How This Author Turned a Single Invitation Into 10 Speaking Gigs

abundance

How can you transform a single invitation into a much bigger opportunity to grow your audience, attract clients and expand your impact as a thought leader? 

A few months before her book launch, my client, Barbara Trautlein, was invited to deliver a webinar for Project Management Institute (PMI), a large, global industry organization.  Given the size and relevance of their audience, the webinar presented a great opportunity for Barbara to share her message and to help launch her book, Change Intelligence. 

The virtual event was a huge success.  Even though the live webinar could only accommodate 1000 attendees, over 4000 PMI members registered for and downloaded the recording of her session. 

It’s All About the Follow-Through 

After the webinar, she followed up with attendees and the PMI leaders who had originally contacted her to continue the conversation and to explore additional ways to add value to the organization. 

These follow-up actions not only resulted in new subscribers, additional book sales and an immediate invitation to deliver another webinar, but also led to further introductions to other PMI practice leaders and key players within the organization. 

Since the initial webinar, Barbara has secured over 10 additional opportunities to partner with the organization, including two invitations to speak for the annual Global Congress, a paid keynote for the Chicago Leadership Forum, and speaking invitations for three regional events.  Over the past 18 months, she’s grown her brand and visibility within the international PMI community and directly reached over 15,000 potential readers, fans and clients - all from one single invitation. 

For 2015, she’s been invited to partner with them on some larger projects, giving her further opportunities to spread her message, grow her platform and expand her work with the companies and leaders who belong to PMI. 

Make the Most of Each Opportunity 

After the success of the May 2013 webinar, Barbara could have easily “moved on” to the next audience or have been distracted by the next launch event on her very full calendar.  Instead, she chose to make the most of the opportunity in front of her - to build a deeper relationship with PMI and their membership of over 700,000 - and is reaping the benefits of that decision. 

Take two minutes to reflect on the invitations and opportunities you have in front of you right now.  Ask yourself: 

  • What steps can you take to deliver more value for an upcoming event to help open the door for future opportunities?
  • Do you need to send a follow-up email after a recent keynote, guest post or interview to thank the host and request a chat to explore additional ways to partner together?
  • How can you effectively keep in touch with the relationships you’ve made within key organizations and groups to build trust and deepen the relationship?

By staying focused and choosing to make the most of each opportunity, your results will multiply and you’ll grow your impact and income more quickly and with less effort.


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Why This Was Hard for Me to Write

writers block

Perhaps it’s the fact that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, but I struggled to write this week’s newsletter.  After a great, but intense, few months since the debut of my new website and newsletter, I know I’m feeling a few of the after-effects that often follow a launch.

If you’re serious about making your mark as a thought leader, I’m betting you’ve experienced this fatigue as well. Someday, in the not-so-distant future – 3 to 6 months after the launch of your next book, program or website  – you’ll have another one of these days (or weeks) when all you’ll want to do is grab a glass of wine (or chocolate) and binge-watch your favorite show.

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Regardless of your message, audience or business model, launches and intense phases are an inevitable - and valuable - part of the journey. While you certainly don’t want to miss out on the opportunities that surface in direct response to announcing your new book, certification program, workshop or website, this level of intensity is not sustainable.

Launches aside, it’s also easy to succumb to the constant internal pressure and sense of urgency to do “more, more, MORE,” which can also lead to burnout, especially if you forget to wear your CEO hat. When this happens, your motivation can take a nose dive, and your reactive decision to take “one week off” can turn into weeks or even months of inactivity. 

Just like an exercise routine, proactively sharing your ideas and work doesn’t always feel exciting.  Some days, you may not feel connected to your message or your audience and, as a result, may feel less than thrilled about delivering that webinar, writing your next chapter or reaching out to an industry partner to support your work.  

Consistency or Quality or Both?

At first glance, it may seem that consistency is the entire solution. After all, it’s a powerful antidote to burnout and also one of the most important strategies you need to make a lasting impact. However, consistency is only part of the equation. Athletes know all too well that consistency without quality won’t win the game or produce the results you want. 

Although I would have preferred to start my holiday this week, I wrote this newsletter because I had made a commitment to myself and to you to share this 10-part series (inspired by my new keynote for the Greenleaf Author Summit).  I also knew that I had to do more than just sit down and write in order to produce a quality article. That’s why I took time to reflect on why this 7th principle is so timely and relevant for thought leaders like you and me.  Once I did, I found the inspiration and fuel I needed to create a finished product that I felt was worth sharing. 


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Afraid Your Audience Will React Like This? (Here's How to Prevent It)

Have you ever been a part of an audience like this? Ok, so maybe you haven’t been caught picking your teeth in response to a bad keynote, but I bet you’ve experienced the boredom, frustration and disengagement that comes when you hear a stale presentation or a mediocre speaker. 

