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How to Capture an Expert’s Value: 12 Tips

How to Capture an Expert’s Value: 12 Tips


    In bringing Managing with Aloha to the world of business I speak a lot; everything from 20-minute keynotes to week-long seminars and retreats. This week I’ve wrapped up 2005 with some terrific speaking gigs before ending my year with a 3-week holiday hiatus, a tradition in my leadership coaching company. These gigs were terrific because my clients were terrific, and I felt I wasn’t just a hired gun; we collaborated on the design of my presentation, and they gave me the opportunity to give more than just another speech.

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    With my very last presentation I had the pleasure of staying in a magnificent hotel, and part of my fee included an extra night’s stay so that I could end my time with them much more leisurely than I normally have the opportunity to do. Their offer was irresistible to me and I took advantage of it. Smartly, so did they; it was win for both of us. They helped me create a defining moment for them and their company.

    The entire experience caused me to reflect back on all my speaking over the last year, and I thought of all the clients associated with them — the good, the bad, and fortunately none I would call the ugly! In this, my last Thursday column for Lifehack.org for 2005 (I’ll be back after that hiatus I mentioned) I thought I’d share with you my best clients’ smarts.

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    There have been those clients who took full advantage of our engagement knowing how I am more coach than consultant by nature, and I think they were exceptionally clever. By the time our project was over they had received oodles of free coaching from me, and I didn’t mind one bit. In fact, they usually left me wishing that all my clients were just like them. This is how they did it.

    1. First, I didn’t intimidate them. All of 5’1” and soft spoken when I’m off-stage I’m not an intimidating person, however they didn’t let my “expert” and “author” aura and reputation hold them back either. They took the time to have telephone conversations with me and get to know me. They shared their objectives with me, and the stories of why they called me in the first place. In short, they got me to know them, like them, and want to help them as new friends who had a vision and mission similar to mine.
    2. If I was traveling to see them, they played meeting planner and travel agent, booking as much of my “free time” as possible, before I filled in the blanks myself. As managers and leaders, they’d get my free advice over morning coffee the day of my seminar, or because they picked me up from the airport instead of sending a driver for me. They entertained me and gave me the niceties of “VIP service” so that I’d “pay” them for it with my knowledge and my free coaching.
    3. They got me to use their products and services during my stay, whatever they were. They asked me to test them, and offer suggestions. My “thing” is management and leadership in business, and I travel a lot. I get welcomed into a lot of different companies, perhaps including their competitors, and others they should benchmark. I am not going to disclose anything I shouldn’t. Still, knowing my frame of reference, they considered me a living, breathing, opinionated “guest comment card” for what they offer.
    4. They understood that those of us who speak are always looking for new stories and new examples to pepper our presentations with personalization (say that quickly 3 times!) and they took me on plant/ property/ company tours, and introduced me to many of the people who would be in my audience both before and after my presentation so we’d make a personal connection.
    5. Along those same lines, they deliberately set out to be my newest fresh-in-mind and memorable “great story,” the one I would take to future speeches in future places, giving them fantastic, highly favorable free press in the process. Knowing I speak to thousands and thousands of your prospective customers each year, and that people ask me for my recommendations all the time, what would you like me to say to them about you?
    6. Most speakers, me included, are eager learners, always on the prowl for opportunities to meet the visionaries, movers and shakers in an organization. We love to interview the big shots and get inside their heads. My best clients, the ones determined to make MWA part of their culture going forward, used me to secure their boss’s buy-in because they put me in the golden opportunity to discuss vision and mission with them.
    7. If I were just one speaker in their conference, they invited me to the entire conference so that I would be available to their participants both on stage and off. You can bet this strategy also made me pretty competitive, and determined to be their best speaker, and the one sharing the most aloha with their people.
    8. They understood that they’d be flushing their money down the drain if my presentation needs were not taken care of (audio-visual, lighting, desired room logistics) and I was not well seen, heard, and experienced by the audience.
    9. They had read my book, or at least had skimmed it pretty thoroughly and read the book reviews. They were very familiar with my blog and website. They distributed an article I’d written to their audience ahead of time in a newsletter, announcement, or email blitz to create some anticipation and excitement, and so they’d start thinking of questions.
    10. They asked me to help them with my introduction before my presentation, i.e. What part of your bio should I mention? and — the part most people miss — they asked how they should end it, i.e. if they were offering my book at a special price, my website links for continuing MWA education, if I was sticking around for the remainder of their conference etc. Speakers don’t like to end presentations with a sales pitch — even free resources sound like less than a good deal. When the organizer does it, they get the credibility for negotiating that free e-book out of me exclusively for their audience.
    11. If they have asked me to include a Q&A time, they planted people with good questions to start us off with, questions on things they wanted me to cover briefly anyway. Better than a Q&A time, they scheduled round-table discussions immediately after my presentation, asking their groups to come up with Next Action idea lists connected it, and asking me to remain and walk the room as speaker turned coach — what I do best!
    12. They scheduled a post event debrief with me. The more involved and longer my presentation, and the more of your people I meet, the more feedback I am going to have for you. Will you secure your opportunity to get it out of me, or are you letting me escape with it as you politely say thank you and goodbye? They ask the critical question in this debrief: What is your advice on how I inculcate this into our organizational culture, so the learning sticks?

    Think about these things the next time you hire any consultant or expert — get your money’s worth. All you speakers out there in cyberland and blogsville, please chime in the comments here if you feel I’ve missed something.

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    Mele Kalikimaka, Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou: A wonderful and blessed holiday season to all of you. I’ll be back with my next Thursday column for Leon on January 12th of 2006.

