Throw Out Fifty Things

Monday Morning Motivator-IF YOU CAN CONNECT, YOU WIN…



It's true. If you can genuinely touch people, if you can speak so that they can actually hear you, if you can show them how much you care and that you are on their side - and mean it down to your core - you've got 'em. Connecting is an art. It takes understanding, total awareness and absolute honesty. And guts. Why? Because to truly move people you can't hold back. You've got to show your cards, be vulnerable, even be willing to look a bit foolish to get your point across. The audience - any audience - ultimately figures out the truth. So you might as well tell it. And if you do, and you do it with absolute passion, total conviction and a dollop of self-effacing humor, you've got a heck of a good chance of getting their approval, their buy-in, perhaps their love - and maybe even their vote.


There is much to learn in the upcoming weeks from watching the presidential and vice presidential debates, speeches, town hall meetings, interviews and random sound bytes - and asking yourself, who "connects" and who doesn't? And deciding whom, if anyone, you want to emulate when you're asking for the order. Here are some of the communications techniques I use with people I coach.  Use them as a "scorecard" when you watch the candidates - or anyone else who's making a pitch...



Seven Steps to Making the Connection...and the Sale


  1. 1.      Conviction. Let go of any doubts, fear of failing, memories of "bad" performances. That's the past. It's done. You've got to believe that you are exactly the right person at the right place at the right time to be walking up to this microphone, onto this stage, into this interview - telling this story, making this pitch, asking for this order. Why should it be someone else? You're the one.


  1. 2.      Shift your attention from yourself to the audience. It’s not about you. (Which, interestingly enough, is why you don’t have to be nervous!) It's about them - the audience - what they're out for and what they need to make that happen. So don't critique yourself as you go along: “How’m I doing? Do they like me?" It's a sure-fire way to lose any audience. It sounds corny but great speaking - like great acting - is about love. Love for the message, love for the possibility, love for the audienceLove the audience and they'll love you right back.


  1. 3.      Show 'em your passionCharisma is nothing more or less than passion demonstrated. Passion drives profits, captures hearts and wins votes. We believe in and trust people who are passionate. And we follow them. This isn't about being right about how wrong "it" is. This is about the future, what's possible, what you can create together. Remember Churchill, Lincoln, Kennedy, Reagan. People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Show them.


  1. 4.      Lead with the "lede," as they say in journalism. Never bury your headline. Resist the temptation to "build" to your main point. Frame it at the top - and deliver it the way you would deliver the "news.” Put it out there.


  1. 5.      Tell a story. Connecting isn't about teaching and telling or about statistics and powerpoints - it's about stories. People want to be inspired, not lectured to. And if you can tell an amusing, self-effacing story on yourself - all the better. "The destiny of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost and won than by the stories it loves...and believes in." -- Harold Goddard.


  1. 6.      "Land the Plane!" That's what our younger daughter says when someone (like me) goes on and on, elaborating on the tiniest details. If you see people shifting in their seats or glancing around…look for the runway.


  1. 7.      .Remember, if enough people love ya, the ones who don't, don't matter. You'll never get one hundred percent buy in. It's okay. Hey, the only thing everybody likes is water. And that's because it has no taste... Stick to your guns, to your message, to your vision of what good looks like. Wishy-washy doesn't walk the dog. Or get the vote. Be hundred percent.


Many people have asked me what specifically I'd recommend for Mitt Romney and President Obama in the debate coming up this Wednesday. Here are a few thoughts:


Mitt Romney: 

×          Don't smile without a reason, particularly when you're asked a question. People are smart; they know it's phony and although you might look polite, you can come across as disinterested - or even arrogant.

×          Don’t waffle. Stick to the core of your “brand.” 

×          Play to the best people...the people who buy your act. Don’t get angry. Mad people alienate their audiences.


President Obama: 

×          Be urgent. Lead with your optimism for the future and for what’s possible. 

×          Stay away from how bad "he" could make it and concentrate on how good we could make it - together.

×          Show us your passion. 


For both: Truly connecting is never about being smooth, polished or perfect. Many forgettable people deliver flawless presentations. Let the audience know how much you care by stopping for a moment to search for the right words to describe the extent of your commitment. Tap into the  power of the "pause." Let them see you struggle to get it right. If it's honest and comes from the heart, you'll have them (at least for that moment) in the palm of your hand.


Okay, as you watch the debate, do it with an open mind. Suspend your particular bias. Don’t root for the “other guy” to be as bad as you’d hoped he’d be. Listen with “new ears.” And see who connects...


Gail Blanke’s Lifedesigns©2012 All Rights Reserved

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