Sell Emotions, Not Products or Programs

Steve Jobs built a world-class company called Apple on the shoulders of a simple slogan:

“No Products.”

Oh, he had products to sell (hello iPod / iPad etc.), but he didn’t want to SELL them.  So he appealed to prospective customers’ emotions about how they would feel using his amazing new solutions.

People buy emotionally and justify the decision logically (so they don’t feel foolish).

Push a product out front, and most aren’t ready to buy.  Fire up their emotions first, and they have a personal and urgent reason to go for it.

So we’re all really buying emotional experiences.

The same reverse psychology made Nike a monster company when the slogan “Just do it” went viral.  People who embraced it as their own mantra felt they were given permission to stop procrastinating and pull the buying trigger.

We are similarly drawn to Tiger Woods as the perfect Nike spokesman, with the natural outcome of copycat buying of a sports hero’s brand of shoes, clubs, etc….the compulsion to own anything Tiger.

We don’t actually need those expensive products logically, but we feel we deserve them and don’t want to be deprived.

Now, we may not be able to come up with slogans as popular as Nike’s, but we can always appeal emotionally to our prospects’ major pain or fear that they urgently need resolved.

Remember it’s not about us and our solution at first, but rather about getting our ideal prospects to resonate with our lead message so they will stop and check out that solution.

If you can’t get them to stop surfing, they’ll never even see what you’ve got to offer.


It turns out that humans have a built-in proclivity to make almost all decisions emotionally, and then use some comforting logic to justify the expense so they don’t feel foolish.

“I shouldn’t have bought it,” we moan, worried about the shrinking balance in our checking account or credit card limit, but then we instantly make some smart-sounding, logical justifying statement such as “but hey, I’ll get more business wearing this high fashion!”

Works for buying clothes, a new car, that gorgeous house, you name it.  Our logic causes procrastination and over thinking…while our emotions kick in to want that thing no matter what.

We shop at the same grocery store, gas station, etc. because they’re in our comfort zone, a known place where with no stress or trauma we can comfortably find the usual things we buy in life.

We eat at the same restaurants for the same reason. Once we make an emotional connection to a place, there’s no more debating or logic involved.

Marketers use these emotion-based buying habits for impulse buying – the driving force for where to place key items you have to walk past to get to your most common purchases.

Quick story…Years ago I produced a film for Shell Oil Company for all of its gas station dealers to identify and solve a handful of their most common problems with customers.

One issue was low sales in their food marts, where all their profit is made (I was amazed to discover that the gas station dealers don’t actually make money on selling gas).

So the challenge was how to get more people to buy on impulse, on emotions, and not just logical necessity.

First I spent a couple of long days tracing on a floor diagram of the food mart layout the exact path that everyone took to make their purchases.

The resulting image showed the heaviest traffic aisles – and as a result, the corporate office changed the location of everything to put all the standard “staples” in the back and all the impulse items (candy, chips, donuts, hot dogs on the grill, etc.) on the way to their intended purchases.

The moral of the story: Appeal to people’s major emotional needs and they will want to buy no matter what.

Food mart profits went up significantly after this change, and that’s how all stores of any kind are now organized to get us to spend a lot than we came to buy.

The lesson for you and me is to connect to our prospects’ emotional needs to get their attention and steer them to our products and services as the solution – rather than relying on logic alone.


There is no more powerful emotional “hook” to grab attention and heighten people’s emotional need to buy than a well-produced video that leads with your ideal prospects’ main pain, fear, or need.

That’s what they are scanning for when surfing the Internet, so that’s what you need to provide if you have any hope of “hooking” their attention to hear about your solution.

In fact, almost 90% of marketing campaigns online are built around video messages – and yet only a small percentage of them are effectively using the emotional appeal.

That’s a major reason why 93% of online entrepreneurs make less than $400 a month…and clearly you want to be in the elite group that is making the big bucks, or at least a good living.

