Organize Your Talk (for maximum impact)

Organize Your Talk (for maximum impact)

“You can't manage what you can't measure. But the most important things can't be measured.”


– W. Edwards Deming 

 


Who's ready to jump into Chapter 3 of the SPEAK With Confidence podcast series?! Did you already finish Chapter 1: Brainstorming Like a Boss & Chapter 2: Just Be Yourself (but better)(Go listen if you haven't before you jump in here.)

 


For week 3, let's get into the nitty-gritty of building your talk.


CRAFT YOUR TALK: The DISH Method


THIS EPISODE SIMPLIFIED: Putting a talk together requires certain elements – I call this DISH. Data Impact Story Humans – and once you include ALL of these elements, you'll hit maximum impact with whoever you're talking to. 



Let’s jump into Chapter 3: The DISH Method. Get the 4 elements of putting together an impactful talk. In this episode, I go through everything in the SPEAK With Confidence workbook about how to use my methodology: Data, Impact, Story, and Humans (DISH) to put together a talk – no matter how big or small. I'll cover why how you can use each of these elements to ask for your next raise or promotion, your 



You can also get more at DISHmethod.com after you're done listening – there's a workbook & videos as well! But first, get the 30min quick review below.


Listen to the podcast here:





As we cover chapter 3 of the SPEAK With Confidence course and workbook: The DISH Method: Organize your talk for maximum impact – check out the free course at www.DISHmethod.com to get a workbook and videos on how to rock your next presentation, conversation, or talk. 

 




 


SPEAK With Confidence: Stop wishing you were on that stage & write the dang talk: ispeakwithconfidence.com I'll even send you the fancy-schmancy workbook you're hearing about.


SPEAK With Confidence CLUSTER: Listen to this Cluster of Awesomeness here



Get more podcast fun: brandventurespodcast.com  

Subscribe on SoundCloud: soundcloud.com/brandventures 

Subscribe on iTunes: bit.ly/brandventures

Join the Kickass Humans Club: kickasshumansclub.com

A yes always requires a no.

A yes always requires a no.

 


Have you ever started something you really wanted to create & found it later unfinished? A blog post? A love letter? An art project? A room of your home? A relationship? A business? Maybe you start it, get part-way through it and say you'll come back to it only to come back to it to see it's incomplete.



We've all done it. We get hyped about something we want to make a reality and leave it when something shinier comes along. And that something shinier doesn't always do us a favor – it can distract us from what we really need to do.



As an entrepreneur, my brain is going 100 miles an hour all the time. (Side note: you don't have to be an entrepreneur to have a busy brain.) When I wake up, I'm staring at the ceiling thinking about work. All day, I work on work. After work, I'm talking about work. Entrepreneur life is not the most conducive to thinking about stuff outside of work. Balance or integration is not easy but it's necessary for a healthy focus. Which is NOT something I've ever been good at – until recently.



When I get bored or run out of things to do, I create more work for myself and my Crew. I start new companies, pivot old ones, build new products, put together new services, create more content – and get way off track. This helps no one – not my clients, my Crew or myself. The business waters get muddied and no one really knows what to do.


I did this exact thing again recently. And it almost wrecked me.


Let me back up for a moment. I started Sisarina, a web marketing agency, in 2009. I NEVER wanted to be the face of the company. I was called “Boss Lady” because I wasn't really much of a boss. I was the leader but I would even use that term loosely. I did EVERYTHING wrong and managed to still come out on top. I had very little focus – we did all sorts of stuff. Websites, marketing, social media, branding, content, brand strategy – lots. I had a hard enough time to getting my own work done while growing a team of incredible professionals. Until I realized how much I hated checking my email wondering who was mad at me and what fire I had to put out.

 




 



A year ago, my Crew convinced me it was time to do what I wanted to do instead of what I felt like I “should” do. I decided to focus on the two things I loved the most – speaking & workshops. I was ready to focus – and it was time to become the face – a personal brand, a public figure.



