreptitiously checking their smartphone. Or, they’ll have already mentally moved on.

What do you care about?

What is an upcoming communication and you (and your employees or association members) would like to know how to craft a 60 second opening that gets everyone’s eyebrows up?

If you want to know exactly what to say to win buy-in in that situation …contact us at Sam@SamHorn.com to arrange your one-on-one consultation or to schedule Intrigue Expert Sam Horn to teach your group her “can-use-this-today” Eyebrow Test® approaches that have been won raves from entrepreneurs in London, Geneva, Toronto, Amsterdam, Chicago and NYC and from executives from Cisco, Intel and eBay.

We look forward to hearing from you and to helping you win-buy to your priority projects.

Advertisements

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

Hmmm …

Well, if Andy was right, we better take responsibility for making ourselves more interesting so people want to hear what we have to say.

I host a monthly That’s Intriguing Interview Series that features guest experts from around the world (i.e., Betsy Myers who was COO of Obama’s grassroots presidential campaign and Michael Gelb, International Brain of the Year and author of How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci).

People often tell me our tele-seminars are the ONLY ones they listen to from start to finish.

Several clients asked me to “share my secret;” so here’s the document we send our guest experts to prep them to be so intriguing … listeners are on the edge of their seats, eager to hear what’s next.

You’re welcome to use these guidelines when you are the one being interviewed or when you’re the one hosting the intervivew/panel.

These suggestions help everyone hold themselves accountable for sharing real-life insights and examples that get people’s eyebrows up and motivate them to want to hear more.

Hello ­­­­­­­­­­­­­______________________:

Thanks for agreeing to be a guest expert for our That’s Intriguing Interview Series on _________, 2012.

We are looking forward to you sharing your back-story and best-practice tips with our audience.

We feel a real obligation to live up to our name – so here are some guidelines that can help us produce an engaging, insightful, productive interview that adds value for all involved.

1. Our tele-seminar starts promptly at 8 pm ET (5 pm West Coast Time).

5 minutes before our call … at 7:55 pm ET …please call our bridge line _____. Then enter our code ____.

2. We put everyone on the call (except YOU) on mute and don’t take questions during the call so background noise doesn’t undermine the quality of our recording.

We do invite people to submit questions in advance. I may give a shout out to several people on the call to add variety to our interview. For example, “Lisa from St. Louis has asked . . .”

3. Our goal is to make this interview as unpredictable as possible. Some guidelines to help make that happen are:

* Please keep answers short – 2 minutes or less.

If you have a long explanationto give, it’s better to break it up with a question back to me, such as,”There’s more to that story. Do you want to hear it, or is it time for us to move on?”

* Give a real-life example to illustrate each point which makes information infinitely more intriguing.

When making a point, you might want to use the 2 magic words, “For example …” and then verbally re-live the scene where this happened to SHOW us what you mean so we’re seeing what you’re saying.

* Humor is always wonderful and welcome.

If you have amusing, laugh-out-loud anecdotes or quotes to share that are “on topic,” by all means, share them. As you know, relevant humor makes this more fun and enjoyable for everyone involved.

* Victor Hugo said,”The secret to being a bore is to tell everything.”

Please cherry-pick the MOST surprising or startling things that have happened along the way. We don’t need soup-to-nuts explanations of all your lessons-learned. It’s far more interesting for you to focus on the ONE INSIGHT that was most pivotal, most transformative so we can hear a “best of the best” of your expertise or experience.

* This is not about self-promotion.

In the last 5 minutes, we focus on an exciting project you’ve got coming up you’d like listeners to know about. This could be a new book, public event, coaching series, conference, startup, product launch, etc.

You are welcome to describe this and give your website, blog or social media contacts so listeners can find more information, register, buy a product or service, support your cause, hire you, etc.

4. You are welcome to send questions in advance you’d like to be asked. WE love receiving questions that helps us showcase your work or this topic in a way that does it justice and reveals behind-the-scenes, recent, “wouldn’t have known that” insights.

5. I normally ask questions in a chronological sequence – starting with your early career and taking listeners through the evolutionary unfolding of your work – the epiphanies you’ve had along the way and the insights you’d like to pass along.

Remember what Elmore Leonard said when asked why his books are bestsellers, “I try to leave out the parts people skip.”

Ask yourself, “Is this obvious? A cliche or common sense? Do people already know it?” If so, SKIP IT.

6. Our audience is usually an eclectic mix of executives, entrepreneurs, speakers, authors, non-profit leaders, consultants and creative professionals from around the country. We may have up to 100 people on the LIVE call; hundreds or thousands may listen to the recording in the years ahead.

