Thursday, November 30, 2023

Unlocking Exponential Growth: The Blueprint to Scale Your Business

Unlocking Exponential Growth: The Blueprint to Scale Your Business written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Janstch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Tony DiSilvestro. Tony is a seasoned entrepreneur, business consultant, and author of the Business Scaling Blueprint. With a passion for helping businesses achieve exponential growth, Tony shared valuable insights into the challenges and misconceptions surrounding business scaling.

Key Takeaways:

Tony highlights the essential principles of scaling a business successfully by emphasizing the intrinsic nature of every business as a people business, underscoring the importance of human interaction and fostering a culture that prioritizes growth. The significance of meticulous systemization is highlighted, with a focus on defining brand pillars and implementing robust internal processes. Tony advocates for embracing technological advancements like AI while maintaining a balance with genuine human engagement for sustained relevance. The holistic approach to management involves continuous improvement, rigorous attention to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and recalibration for effective decision-making, laying the groundwork for unlocking exponential growth in any business.


Questions I ask Tony DiSilvestro:

[00:45] How did you get to this incredible stage in your entrepreneurship career?

[01:11] What are the common misconceptions about business scaling?

[02:13] What is business scaling?

[03:00] According to your book: what are the core concepts of business scaling?

[04:20] How do you monitor business scaling as well as technological advancements in your industry?

[06:32] How do you deal with clients who resist the idea of being called a people business?

[07:52] Is there a framework for building a people-centric culture?

[09:59] How do systems build a better culture?

[11:35] How do you change the mindset of a non-people-centric culture?

[12:54] Are there must-have performance indicators, and how do we use them to make better decisions?

[14:24] What advice do you have for businesses that want to grow but feel stuck?

[16:10] After AI, what trends should we look out for in business scaling?

[18:01] Where can people connect with you and find out more about your work?


More About Tony DiSilvestro:

Get Your Free AI Prompts To Build A Marketing Strategy:


Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn


This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the DeskTeam360

Desk team 360 is the #1, flat-rate, digital marketing integration team, that helps small businesses and marketing agencies with graphic, web design, and on-page marketing services.




John (00:03): Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Tony DiSilvestro. He is an entrepreneur, business consultant and keynote speaker, passionate about helping businesses realize their exponential growth, Tony's successes, and these are his words and failure too, have afforded him life's lessons that he enjoys sharing with others. He's also the author of the business, scaling Blueprint, which we'll probably dive into a little bit today as well. So Tony, welcome to the show.

Tony (00:34): Oh, thanks for having me today. Excited to be here.

John (00:36): So let's talk about, we could take the whole show talking about your entrepreneurial journey, but let's give a few high spots that give people a sense of where you learned your hard-earned lessons.

Tony (00:49): Yeah, I grew up on the Jersey Shore as a kid and learned what the value of a customer at such a young age, and it's really given me the path to understand business and understand it doesn't really matter what business I'm in, I'm in the people business. And that's kind of where it all started for me.

John (01:04): So let's just dive into, I think this is a good jumping in point for all the positive lessons we're going to talk about. What are some of the things that people get wrong, the misperceptions about scaling, why it's so hard to do, why people beat their head against the wall? I mean, what are we all doing wrong that's not allowing us to scale sort of elegantly?

Tony (01:23): There's a couple things. We all started out as business owners, we think we're great at something. So we say, Hey, we get this wild hair and we start a business. And the problem with that is everybody thinks they're entrepreneurs, but you don't truly become an entrepreneur until you start systemizing your systems. Learn how to delegate and then invest in your people. So one of the things that I find with a lot of companies, whether they're doing three to 5 million, 10 million a year, it doesn't matter, they're stuck. You know what I mean? They're wearing every hat in the company still, and they can't get out of their own way and trust people.

John (01:55): I can't remember where I heard this or who said this, but somebody said, business owners look at everything that needs to be done. They say, how are we going to get this done? Entrepreneurs look at everything and said, who can we get to do this? And I think that's a pretty key distinction. Right? Yeah. So this may sound silly, but let's define for the context of this conversation, what is scaling even mean?

Tony (02:16): Well, it's funny. Scaling for me means different things for every entrepreneur. So some entrepreneurs want quality of life to spend more time with their family. Some people want 10 x 20 x hundred x their business, so it doesn't matter. And I work with so many ceos all over the world and founders of companies, and every one of 'em has a different vision of what scaling means and what success means to them. So it's really, I don't put entrepreneurs or ceos in a certain box. I'm constantly just working with them, working with their c suites and really helping them understand what scaling truly means to them.

John (02:51): Yeah. I assume though there are a few key concepts, a few strategies that you probably bring to everybody to at least explore. So maybe you could, especially from the book itself, what are some of the core concepts that you have to be maybe are overlooked or people just don't think about them, that you find that you have to really focus on to get people started in the right direction?

Tony (03:12): The first thing I always start out with is really defining their brand. What are the three pillars of your brand? So many companies are disconnected with truly what the purpose of their company is. And it's not just the founder. The founder has this vision but doesn't resonate with the employees, and then ultimately it doesn't resonate with the customers. So I redeveloped their entire brand and make them truly think some of this processes takes over two months to develop. And then I go into systemizing their systems. So I've been in franchising for 14 years, and systems are everything. Anybody that's in franchising knows you're not selling, say a restaurant or a handyman company. You're selling a system, and that's what people want to buy. And that's why the failure rate in franchises is so much lower than regular entrepreneurs that are starting a mom and pop shop or a family owned business because they focus so much on the systems of the company. And then you can delegate and then you can train, and then you can market.

John (04:09): Talk a little bit though about one of the things that I know a lot of businesses, I've been doing this for 30 years, we can pick a change. I mean, there's so much change that goes on in business. The current change is probably a technology one that's got the most people buzzing right now, and that's ai. I mean, how do you continue to scale or have a vision for a business while constantly monitoring wholesale changes that might be going on in your industry?

Tony (04:34): It's funny, I love ai, but everybody's got to understand AI is a tool, and if you're not putting it in your tool bag, you're going to be left behind because it's happening so fast and you have to utilize it and see how you can adapt your business. I've changed so many parts of my business with AI already, but adapting technology is something I've done for over 30 years. Whenever there was something new out there, I'm wondering what's going on. When Bitcoin first came out, I tried to take it in my restaurants and I wanted to accept Bitcoin, and this is before it was even out. It was like $4 of coin. And I wish I would've known to buy a wallet at that time, but I didn't. But the thing is, if you're not adapting to change, if you're not understanding friction and understanding what's happening in your business, then you're going to die. You're never going to make it. Change is inevitable in our companies, and you have to be a change advocate.

