Showing up online can unlock opportunities for anyone, regardless of who you are or your station in life!
So, what does it mean to show up?
If you look up the phrase, you will find the following: to show up means to be conspicuous or clearly visible.
A few years ago, Rachel Wilkerson Miller, a journalist-turned-self-help-author wrote a book about showing up. According to her book, “The Art of Showing Up – How to be there for yourself and your people”, showing up is defined as the following:
“Showing up is what turns the people you know into your people. It’s at the core of creating and maintaining strong, meaningful bonds with friends, family, co-workers and internet pals. Showing up is the act of bearing witness to people’s joy, pain and true selves; validating their experiences; easing their load; and communicating that they are not alone in this life. It’s a concept that I experience on such a deep-rooted emotional level, I sometimes struggle to describe it. I know it when I see it, and I’m betting you do, too.”
It is therefore safe to say that showing up online is the act of creating and maintaining strong meaningful bonds with people with whom you build relationships with and meet online.
It is vital we Sign Up. Suit Up. And #ShowUP
A recent guest on my live show (#ShowUp with GailNow), Mitch Jackson is an awesome example of someone who truly shows up online! He and I met through the Speed Networking segment at a Social Media Event that had nothing to do with manufacturing or law (the sectors in which we both work)!
He is a disruptor; he applies his 35 years of practicing law to help and add value to consumers and clients who are doing the digital dance at the intersection of law, business and technology, including the Metaverse and Web3.
This award-winning trial lawyer has been described as the one of the best in the world at using social media! He has spoken at various events, including the Tony Robbins Business Mastery event several times and appeared as a guest or shared expert commentary on shows with Katie Couric, Anderson Cooper, Seth Godin, Peter Diamandis, and Gary Vaynerchuk.
Mitch is a consulting expert to the book, “Shame Nation,” written by Sue Scheff with the foreword by Monica Lewinsky and, a contributing author to the California Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) “Effective Introduction of Evidence in California- Chapter 54 Electronic and Social Media Evidence.
During the show, something that came to the fore is that Mitch is truly a champion for sharing one’s story. Here is an excerpt from our discussion:
“…when the internet rolled out, we put up our first website around 1995. And about eight months later, and by the way, doing so allowed us to be one of the first law firms not only in California, but across the country that actually had a website where we are interacting with clients, we’re doing what back then they were called bulletin boards. And within about eight months, a million dollar case came into our law firm from that website. And once again, I’m like, okay, maybe there’s something to this internet thing. I love people. I love having conversations. I love storytelling. That’s why you and I connected. I think we have very similar personalities.”
Mitch believes that it is pertinent to show up online and having a digital footprint is something we should do!
“… digital has changed my life. It’s changed the trajectory of our law firm, and I don’t care what you’re producing, manufacturing, selling or buying. Having a digital footprint in today’s global economy is just such a smart way to spend your day.”
So, what is a digital footprint? According toWikipedia, a Digital footprint or digital shadow refers to one’s unique set of traceable digital activities, actions, contributions and communications manifested on the Internet or digital devices.
During our discussion, Mitch mentioned that showing up online and developing a digital footprint has opened up so many business opportunities for him and his firm. He also mentioned that it allowed them to expand their brand, from local to global and for them to meet fascinating people from all over the world.
Mitch even listed a few different things that happened to him as a result of his digital footprint:
8 months after putting up their first website in 1995, his firm landed a million dollar client through the website.
He was invited to participate on the first live video platform called Spreecastand as a result, found himself on shows with Katy Couric, Anderson Cooper, Peter Diamandis and Gary Vaynerchuk.
His experience on Spreecast also allowed him to meet one of the founders, Jeff Fluhr, who is also the co-founder of StubHub, which is a major American ticket resale company.
As Mitch said, “I think what matters is the ability to make new relationships and build our brands, and create new opportunities, you know, by wrapping our digital arms around these digital platforms.”
Tradition, especially in the law, means a great deal.
Traditions bind us to people and ideas that came before us. They can attach meaning to the things we say and do. Unfortunately, tradition can also hold us back from addressing decisions that need rethinking. It’s acceptable to begin anew every once in a while.
Most people start law school intending to end up as a “traditional lawyer.” Whether they envision themselves attending to cases in court, drafting contracts, or otherwise serving the needs of the inadequately represented, they imagine reading, writing, and standing up for their future clients.
Most law schools also plan for you to end up as a “traditional lawyer.”
Mitch is anything but a traditional lawyer!
Although he practices law, he also truly shows up for himself and others online. As previously mentioned, he helps and adds value to his clients through the Metaverse and Web3, which is definitely not mainstream at all.
According to an article onForbes.com, these are two terms that are generating a great deal of hype and excitement in the world of business technology today.
Here are the definitions provided:
In simple terms, web3 is the decentralized internet – built on distributed technologies like blockchain and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO) rather than centralized on servers owned by individuals or corporations.
The idea is that this will create a more democratized Internet. No single entity will control the flow of information or “pull the plug” and kill a network, simply because they can as they own the hardware it’s running on.
The metaverse (or just “metaverse”), on the other hand, is really, at the moment, a shorthand for virtual worlds, where users can interact with each other and engage with apps and services in a far more immersive way. The term “metaverse” first appeared in Neal Stephenson’s sci-fi novel Snow Crash, where it described a virtual reality world.
When asked why he approached serving his clients in this very non-traditional way, Mitch responded as follows”
“Number one, I’m doing it because the consumers that are tapping in and watching the show or listening to the podcast, or watching this presentation in the metaverse, they’re getting a kick out of this new information and what they’re watching happen in real time. And then they’re gonna know that we’re actually good, genuine human beings who care about our community that care about our country. And I think from that comes the business from that comes to sales. from that comes the relationships and the new opportunities that just aren’t there. For people and companies that go through life with these binders on where it’s all about me, it’s all about me, it’s all about me, that’s great. But I don’t think that’s the formula or recipe for a life full of tasty biscuits. I just don’t think that’s the way to roll.”
He also shared an important story about how he started Hang gliding:
“So I grew up in Tucson, Arizona. During my high school football senior year, I was at a practice in August. It was probably 115 degrees and I was wearing full pads. This is back in the day where the coaches didn’t really let us drink water because it was making us tougher, you know. Next to my school was a mountain. I looked up during practice and saw these hang gliders. This is back in 1974/75. Watching these hang gliders fly off of a mountain in the cool desert breeze and thinking to myself, “That looks so cool; It’s like they’re flying around like eagles! This was just a few years into the sport. A buddy of mine remarked, “You know what? That could be us. We need to take hang gliding lessons!” We asked our moms and dads and they probably didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into, but they said it’s fine. And so the following week, we found ourselves down at a place called summit hut in Tucson, Arizona, that taught hang gliding lessons, and it was called Ground School. We did four weeks of evening ground school and we started to learn what hang gliding was all about.
Fast forward to about a month later, we were down in southern Arizona running down these big grass hills, with these hang gliders on our backs. All of a sudden, our feet were in the air and we’re not touching the ground anymore!
That was pretty cool!
Fast forward about a year after that and we were flying all over Arizona and California, and had acquired our expert hang gliding ratings. We were flying for hours at a time, miles above the ground.
Looking back, it was one of those situations where it was something I would’ve liked to do, but never thought I’d be able to. It would never have happened if I hadn’t taken those first steps! I don’t need to be an expert hang glider pilot, but I’m glad I got to taste the sport and see if it was for me.
What I learned from that is this: oftentimes, it’s just a matter of taking short, easy to digest steps. One step at a time, not really knowing where it’s going to take you, but you’re enjoying the journey and you’re having fun while you’re doing it. I think that’s super important!”
I think that’s a good reason to learn anything or to show up: it’s a matter of taking small steps and learning as you go! You don’t need to be an expert, but you can explore and learn something new. As we all know, growth doesn’t happen in your comfort zone!