7. We market your interview to our database of 15,000+ through our newsletter, on our website calendar and to our extensive online network via Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

You are welcome to promote this to your tribe and invite people who would enjoy and benefit from your expertise and experiences. You are welcome to get the description of your program and registration links from our website calendar at http://www.samhorn.com/speaking/calendar/index.html

8. We will record the interview -and send you the MP3 within 3 days of the tele-seminar.

As part of our agreement, you are welcome to use that however you’d like – whether that’s selling it as a CD or MP3, excerpting it in podcasts on your website, or using as an audio demo for media.

We are so glad you carved time out of your busy schedule to be on our That’s Intriguing Interview Series.

We look forward to a win-win, rock and roll interview that showcases your contributions and delivers real-life recommendations people can use immediately. We know everyone will appreciate your fascinating examples of how you’ve built a SerenDestiny career where the light is on in your eyes and you’re doing meaningful legacy work that is serving all involved.

These guidelines on “How to Give a Great Interview” are from Sam Horn, author of POP! and the upcoming Eyebrow Test and SerenDestiny. The founder of The Intrigue Agency, Sam and her team celebrate intriguing ideas, individuals, events and organizations … and help clients create more compelling communications.  Her work has been featured on NPR, MSNBC, BusinessWeek.com, New York Times. www.IntriguingAgency.com

Guy Kawasaki . . . Genius in Action Part 3,

By Sam Horn, The IntrigueExpert

This is the final post detailing the excellence in action that Guy Kawasaki demonstrated during his keynote for Ruth Stergiou’s Invent Your Future Conference in NoCA.

Guy Kawasaki Genius in Action Part 3, By Sam Horn, The Intrigue Expert

Guy Kawasaki Genius in Action

Actually, there were many more things Guy did extraordinarily well . . . however these blog posts are already long enough.

Want to know what I suggest? Go see Guy in person if you have a chance.

I am a firm believer that our personal and professional impact is directly proportionate to our ability to communicate compellingly and convincingly.

If you’d like to turn no’s into yes’s – if you’d like to win buy-in from the people who have the power to scale your career, buy your products or services or support your message and mission – do yourself a favor and study great communicators like Guy (on the stage) and Seth Godin (on the page).

Then, adopt and adapt (don’t copy) their masterful approaches so you too know how to capture and keep everyone’s attention and respect – from start to finish.

7. Guy featured a kaleidoscopic mix of reference points.

“Let’s give em something to talk about.” – Bonnie Raitt

Hmmm. Let’s see.  Grateful Dead. Check. Steve Jobs. Check.

Personal examples. Professional examples. Check. Check.

United States anecdotes. International anecdotes. Yep.

Fortune 500 success stories. Small business success stories. Yep. Yep.

Some speakers commit the cardinal sin of focusing solely on a few “favorites.” sports. Kids. Corporate life. That leaves some people out. They may not like sports, don’t have kids or work for themselves.

Guy gave everyone something to “talk about.” By using a wide range of “demographically-correct” reference points, he made sure everyone felt included, honored and acknowledged.

The eclectic mix kept us eager for what’s next. Novelists call this a page-turner. The speaker equivalent is a “seat-edger,” as in, “We were on the edge of our seats the whole time.”

One of the most effective ways Guy modeled this was by using “pulled from the headlines” or “signs on the street” slides to prove his points.

For example, he mentioned he was just in New England checking out colleges with his kids. To illustrate how “disenchantment” can be caused by overcomplicating things, he popped up a Smartphone photo showing a sign from an Ivy League university campus that went into great detail on how to . . . (wait for it) cross the street.

Embedding his point in a recent, first-person story lent instant credibility to his case because it had currency. This isn’t
tired shtick – it just occurred yesterday or last week.

And he did this with EACH of his points – providing a “couldn’t see it coming” reference that explored the point in a compelling, convincing and creative way.

If you’re about to give a presentation, go back over your planned remarks. Double check that you have balanced gender, age, ethnic, work-life, geographic and industry diversity.

And, hold up a prop! Make it show not tell. Sharing an article from THAT day’s newspaper that’s relevant to your topic will charm your audience and turn “blah-blah-blah” into “rah-rah-rah.”

8. Guy was in his “Tony Bennett” zone.

“I have found if you love life, life will love you back.” – Arthur Rubenstein

Have you ever had the distinct privilege of seeing and hearing Tony Bennett in concert? If not, do yourself a favor and grab a ticket for his next concert in your area.

Tony Bennett is the consummate entertainer. Not just because he has a voice like “butta” and not just because he’s a great song stylist.

