EP - 060

Confused People Don't Say Yes!

With Guest Sam Horn

How to break down complex ideas into simple, relatable concepts that resonate with your audience.

The How To Sell More Podcast


March 19, 2024

Have you ever pitched a client and seemingly lost their attention within the first 30 seconds?

Imagine if you could not only grab their attention but keep it for the full length of your pitch.

In this episode of “How to Sell More,” host Mark Drager speaks with respected leader and Intrigue Agency CEO Sam Horn about the art of turning information overload into captivating and easily understandable ideas. They discuss how simplification, visualization, and relatability can become your greatest allies in connecting with your audience, elevating your communication skills and driving success in sales, marketing, and leadership ventures.

-Elevating Elevator Pitches to Engage and Connect: Instead of the traditional and often predictable elevator pitch, try asking relatable questions that evoke curiosity. This helps transform monologues into engaging dialogues, and make complex ideas more accessible and interesting.

-Simplifying Communication with Visual and Concrete Concepts: Horn emphasizes the importance of making verbiage visual. By turning ideas into images or tangible concepts, you can make complex information more digestible and engaging for your audience.

-Mastering the Art of Persuasion by Changing Conversations: Instead of directly countering skepticism or negativity, try shifting the conversation to highlight positive aspects or reframing the perspective. This approach avoids reinforcing negative perceptions and instead opens up new, positive avenues of discussion.

“I always start with an example, not an explanation.”  -- Sam Horn

Links to This Episode

Key Takeaways

  • Eliminate Information Overload - Recognize the danger of "infobesity" and the importance of clarity over complexity in communication. Simplifying messages to their essence helps in retaining audience interest and understanding.
  • Strategic Questioning - Rather than overwhelming your audience with details, ask strategic questions that will guide them to discover the value of your offer themselves.
  • Add Vicarious Value - Provide content or share experiences that offer vicarious value to your audience. This ensures that your communication is not self-centred and adds value to the listener, making your message more welcome and appreciated.

Top 3 Reasons to Listen

Simplify Your Message: Gain insights into how simplifying your communication can significantly enhance understanding and retention among your audience.

Imagine the Impact: Learn to use the power of imagination to lead your audience through the problem you solve, making your solution more desirable.

Pause and Punch for Emphasis: Understand the technique of pausing to highlight key points, ensuring they stand out and are remembered.

Follow Sam Horn on Social

Website: https://samhorn.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/samhornintrigue/?hl=en

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/samhornintrigue

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samhorn/

More About Today's Guest, Sam Horn

Founder & CEO at The Intrigue Agency, keynoter, bestselling author, book/presentation coach, communication strategist

Sam Horn, the esteemed CEO of the INTRIGUE AGENCY, is celebrated for her groundbreaking strategies in nurturing respectful, cooperative, and distinctive communications and initiatives that enhance both earnings and positive impact in a sustainable manner. Her pioneering methods and insights have been recognized by leading publications and media, such as the New York Times, Fast Company, and Forbes. An acclaimed writer, her works including "POP!" and "Tongue Fu!®" have garnered accolades from prominent figures. With a rich background spanning over two decades, Sam has captivated audiences worldwide with her influential presentations for key organizations and has played a pivotal role in preparing individuals for crucial communications, leading to notable achievements in diverse fields like TED talks and fundraising efforts.

A Transcription of The Talk

Mark Drager: Sam Horn, there are two things that you said the other day when I heard you speak. And I thought I have got to try and figure out a way to get you onto the How to Sell More podcast. Here were the two things that you said, one, and I wrote this down, "Get people to care about what you care about." And the second I wrote down, and I believe you said it. So I hope you did, "Make the complex simple. Make the complex simple. Get people to care about what you care about." I find that in sales, marketing, branding, and advertising, that should be our number one goal, our number one focus, and yet so few people are able to crack that nut. Why do you think that is?

Sam Horn: Well, we're just you, Mark, we don't spin wheels, do we? So we're gonna jump right in. First thing, I hope people have paper and pen in front of them. If you prefer your digital device, go ahead and do that unless you're driving. And let's just show...

Mark Drager: Because I will also say if you are driving, if you're on a treadmill right now, if you are listening, at the end, I will give you a direction, I will create a simple visual of what we're about to work through. And so, in the end, we'll let you know how you can get a copy of that.

