TV show friends

“That silence you just heard was me speaking my mind.” – coffee mug slogan

Did you ever watch the TV sitcom Friends?

Remember Phoebe, the self-described blonde ditz who sang, “Smelly cat, smelly cat?”

In one episode, Phoebe was complaining to Joey about something her brother did.

After listening for awhile, Joey interrupts her and says, “Phoebe, have you told your brother how you feel?”

She looks at him and says, “Yes… well, not out loud!”

Sound familiar?

Is there someone at work who’s mistreating you, making you miserable or driving you crazy?

Do you lay awake at night, reliving what you WISHED you’d said, over and over in your head?

Have you been telling everyone BUT the person who’s bothering you how outraged or offended you feel?

Studies show that’s what many of us do because we’re conflict averse.

We avoid confrontations because we don’t like to fight and we don’t want to make things worse. We just want to “keep the peace.”

Unfortunately, it’s hard to keep the peace with someone who’s making war on you.

What’s worse is … silence sanctions.

If you’re not saying anything to the person who is behaving in inappropriate ways; they’re “getting away with it” or they’re assuming it must not bother you too much because you’re not calling them on it.

Jack Canfield says, “People treat us the way we teach them to treat us.”

When we “turn the other cheek,” we TEACH people it’s okay to keep mistreating us. We’re showing them we won’t hold them accountable and we won’t speak up for ourselves.

You have a voice. Use it.

It’s time to say “No. Enough. Stop.”

The good news is, there are diplomatic ways to do this so you won’t lose your job … even if the person bothering you is your boss.

Here’s a sample scenario.

Imagine someone at work likes to get a rise out of female employees by saying things like, “You women are SO emotional” or “You always get stressed out.”

This person is senior to you so you’ve felt it wasn’t “your place” to let him know his sweeping generalizations are not true or fair.

Please recognize; it IS your place to establish and enforce boundaries to let people know they can’t “talk all over you.”

As Ann Landers loved to say, “People can’t walk all over you unless you lie down.”

Here are four ways you can use Tongue Fu!® to diplomatically, yet firmly, speak up for yourself.

1. If possible, address this issue in private instead of in public.

Calling someone out in front of others causes them to lose-face.

They will resent you – even if what you’re saying is true. They may feel a compulsion to escalate in an effort to put you down so they’re back “on top.”

2. Do NOT deny, defend or disagree with their sweeping accusations.

Denials backfire.

Think about it. If you say, “We are NOT emotional!!” or “I am NOT getting stressed-out” … you are.

3. Instead, put the conversational ball in THEIR court by asking, “What do you mean by that?” or “What makes you think that?”

Then, put a sock in it.

Asking a question gives them an opportunity to explain themselves. They have to give a specific example of what makes them say this. If they can’t; they’ll often back off or back down.

If they have a legitimate reason or explanation for what they believe, even if you don’t agree with it, at least you now know what’s REALLY going on and you can discuss that instead of reacting to their attack.

4. Another option is to simply repeat what they said as a question, emphasizing the extreme word.

“Really? ALL women are emotional?” “Is is true I ALWAYS get stressed out?”

Repeating an outrageous over-statement is one way to make it clear you’re not going to suffer in silence and passively allow them to throw around disparaging comments.

Remember; don’t pull a Phoebe.

Holding people accountable IN YOUR HEAD helps no one.

Speak up, in the moment, when people say inappropriate things so you’re teaching them to treat you and others with the respect we all want, need and deserve.

Did you like this tip?

There are dozens more in Sam Horn’s book Tongue Fu!®, which is currently ranked #3 on the Korean bestseller list, has been published in 17 languages around the world, and has been taught to such organizations as the U.S. Embassy in London, the U.S. Navy, Boeing, ASAE and Honolulu Police.

Tongue Fu!® is now available in a Kindle version so you can access it right here, right now on your e-reader.

http://www.amazon.com/Tongue-Better-Anytime-Anywhere-ebook/dp/B00APRX4FG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1365616072&sr=1-1&keywords=tongue+fu+sam+horn

Years ago, insurance giant AFLAC had a problem.

Their company name was nonsensical. No one knew what it meant.

And why would customers entrust their money to a company when they didn’t understand their name?

So, their ad agency (brilliantly) asked themselves how they could take this unfamiliar name and relate it to something familiar so it all-of-a-sudden made sense?

They asked themselves, “What does an ‘AFLAC’ look like or sound like in the real world? How can we associate it with something people already know and like?

Hmmm … well, an AFLAC kind of looks and sounds like a duck saying QUACK.

Maybe we can turn that into a lovable duck that says ‘AFLAC.’”

