Three Golden Techniques to Natural, Persuasive Presentations

When it comes to persuading others through our talks and presentations, what works best is always what comes across as real.

The wisest sales gurus have told us all along that everyone really wants to be persuaded and convinced to follow any presenter’s idea – but that we need that person to earn the right to our acceptance.

In that vein, someone’s objections to a sales pitch are really asking you to make it more convincing and real to them, so they can rationalize going along with the plan.

Persuading others to change their minds and consider something new, therefore,  is the process of making the experience real and convincing.


In my 4+ decades of directing and producing film and video productions, I’ve come to the conclusion that using a teleprompter as a crutch to speak on camera seldom works out well in the long run.

Even for seasoned TV newscasters and actors,  it’s still often distracting as the eyes dart back and forth…

…the neck and head look stiff as the speaker focuses on following the words on the teleprompter screen…

…it’s tough to coordinate moving the body to planned spots, such as walking over to a screen or whiteboard, when trying to read the next line…

…and an unexpected change in the teleprompter operator’s pace of rolling the words up the screen can throw anyone off, especially when the mechanism jams.

In other words, the clearly noticeable process of presenting distracts your attention, rather than being able to focus on the meaning of the words as they relate to your life.


If you must stay on camera and talk for minutes at a time for whatever reason (such as being on stage in front of a big audience), then an easier, more “real” technique is to use an audio prompter.

Simply record your script on your smart phone with a standard recording app, speaking the words aloud as naturally and interestingly as you can, and redoing any line that didn’t come out right.  Key:  Make sure your recording has just the right pace and energy as you expect the finished performance to be.

On camera, play back your script and listen through an earpiece (wireless Bluetooth or just run the wire up the back of your clothes and hide it in your hair)….imitating what you’re hearing as you talk a fraction of a second behind your recorded voice.

Some people can’t handle this approach, but those who can do this technique easily will look and sound natural and make you look in command.

Yet…I can count on one hand all the speakers I’ve worked with over the years who can make us think there’s no teleprompter or any prompting – just a dang amazing and smart expert.

For the 95% or more who can’t be totally natural with either type of prompting, you must know that viewers willing to spend thousands of dollars for a solution to their urgent problems are certainly not looking for a coach who doesn’t know his or her subject and content enough to get on camera and talk persuasively without a script.


So let me share with you the most valuable speaking aloud techniques I’ve taught on-camera and on-microphone actors and performers over the years (some you’d recognize on TV).


Practice your ideal “elevator” pitch and most important statements about the audience’s problem and your solution until you can talk persuasively about them at a moment’s notice.

These words are based on what your surveyed ideal prospects and customers told you – in their words – about their pains, fears, needs, and wants.

You are “mirroring” their exact message so they can spot you amid the millions of shiny objects on the Internet, and stop to engage with your emotionally resonating message and programs.

The pitch or “position statement” is most immediately effective in this basic format:

I help (succinct, specific description of your ideal prospect) solve (a specific urgent problem or need) and they can get (tangible net result and benefit) using my (unique, proprietary, etc. method or technique).

You must say it convincingly and without hesitation to develop the quick trust that people are always ready to give someone who passes the test of obviously knowing what you’re talking about.

Your confidence, your use of their emotional trigger words, and you ability to explain their ideas solution will solve the “know you, get you, buy from you” trust-building process that drops barriers to buying your programs and becoming your loyal tribe (thank you, Feminine Sales Power Coach Sara Michaels, for that trust-worthy trio).

I’ve pulled the next two critical techniques from a watershed 1949 book by Nedra Newkirk Lamar, called “How to Speak the Written Word.”  She teaches how to read aloud from the Bible (not easy), and her techniques work for any kind of public speaking.  Her book was vital in developing my writing and speaking skills.


In every sentence there are words that relate together more than to others…such as “In every sentence.”  A 3-word phrase is not 3 separate ideas, but one single concept or mental image.  So look for related word groupings and read them as connected, giving ever-so-slight pause afterwards to honor the phrase.

Again, it seems obvious, but many readers and public speakers maintain a steady pace that doesn’t help listeners process the story easily and visually.

It’s so much more interesting to slightly alter the pace to make phrases a clear visual idea, sometimes pausing briefly afterward for effect.

Want proof? Take a few minutes and try this EXERCISE I’ve used to help uninteresting speakers liven up their presentations.

Try reading aloud the quoted words below as you record your voice on your smart phone (using the recording app I recommended above). Force yourself for this exercise to maintain an artificially steady pace for all words and not emphasize any particular word or phrase:

“Most people in general can’t end their habit of procrastination merely by telling oneself to ‘just do it,’ because that ill-considered advice applies only to the 3% of us who are natural, fearless self-starters. What most  people need instead is a patient mentor or coach who guides one through a specific process to uncover limiting assumptions so you can consciously replace them with new ways to think and behave.”