So next time you find yourself thinking about showing up online: don’t agonize too much!
Instead, just start telling your story. Stay in your comfort zone at first, then talk about what you know. You may be surprised at how easy it can be to attract people when you are just being you because you know more than you realize!
We all have potential to be great, but we have to start! We have to be curious AND we must #ShowUP!!!
Ben Baker knows about branding – and podcasts – and life as keynote speaker.
As a recovering journalist the table was turned for Ben to interview me.
You can listen to the podcast here – read the transcript below – and then make sure to reach out to Ben and listen to some of his other shows. Personal branding is so vital in this new digital world. As a curiosity seeker I love podcasts, I love learning and most of all I love to share stories!
So this blog has a few more of my stories but also I reference some key people in my manufacturing life and their links are at the end. All well worth connecting with.
Ben did all of the heavy lifting to set up a pre-interview, do the research, conduct the main interview (below) and then do the trancript, Tweetable highlights, links to people I mentioned and then packaged it all up to help push out on social media.
He is indeed a top notch Podcast Host for Hire. I am grateful he had me as guest and so this is also a very meta blog to go with our podcast.
So here goes… over to Ben!
Ben Baker: [00:00:25] In this episode, I’ve got a real firebrandfor you. Gail Robertson is joining me. We’re going to talk about curiosity as a superpower. I’m going to bring it right on. We are going to have a phenomenal conversation. Gail, welcome to the show.
Gail Robertson, GailNow: [00:00:43] Thank you. I’m so happy to be here. I’m pumping up and ready to talk about curiosity as a superpower indeed.
Ben: [00:00:53] I’m going to do some shout-outs to Curt Anderson, Dan Bigger, the Manufacturing Happy Hour and everybody who is part of that. You and I met through the manufacturing community, which is an incredible community. They are so tight-knit. They help each other out. There is so much phenomenal stuff going on. I sat there and went, “I’ve got to talk to Gail.” Here we are. I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. Let’s have a conversation. First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you come from? Where are you now? We’ll then get to where we’re going together.
Gail: [00:01:35] I help manufacturers tell their stories. As a recovering journalist, I also use curiosity as part of my three-step process, which is to sign up, suit up and show up. Those are the things that I work with the manufacturers. It’s to help get them out of their comfort zone and start stepping into using social media and into this new digital age. It’s not that new but in the manufacturing world, it is seen as something that they’re not always comfortable participating in. You were talking about all of these exciting things that are happening in manufacturing, except a lot of people don’t know about it.
Ben: [00:02:18] It’s a great kept secret. I’ll tell you that much.
Gail : [00:02:20] Curt Anderson says, “Stop being the best-kept secret.” I take it from there and say, “I got you, Curt.” The next thing is, how do we do that? It’s a couple of things. One is we have to start pulling those stories out. Since I don’t come from manufacturing, I’ve been able to see things that they may not always see. There’s a term we talk about in the world that I’m in, which is mostly in mold-making, automation and plastic injection world. It’s the people that make things that make things.
When we hear manufacturing, we often think of the end product. People think about the cars rolling off and they see that. There are so many steps leading up to that final product. It’s exciting to see from the tools being made how much steel is needed. We’re facing the issues of the supply chain, but the supply chain is going to be an ongoing issue. How do we start getting more people to understand what that means?
When we’re talking about issues at the border, that impacts all of us. It’s not just the people waiting to get the products crossing the border. It will mean a delay in getting the products on our shelves, getting cars. I ordered a new vehicle in the summer of 2021. It was supposed to come in November 2021, and it’s not coming in until February 2022. I got a note that it’s ready at the end of February. That’s where we’re seeing things behind the scenes. I can understand why that delay is happening.
Ben: [00:04:09] When I was younger, I dated the niece of the Rear-Admiral of the West Coast Fleet. We used to talk about the Sea King helicopters. They were known as 10,000 parts flying in close formation. We need to think that everything we make is made up of parts. There are very few things that we make and consume that are one true part.
A car has brakes, tires, wheelsand seats. It has different levels of computers. Each one of those pieces has to be manufactured. They then all have to be brought to a certain location for assembly, and the car needs to be assembled. If one part, let’s say that chipset, is not available or if all of a sudden there’s a shortage of chipsets, all those cars can’t go off the assembly line. The 99.9% of the parts could be available but if that one thing is not there, the cars don’t roll.
Manufacturing and logistics are so intertwined. They always have been, but it has come to a head. It’s amazing that so few people understand what it takes to make anything. How do you get that story out of people with curiosity? If we don’t tell that story and get people to appreciate what the challenges and opportunities are, nothing gets done.
Gail: [00:05:49] You’re right about the parts behind the scenes and also the role of plastics. This is another area that I’m very focused on. We hear about the banning of plastics when people don’t understand that issue. It’s about the disposal of plastics, not that we want to ban plastics. Plastic is part of medical devices. It’s part of everything that we’re using all the time. That’s one issue that sparked my curiosity because before getting into this industry, I might have thought, “Ban some plastic.”
This is where curiosity is vital. We need to ask more questions and look around corners. This is a bit cliché but in any business, you have to look at things differently. I’m sitting on the board of the Canadian Association Of Mold Makers, which I chuckle at when I tell some of my friends. They’re like, “How did you get on that board?”
Here is a shoutout to Ben – He can be a podcast host for you!
It has been the best learning experience. What I bring to that board is the outside perspective. This is where curiosity comes in because I spend a lot of time working with clients, sometimes trying to get them out of their own way because they are so close to the story and the world they’re in. They don’t think anyone will care about some of their stories or they think, “That’s too simple.”
Curiosity: You need to tell the simple stories of your industry and explain what is happening.
When it comes to looking at how decisions are made from a sales perspective, it’s not only the engineer at the end of the process that may be searching and reading up about your company. It could be someone in marketing, someone in finance or even one of the owners or the owner’s children searching. You need to tell people the simple stories of your industry and explain what is happening.
The biggest problem at times with people in manufacturing is they don’t think they have a story. That’s the biggest roadblock. That is where I come in because I bring that new perspective. I bring to manufacturing a new and exciting approach to how we can tell stories. We still have to tell the stories differently and think about the different kinds of audience. It may now be politicians. It’s people making decisions about whether they’re going to open the border or not, and what is considered an essential worker?
That was a whole topic that when I was sitting on the board, we had a lot of discussions and did a lot of advocacy work. These people behind the scenes in manufacturing are essential workers. If you don’t have the tools to make the plastic products to get the items on the trucks and on our store shelves, we have a problem. It’s connecting the dots.
Ben: [00:08:57] That’s a big thing. It’s connecting the dots because the manufacturers themselves either feel they don’t have a story to tell, which they do, or they assume that everybody understands their story, which they don’t. We all know what we do very well. We’re in it every day. We’re sitting in the pocket. We’re doing what we’re doing. We get it. We have this horrible assumption that if we understand what we do, everybody understands what we do. Most people don’t understand the nuance of what other people do or why they should care.
It’s the big thing about,“Why I should care? How is what you do helping me achieve my goals?” If we can’t paint it in that picture and if we can’t enable people to sit there and say, “I have a problem. I’m listening to this person’s story. They can solve my problem because they’ve seen that problem before. I need to pick up a phone, send them an email, or get in touch with them to be able to sit there and say, ‘Can you help me?’” If we don’t tell those stories in ways that people can listen to understand and value, nobody’s going to come.
Gail: [00:10:20] This ties into also telling more of those people’s stories. When it comes to the world I’m in which is mold-making and making a tool, it’s like, “Here’s the metal and how the tool is made,” but the people behind the scenes are the problem solvers. What we all need to do is look at what the problem is and how we can provide a solution.
