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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imagine being in the middle of tens of thousands of Pittsburgh Steeler fans twirling their “Terrible Towels.”

That was one of many highlights of being part of this year’s Super Bowl in Tampa that lived up to its name, big-time.

Other highlights? Broooooce rockin the house at halftime. Jennifer Hudson reaching deep and delivering a heartfelt Star Spangled Banner that gave us all chicken skin (what Hawaiians call goose bumps.)

The game itself POP’d out this year. Especially the last 10 minutes where everyone in the stadium was on the edge of their seat — and on their feet as we watched the score see-saw between the Steelers and Cardinals, climaxing with a “can-you-believe-it” catch in the end zone.

What also POP’d out was that two “amateurs” won the annual Ad-Meter competition.

Or, as USA Today’s Feb. 2 headline put it, “Two Nobodies from Nowhere Craft Winning Ad.”

Doritos launched this brilliant campaign last year to give anybody and everybody an opportunity to submit a 60 second clip. The winner’s ad was featured during the big stakes Super Bowl, watched by 100 million viewers worldwide.

As a bonus, Doritos promised that if their chosen ad topped the viewers’ poll, the creators would be awarded $1 million in prize money. Which is exactly what happened.

The winning ad creators, two brothers in their thirties, Joe and Dave Herbert, only needed 5 takes to get their ad just right. What’s even more amazing is these budget-conscious, unemployed brothers only had enough money to buy five panes of glass for the used vending machine they featured in their commercial in which a guy shatters a vending machine with his crystal ball after predicting free Doritos for everyone in the office.

What’s this prove? As one of the judges in the USA Today article stated, “Regular people have great ideas.”

That’s the premise of my book POP! . We all get great ideas. The challenge is to give our idea an attention-grabbing name so it POPs out. Or to explain or produce our idea in a compelling way so people instantly get it and like it.

That’s what my book POP! does. And that’s why POP! has been recommended by everyone from Seth Godin to Jeffrey Gitomer as the perfect way to create a “stop-em-in-their-tracks” pitch, title or tagline for your business, product, service, cause or commercial.

POP! just came out in paperback from publisher Perigee-Penguin. Pick up a copy and use its 25 techniques to POP! your idea.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll win next year’s Ad-Meter contest and get that prize money of $1 million.

They’re One of Many

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

The hotel had a problem. No one was coming to their happy hours.

Why? There were dozens of restaurant/bars in their area hosting happy hours.

No wonder they weren’t making any money; they were blending in. And blending in is for Cuisinarts, not for businesses.

If you want to lose money, do what everyone else is doing. If you want to make money, figure out how to lead your crowd, not follow it.

In my ten years helping individuals and organizations develop one-of-a-kind identities and approaches so they can break out, I’ve met a lot of business owners who have spent a lot of money developing brands, business names and slogans that didn’t work. In fact, bad brands can cost you customers, income, momentum and market-share.

I’ve kept track of the worst branding mistakes businesses make. I share them in these posts so you can do the opposite of these errors and develop a Purposeful, Original and Profitable brand that POP’s out and gets you noticed . . . for all the right reasons.

The enterprising manager of that hotel with the unsuccessful happy hours kept looking for a way to be one-of-a-kind instead of one-of-many.

One day, he noticed that one of their loyal patrons tied his dog up outside when he came in for a cold one after work.

Light-bulb moment. Why not offer a special happy hour for people who wanted to bring their poor pooches who had been cooped up all day while their owner was away? The staff could put out water bowls, hand out dog biscuits and offer a discount on beer so it was a win for everyone.

What to call this? Well, use a POP! technique called Alphabetizing in which you talk your key word through the alphabet, “Appy Hour, Bappy Hour, Cappy Hour, Dappy Hour” . . . and you eventually get to Yappy Hour!

You may be thinking, “Big deal, so it’s a clever name.”

You bet it’s a big deal. The Washington Post wrote about the throngs of people showing up for the restaurant’s wildly popular (and profitable) Yappy Hour. That article was picked up by a hundred newspapers across the U.S. Now, millions of people know about the Alexandria, VA Holiday Inn’s one-of-a-kind Yappy Hour . . . all because the manager wasn’t content to be common.

Craig Wilson of USA Today is my favorite columnist because he has his finger on the pulse of pop culture. In today’s issue, he quotes trend-spotting ad agency JWT as saying, “”Custom-made and one-of-a-kind will rise about the mass-produced din of ‘now.'”

He’s right. People are yearning for something they haven’t seen, heard or experienced before.

If your business is not making as much money as it could or should; chances are you’re offering the same services and products as everyone else. Keep your antennae up for what customers want and can’t find . . . and offer that. It’s a way to stand out from the crowd instead of get lost in the crowd.

Their Brand is Too Bland

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

People are bored with same old, same old. If you pleasantly surprise them with something they haven’t seen or heard before, they’ll reward you with their business. How can you turn a “yawner” into somethng eye-opening?

By doing the opposite, not the obvious. Here are several ways to introduce something that is unique instead of duplicating what’s already available.