John (05:26): I often tell in the marketing world, people are talking about AI replacing their jobs. I mean to do content and all the things AI can do. And I said, no, AI's not going to replace your job. Somebody's as good as you that's using AI is going to replace you. And I think, yeah, I think your point of it's just a tool. It's like, how can it allow us to do something faster and better? If it can't, then it's not useful. You mentioned my

Tony (05:51): Business,

John (05:52): Go ahead, finish. Go ahead. Was going to got just enough lag that we're talking over each other. Alright, one of your businesses go,

Tony (06:00): I said one of my businesses a marketing company as well, and the same thing is always looking for results. And I'm always looking for AI and other avenues to help people grow their businesses and scale. So I mean, every tool that's out there and it's as accessible, you need to be educated on it and learn from it. Go on YouTube, find a video. It doesn't matter. Just educate yourself.

John (06:19): So you mentioned already, and I want to dive into it, but every business is a people business. It doesn't matter what they sell, what they do. So talk to me a little bit about that idea, but then let's get into some specifics because I bet you get some pushback from somebody's like, no, we sell blah, blah, blah widget. We're not a people business.

Tony (06:37): So a lot of times I go into business and I truly mean it. We're in the ninety-eight 0.6 degree business. That's the business we're in. And I've founded over thirty-three different companies in different industries. And every single business I'm in, it's all about human capital and how are we helping human capital accomplish their goals and the results that we're looking for? And people will push back and they're like, no, we're architects. I said, no, you're designing somebody's home. You're not designing their house. This is where people are going to live. So I'm very results-driven, right? So if I walk into a sales team, I'm looking at sales-centric versus results-centric motivations of selling because if you're selling, you're dying. But if you're focused on results, then you're going to actually do something. So when we're looking at human capital and businesses, we need people to grow. And when you talk about scaling, the number one way to scale is through delegation, as we alluded to before. But that is people. And I don't care if you're selling cars, widgets, food doesn't matter, building homes. I mean, that's what it is.

John (07:37): So yeah, it's interesting. Your portfolio of businesses is all over the map. I mean, you have a building company, you have a restaurant. You already talked about some professional services that you offer. So do you have, not templates the wrong word, but do you have a framework that's a better word for this idea of building a people-centric culture?

Tony (07:57): Yes. Invest in your systems immediately. Entrepreneurs go out of business right away. But when I'm talking about investing your systems, I'm talking about as granular as you possibly can. If I would've taken that time when I first opened my business to really think about the processes and procedures and really document every system, I wouldn't have had two major failures in my life because I would've been way more educated. I would've had better systems, and I would've been able to delegate and actually avoid mistake avoidance to something I work with a lot with entrepreneurs all over the world. How are you handling mistake avoidance, right? Learn from those people. I was always surrounded, everybody's like, go talk to those old people. They've been there and done that. You can't replace wisdom. There's no doubt.

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Tony (09:50): Sure. There's no doubt. Systems create confidence, right? Systems give people a clear expectation. My training company is all about upper mobility training. So we train employees and give them a clear path to growth, but you cannot create that clear path to growth unless you give them a system, set proper expectations. And if they do fail, what are you looking at when that employee fails? You're going back, fix your system because it's not the employee that's going, it's typically your system that's broken. So when I talk about systems, I constantly, I love friction. There's nothing better than friction because the problem is an opportunity. Opportunities create solutions and solutions create results. And I'm driven that way every single day. We don't have problems in our companies. We have opportunities. And if you're focused that way and you're creating systems that help people grow and achieve the result that you're looking for, then the culture's better in your company. They love coming to work every day. They know the path and they see a growth path. Because I'll tell you, I've hired so many employees recently, and the one question, is there an opportunity to grow? Everybody right now is so focused on growth.

John (10:55): Yeah, yeah. More so than sauer is on there, but it's way down the list, isn't it?

Tony (10:59): Right? No doubt. Yeah.

John (11:01): So alright, if company hires you, I'm sure, especially if you have a training company, people are like, will you train those idiots for me? Right? I mean, unfortunately there's a little bit of leadership mentality that still has that. How do you get the lead? Because you can train until you're dead, right? I mean, if it doesn't start at the top, how do you get people who have the wrong mindset to shift their mindset or just tell 'em, Hey, I can't help you.

Tony (11:25): No, I show them a path. So it's not only our training system, we go through the roi of the company. How are you increasing incremental sales? How are you working on customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction? So you can't just walk into a founder or a CEO and say, your training's terrible. You need to just train these people. So what we've developed is a very in-depth training system that's all about upper mobility. And it's not just for the low level employee, it's all the way up to the top level managers. How are they improving themselves? So our system really gives them, they can self-analyze themselves and realize where they're at any given time, and we equate it even to their salaries. So they can say, Hey, I want to make more money. Okay, well let's do this evaluation on you, figure out where you're at, and then show them a clear path for success. But most companies train six to 12 weeks, and that is it. The employee, we train 52 weeks a year. So training is about communicating. If you're not communicating with your staff, it's very hard to train them.

John (12:26): So we're kind of getting into measuring. Everybody realizes they need to measure, they need to have kpis. Rarely do people do it or use it to manage by. Are there performance indicators that we absolutely all need to have? How can we get better at using the data to make decisions?

Tony (12:46): You have to know your numbers. So every company I go into, I can't tell you how many companies I walk into, they don't have a p&l. I'm like, how are you running a company without a p&l? You don't know your numbers. So the biggest problem, and it's so prevalent, you want to believe it, but the biggest thing is going into the companies KPIs are only as good as the person actually using them. I like to say, a lot of times meetings are useless. It's what you do after the meeting, bringing KPIs and bringing solutions. Anybody can bring a problem to a meeting, but can you bring the solution and how we're solving things going forward? KPIs follow systems. If your kpis aren't working now you're recalibrating your business. So I love KPIs. I mean, I use 'em in every business I do. We have weekly meetings with all of our top level managers every single week, and they are forced to bring it to the meeting. You better come with something. And a lot of companies don't even invest time in meetings. They think they're a waste. Oh my God, that's all we do is have meetings. It's because the meetings are useless. They're not bringing enough to the meetings, they're not holding their people accountable.

John (13:47): I love in marketing, not only kpis, but just every step of the funnel, so to speak, or something we're doing. I mean, a lot of times people go, oh, this isn't working. We're not getting enough leads. It's like, no, this one little place is not working. And if we fix that and we'll fix everything. But if we just throw out the entire process because we're not measuring happens all the time. So if somebody's thinking, gosh, I want to scale, I'm stuck. You mentioned stuck from the stage give. Here's my advice for how to get started.

