Whether you’re an executive speaking in front of your colleagues, an entrepreneur leading a sales presentation, or even just talking with your friends, at some point or another, you’re going to have to speak in public. If you’re like a lot of people, it might terrify you – and the COVID-19 pandemic requiring almost all of our meetings to be virtual probably hasn’t helped.
Fortunately, there are self-proclaimed speech geeks like Terri Sjodin out there in the world to help us improve. Terri has spent the last 30 years working to help people and businesses build and deliver more polished, persuasive, and effective presentations – and, since March, has focused her work on the tools and technologies you can use right now to forge more authentic connections.
Today, Terri and I are talking about the shocking mistakes that tons of professionals make when they speak in public, as well as sharing some techniques you can use right now to become a better speaker, no matter where or how you’re meeting.
In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:
[00:00:00] Andrew Rafal: You know what people fear more than death? It’s public speaking. Public speaking, whether you’re an executive speaking in front of your colleagues, you’re doing a sales presentation, or you just got to get up there in front of friends, it’s one of our number one fears. So, that’s why today we have a great guest. I had the privilege to sit down with Terri Sjodin. Terri is a self-proclaimed speech geek. She loves the art form of the spoken word and she spent the last 30 years working to help people and businesses build and deliver more polished, and persuasive, and effective presentations. So, in our discussion, we go through how we can create connections in this COVID world by using stories to be more persuasive. How the technologies that have shifted and change can allow you to still connect.
So, we’re going to go over some of the hottest technologies that’s out there because Terri has spent every day since March trying to build out better processes that we can all learn from. We also go through some of the biggest mistakes that all of us as professionals make when we get out there and speak and you are going to be pretty shocked by some of them. Then we’ll go through some techniques that you can take away, that can help you become a better speaker, whether it’s physically right in front of people or virtually. Lots of great stuff today. I really, really enjoyed this conversation. And as a side note, I’ve worked with Terri in the past and she’s incredible. So, without further ado, my episode with Terri Sjodin. Happy planning, everybody.
[00:01:51] Andrew Rafal: Welcome back to another episode of Your Wealth & Beyond. Terri Sjodin, welcome to the podcast. How are you this morning?
[00:02:00] Terri Sjodin: I am great. Thank you so much for having me. This is going to be fun.
[00:02:04] Andrew Rafal: Such a privilege to have you on and a little backstory. I’ve got to know Terri, what was it? About two and a half three months ago?
[00:02:11] Terri Sjodin: Yes, for the kind of a second time, I guess.
[00:02:15] Andrew Rafal: That was a wonderful, wonderful experience in going through your five-course process there of how we can become better speakers in this new world that we’re in. So, when we think about your background, you’ve spent basically your entire career in helping individuals and business owners and corporations become better speakers and getting their message across in a better way. So, how did you wind up in this position? Did you always know that this was kind of your career path and your passion?
[00:02:50] Terri Sjodin: It’s such a kind question. It allows me the opportunity to express my gratitude for my early mentors and coaches. But I guess early on, I was just so fortunate I had a high school speech coach. His name was Jim Caforio and he took three of us from the time that we were sophomores, and really groomed us to be extremely competitive in speech and debate. So, I followed that path when I got into college, and I competed in Lincoln-Douglas debate and also in individual events on the speech and debate team so I’m a total speech geek. I love the power and the influence of the spoken word. I just stuck with it. I have the great fortune of working with a couple of different companies right out of college that promoted national speakers and sales trainers.
And so, I just made it kind of my intention was very clear that that career involved helping people to build and deliver more polished and persuasive presentations was just a calling. And so, that’s really been my life’s work. I started shooting communications in November of 1990 and so we just celebrated our 30-year anniversary in this space. I’m still astonished when I look back at the early beginnings to where we are today and how things have shifted and morphed and changed. Look where we’re going now, which I know we’re going to talk about but, wow, what a difference 30 years make. And, yes, well, as much as things have changed, many things stayed the same. So, there’s just a lot to kind of dive into here.
[00:04:35] Andrew Rafal: Yeah. And 30 years, I mean, that’s incredible. So, congratulations first and foremost.
[00:04:40] Terri Sjodin: Thank you.
[00:04:41] Andrew Rafal: The passion that you have today has it’s, I mean, just from knowing you just a short time but it hasn’t waned, right? You’ve had this passion of what you do and I think that’s the biggest obstacle a lot of us face is, are we doing something day-to-day that we have a mission and a passion for? Just from your voice, I think the listeners can tell that you’ve got that passion.
[00:05:04] Terri Sjodin: I love it. I feel like when you embrace the power of your presentation skills and how it can change not only your life but the lives of others, then you can start to see that it’s really a gift. And so, what I tried to do is just help people to use their voice so that they can express whatever is important to them, whether it’s selling a product, a service, a philosophy, an idea, most importantly, when they’re selling themselves. Everybody is selling something. I think that the word sales gets a real bad rap but, ultimately, nothing happens until somebody sells something. I think there’s a really beautiful, very elegant way to communicate a message in a way that’s not hard sell and still move forward your intention, and that all lives under this umbrella of becoming a clear, concise, and compelling presenter.