Now play it back – and you’ll agree that reading at a steady pace without proper emphasis and phrasing is clearly boring, and not how you’d want your book put on audio, for example.

Then notice how much less energy you hear than what you thought you were putting into your reading.  (That’s a lesson for another day.)

So now read that paragraph aloud again and record it too – this time, emphasize the blue phrases and treating each one as a single idea, pausing briefly before continuing:

“Most people in general can’t end their habit of procrastination merely by telling themselves to ‘just do it,’ because that ill-considered advice applies ONLY to the 3 percent of us who are natural, fearless self-starters. What most people need instead is a patient mentor or coach who guides them through a specific process to uncover limiting assumptions, so they can consciously replace them with new and more productive ways to think and behave.”

Did you find yourself slightly pausing after each phrase?  That’s the natural sense of dramatic emphasis that the words themselves tell you.

And finally, the third critical technique for reading aloud that enhances understanding and effect is…


In every sentence there are new ideas appearing here and there as the information or story evolves.

Whatever was already mentioned before is not new and thus should be subdued in terms of pitch and tone emphasis, to direct attention to the new idea you’re introducing.

“I want to introduce my NEW BOOK…” works fine the first mention of it, but then you subdue those words in subsequent sentences.

If you next say “It’s an Amazon best seller!” – now you have something new to emphasize.

Sounds obvious…but so many who read and speak aloud don’t take advantage of emphasis to lead listeners down the right path with the right conclusions…and thus the uninspired, almost monotone performances that don’t move us.

So let’s go back to our practice paragraph once more, this time keep the phrasing but now add more emphasis for the words in red:

“Most people in general can’t end their habit of procrastination merely by telling themselves to ‘just do it,’ because that ill-considered advice applies ONLY to the 3 percent of us who are natural, fearless self-starters.  What most people need instead is a patient mentor or coach who guides them through a specific process to uncover limiting assumptions, so they can consciously replace them with new and more productive ways to think and behave.”

Do you find yourself pausing slightly after each emphasis word?  That’s the natural way to let each get the focus and sink in.

If you will give emphasis and phrasing a good workout — embrace them as your natural way to communicate — you’ll find your public reception will clearly improve.

Nothing like a good story told with compelling emphasis and phrasing.

Know it to show it…phrase words together…and emphasize new ideas…three golden techniques to be a powerful, persuasive speaker and influencer.

Why Eye Contact Is Your Secret Power

A friend of mine is a successful business coach, speaker, and instructor, who says he thinks of me every time he gets on his live online show.

Here’s the short version of the story.  I coached him to improve his work on camera, especially when live.  We got him positioned right, good natural lighting, microphone working fine and outside of the frame, the right color and style of clothing, and improvements to his background to avoid distractions.

Everything stuck and worked fine except for one thing:  he was so busy running his show that he never made eye contact with his viewers.

It’s a habit he’s still trying to break…so when he signs on, a little voice in his ear (mine) is saying, “Look at the camera lens! Make eye contact with my viewers! Connect with them!”

I got great training in that habit by following Arnold Palmer, the greatest golf “ambassador” ever (he liked that term, preferred it over “King” of golf).  Arnie was so appreciative of all his golf fans who had made his career successful, that he learned early on to give each person attention and make eye contact.

Seems simple, but few folks really do this right.

Arnie would look you in the eyes and give you what felt like his full attention, as he listened and responded naturally.  Like you were his friend.  Other golfers would either not ever look you in the eyes, or just glance at you.  Huge difference in how it felt to meet them.

I was privileged to interview the Ambassador in researching my book about a Coast Guard rescue mission, since he was the most famous of all who had served in the fifth armed force of our country.

His whole world of golf, of tournaments, media interviews, course design, etc. all seemed to be frozen in time as he gave me 45 minutes of pure attention and conversation.

Let me summarize what I learned about eye contact from him and others along the way in my 4-decade career in video and film production.

One…Sustained eye contact makes people feel like you acknowledge them, respect them are interested in what they have to say.  It’s a powerful confirmation of someone’s worth, and a kind boost to one’s self-respect.

Two…Eyes are the key to winning friends and influencing people, as Dale Carnegie used to say.  They are the tools of romance, persuasion, and power…conduits of emotion and caring.  Misused, they can manipulate, punish, and debase just as easily.

Three…Sustained staring is distracting and disruptive, so choose when to connect and when to look elsewhere.  Connect at first to establish your commitment of attention…then when asking key questions…when probing for someone’s feelings…and when making an offer.