Part of providing that solution is telling the story of the people behind the scenes. It’s going to be the mold designers and the program managers that have had experience at a tryout and seeing what works and what doesn’t work. It’s going to be the sales team that also has their handle on the client and what they need. This can apply to so many different industries. I’m focused on manufacturing, but I’ve also worked in insurance and technology. The same rules apply.
I was at a trade show working for travel insurance. Even though I wasn’t a broker and didn’t know a lot about all the details, I knew the questions to ask because we were a company that would work with home and auto insurance brokers. We would be able to sell travel insurance for them without them worrying about us stealing their lunch.
I would ask a question like, “Do you have problems sometimes with people being concerned about preexisting conditions?” They would stop and go, “Yes.” That would start a conversation, and I would hand them over to the broker who knew more of the background. Sometimes it’s the simplest thing. The people in that industry would have never maybe thought to ask that question because they thought, “Everybody knows about that.” I prove to them that maybe they didn’t.
They haven’t looked at it in that particular way.
It’s all about how you look at it. When you know too much, you can’t sometimes see how much people may need to learn from you. You have to break it down to basics. Twitter, for example. I know Twitter. I can help people with Twitter, but Madalyn Sklar also knows it. There’s enough room for all of us. She has a lot of expertise in that area, but I can also work on Twitter. It’s not that I have to say, “I can’t do it because Madalyn is doing it.”
It was from one of the guests in your show that I heard that we have to get away from this idea of worrying about our competition all the time. What we need to work on is our own strengths and what we can bring to the table. How can we bring our strengths, step up to the plate and show up? My three steps are sign up, suit up and show up.
When I show up, at times, it’s the easiest or the most difficult. It’s in your preparation. I’ve shown up even if I have not always felt ready. That’s where you need the curiosity to ask questions. In high school, I was asked to cover Junior B Hockey. I was taking a Journalism class. I knew nothing about hockey. I didn’t even have brothers and they want me to go cover hockey. This wasn’t even the little type. This was Junior B and it was a big deal in the town I grew up in. I said, “I’ll go cover it.” It’s amazing how I ask questions and soon, I was writing about hockey and covering those hockey games every Sunday night.
Ben: [00:14:11] You said something interesting about it being a people thing. Every company, customer, and vendor of yours is made out of people. When we can tell stories that affect and touch other human beings, that show them how you care about them and how you could help them, all of a sudden, they’re going to pay attention.
Curiosity: The biggest problem with people in manufacturing is they don’t think they have a story.
People have challenges and issues. They are scared, frustratedand need solutions. If you can tell a story that says, “It’s not about me and not about this widget that I create, but these are the wonderful people that I work with in my organization, and how they work to be able to help you achieve your goals,” all of a sudden, we’re at a human-to-human basis.
Unless you’re curious, you’re never going to be able to touch those stories and touch people’s souls. When you’re dealing with a new client and you’ve never met them before, whether it’s hockey, manufacturing or anything, how do you go about getting them to open up effectively and draw those stories out of them? It’s challenging.
Gail: [0015:35] Like anything, it does take time. It takes building up those relationships and trust. What I do is go back to what your goals and objectives are. You have first to start looking at what you want to accomplish. It’s not a matter of just telling stories for the sake of, “That’s a good story,” or having a good laugh. It’s about what the goals and objectives are.
When building out those stories, you can always connect them back to their goal. If their goal is to look at developing their brand and they want to get their name out there, it’s maybe about telling some stories about the company. Who’s behind the company? How can you personalize it more so it’s not just ABC company? It’s the people behind the name.
One of my great clients is Cavalier Tool & Manufacturing. They have nailed it in terms of understanding the power of the story. Brian Bendig is the son of one of the original owners. He has taken the company down the road of doing things differently and changing how mold-making is seen. He also has people in place on his team to continue to tell those stories as well.
They are willing to go out and do things a bit differently. They have taken some direction from me when they’ve done trade shows where it’s less about putting the product on the floor and more about what will draw people into the booth and how you can talk to people and communicate. They did one show in Germany. They were the only Canadian company so we did a whole Canadian hockey theme. People were coming into the booth. We had some Canadian beer there.
It was less about the tools and how to make tools and more about the people. All the staff were wearing hockey jerseys. It started these conversations and it got them noticed. With manufacturing, that’s where they can do something different. They stepped outside what may seem as the norm. It may not work for all companies. When I go in, I try to get a vibe on the personality of the company and what they’re willing to share because that may not work for everyone. That’s a key issue. There’s no cookie-cutter to this. It’s not like going to them and saying, “You should do this because it has worked at another company.” It’s about asking the right questions. If they weren’t comfortable doing that, it’s not going to work.
Being able to tell your story, you want to tell it in a way that you’re comfortable with that. My job is to help pull those stories out and put them in the context of their goals and objectives. Not all the stories should be about selling and what they want to sell. It’s about what does your audience need and what are their problems that you can solve? That comes down to how you can tell a story to show that you can help them with their problems.
Ben: [00:18:46] I love that you’re saying that there is no cookie-cutter approach. If there were a cookie-cutter approach, every company would look and be marketed the same. Every company would tell the same story, and they’re not. Every company is authentic unto themselves. We need to differentiate them. You talked about a red M&M’s in a bowl of greens. I love the fact that there’s one red M&M’s in a bowl of greens. I’m going to let you talk about that.
Gail: [00:19:17] I first heard that story, the red M&M’s and the bowl of green, from Damon Pistulka, who I cherish and crossed paths with. He talks about how you can stand out even if you may feel it’s uncomfortable and difficult. If it were easy, everybody would be doing it. All you have to do is look at how many people are producers and consumers.
Most people are consuming content. If you want to just blend in and be like everybody else in manufacturing in particular, then just sit back, consume, and wonder why your competition is going to get ahead of you. This red M&M’s idea is that you want to stand out. If you’re going to go on social media, you have to be willing to step out and do something different.
That has been something that I’ve used in a few areas of talks that I give because I hope people can understand the why. That goes back to what your goal is. If your goal is to go on social and produce a checklist, I am not a checklist person. For people that want to work with me, it’s very individual. It’s also very much about, “Are we going to have success working together?”
If I don’t feel we can have success working together, then it’s not the right client for me. If you think social media and using digital is not going to work, we’re not going to have the best fit. I don’t know how else you can share your story without using the tools of the trade that are required to get your word out to a broader audience.
Ben: [00:21:11] It’s interesting that you said the majority of people are consumers of content. Somebody told me that less than 5% of people on social media create original content in any way, shape or form. That includes people that put out one piece of new and unique content a year. It is dramatic that the people who are putting ongoing, consistent and value-added content out there that speaks to an audience are probably less than 2% if you look at it.
Curiosity: If we don’t tell those stories in ways that people can listen to understand and value, nobody’s going to come.
A lot of that comes down to the fact that people are not curious enough about their audience on their social platform to have real conversations with them and push the boundaries to sit there and say, “You’ll assume that you’re going to keep doing what you’ve always done, but you’re going to get what you always got if you’re lucky,” or, “Have you thought of things this way?” When we can push those boundaries and enable our customers to be curious and question how they’ve originally done things where maybe there’s a better way, we can have better conversations.
How do you help your customers who are not comfortable with social media? Most manufacturers are not. Let’s be fair about it. How do you help and take them by the hand and say, “This isn’t so scary, and here’s how you can dip your foot in the pond in a way that gets you comfortable first before we start getting you uncomfortable?”
Gail: [00:22:58] I don’t necessarily look at taking on all comers because they have to be willing to recognize that they need and want help. That’s why my three steps are sign up, suit up and show up. The first step is to sign up. That’s the first discussion.
Ben: [00:23:18] They have to raise their hand and say, “Gail, I need help.”