[00:06:02] Andrew Rafal: You hit it right there because and, listener, you don’t have to be a salesperson, you don’t have to be on stages. What we’re going to learn today are things that we all do. You’re always in a sense, like you said, Terri, selling yourselves. And so, doesn’t matter where you are in your career, whether working, retired, and then we’re going to learn some good nuggets today, and especially in this world we’re in, as we come upon the almost end of this tumultuous 2020, I think everybody’s ready to take a big sigh, a big deep breath, and focus on turning the page of this year. Terri, before we dig into some of the research that you and your team have put together, what can we learn? What have you learned in a year like this that’s been unlike any other in your career? What have you learned that we can take and grow from as you’ve had to pivot your company as well as then helping your clients across the globe?
[00:07:02] Terri Sjodin: Wow. That’s such a great question. I feel like the lesson that I learned and continue to learn over the course of time is this message of resilience to really try to figure out clever workarounds and new scrappy ways to face the headwinds that hope we might have to step into. So, I guess I can frame it with a little backstory. So, as you know, this has really been my life’s work but about 18 months ago, almost 24 months ago now, we launched a pretty extensive research project to explore the impact of making a mistake when delivering a presentation like, okay, so if you make a presentation mistake, is that a big deal? If it is, why? If it’s not, why not? And how have things changed.
It was just a really fun project where I got to work with business professionals from all walks of life whether they sold a product or a service or a cause, people for multiple generations, and ultimately, we surfaced all these incredible nuggets. And to fast forward, before we kind of get into that data, we launched this research study results in March of this year. So, March of 2020, it was just like many of your listeners, I had a very different image of what 2020 was going to look like and everything just ended. It was just this incredible launch and then one-by-one, day-by-day, every meeting canceled, every conference canceled, every interview was canceling. I remember almost feeling just shell shocked for about two weeks and I thought, “Oh my gosh, what am I going to do?” Because I make my living meeting with people one-on-one, small group, large group, huge conferences, like I’m a people person. This is my gig.
[00:09:02] Terri Sjodin: So, being in lockdown was not only – I just felt frozen and then I just had to take a little bit of my own advice, speaker heal thyself. And so, I thought, okay, how can I get scrappy? How can I really be of service? And I think if you stay centered in how can you be of service, then you stop focusing on what you don’t have and how you can contribute and the answers somehow live there. So, I took all this research data and started applying it to virtual presentations or hybrid grid presentations and asked the hard questions. Are these common mistakes that people are making in person? Are they also playing out live and virtual? Fortunately, when we did the research, initially, we asked people, “How do you typically present? Is it in-person? Is it over the phone or is it virtual?” And so, we had some data nuggets to pull from and then we apply that, and ultimately, it changes and morphs and grows every day but it brought us to this place.
So, I know it’s a very long answer but to try to get there to summarize that, I would say to be resilient, to kind of stay scrappy, and then also always being kind of, when in doubt, go back to service and somehow the answers just live there.
[00:10:26] Andrew Rafal: And who would have thought back in 2016, your book that you wrote, Scrappy: A Little Book About Choosing to Play Big, would be so relevant in today’s 2020. So, you were kind of a little foreshadowing of where we are today. When you look at these mistakes that presenters make, whether we’re on a stage or in a small group, or now on the virtual, do you see that on the virtual side, one mistake or two mistakes are bigger than if we’re in front of people? What do we have to look at there? Because this is, as we talked about previously, like a hybrid world we’re going to be moving into where it’s not going to be all or nothing. But what can a listener do if they’re going to be focused on having to do more Zooms or virtual? What they can do to not make these mistakes that may be magnified?
[00:11:17] Terri Sjodin: Such a cool question. Okay. So, there are three benchmarks that we use to kind of assess a presentation. So, if you’re listening at home or you want to just pull over in Zoom mode, here are some I think pretty meaty takeaways. When somebody is listening to us present, they’re listening to us through what I would call kind of these benchmarks or these lenses. So, the first benchmark is the benchmark of case. The second benchmark is that of creativity and the third is delivery. So, when we’re talking about your case, we’re really discussing have you built a persuasive argument, a compelling message, something that wants to drive me towards listening more, towards taking action, towards engaging in conversation? And there are four common mistakes that live under this benchmark of case and they include winging it, being far too informative versus persuasive, providing inadequate support, and failing to close the sale.
So, before I kind of go into that category, what I wanted to do is just let your listeners know I didn’t accuse people of making these mistakes. These are things that people self-identified as being an issue that costs them the win, the deal, the opportunity, or the job in the job interview. So, if you’ve ever committed the mistake of winging it or being far too informative versus persuasive, or providing inadequate support, or failing to close the sale, then you’re perfectly normal. Just know that that’s something that happens quite often.
