Stories Are More Effective than Logic – The Jaws Effect

January 28, 2017

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Remember the movie JAWS?

Well the summer Jaws came out, the number of Americans swimming in the ocean drastically declined.

Before Jaws, swimming in the ocean had been seen as fun. It still was.

But people refused to go in the water. Even after experts showed people their chance of dying in a shark attack was almost non existent.

In a survey more than 25 years after Jaws was released, a university proffesser said 43% of people who had seen the movie were still afraid of swimming in the ocean.

This was called the Jaws effect, and it shows how powerfully our brains can react to stories. Stories can even overpower logic.

Now stories don’t need to be based around sheer terror to work. And when you’re trying to sell something they probably shouldn’t be. In fact, as with every power we have over our fellow human beings, we want to use it ethically.

The takeaway is this: There are stories about your product, your service or yourself that have the power to move people – and get them to take action. And it doesn’t matter if your market is saturated, if your competition is strong, or if the economy is weak. Creating and presenting the right story gives you the ability to transcend these obstacles and create demand.

If you want to learn more about how I can help you sell through speaking and stories click here to book a free consultation.


How to do a networking introduction or elevator pitch

January 10, 2017

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How do you do a one minute elevator pitch? How do you create a great networking introduction that doesn’t bore people to tears?

In a recent episode of The Speaking for Profit Podcast,  I answer a listener question about how to introduce yourself at a networking event in a way that’s concise, interesting and memorable.

You can either listen to the whole episode (which also includes a great interview with Mercedez De Castro – a casting director, and performance coach) or simply read the transcript below.

The keys to being concise with your message


Jason: “You have to look at your marketing as an onion. If you’re a coach or consultant or have a service based business there’s probably a lot of layers you can talk about. But when you’re getting up there and introducing yourself. You’ve really got to go big picture and give them only that top layer of the onion.


So the key is stepping back and simplifying what you do.


Now, when I go out to networking events where people are doing formal introductions there are two types of introductions that kind of drive me around the bend. The first one is the overcomplicated, over-written jargon-jingle.


The problem with the jargon jingle is that it’s not conversational. It uses words you’d rarely or never use if you were talking to your mother. Because of this, the jargon-jingle is hard on the ear and on the brain. In fact, it may take you a while to figure out what the person beside you actually said. At a conference someone once came up to me and said:


“I’m a motivational consultant that helps underperforming small businesses deal with dynamic of intra-company teams and transform the dominant culture from sloth and suspicion to one of high engagement and productivity.”



Avoiding the Drunken Sales Flyer

The other type of poor networking introduction is what I call the drunken sales flyer. It’s more conversational and it’s in point form, but it’s all over the map. It’s like the speaker is randomly vomiting out pieces of information about his business. It sounds like this…


“Hi, I’m Rory. I help business with lots of things. Creating systems. Email marketing. Calendars, other computer stuff. Really anything you need doing. I’ve worked with businesses all over the Greater Toronto Area. Toronto, Mississauga, Richmond Hill. Ummm. Brampton I’m generally available from Monday to Friday 9 to 5pm most weekdays. I have my card here, did everyone get my card?”


The problem is that it’s really not giving anything of value to your audience. It’s not intriguing them or giving them any reason to want to hear what you say.


Creating a Great Networking Intro or Elevator Pitch


Now what if, instead, you kept it conversational but you also focused on having a logical structure and giving people a bit of insight and education. What if you thought of your networking intro as a one minute talk.


Not only would you make a positive impact, people would understand better how you could help them. So why don’t I use the same example of the person I used in the drunken sales flyer. Ok. Here goes.


Hi I’m Rory. I’m a virtual business manager

I work with solopreneurs who want to make more money with less time and effort. If you want to free up your time, and make more money in your business you need three things:

Number one. You need to create systems so that you don’t reinvent the wheel every time you do something.

Number two. You need to automate as many of your systems as possible so that you don’t spend your time doing menial tasks

And three. You need to  Delegate your remaining tasks so that you can spend more time making sales.

If you want to know more about how I can save you time and money, please see me at the break.


Sound better?”

Getting Clients with A Signature Talk – Why You Need to Work Backwards

January 10, 2017

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What do mystery novelists and speak-to-sell speakers have in common? They both work backwards.

The mystery novelist does this so that the clues in their novel will make sense. Speak to sell speakers do it so that they can attract the best potential clients.

Before you start creating your signature talk, you need to know what you want that talk to do for you.

Specifically, you need to know what you want your audience to do. Chances are, you eventually want them to become clients – either by purchasing something at the event, or following up with you afterwards so you can place them in a program that’s right for them.

Knowing the end goal makes your talk much easier to create and keeps you from sabotaging yourself.

I knew a marketing coach who had a presentation about how to promote your business on the cheap. Then she wondered why her prospective clients picked her brain for free and never actually bought anything from her. Those were the type of clients she was attracting with her talk!

You’ll also want to stay away from doing talks that give detailed how-to information. These types of talks make the audience feel they know everything once it’s done. They have no reason to buy anything or engage with the speaker.

