That Time I was So Funny That Nobody Bought From Me …

For those of you that don’t know me personally, let me just tell you: I’m a funny person. I know how to lighten the mood, create a fun JesterGuyatmosphere, get a few laughs.

I think that’s why I love public speaking – there’s nothing like cracking the right joke at the right time and getting the audience to laugh along with you. Let’s face, it’s a serious world out there with a lot of problems, so we gotta laugh, right?

Someone who can use humor well in their speaking (and writing) is going to sell. People love a laugh – that’s why memes are so effective and go viral. Because they’re hilarious! Humor usually always works well if you are selling or marketing.

But there was this one time it backfired on me.

I was presenting at a women’s networking event about the power and importance of story in your marketing. I was on a roll! The audience was eating out of my hands, laughing and engaging.  I told a lot of stories, and I was using the Harry Potter movies and books as examples the whole time.  How Harry represents a hero on a quest. How he gathered his team, and how important it was that they do the same. How to expect ‘owl letters’ to arrive from time to time, calling them out on new adventures in their business. We were having fun. I was having fun.

Then I wrapped it up with a compelling sales offer to join one of my programs. My assistant had handed out a sign up form, and the crowd was just deciding whether to buy from me or not.

There was quiet, as they sort of shuffled around. I could tell they were deciding on making the investment to work with me.

Then I noticed one of the ladies coming back into the room to sit down, and since the chairs were a bit crowded, everyone was kind of moving around and letting her in.

And I, being the clever one, said “Oh, why don’t you just let her Slytherin … ”  (which I thought was funny, since she was ‘slithering in’ and that was also a name of one of the houses of Hogwarts).

Anyhow, it got a few laughs and it broke the tension. People just started shuffling around and then right at that moment, the host of the event thought it was a good time to grab the microphone and wrap up with some announcements.

And, you know what? When I got back into my car that night to drive home and I looked at the forms I’d collected, the overall sales were disappointing. (ok, I was exaggerating a bit in the title – a few people did buy, just not what I’d expected – I try to have fun in my blog titles  too :)

Everyone loved the presentation. The next day the host emailed me saying she had a lot of very positive feedback. I knew I had shared great information and entertained everybody too.

So why the poor sales?

I think it was because of the timing – My joke broke the ‘sales tension’ in the room. It distracted everyone from their focus on my order form and filling it out.

UpsetAppleCartIn marketing and influence, we  often talk about breaking neural patterns. In order to move people into action, in order to get their attention, you have to upset the apple cart. Break their habitual thinking patterns. Humor is great at this because it is usually something unexpected, like a word play with double meanings (aka a bad pun like mine) or a paradoxical or unusual situation. It makes us laugh because it is unexpected.

But here’s where I went wrong – I broke a pattern I actually wanted them to be in!  I wanted them to be in a ‘fill out the form and buy’ pattern, but right when they were deep in the pattern, I interrupted it with a joke!

Bad move for a sales person.

Now I’m more strategic when it comes to humor. I love helping people create a speech or presentation and when I’m working with someone, we have a lot of fun sticking in jokes or funny comments or humorous stories.  There’s been times when I’m working with a client, and we are both just howling with laughter over what we are creating!

It’s fun stuff, and I really encourage as much humor as possible in a presentation.

But not during the sales pitch!!   When you are offering them something and wanting them to make a decision, keep them firmly in the tension of the sales process.

Don’t be so funny that no one buys. :)


Putting together a presentation, webinar or speech? Want some help finding and telling some funny (or not so funny) stories? Contact me today. I’m offering a limited number of “Discover Your Story” consultation sessions this month. Apply now! 







Moving from a Corporate Job to Entrepreneurship? Never say this …

So I’m tired of hearing this, so I’m just going to come out and tell you.EyebrowWoman

If you are moving from a corporate (or academic) job and have started up a business, never say:

“I just want to replace my salary”.

I’m often working with people in the beginning stages of their business, people who’ve left corporate and are moving into an entrepreneurial type lifestyle. They’ve started a consultancy, or a healing practice. They are coaching, helping people, picking up clients, writing blogs, speaking. But, they are not quite making the money they planned to make, it’s taking a bit longer than they anticipated, and they’re starting to feel frustrated.

So then they say the dreaded line – “I just want to replace my salary”.

and right then and there, they’ve limited themselves.