Tony (14:18): Oh, for sure. If it's a new business, I mean if they're stuck, a lot of times what I go in and I analyze what they're doing, it's typically a trust issue or they have corporate fatigue. Entrepreneurship is the loneliest question in the world, and it's because we're afraid to talk to other entrepreneurs and we're not getting out there and explaining. But if we realize we're all in the same boat, there's so many fundamentals that I go through when I'm coaching a CEO or an entrepreneur. It's not just one. It's typically, so if I teach eight fundamentals, eight modules that I teach, it might be delegation, it might be systems the next month, it might be marketing after that. Are you an experience creator? What is the experience you're delivering to your customer? I'd love to say it's a cookie-cutter system, but it's never that way because every entrepreneur at different stages in their career are suffering from a different fundamental that they didn't perfect well enough or they want to grow. And if you want to go from 5 million to 10 million, you probably have to retool everything in your company. So what I do a lot of times is I reverse-engineer. Every single company I go into, I say, where are you at today? Every process that got you to this point, because we have to redo everything to get you to the next level.

John (15:29): Yeah. You talk about the startup. To me, the sadder one is somebody that's been in business 16, 18 years, they're making a salary. There's no joy in it anymore. To me, that's the one that's the saddest, quite frankly.

Tony (15:42): It happens all the time too. All

John (15:44): The time. A lot of jobs just get boarded up called companies after they just run out of steam, right? Yeah. So alright, let's bring out the crystal ball. What should we be looking future-wise trends, things we should be having on our radar as we talked a little bit about ai, but what's next?

Tony (16:02): Yeah, I think we talked about technology, but I mean it's rapidly changing the business environment, especially in the marketing. I know you do a lot of marketing changing. Instant gratification is right there for everybody. And AI is making that even worse. We thought the cell phones were bad. Now you really have instant gratification. So it's really adapting to the marketplace. Watch the news, watch the trends in the world and making sure you're adapting your business to it because you'll be left in the dust. And it's seriously a big problem right now, but there's still a point where humans like human interaction and don't forget that. So making sure whatever, if you're selling widgets or you're selling jewelry, you're selling whatever you're doing, that human interaction is very essential because even though we're in the people business, customers are our people, but they do want things faster. And I think they have to move very agile. And if you're not focused on that and you're thinking the old way's going to work, it's just not going to happen.

John (17:00): Well, you've been doing this for a while. I've been doing this for a long while. You constantly, you stay in this long enough, you see the pendulum swing back and forth, right? I mean, it's like everybody's into technology or social media or whatever the thing of the day is, and then all of a sudden direct mail works better than ever. It happens so often. I mean, you can't just say, this is it. It's like every 60 days, this is, it is going to be something new.

Tony (17:24): My daughter's in peril. She's many skirts are coming back.

John (17:29): Yeah, no question. I was just in Europe last week and they were in Brussels. They're all wearing hot pants. So remember that from the seventies, right? So, well, Tony, I appreciate you taking a moment to stop by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. You want to invite people where they might connect with you, find out more about your work,

Tony (17:47): Go to and my whole website's there, come see me, love to give you a copy of my book, come see me. And then just, if I can help entrepreneurs all over the world, that's my goal.

John (17:58): Awesome. Well, again, I appreciate you taking a moment to stop by, and hopefully we'll run into you one of these days out there on the road.

from Duct Tape Marketing

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Crafting Unforgettable Experiences: The 3 M’s of Event Success

Crafting Unforgettable Experiences: The 3 M’s of Event Success written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Janstch


In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Phil Mershon. Phil Mershon is the director of experience for Social Media Examiner and author of Unforgettable: The Art and Science of Creating Memorable Experiences. He’s been designing the Social Media Marketing World experience for over a decade. Drawing from over 25 years in creating customized events, Phil loves to create memorable moments and transformational experiences.

Phil introduces the concept of the three M’s—Memorable, Meaningful, and Momentous—as the foundation for crafting unforgettable experiences. He breaks down how events need to stand out, provide personal value, and create significant moments to become truly unforgettable.

Key Takeaways:

Phil Mershon emphasizes the importance of understanding the customer journey, surprising and delighting attendees with unexpected elements, and transforming event audiences into a supportive community. Phil shares insights on measuring success through post-event surveys and a 30-day engagement plan, ensuring that the impact of the event extends well beyond its conclusion. Whether you’re an event planner or looking to enhance your understanding of crafting exceptional experiences, Phil’s expertise provides actionable strategies for hosting events that leave a lasting and meaningful impression.

Questions I ask Phil Mershon:

[00:57] What makes an event unforgettable?

[02:50] Describe the 3 M method?

[05:22] How can you utilize social media marketing to convey the purpose of an event?

[07:52] How can you serve both audience and community ?

[09:45] What are some of the ways to make both customer and employee experiences unforgettable?

[12:29] What are some of the best practices for virtual event planning?

[15:17] How do you measure the success of an event?

[17:54] What are some of the ways to get people engaged before, during and after an event?

[20:39] Where can people connect with you and grab a copy of Unforgettable?

More About Phil Mershon:

Get Your Free AI Prompts To Build A Marketing Strategy:


Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn


This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Sign up for a 15% discount on annual plans until Dec 31, 2023. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!





John (00:08): Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Phil Mershon. He's the Director of Experience for Social Media Examiner. It's been designing the social media marketing world experience for over a decade, drawing from over 25 years in creating customized events. Phil loves to create memorable moments and transformational experiences. In addition, Phil is a jazz saxophone, so I didn't know that. And a pickleball enthusiast who isn't, and the author of Unforgettable, the Art and Science of Creating Memorable Experiences. So Phil, welcome to the show.

Phil (00:47): Thank you, John. It's great to be here.

John (00:48): So I guess a lot of times I pick on titles. I don't pick on 'em, I just want to pick 'em apart a little bit. So the first obvious question is what makes an event unforgettable?

Phil (01:00): So I just find it this way. There's three M'S that go into it. So you make this easy, like the company three M. So it's memorable, it's meaningful, and it's momentous. So let me break those down for you. It's memorable. So it's got to do something that stands out, something that's going to get your attention, something that maybe you're not expecting. It's a surprise, it's unusual, it stands out, but it's also memorable in the sense that it's engaging as many of your senses as it can. Even virtual events can do this, but live events, especially if you tap into all five senses, then it will become memorable, meaningful, it's significant. It's something that you personally are getting value out of. It's going to stand the test of time for you. And momentous is leading on the work of Chip and Dan Heath. I don't know if you've read that book, the Power of Moments, but it's knowing that some moments are more meaningful than others. It's Andy Stanley's quote, you do for one, what you wish you could do for everyone. So you're trying to do things that you're leaning into those moments that really matter, and you're causing those to stand out. And when you've got a bunch of meaningful moments, it's been designed for you. So it's like a customized, personalized event, and it's memorable. Now all of a sudden we're leaning into something that's become unforgettable. You'll be talking about it for years, hopefully decades, maybe the rest of your life.

John (02:26): Alright, so I'm going to put you on the spot a little bit because I know you've designed or been very instrumental in designing a certain experience that's quite large. I've attended, I don't know, you said a decade. I've been there at least six years, maybe seven years. I'll be back this year to social media marketing world. Obviously I have a lot of context. Maybe listeners don't kind of frame how you think about that experience based on what you just described, the three M method.