Gail: [00:23:22] The next is to be willing to change how they have been doing things. That’s the suit up. That’s where curiosity comes in. I can come in with the research and show you how you can increase your numbers. I’m able to do that using Google Analytics and various social media metrics to show them that when you’re putting content out, you’re going to get more attention and develop your brand recognition. Your name will get out there.
The next question I get is, “How does this turn into selling my tools and product?” It is overtime. It is a bit like search engine optimization. It’s not something that you’re going to turn on a switch and within 1 or 2 weeks, it will magically happen. It’s going to be a layering process, but it’s like sales in real life. You have to get out there, talk to people and do some networking.
I usually encourage them to take part in various networking events, show up at webinars, and have conversations in the comments section. Some of that, I do help with to encourage them. I also saw something on LinkedIn. There was a discussion. I don’t know whose page it was but Greg Mischio commented as well. It’s about the idea of rejection. No one likes rejection. That ties into the whole fear idea. People think, “If I post something, what if someone doesn’t like it? What if they’re going to push back? What if they don’t like me?” It may happen but it’s also as in real life. If you don’t take a stand and let people know what your position is, then you’ll just blend in. You’re that vanilla.
The best compliment I had was when someone said, “Gail, you’re not vanilla.” As my client once said to me, “It’s important to speak truth to power.” That’s something that I do well. I’ve been very blessed with having amazing bosses who encourage that. It taught me a good lesson that I want to work with clients who will accept that I’m not probably just going to say, “I’ll do whatever you tell me to do.” I will push back and I’m going to give another perspective. At the end of the day, they’re paying the bills so they can make the final choice. I get that. I’m not going to get into an argument with them. It’s important to recognize that I’m not everybody’s cup of tea, but I may be your shot of tequila.
That is something that I like to promote if someone is looking to get help to tell their story. They may even be listening and go, “We do not want that attitude. We do not need her energy.” There may be someone that goes, “I want someone who will tell me the truth, come to the table with a different way of looking at things, and be able to feel comfortable speaking up.”
I had this one boss one time. He was great. He knew me to be pushing back. I said, “Fine.” He says, “What do you mean by fine?” He was all worked up because I said fine. I said, “Here’s what I mean. I don’t agree with your decision on this, but it’s not something that I’m going to make a big deal about. I said fine because I’m going to do it. We’re not going to agree on everything. You’ll know if I really disagree, I wouldn’t say fine and go ahead. I was also not going to say, ‘That’s a great idea,’ when I don’t think it’s a great idea. I’m going to tell you what I believe.” It’s having that open discussion that’s so important.
That’s where I’ve been able to niche with my business and work with people. I will say, “I’ll go to the wild for you.” I am very excited about working in manufacturing and with people who want to embrace curiosity and my version of curiosity. If I’m not clear on something, they’re going to come back and ask those questions. I’m not going to run off and spend two weeks on something only to find out that that’s not what you’re looking for.
I’ve also used this with a young woman I was mentoring with. I said, “It’s a sign of strength to say I don’t know and I need help.” That’s what I don’t mind doing. When I was a manager of staff, I also encouraged them. I said, “Always know that I will see you as a much stronger dynamic part of the team if you come and ask me the question and not go and assume that you understand.”
Ben: [00:28:22] You and I both want clients that not only think that we are the red M&M’s or the tequila, but they want to be the red M&M’s and the tequila. There are 7.5 billion people in this worldand 99.9% of them will never know I exist. I could care less. If I could deal with 1/10 of 1% of humanity and get those people to understand the value I provide and have a conversation, I could be a billionaire.
The reality is that there are so many people and opportunities out there. We need to find the ones that resonate with our message. To the people who are scared about being curious and putting content out there that may be a little challenging or provocative, realize that the people who push back are your greatest assets. Those are the people that you’re going to learn from. You’re going to say, “I hadn’t thought of that perspective before. That’s great.” You want to engage those people and say, “I love the fact that you’re challenging me on this. What did you mean by that, and how can we make this better?”
Curiosity: Part of providing that solution is telling the story of the people behind the scenes.
That’s where we get back to the curiosity. It’s that we need to care about our customers. We need to take a look, sit there and go, “What do they care about? What’s important to them? What do they need? What’s going to make their lives better? How can we do that?” You and I do this for the different clients that we support, but it’s up to them to turn around, push the mirror in the other direction, and be able to take a look, sit there and be curious about their customers. I love that.
Gail: [00:30:15] To anybody reading, I strongly encourage you to go back and read some of these earlier episodes. You have some amazing guests. I’ve learned so much. I feel extremely privileged to be one of your guests. There is so much to go around. It comes down to, “Do you believe that there is enough or do you believe that you have competition?” You can sit back and say, “There’s someone else. They’re going to do this work,” but no one can bring to the table your own specific energy, personality, drive and interest.
The next step is, “What is it that the audience finds important?” That’s something we both do. It’s not the stories we want to tell. It’s not what I think is important. It’s what does the end reader care about. That started in high school. When I was covering hockey, I had to think about the readers out there. I learned from some great mentors, including the publishers and editors of that paper, that it’s not only the hockey experts reading this. It will be some general public. It’s going to be the parents and people who may not know a lot about hockey as well.
Often when making decisions, sometimes people who are sitting around the table want to tell the stories they care about. I try not to say this in a rude way, but it’s not what you care about or how you are reading the article. It’s who is reading this. This is where Google Analytics and looking at your stats as to who’s coming to your website. Who are the people that may be interested in learning about your brand? It could be future employees, engineers or someone working in HR and marketing. There are so many different people that are looking at this.
It comes down to making sure you’re sharing the stories that will resonate. It’s also going back to your goal of telling those stories. It’s not just a vanity project. It’s not, “We have this new piece of equipment. Let’s talk about how great it is.” I’m always saying, “Why will the customer care? You’re telling me it works great and this is a great machine. I see that it’s going to reduce the amount of time.” Now you can get their product out to them.
You can get that tool made to go to the molder, who can then get it to market by a week or two earlier, which can make a big difference. Now, this equipment starts to make sense. It’s not just that it’s shiny and bright, and it goes at whatever RPMs. That’s nice if you’re out and you care about that piece of equipment, but most of the customers will want to know, “Why are you sharing it? Why did I stop to read this? Why am I on YouTube watching this video? What’s in it for me?” Meaning what’s in it for them because that’s what they care about.
Ben: [00:33:44] Let’s land this. You and I could talk about this for another hour. First of all, what’s the best way for people to get in touch with you? If they’re in the manufacturing industry and looking to tell their story better, they know how to get in touch with you.
Gail: [00:34:03] Go to my LinkedIn. I do a weekly LinkedIn live show. It’s ShowUP with GailNow Live. It’s every Wednesday at 1:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. I interview people in manufacturing and also people outside of manufacturing who show up. We can sometimes learn from other people that are not in our own industry. That is the best way sometimes to learn.
My website is GailNow.com. If you google GailNow, you will find me in a few places. Twitter is another place where I’m fairly active. I’m also on TikTok, mostly for learning about the short-form video. I always like to know a little bit about all the platforms because of the world I’m in, but I don’t recommend my clients to be everywhere. Sometimes you have to choose your best focus. I do have all my previous shows on YouTube as well.
Ben: [00:35:13] Here’s the question I ask, and I ask this to everybody as they walk out the door. When you leave a meeting, get in your car and drive away way, what’s the one thing you want people to think about you when you’re not in the room?
Gail: [00:35:31] I am someone who is a force to be reckoned with. I once was told that I could come in guns blazing. You’re either going to love that about me or not. I want them to think we need guns blazing. We need someone who is like the Gail force that will come in here and help us change how we’re doing things. She’s going to help us tell her stories. She is going to not only talk about her three-step process but also live, eat and breathe it along with us.