[00:12:57] Andrew Rafal: Right. Well, in the informative side if you’re being too informative and you have somebody who’s watching you virtually, you’re going to lose them, right? Because it’s a lot harder to lose them when they’re in a room. They can’t pull out their phone and be that rude but guess what? They’re just a click away from searching Google or checking out scores, or just saying, “You know what, I’m done.” So, it’s a critical piece and I think from the standpoint even in our industry, the financial services, we know the jargon, right? We know it but the common person doesn’t and so that’s something we constantly have to do and it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. So, what can we do there in that case like on the too informative? And then the winging it side, like what can we do to better ourselves on that?
[00:13:44] Terri Sjodin: I love it. So, that leads us to that second benchmark. So, the second benchmark is the benchmark of creativity. There are four mistakes that live under that umbrella, which include misusing the allotted time, being boring, boring, boring, relying too much on visual aids, and failure to create connection. Ultimately, the issues of case and creativity, they lean on each other. So, for example, when we were looking at the overall data, there were three mistakes that people self-identified above all others, and they were winging it, concluding versus closing, and being far too informative versus persuasive. Now, that’s interesting, and they all live under the umbrella of case. But what’s more significant is that when we asked the same business or salespeople, okay, who better to judge salespeople than other salespeople?
So, when you’re the listener, when somebody is presenting to you, is there any specific mistake that stood out when someone else was presenting to you that kind of made you think, “I don’t know if I want to work with them. I don’t know if I want to partner with them or I don’t know if I want to move forward with them.” And the number one mistake that business and salespeople notice in others was that their presentations were boring, boring, boring, which lives under this benchmark of creativity. I just think it’s really funny that most people said, “Oh, I’m overly informative but other people are boring,” and we call this the third-party effect because a lot of times, we just don’t see ourselves as others see us and we don’t really kind of look at ourselves through that same lens. So, creativity is a key element to meeting the needs of a great presentation. It’s not just your case but it also requires you to tap into that creativity as well.
[00:15:37] Andrew Rafal: Well, that’s where storytelling can become a big component of a successful presentation, a successful connection. Would you say that’s helpful?
[00:15:47] Terri Sjodin: Absolutely. What I think is really key here is you can tell a story, and sometimes people are like where are they going with this story? But what’s really critical is when you pair a logical, persuasive argument with a wonderful story or illustration, and it’s the marriage of those two things that come together that really make an argument or a presentation compelling. Then that kind of leads us into that third benchmark, which is delivery, and that’s your style, your personality, all of the fun things that really make you, you. We always say that people buy people, and how else do you communicate your people down if not through your delivery skills? So, it can be things like distracting gestures or body language, believe it or not, on a presentation that’s via Zoom and wearing an inappropriate dress. There could be technology or equipment failures and then, of course, verbal missteps.
It doesn’t mean that you’re supposed to be perfect and I don’t want to leave this delivery section, this third benchmark without addressing this idea of perfection. I mean, I’m not perfect, far from it. I make mistakes all the time but I think that the goal is to create the connection. And so, if we just set a goal in 2021 as we’re moving forward to just kind of level up our skill set a little bit, think about our case, think about our creativity, think about our delivery, think about leveling up to the next space, then we can really set ourselves up for success in 2020.
[00:17:23] Andrew Rafal: One of the keys that you’ve shown us and your clients is having the right environment when you’re doing a virtual meeting. We’ll get into a little bit of the technology as we move forward there but part of it is just making it welcoming, having that trust factor, having the camera at the right angle, smiling and it’s not easy to do. So, going back to that winging it, you have to practice it like a muscle, and almost like I look at it from my standpoint, a good presentation is one that you’re almost feeling as watching it. You’re almost feeling that they’re winging it but the presenter knows exactly what they’re doing because they’ve done it time and time and time again, and it didn’t just happen overnight. Just like any elite athlete, they’re practicing, practicing, practicing to make it look like it’s so easy, and that’s where a lot of people make that mistake, and me included is not practicing and having that comfort of exactly knowing where it’s going to go. And so, you’re not even thinking the mind already absorbs it and then it can flow out of you.
[00:18:31] Terri Sjodin: You’re right and it is a challenge even for those of us who have made a living at speaking, making this pivot to a 100% virtual experience has been an interesting challenge. So, there’s a wonderful quote that kind of sticks in my mind. As I was listening to what you’re saying, it made me think about it but people think, “Oh, you’ve got to be really polished or it’s got to be perfect,” and there’s this lovely thing that polish comes from practice but charisma comes from certainty. And so, it can be a very polished presenter but when you become this charismatic speaker is when you do exactly what you just mentioned. So, now you own that content. You own the material. It doesn’t feel incredibly rehearsed. It actually morphs to a place of elegance like a dance where you put your little magic, that X factor into that content and it takes it from being this stiff, rigid material, or that traditional boring, kind of winging it type presentation into something where it expresses confidence and competence and joy, where people say, “I just get that you love what you’re doing and you’re really knowledgeable and it just seems like this is your wheelhouse,” and that expression of confidence is not about ego. It’s about it’s almost like peace if that makes sense.