Voila.

They created a visual icon that turned their idea into an image people could SEE.

Another insurance company had a similar challenge.

Government Employees Insurance Company was going “public.”

Instead of just offering policies to federal employees, it was now going to offer policies to anyone and everyone who could afford to pay for one.

So, how did they masterfully manage their transition and make their clunky acronym  G.E.I.C.O  meaningful and memorable?

Well, what do we think of when we hear the word GEICO?  What comes to mind that is close to it?

How about a cute little gecko?

Bingo.

GEICO’s cute green gecko has starred in countless commercials and become an instantly recognizable corporate symbol to millions.

Both of these financial services firms succeeded in making their cold, confusing names … warm and relatable.

The bottom-line?

Both AFLAC and GEICO dramatically increased their market-share and profits;  thanks to their ubiquitous “spokes-animal” ad campaigns that helped them POP! out of their  crowded industry.

So, what’s this mean for you and your business, idea or product?

Your financial success depends – to a large degree – on the “get-ability” of your name.

When prospective customers hear or see your name for the first time; what’s their reaction?

Do their eyebrows crunch up?

That means they don’t get it.  And if they don’t get it – you won’t get their attention, respect  or money because confused people don’t say yes and they don’t remember you or want to do business with you.

Why should they?  They have no idea what you do.  They can’t relate to you.

Your goal is to have a name for your business or product  that makes people’s eyebrows go UP.

That means they’re intrigued. That means they want to know more, which means they’re more likely to remember you and want to try and buy what you’re offering.

This Wall Street Journal  article – What’s In a Name? –  offers fascinating examples and insights into  the financial consequences of the RIGHT or WRONG name.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443854204578058422730170626.html

Would you have gone to see a movie entitled $3000? That was the original name of Pretty Woman.

Would you have paid $8 to go see Anhedonia (the original name for Annie Hall)?

Check out this article to find out why some of your favorite movies might have failed if they had stuck with boring names that bombed with focus groups.

Are you thinking, “I agree that the right name is important;  I just don’t know how to come up with one that gets people’s eyebrows up.”

Well, check out POP!   Its 25 different techniques can help you  create clear, compelling names, titles and slogans that will resonate with your customers and decision-makers.

Have your pen handy so you can do the exercises to coin just the RIGHT name that will help your product, idea or business get noticed, remembered and bought.

http://www.amazon.com/POP-Create-Perfect-Tagline-Anything/dp/0399533613/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352044604&sr=8-1&keywords=pop+-+sam+horn

“In influencing others; example is not the main thing.  It’s the only thing.” – Albert Schweitzer

Agreed.

What’s a situation coming up in which you want to influence someone to give you their time, mind or dime?

If you want to capture and keep their attention – if you want to open their mind and change their mind  – don’t open with information.

Open with an example.

In fact, follow Dr. Brene’ Brown’s shining example …

I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Brene’ Brown at a recent Leadership Colloquium at NASA Goddard.

Brene’s TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability is one of the top ten most-downloaded TED videos.

After the first 10 minutes of her NASA presentation, it’s easy to understand why.

She’s disarmingly honest about her journey from being a left-brained researcher who only valued bottom-line facts to discovering the transcendent, whole-hearted, free-flowing love that comes from having children.

What she didn’t anticipate was the fear that comes from being a mom.

She described how she used to stand in her kids’ rooms at night and watch them sleep … and weep.

Why?

She cherished them so much, she was afraid something would happen to them.

She knew this was illogical. They were perfectly healthy, perfectly fine.  Yet there she was … miserable.

She started researching why the emotion of happiness seems to be irrevocably tied with fear – and used an EXAMPLE to open our eyes to how common this phenomenon is.

A family is driving to their grandparents’s house for Christmas.  The parents are uptight because they’re running late.

The kids, sitting in the back seat, start singing Jingle Bells .

The parents realize how ridiculous they’re being and start singing Jingle Bells along with them.

At this point, Brene’ asked the audience, “And then what happened?”

Guess what the majority said??

“They get in a car accident.”

Is that what you thought?

Do you know what that means?

It means, deep down, you believe happiness is fleeting – you believe it is too good to be true.

How about you?  In the midst of things going well, are you, at some level, waiting for the other shoe to drop?

Arrgghh.

Say it ain’t so.

Brene’ went on to explain that, in an effort to protect ourselves against the pain we feel when something goes wrong  … we prepare ourselves by projecting it so we won’t be blindsided when the heartache happens.

Not only does that cut short any joy we might be feeling, that “failure forecasting” increases the likelihood of something going wrong because that’s what we’re focused on.  Then, if something does go wrong, it reinforces our worst fears and proves us “right.” This sets up an emotionally unhealthy spiral where we have even more cause to worry.