If I hear that phrase, I know two important things about them – 1) they haven’t quite grasped the difference between being an employee and an entrepreneur – they are thinking that working for themselves will be much the same as working for someone else, and they are disappointed/surprised at how different and difficult it really is and 2) they are creating a professional practice, not an entrepreneurial business and that is going to limit their income.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with venturing out on your own and creating more of a professional practice type business. Let’s say you are a skilled massage therapist who’s been working at a spa or clinic as an employee and now want to work independently.  You can earn a living that way, and when done well, you can earn more than you’d be making as a salaried employee.

But, it’s not what I call an entrepreneurial company and it’s going to ultimately limit your earnings because you are still earning money on a per hour basis. So, what would an entrepreneurial massage therapist  do differently? Well, she would branch out from that hourly model. She may start developing or selling different products, create a network of massage therapists, innovate with different delivery methods or business models. She’s not content with an hourly income cap, or ‘just replacing her salary’.

Also, not to be a nit-picky word nerd, but avoid the use of the word “just”. I know you are saying it out of frustration, but it is also a limiting word. It’s like you are saying that that’s all you want, nothing more.

I really believe in entrepreneurship, done well and done strategically, you can build a business that not only makes you WAY more money that your previous corporate job, but outshines even what you thought was possible.

I spent a lot of my ‘early years’ as an entrepreneur thinking small. “Just” hoping to make a living. “Just” creating a small scale, salary-replacing consultancy practice.

But now I know that’s not enough for me. I want more. I am thinking more and more about what it really means to create something bigger than yourself, a business that not only provides a living for you, but that creates opportunities for others as well. I’ve started to experiment with different business models, introduce new products, create partnerships. I’ve taken a big step and signed up with a coaching program/business building mastermind this year.

So there it is.  It’s time to dream big. To create something amazing.

I hope you join me.

Stop telling yourself a limiting story, and start telling the story of what an amazing company you are building.

That’s what I’ll be doing more and more in the coming months (book is coming out, new ventures are happening, deals are being made).

I can’t wait, because I am done thinking small.

If you are looking for help in how to tell an amazing story about the company you are building, or the product/services you are launching, contact me today, I’m offering a limited number of “Discover Your Story” consultations this month and I’d love to talk with you!

Banish the “Pompous Professor”


“affectedly and irritatingly grand, solemn, or self-important”

Yes, I admit it. Sometimes when I speaking, I slip into ‘lecture’ mode. I love my content. I’ve studied persuasive communication for years. I GoofyProfessorLadylove understanding words, the human mind, and how to influence through speaking, writing, marketing. I nerd out.

But, it’s never to my advantage to sound too much like a professor, like I’m ‘lecturing’ or telling people what to do. It turns people off.

My own “pompous professor” persona comes out when I catch myself saying things like “you should” or worse, “people should” and then telling people what to do.

Or it also comes out when I use terms that people may not understand, but I don’t explain them. Or, I start explaining basic things that my audience already knows (which happens if you don’t research the audience ahead of time).

[Personal Story] – I was once being coached on my speaking by one of my mentors, Callan Rush, and she stopped me mid-sentence and told me I sounded like I was lecturing, that my tone or words was likely to turn people off. I gotta admit, in that moment, it stung a little bit. The last thing I want to do is to turn people off. I want people to like me, to want to hear what I have to say. Yes, I have an ego. (Apparently a well entrenched one at that, because at that moment, I felt hurt, I wanted to argue with her).

But she was right. It was subtle, but I did have this ‘pushing’ feeling inside me, just wanting to push the information out to them and kind of demand they listen to me.  It’s important to have a coach, someone to notice what you aren’t noticing. Sometimes just the tone, the delivery, a subtle choice of words, can make a big difference in how you are perceived.

As a speechwriter/presentation designer (and speaker coach), I’m careful to word things so that it sounds more like an invitation than a demand. Usually, people don’t like being ‘told’ what to do – they want to feel invited, offered. They want to feel as if they’ve made the decision themselves. I word things in a personal way, using persuasive words and phrases. Instead of saying “you should do this”, I’ll say “I invite you to …” or “Consider doing this…”. I engage their imagination and creative brain, saying “imagine if this were true ..” or ask them questions like “what would it be like if …”

Persuasive communication is sometimes a bit of a game. It’s playful, fun. It’s like a dance, back and forth, leading, then following.

Let’s say you are launching a new product online. The pompous professor comes out when all your marketing, your blog posts, social media posts, emails leading up the launch are all about the great product or service you have, all its benefits, and why they should buy it. It’s like you are a professor, just lecturing to them. A true influencer weaves a seductive story around the product, makes it seems enticing, almost mysterious, the ultimate solution to their problem.