[00:20:02] Andrew Rafal: 100%. When you talk about this as we go back to boring, boring, boring, I mean, is there nothing worse than somebody who’s just reading the PowerPoint like bullet by bullet by bullet? They’re going to put their audiences in bed. They’ve lost it. They’re thinking whether you’re sitting there watching them or you’re sitting on a computer. So, listeners, even though it wasn’t the top mistake, well, I guess it was, right? Boring, boring, boring. And guess what, nothing more boring than reading.
[00:20:33] Terri Sjodin: Yeah. So, we say try to remember that you are the star and the visual aids are the bit player and if ever your visual aids start to upstage you, then that’s how you can lose control of the presentation. So, we’re trying to create this experience where the visual aids say something that you can’t express in the same way verbally. So, to your point, it’s not that you can’t use slides in your deck. Sometimes they can be amazing to help illustrate the story. When it becomes problematic is when it’s text slide after text slide after text slide like nobody wants to look at that. So, it’s about imagery. When somebody says to me, “Well, how do you decide what do you keep and what do you delete?” I always ask, run it through this test. Is it important to the story? And if it’s really important to the story and it helps the story to progress, meaning the overall presentation or the overall narrative.
If it’s important to help you to create those bridges to drive progression in the story, then you can keep it. If it’s just a cheat sheet to help you get through your own content, then that’s when you need to pull it out. That’s kind of the litmus test that we put them through.
[00:21:49] Andrew Rafal: Right. And that’s when you got to go back to practicing. So, you don’t need that. What we’ve done is we’ve pivoted for now having to do more webinar educational for clients and prospective clients is that we’ve used a lot more visual but it’s these big, beautiful pictures. And so, what the thinking there is when I’m on stage or talking in front of them, I want less slides because I can connect with them and that’s what they, and you tell me if I’m wrong, but that’s how you build that connection, less slides. You want them focusing on you and connecting. With the virtual, what we’ve seen is having a lot more slides but very visual pictures and a lot of them so that you’re keeping them engaged, one would say, and right, wrong, or indifferent, don’t know if that’s the correct path. What are your thoughts on that of using more slides but pictures when you’re doing more of an educational piece where you’re trying to connect to pictures, as well as then going back to them seeing you as the presenter?
[00:22:51] Terri Sjodin: It’s a great question. So, I want to answer that question in a couple of different ways, if I might. So, without speaking to any specific brand, some people are using internal presentations where they use a strategy like Teams or a platform like Teams. Then there are other platforms like Zoom. So, Teams is really great for internal. I think Zoom is better for external or larger group presentations but what we’re finding is three things. Number one, shorter is better. The attention span for somebody on a virtual presentation, typically doesn’t exceed 30 minutes unless you have some pretty engaging Q&A, and then it can go longer but then that’s question-and-answer driven.
The second thing is that reason that Zoom is so popular and is preferred over like a traditional old-school webinar is that there is that interaction that when you see the person’s face on the screen, you’re having eye contact with them and the camera and the people that are involved. They’re unmuted, they’re engaged in the conversation, that’s when it’s working. When they’re tuning out is when there’s just too many slides. It’s a flat webinar strategy. There’s just one person talking. Sometimes it’s getting even worse like we’re seeing some data and hearing some feedback, where people are saying, “Oh, we thought it was going to be really cool if we did a pre-recorded video,” and then people actually use the pre-recorded video as an excuse to get up and use the restroom, right? It’s like bad, low production television. So, you have to really think about what’s your intention.
[00:24:45] Andrew Rafal: And so, what we’re seeing more often than not is if you want the relationship to progress, it’s got to be that kind of as close as possible to a face-to-face experience that you can create virtually, so that they feel like, “Oh my gosh, that was such a great meeting. I got so much out of it. I felt like we were having a great conversation. We’re really connecting. And guess what, I didn’t have to get in my car. I didn’t have to fly there. I didn’t have to deal with traffic.” And when you make it so that feels like, “Oh my gosh, that was a better experience than if I wasn’t forced to use virtual,” then it becomes a gift, then it becomes a bonus. And people are like, “Oh, that was awesome. I got the same thing done and I didn’t have the same costs and I didn’t have the inconvenience.” So, that’s when you can really pivot it and make this a huge win, rather than just checking the box.
[00:25:42] Andrew Rafal: Well, one thing that we’re doing is actually next week, and we got this idea from another firm but we’re doing this wine event called Sip and Savor. It’s a virtual wine event with the owner of a winery in Napa and we’re choosing a set amount of clients and we’re sending them two bottles of this Pinot and Cab like a really, really nice wine, and we’re going to have the – he’s also a sommelier, I always pronounce that word wrong so I apologize on that but we’re going to basically be bantering back and forth. But it’s going to be a Zoom, really intimate, and then each of these clients that are special to us, they’re going to have a friend that’s in their bubble that’s going to be with them, that’s going to share the wine with them. No real business talk but they’re going to get to see Bayntree, my firm, that we’re real people, and they’re going to see other people just like them, and we’re going to have a fun experience.