Sam Horn: Okay, excellent. Okay, then here's what we're going to do to follow up on what you just said, Mark. We're going to make verbiage visual. We're going to make concepts concrete, right? We're going to turn ideas into images and how we do it. Right now everyone listening, watching put a vertical line down the center of your page. People ask how your brain works. I juxtapose everything. I think it is the quickest way to make complex ideas, crystal clear. So over on the left, please put "info obesity." On the top of the left-hand column, "info obesity," wah wah, wah wah, wha wha wha is explanations that go in one ear out the other, right? Over on the right, put "intrigue." Over on the left put "complex" because you know, these are sophisticated decision-makers in the marketing and sales space. It's like sometimes we're talking about things that are very complicated. And the longer we explain, the faster we lose people right over on the right, put "clear." Now, Mark, I want everyone to think of a situation coming up. This is a high-stakes situation, they're going to be pitching a new client, they're going to be asking for funding for their program, and they're going to be competing with others for a contract, right? All right, over on the left, write down the beliefs, and the behaviors that sabotage success. So just write this word down. And I'm going to show you how to do it.

So over on the left, what are you proposing, what are you pitching? What are you recommending? What are you selling? What are you saying? Right? All right, over on the left? Why will people say no? What are the beliefs and the behaviors that say that this is too expensive, that say they tried this before, and it didn't work, that say this is going to take too long, right? Over on the right, we're going to put the beliefs and the behaviors that support success. Over on the left, what undermines effectiveness over on the right, what adds to the effectiveness. So, do you want a real-life example of this? Yeah, let's do this. Okay, now, and by the way, you're going to provide this to them afterward. So if you're thinking, Sam, I run an organization, I'm in charge of a big project, I run a department, you can share these ideas with your salespeople with your marketing team, so they can use it in their next pitch. They can use it in their next email, they can use it in their next outreach, sound good? Okay, here's the example.

Mark Drager: Everyone should immediately have their ears perked up. You should definitely know why I started off by saying when I heard Sam when I got a chance to speak with you. I was like, oh my goodness, this woman is amazing. So let's get into it.

Sam Horn: Okay, good. So here's the example that we'll unpack. It was specific language for sales and marketing. So I had an opportunity to do some training for Kaiser on words to lose and words to use. I walked in two years after my visit as a patient, and the receptionist saw me walk in, she beckoned me over. She pointed to the words to lose words to use that were still posted on her reception desk. And she said, "Sam, I used to wonder why people were so mean to me when I was so nice to them. I took your workshop, and I saw I'm using all those words on the left all the time. Well, you should have made an appointment earlier. It's like, well, you have to go to the pharmacy to see it's like I can't answer that your doctor has to," she says, "No wonder they were upset with me. I was using all those trigger words that actually set up resistance and resentment." Over on the right are words that actually set up rapport and receptivity instead of resistance and resentment. Now, Mark, you already see the process. Do you see how when we put these bullet words: resistance, resentment, now you make it alliterative, rapport, and receptivity? Everyone watching can ask their sales team, alright going into this meeting, why will they resist? Why will they resent us? Maybe we're taking too long. You codify that. Now, over on the right, we have the solution to that problem, we have the answer to that issue. And it's alliterative. So now when you're explaining something to your team, when you're coaching your team, you can come up with these words to lose, words to use. You can make them alliterative, you have a proprietary document that you can post by their laptop before they send out an email, that they can review before they walk into a high stakes meeting. And guess what, Mark, it gets people on the same page, literally and figuratively. Now they see what you're saying. And something that was "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa," is crystal clear and actionable.

Mark Drager: Okay, there's a lot to unpack there, but I love it so much. And just to kick off with the idea of info obesity, that is the thing that we all tend to fall into. And you, I think you coined that term. But the idea is that you know, we're just going to somehow explain or convince our way towards a sale, that we're going to rationalize it, that we're just like, if we just give you enough information, you'll trust us. And it's kind of the easiest thing for us to fall into because it's the easiest thing for us to understand. But it's not the most compelling, right?

Sam Horn: Oh, Mark, I hope every marketer, every salesperson, puts over on the left, "explain," promise, you will never again try and explain your product or your program or your service or what your business does. It's info obesity, goes in one ear, out the other. Over on the right, put "ask." Now, Mark, I thought I would use a new example that you haven't heard before. Sound good?

Mark Drager: Okay, I'm ready. I'm a little nervous, but I'm ready.