Brene’ continued with constructive ways to change this destructive default … if we choose.

Okay, what’s the point?

Look back over this post.

Were you engaged?  Were you thinking about that insight that some people are afraid of happiness – and thinking how it relates to you?

That’s because Brene’s EXAMPLE pulled you in and helped you SEE this situation.

If Brene (or I) had just talked about how some of us are waiting for the other shoe to drop – even when things are going well – that would have been wah-wah rhetoric.  You may not have related to it because it was information.

People today are suffering from InfoBesity.  They don’t want more information.

They can get all the information they want – anytime they want – online for the click of a button.

People want to be intrigued.

And one of the best ways to intrigue people is with EXAMPLES – not information.

Back to your upcoming situation where you’ll be trying to persuade someone to give you their valuable time, attention, respect, business, account or funding.

Don’t start with information.  Start with a real-life example that helps them SEE what you’re saying so they’re experiencing it – not just hearing it.

Be sure to check out Dr. Brene Brown’s website and blog.  Her insights on how we can be wholehearted – instead of going through life half-hearted because we’re protecting ourselves from pain – are brilliant.  http://www.brenebrown.com/

I rediscovered an old friend today.

Reader’s Digest.

I’m visiting my sister and brother-in-law this weekend – Cheri and Joe Grimm – who have been running my business and website for the past 15 years.

They gifted me with a stay in a delightful bed and breakfast here in Los Osos, CA (on the coast 40 miles south of Hearst Castle).

I noticed a copy of Reader’s Digest on my night table, and impulsively took it with me this morning to read while enjoying my coffee and a fabulous view overlooking the bay.

After the first few pages, fond memories came flooding back.

I was first introduced to Reader’s Digest when my family and I would go to our Granny’s house in Eagle Rock, CA for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

If the weather was good, my sister, brother and cousins and I would play outside.

If the weather was bad, we were “banished” to the back porch.

And there, on the bookshelves, were stacks and stacks of Reader’s Digest.  On some particularly rainy weekends, we would work our way through years of issues.

I was once asked by a reporter where I got my “literary training.”  Did I study journalism in college, have an English degree or a Ph.D. in Communication?

No, no and no.

My teachers were Walter Farley (The Black Stallion series), Nancy Drew and Ed McBain (our librarian was a bit scandalized when this 12 year old kid checked out the racy 86th Precinct books from our small town, one-room library).

After delving into the May 2012 issue of RD,  laughing out loud at pithy one-liners , raising my eyebrows at “didn’t know that” insights, and tearing out article after article offering testimony to man’s HUMANITY to man … I am struck by the profound influence Reader’s Digest has had on my writing, speaking and approach to life.

For example, this My Most Unforgettable Character article entitled The Night I Met Einstein, (which RD notes is one of the most requested essays of the thousands in their archives), moved me with its timeless wisdom.

http://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/the-night-i-met-einstein/

Take a few minutes to read it and you’ll easily understand why.  This was written more than 60 years ago (!) and is as powerful today as it was when Jerome Weidman first wrote it.

It is an illustration of why I loved reading Reader’s Digest growing up – and was profoundly shaped by its recurring themes of decency, honor, resourcefulness, bravery, adventure and gratitude.

I remember to this day reading a story about a mother standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes while watching her two kids outside flying kites on a windy spring day.

One of them saw her watching and called out to ask her to join them.

She waved them off and said she couldn’t because she had too many chores.

She reminisced that now that her kids were out of the house and on their own, she often thought about that windy spring day and wished she had said YES when they asked her to come out and play.

She realized, too late, her chores could have waited;  their precious, all too fleeting, childhood wouldn’t.

That article came to mind many times when my sons Tom and Andrew were growing up.  They would come up while I was writing and ask, “Let’s play ping pong” or “Let’s go to the beach.”

I would think of the presentations I had to prepare, the handouts I needed to create, or the calls I needed to be make … and then I would think of that article.

Remembering that mom’s remorse about not playing with her kids while she still could – and while they still wanted her presence – prompted me to say YES  instead of telling them I had work to do and was too busy.

Do yourself a favor.

Buy a copy of Reader’s Digest and read it cover-to-cover while sitting somewhere in the sunshine – in your favorite chair by the window, at a local park surrounded by nature or out on your back patio.

It will make you smile  … i.e., an article in the May issue from children’s book author and Simpsons writer Mike Reiss who says a publishing house called him in a panic because a superstar celebrity client had turned in an unusable, overdue manuscript.  They wanted Mike to re-write the book and have it ready – the next day.