At first, I tried to hide behind the name Branded Confidence. It was ok to have my face on it but it was a company – right? I didn't have to be “the thing” I sold. Then I decided speaking and workshops weren't enough so I thought “let's start another company to focus on corporate work!” WHAT?! WHY DO I KEEP DOING THIS!? I kept overwhelming myself because [you'll get a kick out of this] – I was afraid of success. <READ I wanna see you be brave>



I wasn't doing it on purpose but I realized that if I kept myself busy and kept doing more, I'd keep from being successful at any one thing. [WHY!? What's the point of that?! Oh yeah, MOST of us do this… It's not just a Melanie thing. Jane of all trades, Mistress of none.] I kept looking around and finding that I was even confusing myself with what I did.



I'm a brand strategist who helps companies tell their brand stories. That's what I'm trained to do. And I'm really good at it – but it doesn't bring me the joy speaking & workshops bring. All I wanted to do was write a book about how to rock your life and teach people how to share their stories. I wanted to share their stories from big stages so others could learn to tell their own stories. But, what do you call THAT? There's no college degree for this. There's no official title for it. The closest I could think was “motivational speaker” but really? #lame



Then, my right-hand-gal (Gisell!) held a mirror in front of me & asked me what I saw if I got to just speak & host workshops. JOY! She told me she'd follow me whichever direction I wanted to go, but we had to focus on one direction – not two.



BAM. So simple, yet so profound. My personal brand + kickass workshops + big stages to share the love = win/win/win.



And I don't have to sit behind a computer all day – I can be with the humans who need what I have to share. YES! Which brings me to this moment right here.



When I started writing this post, I was incredibly UN-focused. I sent notes out to my speakers about getting testimonial videos, started editing an email, got into conversations with my booking manager, checked and posted on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and even called my mom to celebrate a big win. I started a different blog post altogether but after watching my lack of focus, I knew I had to write about focusing. 


 


After finishing the first draft, I took a walk and listened to The RobCast with Rob Bell sharing his Brief Guide to the Undernet – the underside of the internet. He was talking about how we have to choose what we want to do, post, share. And then he said exactly what I needed to hear to focus this post. 


“A yes always requires a no.” – Rob Bell


We're always choosing. One thing for another. And when we say yes to something that doesn't serve us, we're saying no to something that could help us get where we need to go. Am I willing to say no to those things that don't help me focus on my goals?


If I look at my list of projects, I have an overwhelming amount of things going on – unfinished. At least 15 other blog posts sitting in Evernote, Quip or Google Docs somewhere. My computer desktop has a folder called Desktop Stuff where I dump everything I had on my desktop so I can keep it clean – but it's sitting there disorganized anyway – another project. My iPhone photos are in a Dropbox folder unorganized and completely lacking in any search-ability – I even have a person who can organize it for me when I'm ready to pull the trigger – or next time I'm on an airplane without wifi it might get done – if I'm not exhausted. There's a canvas I left in DC that's still white with a sketch on it and paints ready to color it in but I never bothered to paint it. I have a closet full of stuff that needs to be sorted & organized since my move – but it can wait until tomorrow. I need to shave Griffin so he can have a summer cut – maybe after work. I have to write my content for my updated brand – and it's slated for this afternoon but it's been on my to do list for at least two months. My car needs a bath and the office needs to be painted. Sigh.



I've left a LOT of things undone but saying yes to the ones I need to do requires me to say no to the ones I don't need to do. Kacy Paide, my professional organizer friend, would tell me to throw out the stuff I'll never finish and finish the things I want to finish. <Read How to be organized enough> Right now, I'm focused on getting shit done that NEEDS to get done. Getting shit done that requires my attention and that fits my overall goals. FOCUSED on it.



I may not ever get the focus to clear out my to-do list and that's ok. I'm creating and continuing to create things that make me smile, laugh, and grin at random times. All of this gets my inner 7-year-old bouncing around. As Kacy would advise, I'm making a promise to myself to finish everything that gives me joy. And throw away anything that isn't helpful or useful. Because what's the point of this life? To find joy, live in gratitude, and take care of those around us.






