• Internationally- awarded, best-selling author
• 35-year veteran of the advertising agency business,
• US Bank’s Smart Leader’s recipient
• CEO of one of Chicago’s top advertising agencies.
Learn how to use storytelling methods to better influence, inspire and motivate others
After witnessing one of my first professional presentations, my boss called me aside.
“To succeed in the advertising agency business," he warned, "you've gotta be good on your feet.”
Translation: I sucked.
What to do?
I took classes and read every book on presentation skills books I could get my hands on. I videotaped myself (which was brutal when you’re not very good). I learned how to use breathing exercises to avoid stage fright. I even took acting classes to become more “expressive” and spontaneous. I became adept at organizing my content, making eye contact, dressing up my slides, using "vocal variety," gestures and all the other “presentation mechanics” I was taught. But still, nobody was buying what I was selling.
To say I had a rough start is an understatement. Cut to seven years later. That is when I was made Sr. Vice-President of the 11th largest advertising agency in the U.S. From there, I was put in charge of our Los Angeles office. In 1999, I became the CEO of a highly successful agency in Chicago and held that position for 16 years before executing its sale. During my entire career, I managed many blue-chip accounts across a wide-variety of categories - accounts like Citibank, Burger King, Toshiba, General Electric, and Kraft Foods, KFC, just to name a few. But I’m far from done yet. Today, I’m fortunate enough to be traveling all over the country talking about my best-selling books, and coaching executives on how to speak in ways that better influence, motivate and inspire others. I do this by providing them with the same tools that are now being used by companies like Microsoft, IBM, Boeing, Wrigley, Capital One, SAP, Coca-Cola, and many others.
Here's how my change came about:
Somewhere along my career path I discovered a hidden talent. There's nothing unusual about this talent. In fact, anyone who has a birth certificate possess the same talent. It’s just that many people, like me, learned to bury this talent or ignore it. The talent I’m referring to is storytelling.
I’m often confronted at workshops with people who claim there is no way they have a talent for storytelling. Then there are those who argue, "Storytelling is for stage actors, not business people," or "My customers don’t care about stories, they just want the facts.” But I am soon able to dispel these misconceptions.
The truth is, we are all natural-born storytellers. Our brains are hard-wired in such a way that we organize our thoughts in the form of stories. We use storytelling to explain, clarify, entertain, and share experiences. We gossip using storytelling. And when we hear stories, neurologists have shown that our brains light up like Christmas trees. No, it’s not very hard to convince people they already know a great deal about storytelling. Yet, in business, this skill is rarely used. Instead, we throw out facts, numbers, show charts, and speak in bullet points. We meet objections with “reasonable arguments,” despite the fact this rarely sways anyone over to our side. We put all our faith in logic, and continue to be disapointed by its limitations.
The storytelling tools and methods I teach quickly help people get out of their own way when it comes to persuasion. The better news is that I provide my audiences with actual methods and patterns they can use when various opportunities present themselves. In addition, I provide everyone with ways to easily practice and develop their skills, long after I’m gone.
I thrill at the prospect of giving people a short-cut to the long road I’ve traveled. For me, there are few greater rewards than seeing managers and salespeople become successful change agents using the proven tools I provide.
To learn more about just some of the specific methods I teach, feel free to download my free e-book, Storytelling For Leaders nd Salespeople. And, if you'd like a free consultation, you can always reach me at 312-545-4903. I travel a lot, but I will get back to you as quickly as possible. Let's make change happen!
- Winner of International Book Award in Sales and Marketing
- Gold Medal - Axiom Book Awards - Business category
- U.S. Bank Leadership Award
- First Place - Royal Dragonfly Book Awards- Business Category