How many times have you seen a recipe on a video “reel” on Facebook or Tik-Tok, and wrote it down or clicked through to find it?  The lure of health and/or happy tummy are powerful and certainly emotionally based.

You see, words alone (conveying only 10% of the full meaning of your message) don’t attract nearly as well as do visuals.

Add audio and you get another 38% of the meaning and a lot more engagement.

Yet go with video visuals (when they effectively illustrate what your words are describing) and you get a lot of the remaining 52% of the message that comes from the visual cues of body language and other things you can see.

(For more details on 10/38/52, read my blog post here.)

So an emotionally-focused video…with emotion-inspiring words and related images…naturally draws us all to want to see the solution.


First, get the sequence of your message in this order – because it’s the order in which the human mind wants to process your message:

  1. Hook Attention – your ideal prospects’ major challenge to urgently solve
  2. Ramp Up the Feelings – give a few situations that remind them of how they felt
  3. Tell Your Story – been there, figured out a solution, now helping lots of others
  4. Show Social Proof – 1 or 3 testimonials about the transformative result of your solution
  5. Briefly Intro Your Solution – name it, talk outcomes instead of program details
  6. Call To Action (CTA) – Tell how to click / etc. to check out this amazing solution

The biggest mistake in so many videos is to start with who you are and your solution, especially in detail. Not what they want to hear first, because you haven’t given them something to stir their emotions and need for solution.

Second, discover and eliminate all your off-putting actions and distractions you don’t even know about – what makes people think less of you and doubt your ability to solve their problems.

I coined the phrase “Video Voodoos™” because these distractions you don’t know about are cursing your sales and haunting your reputation.

In fact, your voodoos are repelling a whole lot more prospects than you’re attracting.  When you chase away most viewers, your videos fall far short of their potential.

That’s a big reason why 19 out of 20 online entrepreneurs are not making enough sales to live on.

And third, learn how to make yourself look and sound like the go-to expert in your niche whenever you’re on camera, by following professional techniques for formatting, lighting, sound, background, and how you personally look.

The best and only program out there to help you in all three of these major video solutions is my coaching as the Video Maestro, based on over 4 decades of producing and directing videos and developing learning systems.

If you want to earn a serious living online, get your video tune-up or major upgrade and fine-tune by joining my 1:1 or small-group workshops that have made a huge difference for every single customer so far.

To check it out, schedule a free Zoom chat with me and I’ll help you identify what needs fixing and the best way to get real on-camera impact and new clients.

Click here to choose a date and time convenient to you:

You can’t find a better solution to help you make the leap to thrive in your online business…and  I guarantee results.

How to Always Feel Your Confident Self on Camera

Sometimes the answers to our scary challenges can be so simple.

My 6th-grade granddaughter Sicily told me one day that a classmate was terrified of getting up in front of her fellow students to give a talk or perform in acting or music class.

So Sicily, who has always shown an amazing compassion for others (at 2+ years old asking her mother in the hospital bed if she was going to be okay after giving birth to Sicily’s baby sister), assured her that she could be free of such fears if she just looked at one friendly classmate and told her story to that one person.

Sicily’s friend decided to try that approach…and lo and behold, she got her story out and actually had fun doing it!

We can all learn from the wisdom of a 12-year-old compassionate young person who helps people from the heart…

Just as you do with your identified passion and those you help, right?

If Sicily didn’t have a healthy sense of self-confidence and willingness to try new ways – if she too felt fearful of speaking and performing in front of audiences – she wouldn’t have been in position to help her friend.

We can give to others only what we’ve proven for ourselves.

I’ve learned from over 4 decades of developing learning systems and directing talent on camera in video productions that getting a healthy sense of your own self-worth is more important in life than any amount of knowledge we pick up along the way.

You have to be confident about what you have to share with others – your own “genius” ideas and special way of helping others adopt them one by one – or those you want to help will never get it.

Since public speaking is the scariest thing in life for most people besides dying…

And since a lot of folks get the heebie-jeebies when on camera or on stage…

Let’s look at the simple clarity that others have embraced to free themselves and their clients to be just themselves when sharing their learned wisdom with others.