While you can easily relate to this picture as an audience member, this image can also be your worst nightmare when it’s your turn to take the stage. This dreaded reaction is most noticeable when you’re speaking from an actual platform, but the truth is you can lose connection with your audience anytime you share your message - regardless of the medium.

Is Your Message Stale?

Although your delivery skills matter and impact your ability to influence, audience disengagement can also occur when you get tricked into thinking that you are “done” working on your message and platform.  When this happens, you begin to believe that your same old keynote topics will always be relevant, that your website copy is “good enough” for a few more years and that the language you originally drafted to describe your book and work is still fresh.  

Even though there are high-profile speakers on the circuit still delivering the same speech verbatim from 10 years ago, you won’t be able to get away with it. If your message feels inauthentic, outdated or out of sync with what your audience wants, you will lose connection with them.

How To Keep It Fresh

Successful thought leaders know how to stay up to date with their audience and their market. They also understand that their core message is dynamic, and they actively work to develop, refine and shape it. 

Before you write your next article, prep for your next interview or deliver your next speech, take some time to evaluate your messaging.  Ask yourself:

  • How can I tell the story of my book + work in a fresh new way to speak to the changing needs of my audience?
  • Can I add new stories and examples to my existing keynotes to make them more relevant or timely? (Or, is it time to create a new presentation?)
  • Can I incorporate fresh language and examples to describe my methodology or process in a more powerful way?
  • Does my website copy feel current and up-to-date? Does it convey what I most want clients and followers to know about me and the transformation I help create?

In a rapidly changing world and market, you can’t afford not to keep things fresh and timely. When you do, your audience will thank you and you’ll see better results from your efforts. 


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Not seeing enough progress with your message? (3 questions to move you forward)

elizabeth marshall thought leadership

“It’s complicated!” 

You may have used this phrase to describe family dynamics or intimate relationships, but the same can be said for the business of thought leadership.  As a thought leader, the relationships you have with your audience, message and market are constantly changing.  As a result, there are a lot of moving parts to manage and a seemingly endless number of decisions to make along the path to creating a lasting impact.    

Some days, you can feel confident in handling what’s in front of you. On other days, you can feel overwhelmed, frustrated and, yes, even ready to pull your hair out. 

It’s All About the Approach 

While frustrations and setbacks are part of the journey, you can often make matters worse by how you approach these situations.  When you’re facing uncomfortable challenges, it can be tempting to react in one of these two ways:

#1: Deciding To Do It All Yourself 

With this approach, it’s easy to get stuck. In some situations, you just need an outside perspective to “see” the solution. In other situations, you may lack the skills and experiences you need to solve the problem. 

#2: Hoping Others Will Do It All For You 

With this approach, the end product is never what you want. Why? There is a big difference between delegating intentionally and abdicating ownership of a situation or project.  To succeed in the thought leadership world, your work has to come from you.  No one can just “give” you a ready-made platform, book concept, or network of relationships. 

In either case, you lose sight of this important truth: you are the CEO of your book and business. 

It’s All About the People 

As with successful CEOs, experienced thought leaders know the importance of building a great team around them.  They use their network to find experts to augment their skills and experiences.  More importantly, they know the value of finding people who will tell them the truth - instead of what they want to hear. 

Pick one of the current challenges that’s standing in your way. Ask yourself: 

  • Do I need a fresh perspective to solve this problem?
  • Do I have the expertise and skills to create the caliber of results I want?
  • Who do I know that can recommend the expert help I need?

Whether it’s joining a mastermind group, finding an intern or hiring the right expert, the sooner you surround yourself with the right people, the faster you’ll move forward. 


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My Worst Book Review (and How I Dealt With It)

the contrarian effect

If you've been on the thought leader journey for a while, there’s a strong chance that you've received something like this: an email, blog comment or a nasty gram on Twitter citing various reasons why your message is “worthless” and why you don’t measure up. If you haven’t yet, don’t worry.  You’ll get one sooner or later, especially when you hold nothing back and truly show up for your audience.

In case you’re wondering, this is an actual review that I received for my book, The Contrarian Effect, which I co-wrote with Michael Port. Although I took some comfort in the fact that our book won two awards and received many 5-star reviews, it still hurt when I first saw this feedback.

Don’t Use Your Feedback as Your “Fuel”

Even though we know that “haters are gonna hate,” it can be easy to take this rejection personally and let it impact how we feel about our message and work.  Out of a room of 100 people, 99 could love your book, workshop or personal style, but we fixate on that one person who disapproves.