Mike said huffily, “A children’s book is not a fast-food hamburger, and I am not McDonald’s.’

They told me, ‘We’ll pay you $10,000.’

I said, ‘You want fries with that?”

Reader’s Digest will get your eyebrows up with recent research.

This month’s issue features tidbits on Decision Fatigue, and the fact that,  just as we always suspected, Yawns Are Contagious,  which is why we often release one of our own when someone nearby opens wide.

It may even warm your heart and motivate you to be kinder to people you encounter.

It may remind you, as does the article about Einstein opening the eyes, ears, heart and mind of a musical neophyte, of what really matters – listening, learning, loving and marveling at this wondrous world of ours.

Mostly what Reader’s Digest will do is showcase that its editors understand that Carrie Fisher is right when she says, “Instant gratification takes too long.”

They are masters at condensing their content into intriguing  20 word, 50 word, 150 word insights that POP!

Their headlines,  “Cash Mob,” “Inspiring Minds Want to Know,” “We Couldn’t Make This Up,” and “50 Secrets Your Vet Won’t Tell You” create curiosity and compel you to keep reading because you want to know more.

Their visually accessible copy with short paragraphs and frequent boxed off graphics show they know people like to dip in and derive value even if they only have a few minutes to spare.  No dense, daunting text here.

In short, all of us communicators – speakers, writers, advertisers, journalists, ministers, professors and sales and marketing professionals – can learn from their example.

If you want to create intriguing headlines, insights and essays that pass Sam Horn’s Eyebrow Test®,  you can.

Purchase a copy of POP! and discover for yourself why it’s been sold around the world, featured on MSNBC, FastCompany and Business Week and hailed as the best source for crafting content that captures and keeps interest in what you have to say.

http://www.amazon.com/POP-Create-Perfect-Tagline-Anything/dp/0399533613/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335718015&sr=8-1

Do you have any favorite Readers Digest memories?  Let’s hear them . . .

“Winning begins with preparation.” – Football coach Joe Gibbs

A client, who was an executive for a Six Sigma organization, was preparing for an important medical conference. If he did right by his audience, he and his organization stood to win millions in contracts.

The problem?

Have you ever been to a medical conference? Most everyone there is brilliant.

Unfortunately, that brilliance doesn’t always translate to the platform.

The programs are often highly technical and everyone’s power-point slides are packed with facts, numbers, complex case studies and graphs. Lots of graphs.

Furthermore, my client was speaking on the last day. At that point, participants’ eyes were going to be glazed over.

I kept asking him questions about his personal interests to see how he could pleasantly surprise his audience, in the first minute, with something they didn’t expect.

Something startlingly relevant that would get their eyebrows up.

Something that would quickly convince them he was worth their valuable time and mind.

I asked if he had any hobbies.

“Sam, I’m on the road 5 days a week. I don’t have time for hobbies.”

“Hmmm. Do you and your wife ever do anything for fun?”

“Well, sometimes we watch TV.”

“Aha. Any favorite shows?”

“Well, we like to watch Law & Order.”

Bingo.

I now knew how he could title and format his presentation so it captured and kept interest – from start to finish.

Guess what that title was?

FLAW & ORDER

And yes, he featured the signature image on his power point slides and the iconic “Dda-dum” tone to reveal his important points.

The point?

He had his audience at hello.

They thought, “Wow, we haven’t seen this before. Tell us more.”

Best yet, he kept this intriguing theme throughout his presentation. At the end, he was surrounded by participants giving him their business cards and requesting more information on how they could work together.

He had proven to these decision-makers they could trust him to prepare in advance and deliver intriguing, relevant insights and recommended actions that were relevant to their needs.

How about you?

Are you preparing for an important presentation?

If so, you can start by asking yourself the following questions.

That will kick-start your preparation process.

Then, if you want to POP! your presentation and stand out from the crowd; contact us at Sam@SamHorn.com to schedule a complementary 15 minute appointment.

We’ll discuss your upcoming communication, including your goals and the audience’s needs.  We’ll explore how we can work together to tailor a presentation that positions you to walk in with confidence because you’ve done everything possible to prepare yourself for a win-win experience.

Sam Horn’s W5 Form for a Presentation That Passes The Eyebrow Test

Want to get your audience’s eyebrows up?

Clarify your W’s so you can customize your communication in advance and make it relevant and intriguing for that particular audience and situation.

Filling out this form can help you walk in with confidence because it will be clear you’ve done your homework and you know what you’re talking about.

That will help engage and impress people in the first 60 seconds. They’ll be motivated to give you their valuable time and mind and they’ll be inspired to care about what you care about.