In a speech, the professor comes out when you spend too much time ‘telling’ instead of ‘showing’. In other words, you have lots bullet points, data, analysis, slides, but not enough stories, stories that connect the data with your personal passions – stories that provide the meaning behind what you’re teaching.

A lot of this is very subtle, and when you are ‘too close’ to the content, you may not even notice when you start lapsing into professor mode. Even though I’ve been speaking and writing for years, I still get coaching and feedback on my work – because we all have a blind spot when it comes to our own work …

and that pompous professor is always lurking around. :)

If you are about to launch an online product, or put on a speech/webinar or presentation that means a lot to you, then contact me today. I’m offering a limited number of FREE “Discover Your Story” consultation sessions for the next few weeks. Jump on the line, and let’s talk about how to make your next venture, product launch or speech a ‘wow’ experience.

If Content is King, and Story is Queen, then What is Meaning? (blog post)

Content is King!  Write blog posts, tweet your message, write an e-book, send out tips sheets, create a content plan.

Oh, and don’t forget “Story is Queen”!  Create a story arc in your emails, share your signature story, use story-based marketing concepts. Be a storyteller!

That’s true. It’s all true. It’s the marketing mantra of today. I’ve been preaching it myself for years now.

But in the midst of this marketing mania, there lies something deeper.

It’s like the slumbering dragon deep in the forest, in a cave, guarding a treasure.  dragons

It’s the concept of meaning.

What do your stories mean?  Are you creating a meaningful message that will live beyond you? That will really shake up the status quo? That will impact people deeply?

I was on a video conference with one of my business mentors yesterday (Justin Livingston from Leader to Luminary training – I will be promoting him and his work next month or so, so keep an eye out!), and he told me he’s noticed more and more that people are searching for meaning. They aren’t just coming to him asking for help building a business, they want to build a meaningful business.

Big difference.

It’s the same with stories and content.  If you work with me to create a story arc for a product launch, or to write a speech, I will be looking for the meaning behind the stories you want to tell.

As a speech writer,  I am always looking for that magic idea, that moment or concept that will catapult the speech from a good presentation into a ‘’wow’ speech, that will inspire and engage your audience at a deeper level. Or for your product launch, I’m looking for a story that embodies something highly meaningful, that will provide the emotional energy behind your ideas.

When I find it, I find the meaning of your story. That golden moment when the dragon wakes up and displays its awesome power.

When the story starts to breathe fire.


If you want a story that breathes fire, apply today. I’m offering a limited number of FREE “Discover Your Story” consultation sessions this month only, so jump on.


The #1 Secret to a Successful Launch … (no one gets this)

You’ve developed an amazing program or service. Your ideas are burning within you and you can’t wait to share them with the world. You’ve studied how to do an online launch, spent thousands of dollars learning from the best. You’ve invested in software, customer and payment systems, course delivery software.

Then it bombs.

The ‘big launch’ happens and your results are not what you wanted. FrustratedWoman


I work with a lot of coaches, authors, speakers, healers, and I’ve seen this scenario played out multiple times.  It can be heartbreaking when you’ve put so much on the line. The ‘big’ names in the industry pitch the idea that you can make 100′s of thousands of dollars online using their ‘systems’, but when you invest in them, and replicate what was successful for them, it doesn’t work for you.

What’s going on? What do I do when a someone calls me up and this is the scenario?

First of all, don’t throw in the towel and give up. If you want to move your business online, it’s worth doing, and don’t throw away all you’ve invested in.

In most cases, it’s not the system itself – it’s that you got so excited about the system that the STORY got lost.

There are two things that are absolutely crucial in an online launch – the STORY and the OFFER. What is the story arc of your marketing? Have you drawn people in? Do they care? Does what you are saying and telling them really hit home with them? Do they relate to you and what you are trying to achieve?

So, look deeply at the story arc, the marketing content – were you just using someone else’s cut/paste template? Or did you have great, compelling, personal content?

Then, look back at what you were offering. Is it a “no-brainer”? Did that come across in your sales pitch? Did the offer make sense and did you make it really, really appealing?

Don’t be distracted by bells and whistles. Content is king. Story is the Seductive Siren.

Go back and take another look at all your content. Next time you do any online launch, spend as much time at the beginning working on  compelling story-based marketing content and a logical, ‘no brainer’ offer as you do on the technical and business systems.

The future of online launches belongs to the best storytellers. 

Need some pre-launch help with stories and offers? Contact me today and discover your story!