Although it’s tempting to want “everyone” to like our message, that desire can shift our energy and attention away from our true audience.  When that happens, it’s easy to feel small and to doubt your message and the transformation you create. Not to mention, we can become dependent on the positive feedback to motivate us and even validate our decisions.

How to Stay Connected to Your Bigger WHY

Even the most successful thought leaders can fixate on negative feedback or feel a need for positive validation, but they don’t stay stuck there. They've learned that the best remedy is to make a habit of staying connected to their bigger WHY.  This practice not only helps to keep rejection in perspective, but also serves as an internal fuel source to sustain them during the inevitable ups and downs.

There are a number of ways to consistently connect with your bigger vision.  Some of my clients make lists of their goals and read them aloud each week. Other clients practice creative visualization to focus on the specific outcomes they want.  Personally, I use meditation and other spiritual practices to stay aligned with the bigger picture. The key is to find a way that works for you and to practice it consistently.

If you’re serious about making your mark as a thought leader, this is a habit you can’t afford to skip.  If you don’t have time scheduled (even 5-10 mins) on a weekly basis to reflect on why you are doing this and where you are going, pull up your calendar and block out some time right now.


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Oprah, Magic Bullets, and Their Impact on Your Message

tom cruise oprah

Have you ever thought that your success would skyrocket if you could somehow be featured in the New York Times or interviewed by Oprah? If a similar thought hasn’t crossed your mind yet, just wait. It will. 

One day, you’ll hear the siren song and feel compelled to do crazy things, like begging or even bribing your strategist or PR firm to “MAKE IT HAPPEN!”  Although the promise and allure of the “magic bullet” can be incredibly enticing, the reality is often very different than we imagine. After all, we know how well extreme measures worked out for this guy! 

The Myth of the Magic Bullet 

Even the most established authors and speakers can get sucked in by the “magic bullet” and caught up in what they assume is going to produce the best results.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that you need to accept blindly an invitation from an obscure organization that has no budget or doesn’t serve your audience. 

All too often, however, I see thought leaders turning down quality opportunities that could lead to clients, significant partnerships, media and more, simply because what’s in front of them doesn’t feel “big enough” or look exactly like what they think they need to get to the next level. 

Say “Yes” to the Opportunities in Front of You 

Successful thought leaders know how to look at each opportunity from all angles, including how it fits into their bigger vision. One client who’s a $10,000 keynote speaker recently accepted a gig for $2,500 because the audience consisted of C-level executives and VPs of sizeable organizations - the exact profile of decision makers who are most likely to hire her for consulting work. Another client who said “yes” to writing a guest column for a smaller, “B List” publication (with the right audience) is now a headline columnist for a major media outlet. 

Before you turn down that guest blogging invitation, interview request or speaking gig just because it’s not from Oprah, pause and ask yourself these questions.  Will this opportunity help me: 

  • reach my target audience in a meaningful way?
  •  attract new clients and business development opportunities?
  • develop mastery of the skills I need to open bigger doors?
  • cultivate relationships with other speakers, sponsors or strategic partners?
  • build credibility and elevate my platform and brand?

By saying “yes” to what’s in front of you, you’ll not only experience immediate results but also position yourself to receive bigger invitations – much sooner than you imagined. 

As always, I love hearing how things are progressing for you.  Reply to this email and let me know how you’re doing. 

Until next week,


e


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3 Filters to Expand Your Impact (and Keep You on Track)

When you’re called to make an impact, the pressure can sometimes be blinding. Even when you’re making progress and experiencing results, it can feel like you’re not moving ahead.  When that happens, the internal pressure can cause you to grasp at the latest shiny objects or adopt other successful authors' strategies, hoping they will produce the same results for you. 

Before you realize it, you may find yourself in a situation like this guy - bewildered and wondering how you got there. 

How Clear is Your Vision?

Successful thought leaders know that it’s about more than being a “bestseller for a day” or somehow getting picked by Oprah.  They have a clear vision of the transformation they want to create. 

Beyond helping individual clients or delivering a single keynote, they will not rest until they see the impact of their message + work reflected in the wider industry and world around them. 

If you’re reading this and realizing your vision is not as clear as it should be, stop reading and reconnect to your bigger WHY. 

Choose Your Own Adventure 

Once you’re clear on your bigger vision, the trick is to keep it top of mind and use it as a filter to help you reach your goals. Here are three filters I use with my clients to help them evaluate and choose the right strategies, opportunities and relationships.

Ask Yourself

Is it a fit for my unique skills, gifts and talents?  

While there are some things you can outsource and other things you can improve with expert help, you can’t make yourself into a TV personality if that’s not who you are.

Is it a fit for my message? Will it help me reach my audience?

Just because you’ve heard that Pinterest sends more traffic to some websites than LinkedIn, it doesn’t mean that you’ll find your audience of executives and leaders hanging out there. 