It’s because Tony Bennett LOVES HIS AUDIENCE . . . and isn’t afraid to show it. When singers (or speakers) love what they’re doing, we love ‘em back.

Tony may have sung I Left my Heart in San Francisco a thousand times but you’d never know it. He gifts each audience by singing that song as if for the first time.

What many speakers don’t understand is that our audiences will feel the way we feel.

We won’t have fun if you’re not having fun. If you’re not happy to be up there – we’re not happy to be down here.

We want speakers who welcome the opportunity to add value and who show up fully present with an unapologetic, unabashed personality.

Too many speakers dread speaking. I remember attending a book-author event in Washington, DC , where a famous actress who’d just written a memoir got up and said, “I rather be dead drunk in a gutter than standing up here speaking to you today.”

Yikes. How do you think that made us feel?

Guy brought his A game and his whole self to the party. Guy was in his body, in his element and in the moment. And when speakers invest themselves 100%– we feel lucky to be along for the ride – because it’s a great ride.

9. Guy replaced wah-wah information with real-world WWW stories.

“The world is not made up of atoms; it’s made up of stories.” – Muriel Rukeyser

Actually, as explained in a recent Newsweek cover story entitled Brain Freeze, the world is not made up of atoms; it’s
made up of information. And we’re drowning in it.

We don’t want more information. We want epiphanies.  And we don’t get epiphanies from wah-wah information. We get them from “WWW” stories” that vividly portray Who, Where and What was said.  WWW stories are pulled from real-life – NOT from the internet or from your colleague’s books.

If we wanted stories from the Internet or from your colleagues
books – we’d go online or go buy those other people’s books.

When you speak, we want to hear what you think, what you have experienced, what you have gleaned. And we want you to re-enact those lessons-learned so we’re in the room with you as they happened.

We want you to make your story our story by putting us in the story. You can do this by putting yourself back in the moment
and place it happened and describing:

WHO? Describe the individuals involved with specific physical and emotional details so we can SEE him or her in our mind’s
eye and know what’s going through their mind.

WHERE? Put us in the room, on the plane or in the pool (or as Nancy Duarte – author/speaker on Resonance
did so vividly in her keynote that day – put us on Half Dome). Make us a fly on the wall so we’re standing right next to you.

WHAT WAS SAID? Re-create and re-quote the dialogue so it’s as if it’s happening right NOW.

For example, Guy shared a story where he was speaking for a client in South America and realized, shortly before his talk, that he had a washing machine made by this manufacturer.

Understanding this was an “enchantment opportunity,” he quickly texted his sons and asked them to take a picture of the family washing machine and send it to him so he could incorporate it into his program.

Here’s where Guy got it right (yet again.)

Instead of just mentioning his sons sent him the photos – he put up a slide that showed the actual back and forth texting from his sons. He talked us through the chain of events and turned it into an unfolding mystery that brought it alive and brought it home. Guy’s message had the ring of truth – because it was true. Kudos.

10. Guy created the exquisite state of entrainment.

“What did the meditation teacher tell the hot dog vendor? Make me one with everything.” – poster in yoga studio

Have you ever experienced that lovely peak performance state of flow?

If you’re an athlete, maybe you were immersed in your golf, tennis or basketball game and played out of your head (literally and figuratively).

If you play an instrument, perhaps you lost yourself in the music and weren’t even aware of the passage of time.

If you’re an artist or author, the world slipped away and you were completely absorbed In your painting, dancing or writing.

That flow sate – when we are one with what we are doing – is also called “entrainment.”

And Guy created it. There was no shuffling in the seats. No checking of watches or email. We got swept up in his world.

Everyone who’s experienced this state of flow knows it is a powerful and persuasive high. Everyone was bliss-fully entrained– or as Guy calls it – enchanted.

As The Intrigue Expert and author of POP!, ConZentrate and Win Buy-In, I have studied the art and science of entrainment for the past 20 years.

What I have learned is that while we can’t force it, we can facilitate it.

The ten ingredients above all combine to create entrainment.

The good news is, you can too.

Yes, Guy is a master at what he does. The good news is that speaking eloquently and “intriguingly” is a skill that can be acquired. I know this because I’ve helped many entrepreneurs and executives create more compelling, convincing communications.

We can all get better at this because these are replicable steps.

Do you have a presentation coming up? Use these 10 points as a checklist while preparing your communication so your audience will be seat-edgers.