Who?

Who are you communicating to? Who’s the person you’re trying to connect with, convince or persuade? Describe that person so vividly we can SEE them in our mind’s eye.

Give enough detail so we get a sense of what they look like, what they’re feeling, where they’re coming from, why they might be resistant, and how they feel about us. Man? Woman? Age? Mom of 3? CEO? Tired? Impatient? Angry? Perfectionist? Skeptical?

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What?

What do you want this person to think or say at the end of your communication? What’s your objective? What would make this communication a success? What do you want this person to start, stop or do differently? Make this measurable (“I want them to schedule a follow up meeting by this Friday.”) rather than vague or sweeping (“I want them to like me.”)

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Where?

Where will this communication take place? Will you be speaking in a boardroom, ballroom or your boss’s office? Will you be meeting someone at a bark park or ball park?

Will they be reading your copy online? Will you be talking on the phone, plane, elevator? Is this at a trade fair, networking function or business luncheon? At a 5 star hotel? U.S.? China?

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When?

Will this be at 4:30 pm on a Friday and everyone’s impatient to get out the door? 1:30 pm after a big lunch and everyone’s sleepy? 8 pm and people are tired after a long day? April 15th when people are focused on taxes? January 1st and people are thinking about New Year resolutions?

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Why?

Go a sentence deeper. You’ve already identified your goals and what you hope to achieve … but WHY? You hope this company hires you SO you get to work for a business you believe in where you’re getting paid to do work you love? You want this company to donate $10,000 to your non-profit BECAUSE then you can give scholarships to 10 students? You want a more compelling elevator speech SO you feel more confident meeting new people at conferences?

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Good for you for taking the time to fill that out. Your clarity about the W’s will help you customize your communication so you’re better able to quickly capture the favorable attention of your group.

Now, either get a copy of my book POP! so you can make your insights and examples more compelling or contact us at Sam@SamHorn.com so we can help you tailor this presentation so you capture everyone’s interest in the crucial first 60 seconds.

Sam Horn Eyebrow Test

Sam Horn's Eyebrow Test

“If you want decision-makers to care; you’ve got to show F.L.A.I.R.” – Sam Horn, author of POP! and the upcoming Eyebrow Test

Sam Horn at EO-Alchemy Los Angles

October, 2011


I’m here in Hollywood speaking for EO Alchemy, along with Biz Stone (founder of Twitter), Magic Johnson (basketball player extraordinaire), Simon Sinek (Start with Why) and a couple hundred of the best entrepreneurs in the country.

Yesterday I spoke on “Communicate by Design, not Default” and emphasized the importanc

Win Buy-In:  Get Anyone Intrigued in Anything in 60 Seconds.

Win Buy-In: Get Anyone Intrigued in Anything

e of abandoning outdated defaults that are undermining our ability to win buy-in – and adopting updated designs that intrigue and impress decision-makers.

In about a half hour, I’ll be giving a hands-on workshop on how to turn a:

* 1-way elevator speech into a 2-way elevator connection
* no into a yes
* one-of-many positioning into a one-of-a-kind positioning
* passive close into a pro-active close that motivates people to follow-up and take action
* ho-hum forgettable presention into a memorable presentation that hums

The focus of this hands-on workshop is how to pleasantly surprise busy, jaded decision-makers with approaches they haven’t heard before – approaches that quickly communicate a convincing competitive edge that get their eyebrows up and smart-phones down.

I promised several EO members that I’d post an article that will help them walk in with confidence for important presentations they’ve got coming up next week.

So, I know I should break up this article into several shorter posts – however for their convenience I’m keeping these 5 tips together in one post.

So, pardon the l-o-n-g article . . . hope you find it intriguing and are able to use these techniques to deliver a winning presentation on behalf of your cause, company, idea, invention, program or project.

Here are 5 ways to walk into any room with FLAIR and command the attention and respect of everyone in the room.

F = FUN!

“Most of the time I don’t have much fun. The rest of the time I don’t have any fun at all.” – Woody Allen

Sound familiar? Many people are so tight and tense during their presentation; it’s almost painful to watch.

Likability is not trivial – it plays a pivotal role in whether people listen to you.

Fun is a sign of confidence. It shows you’re comfortable in your own skin and can be counted on to wield authority without getting weird. In fact, your ability to enjoy yourself in front of a group is a sign you won’t panic under pressure or “choke” as a project manager or leader.

In the Vancouver Olympics, #1 ranked snowboarder Shaun White was in danger of being eliminated from the games after having a lousy first round. He and his coach actually went into the back-country for some “goof off time.” Some of his competitors thought he was taking a huge risk, but Shawn knew he’d lost himself in the pressure and the only way he was going to win was to “find himself by having fun.” His strategy paid off with a gold medal.