Phil (02:53): Yeah, so some of it comes down to looking at the customer journey. A lot of your audience are in marketing, so you're used to looking at customer journeys. Well, the customer journey for an event believe starts the minute they buy a ticket and it's all the way up until the event. So you're looking at the phases of someone's experience and saying, how can we make this more meaningful? What are they looking for right now? And three months before an event, people aren't looking for a lot. About six weeks out, they're starting to think about what's the agenda? Who am I going to meet up with? What am I going to do before and after and during the event? So you're trying to anticipate that journey. You want to make people feel as comfortable as you can. You want to understand what their goals are so meaningful.

(03:34): I'm trying to understand who are these people? What are their goals? How do I create experiences for them that they care about? Momentous. I'm looking at what are those key moments that are going to make the event better or worse. Again, you can't pay attention to every single moment within an event. If you did that, then you would go crazy. So what are those moments that I can make a big impact that will become memorable? And then I'm looking at what are those opportunities to do something that is maybe unexpected? So you've been there for six or seven years. You'll remember probably one of the years at least, where we had a musical that was on stage and people were not expecting that, especially the first year we did it. Mike finished his keynote and instead of getting up and making announcements, we broke into a 10 minute parody on Wizard of Oz.

(04:22): Totally memorable, totally unexpected. People who left the room had FOMO because they missed out on it. Not everybody did, but it was unexpected, and so it gave people something to talk about. So we're trying to look at things like that, but also leaning into what did they really come for? They came to, first of all, learn from people like you, John, right? So how do we make space where you can show your expertise in not only in the classroom, but in the hallways and the conversations that you have. We want you to walk away having had a great experience, not just the people who've paid money to be there. We want the vendors that we work with to have a great experience. So the three M'S helped me to work with all those different people and create that experience.

John (05:07): I read in a book somewhere, it was called The Art of Gathering. I can't remember the author's name, but pretty big book, and she gets into dinner gatherings even. But one of the things I was struck with is she talks about this idea of before you ever design any thing logistics, it's like what's the purpose of the event? Do you feel like social media marketing world starts there?

Phil (05:27): We do start with what is our purpose? What's our customer? I mean, some of that hasn't really changed in the 10 years that we've put the event on, but we definitely start there. What's changed in the industry? Who are these people? When we're designing the content, we're doing deep analysis on what's going on in the industry, how do people respond last year? What are they responding to in terms of the things that we published, the research that we do, making sure that we have a lineup that matches the people are coming to the event so that we can put on the best thing. And then we're doing the same thing with the experiences that we create. How did they respond to that last year? Who are the people that are really coming? We've made some mistakes over the years because we didn't understand who the people were.

(06:11): And this is one of my mistakes, and this is something any marketer can do this. If you start to assume that your audience thinks and responds the same way that you do, you're probably on a path to trouble. So John, I'm a jazz saxophonist, and so I assumed that people enjoyed jazz and that it would be good background music. That's really all it was supposed to be is background music for people to network. Well, it turns out not everybody received it that way. They said it's good, but it actually was taking my energy down. I want something that's going to build my energy up. So when I started to realize that the average attendee at our conference is a 40 year old woman, not a 58 year old man, which I've been doing it for a decade. So I started in my forties, but that's when I said, oh, they're probably not listening to the same music that I am. I should probably figure out what they do listen to, and it's an obvious point, but it's easily overlooked. When we get busy, we start to think, well, everyone kind of looks at things the way that I do, and that's not the case.

John (07:17): Well, I love jazz, but I am reminded of the joke. Country music is three chords played to thousands of people, and jazz is a thousand chords played to three people. That's

Phil (07:25): About right. Yeah, there's a thousand starving jazz musicians in New York, but they're really good.

John (07:31): Oh, that's every town. I mean, I live in this little rural town of Colorado, and they're incredible bluegrass musicians just hanging out in bars. It's amazing. So audience is a big part of an event or really of any marketing. Talk a little bit about, because I think, and I hate to keep leading on social media marketing world, but that's certainly something we have in common. How do you view audience versus community? I know that the social media marketing world community is something that you talk a lot about as well. So how do you differentiate those? How do you serve both of those?

Phil (08:04): So yeah, that's a really good point. We are trying to build community and certainly social media Examiner itself has a community. People who follow us, whether they're getting emails from us, whether they're reading our content, whether they're following us on any of the social channels, I would say there's that broad sense of community, but they're really more consumers, the things. So people who come to the event now, they have the chance to become a community, and we are intentional. Usually about 60 days prior we launch. Right now it's a Facebook group. In prior years, it was a LinkedIn group, and we've done other various ways to bring community together, but we try to get people together, meeting each other, knowing each other, making plans, supporting one another. That community ends up being something that people take part in all year long. And obviously there are deeper forms of community.

(08:57): So when I say audience, that's, I'm a performer. And so when I look out from a stage out at a group of people, it's an audience, but we want them to support each other as if they're community, they know each other, and there's clearly different levels of that emerge based on people's own behavior, but also by our intention. We get a group of people that their whole job is to help people make connections before the event and while they're on site, and it's actually two different teams of people, and that's what they do. Make connections with people and help them meet other people like themselves or that would be supportive of them.

John (09:35): So we focus primarily on a physical event, which obviously is an experience, but we have customer experience and we have employee experiences. What are some ways that that unforgettable should, could be applied to those environments?

Phil (09:51): So I think again, this principle of doing something that is unexpected or beyond expectations might be a better way to say it. I heard someone say creating little moments of wow, I think that's in customer experiences. That's what you can do when someone clearly goes above and beyond. I had this happen with an insurance company yesterday, John, where I was trying to get some information, and a lady literally spent an hour on the phone with me while she made all the phone calls for me to all the places and just let me stay on hold so that I didn't have to go chase this information down myself. To me, at the end of that hour, I was like, okay, yeah, I spent an hour, but I actually probably only spent 10 minutes talking to her while she did all the work. I was wowed by that.

(10:36): So she went above and beyond my expectations. So I think that's one of those things we can do in customer experiences, even in employee engagement. I think if we get to know who the people are and listen to them instead of assume we can start to create unique experiences. If I knew when your birthday was, and I happen to know that you're a Chiefs fan living in Bronco country, I think we did this for you one year, didn't we, John? Didn't I buy you a hat, a chiefs hat or something like that when I know I've done that? You did.

John (11:07): You did. You did.

Phil (11:07): Yes. Yeah. So I think when you get to know people and you buy things for them, they don't have to be expensive, but you do something special for a birthday or for a celebration. Those are things that when they're not expecting it is when it's the best.