So, now it's your turn.


What is unfinished, incomplete, or getting undeserved attention? What do you need to throw away? What are you doing that doesn't fit your goals? And what do you need to start doing so you can be the huge success you were meant to be? Say yes as long as you are willing to say no.



Go – you incredible human – and enjoy this life you're creating. No matter what it looks like. Focus on everything that brings you joy.



 

Glittering Beards & How to Network Without Being an A$$hole

Glittering Beards & How to Network Without Being an A$$hole

“I have too much to worry about to not be myself.” – Strother Gaines


Strother Gaines is full of glitter and wisdom.


He’s the head unicorn of But I’m a Unicorn, Dammit, LLC an entrepreneurial coaching company helping humans who want to build their next step. When I asked the Kickass Humans Club who should be on the podcast, Sarai Johnson, one of our recent Rock Your Talk-ers put her hand way up and suggested Strother saying “He’s AMAZING!” spoiler: she was right.


Strother is a Kentucky-born triple threat who is keeping busy as an entrepreneur, artistic director for TBD Immersive – a new theater company in DC, and the event director for Network Under Forty.


Oh – and one of his drag queen names is Joann Fabrics. (Like, the fabric store… Yeah, I love him.)


In this week’s podcast episode, Strother Gaines lets us in on the phone call from the IRS about his LLC’s name, But I’m a Unicorn, Dammit, LLC and how to network without being an asshole (this was fun). His bits about growing up in the rural south, coming into his own, and the glory of Southern Queens are what make Strother such a fabulous human being. He shares HIS story, which helps others share theirs. BRILLIANT!


“I get a lot of feedback on the beard.” – Strother Gaines





Looking to channel the magic in your career or business?

The next step is simple and the fabulous beard himself can let you in on the secret.

Watch here:



Ever wonder what the difference is between  jackhammer careers and hummingbird careers? Maybe you’ve wondered how a career trajectory of cross pollination led him from being segway tour guide to entrepreneurial coach? Well, you get all of that and more – right here on the podcast.


My favorite part? Strother brings Joann Fabrics to the podcast – including the family inspiration for her and how he gets himself into character. (HINT: It’s a very specific swear word with southern flair.)


Why aren’t you listening yet?! This man has GLITTER IN HIS BEARD! Stop reading, start listening


Listen to get the whole conversation here:



Watch his TED talk is here:



 



CONNECT WITH HIM: 


Join the Kickass Humans Club



In his words: Strother is creative, a unicorn, authentic, a storyteller and Beardo.


Instagram: @Stronicorn


Twitter: @UnicornDammit


Facebook: Strother Gaines


LinkedIn: Strother Gaines


Website: www.unicorndammit.com & www.tbdimmersive.com




Find out more: http://brandventurespodcast.com  

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Kickass Humans Club: http://bit.ly/KHCgroup

The secret to manifesting: there is no secret.

The secret to manifesting: there is no secret.

Are you ready to manifest that shit?


I love words. Lately, my favorite word is “manifest.” It’s one of those weird little misunderstood words so many of us think is “woo-woo.” All the life coaches and energy healers use it so it gets put in the category of mystical. This word gets entangled with The Secret and positive thinking – when, by definition, manifesting goes way deeper. Most people think that manifesting is just another way of getting what you want. The faith-focused humans liken it to praying. Some call it “the laws of attraction” and still others don’t believe in manifesting at all. But it’s a thing. A real, concrete, fact-based thing. (read on for a free downloadable workbook)


My friend Amy got married a few weeks ago and I was the wedding officiant. Being the wedding officiant wasn’t just about running the ceremony, it also meant I was behind-the-scenes helping her get to that day with the least amount of carnage. The day before her wedding, Amy realized the dress she ordered for the rehearsal dinner didn’t fit. (Insert massive freak-out moment) I didn’t worry about it, I knew we’d find just what she needed. She couldn’t figure out how I wasn’t worried – I told her that I would manifest one for her. And it worked. We walked into the local mall, into the first dress shop, and the first dress we picked up – the first she tried on – was exactly the dress that made her feel like a million bucks. And her groom was blown away by her stunning look that evening. Much to her surprise, we hit the manifesting lotto. It wasn’t just because we wanted it, it was because we had a clear picture of what we wanted, made a plan, and did the work to find it. (isn't she gorgeous?!)