Ben: [00:36:06] Gail, thanks for being the red M&M’s and the shot of tequila. You have been a joy to talk to. I’m sure people are going to get a lot out of this interview. Thank you for your time and your energy.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Christina Fuges on #ShowUP with GailNow. She has 28 years of experience in trade publishing and has been the Editorial Director of Moldmaking Technology Magazine for 23 of those years. She was a founding partner of Communication Technologies, Inc. (CTI), which launched the publication and its annual trade show, the MoldMaking Expo (now Amerimold expo) where she is the Technical Conference Director.
She and I initially met on Twitter and through online tweeting back and forth, we kind of did the Twitter dance; liking and sharing things. Lo and behold, we found we had things in common and we eventually met in person at the Amerimold Expo in 2021.
She is someone who truly understands the power of building and sharing stories, especially in this new digital world. Recently, there has been a lot of disruption when it comes to how these stories are being told in various industries, but especially in manufacturing. The companies and the individuals that know how to use social media, as well as still connect with trade shows and meet in person, are the ones that are really rocking it!
She and I touched on many subjects, but mainly focused on her background and transferable skills, shifting to digital, as well as the Power of Telling your Story.
Christina received her bachelor’s degree in telecommunications from Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. After that she ended up at a local company that was a tradeshow management company that put on quilting shows. They also had a quilting conference, as well as a quilting newsletter at the time. She was involved in creating content, helping with conference development and setting up trade shows with quilting. Through this experience, Christina learned that anything in the trade business (an object or even a process) has a trade publication.
From there, she went on to editing; eventually starting with partners. Before she first started at MMT, she had no idea what moldmaking was, but used her curiosity to gain some knowledge on the topic. Throughout her career, she has, like most of us, has built up her transferable skills and uses them in her current role, even in changing her approach during the pandemic.
“So, it’s that was a favorable experience and it didn’t take me too much when you talk about transferable skills, like I like to think about my organizational skills, my communication skills, relationship building skills, listening creativity, when you’re writing an article, pretty much the same skills in order to get that content to share it.
Leaders have many functions and one of them is to influence others, including their subordinates, their stakeholders, and their company’s customers.
There are many avenues through which they are able to assert their influence, but no matter how it’s delivered, influence doesn‘t happen through conveying information or reciting facts and figures listed in a presentation.
Leaders achieve influence when they reach people in ways that enable them to understand, remember, and inspire them to take action. Influence is about changing ideas, as well as changing behavior and it enables learning to be sustainable.
One of the best ways to influence is through storytelling!
According to an article inHarvard Business Publishing, telling their story helps leaders to influence, teach and inspire others in a very powerful way.
Forbes says that most businesses are known only by their name or logo. Large organizations or highly recognised ones with big public relations and big marketing budgets, can get away with this strategy. For new brands with small marketing budgets, the most powerful public relations strategy is to tell the personal, and sometimes vulnerable, story behind their brand.
Stories draw upon the universal human need for connection; in some rudimentary sense, we need stories.
One of the most compelling ways of inspiring others is to use the one tool you have that no one else has – your personal story. Your individual experience of the world is the most valuable asset you possess!
Despite what we may think about business, character trumps credentials at this present moment.
Telling your story – including all its challenges, mistakes, failures, pain, setbacks as well as its joys, successes and victories – says something about what it means to be human. Telling your story can even inspire others to take the first step on their own path to becoming a public speaker!
Storytelling is immensely effective for learning according to Harvard Business. Here’s why:
Storytelling establishes connections among people, and also between people and ideas.
Stories tell the culture, history, and values that unite people.
When it comes to our countries, our communities, and our families, we understand instinctively that the stories we hold in common are an important part of the ties that bind us to each other.
This understanding is also true in the business world, where an organization’s stories, and the stories told by its leaders, help strengthen relationships in a way that factual statements summarized in bullet points or numbers don’t.
Christina and I found that stories are now being told differently. Now, people no longer need to wait for print and stories can be shared instantly. Read this excerpt to learn about Christina’s experience with the change, especially in the last while.
“When COVID hit, everything was just accelerated and I took that as an opportunity. Not everybody’s comfortable, we can get into that, too; but, it was just so exciting back in February, March 2020. Not only did it give me an opportunity to go back to what I went to school for, for my current job and deliver content to a community right in need of it, but at a time also when they needed to share their stories because this community of mold building and molding, almost saving the day during this pandemic, in terms of the equipment and the components that were needed. It was an opportunity to shine light on and you couldn’t really wait for print, right? There’s noway you can wait for a story to come out. We turned to video, to social media; this helped us amp up the activity that we were already doing… So transferring that to video content or digital content, social, it was pretty seamless for me. I am not a technical person; something goes wrong with a computer, I am one of those people that freaks out. So, being able to do this and being comfortable with yourself and delivering content in a new way; if I can do it, I think anybody can and should do it.”
When it comes to video content, Christina feels that we all struggle with wanting to put out the best, but getting the content done and out there is more important than striving for perfection. It also helps the guest if the host is more real.
“Yeah, just real, right? Don’t overthink. That was the struggle when I started doing the MMT chat, some people wanted to make them better. First of all, I could do it by myself, so it was a timely thing; let’s just get this done. To me, the important part was the connection, getting it done quickly to get these COVID-related stories, these positive stories out quickly. So I’m doing it. And then it was like, you know, it doesn’t need to be better. First of all, that’s subjective and I like the down and dirty. I’m just being real and it comes. I think sometimes that makes the guest more comfortable when you just don’t over-produce it. Now there are other times when, depending on what the subject matter is, it calls for that, but I agree with you most on social media; it doesn’t just get it out there.”
Lastly, she shared some tips that can be applied by us all:
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Build that community and lean on that community to help them get better.
Do your part by sharing a story or even convincing someone that they have a story to share.
If we embrace these, they can help us to show up, connect, engage, appeal to others; teaching, inspiring and motivating them as we go, especially when we share our own story.
She and I met on my favourite social media platform (Twitter) and really through networking, we became friends.
Nathalie is a Change Agent, Enterprise Leadership Strategist, Adjunct Professor and Speaker. She empowers women to become their own economic engines through mentorship, sponsorship and alliship. She is the founder of the #LeadLoudly Movement & Twitter Chat, where she inspires women to be bold, confident and fearless to drive results. Nathalie has written a book called, Leading in Stilettos.
We spoke about many things, but here are some highlights: curiosity, networking, women empowerment, women in leadership and supporting other women.
I have always been curious, which led me into journalism. I now use storytelling (developed as a journalist), in the manufacturing world. Curiosity, along with my transferable skills has assisted me as I transitioned from journalist, to bed-and-breakfast owner, to fundraiser, to Marketing Manager at an insurance tech company and now, “Chief Curiosity Officer” at GailNow.
It is the foundation of my 3 step process: Sign Up, Suit Up and #ShowUP which helps people show up and share their stories.
Curiosity has enabled me to reinvent myself many times (I’m on my 5th career), implement changes, step out of my comfort zone, overcome fear, do things I’ve never done before, meet amazing people and ShowUP with joy, passion and enthusiasm.
Here’s what Nathalie had to say about this principal that is so near and dear to my heart:
“For me I feel like curiosity plays a very interesting part in my world, you know, on the leadership side, but also too on the technology side, because leadership and technology for me kind of blends together as far as getting my brand out there, and also coaching and consulting with a high performance team. Because if we’ve learned anything in this pandemic, leadership and technology are key, and it’s getting faster and faster and faster and I’m always curious, by why people do things, you know, from Simon Sinek. You know, “What’s your ‘why’?” And what do you want to do as a result of this? Why? You know, you’re the queen of curiosity. And so you want to drive innovation that drives results. So that’s what you do. “
Something else that is a huge part of both our lives is networking. It has allowed us to meet many people who have impacted our lives and helped us both develop into who we are today. The dictionary defines networking as follows: the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.