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Phil (12:37): Well, number one, I think when you're doing things virtually, we know that people's attention is very short. So you've got to keep things moving. You've got to have some things that you're interrupting patterns that keep their engagement. The same is true for you, John, when you're speaking on a stage, I'm sure you probably are having to design your talks in a different way than you did 20 years ago because people are not sticking with you. But I think in virtual environments it's even more so because before this call, I had 20 tab jumping. You told me to shut them all down through the app that you sent me, so I did, but I could have 20 tabs open and then I'm tempted to go look at one of them when a notification shows up. That's what's happening in virtual events. People are being tugged by things on their screen as well as in real life, most of us are working remotely anymore, and so there's things happening in our real life that the dog's barking the cat, the kids are crying, the other phone's ringing.

(13:33): So I think that's one of them is looking for ways to keep the content engaging. That can be the visuals that you're using. That could be you're interrupting patterns by telling a story. Stories are awesome, but it could also be just the way that you present something. One of the things I did, the core analogy in the book, John, is about baking bread. So in one of the talks that I did, I actually had a table set up on the stage and I had all the ingredients for baking bread laid out there, and I mixed it together on the stage while I talked about the importance of each one of these ingredients. And then we had some real life lessons where I didn't have enough water. I had misdiagnosed how much I needed because the recipe I used was not fully accurate, which was a great learning because if you don't have enough water flour or the dough becomes very lumpy, and some of it just the dough or the flour never gets folded in. Well, water is communication. So if you don't have enough communication, people are getting left out, people aren't getting folded in. The whole experience is going to have clumps of good stuff and bad stuff. And so it was just like this great visual learning that we had right there on the stage, on the screen. It was on video too, where people got to experience, huh. That's real life right there,

John (14:55): Especially events. I mean, you can plan all you want, but something's going to happen, right?

Phil (14:59): Something's going to happen.

John (15:00): So I'm sure, well, I don't know if you get this question all the time, but I'm going to ask this question. A lot of folks are cutting back on budgets and things and easy place to cut sometimes or frills at events, but a lot of that goes because we're not measuring the success. So talk a little bit about how you measure success. I mean, let's say our goal is we want people to be engaged and energized and happy. I mean, how do you measure stuff like that?

Phil (15:26): Funny enough, I was on a call yesterday with some people at Google xxi, and their whole goal is try to improve engagement at events. Like Google is putting aside a lot of money to help events get better at what they do, and particularly serving the neurodivergent communities. But there's a company out there that can measure people's delight through their face at an event. So if you're online or even in person, they had cameras set up and they determined that eight out of 17 sessions that we did had above expectations in terms of people's delight in what was happening. And that's based on smiles in their eyes and who knows what, all kinds of things. So there's that level of measurement that can be done. That's next level, and that's probably something that's coming where all of us can do it. But I do think it's the surveys that you do and what questions you ask, obviously will need to be things that you're going to act upon, but they'll tell you, did they really enjoy the way you did this or that?

(16:30): And so to me, very important, we send out several surveys after the event to understand the quality of the content. That's obviously what people paid for. So we measure that. We want to know every single session, how did they do? Is there any feedback that we want to give the speaker so that they can get better at their craft? I think every speaker should want to get better. If they don't, then maybe they ought to stop. You bet. But we're also looking at all the other things, the intangibles, what did they care about? I had this suspicion that people really cared about the quality of the video on a camera in the recordings. Then I went and looked at the data of what people told us and like, well, nobody mentioned that. Maybe they don't care about it as much as I thought they do. I mean, we do expect to see faces, but what we're really there for is the learning. Maybe we don't care to see what the speaker looks like when they're saying, here's how to do a Facebook ad.

John (17:28): So you started to go there, and I was going to ask you about, I think a real opportunity for a lot of people. I think a lot of people put a lot of energy into the actual event or the actual experience, but I know that you've hinted a little bit at some things you do to get people fired up ahead of time, and then some things that you do to keep them. Now, in your particular case, you want them coming back next year. You're probably going to do it. You've probably signed a contract for three or four years on that convention center. So what are some things you do to get people fired up before they come, and then what do you get them to do to stay engaged with the experience they had? So it wasn't just a Oh, that was nice.

Phil (18:03): Yeah, so I learned this from Aaron King who used to do social media for the Oscars, and she came up with a 90 day social media plan, which I don't mimic perfectly, but I mimic to the way that works for us, and that looks like this 60 days before. You're doing a lot of content that's slowly building the engagement and the enthusiasm and getting people talking to each other, making plans, suggesting plans, giving guidance to the newcomers. We do a newcomers orientation so that they can come and learn, here's the things that you want to make sure that you take advantage of. Then there's the actual event itself, and so that's also got this slow burn, and it's kind of like yeast. You want it to slowly rise. So we're trying to get it to slowly rise to this place where everyone's really excited and happy to be at the event when they leave.

(18:59): Then there's another 30 days. So we spend 30 days after the event, and most events I've noticed, and ours is included, after about a week or two, the attention drops off dramatically. I've tried to do a 21 day challenge to get people practicing the things that they learned at the conference, and I've noticed that it doesn't happen. So this year, we're actually going to make it seven days. Let's make it realistic, something that people can actually do. Just say for the next seven days, here's a prompt and we're going to do this together, and we're going to have some prizes. We continue to correspond with them, but eventually they become part of the broader social media examiner community. Again, that group, that Facebook group does stay open all year long, but we don't keep pumping it with content after 30 days. 30 days, we do.

(19:46): We're actively managing it, promoting it. We'll even do some follow-up meetups after the event. But those are mostly just for networking and encouraging people that I've found that the majority of people, once that one week after Mark hits, they've moved on to the next thing. So we do everything we can during the event to help them make plans for how they're going to follow through on this, and then they'll get the videos, they get the recordings. We remind them of those things for a couple of months, and that's pretty much where we are. It's not a year long community for us. I know it could be, but that's just a business decision we're making of saying, you know what? We've got another paid all year long community that's called a social media marketing society. So for us, that's where we want people to be engaged all year long, the conference is more of a seasonal but annual event.

John (20:36): Yeah. Well, Phil, this was great. I appreciate you stopping by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. You want to invite people to where they might connect with you, and then obviously check out a copy of Unforgettable.

Phil (20:46): Absolutely. So is probably the best place to go. There's a way to get on email list with me. All of my social handles are there on the top. If you want to buy a signed copy of my book, there's a way to do that directly there, or there's a page slash purchase that will give you all the links to most of the places in the United States where you can buy books and you can support local bookstores or go to the big boys, Amazon, target, any of those that sell books, they're all there.

John (21:15): And you've got a podcast as well, right?

Phil (21:18): Well, my podcast is currently doing it, so I would say I plan to start one related to events and experiences, but that's going to be a next year project.

John (21:27): Well, for people who haven't done a podcast are not a simple thing, let's put it that way. They take a fair amount of work to get right. So again, I appreciate you stopping by and we're going to run into you soon out there in San Diego.

from Duct Tape Marketing

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

The 7 Deadly Marketing Mistakes

The 7 Deadly Marketing Mistakes written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I’m doing a solo show, and I’m gonna talk about 7 marketing mistakes that business owners usually make and I give you some tips on how to avoid them.