 


 


“Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses.” – David Rendall


6 months ago, I quit my business. I had just been in the magic land of Bali and realized how out-of-balance my life was between my purpose and running my business. For years, I had wondered if there was something bigger, but worried way more about what would happen since I had a team that relied on me. I kept standing in my way by hiring more people, taking on clients when they weren’t the right fit, and doing work I never intended to do. I couldn’t say no – everyone around me kept telling me that the only way to scale a business was by hiring more people and getting more clients. I told everyone around me to follow their dreams and do the hard things to make them a reality – but I was sitting in silence hoping it would show up instead.



As soon as I made the decision and released it to the world, I started a journey of manifestation. That journey led me to more success in 6 months than I had in the 8 years previous. I had a very clear picture of what I wanted – I knew what success would look like for me. I made a plan and worked the plan. I got rid of everything I didn’t want to do anymore (and yes, I’m still learning how to say no) and started doing the things that lit me up. I noticed how all of my limiting beliefs about success and business were slowly disappearing and being replaced by abundance. I worked on it every single day.


When I called my mentor to share my accomplishments, he reminded me that everything I was doing right now was exactly what I said I wanted to do 6 months ago. My bookkeeper even told me that we were at 27% higher gross income over last year and net profit increased by 657%. HOW?! Because I manifested that shit. I made the decision, put in the work, and made it a reality.


“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn


I recently decided it was time to finally find my tribe. I’d felt for awhile as if I was on an island – working hard without much support. Supporting so many people without getting the support I needed to keep my cup overflowing. I had done the work on how I wanted to show up in the world and my business and it was time for me to find more people like me. I wrote down the qualities of the humans I wanted to surround myself with. Incredible humans who lifted me up as much as I lifted them up. Hardcore entrepreneurs doing big things in the world – not just for themselves but for others. And I found them! I knew them as soon as I saw them because I showed up fully as myself and they loved me just as I was.





As a group, we went to Vermont to do more personal and business development – only to find ourselves spelunking, rappelling, and running a mini Spartan race – while tied to other people. We also learned how to make shelter, build a fire, and survive a zombie apocalypse. By the end, I was able to visualize more of what I wanted for myself and even how we can help disabled kids stay more active and disenfranchised kids stay out of trouble. I know it all might sound random but it was the best leadership training I’ve ever attended. Because that’s the kind of tribe that fits me. We’re crazy, but we want nothing more than to be our best selves and give back to the world we live in.





(Maverick pics by Alex Kane)


And in that tribe, I found my person. Someone I didn't believe existed until a friend (who happens to be a dating coach) told me that I would have to come down to earth because the man I wanted was harder to find than winning the lotto. Guess what?! The best way to get me to do something is to tell me it can't be done. 


I found him. A man who is building a business in order to heal the world. A man who thinks bigger than himself – who does as much personal development as I do. A man who runs at my energy level and who envisions a life bigger than either of us can dream up. Because I finally figured out that I was attracting the wrong kind of humans – and I grew within myself to start attracting the right ones. I didn’t fix anything because I wasn’t broken. I did the work and he showed up.



He was obviously created just for me to the point that this past weekend, we sat down at a gorgeous little tea shop in DC (go try Calabash – it smells delightful and has the best chai ever made) to write out our life goals. We started by writing out the vision we have for our lives separately – and then read each other’s. After which we wrote out a list of our life goals, long and short term goals, and next steps to making them happen – while holding each other accountable. Can I even explain to you how long I’ve waited to find someone who would do this with me?! And he showed up up, not just out of nowhere, but because I knew what I wanted, made a plan, and showed up for myself.