Yes, asking for 5, 6 or 7 figures for your venture, non-profit or idea is “serious business;” but don’t make it SO serious you lack personality or passion.

Stand in the wings beforehand and put a HEARTFELT SMILE on your face which increases likability.

Instead of filling your mind with doubts and fears which feed nervousness, “(What if I forget what I’m going to say? What if someone asks me something I don’t know?”) . . .

. . . fill your mind with thoughts that fill you with joyful anticipation, “I am GLAD to have this opportunity to tell potential investors about what we’ve created. I am HAPPY to be here and have this chance to get funded. I am GRATEFUL we’ve developed something I’m proud of that’s adding value. I am LOOKING FORWARD to being IN MY WHEELHOUSE and having FUN.”

L = LINK TO WHAT THEY LIKE

“The quickest way to help decision-makers connect with your priority is to compare it to something they already know and respect.” – Sam Horn, Intrigue Expert

Jan Bruce of New Life Solution is already a successful entrepreneur having developed meQuilibrim (talk about a business name that POP!s).

Better yet, she has a compelling “back-story.” As she confessed to our group, after selling a business to Martha Stewart for millions, for some reason, Jan didn’t feel as happy as hoped. In fact, she wondered, “Why am I feeling so bad when I am doing so well?”

This prompted a quest to figure out what was going on. Her research revealed that “stress is the new ‘obesity.’” It’s reached epidemic proportions, is compromising people’s health and is costing companies billions.

Jan’s developed an “online, guided, self-help program providing interactive education, behavior tools and peer support on a scalable basis.”

HUH?

See, that’s the problem. That sentence describes what her business does – but we still don’t get it. And if we don’t get it, SHE won’t get it.

That’s where LINKING comes in. Linking your idea to something your decision-makers already like provides a shortcut to comprehension. A metaphor comparing your unfamiliar idea to something with which they’re already fond and familiar fast-forwards understanding.

Jan knows this and excels at it. What’s her “link to what they like” elevator intro?

“New Life Solution is like Weight Watchers for stress.”

OOOHHHH. Got it.

Are you proposing a program, product or venture? What is it LIKE? Paralell what you’re proposing to a proven entity to turn people’s confusion into clarity.

When you do this (i.e., “Jaws is like Moby Dick with a shark”) you’ll get an intrigued “ooohhh” which, believe me, is a lot better than a confused “huh?”

A = Alliteration Gives Audience Members a Hook on Which to Hang a Memory

“I have a photographic memory. I just haven’t developed it yet.” – Jonathan Winters

Say these words.

Best Purchase.
Dirt Vacuum.
Bed, Toilet, Etc.

Kind of clunky, eh?

Now make those words alliterative. (Alliteration is when words start with the same sound.)

Best Buy.
Dirt Devil.
Bed, Bath and Beyond.

More musical and memorable, right?

This is not petty.

Repeatability is crucial to memorability.

And memorability is crucial to winning enduring buy-in to your message so you won’t be forgotten the second you leave the stage.

When I spoke at the Springboard Enterprises Boot-Camp at Microsoft’s Boston location, each of the 21 entrepreneurs (selected from more than 100 applicants) started with a 2 minute bio presentation.

Their assignment? “Tell us, in 2 minutes, your strategic credentials and proven track record so we are intrigued, impressed and convinced you have the clout to carry this off.”

45 minutes later, here’s what I told the group at the end of everyone’s bio presentations.

“Okay, I’m giving you each $10 million. You just heard 21 entrepreneurs introduce their business credentials. Who would you invest in?

Look around the room. WHO DO YOU REMEMBER? Do you remember ANY of the names of the presenters or businesses? What do you remember that so impressed you; you’re motivated to walk up to that person and initiate a follow-up conversation?”

It was a sobering moment. Because these entrepreneurs realized that most of what they just heard had gone in one ear and out the other.

They realized that unless they did something special with THEIR bio and presentation, the business they’d invested their head, heart, soul and bank account in . . . may not even register , much less be remembered by, future investors who’ve heard thousands of pitches.

Think about it. These were 2 minute pitches. Many pitch forums feature twenty or thirty 10 minute presentations, back to back. Imagine sitting through 8+ hours of pitches.

At the end of a l-o-n-g day, pitches start to blend together. It’s hard to remember who was who. Unless you do something special to stand out, you’ll be out of sight, out of mind.

That’s why it’s essential to give your audience hooks on which to hang a memory.