Four…Eye contact through an emotionless video camera lens is challenging, since you can’t look into someone’s eyes directly. That’s why it’s important to learn how to do so naturally.  Some stick a picture of a friend’s face, or that of a loved one, beside the lens so there’s a real person in mind with whom you’re comfortable talking.  It’s a practice and habit to embrace.

Five…Important to set up your video camera so you’re looking into the lens instead of looking all over the place at people you’re Zooming with.  One solution is called the Center Cam, a tiny round camera lens about the size of a dime, on a thin goose neck so you can hang in down in front of your screen near the eyes of those you’re talking with.  Move it around if you have more than one person on screen.

Six…Eye contact with children is super critical in their emotional development. Parents often ignore their children’s efforts for attention, especially with their noses and attention constantly focused on smart phones and the Internet.  Children need the validation of their self-worth that giving them real attention provides.  People can’t multi-task well, so put the phone down and give your kids that affirming attention.  (Same applies to employees and your business team.)

Seven…Avoid the bad practice of cutting to a side camera view of yourself talking, yet you’re still looking at the original head-on camera. That ill-considered trend (one of my Video VoodoosTM I help people eliminate) is emotionally disconnecting, affected, and is called “Director’s Conceit” in the video business.

And Eight…You can’t fake it…be natural, care about other people and their feelings, and give them the real attention you want yourself from others.

Eye contact is a form of body language, which conveys 52% of the full meaning of your message and feelings (tone of voice is 38%, and words alone only 10% — see my deep dive on this subject in this blog post.

You can enhance the impact of your eye contact with other use of body language:

  • Turn your body toward the person you’re looking at.
  • Lean toward that person for stronger connection (too much is intimidating).
  • Blink (it’s intimidating and distracting not to blink, which seems unnatural).
  • If you wear glasses, raise your video lights and/or slightly tilt down your head to minimize glare. Get non-glare coating on your lenses.
  • If you play golf in sunglasses, remember your playing partners cannot see through your lenses, and that’s disconnecting too.
  • Don’t use a teleprompter if you can avoid it. Hardly anyone can read from the moving screen without eyes darting back and forth.  Talk from the heart and people will believe and connect with you better.
  • Smile! Much friendlier eyes that way.
  • And for my friend we started with, get someone to run the tech for your live shows so you can pay attention to your viewers.

Improve all your contacts and relationships with genuine, caring eye contact.

You can do it.

How You Can Overcome Self-Sabotage

I’ve noticed over my decades of developing video and learning systems for many folks that a lot of people have trouble dealing with competition.

So I consulted with some gurus in that area and discovered three common thoughts and related behavior that hold people back from competing well.

All three tend to be based on the remnant thoughts that many people adopt after early life experiences dealing with intimidating and belittling authority figures.

When we’re hobbled with low self-esteem from believing the crap others say about us, it’s no wonder we have trouble facing challenges and stiff competition online for business.

The human subconscious is programmed to automatically avoid trauma (physical or emotional) by developing protective coping habits such as procrastination or fleeing from conflict and competition.

Therapists call these limiting assumptions and coping habits self-sabotageaccepting as true the depressing mindset of doubt, feelings of vulnerability, and lack of self-confidence just because others claimed those things about you. 

The result is living fearfully within your safe comfort zone of the same old thoughts and behaviors.

Trouble is, there is no growth or progress in your comfort zone, only the repetition and recycling of old thoughts and decisions that got us where we are now.

Like quicksand, this mentally self-defeating land of “stuck” has a tenacious hold that resists every attempt to feel better about ourselves.

Yet hope springs eternal, and many of us hiding out in our comfort zones discover we’re in Einstein’s self-defeating loop:  Doing the same things over and over, while expecting different results.

You can’t get up “there” to that higher, more productive, braver mindset by thinking and behaving in ways that got you where you are.

So take a quick little REALITY CHECK and see if you regularly experience any of these three common limiting assumptions about yourself that trap you in your comfort zone.

Self-Sabotaging Assumption #1 – “I feel everyone is judging me on my appearance. Makes me want to be invisible where nobody can observe me and criticize things about me. There’s safety in hiding.”

First, it’s important to be aware of, and admit to yourself, that worrying so much about how you look to others is being overly sensitive and self-absorbed.  Doesn’t sound like a successful way to think if you want to get ahead in business, does it?

You can turn this claim around by realizing you’d be so much more productive and successful if you believed that “it’s not about me, but about the pains and problems of people I serve, and getting them to a level of thriving and feeling good about themselves.”

Focusing on helping others is a powerful antidote that leaves no time for worrying about what people think of you.