Sam Horn: So I'm judging the dolphin tank. It's a kinder, gentler version of the Shark Tank. And I tell you, this woman went about 10th. And we are at the Long Beach ballroom of the convention center. It seats about 5000 people. There are only 500 people in the room. She went last, hardly anyone's paying attention. They've got their head down on their devices. They're talking. She was so smart. I had looked at her business plan the night before. And Mark, she's trying to get funding for a hook you put in your car to put a purse on, and I'm thinking, really? You're trying to get funding for a hook you put in your car? Here's what she did.

Mark Drager: Okay, hold on, hold on, hold on. This. Before you get into the solution, though. And the answer, I just want to say the first thing that popped into my head for the idea for a hook that you put in your car to hang your purse on is like one of those infomercials, you know, like, is opening drawers too hard for you? Is, you know, and it's black and white, and people are throwing, like, just throw it on your passenger seat or whatever like this is. I'm a dude. So maybe it's because I'm a dude, but this seems like a completely useless item, doesn't it?

Sam Horn: You see, you're going to skepticism, right?

Mark Drager: Yeah, but what was your first reaction? When you read the brief?

Sam Horn: Exactly I was thinking, you've got to be kidding me. This is a waste of our time, you're never gonna get money for this. And so over on the left, I hope people are thinking about, once again, this important meeting, put yourself in the shoes of the decision maker. Why will they say, "You've got to be kidding me?" Why would they say, "This is a waste of my time?" Why would they say, "That's not worth it?" Or "This will never work?" So write that down? Because those are the answers to the test. So here's what she did. And then we'll unpack it so everyone watching can do it. She hauled a full-size car seat up to the front of the ballroom, Mark, you should have seen the heads snapping up. It's like, what is she going to do with that? Right? So she used a prop because if we're not looking, we're not listening, right? So by the time she got to the front of the room, every single person was looking at her in suspense, ready to hear what she had to say. She did not start off with an explanation. She first, put her purse on the seat next to her, and then she grabbed it like an imaginary driving wheel. And she started off with this, "Have you ever been driving along? You had to stop all of a sudden, and your purse fell off the seat, and you're scrambling around with one hand trying to retrieve it while you're driving with the other? Imagine never having to do that again." Mark, a man in the audience stood up and he said, "I'll take two, one for my wife and one for my daughter." Mark, she went from skeptical, really, to "I'll take two" in 60 seconds. And here's what she did.

Number one, what is a prop you could use to show instead of sell? Hey, if we're talking about, you know, an app or something like that. Don't just talk about the app, you know, hold up a phone. So people are picturing your point. They're seeing what you're saying. Next step, start with "Have you ever" questions. "Have you ever had this happen? Have you ever been in this situation? Has anyone ever said this to you?" And they're thinking, yes. But now say, "Imagine, imagine if you never had to worry about that again. Imagine if it didn't have to take that long. Imagine if it didn't have to cost that much." You are putting people in the problem of what you solve. And they're thinking, "I would love to never have to worry about that again. I would love to not have to pay that much money. I would love for it not to take that long." And then you say, "You don't have to imagine it, we're doing it, you know, or this product can do that for you." And then you come in with a real-life example. But once again, I promised to put a sock in it. So you're welcome to unpack why this is so different from the "wah wah wah" that's out there for a lot of people.

Mark Drager: And this is what I wanted to talk to you about today. So, this whole idea of being able to come in with this hook, being able to set the scene, we draw people in, we illustrate 1-2-3 problems. We say, imagine if you could have solution, solution, solution? Well, you don't have to imagine it because we're already doing it. And then you go into the backstory. What an amazing framework, like a framework that seems so simple. I feel like I should have come across this 10 15 or 20 years ago, maybe I should have read some of your books because you've written a lot of books on this. And yet, when I got it, I was like, "Ah, okay, I'm going to use that. I'm going to take that. I'm going to use that." Now, I think that's amazing. Is there any risk in anyone who knows this stuff going like, "Oh, they're just using the Sam Horn model?"

Sam Horn: Well, I mean, if everyone used the Sam Horn model, that would be a problem. However, I have been to hundreds of pitches, and I have seen thousands of proposals. And most people start with explanations. It's like, "We're a 501(c)3, here, our product is this, this, this," we lose people at "Hello," if we start with information. So we're going to ask instead of inform, and would you like another couple of ways to do that?