So, it’s this more intimate event, versus what I would normally be doing right now as we’d be getting ready for our large client holiday party where we’d have over 100 people and guests there. So, this is just a way for us to pivot, do something smaller, and really build that connection, as well as hopefully get some prospective clients that are referred to us where we might be able to help them.
[00:26:59] Terri Sjodin: I love it. I think that is perfect. I was actually just working with some friends last night on kind of a list of scrappy creative things that people could do to create connection and find some way to make up for the fact that they’re not going to have their holiday party. So, we need this kind of list where the first one was replace, don’t erase, right? So, just because you can’t post or be at an annual holiday event this year, send a note or do something festive in place of that virtually. And so, what you’re doing is exactly correct, and then maybe even follow up with a really fun save-the-date for next year. So, it’s gone but not forgotten and we’ll be back in 2021. The next thing was these mystery boxes. People love mystery boxes and they love what we’re calling virtual event swag bags, and they can include everything from treats and gift cards to, to your point, wine tastings, bourbon tastings, champagne parties. These are all ways to reach out to people who are isolated right now.
I mean, look at us in California. Unfortunately, we’re back on stay-at-home orders in a Friday. And so, when people reach out, make that extra effort, try to provide some kind of fun, something joyful, and then they segue into how that business relationship can be of service and how they can be of help. It certainly puts you in a better position to drive that business moving forward in the future, than if you just did nothing or send a generic card or just pretended that 2020 just went away and you just ignore, forgot everything.
[00:28:48] Andrew Rafal: Right. This is the time we can build those deeper relationships, further connect. The other thing we’re putting together for January is I have a friend out here, he’s a well-known chef, and we’re going to do a virtual cooking class and have it where this one’s probably going to be where it’s on-site somewhere and have more people than just eight so anybody can jump on. So, it won’t be as interactive but it’s another way for us to connect and he’s really good at presenting normally. He’s doing it face-to-face but little things like this can just help us continue to keep our tribe together because we’re losing that. We used to get together on a monthly lunch and learn things like that. So, it’s continually trying to think outside the box and keep our Bayntree tribe together so that they feel they’re part of something as well as then knowing that we’re here every step of the way, and it’s not just about the money. It’s not just about the income. It’s not just about their financial plan. It’s like, okay, these guys are bringing other things to us and that goes a long way to continue to make sure that that client stays with us for 20 plus years.
[00:29:49] Terri Sjodin: Couldn’t agree more. I love that you’re doing that, and sometimes people say, “Well, what did you know executing some sort of scrappy effort like that have to do with delivering a rock star presentation?” And I hear all the time, I’m like, I believe that they really walk hand-in-hand. You can have the greatest presentation in the world but if you don’t have access to the most desirable listeners, what good does it do? And then on the flip side, you could have access to the greatest, most desirable prospects and listeners, but if you don’t have a rock-solid presentation when you get that opportunity, you can blow it. So, it really serves each other. There’s an integration that makes the magic happen and that’s how we build long-term strategies where we build trust and close relationships that also become a long-term business partnership.
[00:30:40] Andrew Rafal: Now, on that note, building trust, and it was back in 2012 that you were inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame. So, first and foremost, awesome that there’s less than like 300 people in that or something of that nature. So, that’s just showing your lifetime pursuit of excellence in the field. But one question I had is like what makes a good speaker? Like I think of let’s think of somebody political like Ronald Reagan, Obama, like, is this something that is innate in them? Innate in you? Or can we learn it and become a really good speaker?
[00:31:22] Terri Sjodin: I think the answer is a little bit of both. There are some people that have this kind of magic eloquence that when they speak, we are compelled to listen to what they have to say, and then others pick it up over time. It’s a practice and learn skill. I was always taught through my mentors and my coaches, specifically in the speaking world, that it’s just like anything, the more you practice, the more you execute, the better you will become because what you’re trying to get to is this place where you have this free-flowing thought. It doesn’t always feel like it’s rehearsed. It just has this grace and flow. When you think of a great athlete, when you think of a beautiful dancer, it’s when all of that practice gets paired with your intuition, and that’s when you become a savvy presenter. That’s when you become a savvy businessperson.
So, it’s not just those speaking skills. It’s being able to adapt and drive forward a mission or a goal, using your intuition, using your experience. One of the best stories I’ve ever heard, and I’ll kind of segue but it all ties together, I got to see Quincy Jones speak. So, Quincy Jones was born in 1933. He’s of the silent generation and he was doing a guest lecture or speech for a bunch of us Gen-Xers. At that time, he was like 86 years old and he starts telling us about his 20-year goals and we’re like, “Oh my gosh, that’s amazing, 20-year goals.” One kid in particular started kind of giggling and Quincy called him out. He’s like, “Why are you laughing?”