Think about it…your audience isn’t there to criticize and tear you down.

They are taking the time to listen to you because (1) they believe you know something about their major pain, fear, need, or want, and (2) they hope you have a solution for their urgent concern.

If you talk about their common problem using their own words (from your surveys and research of your ideal prospects), and offer a solution, they don’t care what you look like.

More later on how to actually look and sound more like a pro, so this transition can be easier for you.

Self-Sabotaging Assumption #2 – “I don’t ask for the sale as often or as directly as many others do.  I’m not confident that I did a good job of convincing others of the value of my products and services – I’m always bracing for them to say no.”

First, note the limited thinking (not confident I presented enough value) and the protective coping habit (withdrawal, or bracing for “no”). 

Obviously if you don’t putt the ball, and with confidence, it will never make it in the hole.  All the previous swings from tee to green are therefore wasted without the finish.

And wouldn’t you be more willing to ask a person to buy if you were comfortable that your words, logic, and emotional appeal were right on target for your ideal prospect?

When you believe in the value of what you’re providing – the end result, the positive change in the buyer’s life – then asking for the sale is truly an invitation for the buyer to thrive.

Self-Sabotaging Assumption #3 – “If I’m not 100% sure I can do a task, I won’t even suggest it. So I miss a lot of opportunities to break free of my limiting comfort zone where there is no learning, nor getting better.”

I know a number of people who jump all over opportunities, regardless of whether they think the task is doable for them.

One friend told me that, “Hey, I always say YES at each new opportunity in my wheelhouse, because I can always research it on the Internet and/or hire help to get something done that’s beyond my skills.”

Fear of failure keeps many from even trying…when it’s precisely failure that is the greatest school for success in the long run.

We learn by doing things wrong, and then build determination to find a better way next time.  If you always win, you’re not trying hard enough to grow.

I’ve made huge leaps in my career by jumping at new and challenging opportunities, and using the good stress to work my way to a new skill. One got me a $400,000 project to produce 30 training videos, and another turned into a strong customer with regular work over 23 years.

Okay, so that’s easy for me to say.

So what’s the answer for you, to give you the strength to jump at new and challenging opportunities?

The answer is not in the next “shiny object” online information program…because information and rah-rah motivation alone don’t pry us loose from our old programmed assumptions and coping habits.

Watching long videos and taking assignments home to “self-study” do not convince the subconscious of 97% of us to drop the walls of its comfort zone and suddenly think and act differently.

And we still can’t get up “there” with the thinking and habits that got us where we are now.

The good news is that a transformative coach or mentor knows how to walk you one baby step at a time through the process of building your self-confidence for expanding your comfort zone.

And one of the best type of coach to get you that transformation is a video coach who knows how to help you look and sound like a pro any time you’re on camera or in front of a live audience.

That’s a HUGE advantage when you can be your real self on camera.

The right coach can give you a confidence makeover with simple changes in these 5 key areas:

  1. Camera position — Offering a more pleasing and attractive picture of you for your viewers to look at.
  2. Lighting – Creating more natural skin tone, a pro studio look, so watching you will be a more pleasant experience.
  3. Sound – Tweaking your voice to be rich and full to draw attention to your message.
  4. Background – Creating a brandable look and avoiding all those distractions.
  5. You – Choosing the right clothing, jewelry, hair style, etc. – and using body language proven to draw people to you and your message.

Then that same experienced video coach can show you how to make magnetic sales videos that will attract lots of ideal prospect to become ideal customers.

As the sales grow, your self-confidence and fun in life will zoom!

And finally, get help with how to use your customers words about their pains, fears, needs, and wants to draw them to your solutions.

Follow the Tiger Woods approach to getting super good at something new:  practice, practice, and then practice more!

As each coach-guided step turns into an encouraging win, you’ll be ever more willing to step outside your comfort zone and take the risks that really pay off financially and personally.

It’s a whole lot easier to continue to try something new and scary on the heels of a string of wins and victories – and with the support and encouragement of a transformative coach who thrives when you do.

Why COLOR is Key to Your Online Success

Humans are programmed to react to colors in a predictably emotional way.

There’s a whole psychology of colors, in fact, that allows us to create specific feelings and emotional responses by careful choice of colors for our advertising, websites, logos, etc.

Any time we can discern a pattern in the behavior of our ideal prospects and clients, we can use that built-in response behavior to attract them over and over.

You can quickly learn what colors mean to people and how to set up your Signature Colors to draw in exactly the right people who appreciate you and what you stand for.


Let’s get a quick review of major color groups as a foundation for our discussion.

Primary colors are red, blue, and yellow. Of course, children love the primary colors because they’re bright and clean and fun. Who doesn’t, right? We’re all kids at heart.