If you have the solution to your ideal prospects’ major problem or challenge, what do you imagine is the reason they come to hear what you have to say?

Certainly not to shoot you down or pick you apart…make fun of your wardrobe or your weight or your eyebrows…or even to laugh at your mistakes.

They come for the same reason you go to others – to find someone who (A) understands their problem, and (B) knows how to help them solve it.

Pure and simple. Nothing more to it. Not looking for their soul mate…just for help.

So when you talk in front of groups of people, it’s not at all about you. It’s about them and their hope and expectation that you can fix what’s broken and get them where they want to be.

You’re communicating because they need your solution and you want to give it to them out of true compassion and love for your fellow person.

When you start connecting with them, they don’t care what you look like or how glib you are with words.  They want help…that’s what this is all about.

Just the other day, I heard a self-made public speaking expert named Debbie Allen (author of the best seller, “Expert Positioning” and “Confessions of a Shameless Self-Promoter” among others) share how she overcame her fears and learned to be one of the most sought-after speakers in the country:

  • It’s never about me, but about who I can touch and help move forward in their lives.
  • When you start to feel nervous, take a deep breath and exhale slowly…then get out of your own head and go from head to heart, to get you to a place of helpful service.
  • Imagine you’re talking to a friend across the table, and give him/her your loving ideas that you know will fix the problem and free that person to live a better life.
  • Share from your heart – be the real you – that’s who they’re looking to connect with and learn from for sure.

Marjorie Saulson (expert in human communications, founder of, and author of international best seller “Empowering Business Owners to Overcome Speaking Fears, Whether You’re Talking With 1 Person or 1,000”), adds that when you let nerves keep you from sharing your life gifts of knowledge and experience, you’re robbing those who need them of the opportunity to get help.

So every hesitation you allow is a lost solution for some others.

The process of persuading others to do things differently to get better results, Marjorie says, is simply opening a door that leads to a safe, supportive change process that is all good.

This whole approach to redirecting your focus from you to your ideal prospects is what cured my of my own reluctance to be on camera.

Most of my career I’ve lived behind the camera a producer, director, writer, even editor of video and film, and also a writer/developer of learning systems.  When I decided to be a coach and reach out to help people do a lot better on camera, I had to make this mental shift myself…in fact, “walk the talk” that I’ve been telling others to do for years!

Now, here’s a second proven way to avoid the deer-in-the-headlights reaction on camera:


You’re not talking to the whole audience and trying to get them all to buy your stuff.

Think about that.

You’re actually looking to reach only those special, unique people who naturally resonate with your vibe…who emotionally identify with your message and the way you express it…in fact, people thinking and feeling on your frequency.

They’re the ones who (A) know they need your solution, (B) feel like you’re a kindred spirit because you talk their language and identify their experiences, and (C) will buy from you and become long-term loyal members of your tribe.

You DON’T want everybody else responding, because they either won’t buy or will buy but eventually leave your tribe because it’s not the right fit for them.

So follow the wisdom of my granddaughter and talk to individuals instead of a sea of heads.  Give each message personally to someone out there, and it will feel like you’re connecting individually with those who need it.

Then be happy when a few of your “peeps” start coming out of the shadows and asking for your help. It’s such a natural sorting system that you don’t have to do anything special about, except be yourself and talk the language of your ideal prospects.

The rest will just happen for you…and more often too, as you learn to just be your real, loving, individual self and give all you can to help them thrive.

Your honest giving will be validated every time one of your kindred spirits joins your program.

And let’s talk about a third proven approach to leaving the fear of speaking behind:


Few of us go through formal training in public speaking in our lives.

Yet it’s amazing what you can learn about what to do and not to do, to make it easier for your ideal prospects to quickly understand and embrace your solution to their major need.

First, get an experienced coach to help identify what you need to quit doing – the habits that interfere and tend to chase people away.  List them and eliminate them from all of your communications.