Networking can be an excellent source of new perspectives and ideas to help us become the best versions of ourselves. Also, exchanging information on challenges, experiences and goals is a key benefit of networking because it allows one to gain new insights that you may not have otherwise thought of.
These are the thoughts we both shared on the foundation of our friendship:
Wow. That is such an amazing story. Thank you Natalie for sharing. As you know, I talk about storytelling, but also networking – the power of networking. Obviously how Natalie and I first met was through virtual networking, so, . So that is great. Aus about how you’re changing though, to step into that spotlight and a lot of people think selfies aren’t of value. I think they’re of extreme value because I have met amazing people because I put my face out there and connect with people. What is your story about selfies?
Shout out to Rebekka Tozer, who is a phenomenal photographer. She is amazing at what she does with photography. She actually did a selfie class, all making standout selfies, and also making stand out selfies that also aligned with your brand. And so I was like okay, I need to do something different. I don’t necessarily like taking selfies. But let’s challenge myself to do something different so I can start to live more of my brand.. , It is so interesting: when I was working with Maiko Sakai and she was actually on the #LeadLoudly Twitter chat a couple of weeks ago and she was talking about knowing your niche and niching down and what are those types of things that you want to be known for and you know, going completely down in that niche. And I thought I was a community builder but I happen to be something else.( My Way All the Way!! )and so creating those selfies and continuing to talk about the brand and leadership and those types of things really helped me take my brand further and actually decrease some of the challenges I had with taking selfies. Also being seen on camera and dealing with that imposter syndrome.
Both Nathalie and I are great advocates for women in the workplace, women empowerment and women in leadership. Women empowerment may be defined in several ways, including accepting women’s viewpoints or making an effort to seek them, raising the status of women through education, awareness, literacy, and training.
Nathalie shared an interesting story about her love for the RESPECT song, released by Aretha Franklin in 1967. Upon release, the song quickly became a rallying cry that vulnerable groups, most especially the civil rights and women’s rights movements, took on as an anthem, since it voiced the crucial message that all our voices deserve to be heard. At 5 years old, all Nathalie knew is that she needed to be shown some respect:
“RESPECT goes back to me being five years old. When I would get upset with my parents, I would stand on top of the piano stool, and I would bellow out RESPECT! So, interesting that it was really considered the first song of the women’s empowerment movement. And Aretha Franklin actually recorded that song on February 14 (Valentine’s Day) and my beloved father passed away on Valentine’s Day. So, it means so much to me in so many different ways. Because right after he passed that’s when I wrote the book “Leading in Stilettos because it was the first release of my passion and my love for business and women’s empowerment.”
Many women face discrimination in many places, including the workplace. There’s something called the Queen Bee Syndrome and for those who don’t know what it is, here is the definition: “Queen bee” is a derogatory term applied to women who have achieved success in traditionally male-dominated fields. The syndrome is displayed as these women often take on “masculine” traits and distance themselves from other women in the workplace in order to succeed. They may also view or treat subordinates more critically if they are female, and refuse to help other women rise up the ranks as a form of self-preservation.
“It’s so interesting that you brought up that story because as I was preparing last night, something said you need to talk about the queen bee syndrome story. And I’m like, I don’t know if I want to talk about that. It was so interesting; I had two mentors and I had the ability to work with on several different projects. And one of the mentors was actually the supervisor to the other reporting mentor. And they decided that they were going to bring me on to a position and I had an appointment set with the person who was going to be my first report. There were numerous years where I watched her literally take over companies and organizations and you name it basically, I knew where the bodies were buried. And so when she interviewed me, I noticed that her personality and her behaviour started to change. As the interview went on she said, “You’re overqualified for this job.” I said, “Okay, but I’m still interested because I want to work with you two amazing ladies; I know we can do some incredible things together.” This had to do with a Women’s Leadership Project and she said, “You qualify for my job; not for this one.” I was really flabbergasted. So, when I left their office, I called my male advisor, and he said, “You don’t understand what’s happening.” I said, “No, I don’t have a clue.” And he said, “You are no longer the mentee; you’re now the competition.” I read a book that included a piece about the Queen Bee Syndrome and I realized that’s exactly what’s happening to me; I’m no longer the mentee. I’m now at the competition. And interestingly enough, I had to really lean on my male mentors and advisor to kind of psychologically pull me through this because it really hit me extremely hard. I’ve known and trusted both of these women for decades and to have that happen. I really had to work on my psyche and my mindset to keep going and to keep having a positive attitude towards her because I could not allow that feeling to grow in our relationship. So, what I did was, I started putting into my presentations about leadership and women’s leadership and Lead Loudly. I also started talking about Queen Bee Syndrome; what it looks like when it shows up. Not only what does it look like, but what do you do? And I think that’s the next step as knowing that you have a safe place to land and that you have mentors and advisors and allies that will help you get through it. And this is only a bump in the road. It’s not the end.”
Something that both Nathalie and I highlighted during our discussion is that it is important that we, as women, support each other.
Oh, I say sometimes we as women, we’re our own worst enemy. Because we’re so critical of not only ourselves, but also other women. Let’s support each other. Let’s cheer for each other. Let’s get in there and because as we help others win, we win as well. We need to change the game on that; we really need to do better.
As we both embody these principles, we realize one thing: no man (or woman) is an island and we should all strive to be curious, not judgmental as we look to pour into the lives of others, lift each other up and support one another as we build our community of diverse people who each bring some value to the table.
When wanting to know more about people, it helps to know their stories. Channel the power of curiosity to create rewarding relationships and earn business.
By James L Katzaman
(Posted from Tealfeed.com with permission. Guest blog)
Stories are the heart of every person’s hopes and dreams
When wanting to know more — call it curious — about people, it helps to know their stories.
“I had a bed and breakfast where the biscuits became a big part of my brand and marketing,” said Gail Robertson. “It was more than the biscuits. It was all about the story and how it resonated for people around emotion.”
From that she learned how to channel the power of curiosity to create unexpected and rewarding relationships.
Robertson describes herself as a recovering journalist who does research, an offshoot of curiosity.
“In times of uncertainty, curiosity helps us adapt,” Robertson said. “People credit curiosity as highly valuable, but a sign of not being experienced enough at work.
“Yet, a curious mindset leads to innovation,” she said.
Talking with leadership and performance coach Nathalie Gregg, Robertson looked at how to encourage this trait.
“Curiosity is good for business,” Robertson said. “It encourages new ideas and helps overcome fear.
“Research by Harvard professor Francesca Gino has shown curiosity leads to more creative ideas, better team performance, conflict resolution and broadening of networking,” Robertson said.
A Canadian bank study looked at curiosity as a trait.
“That was valuable because curious people were found to be more successful,” Robertson said. “They are better at networking and collaboration. They perform better at their jobs.”
Willing to Take Risks
Following through on curiosity takes a bit of courage.
“Curiosity means we ask questions even when we fear it may make us look like we don’t know something,” Robertson said. “Curious people are willing to take risks. That is what leads to innovation. Tell me no, and I want to find a workaround.
“Curiosity also helps us connect to others because we ask questions,” she said. “We listen, and we love stories.”
Gregg liked the idea that curiosity increases risk taking.
To give a toast to the Immortal Memory of “Rabbie Burns” was an honour, but also a tremendous growing experience, both personally and professionally.
Burns is renowned for writing Auld Lang Syne, as well as the impact he had on the Scottish economy .
An impact of about 200 million pounds, which is about $390 Million Canadian Dollars.
The Branding of the Bard is BIG Business!
In preparing to give the speech at the Scottish Club in Windsor, I figured I would be talking to many people who knew a lot more about the great Robert Burns than I did. So, as a former journalist, I started my research.
Enter Professor Murray Pittock – a Scottish historian and VP at the Burns Centre at the University of Glasgow and well, a Burns aficionado!