Red is all about attraction — an action color, energy, strength, passion excitement, and adventure. It intensely challenges the eyes and the emotions. You see it with food logos such as Wendy’s, Chic Filet, and Kentucky Fried Chicken…not to mention Coca-Cola, ESP, and Canon.

Red is also about danger (fire / fire truck), anger (seeing red), and warning (stop sign).

Blue is calming, confident, trustworthy, purposeful, and loyal.  It’s relaxing, no stress, somehow feels good, like the blue sky and blue waters. Think IBM, Facebook, Samsung, HP, and PayPal…and your vacation to favorite seaside spots.

Yellow tends to feel cheery, positive, fun joyful, and bright like a sunny day.  It seems to stimulate the thought of logic, but also can convey cowardice, deception, and caution…as in when the traffic light turns yellow.  

Too much yellow, too bright can be off-putting.  Better to use it more for accents with colors that go well with yellow, such as blue, charcoal, and (think the Green Bay Packers), green. Think McDonald’s Golden Arches, Shell Oil (with red), and Post-Its.

Secondary colors are combinations of primary colors: green, orange, and purple.

Green (blue + yellow) is universally about life, nature, health, prosperity, harmony, and safety. Think outdoors, luck (four-leaf clover), and good things happening. Think John Deere tractors, Subway, and Land Rover logos.

Orange (red + yellow) evokes optimism, freedom, youth, and pleasure. Think of the soft drink logos for Fanta and Crush…UPS (on brown)…and Nickelodeon.

Purple (red + blue) is perceived as a royal shade of value, wisdom, luxury, and power.

Back to kids, we know they love the colors in a rainbow, which include both primary and secondary colors.

Tertiary colors are combinations of primary and secondary – yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green, and yellow-green. Tertiary colors work well with the others when picking your third basic color for your signature look.

Here’s an example of a mixed color that can work well for some people.

Champagne is a classy and stylish color and signature attraction, while still being “modest.”  It’s a tertiary color mixture of yellow and orange.

Make sure it works with your skin tone (see Video Color Rules down below).

And finally, complementary combinations tend to be pleasing to the eye and good combinations for marketing: blue and orange…red and green…purple and yellow.

Black represents power, boldness, mystery, elegance, and stability. It goes with almost every color as a background or accent. Black is actually blue + red + yellow…or orange + purple + green.

White is all about purity, innocence, luxury, security, and peace…wedding dresses, doves, and all things clean. White has equal shares of all the colors, which is why it tends to go well with everything except the super pale colors.

Then there are color mixes that tend to be trendy (remember avocado and gold appliances and shag carpets in the 70s?) – teal, peach, magenta, turquoise, and so on.

These mixtures show up in new car paint colors each year and interior decorators’ recommendations for your home (light grey-brown one year, beige another, etc.).

DON’T FORGET: You’re not picking your favorite colors, because it’s not about you. Choose colors for how your viewers react emotionally, to make it a connecting experience for them. That’s how you draw your ideal customers.



Video is built around electronic colors for televisions, mobile screens, and computer monitors.

It’s the RGB system — RED, GREEN, and BLUE as its primary colors…

Making CYAN, YELLOW, and MAGENTA the secondary colors.

A six-digit hex code identifies each color – for example, #23f4a3 – which makes it so much easier to pick precise colors for your video work.

HINT: It’s better to search RGB color samples because that’s what you see on screen. Find a site that lets you see all the various RGB color samples and also color families that work well together.


It ain’t about you, friend, but all about your viewers.

Remember, your messages on video and elsewhere are not about you, but about attracting your ideal prospects – so don’t let yourself pick your favorite colors.  It’s the best colors to draw in your ideal clients that you want on that screen at all times.

You want your ideal prospects to resonate with you and your brand – i.e., to feel good about the way you look and sound as a potential solution to their urgent pains, fears, needs, or wants.

You want them to trust you, to accept your authority, and to be impressed with your credentials. You can accomplish all three with proper use of color and get almost immediate acceptance of you as a problem solver.

So your “Signature Look” that seals the deal is a combination of color, words, and etcetera that says “professional go-to expert in your niche” to your ideal customers.

Choose 3 RGB family colors for your outreach (website, online ads and social media posts, on-camera background and theme, etc.):

  • 1 Main Theme – find one color that’s not too dark or light, but which richly conveys the feelings you want them to have about you. I like the widely appreciated dark but rich blue as my background for its sense of confidence, trust, professionalism, and just plain beauty.
  • 2 Support Color – choose a blue family color, or a complementary color for accent lines, boxes, buttons, etc.  You can easily find charts online that show you all the combinations for picking here. For a blue main, this color could be red, yellow, gold, orange, magenta, etc.
  • 3 Accent Color – used for thin lines, bullets, buttons to push, and anything you want to stand out and get noticed.  Red, yellow, gold, and white work well for most things.