* Go where your competitors aren’t. Enterprise wanted to enter the car rental business but Hertz and Avis dominated the market. So, Enterprise asked themselves, “What do our competitors all have in common?” Well, they’re all situated by airports. Instead of competing with established locations, Enterprise put their rental centers in neighborhoods where they had the territory all to themselves.

* Offer a service your competitors don’t. What didn’t the other rental car agencies provide? No pick up or drop off service – so Enterprise was the first to offer to pick you up and drop you off at your hotel or workplace. This above-and-beyound service has resulted in Enterprise becoming one of the top three agencies in that multi-billion dollar industry because they successfully identified two specific P.O.D.’s – Points of Distinction.

* Turn your industry on its head. After 40 years of pounding our palms against the bottom of catsup bottles in a futile effort to get the slow-moving condiment out, Heinz had a “Duh” moment and turned its bottles upside down so they now rest on the cap (and let gravity work its magic.) Target did something similar with an upside-down Christmas tree with the pointy part on the bottom. Their reasoning? More room for presents! This novel product generated tons of press and be-the-first-on-your-block-to-have-one sales.

* Be an UN. Ask yourself, “How are all my competitors alike? How can I be UN-like them?” This is what 7-Up did. Instead of going head to head with Coca-Cola and Pepsi, it offered an alternative to all the dark soda pops and became the UN-Cola.

* Reverse an industry norm. In the 60’s, Detroit auto-makers were turning out large, luxury automobiles. So, Volkswagon went small. They figured there were consumers who didn’t want or need a station-wagon or a four door, so they introduced the “Bug,” a two-door for budget-minded people (e.g., college students and young adults).

Volkswagon didn’t stop there. They capitalized on their P.O.D. in self-deprecating ads that turned their small size into a proud, viable option to gas-guzzlers. One full –page ad featured 75% blank space with a tiny Volkswagon Beetle in the center with a one-sentence caption that said, “It makes your house look bigger.” Kudos.

They’re Content with a Common Name

“When you can do a common thing in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” – George Washington Carver

Sure, you can call your business The Nail Place — or you can call it Texas Chainsaw Manicure. Guess which salon attracts clients from around the world because people read about it in a magazine or saw it featured on TV?

In the hyper-competitive meeting industry, Convention Visitor Bureaus have the daunting task of trying to convince corporations and associations to bring their meetings to their city . . . .when there are hundreds of other cities to choose from.

I had a chance to speak for MPI (Meeting Planners International), and met the Convention Sales Manager for Seattle’s CVB office in Washington DC. Stephanie told me Seattle hit the jackpot by coining an original brand – Metro-Natural -that’s generated a billion dollars (yes, that’s a b) in buzz and free publicity. That attention-grabbing term (what I call a Half & Half Brand in my book POP!) cleverly captures the dual nature of the city’s cosmopolitan yet park-like setting. Well done.

Want another example of the power of giving your business an uncommon name?

Jay Sorenson saw what everyone else saw – those cardboard insulating sleeves you put around your cup of coffee so you don’t burn your fingers– and turned them into a 15 million dollar a year business.

How? By giving a generic product a genius name – Java Jacket. Sorenson said, “That trademarked brand is worth more than our patents. It has such a dominant market awareness that people who meant to call our competitors call us instead.” That’s the power of giving a common product a catchy name that gets it noticed, remembered . . . and bought.

Their Brand Name is Nonsensical

“The soul never thinks without a mental picture.” – Aristotle

Brand names that don’t make sense are off-putting. If your name consists of a string of letters that are meaningful only to you, it’ll be tough to grasp and ever tougher to relate to. And if people can’t relate to your company or product name, why would they want it?

My master mind buddy, Marilynn Mobley, Senior Vice President of Edelman, the #1 rated PR agency in the United States, told me about a startling study that was done with preschoolers that illustrates the power of making your brand name visual. Researchers asked these youngsters what sounds barn-yard animals make.

When asked, “What sound do sheep make?” they said, “Baa.”

When asked, “What sound do cows make?” they said, “Moo.”

When asked, “What sound do ducks make?” the kids said, “AFLAC!”

Wow. That’s branding.

AFLAC, the huge insurance giant, had a branding challenge. People were reluctant to entrust ALFAC with something as important as their life insurance because they didn’t know what the name “stood for.”

So, in an effort to make their name more “relatable,” they asked themselves, “What does AFLAC sound like, look like in the real world?” Well, with a little stretch, it looks and sounds like a duck who quacks. This was the genesis of their popular ads featuring a lovable duck quacking “AFLAC.”

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) achieved a similar success by using a friendly gecko as their visual icon and “spokesperson” (spokes-lizard?)

It’s a mistake to keep a brand name consumers don’t understand, relate to or want. Follow AFLAC and GEICO’s example and create a visual identiy people associate with you so they “get the picture.”

Connect your company’s name to something in the concrete world people can touch, feel, see, smell or taste. As soon as you do, something obscure becomes clear. Instead of going “Huh?!” people will say, “Oh, I see now” or “I get it.” And when they get it, chances are you’ll get their business.