    Rosa Say, author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog. Rosa is founder and head coach of Say Leadership Coaching, a company dedicated to bringing nobility to the working arts of management and leadership. She loves speaking: click here for more on her speaking engagements.

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    Rosa’s Previous Thursday Column was: Holiday Gifts for Working Stiffs.

    (Photo credit: Word “Expert” via Shutterstock)

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    Rosa Say

    Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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    Last Updated on January 2, 2020

    How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

    How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

    Over time, we all gather a set of constricting habits around us—ones that trap us in a zone of supposed comfort, well below what our potential would allow us to attain. Pretty soon, such habits slip below the level of our consciousness, but they still determine what we think that we can and cannot do—and what we cannot even bring ourselves to try. As long as you let these habits rule you, you’ll be stuck in a rut.

    Like the tiny, soft bodied creatures that build coral reefs, habits start off small and flexible, and end up by building massive barriers of rock all around your mind. Inside the reefs, the water feels quiet and friendly. Outside, you think it’s going to be rough and stormy. There may be sharks. But if you’re to develop in any direction from where you are today, you must go outside that reef of habits that marks the boundaries of your comfort zone. There’s no other way. There’s even nothing specially wrong with those habits as such. They probably worked for you in the past.

    But now, it’s time to step over them and go into the wider world of your unused potential. Your fears don’t know what’s going to be out there, so they invent monsters and scary beasts to keep you inside.

    Nobody’s born with an instruction manual for life. Despite all the helpful advice from parents, teachers and elders, each of us must make our own way in the world, doing the best we can and quite often getting things wrong.

    Messing up a few times isn’t that big a deal. But if you get scared and try to avoid all mistakes by sticking with just a few “tried and true” behaviors, you’ll miss out on most opportunities as well.

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    Lots of people who suffer from boredom at work are doing it to themselves. They’re bored and frustrated because that’s what their choices have caused them to be. They’re stuck in ruts they’ve dug for themselves while trying to avoid making mistakes and taking risks. People who never make mistakes never make anything else either.

    It’s time to pin down the habits that have become unconscious and are running your life for you, and get rid of them. Here’s how to do it:

    1. Understand the Truth about Your Habits

    They always represent past successes. You have formed habitual, automatic behaviors because you once dealt with something successfully, tried the same response next time, and found it worked again. That’s how habits grow and why they feel so useful.

    To get away from what’s causing your unhappiness and workplace blues, you must give up on many of your most fondly held (and formerly successful) habits. and try new ways of thinking and acting. There truly isn’t any alternative. Those habits are going to block you from finding new and creative ideas. No new ideas, no learning. No learning, no access to successful change.

    2. Do Something—Almost Anything—Differently and See What Happens

    Even the most successful habits eventually lose their usefulness as events change the world and fresh responses are called for. Yet we cling on to them long after their benefit has gone.

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    Past strategies are bound to fail sometime. Letting them become automatic habits that take the controls is a sure road to self-inflicted harm.

    3. Take Some Time out and Have a Detailed Look at Yourself—With No Holds Barred

    Discovering your unconscious habits can be tough. For a start, they’re unconscious, right? Then they fight back.

    Ask anyone who has ever given up smoking if habits are tough to break. You’ve got used to them—and they’re at least as addictive as nicotine or crack cocaine.

    4. Be Who You Are

    It’s easy to assume that you always have to fit in to get on in the world; that you must conform to be liked and respected by others or face exclusion. Because most people want to please, they try to become what they believe others expect, even if it means forcing themselves to be the kind of person they aren’t, deep down.

    You need to start by putting yourself first. You’re unique. We’re all unique, so saying this doesn’t suggest that you’re better than others or deserve more than they do.

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    You need to put yourself first because no one else has as much interest in your life as you do; and because if you don’t, no one else will. Putting others second means giving them their due respect, not ignoring them totally.

    Keeping up a self-image can be a burden. Hanging on to an inflated, unrealistic one is a curse. Give yourself a break.

    5. Slow Down and Let Go

    Most of us want to think of ourselves as good, kind, intelligent and caring people. Sometimes that’s true. Sometimes it isn’t.

    Reality is complex. We can’t function at all without constant input and support from other people.

    Everything we have, everything we’ve learned, came to us through someone else’s hands. At our best, we pass on this borrowed existence to others, enhanced by our contribution. At our worst, we waste and squander it.

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    So recognize that you’re a rich mixture of thoughts and feelings that come and go, some useful, some not. There’s no need to keep up a façade; no need to pretend; no need to fear of what you know to be true.

    When you face your own truth, you’ll find it’s an enormous relief. If you’re maybe not as wonderful as you’d like to be, you aren’t nearly as bad as you fear either.

    The truth really does set you free; free to work on being better and to forgive yourself for being human; free to express your gratitude to others and recognize what you owe them; free to acknowledge your feelings without letting them dominate your life. Above all, you’ll be free to understand the truth of living: that much of what happens to you is no more than chance. It can’t be avoided and is not your fault. There’s no point in beating yourself up about it.

    Final Thoughts

    What is holding you in situations and actions that no longer work for you often isn’t inertia or procrastination. It’s the power of habitual ways of seeing the world and thinking about events. Until you can let go of those old, worn-out habits, they’ll continue to hold you prisoner.

    To stay in your comfort zone through mere habit, or—worse still—to stay there because of irrational fears of what may lie outside, will condemn you to a life of frustration and regret.

    If you can accept the truth about the world and yourself, change whatever is holding you back, and get on with a fresh view on life, you’ll find that single action lets you open the door of your self-imposed prison and walk free. There’s a marvelous world out there. You’ll see, if you try it!

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    Featured photo credit: teigan rodger via unsplash.com

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