Get Anyone Intrigued in Anything in 60 Seconds

Get Anyone Intrigued in Anything in 60 Seconds

1. Have us at hello by leaving out the parts people skip.

2. Engage everyone’s head and heart with facts and feelings.

3. Condense your concepts into one-of-a-kind sound bites.

4. Have the courage to be counter-intuitive.

5. Honor your family, mentors and contributors.

6. Use the power of three to create oratorical flow.

7. Feature a kaleidoscopic mix of reference points.

8. Get in your “Tony Bennett” zone.

9. Replace wah-wah information with real-world WWW stories.

10. Create entrainment by getting in the flow.

If you do these things, your audience will care about what you care about. They’ll be engaged and enchanted from start to finish. You will have delivered substantive value and they’ll be more likely to buy into and act on your ideas and initiatives.

And isn’t that a primary reason we communicate?

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Sam Horn, The Intrigue Expert, and author of POP! and Win Buy-In, is an award-winning communication strategist who’s worked with clients including Cisco, Intel and NASA.

Her work has been featured on NPR, MSNBC, BusinessWeek.com and in Readers Digest, the Washington Post, New York Times and Investors Business Daily.

She helps people crystallize their strategic, signature message and get it out of their head and where it can make a positive difference for others and a profitable living for themselves. . www.SamHorn.com Sam@SamHorn.com

Guy Kawasaki . . . Genius in Action Part 2,

By Sam Horn, The Intrigue Expert

This is Part 2 of a 3-part series in which I share the specific things GuyKawasaki did so well in his keynote presentation at the Invent Your Future conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California.

You might want to have an upcoming presentation in mind while you’re reading this to get maximum benefit.

Guy Kawasaki . . . Genius in Action

Guy Kawasaki . . . Genius in Action - Sam Horn


What’s a situation you’ve got coming up in which you’ll be asking for approval, funding, support or a yes?

Who’s the decision-maker? Who has the power or authority to give you the green light or the support you need to move ahead with this idea or initiative?

What’s that person’s frame of mind? Or who will be in the audience and how receptive or resistant do you anticipate they’ll be?

Factor that into how you design and deliver your remarks – and use these techniques that were so masterfully modeled by Guy – to increase the likelihood you’ll have them at hello.

4. Guy had the courage to be counter-intuitive.

“Only dead fish swim with the stream all the time.” – Linda Ellerbee

The quickest way to lose an audience is to state the obvious.

The quickest way to engage an audience is to state the opposite.

Think about it. If you agree with everything a speaker says, why listen? The speaker is just confirming what you already know; not stretching you or teaching you anything new.

For example, he made a flat out recommendation, “EVERY ONE should go see the movie Never Say Never with Justin Bieber.”

As you can imagine, that got a “Really?!” response from this high-powered group of entrepreneurs and executives.

He then backed up his claim by saying, “It will teach you everything you need to know about marketing. Watch how Justin goes into the crowd before concerts and gives tickets to little girls who don’t have tickets.
Watch how. . . . “

He then upped the ante by promising, “If you don’t like the movie, I’ll give you your money back.” THAT’s putting a stake in the ground.

We appreciate speakers who have a passionate point of view – who dare to address (vs. tip toe around) the elephants in the room. Speakers who challenge our assumptions and admit the emperor has no clothes cause us to rethink what we “knew to be true.” They serve us at a higher level because we walk out wiser than we walked in.

5. Guy honors his family, mentors and contributors.

I want compassion to be the new black.” – American Idol judge Steven Tyler

Guy began by acknowledging a mentor in the audience, Marylene Delbourg-Delphis, who encouraged him to write. He frequently referenced colleagues including a special shout out to:

Facebook marketing guru Mari Smith in her trademark turquoise

Guy talked openly about his love for his wife, kids and parents and shared several “from the home front” stories of neighborhood hockey games, backyard bar-b-ques, etc.

What’s that got to do with anything? We like people who like their families.  In fact, novelist James Rollins, (NY Times bestselling author of Amazonia, etc.) told me he’s researched the ten best ways to create likable characters. Guess what #1 was? “Being kind to kids and animals, in particular, dogs.”

Simply said, our heart goes out to people who are compassionate.
This wasn’t contrived on Guy’s part. It’s simply who he is.

Many speakers think they have to be “serious” when speaking in business situations. Guy modeled that speaking affectionately about who and what has influenced us “warms up” a talk and establishes that all-important likability. He showed that not can we embody intellect and emotion – it’s more powerful and persuasive when we do.

6. Guy used The Power of Three to create oratorical flow.

“There’s a kind of ear music . . . a rhythmic synchronicity which creates a kind of heartbeat on the page.” – Allan Gurganus

Orators have known for centuries that communicating things in threes sets up a rhythmic flow that makes our message reverberate.

