What Can I Say About Kevin Smith?

I texted my husband as Kevin Smith began his keynote session on the main stage at Podcast Movement. This was his immediate reply: Let me guess he’s wearing a backwards baseball hat, probably Chicago Blackhawks hockey jersey. 

And I laughed.

13557916_10210046931632149_5708386593096449103_nMy husband is a smart and observant man. But Kevin Smith has also done a great job of branding himself…which probably wasn’t that difficult since he is super committed to just being himself.

Smith is the brains behind the popular podcast SModcast, and if you know anything at all about the movie Clerks he wrote and directed back in 1994, he is more than a little rough around the edges in terms of both vocabulary and content. However, as he shared his story of how his podcast was started and how it has grown over the years I found quite a few nuggets of inspiration (that didn’t require too much censoring for this site).

First, Smith reminds the audience that, “We are in the content generation We are all in the -content generation- business.-Kevin Smith copybusiness.” Even though he was speaking to an audience full of podcasters, this applies to speakers, writers, comedians, entrepreneurs and more. Whether we are looking for a new joke, a story to tell, and illustration to prove a point, or something relevant to share with our audience, inspiration is all around us. It is our job to see what is happening, put our unique spin on it, and create something new four our audience.

Then, he encourages us to take risks…to know that not everything we try will work out perfectly the first time…and to be okay with that. “There are There are only two pathsonly two paths – to Destruction or to Creation. Destruction is crowded but Creation takes a risk.” Don’t dwell on the negative – enough people are already doing that. Take a chance and create something new. And when things don’t work out the first time, get an inspiring cat poster like this one I made from Smith’s next quote, “Failure is just success training.”

Just keep going.

Failure is just success training. (Yeah, I know that sounds like a F---ing cat poster.) -Kevin Smith

More Business Lessons from PM16

Anna Sale…the brains behind and the host of the podcast Death, Sex and Money…and another fabulous keynote speaker at Podcast Movement 2016. anna saleShe presented 10 ways that creating a podcast is like having a baby and shared her parallel journey of becoming a mom and creating Death, Sex and Money. Of course, once again, I saw each one of her points relating to running a business, not just creating a podcast.

  1. It starts with an urge.
  2. Many factors have to align – a lot of which are out of your control.
  3. Your wish comes true…and it’s terrifying.
  4. You have to learn what makes it grow. Growth isn’t automatic.
  5. Your new baby is a bottomless pit of need.
  6. You have to ask for help.
  7. Pay attention to feedback.
  8. As it grows you clarify the values you want to amplify out into the world.
  9. It’s really fun!
  10. It changes as it grows…so grow with it!

Just typing these out as a list don’t begin to do justice to her presentation told with stories and pictures, but if you have owned your own business for any length of time I’m sure you see the crossover applications instantly.

Lesson #4 really resonates with me right now – I want to make healthy choices for my business (and for our podcast) and that is why I do things like go to conferences, read books and blogs, and meet with mentors who have already grown their businesses in the areas that I want to grow.

Another exciting thought is #8 – in the same way that I try to pass on certain values to my children, I have the opportunity to share the things (and principles) that I value with my employees, my clients, my business associates, and yes, our podcast listeners.

Which lessons from Anna Sale’s list do you relate to most right now in your own business?

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!