Connecting with an Audience

I love attending conferences, seminars, workshops and classes. I am a life long learner who has done things like audit 5 semesters of Greek…for fun. But do you know what I love possibly even more than learning great content from the events I attend? Learning from the presenters. I learn something from every single seminar or class I attend. (Admittedly, occasionally I learn what NOT to do, but I can still always learn something.)

Last week I attended a large DJ industry show in Las Vegas called Mobile Beat. I taught one 3 hour workshop on Monday, but the rest of the 4 days I was there primarily as a student. I was a “business owner student” looking for inspiration and ideas that will help me run my business better. And I was also a “speaker student” watching each presenter as he took the stage, analyzing content, delivery, and audience connection.

There were many great speakers…including the one and only John Taffer, and Mr. Party Rock himself, Red Foo of LAFMO. But there was one seminar that will stay with me longer than all the others. It could be because it was given by my business partner and best Mitch ROAR MBLV20friend. It could be because I had the privilege of having a front row seat not just during the seminar itself, but also during the months leading up to it. And it could simply be because Mitch Taylor knocked it out of the park in his delivery last Tuesday.

As I analyze the presentation I think there were three main factors that contributed to such a successful seminar (BESIDES talent and skill!).

The first was preparation. Even those who didn’t have the opportunity to watch one of the MANY rehearsals in the weeks prior to the conference, like I did, could tell that Mitch knew his material. Not only did he know the content because he created the concept himself  (ROAR: Risk, Opportunity, Action, Reward…all him) he really knew it because he practiced. He knew which stories he was going to tell when. He knew the examples he would share, the calls to action that he would offer, and how he would transition from one point to the next. Flawless delivery doesn’t happen because of luck.

Mitch ROAR MBLV20 2The second was interaction…planned, intentional and appropriate interaction. There were approximately 1000 people in the audience. Yet, Mitch somehow managed to include them all. He told personal stories that they could relate to. And they responded.

Mitch ROAR MBLV20 5Mitch also skillfully created other opportunities for audience members to be involved. See the strategically placed gift box on the table in front of the stage? At a predetermined moment when Mitch told his audience that they must choose to take ACTION, a spotlight illuminated the box and one lucky audience member left with a very nice prize pack.

More opportunities to participate were offered through the Make 614_970651489638841_3442728914532571545_na Meme contest.

Throughout the presentation audience members were encouraged to make a meme using a quote or “nugget” from the seminar and share it on his Sales is Solutions Facebook page with #TimeToROAR. A lot of great memes were submitted and a second lucky individual won a prize pack when the winning meme was announced near the end of the presentation. People were engaged – taking pictures, taking notes, and making memes.

The third contributing factor that I really noticed was Mitch’s vulnerability. He was willing to be real. He talked about some of his mentors and heroes who helped him get to the place he is now. But he did it such a way that encouraged those of us listening to pursue some of the same training opportunities so we could grow in those areas as well. Mitch also showed emotion. BecauseMitch ROAR MBLV20 3 he was so well rehearsed, he was “free” to truly be in the moment with us as he shared memorable and touching stories about personal experiences and special moments with clients…like this letter he read to us from the mother of one of his brides. Being this real is powerful.

 

Whether you are speaking to a small group of friends, MCing an event for a client and their guests, or speaking to an audience of a thousand of your peers, being prepared, interactive, and vulnerable will help you truly connect with your audience.

 

Note: Photos 1, 2 & 5 in this post were taken by Edyta Sokolowska of Exceed Photography. Thank you, Edyta!

Send Mail with a Stamp.

I am so grateful that I live in an age where technology provides us with so many incredible options for communicating. I share my life on social media through check-in’s, posts and pictures. I can text as fast as my teenagers, and I Skype with friends from across the globe on a regular basis. There are so many fun ways to create connections, and stay connected with people!

But…

…there is something really wonderful about good, old fashioned, hand-written mail that was sent with a stamp on it. Do you remember the way you felt as a kid when a pen pal or grandparent mailed you a letter or post card and you saw it appear in the mailbox? Do you still feel that way when there is one hand-addressed card that stands out from all the junk mail and bills? Do you realize how easy it is for you to create that feeling in someone else? All it takes is a little thought, and a 49-cent stamp.

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Sending a little note or card is easy to talk about, but for whatever reason, it is often harder to do on than one would think. We live in a world with so many distractions, we must actually make sending “snail mail” a priority if it is going to happen.

The first thing you need to do to increase your chances of following through and sending someone some real mail is to be prepared. Consider having some custom stationery or cards printed. Or do what I do and buy packages of cute, blank note cards when you see them on sale. Buy a roll of stamps. (Or at least a couple sheets.) Have these most basic things on hand and you will have a few less excuses about why you didn’t send that card.

The second thing is to be proactive. If you are by nature a list-maker and/or a schedule-keeper, carve out a window of time for sending cards and put it on your calendar. Have a set time (and place) where every week you spend 30 minutes writing letters, sending birthday cards, and mailing notes to people you know. For those who are more the “free spirit” type, you need to start training yourself to stop and write (and mail!) the note as soon as you think about. You know that little voice in your head that whispers to you at times? “The chamber representative who hosted this morning’s meeting was great. I should send her a note.” Start listening to that voice. As soon you think about someone, stop and write the note right then. Keep some blank cards and stamps in your purse, briefcase or car to help with this.

Still unsure how to best use snail mail to create connections with people you meet? Thank you cards and/or nice to meet you cards are a great way to start. For people you have known a little longer, birthday and anniversary cards are nice. Casey Eberhart is someone I have seen present several times and he does this very well. One of my favorite tips that I’ve learned from him is to subscribe to magazines about things that your clients and colleagues are interested in and send them articles of interest. What better way to create a positive moment for someone than to provide that warm fuzzy feeling of a hand-addressed envelope than to put something positive and personal inside like a recipe or article that you know they would enjoy?

 

An excerpt from the new book, Creating Connections, by Vickie Musni & Mitch Taylor (Chapter 6)

Creating Connections!!!

Even though I haven’t been blogging as much as I used to, I have  been writing. I am so pleased to announce that I have a new book out…one that I wrote with my business partner and podcast co-host, Mitch Taylor.

Creating Connections, 31 Days to Building Stronger & Deeper Relationships is just what it sounds like…a daily guide with 31 specific ideas you can implement to help you be more proactive in creating connections with new people, clients, colleagues, your community and beyond.

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If you are ready to grow personally and work to cultivate stronger & deeper relationships, order a copy now. And, you can sign up for daily emails while you read by registering for the 31 Day Challenge at CreatingConnections.biz.