Key Takeaway:

Businesses often make seven deadly marketing mistakes: lacking a clear vision, trying to please everyone, being just like their competition, wasting marketing resources, competing solely on price, succumbing to the idea of the week, and lacking measurable success criteria. Overcoming these mistakes requires a focused marketing strategy aligned with business objectives for creating a roadmap for growth.

Topics I Cover:

  • [01:25] Introduction to the 7 deadly marketing mistakes.
  • [02:32] Number 1: No vision of where your business is headed.
  • [03:47] Number 2: Trying to be all things to all people.
  • [05:54] Number 3: Being just like the competition.
  • [08:49] Number 4: Wasting precious marketing resources.
  • [09:37] Number 5: Competing on price.
  • [11:11] Number 6: Getting overwhelmed with the idea of the week.
  • [13:16] Number 7: Having no way to measure your success.

Get Your Free AI Prompts To Build A Marketing Strategy:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn


This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Sign up for a 15% discount on annual plans until Dec 31, 2023. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!



from Duct Tape Marketing

Monday, November 27, 2023

Weekend Favs November 25

Weekend Favs November 25 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but I encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an online source or one I took on the road.

  • Kapwing – Streamline your video editing efforts with AI-powered Kapwing. You can perform basic editing tasks like removing silence or background noise in just one click.
  • Afforai – Your AI-powered research assistant is here – Afforai can compare information, summarize results, and gather info from multiple sources.
  • MagicForm – Refine your top-of-funnel resources with MagicForm, an automated chatbot that qualifies and converts leads for you.

These are my weekend favs; I would love to hear about some of yours – Tweet me @ducttape

If you want to check out more Weekend Favs you can find them here.

from Duct Tape Marketing

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Mastering Workshops: The Two-Hour Blueprint for Maximum Impact

Mastering Workshops: The Two-Hour Blueprint for Maximum Impact written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Janstch


In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Leanne Hughes, a renowned consultant, speaker, and facilitator who specializes in maximizing team potential through influential and contagious work experiences.

Leanne Hughes is an Australian businesswoman, entrepreneur, high-performance business consultant, speaker and facilitator, maximizing team potential by creating influential, contagious work experiences that scale across teams, functions and regions. She combines her experience in Marketing, with her education (and obsession) with Group Dynamics and Psychology, to help leaders create engaging everyday experiences – that are so contagious they scale across teams, functions and regions.


Clients work with Leanne for her energy and unique approaches that provide cut-through strategies for embarking on a change initiative, or to shift performance or culture to achieve next-level success. Whether launching a change initiative, enabling shifts in performance, or building a culture to achieve next-level success, Leanne’s workshops impact both business and lives.

Leanne shared insights from her expertise, focusing on her book, the “Two-Hour Workshop Blueprint.” Discover how business-owners can design workshops that are fast, deliver strong results, and eliminate stress from the process.

Key Takeaways:

Leanne Hughes shares invaluable insights into the art of workshop facilitation, focusing on the strategic significance of the two-hour timeframe. The discussion delves into the transformative shift from traditional presentations to horizontal, engaging workshops, emphasizing the evolution of skillsets required for effective facilitation. Leanne guides listeners in identifying workshop opportunities by recognizing the telltale “how” questions in various contexts. Additionally, she provides practical tips for building rapport and connection with participants, highlighting the importance of pre-event communication and a thoughtful, engaging kickoff. Leanne’s expertise shines through, offering a comprehensive guide for mastering workshops and delivering impactful, results-driven sessions that resonate with diverse audiences.

Questions I ask Leanne Hughes:

[00:49] Why did you choose a two-hour timeframe for your blueprint?

[01:27] What’s the difference between a workshop and a conference?

[02:19] Do workshops require a different skillset?

[04:40] How can businesses view workshops as products or lead generation tactics ?

[06:20] What structure do you recommend for workshops to follow?

[07:29] What are the best and most time-efficient workshop strategies?

[10:22] How do you guarantee immense value for workshop attendees?

[11:41] How do you build rapport and get people to contribute during workshops?

[13:26] How does audience size effect a workshop?

[14:32] What is power up?

[16:08] Can you explain the value of metaphors in a workshop?

[16:47] What are the best employee engagement activities?

[20:06] Where can people connect with you and learn more ?

More About Leanne Hughes:

Get Your Free AI Prompts To Build A Marketing Strategy:


Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn


This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Sign up for a 15% discount on annual plans until Dec 31, 2023. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!





John (00:08): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Leanne Hughes. She is a consultant, speaker and facilitator maximizing team potential by creating influential contagious work experiences that scale across teams, functions, and regions. We're going to talk about her book, the Two Hour Workshop Blueprint, how business owners can Design Workshops, fast, deliver strong and without stress. So welcome to the show,

Leanne (00:39): Amazing to be here, John. Absolutely love your work and really think about how to create word of mouth in workshops as well. So look forward to diving into that.

John (00:47): Awesome. So the first question I have to ask is why two hours? Is there something magical about that amount of time or did you have a publisher that said we have to be specific?

Leanne (00:57): I think it's definitely about specific, and I think the fact that it is two hours is very intriguing. And I think for most, there's facilitators and trainers and then there's normal people like you and I who are hey, tapped on the shoulder. People want to hear expertise, and I think with two hours, if you can do a two hour workshop, you can do a two day workshop, you can do a one hour workshop because it's enough time for you to open it, to run a few activities and to reflect out. So I thought it was a sweet spot.

John (01:22): Let's talk a little bit about the differences you started to mention there. I mean, I do presentations, I do webinars. How is a workshop different than your standard stand up and open up a conference

Leanne (01:32): And actually I think conferences are actually shifting now because of the pandemic and the amount of content available. I think now it's more about, I guess having a horizontal relationship with the people in your audience versus a vertical one. So vertical, you're the expert. You're talking at someone, it's like a broadcast, it's like a YouTube. You're going on a YouTube live. Whereas a workshop is all about that interaction and getting people to connect to the content in the context that they're in. And it's more of a conversation, and I actually think it's scarier doing workshops because it's unpredictable. You don't have that control. Whereas a keynote is, I move to the stage, I do this, I deliver that. And I think there's absolute forums for both of them and they work really nicely together. But workshops are really about how do we land this for someone and help them make progress where they're at.

John (02:19): Would you say it's a different skillset? I mean, not everybody who can stand up and inspire a crowd can also lead a workshop. I mean, would you say that, I'm sure that there are people that can do both quite well, but would you say it's a different skillset?

Leanne (02:32): Absolutely. Absolutely. It's a different skillset. And I think when I've got a podcast called First Time Facilitator, but I was leading that, I was a keynote speaker, you should have seen my agenda, John. It was 9 0 1 mentioned this story, 9 0 3. It was so specific and precise and it wasn't leaving any space for connection and anything else. And I think now as a more seasoned facilitator, I'm lazier, I'm less controlled, but it takes time on your feet and experience and going through some of the bad experiences to get comfortable with that.