The power of branding is personified in this poet who lived a few centuries ago, but his legacy continues.
Professor Pittock is not only a Burns expert, but also the lead author of the Pittock Report, on the value of the Burns Brand to the Scottish Economy.
A brand that generates £200 million + for the Scottish economy each year; from festivals, tours, tourism and the Robbie Burns Cottage.
Growing up in a household with a mother who worked in a butcher job and a Scottish father, things like haggis, liver and cow tongue were all considered quite normal dinner fare.
‘The Grace’ at the Burns supper brought back memories! While My father wasn’t a religious man, when we did say grace, it was ‘Some Hae Meat and canna eat’ and some … and more than a prayer, it was a performance!
Ironically, my father never attended a Robbie Burns Supper when I was growing up. In the small town I grew up in, the Burns Suppers were held at the Presbyterian Church – so a dry event. My father said, “It’s nae a true Burns event if you canna have a wee dram!”
So, instead I went each year with my mom, an Englishwoman .
My father was a big Robbie Burns fan, though. He came to Canada from Motherwell, Scotland in the 1950’s.
He came with few belongings: less than a hundred dollars, the clothes on his back and his trusted Robbie Burns book of poems. Some carry a bible; for my father it was the Bard’s book.
I realize now how symbolic that book of poems was!
My father lived in a tenement apartment; one of five children, he worked on the docks at age 13, no formal education, but self-taught and well-read.
Symbolic in his connection to Burns; the working man.
He was born in Alloway, Scotland, on January 25, 1759 and died at age 37
He had six siblings and lived on a tenant farm
He had little formal schooling, but was educated by his father and tutors
He started writing poetry and song lyrics at the age of fifteen
And He had 12 children by 4 women
Frankly I wonder how he had time to write over 700 poems and songs.
He was indeed a man for all that.
With a bar at the Scottish Club of Windsor Burns Dinner – even my father would be happy.
There was another person I was most proud to have by my side that night; my son Aidan. Aidan Robertson.
Yes, he will carry on my family name.
And the power that a name holds is likely something many people are aware of and keeps us connected to our heritage.
I work with companies and people on how to build and develop their brand.
Burns indeed has a brand that has stood the test of time!
Brands like Coca Cola, or Harley Davidson and personal brands, like Oprah or even Elvis – are household names.
Robert Burns has name recognition in Scotland and some parts of the world, but his name is lesser-known internationally.
However, he has poems that are widely celebrated; in particular Auld Lang Syne, or My Love is Like a Red Red Rose.
Robert Burns and his work is part of a brilliant brand – dynamic, powerful and memorable!
A brand that has some well-known current day fans:
In 2004 Kofi Anan, Secretary General to the UN, called Burns a humanitarian.
Bob Dylan, the infamous American singer-songwriter said Burns was his greatest creative inspiration.
And renowned American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelo said Burns’ spirit was humanitarian. He was able to love human beings and his imagination was vast. She even traveled to Scotland for his 250th birthday celebration.
Then, I became more curious!
How has the Burns brand stood the test of time – almost 300 years later?
First, he had amazing Content – and no one one has outpaced him.
He wrote 700 poems.
He wrote in English and Scottish dialect.
His writing was of a quality few can match.
He wrote satire like: Holy Willie’s Prayer.
He wrote humour and chaos like Tam O’Shanter.
And he wrote To a Mouse – a Scots language poem- from which John Steinbeck took the title of his 1937 novel ‘Of Mice and Men’ from a line from this poem.
But Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised Joy.
Second, He also was a consummate networker – a man after my own heart.
Burns travelled from Alloway to Edinburgh – a city then, and now, known for its, shall we say, ’more highbrow lifestyle’.
He had poems published and was known for both the quality and quantity of his work.
He was a good-looking heartthrob, so women adored him and he adored them, and yet he didn’t alienate men.
He had the gift of the gab – he was charming – and most important he was relatable.
He travelled in all the right circles and attended parties with the who’s who of his day. He attended parties held by a woman known as the “it” girl of the time; Allison Rutherford.
Her parties gathered together great minds over food, dance and debate and we all know that us Scots love a good debate!
Burns was often the centre of attention and he could work a crowd with his charm and his increasing popularity.
Third, he was brilliant at self-promotion and it didn’t happen by chance.
It was part of his own self-conscious development of it – something extremely unusual In the 18th century.
He is a pioneer in the art of self-promotion, according to Professor Pittock.
Here we had a man who became quite well-educated, very popular, left his farming days to wine and dine with some fairly well-known names of the time and was actually quite well off, relatively speaking. He could even afford to have not one portrait done, but quite a few. He was also a massive celebrity of his era!
And here is where we see the cleverness that is classic Burns.
At every party and in every portrait, he wore farmer’s boots and work clothes.
He reckoned he could sell himself as a penniless man of the soil – a man of the people; a working-class man of nature – and no one put 2 and 2 together.
And often we still don’t, according to Pittock.
And finally, Burns excelled at impact.
To quote Maya Angelou – people may forget what you did, forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.
Burns is the supreme poet of feeling.
Rather than bold ideas, he didn’t really say too much to offend, Pittock told me. He conjured up feelings instead:
Auld Lang Syne:
Nostalgia for past
Lamenting friends lost
Hope for future
Tam O Shanter
An epic poem with humour, pathos, horror and definitely just a very colourful tale of the drinking class in ayr
Red Red Rose
A love poem
A poem comparing love to a rose
A story of love and separation
Even if we can’t recite his work, or even understand much of it, we know how we feel when we hear his work.
And people like Anan, Angelou, Dylan, celebrated him and certainly, people like my father did.
My brother, not one to show his romantic side publicly, recited ‘Red Red Rose’ at his wedding.
Oh my Luve is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.
So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only luve!
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.
It still gives my sister in law goosebumps!
Robbie Burns was prolific, connected, confident. He was complex. A mass of contradictions.
His life was messy. He wrote poems that touched our hearts, and even our souls.
Burns is well-deserving of his place in history, his place today in many of our hearts,
and certainly for this annual Immortal Memory.
He lived. He loved and he was imperfect.
Maybe he was a boy who just liked “shagging” as one poet said, or maybe he wanted to do something remarkable, beautiful, special.
And maybe we love him because he didn’t present himself as all that precious and instead, was just like us.
Maybe that’s where magic happens.
And that indeed, he is more like us than we may even realize!
So now, please join me as I pay homage to my father, George Baillie Robertson. My son Aidan James Robertson.
It often has more to do with the types of people and groups you may be hanging out with.
It really can be that simple!
Also, the tricky part is to realize you have to invest time and effort if you want to connect with amazing people.
And…. You have to SHOW UP!
This is part of my three-step process: Sign Up. Suit Up. and Show UP!
Whether it’s growing your business, losing weight, overcoming health issues:
You first have to decide that you want to change (Sign Up)
Then, invest the time and effort (Suit Up)
Lastly, show up to connect with people who can help you (Show UP)
As a guest on Manufacturing eCommerce Success with Curt Anderson and Damon Pistulka, I talked about why showing up can transform your business and as Curt says, “Stop Being the Best Kept Secret” and what Damon says, “You want to be the red M&M in the bowl of green M&Ms!”
It’s ok to stumble and fall – ask the dumb questions; be wrong and try something new!
Attend virtual events and connect with people in the chat.
If you need help – ask for it.
Find people that you are interested in, follow them and connect with them.
Also, learn from people that know more than you!
As a recovering journalist, I have learned that I don’t have to have all the answers; I just need to find people who do!
Be that Red M & M and stand out in a crowd!
Talking to these guys (Curt and Damon) and seeing them each Friday on Manufacturing eCommerce Success AND really ‘getting’ what Curt has talked and written about: Stop Being the Best Kept Secret; that really isn’t a badge of honour.