[00:33:23] Terri Sjodin: He said, “Oh, well, no disrespect, Mr. Jones, but like you’re 86 years old and you’re telling us about your 20-year goals. Don’t you want to chill out? Don’t you want to relax?” And he was like, “No.” He’s like, “This is when it gets fun.” He said something to the effect of, “Look, I may not move as quickly as you do anymore but I look at the world and my work like it’s this beautiful chessboard, and I can move the players around with a different strategy, with a different set of wisdom, with different experience,” and then he pairs that with working with younger generations. And he says that when he works with younger generations and he does what he knows with what they know, then they co-create something that they couldn’t have done independently and it keeps him young, and it keeps him just fired up and excited, and he fully anticipates that he’s going to live to be 120 plus. So, I thought it was really inspiring and it just stuck with me.
How can we continue to build on what we know and stay authentic and stay humble, and contribute what we can but still learn from all the new generations and the new tools and the new technology and all of it and try to figure out how this next chapter in the great adventure of our lives is going to play out? I like to think that the future is still ahead of me. I don’t know if that helps.
[00:34:58] Andrew Rafal: That’s a great segue into kind of where we are in this particular timeframe. With the chaos and the uncertainty is like leading with positivity and leading with being grateful. That’s what people are longing for. So, you exude that, right? You can’t fake it but people in today’s time, like you guys, are on lockdown for the next few weeks, right? So, how do we stay positive? That’s the messaging, right? We’ve got to figure out how we can bring that message to your audience because they are longing for that. Talk to us on what that looks like and that being grateful, positive, and embrace all that’s out there, as we move forward to hopefully, a better 2021 than this year.
[00:35:45] Terri Sjodin: I’m not always Ms. Positive Pants. Trust me. My moments of frustration, I liken it to a little piece of sand in the bed of an oyster. Without that irritation, you don’t get some pearls. So, I think back to April, May, June, just really trying to figure out how to create this new program, trying to embrace technology. I talked about this a little bit before this event. I kind of went into it kicking and screaming. And so, for those people who’ve been a little resistant and thinking like, “This isn’t me. I’m not doing virtual,” I get it. Trust me. It was not high on my priority list but when you get to a point where there’s no alternative, necessity becomes the mother of invention. So, I thought, “Okay. Well, I’m just going to try it and stick my toe in the water and figure out how to make it work.”
So, I made the effort to just watch, watch what people were doing, not only on the interweb but on television and live events and remote conferences, and I just started thinking, what’s working? What’s not working? How can I help people? And how can I help myself? And as I was practicing, it was awkward, and it was funky, and I just felt like, gosh, this isn’t me. But then this moment comes, I guess as much like riding a bike. At first, you’re wobbling and you’re out of balance and you’re crashing into the curb. It’s just ugly. And then you kind of go, “All right.” I think I got to create some balance and you pick up some speed and you get some confidence, then you can ride with no hands, and then you’re jumping off curbs, right? So, it’s the same thing with picking up this new virtual space.
[00:37:40] Terri Sjodin: I think the gift of the lockdown is that it forced us to embrace this new tool, and as a result, there’s been this quantum leap in adoption that probably wouldn’t have happened any other way. If you would have said to me a year ago, “Hey, Terri, 90% of your gigs are going to be virtual and you’re going to be speaking to people all over the world from your living room via a platform called Zoom,” I would have thought you were a crazy person. But the whole world has made this shift. We all are using these tools and there is this really weird gift of this universal adoption that has made it a really cool tool.
I’ll just summarize it by saying, look, now I’ve done several events where I’ve been in my living room speaking to people in 14 time zones on four different continents, having an interactive conversation in a 30-minute live masterclass webinar series. I would hang up the phone or I hang up the call, and I think to myself, “This is crazy.” So, now it’s getting fun. When I had to go back out into the field and I did my first live events in October and November, for a short time before we went into lockdown again, I was like, “Oh my gosh, I’ve got to pack the bag. I’ve got to travel. I’m dealing with the airports and the N95 masks and all of the safety precautions,” and it was daunting. I’m like, “Oh, maybe it was a little easier to do virtual.” It’s like you kind of change your mind when you learn to embrace it and then we’ll move into these new hybrid events and that’s really where we are now.
[00:39:39] Terri Sjodin: Like, the big summary of there were 30 humans in person and all of the rest of the participants were joined in live via Zoom remotely. So, I think there’s this virtual then there’s going to be the hybrids, and then of course when we have the gift of this new vaccine, we’ll also have those in-person events as well. But I don’t think this is ever going to go away because of cost and convenience and I don’t think we need to make it go away. I think if you can embrace it, it can be really fun.