“Every single one of your desires is attainable.” – Mama Gena


Mama Gena of the School of Womanly Arts (seriously, if you don’t know about her – fix that now) talks a lot about manifesting the life and love you deserve. Manifesting is deeply ingrained in who we are as humans. We are powerful beings and have the ability to bring to life whatever we desire. We can ask for what we want – and get it. We can call things to us. We can do the work and watch it show up. It’s really up to what we want and how we show up in this world.


But manifestation isn’t all about us. Just as our purpose on this planet isn’t a selfish one. We’re given the ability to make something from nothing – and as much as it feeds us, it also must feed those around us. When we are full, we can spill out on others. When we get the things we want (especially when they aren’t selfish), we are able to be a bigger presence on this planet – and make a bigger impact. It’s cyclical.



Let me put it simply – when we show up for ourselves, we show up for others.


And THAT is the key to manifestation. It’s not about sitting on the couch and thinking positive thoughts. It’s not about waiting for Prince Charming or that business idea to pop into our heads. It’s about knowing what we want, making a plan, showing up for ourselves, and doing the work to get it. That’s what I mean when I say “manifest that shit!”




 


MANIFEST THAT SHIT WORKBOOK


[download here]


The word manifest is an adjective AND a verb. Let’s get super clear on what it means and put it into action so you can manifest the life/business/person you desire. Grab a coffee (or your drink of choice), download & print the workbook, grab your favorite pen – let’s do this thing!


1. GET CLEAR ON WHAT YOU WANT


Before it’s an action, manifest first means “clear or obvious to the eye or mind.” This means manifesting is not a secret. Amazingly enough, the antonym (opposite) of manifest is “secret” – which means it’s in front of our noses. And sometimes we can’t see what’s right in front of our noses. From little things like getting a parking spot every time you go to the gym so you’ll be less likely to stay home to big things like the business you want to start or meeting the man/woman of your dreams, I want you to get super clear on everything you want for your life. You already know what you want, but sometimes we just need a little clarity.


Grab page 4 and:


  • In the first column, write a list of what you think you want.
  • In the second column, write down the reasons you want them.
  • In the third column, write down how they will make your life or others lives better.
  • Circle three things from the first column items you want to work on manifesting.



2. WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU WANT


To manifest also means “be evidence of; prove.” That means you have to create a place to show evidence – proof – that you want it.  If you want something, you have to write it down. Put it on the wall, on your mirror, in a journal, or as a status on Facebook. Write it somewhere – pronounce it as the thing you want and then make it your mantra. Once you put words to it, you’ll continue the process of manifesting.


Grab page 5 and:


  • Label each of the columns with the three things you want to manifest.
  • Under each, write out a list of why these things are important to your life or others lives.
  • Then ask yourself why they matter.
  • Ask yourself why again.
  • Ok, one more time.
  • Check the sheet and make sure you are positively sure you have the right three. If so, move onto the next step. If not, fix it.


 


3. MAKE A PLAN TO GET WHAT YOU WANT


A manifest is “a document giving comprehensive details of a ship and its cargo and other contents, passengers, and crew for the use of customs officers.” A manifest is a detailed list of everything that’s included in a ship. Think of this as the detailed list of everything you need to get what you want. Writing all the little details down will help you hone in on the things you want. It will help you get super clear about the path it will take to get there. Without this plan, you’re just hoping. With this plan, you’ll start manifesting.


Grab page 6 and answer the following questions for each of the 3 items you want to manifest and create the plan for how these will manifest.


  • What am I manifesting?
  • What do I have in my life already that will help?
  • What do I need in my life to help?
  • Who is in my life already to help manifest this?
  • Who do I need to meet in order to manifest this?
  • Where do I need to go?
  • What do I need to learn?
  • Who will hold me accountable?
  • What are my daily action items?
  • What are my next steps?