Furthermore, listing three real-world examples fleshes out your points and increases the odds every person will relate to at least one of your samples.

For example, Guy showcased Amazon.com, Zappos and Nordstrom on a slide to illustrate benchmarks of mutual trust.

He then went deeper by citing empirical evidence that showed how each of these companies have created a culture of mutual trust. But giving varied, yet specific examples (instead of one vague, sweeping generalization), we GOT what he meant.

No puzzled looks – no one left hanging.

For example, Amazon has a policy that says you can return an E-book in 7 days if you don’t like it. As Guy said,
most people can read a book in 7 days so that’s trust.

Next Guy asked, “Who would have believed a few years ago that hundreds of thousands of women would buy shoes online . . . WITHOUT TRYING THEM ON?!” What makes that possible is Zappos  visionary policy of paying for shipping both ways. No risk; all reward.

Nordstrom, of course, is famous for pioneering a generous refund policy that has proven over time that most people will honor the “We trust you” policy which offsets the few who take advantage of it.

Want more examples of how Guy Kawasaki hit it out of the park at the Invent Your Future Conference with his Enchantment keynote?

Sam Horn, Guy Kawasaki and Ruth Stergiou at the Invent Your Future conference in Silicon Valley

Ruth Stergiou, Guy Kawasaki and Sam Horn


Check the next blog for the final 4 ways Guy practiced what he taught.

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.

Sam Horn with Ram Charan and Jack Mitchell at Inc. Growco Conference

Sam Horn with Ram Charan and Jack Mitchell at Inc. Growco Conference

One of the cool things about speaking for Inc. Magazine’s GROWCO conference in Orlando last week was connecting with Ram Charan (Execution with Larry Bossidy) and Jack Mitchell (Hug Your Customers) during our book-signing (I was there speaking on POP! Your Communication and signing the newly released paperback version of my POP! book.)

It’s easy to see why Ram’s book Execution has received more than 230(!) favorable reviews on Amazon.com. Who doesnt need to know “the missing link between aspirations and results” which is how Charan defines “execution.”

I asked Ram, “Of all the insights shared in your book on this vital topic, what’s the most important?”

He said “it’s understanding that the key to execution is to exercise discipline . . without fail.”

To me, those two final words “without fail” are what POP!s out of his definition. Whether it’s writing a blog once a week (without fail) or exercising 5 times a week (without fail); the key is to do it even when we’re busy, even when we don’t feel like it, even when there’s a dozen other things competing for our attention.

Have you read Charan’s books or heard him speak? What insight of his have you found most valuable?

(In my next blog, I’ll talk about my conversation with Jack).

The #1 premise in business is that it need not be boring or dull. It ought to be fun.” – Tom Peters

The votes are in and the decisions have been made. The following business names, company slogans and book titles POP! out for all the right reasons – they’re Purposeful, Original and Pithy (they POP!) and they’re NOT boring or dull. As a result, they’ve helped their organization or product break out vs. blend in (the purpose of an attention-grabbing name, slogan and title. )

1. Segs in the City. The perfect name for a business which offers tours of downtown Washington DC on the stand-and-ride Segways.

2. WOKamole. The inspired name for a Chinese-Mexican restaurant in San Antonio, Texas. I also like Ciao-Mein, the name of an Italian-Chinese restaurant.

3. “Tastes So Much Like Coke, our lawyers have contacted our lawyers.” A brilliant ad campaign Coca-Cola used to address complaints that their new diet drink didn’t taste like “the real thing.”

4. Weeding By Example. What 13 year old Jack McShane called his charitable organization that cleaned up New Orleans City Park following Hurricane Katrina.

5. Kis-Meet. What else would you call an online dating service that helps you find your perfect match? A close second was Geek2Geek, a site for pocket-protector types with personals that read, “Tall, Dork and Handsome.”

6. BUYology. The sublime title of a bestseller by Martin Lindstrom that explains the science of why we buy. Much like Freakonomics, this is an example of how creating a new word for your book can launch a lucrative business empire.

7. Snuba. Leave the oxygen tank on the boat and explore 10 feet underwater without having to be certitified and without risk with this new sport – half snorkel, half scuba.

8. “Good things come to those who . . . walk.” Avon has raised millions to find a cure for breast cancer with their walks that feature this slogan.

9. “Great minds like a think.” The clever people at The Economist agree with Samuel Goldwyn who said, “Avoid cliches like the plague” and gave their slogan a clever twist.

10. Squeaky Green. What else would you call an organic product that gets your house squeaky clean?