Here are a few examples of ideal combinations from

Find that pleasant-to-your-viewers’-eyes combination that generates the right attributes in the viewer’s mind and sets a positive standard people will recognize as your brand.

Recommendation: Hire an experienced video graphic artist to lay out all your visuals to give them professional formatting, balance, and design. This person will be able to find the exact hex numbers for the best match of 1-3 above.


Color is a powerful way to attract your ideal customers who can appreciate your qualities and the solutions you can provide – or to chase them away with bad choices.

Set your own personal preferences aside and let the natural human message of each color you use serve to be a strong connection to you and your brand for your ideal customers.

Let your ideal customers “choose” those colors for you, based on their sense of your personal qualities and what you have to offer as solutions for their problems.

If your research is thorough, your colors will convey that you understand their specific pains and have a trustworthy solution for them.

Those who resonate most with those colors and your message will end up being your ideal customers – the only ones you’ll want to attract, because they will be your long-term tribe and sell your business for you with their enthusiastic testimonials.

Color chosen by your ideal customers is your friend.  Embrace that new friend and prosper.

Why 3 Is Magic Number for You and Mankind

How many legs are on a tripod? How many strikes ‘til yer out? Why do U.S. presidents like to use first, middle, and last names?

Humans love relating things in threes.

Look at my first paragraph above, with three examples. We’re all naturally comfortable hearing things in threes.

Turns out that psychologically three examples of anything can be naturally persuasive – while a fourth can trigger doubt and even kill the first positive impression.

In fact, the number 3 is so ingrained in the psyche of humans that it’s a major force to be reckoned with in our lives, and certainly in business.

Take a couple of minutes to check out my examples below of how pervasive and fundamental that number is to your life and that of people worldwide and throughout the ages.


  • Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Ghost/Spirit
  • ALL (three letters to represent the entire universe of existence)
  • Omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence
  • Past, present, and future
  • Time, space, and matter
  • Human time tracking: second, minute, hour… day, month, and year
  • Three days in the tomb
  • Three wise men
  • Your Identity – me, myself, and I… mind, body, and soul
  • Life cycle — birth, life, and death
  • Beginning, middle, and end
  • Crawl, walk, and run
  • Family:  mother, father, and child
  • Atoms are made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons.
  • Three dimensions of height, width, and length
  • Liquid, solid, and gas
  • Earth’s core, mantel, and crust
  • Air (nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide)
  • Animal, vegetable, and mineral
  • Protein, carbohydrate, and fat
  • Primary colors (red, blue, green)… secondary colors (cyan, magenta, yellow)
  • Newton’s three laws of motion: inertia, force, action/reaction
  • In fact, the list of threes in science (including number of branches in each scientific field) goes on and on (I stopped researching after 10 single-spaced pages of listings).
  • Also lots of grammar and punctuation rules (subject, verb, object… 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person… masculine, feminine, neuter… etc.)
  • Beginner, intermediate, advanced
  • Positive, neutral/zero, negative
  • Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
  • Government of the people, by the people, and for the people (Abe Lincoln, three-letter first name)
  • Branches of US Government: Legislative, Executive, Judicial
  • Red, white and blue in the U.S. flag
  • Blood, sweat, and tears
  • Latin “omne trium perfectum” means everything that comes in threes is perfect, or every set of three is complete.
  • In math, the triangle… Bermuda Triangle… everything common starting with “tri”
  • Triathlon:  swim, cycle, and run
  • Good things come in threes… more often than bad things
  • In literature and movies: Three Stooges… The Three Musketeers… Three Little Pigs… Three Bears… Three French Hens… Three Blind Mice… Three Coins in the Fountain… Three wishes from the genie… Three guesses…
  • Famous slogans: Just Do It (Nike)…Snap! Crackle! Pop! (Kellogg’s Rice Crispies)… Breakfast of Champions (Wheaties)… Finger Lickin’ Good (Kentucky Fried Chicken)… That Was Easy (Staples)… Let’s Go Places (Toyota)… Ultimate Driving Machine (BMW)
  • Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil
  • Number of feet in a yard
  • Three traffic light colors – green (go), yellow (slow), and red (stop)
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place medals at the Olympics
  • Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria were Columbus’ ships
  • Three books in a trilogy
  • People like three acts in a typical story, movie, or play.
  • Types of learning: psychomotor (manual dexterity), cognitive (memory), and affective (emotional), all parts of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, the bible of curriculum development people who create learning programs.
  • Location, location, location as the priority in real estate sales.
  • Stop, look, and listen – children’s road crossing safety phrase
  • The Rule of Thirds in photography and video (ask me about this one).


