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

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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.

One of the best conferences I’ve ever attended was BIF-6, held in Providence, RI and hosted by Saul Kaplan of the Business Innovation Factory.

was BIF-6, held in Providence, RI and hosted by Saul Kaplan of the Business Innovation Factory.

Saul Kaplan of the Business Innovation Factory.


Saul and his team collect an eclectic mix of pioneering thought leaders ranging from Tony Hsieh of Zappos to Alan Webber, co-founder of Fast Company, Jason Fried of Rework and Keith Yamashita, who believes many of us “fritter away our greatness.”

Each presented a TED-like 18 minute presentation introducing their latest invention or insight.

I was on the edge of my seat the entire two days.

There was a recurring, underlying theme to each presentation. These visionaries had either:

A) seen something wrong and thought, “Someone should DO something about this. After being bothered about it for awhile, they finally concluded, “I’m as much a someone as anyone. I’LL do something about this.”

B) witnessed something that wasn’t what it could be. They thought, “It doesn’t have to be that way. There’s got to be a better way. An easier, greener, more satisfying, profitable way. And I’m going to come up with that way.”

I’ll be featuring some of their intriguing stories in upcoming blogs.

For now, I want to share the opening of the individual who did the best job at winning buy-in the first 60 seconds.

Are you wondering, “Was this someone who’s given hundreds of presentations, who’s done lots of media?”

Nope. The person who had us at hello was a surprise.

She walked to the center of the stage, centered herself (literally and figuratively) and stood tall and confident until everyone in the room gave her their undivided attention.

Then, flashing a playful grin, she said, “I know what you’re thinking.”

Long pause.

“What can a 7th grader possibly teach me about innovation?!”

Big smile.

“Well, we 7th graders know a thing or two. Like,” and here she spoofed herself, “how to flip our hair.” At this point, she tossed her long hair over her shoulder.

The crowd laughed, (with her, not at her). Everyone was instantly engaged and impressed with this young woman’s moxie and presence.

“We also know we have the power to make things better if we put our minds to it. For example . . . ” and she was off and running.

12 year old Cassandra Lin had us at hello.

12 year old Cassandra Lin had us at hello.

12 year old Cassandra Lin had us at hello.

The Cliff Notes version of her story is that she and her class discovered the clogged sewer pipes in their city were the verge of causing a disaster because so many restaurants and industrial companies were pouring their F.O.G (Fat, Oil, Grease) down the closest drain.

After doing some resarch, she and her classmates started T.G.I.F – Turn Grease into Fuel – an award-winning recycling effort that generates money for needy families.

You can find out more about her brilliant social entrepreneurialism in the BIF-6 Summit Book and also find out how to register for this year’s BIF-7 summit.
Why did Cassandra have us in the palm of her hand in 60 seconds?

She anticipated what her audience might be thinking – and said it first.

She anticipated these successful executives and entrepreneurs might be a bit skeptical that a 12 year old could have anything valuable to contribute – so she addressed it and neutralized it up front.

She established instant credibility and earned the respect of everyone in the room.

How about you? Are you giving a presentation in the near future? Who are your decision-makers? Will they have their mental arms crossed?

If so, SAY WHAT THEY’RE THINKING.

If you don’t voice what’s on their mind, they won’t be listening. They’ll be resisting everything you say.

For example, if they’re thinking, “I can’t believe you’re asking for money. We don’t have any left in our budget” . . . then guess what your first words better be?

That’s right. “You may be thinking I’m crazy coming in here and asking for money because we don’t have any left in our budget . . . and if I can have your attention for the next three minutes, I can show you where we’re going to find this money and how we’re going to make it back, and more, in the first three months.”

Now you have your audience at hello . . . and now your idea has a chance.

“I try to leave out the parts people skip.” – bestselling author Elmore Leonard

TED is proving we can say a lot in a little – if we leave out the parts people skip.

TED.com (www.TED.com – Ideas Worth Spreading) pioneered an evolutionary approach to a conference.

Forget the keynotes and breakout sessions.

Everyone presents to the entire audience and everyone has a max of 8-18 minutes. Yes, even Bill Gates, Bill Clinton and Bono.

What a concept.

As a presentation coach who’s Emceed TEDx-NASA twice, who coaches TEDx and Hall of Fame speakers, and works with entrepreneurs on their venture capital pitches; many express initial dismay upon learning they’ll only have 10 minutes to communicate their message or convince investors of their value proposition.

I tell them, “You can change A life in 10 minutes. You can change YOUR life in 10 minutes.”

The impressive speakers at TEDx programs are proving this.

Check out Oliver Uberti’s (design editor at National Geographic) TEDx-NASA presentation on how to crack open your creativity as evidence of how to intrigue everyone in the room. . . from start to finish. http:bit.ly/hzF0od

Check out the #TEDwomen twitter feed to see the distilled sound-bytes of these brilliant thought leaders.

For example, Omega Institute co-founder Elizabeth Lesser introduced a movement that has now gone viral . . . in a couple sentences.

Elizabeth implored the crowd to “catch themselves in the act of otherizing” and summed up how we can reverse the negative stereotyping that’s running rampant with this provocative 5 word slogan, “Take the other to lunch.”

Think about it. A profound idea that could positively influence millions was distilled into a 140 character Tweet that’s now being heard (and acted upon) around the world.

What message do you want to get across?

Whether it’s a conference keynote, venture capital pitch, luncheon presentation, TED talk or commencement address – its impact and memorability depends on whether you distill its essence into Purposeful, Original, Pithy sound-bytes that POP!

Want more tips on how to leave out the parts people skip so you can POP! your message?

Email us at Sam@SamHorn.com for an article with innovative ways to win buy-in to your ideas and initiatives . . .in 60 seconds or less.