[00:40:15] Andrew Rafal: Yeah. Was that like getting back to November when you got back out in the field, I mean, did it feel different when you present it to, even though it’s just 30 people, like did it feel like you had more of that endorphins and energy just because there was actually people there versus when you’re doing it in your home setup?
[00:40:38] Terri Sjodin: I did but I didn’t. So, the cool part, of course, was just being out there and being with humans again. The weird part is that everyone was wearing a face mask. And so, I couldn’t see their facial expressions in the same way. So, the gift of Zoom or doing a live event virtually is you can still see their facial expressions. When you’re doing a live event and everybody’s wearing a face mask, and they’re sitting so far away, so everyone’s six feet apart, wearing their face masks, you can feel the distance. So, yes, you’re there but you can feel the distance of that, and then you’re having to simultaneously pivot to look at the screen that has the Zoom participants, right, and you’ve got to keep them engaged and keep them involved and make them feel like they’re having a fully engaged experience, even though they’re remote while you’re simultaneous with the live humans, and that’s a whole new ballgame altogether, I can tell you.
[00:41:43] Andrew Rafal: Yeah. I mean, you’re trying to, I mean, you’re pulling on both sides there so I assume it’s easier for you to be able to truly connect to those that aren’t there when you’re just focusing on them so you’ve got to balance that. That’s going to take you time because you’ve never really, even you who’s spent 30 years doing this, you’ve never really on a continued basis had to do that. So, these hybrid things that’s going to probably be for you as your virtual programs of teaching individuals and business owners, that’s probably going to be a big, big piece of this as, okay, we’re in a hybrid world. You got 100 people that are watching you. You’ve got 50 people in the audience. How do you connect with both of them?
[00:42:23] Terri Sjodin: Yeah. It’s a little distracting in a weird way because you feel pulled in a million directions. So, I’m just being fully transparent here. You know what stories you want to tell. You know what pieces of the puzzle that you’re trying to communicate. Meanwhile, you’ve got these questions that are coming in virtually, and you’re trying to answer and keep your eye on what might be happening in the chat, then somebody live is raising their hand and you’re trying to stay on focus and still be bringing your A-game. There’s just a lot more to manage while you’re in that space. It’s certainly fun. I’m not going to say it wasn’t fun. It was a kick but it was definitely different and it’s going to take off another level of rehearsal and practice, and time.
[00:43:22] Andrew Rafal: So, I know we could probably spend a whole show talking about some new technologies on the home virtual set that you’ve built. But if we could talk to the listeners as they’re looking at whether it’s in their home, it’s in their office, they’re going to build a whole new room, like three of the technologies that they have to have in their arsenal, moving forward to 2021. Obviously, if they have more questions on that, we’ll have a way for them to reach out to you but let’s talk through on some of these technologies, what you’ve tried, what you’ve tested, what’s working, and go through some of those things.
[00:43:56] Terri Sjodin: So, I think that where we’ve been has been just trying to figure it out. So, in fairness, most people have just been turning on their computers, tinkering with Zoom, maybe they’re using slides, pivoting to occasional videos, using polls. Those are your kind of like standard operational, online virtual presentations. Maybe you have a blank wall in the back. You’re just trying to get through all of this. But the next level up is going to require us to look at our space through a very different lens. So, the first thing we want people to do is get this experience where they feel like it’s as close as possible to a real live interaction with you and that includes five different key areas that would be your kind of setting the stage in your home.
Your lighting has to be clear, the clarity of your whole video screen image, your sound, and your gear. So, one of the cool little takeaways is I want to encourage you to just set up a practice session with a colleague, and then just look at the overall surroundings. So, you can be like, “Hey, maybe your lighting is a little dark or maybe you have what’s called shadow face where half of your face is lit and the other half is kind of dark,” or, “You know what, that background, it doesn’t enhance your branding. So, maybe we want to level up your background.” Maybe your camera is the standard camera that came on your computer. So, you want to get at least a 1080p or a 4k camera that you can use that’s going to give greater clarity. Maybe you want to use an external mic versus just the microphone that comes on your laptop or comes with your computer.
[00:45:54] Terri Sjodin: So, all the little things that you can do to level up the overall experience for you as a presenter but also gives a better experience for the receiver makes all the difference in the world. What we are hearing is when people say, “Wow. That background looks great,” or, “Oh, I love that you did a holiday theme.” For example, one individual just set up his office so it looked like they were sitting at a proper conference table. We’ve had other people who set up their tradeshow booth in the spare room in their home and they use their tradeshow booth as the backdrop while they stood in front of it. So, there’s a lot of different choices, a lot of different things that you can do but kind of want to think of this as being a little mini-conference room where you’re going to bring your best and brightest clients as if they were coming to your space.
[00:46:52] Andrew Rafal: Yeah. And one thing, listeners, please don’t use the webcam on your laptop. Please, please, please. That is a no, no. Because we’ve made that mistake ourselves. So, if you were thinking about these webcams and I know some of them are out of stock but would you, you would say spend a little bit more for a little higher quality because that’s going to help resonate and bring and help build trust?