If you care about your message, it’s YOUR responsibility to communicate it so crisply and confidently, YOU’RE THE ONE they remember . . . YOU’RE the one they respect . . . YOU’RE the one they want to talk to at the end of the day.

Alliteration helps you POP! out of the pack.

Look at your program or product description, web copy and business name/slogan. Are you using alliteration, i.e., Rolls Royce. Dunkin Donuts. Java Jacket. Merlin Mobility?

If so, good for you. If not, rework your important sentences so they have words that start with the same sound. It will make your language more lyrical so you’ll be top of mind (vs. out-of-sight, out-of-mind) at the end of a long day.

I = Inflection and “In Your Body” Posture

“My job is to talk; your job is to listen. If you finish first, please let me know.” – Harry Herschfield

I’ll never forget it. I was speaking a high-profile, national conference and this was the opening session featuring several big gun keynoters. Seth Godin. Tom Peters. Jim Collins. Tim Ferris. They were all there. Everyone was on the edge of their seats, listening to every word.

A female CEO of a billion dollar company was introduced next. She walked to the center of the stage, stood with her feet together, and crossed her hands in the . . . Fig Leaf Position.

Yikes. Standing with her feet together made her appear off-balance, like she was teetering.

Plus, holding your hands in the Fig leaf Position is a defensive posture that makes you look like you have something to hide. It pulls your head and shoulders down and collapses your body which creates a Cower stance that makes you look submissive.

This female executive’s first words, “I was telling my grand-daughters yesterday . . .”were said in a querulous voice with upward inflection.

Within seconds, the digital devices came out and people started texting. Which was a shame because this CEO is a respected leader who’s done an excellent job running her company.

Whether it’s fair or not, people form their first impression by how you hold yourself, by the volume and tone of your voice, and by your opening words.

A meek or weak voice sends the message you have trouble speaking up for yourself – you don’t believe you deserve to be heard. Those are red flags to anyone deciding whether to hire you, promote you, fund you or give you their valuable mind and time.

Plus, ending sentences with upward inflection and speaking in a sing-songy “Valley-Girl” voice makes you seem unsure, hesitant, like you’re seeking approval.

One of the first steps to feeling and looking confident is to lose the “Little Girl Voice.”

A coquettish, “I hope you like me” voice will undermine the perception you have the clout to lead a company, carry off a multi-million dollar venture, or manage hundreds of employees.

Instead, do what TV broadcasters are taught to do their first day on the job.

End your sentences with downward inflection to project a voice of authority.

Try it right now. Imagine you’re pitching to venture capitalists and they’ve asked, “How much money are you seeking?”

Say, “$500,000″ with upward inflection at the end. Hear how it sounds tentative? Like you tossing it out there and HOPING they say yes?

Now say, “$500,000″ with downward inflection at the end. Hear how it comes across with more certainty? Like this is a justifiable figure you deserve to get?

When presenting, don’t use a casual, conversational tone. It’s tough to hear and doesn’t connote authority. PROJECT so every single person in the room can hear every single word.

Never, ever force an audience member to have to sat, “Speak up . . . I can’t hear you.” The truth is, if people have a hard time hearing you, they usually won’t ask you to speak louder . . . they’ll just give up and tune out.

Want another way to exude an executive presence? Get OUT OF YOUR HEAD AND INTO YOUR BODY.

When you’re introduced, stride to the center of the stage, plant your feet shoulder width apart and bend your knees slightly so you feel and appear grounded.

This balanced, athletic stance helps you feel in your body (vs. in your head) – and helps you stay “rooted” in one spot so you’re less likely to rock or pace back and forth.

Nervous movement patterns distract from your credibility because they give the impression you’re flighty and can’t or won’t hold your ground.

Now, instead of assuming the “fig leaf position,” hold your hands out in front of you like you’re holding a basketball. This opens you to your audience and frees your hands to make organic, natural gestures that illustrate what you’re saying.

Furthermore, this Basketball Position helps you straighten up and stand tall. Pull your shoulders back and instead of ducking your head, hold your head high.

Aaahh . . . that’s better. Feel how this TOWER stance makes you look and feel like an athlete which contributes to (vs. compromises) your confidence? Now you look like a leader.

R = Rhythm and Rhyme

“It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.” – Duke Ellington

Many people have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of presentations. After awhile, speakers start to sound alike.

To POP! out of the pack, you’ve got to craft intriguing content that will get noticed and remembered.

One way to do that is to use R = Rhythm. Duke was right. When you put things in a beat; you make them easy to repeat.