John (03:03): And I know myself for doing this for years. You talked about a workshop can be scarier. I find that it's sometimes scary when you just get a crowd that maybe didn't want to be there. They're there for the wrong reasons, they're not very particip, but when you get one that's really into it, I think they're a lot more fun.

Leanne (03:21): Absolutely. And I think there's something I talk about in the book as the Spark framework, and it's all about the setup as well, and it's very different if you're working with an organization. I was talking to a friend about this yesterday. A client will hire you, but the people in that room haven't necessarily volunteered. They've been voluntold to go there, and so you're up against it. Whereas John, you work with business owners that would just screened to be at one of your workshops. So it's on fire the moment you're in the room.

John (03:46): Yeah, I'm envisioning accountants getting CEU credits, scary room. They don't want to be there and they don't really want to hear about marketing anyway. Yeah, but

Leanne (03:56): It's interesting.

John (03:56): Sorry to all my accountant listeners for that one.

Leanne (03:59): Well, let's not stop with accountants. Let's talk about lawyers as well. Honestly, it's really bizarre, but everyone's like, what's the best workshop you've ever been to? And it was run by, it was the code of conduct workshop at my old when I was working internally. It was like, we go in, we're thinking, this is going to be terrible. We're going to talk with us for three hours. It was the best experience ever talking through case studies, hypotheticals. And I guess John for me was after that experience, I was like, if you could make code of conduct interesting, you can make anything interesting. So that was cool.

John (04:29): Let's talk about who needs to do a workshop. I'm sure that there are people out there thinking, well, I'm a trainer or I'm a coach, and so workshops have to be part of my suite. But there's probably a whole lot of businesses that never really thought about a workshop as a product or maybe even as a lead generation tactic. Talk a little bit about how can we be more expansive in thinking who should do workshops?

Leanne (04:53): Yeah, I think it's really, I mean, I always sort of rely on my content strategy to drive what I end up doing for workshops. So I might put out a LinkedIn post around something and people, I wonder how they're asking questions. How do you do that? I think the second you have a how question is like, Hey, maybe this could be a workshop. And often as we take for granted the knowledge in our own mind and think everyone else knows this, but the second you've been sought out to, how do you do this faster? What systems are you using? There's an opportunity, I think, to really dive in for the workshop experience. So a keynote, I think a speech is more about building awareness around a topic. I think a workshop is, I'm aware I want it. How do I do this?

John (05:32): Well, to that point, I mean, I think a lot of marketers think workshop and they think, oh, this is a way to top of funnel, maybe create some awareness. Maybe it's a low ticket thing that's going to lead to my high ticket thing. But where I see them terribly underutilized is we should be doing workshops for our clients. I mean, teaching them how to get more, how to do something more because we've already got that relationship and now we just really cement it. We

Leanne (05:57): Absolutely. Yeah, and I think because my business is, my main product is workshops, and it's an interesting ecosystem once you have a workshop in that, because then you can expand to advisory retainer work, come in for a speech one-on-one coaching the utility of a workshop as the centerpiece is super valuable.

John (06:20): So you have structured the book as acts of a play. So talk a little bit, I mean, do you see that as kind of the structure of a workshop too, as acts of a play?

Leanne (06:30): Sometimes they can be non-linear, and I'm designing a workshop tomorrow where I don't know where it's going to go. We're working through a process, so I've basically a series of post-IT cards and activities ready to go when we need to, which is very different to what I

John (06:41): Was Choose your own ending kind of thing.

Leanne (06:44): And yeah, choose your own adventure. I love that. But I think the reason I read the book is for people that I haven't done workshops before and kind of need a structure and a format because I dunno how long it takes you, John, but when I was first starting out to design a two hour workshop would take me weeks. It was ridiculous. I was on Google searching for the perfect activity, and then after creating so many over the years, I'm like, actually, this is, what am I actually doing here? And let's play it back to make it faster. No one has that bandwidth to spend that much time. And I think there's a false assumption, the more time you spend on it, the better it will be. It's totally false.

John (07:21): Yeah. More time you spend delivering it, the better it'll be probably right where you really learn, right?

Leanne (07:28): A hundred percent. Yeah. Yeah.

John (07:29): We could talk about the various components of it, but I know one of the things early on, you talked about it used to take you a lot of time. I usually pack too much in them is what I did because I was like, oh, we've got two hours. How can I fill 120 minutes and I'll put more stuff in it? And what it ended up doing was making it less effective. So let's talk. Maybe that's a good lead into the setup.

Leanne (07:51): Yeah, I think everyone in the world uses the GPS analogy, but what I like the most about the GPS analogy is that, and I didn't know that this is how it worked, but you set your destination first. What the GPS does is actually cuts out the map. It doesn't give you the whole map, it cuts it out. That's the effectiveness of it. And I think especially with two hours and with any type of expert in a certain context, it's not about the information. I mean, we can Google things as YouTube for everything. It's more about for these people at this moment in time, what are the most useful thing and how can I cut out 90% of the stuff that actually doesn't matter? Because I think often we equate more content to more value, but we end up overwhelming them. They don't get a result. And as a result, they may not then book us back. But it's hard. I think it's kind of related to self-worth as well. My worth is in the content.

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(09:42): That's Now, this offer is limited to new active campaign customers only. So what are you waiting for? Fuel your growth, boost revenue and save precious time by upgrading to ActiveCampaign today. Yeah, I mean, I distinctly remember doing some three hour workshops for a manufacturer for their distributors, and the first time I delivered it, about 30 minutes in, I was like, they're overwhelmed. They're done. I mean, you could see it on their faces and I mean, it's really a hard lesson to learn because I think that's probably one of the rookie mistakes people make is they're like, I've got all this time. I have to shove stuff in. So if somebody says, okay, I have an inkling that this is a good topic, what's next? What do I do next? I mean, how do I get to the right amount of content?

Leanne (10:32): Yeah, the right amount. That's a really interesting question. But I think going back to the rule, there's that rule in comedy like the rule of threes where you sort of set up one, two, and three. I mean, the number three is everywhere. And I think it's a good number, particularly for a two hour workshop is I just think if someone's leaving this workshop, what do I want to tell a friend and how I make that stick? And usually it's like, okay, it's three things or it's wrapped up in one framework, like a Venn diagram or something like that. Three key themes. They can say, Hey, I went to this workshop, here are the three key things we talked about. And that's it. Because I think the second you've and I talk about frameworks in the book, it's kind of like an advanced thing, but it's really about just gift wrapping information. You want to make it easy to remember, easy to recall, easy to share with other people. And I think so just meeting them, but also John, I think having conversations and some of the time where workshops for me didn't land is where I wasn't connecting with people beforehand. And I've made assumptions around where they're at in their business

John (11:32): Just because I'm going to piggyback off of that. I was going to ask that a little later on, but how do you build, you walk into a room sometimes it's the first time you've seen anybody the way it worked. How do you build rapport, get them engaged right away without maybe feeling cheesy?