It’s obvious that the human mind, conscious and subconscious, is super comfortable with the cadence of three related things.

In fact, the human psyche tenaciously keeps your system in balance, as protection against trauma (mental, physical, and emotional).

That’s why it’s very hard to pry people loose from their erroneous assumptions and ingrained coping habits…and it’s a huge reason why information-only programs without 1:1 mentoring through the learning cycle don’t work to change mindsets and habits.

Why humans like things in threes is clear in the following two principles discovered over time by research.

1. Writing Power of Three:  Humans process information through pattern recognition, and three is the smallest, simplest, and easiest pattern to remember and to craft memorable phrases.

2. Reaction Rule of Threes:  Things that come in threes are seen as inherently funnier, more satisfying, and more effective than any other number.

So it makes huge sense to use that built-in proclivity in your communications to resonate with other people.

Want to master the “hook, engage, and close” process of gathering a steady stream of new clients? Then talk in their language, using their emotional words, and combine things in threes whenever it makes sense. (There I did it again with that last sentence!)


You’ll be smart to use your new awareness of this special power to make all your communications resonate magnetically with your ideal clients.

Let me share a few techniques to attract people so you can thrive personally and financially.

Focus on Leadership:  Boil your work-related functions down to only 3 of the 9 “hats” (functions) it takes to build and run a successful business… and delegate the rest.

Productive Priorities First: To get a lot done, schedule work each day on your top three priorities, starting with the most important. Then if things come up, you’ve already done the critical stuff to move you forward.

Three Hotspots Matter: Most important priorities to build a satisfying, sustainable, and scalable business are (1) trustworthy & memorable brand, (2) magnetic high-converting sales videos, and (3) transformational life-changing learning programs.


Use Communication Power: Words convey no more than 10% of the full meaning of our message…tone of voice can add up to 38%…but body language can fill in the remaining 52% of your message. Be in person or on video to get the most impact in communicating your messages.

Keep It Simple:  Use one main point and three supporting points as the basis for a live talk, podcast, sales video, speech, social media post, blog, learning module, etc.  People can follow your logic easily and feel connected with you.

Do Results Testimonials: First, you need only three testimonials on your web site, sales message page, etc. if they talk about net changes and results from your services that transformed their lives.

Use Their Words: Use three-item phrases and examples that are recognizable, such as the above phrases I shared with you.  Name your programs, unit titles, slogans, etc. with only three words if you can – and those being words your ideal prospects and customers use to describe their pains, fears, needs, and wants.

Use Trio Groups: Your clients can learn a new skill or process well in trio group exercises, where they take turns role-playing situations as customer, coach / salesperson, and observer who reports on what worked well.

Watch Your Timing: You have literally about three seconds to hook an online surfer’s initial interest to stop and take a look at your message. You can present a full sales pitch on video in only three minutes. People won’t remember more than three items from a list… and they tend to remember the last three better.

(NOTE: How many words did I use in each section header in this blog? How many to identify each suggestion above? That’s called parallelism, and it has a natural cadence to it, even if you weren’t consciously aware of it as you read the copy.) 

Now be warned, because at least for a while now, you’re going to notice things in threes all over the place!

My summary advice today: Thrive With Threes.

Text, Call, or Zoom? It’s All About 10 / 38 / 52

The younger generations have adopted texting as their main form of communication.

Now there’s a new trend among online marketers to send texts to your phone instead of relying on emails – because a noticeably higher percentage of people actually read texts than open emails.

Don’t know about you, but cold sales texts are extremely irritating to me, an intrusion into what should be the private world of my cell phone texts from friends and family.

I feel violated…and I’m not inclined to read the messages nor respond favorably. So they go right to trash.

There’s another reason, however, why marketing through texts may not be as smart as the gurus think.

The answer lies in the special numbers 10 / 38 / 52 – which add up to 100 — and what they tell us about how much of our full meaning is lost in most communications.

Turns out that decades ago, researchers tested how much of our total intended message to another person gets passed to them through different approaches to communicating.

We’re talking about the literal meaning, plus how much we like / dislike the person, plus our mood (upset, stressed, cold, etc.). The full 100% meaning is rich with signals that reveal a great deal about the thoughts and motives of the sender.

I’ve used this information effectively for over 4 decades in developing learning programs and producing video and film programs that persuade people to change their assumptions and develop new and more productive habits.

Of your total message you could convey, with all the nuances of meaning and intent, only 10% gets passed along using words alone.