 


4. WORK TOWARD WHAT YOU WANT


To manifest means to “display or show (a quality or feeling) by one's acts or appearance; demonstrate.” This means you have to DO the work. You have to show up and put some skin in the game. You have to MAKE a plan then WORK the plan. Mark Patterson, my pastor, likes to say “Work like it depends on you. Pray like it depends on God.” Swap out the words however you need, but DO THE WORK. Sitting on the couch will never get you what you want.


Get out your to do list, calendar, planner, whatever you use to keep track of everything you’re doing on the regular. Do one or all of the things on the following list and get working on the plan.


  • Break down the plan into small action items.
  • Add your daily items so you can check them off. (Set reminders)
  • Add weekly items so you can check them off. (Set reminders)
  • Schedule meetings with people who can help you.
  • Schedule time to send someone a love note (filling up other people’s buckets will only help your cause.)
  • Schedule time to help others.
  • Sign up for that networking event you keep putting off.
  • Say yes to the friend who invites you out.
  • Write sticky notes and put them on your mirror.
  • Smile at yourself & say “hi sexy” before you leave the house.
  • Be ready for anything. Because anything can happen.


 


“Success is something you attract by the person you become.” – Jim Rohn


Now, let me be clear. Just because you want something doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. God, Spirit, The Universe, whatever you believe is out there giving you what you want – it might not be what they want for you. These things might not be the best thing – and you have to be ok with the fact that something better may show up – better, different, not-quite-exactly-as-you-planned. And that’s the fun of manifesting – we typically don’t know what we want because we can’t dream that big. Or we just aren’t dreaming big enough for the things we really deserve. But those will show up and we celebrate all of the loveliness that is manifested. And if bad things manifest – well, that’s a whole different blog post.


Get clear about what you want and then do the work to get what you want. Download the Manifest That Shit workbook and start manifesting that shit.


Want more?



 


 


—————-

So… tell me about yourself.

So… tell me about yourself.

“When you get out of your comfort zone, that’s when great things happen.”


– Ati Williams


There are so many great things I could say about my dear friend, Ati. The last time I saw her, she had just shown us The Poopy Dance in front of a live audience on the Rock Your Talk stage, which is absolutely as impactful as it sounds (scroll down for a piece of the action.) Ati is a mother and entrepreneur. She attributes a lot of the innovative solutions she has used to build her real estate company, DC HomeBuzz, with her Kenyan upbringing.


In this episode, we discuss rocking your personal brand, what motherhood has taught Ati about being a leader, and how to properly answer the dreaded: “So tell me about yourself.”


I asked Ati if her 5yo self would give her a high-five. Watch this for her answer.



THEN, the tables turn and Ati surprises me with a few questions. Listen to this episode of Adventures in Branding to find out how I found my personal brand, what are some of hiring tactics, and what really happened in Bali.



Be a part of the Rock Your Talk audience this Thursday, October 26, 2017 and listen to some amazing people share impactful stories. Watch Ati’s talk (and The Infamous Poopy Dance) from the last Rock Your Talk event in June 2017 for a piece of the action:



BONUS ROUND: Ati is actually a fantastic artist! Here’s a beautiful piece she painted for the office.



 


 



CONNECT WITH HER: 


Join the Kickass Humans Club



“I feel like I have accomplished a lot of things and a lot has been hard work, but a ton of it has been luck.”


– Ati Williams                 


Instagram: @atibuzzing


Twitter: @atiwilliams


Facebook: REnovation SChool


LinkedIn: Ati WIlliams


Website: Heyhoneycomb.com and dchomebuzz.com




Find out more: http://brandventurespodcast.com  

Subscribe on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/brandventures

Subscribe on iTunes: http://bit.ly/brandventures

Kickass Humans Club: http://bit.ly/KHCgroup