Advertising
Advertising

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.

    Advertising

    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.

    Advertising

    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.

    Advertising

    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.

    Advertising

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

    (Photo credit: Word “Expert” via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    Rosa Say

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

    12 Rules for Self-Management The Six Basic Needs of Customers What’s the difference between Mission and Vision? 7 Steps for Resolving Customer Complaints Reap Joy from this Thanks – Giving Holiday

    Trending in Lifehack

    1 What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero 2 13 Common Life Problems And How To Fix Them 3 How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators 4 How to Be Your Best Self And Get What You Want 5 How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on July 8, 2020

    What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

    What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

    Ah, Inbox Zero. An achievement that so many of us long for. It’s elusive. It’s a productivity benchmark. It’s an ongoing battle.

    It’s also unnecessary.

    Don’t get me wrong, the way Inbox Zero was initially termed is incredibly valuable. Merlin Mann coined the phrase years ago and what he has defined it as goes well beyond the term itself.[1]

    Yet people have created their own definition of Inbox Zero. They’re not using it with the intent that Mann suggested. Instead, it’s become about having nothing left in immediate view. It’s become about getting your email inbox to zero messages or having an empty inbox on your desk that was once filled with papers. It’s become about removing visual clutter.

    But it’s not about that. Not at all.

    Advertising

    Here’s what inbox zero actually is, as defined by Mann:

    “It’s about how to reclaim your email, your atten­tion, and your life. That “zero?” It’s not how many mes­sages are in your inbox–it’s how much of your own brain is in that inbox. Especially when you don’t want it to be. That’s it.” – Merlin Mann

    The Fake Inbox Zero

    The sense of fulfillment one gets from clearing out everything in your inbox is temporary at best, disappointing at worst. Often we find that we’re shooting for Inbox Zero just so that we can say that we’ve got “everything done that needed to be done”. That’s simply not the case.

    Certainly, by removing all of your things that sit in your inbox means that they are either taken care of or are well on their way to being taken care of. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” is often applied to clearing out your inbox. But unless you’ve actually done something with the stuff, it’s either not worth having in your inbox in the first place or is still sitting in your “mental inbox”.

    You have to do something with the stuff, and for many people, that is a hard thing to do. That’s why Inbox Zero – as defined by Mann – is not achieved as often as many people would like to believe. It’s this “watered down” concept of Inbox Zero that is completed instead. You’ve got no email in your inbox and you’ve got no paper on your desk’s inbox. So that must mean you’re at Inbox Zero.

    Advertising

    Until the next email arrives or the next document comes your way. Then you work to get rid of those as quickly as possible so that you can get back to Inbox Zero: The Lesser again. If it’s something that can be dealt with quickly, then you get there. But if they require more time, then soon you’ve got more stuff in your inboxes. So you switch up tasks to get to the things that don’t require as much time or attention so that you can get closer to this stripped down variation of Inbox Zero.

    However, until you deal with the bigger items, you don’t quite get there. Some people feel as if they’ve let themselves (or others) down if they don’t get there. And that, quite frankly, is silly. That’s why this particular version of Inbox Zero doesn’t work.

    The Ultimate Way to Get to Inbox Zero

    So what’s the ultimate way to get to Inbox Zero?

    Have zero inboxes.

    The inbox is meant to be a stop along the way to your final destination. It’s the place where stuff sits until you’re ready to put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it.

    Advertising

    So why not skip the inbox altogether? Why not put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it? Because that requires immediate action. It means you need to give the item some thought and attention.

    You need to step back and look at it rather than file it. That’s why we have a catch-all inbox, both for email and for analog items. It allows us to only look at these things when we’re ready to do so.

    The funny thing is that we can decide when we’re ready to without actually looking at the inbox beforehand. We can look at things on our own watch rather than when we are alerted to or feel the need to.

    There is no reason why you need an inbox at all to store things for longer than it sits there before you see it. None. It’s a choice. And the choice you should be making is how to deal with things when you first see them, rather than when to deal with things you haven’t looked at yet.

    Stop Faking It

    Seeing things in your inboxes is simply using your sight. Looking at things in your inbox when you first see them is using insight.

    Advertising

    Stop checking email more than twice per day. Turn off your alerts. Put your desk’s inbox somewhere that it can be accessed by others and only accessed by you when you’re ready to deal with what’s in it. Don’t put it on your desk – that’s productivity poison.

    If you want to get to Inbox Zero — the real Inbox Zero — then get rid of those stops along the way. You’ll find that by doing that, you’ll be getting more of the stuff you really want done finished much faster, rather than see them moving along at the speed of not much more than zero.

    More Productivity Tips to Get Organized

    Featured photo credit: Web Hosting via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Merlin Mann: Inbox Zero

    Read Next