Then learn from that coach the simple but effective things the pros do to connect with people emotionally and create that bridge between you and them.

What I share in my Video Maestro Makeover Workshops, among other skills, are 5 proven techniques that draw all attention to your eyes and your message:

  • Position yourself right on camera so you look natural and balanced. Not to close or too far from the camera…not too much headroom…etc.
  • Get your lighting natural, with properly set up key and fill lights. We want to see your eyes (eye contact is critical to engaging), your natural skin tone, and in fact how you look across the table in a normal conversation.
  • Fix your microphone so your sound isn’t like deep in a barrel and is pleasant to listen to over time.
  • Eliminate distractions from your background and in fact purposely create a look and use colors that work with your skin tone and draw attention to your eyes and your message.
  • Keep your physical appearance from being distracting – your clothes, jewelry, etc. – so viewers can easily stay mentally and emotionally involved in your story that, if heard and felt, will draw your ideal peeps to click the button and engage with you.

Keep in mind that we’re not robots, and it’s normal to feel a bit tingly before going on camera or on stage, especially with a big audience.

It’s not that we must never feel any fear at all, but that we trust our hearts and never let such feelings keep us from going ahead and doing what we love and what our peeps need us to do for them.

Once you get going, you’re going to be right back in your right place and it’s all good from there on.

Now, if you still need help making this mental and emotionally change, find yourself a transformative video coach who can…

  • Help you look and sound like the go-to expert in your niche when on camera, and
  • Support your process of shifting from your head about you, to your heart about them.

Never again miss an opportunity to share your good stuff that can heal others’ problems and bless their lives in many ways.

It’s a lot of what gives our daily lives real meaning.

The Common Mindset That Doesn’t Sell

SOOOO many people in business online have failed to consistently sell their products or services over time.


  • 95% of new business are not earning a full-time income a year later.
  • 97% of people who buy expensive online information programs don’t get the results they expected (in fact, they can’t even finish all the program materials, the long boring talking-face videos, all the overwhelm of stuff)
  • Fewer than 3% of online coaching and service businesses are making $100,000/year…that’s gross income, not net.

What’s going on?

Well, a huge part of the problem is following a mindset that is looking through the wrong end of the telescope, with blinders on.

Think about the traditional approach to promoting a brick-and-mortar business:

Lots and lots of cold sales calls in a “shotgun” approach (now online with broadly-targeted emails, ads, and social media posts)…

Colorful and expensive company brochures (now the expensive done-for-you website that nobody comes to see)…

TV commercials about how wonderful your business is (online videos now, same mindset and message)…and so on.

“Hi, I’m (my name) with (my company).  We’re experts in (what you do / certain products) and we want you to become our happy customer.  Here’s our huge and amazing factory (or office building), here’s our wonderful staff, here’s our history of success and awards, here’s my calling card, and here’s my number to call to order something.” 

Why is that common approach not working?

Because it’s all about you… and that’s headed 180 degrees in the wrong direction.

That focus didn’t work in the brick-and-mortar world pre-Internet, and it doesn’t work online now.

Yet hope springs eternal, and the vast majority of advertisers continue throwing away time and money doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting different results (Einstein’s definition of “insanity”).

So let’s do everyone a favor and put an end to the insane misery of continuing what doesn’t work.

For your ideal prospects, it is literally not about you.

It’s all about their urgent emotional search to solve their biggest pain or need, known online as WIIFM – “What’s In It For Me?”

If you want to attract customers online amidst your millions of competitors, you have to shape-shift your sales approach to the point of view of your ideal prospects.

Let’s take you as customer.

If you’re sick, you’re looking for a doctor who addresses and clearly understands your particular ailment — and has fixed it for others many, many times.

You don’t care about size of the facility or looking at a picture of the staff or long history and framed credentials etc. – just whether that particular doctor understands your specific problem and shares believable proof that he or she can fix it.

