“One sign of an excellent speech? ‘Can people repeat something they heard, word for word?'” – Sam Horn, Intrigue Expert

Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech was an instant classic.

Why?

It’s original, evocative and revealing.

Gaiman confesses that he ignored the wise advice from fellow author Stephen King to “enjoy the ride of his success.”

However, there’s an even more important reason Gaiman’s 20 minute talk has gone viral and been turned into a book which is coming out next week.

The popular author condensed his speech theme into a single sound-bite that is easy to repeat.

Make Good Art.

Think about it.

How many conventions and graduations have you attended? How many presenters and commencement speakers have you heard? Dozens? Hundreds?

Can you repeat ANYTHING they said?

If you can’t; that means they’re out of sight, out of mind. Their message had little or no enduring impact.

What’s an important message you want to share with the world?

If you want people to remember it and act on it; is YOUR responsibility to distill its essence into a repeatable sound-bite.

Successful film-makers know the importance of this.

“Show me the money.” “I’ll be back.” “You can’t handle the truth.” “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

You probably remember those movies even though it’s been YEARS since you’ve seen Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jack Nicholson and Roy Scheder utter those lines in the movies Jerry Maguire, the Terminator, A Few Good Men and Jaws.

Those movies are STILL top-of-mind decades after their release because their screenwriters crafted memorable lines that have legs.

In fact, check out the top movie quotes of all time. Almost ALL are 7 words or less.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AFI’s_100_Years…100_Movie_Quotes

What’s this mean for you?

Look over your upcoming presentation.

Does it have a resounding idea that has been distilled into a pithy 7 words or less?

Have you condensed your theme into a title or sound-bite people can repeat, word for word?

If so, good for you. You have just increased the likelihood listeners will become YOUR word-of-mouth advertisers because they will be able to remember what you said and recommend it to others.

If not, you might want to pick up a copy of POP! and study Section IV on how to be PITHY with its chapters on:

* Make Your Language Lyrical with Alliteration
* Put Your Sound-bite in a Beat to Make it Easy to Repeat
* Make it Sublime with Rhyme

This is not petty. You’re pouring hours (and lots of money?) into designing and delivering a presentation that will hopefully impact everyone in the room.

Why not invest the time and mind to POP! your message into a memorable sound-bite so people are still being positively impacted by it … years after they’re out of the room?

http://www.amazon.com/POP-Create-Perfect-Tagline-Anything/dp/0399533613/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1368223741&sr=1-1&keywords=sam+horn+pop

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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/

Bestselling Author Shares 3 Tips for Building Your Blog Audience.

Kudos to Rachel Bertsche – creator of www.MWFSeekingBFF.com  for sharing her insights on how you can create a  “rising tide raises all boats” community by finding related blogs and adding insightful comments that add value for all involved.

If you are looking to expand your “tribe” and connect with like-minded souls, her advice is right on.

Seek out bloggers who focus on similar topics and bring them to the attention of your readers.  Showcase their site and link back to them.

Everyone benefits when you do this.

Shakespeare said, “Be wealthy in your friends.”

When you spread your online colleagues’ wealth of wisdom; everyone wins.

“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.

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

I recently had the opportunity to attend Larry Benet’s SANG – an inspiring gathering of the top speakers, authors, executive coaches, social entrepreneurs, website designers, social media experts and internet marketers in the world.

What a great few days it was – leading-edge insights from Jack Canfield, Brian Tracy, Leigh Steinberg (the “original” Jerry Maguire), Kevin Harrington of Shark Tank, Ken Kragen (creator of We are the World and Hands Across America) and the brilliant Peter Diamantis, founder of the X Prize.

Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine, led a panel on the future of publishing.

With Amazon.com now selling more Kindle books than hardback and paperback books combined (!), and with books now available on aps, everyone was wondering, “What’s next?”

Well, what’s next is INTERACTIVE books – such as the new book from Al Gore from PushPOPPress.com which includes such gee-whiz features as QR codes. Just point your smartphone at one and it whisks you to websites and video clips.

What was clear though is that while the future of books is rapidly changing; the future of your book still depends on how clearly, crisply and compellingly you pitch it.

For example, someone at the program asked me, “What do you think of this idea for my next book?”

Hmmm. A few minutes later, I still had no idea what his book was about.

Yikes.

I told him, “This is why I wrote POP!

At our first Maui Writers Conference, we gave participants an unprecedented opportunity to pitch directly to top agents and editors. It was a rare opportunity to jump the chain of command and meet one-to-one with publishing decision-makers who had the power to give you a deal on the spot.

The first question in the pitch session was usually along the lines of, ‘What’s your book about? Why is it different or better than what’s already available?’

Brain freeze.

Many of the participants wasted ther ten minute-golden opportunity desperately trying to describe their book.

By then, it was too late.

See, publishers think, “If you’re not clear what your book’s about and why it’s worth buying, your readers won’t be either.”

I told my lunch partner, “Your goal is to create a 60 second or less book hook that passes the following 3 question test.

1. Do people UNDERSTAND what your book’s about? (Could they explain it to someone else after hearing your description?)

2. Are they INTRIGUED by what you just said? (Did their eyebrows go up? Are they motivated to want to know more?)

3. Can they REPEAT what you just said? (If they can’t repeat it, you’ll be “out of sight, out of mind.” Not good.)

How about you? Have you crafted a succinct elevator pitch for your book?

When people ask, “What’s your book about?” does your response elicit an enthusiastic “I want to read that!” If so, good for you.

If not, you might want to get a copy of my POP Your Pitch CD or MP3.

POP! Your Pitch & Proposal  (A MP3 digital audio download 62 min.)

POP! Your Pitch & Proposal

This one-hour program features my step-by-step, proven approach to creating pithy, powerful, persuasive pitches that have helped my consulting clients get publishers, TV/radio/print journalists, meeting planners and readeres interested in what their book has to say.

Be prepared to take notes. You’ll discover why I’m called The Pitch Whisperer and why these “can-use-it-immediately” techniques have been featured on MSNBC, BusinessWeek.com and FastCompany.com.

Hope these POP! Your Pitch techniques help you win buy-in for your book so your message gets out in the world and makes a positive difference for others and a prosperous living for you.

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.