For example, what is my attitude toward you based on just the words below?

“I need a refund on my order as soon as possible.”

Can’t tell if I’m mad, sad, stressed, carefree, or going nuts with frustration, just by the words. We have to guess at most of the writer’s feelings and intentions but the preponderance or lack of emotional words.

If we could hear the words spoken – now we’re cooking – because 38% of the full meaning of communication comes through tone of voice.

Just imagine the different feelings you could communicate by changing your tone in saying any statement. Same words but different emotions come to us through how our voice sounds.

But the big microphone drop is this major fact: 52% of our total message is communicated through body language. Clunk.

So a text or email sends words…10%…leaves us a lot in the dark about how to read the sender’s feelings, state of mind, and intent.

Now listen to a voice mail message, and words (10%) + tone of voice (38%) together crank the total up to 48% of the potential message. A lot better.

Now talk in person or get on a Zoom call, and you’ve added body language (the missing 52%) in your facial expressions, body movements, folded arms (resistance), leaning forward (interest), and much more.


If you just need to pass along information so another person can make a decision, words alone can work. Pick up 3 cans of black pitted olives at the store. Here’s the address for the party at 7 PM tonight. Daniele can’t make the party tonight because she missed her flight home from Albuquerque.

Most business problem-solving and personal communications need at least a tone of voice. Sharing an experience with a client or friend. Reminiscing about old times. Getting help to solve a customer service problem (phone call avoids a lot of back-and-forth ineffective emails and texts).

Words and voice alone are still lacking, however, if you’re wanting to persuade someone to accept your point of view or buy your product or service.

That’s where the 52% power of body language kicks in big time, in person or on a camera call online.

A warm smile, leaning toward you, eye contact – yes, steady eye contact is one of the most powerful uses of body language to connect deeply with another person.

Not all body language, however, is a conscious trigger.

For example, did you know that subtly mirroring the body language of someone you’re talking to in person can make them unknowingly feel positive toward you?

They lean forward on their elbows on the table, you do the same. They hold their drink in one hand and gesture with the other, and you do the same. Soon they’re really enjoying the conversation!

A tougher and more challenging task, though, is persuading someone to let go of one belief and accept another in its place. We need all 100% of our full potential message to come through, if we expect to get people to change their assumptions, biases, programmed practices, and habits.

Keep in mind the two components of any message: (1) the literal meaning of the words, and (2) the emotional feelings that the words trigger.

Which is more important?

No contest. Humans make decisions emotionally, and then justify them logically.

We buy cars that make us feel good, macho, cool, etc. We pick colors we love to look at. We feel like an Indy 500 race car driver zooming around corners and accelerating in our big horsepower sporty rides. None of that would be a logical choice for Mr. Spock.

Your messages to prospects and clients must be centered around their emotional pains, fears, needs, and wants, if you expect to maintain their interest or convince them to make a decision.

You need the power of your conscious use of body language to draw them into connecting emotionally with you, with your compelling desire to help, and with expectations of how great they will feel afterward.


Based on the facts so far, video sales and branding messages have much more power to connect emotionally with people than podcasts or written sales letters, for example.

While communicating is always better in person, face to face, video is the practical option to reach people all over the world.

Video done emotionally has the extra turbocharge of the combination of the spoken word (48% with words and tone of voice together) with two powerful visual synergies:

1 – How you use your gestures and the way you look, as tools to connect emotionally to people, and

2 – The ability to show pictures and video clips that greatly magnify the impact of your message.

Note that both of these approaches use a form of “body language” – i.e., they communicate visually, one with your body language, and the other with emotional photos, videos, and on-screen words that tell much more than words or voice can do.

An Air Force study reported that words and visuals combined can be 22 times more impactful on emotions and learning retention than either words or images alone…and way more than just a talking face can convey.

It’s called using your B-roll in video industry terms. A-roll is the talking-face announcer on camera, so B-roll is the visual you cut to in order to show exactly what the viewer wants to see as he/she hears your words.

That’s why I teach anyone selling or persuading to only sparingly use the talking face on camera, and only where you need a personal connection to the viewer.

All the rest of the time, viewers want to see what you’re talking about, not your face – and they are much more emotionally engaged that way.

Remember…we make decisions emotionally, and justify them logically. As long as you provide sensible, logical reasons why your solution is the best one for them, their emotions then give themselves permission to act and buy.

Think about these facts and how much you need to visual power of video to promote your products, brand, and services.

Put all 100% of 10 / 38 / 52 to work for you with powerfully magnetic sales videos that talk about your ideal prospects’ emotions and help them feel connected to you and your solution.

Whatever you do for your business, find a way to make emotional A-roll / B-roll video work for you.