Of course, we expect our solution to be at a clean and professional-looking location, and if so, it’s to trust and go have your appointment.

If the visuals are not comforting, you may not even stick around at all to discover whether this doctor understands your need.

If your marketing is just not causing enough orders and cash flow, you want to find a you-directed coach who talks from experience about your specific lead generation problem and clearly knows how to fix it.

If your first impression of the coach is “amateur” and not a polished, experienced mentor, you’ll go looking elsewhere…but if he/she looks and sounds like a professional coach, you’ll typically trust enough to listen to the full story.  (That transition to a trustworthy look and sound is why my Video Maestro Makeover Workshops do for my clients.)

Your ideal prospects think and react exactly the same way.

So here are the critical actions you must take to start grabbing the attention and trust of your ideal prospects online:

  • Trade the old me-oriented mindset for seeing the world through your prospects eyes, hearts, and minds; and
  • Learn to master ideal-prospect-oriented VIDEO online, because that’s what 85-90% of all your competition is using to steal the attention of your people.

As a four-decade career video producer for Fortune 500 companies, I learned along the way what works and what doesn’t to get the attention of the right people.

Humans think in a similar way and want answers to similar questions before they make the emotional decision to buy (all decisions are emotional, and then we justify them logically).

When I came online a few years ago, I knew human nature is still the same, but the technology and culture of the cyber world had a unique vocabulary and way to catch attention amid thousands of competing ads and emails.

So here’s how to make your on-camera work become a huge 24/7 vacuum to gather just the right people and turn them into long-term, loyal paying customers.


Get professional help to create a CONSISTENT SIGNATURE BRAND.

Before anyone will even listen to your message… 

You need to present consistent, professional public image in all your communications that identifies you as the go-to expert in your niche who understands your ideal prospects’ major pains and needs, and knows how to get them where they need to be.

Research proves that you can sell to only 20% of your potential market when people see your brand promoted for the first 5 times.   

That leaves 80% of your potential sales floating in cyber space…

Until people see a consistent brand promoted 6 or more times.

Your various public communications are cumulative building blocks of trust adding up to a comfortable trigger point only if your signature brand is consistent from touch to touch.  It doesn’t accumulate interest if each contact looks and feels different.

The first key to a consistent, attractive brand is VIDEO (any time you’re on camera or your recorded messages).

  • Learn to spot and eliminate distracting, amateurish behavior and choices…
  • Get yourself positioned properly on screen…
  • Set up lighting that makes you look your professional and personal best…
    Ensure quality sound that is as natural as talking to someone in person…and
  • Keep both clothing and background free of distractions so your prospect’s attention is on your face, eyes, and message.

So then it’s easy to clone the same look and feel of your video brand for all of your other communications, for that building-block consistency that gets people quickly to full trust and open up the floodgates of that 80% of potential buyers.

Your website, online ads, social media posts, guests appearances on video podcasts, etc. must each mirror your signature color scheme and your profession look and message that you established in your on-camera brand work.

All photos of you in your communications should further your signature look and brand…including on thumbnails for your videos on YouTube, for example.

And BTW…

The best way is to create a library of images of yourself in various poses in each of the 3-4 outfits your branding coach led you to choose that work well with your skin tone and flatter you.

With your good video lighting setup and a smart phone…

Wear one of your best outfits and shoot still pictures of every imaginable pose you can think of… straight to camera, turned ¾ left, turned ¾ right…smiling, quizzical, pointing different directions, being surprised, etc., you name it.

Then do exactly the same in the next outfit…and the next…in at least 3 different but brand-approved outfits.

In Canva Pro you can import all the pictures and remove the backgrounds, saving each as a png image.  Then you can quickly insert any of them on your web site, build thumbnails for your videos, create Facebook and other posts and ads, and so on.

In summary…

  1. Adopt the mindset of always talking about your ideal prospects’ problems, using their own words, to connect with them and develop trust.
  2. Use that approach on camera and in recorded videos as your main form of attracting a steadily growing stream of your ideal prospects.
  3. Clone your video brand look and feel to all your other communications, including lots of images of your branded self to choose from whenever needed.