Mark Drager: Please, more, just keep going. You don't have to stop for me. Okay.

Sam Horn: And by the way, Mark, I promised myself I would use different examples than what I used at Genius Network because you have heard those examples, and I'll be glad to share them with your audience. However, I thought you would enjoy new examples, sound good? Always. Okay, so over on the left, please put "rush and blush."

Mark Drager: Rush and blush, and brush and blush. Okay, so not like Russians. Mascara blush. That's what I thought you said, "Russian blush." Okay. Rush and blush.

Sam Horn: And over on the right, put "pause and punch." Ah, yeah. Now, are you a Harry Potter fan by any chance?

Mark Drager: My wife, it's a huge air. She's a huge Potterhead, yes. To the point where we travel around the world. Specifically for Harry Potter things.

Sam Horn: Okay, well, then you can share this story with her because she will enjoy it, and maybe she can use it in her own speaking and writing. Arthur Levine was J.K. Rowling's editor at Scholastic. So, I think, you know, I helped start and run the Maui Writers Conference for 17 years. And I introduced Arthur as one of our keynoters. He came up to me later in the halls and he said, "Sam, I love the way you speak. You put space around your words." And Mark, isn't it true, when we're under pressure when we're afraid that we're going to lose people's attention? When we have only two minutes or 10 minutes or something? We rush, right? We race through it, trying to get it over with, or trying to like get in before we lose them, etc. Guess what? We lose them when we race through what we say. Because it doesn't make any sense. They can't absorb it or repeat it. So, everyone, from now on, do exactly what you said. Next time you start a meeting, whether it's a Zoom call or in person, it's like they say, "So, what do you think, Bob?" It's like, "Sarah, what's your opinion?" Do not just jump in. Pause. Do you see how if you pause, people are going to snap up? Pay attention. Now you've got their full attention. And I'm going to ask you this. What is the action you want people to take? What is the change you want them to make? And when you say that, you will highlight it by saying, "Of all the things we've discussed, this is the most important benefit for you." Pause, pause, pause, and then you put metrics in it. "This will cut your costs in half, pause, pause, pause, in the first three months," stop talking. "This will retain your customers and increase customer loyalty and repeat business by 10% in the first two weeks." Do you see how you pause and punch instead of rush and blush, that's the way to capture attention and keep attention.

Mark Drager: This is not only powerful in live conversations, live meetings, or from the stage, but for anyone listening who produces audio content, social content, videos, and marketing, there's something that happens. We've produced thousands of projects. And I've noticed this with junior editors, especially on my team, if they were sending us content, there's this need to try and hit a runtime or get everything in or move so quickly. And there's always this part of a really fast-paced speech, video, social share, whatever it is, where it kind of just washes over you like the tide. And the content is coming so quickly, there are no punches, there are no pauses, there are no music changes, there are no cues. There's nothing to help me take a moment to process what I just heard before we jump on to the next thing. Only at this moment did I realize that what you've articulated for me what I've not been able to share with my juniors other than, "Guys, we gotta add a beat here, we gotta add," like, a beat is the term we use in scriptwriting for pause, like, "you gotta add a pause, you gotta add a beat, you gotta have a moment, it's happening too quick. It's becoming a listicle. You know, we do this, and we do this, and we do this, and we do this. And we also do this. And here's 10 more things we do, right?" It's just like, let's just list everything out. And let's never have a music change or music cue or a moment or a beat or what have you. And it just washes over everyone. And that's because we need that pause and punch. That is so good.

Sam Horn: And I hope people write this down, confident people don't rush. Mark, isn't it true?

Mark Drager: You have so many of these? You're so... I have notes from the other day too, where it's like "eyebrows up?" What does "eyebrows up" mean? Like, what does that mean to...