Leanne (11:48): Yeah, that's fun. Well, I think I was originally very cheesy and I was kind of going over the top and being a bit ridiculous

John (11:54): Or cheeky I should say, to be with your audience. That's a more Australian term, right?

Leanne (12:00): Yeah, it's very Australian. We can't beat that out of ourselves. I think we're just a cheeky country, but set up phase, I think we often, we think, and this is a Pri Parker thing, and her book, the Art of Gathering, she says, the event doesn't start when it starts beforehand. And I think even the language you used around what are you going to call the event can really set an expectation. Often I will send, it's not the first time I've communicated with the group, so I'll ask either directly, I'll send a video out to the people that have participating, just setting expectations, raising their level of certainty in terms of what to expect, the type of experience or the client will forward that on. And what I love about doing sometimes a pre-survey, it's kind of like a mini listening tour. You're hearing the language, and then what I like to do is something called the playback approach.

(12:46): So they're in there, this is particularly useful if they're kind hostages in the workshop, what are we doing here? You go, Hey, here's what you said. And you just play back their language and they can't disagree with that. So automatically you are lowering the objections in the room and getting people to feel a bit more comfortable. But also John, I'm chronically early. I'll be there an hour before, an hour and a half, so that when people walk in 20 minutes beforehand, I'm not fluffing around and fiddling around with slides. I'm like, I'm there. I'm connecting. Just not so busy.

John (13:18): I'm the same way, only because every room, the technology is different and I always want to make sure that stuff is going to work. So talk about a little bit about size of audience, if that dictates what you can and can't do. I know I speak to groups of 10 and I can hold their hands, whereas I speak to group of a hundred and it's a whole different dynamic, isn't it?

Leanne (13:39): Yeah. I've actually recently run a webinar on that actual, how do you host a large group? It is very different in terms of dynamics and also the level of instruction. So with smaller groups, I feel kind of weird having a group of four people and bringing in a PowerPoint and making it a bit of a performance. I'd feel extremely weird. I want to say even in the dynamics, you could just remove all the tables and sit around just with chairs and have flip charts and keep it conversational. Once you're on over a hundred, 130 people, what I like to do is create, have roles at tables, so create mini facilitators and give roles out timekeepers. So you're allocating responsibility, but you have to be much more precise with your instructions with bigger groups, much more deliberate with your use of language, which is tough. I like just riffing and at the smaller group level, but you'll be very precise the bigger it gets.

John (14:30): Do you get into, so you have a section in the book you call Power Up. So I guess I'll just let you explain that aspect. We talked a little bit about setup. So what is Power Up?

Leanne (14:40): Yeah, I think there's two elements to power up. So one is the personal power up. I think the most important thing is how are you feeling? What's your energy as you enter that room? Because particularly on virtual Mark, Foden body language expert, he said, we can't read virtual body language. The best predictor of how anyone else will show up is how we lead our own energy. So we've got to be a beacon for that. But power up is also those first five or 10 minutes because that's where you set the tone of engagement. And often where workshops can fail is it starts very predictably. And I sort of joke, let's create an unpredictable experience that will predictably work. It's welcome, housekeeping, it's just here's the content. Whereas I like to think, okay, how can we do the opposite of that? So do I start at the back of the room? Do we just start with an activity, just setting the tone that you want throughout the two hours that you're there?

John (15:29): Yeah. The one I always hate, and there's still lots of people tell you to do this, so please feel free to tell me I'm wrong, but the one where they put the whole agenda out there and then they've spent 20 minutes going, here's what we're going to do today. To me that's like death, but maybe I'm wrong.

Leanne (15:43): It's death. I mean, that could have been an email beforehand and it's like, just get into it. I talk about the seven habits of Highly Effective Workshop hosts, and again, I'm working on this. One is it's brevity. It's like often I've been in, I don't know, John, you've been in sessions where you hear things explain and we get it. It's like, let's move, let's move on. Yeah, agenda is one of them.

John (16:05): And maybe you're going to say it depends, but how about the use of metaphor in workshops to really drive home lessons? Do you think that's something we ought to all strive to bring into our style?

Leanne (16:18): I think not only in workshops, I think in life, honestly, in our conversations with clients, the second I'm trying to explain a concept, if I can bring in a metaphor and people are like, they get it immediately. You're in, you can see. Yeah, I mean metaphor is really powerful. It's something I've been working with Alan Weiss, million Dollar consultant, and he just basically talks in metaphors the whole time and like, oh, I'd love to get to that stage. But even as I was writing the book, it's like, what is the metaphor for the deep dive approach? Just really trying to connect in,

John (16:47): Talk about activities. Obviously workshop implies we're going to work, so talk about how important they are, maybe how to do them well, I mean, just anything you want to talk about, give us advice on activities and how to make them great.

Leanne (17:02): Yeah, you're right. Something I write at there is that it's a workshop, not a do this later shop, and that was my biggest pet peeves, like, oh, we've got this content, but you're have to go back into and play calendar Tetris and no one ever does it afterwards. So you've got that time and space, let's do the work. And probably the biggest comment I've had about that is, oh, Leanne, it's not content, it's activities. It's like, yes, let's actually get implementing and things like that. And I think when it comes to activities, and what was taking me so long with designing workshops was I was trying to think of what's a cool activity I can use for this scenario? And it's like, actually just use the scenario that people are working with. If they need to free up time, let's get them with their laptops. Let's open up their calendar. Let's see, and see how priorities are coming to life through the calendar in the session itself. Again, I like to weave in a bit of contrast. So with activities, it's think about, like you said before, group size, an individual reflection, maybe it's a conversation, then it's doing the thing, seeing how that worked out, reflecting on it as part of that, the chunk of your workshop is about 75 minutes is dedicated to that

John (18:08): To people actually working right,

Leanne (18:11): To implementing, to doing the thing. Yeah, exactly.

John (18:14): So what's your next workshop?

Leanne (18:18): Alright, a two day workshop. Yeah, and it isn't a training.

John (18:22): We're not going to be able to publicize that one because by the time people are listening to this, it will have occurred. So I guess maybe we'll just go right into invite people to where they might connect with you and obviously find the book, but also you offer a lot more than just the book with your trainings and workshops. So I'll let you just invite people to connect.

Leanne (18:41): Wonderful. Yeah, thanks John. Yeah, so you can see all my portfolio I'm very active on LinkedIn. I've got a podcast called First time Facilitator, back catalog of over 200 episodes talking about facilitation work. And of course, yeah, the book, grab it. There's lots of templates and downloadables as part of that. And email me, let me know what workshop you're running and how you're going and how you've used it. There's no bigger delight than hearing the impact of that book.

John (19:06): Awesome. Well, I appreciate you stopping by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, and hopefully we'll run into you on these days out there on the road.

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