When you create your signature talk, think executive-level insights.

What wisdom can you offer that isn’t easily searchable on Google? A talk like that is not only worth listening to, but also highlights an expert who’s well worth hiring!

Interested in an entertaining speaker to show you how to create powerful presentations that sell? Click here.

How to be a great Master of Ceremonies – with Chris Mei

January 4, 2017

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What does it take to be a great M.C.? What should you look for when you hire an emcee?

Many novice meeting planners don’t realize how important the emcee is to the success of the event. The Master of Ceremonies is in charge of timing, pacing, and making the audience feel welcome (just to name a few things).

Cindy Ashton and I interviewed Canada’s Master of Ceremonies Chris Mei on our first episode of The Speaking for Profit Podcast. It’s still one of my favourites. Click the player below to listen.



There are so many highlights in this episode it was difficult to pick one. I do love what Chris has to say on the less talked about skills of being master of ceremonies at a big event.

So the number one part of being a a good master of ceremonies is don’t take over the show. It’s not about you – you are there to facilitate the rest of the event.

Number two is you have to be greater than just a “rip and reader”. You need to be invested in the event.

There’s so many different ways event planners can look for a master of ceremonies. You can go the cheap way, and that is to get somebody to volunteer their services from within a committee or something like that.

Or you may go to a local radio station, pay some advertising, and get somebody to come on out and which is actually how i got started.

But if you want success year after year, you really you need somebody who’s going to buy into the vision of the event because, if you’re going to put that much time effort and money into putting together your charity fundraising gala, or an awards ceremony, or whatever you’re putting together – if you don’t have somebody committed to the program, committed to the product, then you’re short changing yourself. You’re only going to be as good as that person ship steering the ship.

To be a great Master of Ceremonies there are some crucial things that very few people think about. You have to be somebody who’s good with time management, because when a committee puts together an event and they have people paying hundreds of dollars for a seat or maybe thousands of dollars for a table and if you tell these people it’s going to start at this time it must start at that time.

But it’s actually even more important to end on time because the people that are in the audience want to get home. They may have hired a babysitter or they have a work day the next day, or they have somebody waiting for them. So ending on time is crucial

Here’s one thing that I always tell to committees that reach out to me.

It is your your your goal is to have a great event, but your greater goal is to be able to sell tickets the next year right you have time yeah so if people get have the people have the experience that it was ill run it started late it ended late the chances of them turning around and buying a ticket the next year lessen dramatically.”

Listen to the episode for more of this great interview with Chris Mei. We also discuss Chris’ acting role as The Penguin in the Movie Billy Madison as well as his memories of working with Adam Sandler and Chris Farley.

How to sell coaching or other abstract services

January 4, 2017

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Why is coaching so difficult to sell to people? Well one of the big problems is that coaching is an abstract concept. Whether it’s life coaching, health coaching, business coaching, or executive coaching, the practice of coaching is difficult to explain and lacks tangible benefits.


In this episode of The Speaking for Profit Podcast, I spend a few minutes talking about how to properly sell coaching to a prospective client.

Click the player below to listen to the whole episode or simply scroll down for highlights on how to sell coaching.



In the show highlight below, I talk to Cindy Ashton about how selling coaching is like selling happiness.  To do it correctly, you need to concentrate not on the happiness itself, but what the happiness can bring your prospective client in terms of money, time, health and relationships.


Cindy:  And I think this is a great time to talk about your thought of the day Jason because it really involves one of the big issues in speaking to sell, which is describing the benefits of the product or service you’re selling.


Jason: That’s right Cindy, and there are certain things that are easier to sell than others. For instance, you can describe the benefits of a hammer, or a car, but what if what you are selling is a little more abstract?


Cindy: Something like coaching for instance?


Jason: Exactly. Now of course there are different kinds of coaches. Business or marketing coaches are pretty straightforward – you know what you’re getting. But what if your service involves transforming people, or improving performance, or improving happiness?
There are many things that people say they want, but aren’t willing to pay for. Happiness is one of them. We all want to be happy, but it’s very difficult to get someone to buy anything at a substantial price by simply telling them it will make them happier.


As a rule of thumb, there are four benefits that people are in the habit of paying for. Money, time, health and relationships.


Notice that happiness is not a selling point. Happiness is something that everyone thinks they want, but few people actually buy. And this is key, because when you’re a coach and you’re speaking to sell, you don’t just want people to agree with you – you want them to buy something at a significant price point.


Recently, one of my clients gave me a test. She said, ” How would you sell a program designed to make people happier with their lives?”


So I came up with something like this.…


“Are you tired of wasting your precious time being miserable and not enjoying life? How many months or years have you lost… just existing… not really living?

I want you to really think for a moment about how much it costs you when you don’t have your life together. What has it cost you in terms of your career and your earning power? How much has it cost you in terms of your personal health? How much has it cost you in your relationships with the people you love… or the people you could have loved?”


Cindy: Wow. Where do I sign up?


Jason: Notice how framing the happiness question around these other benefits makes them more powerful?


There’s lots more to enjoy in this show. Click the player below to listen to the entire episode.