“Instant gratification takes too long.” – Carrie Fisher

Did you know . . . 1.8 billion vaccinations are given every year?

Did you know . . . half of those vaccinations are given with re-used needles?

Did you know . . . we are spreading and perpetuating the very diseases we’re trying to prevent?

Imagine if there was a painless, one-use needle that cost a fraction of the current model?

You don’t have to imagine it . . . we’ve created it.

In fact, if you look at this article . . .

So went the 60 second opening of one of my clients who used this pitch to convince venture capitalists to invest in her evolutionary product and business.

What’s the point?

Will you be requesting funding or proposing a new initiative in the near future?

How are you going to win buy-in?

What are you going to say in the first 60 seconds to motivate your decision-makers to look up from their Blackberry’s?

If you want people’s valuable time and mind, use the 3 techniques I’ve created and teach my clients to begin with to capture the favorable attention of their decision-makers in the first 60 seconds:

1. Open with three “Did you know?” questions related to the scope of the problem you’re solving. The goal is to elicit a startled “I didn’t know that” from your target audience. One of the ONLY ways to get busy people’s attention is to immediately tell them something they don’t know that piques their curiosity about something that concerns them.

2. Start your next paragraph with the word “Imagine” and use the oratorical “Power of Three” device to paint a mental picture of the ideal scenario. Identify three best-case characteristics of your solution so they’re impressed with the comprehensiveness of your plan, product or program.

3. Bridge to your precedence with the words “You don’t have to imagine it; we’ve created it. In fact, in this . . . .” Then, introduce irrefutable evidence – whether that’s an article, testimonial from a respected source or the actual product – so they SEE your offering as a done deal, not as a speculative venture.

The above techniques instantly engage your audience and cause them to care about what you care about.

Many of my consulting clients have used this compelling opening in their presentations/pitches and have reported back its power to win buy-in to their projects, products and programs.

Next time, you want to shake people out of their preoccupation and motivate them to give you their undivided attention – start your communication with:

1) three intriguing facts they don’t know about your idea, issue or initiative

2) the word “imagine” to paint a mental picture of three characteristics of your solution to this problem

3) the words “You don’t have to imagine it; we’ve created it” so they SEE and BELIEVE what you’re saying and want to hear the rest . . . of your story.

“I learned at an early age that when I made people laugh, they liked me.” – Art Buchwald

This is a continuation of a series of how to capture attention online and in person with intriguing communication.

Tip #3 in the series is to Make ’em Laugh.

It’s based on the premise that we’ve got 30 seconds MAX to capture busy people’s attention. One of the best ways to do that? Get people to smile, chuckle or laugh out loud.

I told that to one client who had flown in for the weekend to consult with me on how to scale her business to the next level. She is aleady a highly successful keynote speaker and consultant in the healthcare industry, but knows she’s leaving money on the table. She is also really, really serious.

She said, “Sam, I’m not funny.”

I said, “Want good news? You don’t have to be. Other people are funny and you can hook and hinge their one-liners (with attribution) to your topic so you preface ‘aha’s’ with ‘haha’s.'”

She said, “But I’m not good at telling jokes.”

I told her, “Good, because that’s NOT what I’m talking about. Jokes come across as ‘canned’ and they often backfire. What I’m talking about is taking a one-liner that’s relevant to your topic and starting off with it to get a SMILE that favorably predisposes people to like you and what you say next.”

For example, if you’re talking about procrastination, you could quote Judy Tenuta, “My parents always told me I wouldn’t amount to anything because I procrastinated so much. I told ’em, ‘Just you wait.'”

Then, segue into your subject, “Are you waiting to schedule that physical exam? Are you procrastinating on seeing your doctor because you hope that ache will go away? Well, in today’s program . . . ”

I also told her, “When something funny happens to you, write it down, and figure out how you can include it in your work.”

For example, I was in the San Francisco airport, riding one of those ‘lazy sidewalks’ on the long walkway to the gates. I noticed a very tall man walking toward me. I couldn’t believe it. People in front of me were pointing at him and laughing. I thought, ‘How rude!’

As he got closer, I could see why they were laughing. He had on a t-shirt that said in very large letters, “No, I’m NOT a basketball player.”

I turned to say something to him and laughed out loud as soon as I saw the back of his t-shirt. It said, “Are you a jockey?”

I had to meet this Fun Fu! black belt. I got off the lazy sidewalk and raced back to catch up with him. I complimented him on his great sense of humor and asked, “Where’d you get your shirt?”

He smiled and said, “I grew a foot between the ages of 13 and 16. I didn’t even want to go out of the house because I was so self-conscious and everyone had to make a smart aleck remark.

My mom finally said, ‘If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.’ She’s the one who made this shirt for me. This is nothing. I’ve got a whole drawer-full of these at home. My favorite says, “I’m 6’13 and the weather up here’s fine.”

The point?

I use this story in my Tongue Fu! presentations to illustrate the power of having a clever, noncombative comeback for sensitive issues. If you’re tall, short, fat, skinny, bald or have acne; you’re going to hear about it. You might as well develop a repertoire of Fun Fu! remarkes so you can have fun with that issue instead of being frustrated by it.

As Erma Bombeck said, “If you can laugh at it; you can live with it.”

Next time, you’re communicating about a serious or sensitive issue, preface it with humor. People will be a lot more likely to like and listen to what you have to say.

Edward de Bono said, “It has always surprised me how little attention people pay to the power of humor since it is a more persuasive process of mind than reason. Reason can only sort out perecptions, humor changes them.”

Agreed. Would you like to learn how to use Fun Fu! to capture and keep attention for your work? Check out my books Tongue Fu!® and POP!
Both have chapters on how to use humor to get people’s favorable attention. Read ’em and reap.