[00:47:18] Terri Sjodin: Oh, yeah. It’s just a better image. So, the Logitech BRIO is super popular right now. So, I would definitely put a request in whether you’re using Best Buy or B&H or whatever vendor you prefer but the Logitech BRIO camera, it’s a tiny little camera. It can just sit anywhere. You can put it on the stand. It really gives you a lot of flexibility. It just plugs right into your computer. It’s a very simple setup. I have three different microphones. It just depends on what I’m doing and what we’re executing. So, this is just a podcast. So, I’m using a Rode stationary mic but I have a wireless lavalier Rode microphone that I use if I’m actually physically standing up, which you might want to use if you’re doing a lunch and learn or a more formal presentation. There’s lots of different choices on mics and cameras.
What I can do is why don’t we give that, I have a little PDF form called The Simple Video Tech Ready Checklist, and if you’d like you can just post it on your site and they can go to Bayntree and download that free little form if they like.
[00:48:32] Andrew Rafal: Perfect. In the show notes, listeners, there’ll be a link to that. So, thank you on that. And then also we’ll have the research guide that we spent the beginning part of the podcast where you, guys, spent a great deal of time and interviewing and just doing the focus groups on the state of the sales presentation. So, that will be in there as a download as well.
[00:48:54] Terri Sjodin: Perfect. Yeah, that’s fun.
[00:48:56] Andrew Rafal: So, as we move forward and close out today when you go back to even the book you wrote, the Scrappy book, the last thing I wanted to chat with you on as we ended like this elevator speech, right? So, it’s always like that condensed, “Here’s who I am. Here’s what we do.” Do you have any tips as we move into this new hybrid world of like how we should practice and evolve our own elevator speech to do it in a concise manner to get our message across while still trying to build the trust?
[00:49:30] Terri Sjodin: Right. So, brevity is your friend. Whether you’re in person or presenting virtually, we know that less is more. So, what I encourage people to do is to constantly ask yourself before you walk into a meeting, before you jump onto that Zoom call, before you roll into that interview, just ask yourself this question, what is my intention? What do I want to have happen as a result of this visit?
[00:50:00] Andrew Rafal: When I walk out the door, what am I going to think? Did I feel like I covered the content that I needed to cover in order to make that person feel good about moving forward? Did I create the most compelling overall arguments? Did I ask them to make a decision? All of the little things to have a think through your messaging, before, during, and after. And the reason that I want you to do that is because it’s doing what we call a premortem. So, a premortem gets you to really think about all the things that can happen before you roll into that scenario. Sometimes people say, “Well, we always do a post-event or a postmortem,” and I laugh and I just say lovingly, “Look, a postmortem doesn’t help the dead guy. It doesn’t help you.” So, you want to really think it through before you roll into it and imagine, all right, if I use a scrappy strategy to get in the door, how am I going to segue from that clever, scrappy idea into my presentation content?
And then what’s my goal? What’s their goal? How do I create a win-win? And then how do I ask them to do something at the end? If you leave that meeting knowing that you did a great job that they had fun that you’re going to be of service, and that it’s a win-win for all parties, now you have this consistent track that you can start to count on and go, “All right. That worked or I feel like that was helpful. Okay. Now I know what I want to tweak or more or make better for next time.” So, those are kind of like the little things they want you to think about as you’re assessing your presentation, assessing your strategies, and really gearing up for 2021. And I’ll just kind of leave you with this quote of I believe is Charles Kingsley, who said, “We often think that it’s comfort and luxury that are the chief requirements for happiness in life, when all we truly need to be happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”
[00:52:05] Terri Sjodin: So, I hope I’ve helped you all to get a little bit more enthusiastic about your next presentation, about your scrappy strategies. I wish you great happiness and continued success in 2021 and always.
[00:52:17] Andrew Rafal: That’s the way to conclude a podcast, ladies and gentlemen. I’m done. That’s it. No, this is awesome. Thank you so much for spending some time with us. Listeners, I hope you were able to learn a few nuggets that you can take from today and put into your process into your sales presentation. And also, in the show notes, as you can see that Terri knows what she’s doing, there’s going to be a way for you if you want to work with her many different ways, whether it’s virtually as a group, as an individual, but we’re going to have all that in the show notes. And going through her program beyond the fact that she’s just fun and great to work with, she knows exactly how to get you to build the trust and to better yourself. So, Terri, thank you so much. Stay safe out there.
[00:53:08] Terri Sjodin: I love the Bayntree family. You’ve all been such a joy to work with. Really, it’s just been so much fun to partner with you all this year. I love your team. Your hearts are in your work ethic. Your hearts are in all the right places. Just pure joy. So, thank you so much.
[00:53:26] Andrew Rafal: Let’s do it. So, 2021, guys, it’s going to be a better year and, Terri, thanks again. Stay tuned for another episode of Your Wealth & Beyond later this month. Happy planning, everybody.