 Am I actually willing to do it? 

Forcing yourself to blog three times a week won’t work if your heart’s not in it. Even though I’m a strong writer, I’ve used teleseminars, webinars and video for the past few years to connect to my audience. Why? Because I had a case of writer’s burnout. 

When you know and stay focused on the transformation you’re called to make, you’ll find your own adventure - and have much more fun in the process.


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The Temptation Every Author Faces (and How to Overcome it)

elizabeth marshall

Does this look familiar? 

  • You’ve given a talk to six people when you’d hoped for six hundred.
  • You’ve reached out to organizations that look like the perfect fit, but they don’t seem to be interested in your message.   
  • You’ve sent out a powerful new article to test out your next book concept and all you hear are crickets.

Ok, so you may not be bawling your eyes out with a party hat on, but this can often be the reaction when you put yourself out there and things don’t go as planned. 

Beware! It’s a Trap! 

When you feel like this, the natural reaction is to pull back and wait to be picked; however, this is a trap. After all, the temptation to retreat never goes away, even when you’ve reached a significant level of success.  If you succumb, your momentum will grind to a halt and you’ll eventually feel so small that you’ll lose connection to your audience and message. 

Learning to Ride a Bike (Again?!) 

The counter-intuitive “trick” that successful thought leaders know is this: instead of putting on the brakes, you have to pedal faster in order to regain your balance. Likewise, when you fall off, the longer you wait to get back on the bike, the harder it is. 

If you’re feeling a bit like my kid brother in the photo, the best thing you can do right now is to start pedaling.  Here’s a few suggestions:

  • After your speaking gig didn’t go as you hoped, read a testimonial you received from a previous engagement and use that energy to go out and book three more keynotes.
  • When you don’t get a response from that “perfect” organization, revisit your existing relationships and look for new opportunities with the groups you already know.
  • If the wider audience didn’t resonate with your new post, pick a few of your loyal fans who will give you their honest feedback and ask for their input.

If you lean into these inevitable moments, you’ll not only build up a healthy tolerance for these setbacks, but you’ll uncover a huge number of opportunities for your message and work.

As always, I love hearing how things are progressing for you.  Reply to this email and let me know how you’re doing. 


Until next week, 

e

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10 Ways for Thought Leaders Like You to Bounce Back

I just returned from giving the closing keynote at Greenleaf's Author Summit and had an insight that I wanted to share with you.

For the event, CEO Tanya Hall asked me to not only deliver an inspirational speech, but also to give the audience tangible strategies to survive the setbacks that happen along the way to making a lasting impact.

While delivering the talk, I realized that these 10 strategies were not only important for the authors in the room, but useful to thought leaders at all stages, including you.

Over the next few months, I'm going to be sending you one of these ideas per week that will help you move your message and business forward.

By the way, I'm not going to be sending you a tome.  These will be short, "snackable" emails you can digest while standing in line at Starbucks. Also, I think you'll get a kick out of the images that go along with them.

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Welcome + Resource for You

Welcome!  I’m thrilled to introduce you to my new website.  I’m glad you’ve stopped by to take a look and to explore what might be relevant for you as a thought leader.

In my experience, the best books are often the product of collaboration – a partnership between the author and all the experts needed to create an amazing final product.  I’ve found the same to be true with websites.  I know for a fact that I would not have this beautiful new online presence without the help of strategist and designer, Andrew McCluskey, and photographer, David Heisler.  If it’s time to upgrade your online presence and brand, I highly recommend Andrew and David!

Along with the new website, I’m creating something for you as well.  As you may have noticed, there’s no linear path or “blueprint” to follow when it comes to making a significant and lasting impact with your message and work.  From publishing models to the speaking industry to media outlets, everything about the business of thought leadership is changing in real time. What does that mean for you?  Whether you’re established or just getting started, success in this new world requires that you create a dynamic strategy that works for your message, audience and business model.  It also means that you must develop an ability to recognize when it’s time to change or revise your strategy and pivot to stay in sync with the opportunities in front of you.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be launching a new weekly newsletter dedicated to helping you navigate the ever-changing world of thought leadership and find your path to greater impact and income.  I’ll be sharing real-time examples from clients, current strategies and fresh insights you can apply no matter your stage, budget and goals.  Of course, I know inboxes are overflowing these days, so rest assured that I’ll send nothing but the best in a “short and sweet” format that you can easily digest.  That rhymed :)

Sound good?  Sign up for the newsletter below and I’ll be in touch soon.

In the meantime, feel free to say hello or to email me with any specific topics, themes or issues you would like me to address in an upcoming issue.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.

Stay tuned for additional updates and resources!

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