Hence the enduring popularity of such “earworm” ad slogans as “I Can’t Believe I Ate The W-h-o-l-e Thing” (Alka Seltzer) and “Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking” (Timex)

Chances are, you haven’t heard those jingles for years: yet you can still repeat them, word for word, in the same cadence you first heard them. That is an advertiser’s dream.

When I prep clients for their presentations or media interviews, one of our priorities is to produce a proprietary “phrase that pays” that showcases their strongest selling point.

We work on saying it clearly and distinctly so anyone can repeat it, word for word, after hearing it once.

One way to do that is to pause and punch.

When nervous, or when trying to jam a lot of material into a short amount of time, many speakers blush and rush. They jumble their words together.

The consequence is people don’t “get” your name or your important points – which means they won’t be able to repeat them a minute, hour or week later – which means you and your message had no enduring impact. Not good.

Put a pause between your first and last name (i.e., Sam – Horn) or before an important statistic – has spoken to more than a . . . half million people . . . around the world . . . . so each word is distinct . . . and will be imprinted.

E – nun – ci – ate each syllable of your business name – and put a 3 beat pause between crucial words in a quote, slogan or elevator intro – to make sure people get it the first time.

For example, In — trigue . . . In – sti – tute.

Two monologues . . . don’t make a . . . dialogue.

I help . . . entrepreneurs . . . executives . . . and organizations . . . create more compelling communications.

This may sound petty or like I’m making a big deal out of nothing. However, if people can’t repeat your name or elevator intro, they didn’t get your name and elevator intro. . . which means you may not get their business.

Another way to have confidence you and your message are going to get remembered is to use R = Rhyme, Ryhme is sublime because it gets you remembered over time.

One of my favorite examples of this comes from the U.S. Government.

They were concerned years ago about the number of fatalities and injuries in car accidents so they invested a lot of money to create a public service campaign called “Buckle Up for Safety.”

Hmmm. Are you motivated to just run out and fasten your seat belt? No one seemed to care and no one was inspired to change their behavior.

So, they went back to the drawing board. Or, as comedian George Carlin was famous for saying, “What did we go back to before there were drawing boards?”

This time, they put their slogan in a rhyme that had a distinctive beat. I bet you know what I’m talking about. Yep, Clickit or Ticket.

Not only did that catchy phrase that pays catch on, it’s motivated people to buckle up and, as a result, the number of injuries and fatalities has decreased.

All this goes to prove that phrasing isn’t petty. You can spend hours and thousands of dollars on fancy power point slides, bar charts and graphics. But if you blush and rush through your material and your audience doesn’t understand or can’t remember anything you said – it will all be for naught.

If you want to close that deal or land that contract – remember these 5 elements when designing and delivering your communication.

F = Fun. If you’re not having fun; they’re not having fun.

L = Link. Compare what you do to something with which they’re fond and familiar so the light goes on in their eyes and they “get” it.

A = Alliteration. It’s working for Java Jacket and Dunkin Donuts. Why not for you?

I = Inflection and In Your Body Posture. Tower (vs. cower) and speak with downward inflection so you have the look and voice of authority.

R = Rhythm and Rhyme. Craft a easy-to-repeat “phrase that pays” so you’re the one they relate to, you’re the one they remember, you’re the one they want to work with.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Want more ways to communicate confidently and compellingly so you close that deal and land that contract?

Check out my book POP! – which has been featured on MSNBC , BusinessWeek.com, FastCompany.com and in the New York Times and Washington Post. Its 25 innovative techniques can help you create one-of-a-kind communication that intrigues and favorably impresses everyone in the room.

Or contact us at Sam@SamHorn.com to arrange for Sam to speak at your next marketing conference – or to explore how you could work together to make your next presentation a win for everyone involved.

“If you stick to what you know; you sell yourself short.” – Carrie Underwood

Do you have an idea you’re pitching? A venture or cause you’re trying to get funded?

What are you going to say in the first 60 seconds to get your busy decision-makers’eyebrows up?

If you stick to what they already know; you’ll sell your idea, venture or cause short because your listeners will have tuned out and moved on.

People are so busy these days, if we don’t pleasantly surprise them in the first minute with something they don’t know – but would like to know – it’s NEXT!

Adrian Ott, an expert blogger for FastCompany.com, interviewed Sam about her innovative approaches to motivating people to give you their valuable time, mind and dime.

What’s something you care about?

If you want other people to care about it, use these techniques on “How To Gain Buy-In To Your Idea in 60 Seconds” to capture your decision-makers’ undivided attention so your idea, venture or cause gets the respect – and buy-in – it deserves.

Here’s that interview – http://www.samhorn.com/media/articles/sam_horn_adrian_ott_interview_gain_buy-in_for_your_idea_in_60_seconds_or_less.htm