Damon has talked about being the red M&M in a bowl of green ones. He also knows of what he speaks when it comes to manufacturing and specifically in moldmaking, molding and plastic injection world.
Curiosity has always been my go-to to build my skill-set and my business.
Recently, I had the privilege of being interviewed by David Shriner-Cahn on his podcast Going Solo and we spoke about how to use curiosity to build your business.
But curiosity isn’t the only utensil in my employment toolbox. Transferable skills are key, as well as advocating for balance – in work, in my personal life – and, importantly, in relationships. You have to make sure that the balance and chemistry in your working relationship is there, otherwise it probably won’t last.
There are many more secrets of success and tips for moving forward professionally that I reveal on this podcast and use in topics of my keynote speeches.
So pull up a chair and give a listen – hopefully some of my ideas will speak to your situation and inspire you to action!
During the episode, we discuss:
Getting ahead of the curve by planning your exit strategy [02:44]
Listen to the train in the distance [05:37]
Why having a schedule is key for entrepreneurs [07:11]
Embracing competition: the value of lifting other people up [09:14]
How to prequalify prospects that align with your values [12:40]
Be curious, not judgmental [18:11]
How to keep the doors open when going to networking events [19:46]
The tool that will help you move your sales in a virtual world [21:14]
Please listen in to learn more about how I did it and how you can, as well!
It’s fuel behind the engine that has helped me in my professional life.
I’ve fulfilled many roles over the years: journalist, bed-and-breakfast owner, fundraiser, marketing manager, brand ambassador, social media experimenter, public relations and keynote motivational speaker.
Curiosity has enabled me to transfer my skills from one career to the next. That and a genuine love for people has helped me to network with – and learnfrom – the best.
When I attend a networking event, the feeling I experience is excitement because I will meet new people and hear their stories! I’m excited to attend a networking event because of my curiosity: I like to be in the know, ask questions and meet interesting people.
Curiosity is powerful because it leads to a conversation, a connection, even a promising opportunity!
One of my favourite TV shows is Ted Lasso mostly because of a main theme throughout the show is curiosity and Ted often reminds us through this show to “Be curious, not judgemental” as originally said by Walt Whitman, an American poet, essayist, and journalist and humanist who lived during the 1800s.
Here is a monologue from Ted that impacted me as a lover of curiosity:
“Guys underestimated me my entire life. And for years, I never understood why. It used to really bother me. But then one day I was driving my little boy to school and I saw this quote by Walt Whitman and it was painted on the wall there. It said: ‘Be curious, not judgmental.’ And I liked that. So I get back in my car and I’m driving to work, and all of a sudden it hits me. All them fellas that used to belittle me; not a single one of them were curious. They thought they had everything all figured out. So they judged everything, and everyone. And I realized that their underestimating me…who I was had nothing to do with it. Cause if they were curious, they could’ve asked questions. You know? Questions like: ‘Have you played a lot of darts, Ted’ To which I would’ve answered: ‘Yes, sir. Every Sunday afternoon at a sports bar with my father, from age ten til I was 16 when he passed away….Barbecue sauce.”
Ted Lasso, “The Diamond Dogs- Barbecue Sauce
So I ask you, are you using curiosity instead of being judgmental?
It may make a BIG difference in the way you perceive someone else and help you to appreciate their story.
The classic cinematic quote “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille” – taken from the 1950 classic film Sunset Blvd. – can be contextually applied to today’s world of effective marketing.
How? Well, when it comes to marketing – especially when considering all the technological advances we’ve made in 70 years – the real truth is that video is the new black when it comes to getting your message across.
According to oberlo.ca, 87% of marketing professionals use video as one of their tools, and whether they pop up on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat or any other social media platform that allows more than just posting a pic, it’s a key way to sell your product or service through your most valuable asset – you.
In the story of the film, for instance, actress Norma Desmond, a silent film star, realizes she has to adjust to the times in order to continue making an impact in Hollywood and sustaining her own career…so the “Mr. DeMille” character in the film is actually referring to real-life film director Cecil B. DeMille as she tells him she’s ready to move forward.
While everyone else’s situation in marketing isn’t nearly as dire as Desmond’s, the message hammers home a point: life doesn’t stop – and if you snooze, you lose.
Today, in this era where the challenge of making compelling content that will engage and attract new customers, video is becoming more of a necessity than an embellishment.
Personally, I enjoy making videos, even though I started as a writer. One of the reasons I love to communicate via video is because it’s not only a powerful medium, but it gives me the opportunity to show my personality and convey a bit about who I am.”
And let’s face it: we’re increasingly turning into a visually-stimulated society: The amount of video on all platforms has skyrocketed across the world in the last few years.
Today, you can barely walk a few steps before your eyes are accosted by video: maybe you’re in the elevator of your apartment, eyes glued to a screen as you’re ascending a floor or two to get home. Or maybe you’re cruising along the highway and a video ad catches your attention just long enough to impart some interesting information. Make no mistake: videos on out-of-home platforms are there for a reason – a video ad is the most popular format these days to attract new clients to your business. Even a restaurant menu these days will give you video options!
Since producing your own videos has never been simpler, thanks to iPhones and TikTok, this “Selfie” generation has practically taken crash courses in capturing, editing and broadcasting videos in order to be hip and keep up socially with their friends.
And that goes the same for business, especially when it comes to creating and distributing data.
Here are a few things that make video content superior:
It controls the online world
By 2016, YouTube – which today boasts 1.8 billion active users – became the second most dominant and popular social media platform on the internet to employ video. Throw in other major outlets like Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, and LinkedIn – which make it easy for videos to be uploaded and shared within the global community through the internet – and your bases are pretty much covered.
It engages the audience in a superior way
When a video is merged with a sound and a visual, the audience is open to receiving a lot more information and engagement from them. Powerful, no? If the video content and movements are succinct and accurate, viewers are prone to watch them till the end, resulting in better engagement. Organizations are able to use this power to promote their new brands with videos that enhance the image of the new product.
It supplants text-only content
Nowadays, people are choosing videos rather than text-only content, because of the added visual and aural stimulation. Information sources like illustrations, infographics, and podcasts have also been measured against videos. Video may never supplant them, but the medium will keep flourishing as THE MOST powerful form of content in the future.
It promotes shares
Online users today are more keen to share videos than any other content. Videos get more shares than pictures of text content because they are believed to be more socially relevant than images and text. Most people these days have a Snapchat or YouTube presence; through interactive videos, people are able to communicate their interests on a larger scale.
It also conveys non-verbal communication
In delivering a message, body language and vocal tones play an influential role when it comes to perception! Word choice may be crucial when it comes to text, but visual elements like emojis help to make an emotional connection with viewers. When they watch a video of someone speaking to them directly, they are conveyed a more all-encompassing message, which may hold greater appeal and serve more as a catalyst for them to respond to a call-to-action.
It provides deep and rapid content
Conversely, podcasts usually lack visual aids. Audio combined with a video provides a rapid, sensory message. For example, if a person presents a graph in a video, the viewer will comprehend the graph much more easily when viewing the visual example than if that graph were presented in a text-only or audio format.
And here’s the beautiful thing: you don’t need to have a huge budget to send out an effective, customized message.
I recently had a conversation with Ingor van Rooi on my LinkedIn Live show, #ShowUP and we discussed the power of video. Many of us are intimidated by appearing on video because of the fear that our efforts may lack a polish or seem amateurish in comparison with those who may have budgets to provide a slick, professional presentation.
But Ingor pointed out that “as long as we’re authentic and show up as our real selves, we’ll be fine. Everyone is their own individual and everyone’s journey is different.”
If you believe in your message, your product and/or your service, your passion and authenticity will shine through the camera lens and mesmerize your viewers.
So….Mr. DeMille be damned: are you ready for your close-up?