Sam Horn: Okay, 62-second story. And now, hopefully, we're embedding the craft by showing and not just telling, right? So, I always start with an example, not an explanation. And then we unpack it. So, in 60 seconds, the first year of the Maui Writers Conference, we give people an opportunity to jump the chain of command and pitch directly to Ron Howard, the publisher at Simon & Schuster. And yet, what would most of them do in their 10 minutes? They would raise... I would see the decision makers, they would get it, they're smart. 60 seconds, they got it. And yet, the pitchers wouldn't stop because doggone it, they'd rehearsed this, and they're gonna get it all in even if the other person wanted to ask a question. And now, decision-makers are smart. And Amy Poehler said, "I get a little itchy if I don't have some kind of control." So, look what happens when we speak for 60 seconds and we stop talking. Look who's in charge. The decision maker is. They get to ask what they want, what's top of mind for them, what's important for them, etc. So, I stood in the back, watching these pitches, and I could predict who was getting a deal, without hearing a word being said, based on one thing, guess what? The decision maker's eyebrows. See, if we're describing our product or our program or our process and the decision maker's eyebrows are crunched up, it means they're confused, and confused people don't say yes. If their eyebrows were unmoved, it meant they were unmoved or they'd had Botox. And if their eyebrows are up, it means they're intrigued, curious, they want to know more. That means we just got what we cared about in their mental door. So, everyone watching, from now on, 60 seconds, watch the eyebrows. If they're like this, put a sock in it. Yeah. Let them ask a question and run the show because now they're in charge. And they're going to like the show a lot better when they're running the show.

Mark Drager: So, if we were to start pitching someone, start talking to someone, and we see that those eyebrows are bunching up, and they're kind of questioning, do we try to quickly pivot and just land the point and then throw it over to them? Or do we literally go, "I'm sorry, I feel like I may be confusing the situation. Let's take a step back," and you try to reframe, or how do you save it if you're watching the person across from you, okay, okay, eyebrows are down. Get those eyebrows up.

Sam Horn: I'm so glad you asked that because you know what we do. We prevent it from happening in the first place.

Mark Drager: Yeah. Once you've practiced and you've worked with you, or whatever, but no...

Sam Horn: And once again, I promised an example you haven't heard before. So here's, if people have a column right now, put "elevator speech," and in the middle, it's like, aren't we taught to "I help blank do blank?" That's a bore, snore, or chore. It's predictable. People have heard it before. It's telling. It's a one-way conversation. So, I met YPO. Here's an example. And then here's a new innovative way that actually this was the top-ranked technique at Inc. 500, with Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, etc. Here we go. 62-second example, a gentleman came up to me before his session, and he said, "Sam, I'm going to confess something to you. I don't tell many people." He said, "I'm an introvert. I fly across an ocean and a continent to get here. And then I hang out in my hotel room because I just hate small talk." And he said, "Plus, what I do is so complex, I run this tech company in Silicon Valley, I can never get across what I do in a way people are interested. I just rather avoid it." I said, "Can we play?" He said, "Sure." I said, "What do you do that we can see, smell, taste, or touch?" And he said something about financial software and computers and kind of... I said, "Oh, do you make the software that makes it safe for us to buy things online?" He said, "Yes." I said, "Don't tell people that." I said, "Because if someone says 'what do you do?' and you tell them what you do, they go 'Oh.' It's the end of the conversation. We don't want to end the conversation, we want to open the conversation."

So here are three steps from now on, you're going to introduce yourself in a way that gets eyebrows up and leads to a mutually meaningful conversation, ready? Okay, I told him, "Do you know anyone, could be yourself, a friend, or a family member who buys stuff online?" Do you see how we've already turned it into a dialogue instead of a monologue? And he said, "Sam, that's like a three-part question. Why a three-part question?" I said, "Because if you said 'Do you buy stuff online?' number one, that's an interrogation. And number two, they may say 'No,' we've ended the conversation again." So do you see how we're giving people options, right? They can go wherever they want. And we're stacking the deck so that they're familiar with what we do. "So do you know anyone, could be yourself, a friend or family member who buys stuff online, like on Amazon, eBay, or Travelocity?" And they may say, "Well, I hate that stuff. But my wife's on Amazon all the time. She loves the free shipping." You link, what you do to what they just said, "Oh, I make the software that makes it safe for your wife to buy things on Amazon." Oh, Mark, look at the eyebrows. Oh, the connection, they relate to it, they remember it? And his face did something kind of weird. And I said, "What are you thinking?" He said, "I can't wait to get home from this conference." I said, "Why?" He said, "I can finally explain to my eight-year-old son what it is that I do in a way he can understand it."

Mark Drager: I think I need to brush up on my elevator and interest speech. Because often, people in my family or my wife's friends, will ask her or they'll ask me how it's going or what I'm up to. I don't really like to actually talk about myself. I'm an introvert, I always find other people far more interesting than myself. So I don't really even give them a chance to dig into it. But my wife never knows what to say. Like, I started my agency 17 years ago, you'd think by now she would know exactly what to say. But what's powerful about this though, is once you nail this, and you can become known for it, it's so much easier for people to refer your business then.

Sam Horn: Not only does it set up a ripple effect, it sets up a resonance in the room where we can have a human conversation. Because if we, or your wife, said, "Do you know anyone who hates selling or feels that salespeople are pushy? Or do you know anyone, could be yourself, a friend, someone at work, you know, who really resists selling, who doesn't feel comfortable selling?" Well, that's me. "Oh, that's my brother," he says. And now you may say, "What if? What if that person could actually feel integrity when they sell things? What if that person could actually figure out how what they're offering is to someone's advantage and they can bring it up in a way they have a genuine connection?" So, imagine if, what if, and once again, it's a dialogue, not a monologue, and you feel this isn't, "Hi, Mark, you, you know, you have benefited people, you know, your work makes a difference." And all we're doing is asking if people know someone who is struggling with that, is not comfortable with that, you know, is for some reason resisting that. And we're letting them know what you do that is different from their norm that's serving as a barrier to entry. So once again, you connect, instead of having this disconnect.

Mark Drager: I've been talking with Sam Horn, and she is the founder and CEO of the Intrigue Agency, as well as the author of many, many books. Her newest, which I'm holding in my hand, is called "Talking on Eggshells: The Soft Skills for Hard Conversations," especially in a world of cancel culture. And I think the rise and even fall of thought leaders on social media just because of the negative backlash, you know, I did a big push to build a personal brand that I've kind of walked away from, to be honest, because I realized I wanted to be respected but not famous. And I don't know if social media is the place to be respected, but not famous.

Sam Horn: So shall we go there for a second?

Mark Drager: Yeah, I wanted to do about my respect, not fame, or about your book "Walking on Eggshells."

Sam Horn: Here's the question on the table. How can we be on social media in a way that is additive and not ego? How can we be on social media? I know your mom started a writer's conference, you and I both believe in the integrity of words and the responsibility of the platform of if we're going to be on social media. It's not me, me, me, me. It is in a way that everyone looks forward to our posts, they read our posts, and they get value from our posts. So would you like to know a way to do that?

Mark Drager: I would love to, please help me.

Sam Horn: Okay, so you know, me, example first. 62-second story and then we'll unpack it. So, I am now at the CO Writers Conference. Now, you know, in the writing world, there's a lot of writers, they want to write, they don't want to sell themselves, right? They don't want to self-promote. However, if they wait for a book deal, they could go their entire life without their work getting any visibility or recognition or making a difference. So, I did a masterclass on promotion and integrity. And so I asked them three things. Number one, where do you go that people would like to go? And I mean, they're on Kalapaki Bay, I said, "So tomorrow, you go down and you take a 62-second video of you walking Kalapaki Bay and what it's like waking up to those gentle ocean waves, and what it's like being at a place that you've always wanted to go and to do something, and you share it." Now, the second thing is, who do you meet that people would like to meet? So, I'm sure people watching go to conferences, there are keynotes, there are breakout sessions. I said to them, "Why don't you walk up to Billy Collins, Poet Laureate? And say, 'Billy, I know you're busy. May I have 60 seconds of your time? What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring poet?'" So from now on, everyone who's watching, the next conference you go to, don't just take notes, walk up to the keynoters afterward and say, "I know you're busy. And may I have 60 seconds of your time?" Now third, what have you learned that people would like to learn? So say, "We're just at Genius Network? What if you say, after today, you know, here are the three top takeaways, you know, Do this, do this, do this, you and number." Do you see how this is not "me, me, me, me, me, buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff." No, this is, "you know, wow, here's a place you may like to go, here's someone you may like to meet, you know, here's something you may learn." We are adding vicarious value in a way that people welcome our content, they resonate with our content, they remember it, and they're often likely to recommend it and carry it forward and become a brand ambassador for us or our organisation and what it is we're saying and selling.

Mark Drager: Vicarious value. That one's going to stick with me for a little bit, vicarious value. I love that. I was going to ask, and I would appreciate it if you have another minute or two because we're a little bit over, but I think listeners will agree that this is worth spending a little bit more time on. So, for your newest book, which we kind of just talked a little bit about, the idea of "Talking on Eggshells", which is a really, I would call it, a how-to guide on how to move from that left column you spoke about, the words to lose, and to move more to the right side, the words to use. But we're talking about things like, you know, how to keep cool in really heated conversations and how to manage your expectations and emotions and mindset when you feel unseen or unheard or unappreciated, or if you're afraid to speak up. It covers really great tactical areas, like if you feel like someone's manipulating you or if you have to come in contact with a bully. And so, I mentioned the power of words. You mentioned my little thing about how I don't really like social media with a great framework. But I'm curious, now that you've written the book, released the book, you're talking about the book, what's your favorite?

Sam Horn: Oh, my favorite child, right, Mark?

Mark Drager: Yeah, but I also know I have four kids. I also know you have a favorite, right?

Sam Horn: Well, you know what, I'm gonna just go there is that there is a lot, and I love getting feedback about the difference it's made in someone's parenting or in their leadership or with their employees or whatever. Here's one technique I think everyone can use. So, what can we do if...

Mark Drager: Is this your favorite? Ah, oh, I like a sidestep. Ah, you're like, you're like, "Yeah, here's one we can use." Is this... Come on? I want this from the heart here.

Sam Horn: Mark, today, it's my favorite. Ask me tomorrow, and I'll have a different answer.

Mark Drager: I'll take it.

Sam Horn: Okay, so imagine someone accuses you of something that isn't true or accuses you of something you don't do. In the middle column, put "refute". If you refute a negative accusation, you reinforce it. And I'll give an example and then what to say instead. I'm speaking at a leadership conference. In the Q&A, a woman put her hand up and said, "Sam, why are women so catty to each other?" Mark, I knew if I answered that question, if I said, "I don't think women are catty to each other," I'm doubling down. I'm arguing her point, right? So I Don Draper'd it. Don Draper said, "If you don't like what's being said, change the conversation." So I reframed instead of refuted, and here are the words to do it: "Do you know what I have found?" You never repeat the negative word. "Now don't get mad," "I am not mad." "You're always like," "I am not always like." Do you see how you're doubling down on the negative perception? No, you reframe it by saying, "Do you know what I found? I think women are real champions of each other. You know, in fact, I wouldn't..." Now, there's another thing in the middle also put "deny", because maybe someone says, "You don't care about your customers," we say, "We do too care about our customers." Look, we're arguing with our customer about whether we care about our customers. Instead, say these four words: "What do you mean?" "What do you mean?" "Well, I've left three messages and no one's called back." Oh, the real issue. Now we can address that instead of reacting to the attack. So that's an example. Steve Piersanti, who is a publisher at Berrett-Koehler who was publisher of the year a few years ago, published my "Got Your Attention?" book. I said, "Steve, what's your criteria for publishing a book?" And Mark, said three words: "Show the shift." Do you see how if we're training our team, we are showing the shift where it's not those reactions, where it's to use responses, these help, these hurt, you know, these support, these sabotage, these add, these undermine. The ball's in our court, follow up.

Resources & Go Deeper#

Sam Horn's Guide To Captivating Your Audience

Get a head start and download the guide discussed during the episode! Provided are the do's and don'ts when it comes to captivating and maintaining your audience.

"35 Metaphors for Powerful Communication"

This article highlights the power of metaphors in communication, emphasizing their role in making abstract or complex concepts more accessible and engaging for audiences. Metaphors can serve to simplify ideas, evoke emotions, and create vivid mental images that enhance understanding and retention.

35 Metaphors for Powerful Communication - Frantically Speaking

"How to Present Complex Concepts: A Guide for Effective Communication"

The guide provides practical strategies for presenting complex concepts clearly and engagingly. It suggests combining factual information with storytelling, using analogies, and employing a four-step formula focusing on simplification, problem identification, benefits or solutions, and practice. The use of visual aids and interactive techniques is also emphasized as a means to make complex topics more accessible.

How to Present Complex Concepts: A Guide for Effective Communication (slidemodel.com)

"7 Ways to Effectively Communicate Complex Information"

This article emphasizes the importance of communicating complex information in clear, concise, and compelling ways. It highlights strategies such as consulting outsiders for fresh perspectives, focusing on the essence of the concept, hosting webinars, utilizing video for better retention, and more. These tips are shared by entrepreneurs who have successfully navigated the challenges of conveying complicated topics to diverse audiences. Their approaches underscore the need for an audience-centric communication style that adjusts messaging to avoid misunderstandings and foster clarity.

7 Ways to Effectively Communicate Complex Information | Inc.com