The result will be that campaign-wide professional brand that accumulates good “touches” and leads to find that missing 80% of your market.

Follow all these steps and guidelines to put the “WOW!” and “AHA!” into all of your communications.

Lasting Gifts That Stimulate Business Growth

Holiday gifts, birthday gifts, just-because gifts, thinking of you gifts – what on earth do you give to someone who has pretty much all he or she can use?

If you guess wrong, welcome to the world of re-gifting.

Seems easiest to just buy some near-term consumables, things we can enjoy right away, such as a gift card to your favorite restaurant…movie tickets…or a gift basket.

All of the above involve basically an ephemeral one-time experience – memorable, perhaps, but when it’s over, we move on pretty much the way we were.

You could ask your gift recipients to delay their gratification a bit by giving something that pays out over time…such as a subscription to a publication to enjoy over the next year or two.

But will such a gift noticeably change someone’s life for the better?

This brings me to my favorite type of gift – access to an actual transformational learning program or experience that results in a permanent leap in ability, productivity, and growth of your business.

Now that’s a gift that keeps on giving!

Trouble is, most “learning” programs online are NOT built around proven curriculum design, but sadly are just shared information in “rah-rah” motivational presentations.

Information alone doesn’t change people’s long-held, limiting assumptions and coping habits (such as procrastination) that keep them sheltered from the trauma of stepping outside their comfort zones.

That’s basic human programming – and the reason why 97% of people buying information programs online never get cloned to the “guru” level, and in fact, never even finish the program materials.

Don’t waste your time and money on the vast majority of “shiny object” programs promising results they cannot deliver to you.

The kind of gift I’m suggesting you find and share with family and friend entrepreneurs is one of the 3% of online programs that have high transformation rates.

But how do you know what’s the real learning experience amid all the fake programs?

Here are things to look for to make sure you’ve found the real deal.

1 – A coach with the reputation of being focused on your transformation, and not your money…and plenty of transformed clients you can call to confirm.

Skip the online testimonials – talk to people who have gone through the program and got personal help to achieve the desired results, permanently. Find a coach who can honestly back up a transformation rate of 75% or better.

For example, in my Video Maestro programs to build a brand, sales conversion, and learning transformation, I don’t leave anyone behind. My passion is to create an environment over time that’s stress-free and conducive to building their self-confidence and mastering the needed skills one by one to reach that transformation level. I want all of my peeps to get the results they paid for and expected. Period.

2 – Small group with some 1:1 mentoring sessions, over time.

Information programs lost their ability to change people’s outcomes when they dropped the 1:1 personal mentoring in favor of the easier and more lucrative 1:many approach.

Remember college – we don’t master a topic by listening to lectures and going home to read a book and watch videos.  That’s having to teach yourself, and human psyches don’t work that way. The thinking and habits that got you where you are can’t teach you how to think and behave like people at a higher level. 

In my video business, I offer small group sessions that combine the 1:1 application of skills to each person’s unique situation, and also the value of learning from what I share with others.  There is no substitute for personal mentoring over time.

3 – Smart tools they teach you to master in the program, that make what you learned repeatable over time.

Every program gives you templates, checklists, etc., but few actually mentor you step by step through them so you master the process and are comfortable pulling out the tools and making them work for you 6 months or a year later.

For example, my programs are based on interactive workshops and practical tools people master with me – such as my Video Voodoos checklist of 30 of the most common distractions when on camera that chase away your ideal prospects before they have a chance to hear and love your message. 

4 – Personal 1:1 support “just in time” as needed to get unstuck and past periodic overwhelm.

Posting questions in a chat or emailing in your questions doesn’t work.  You need a personal mentor available when you need help, to walk you through processes until you really understand and “get it.”

Too many folks drop out of programs when they get stuck and don’t get personal help.  In my programs, for example, I’m accessible in workshops and by email any time my people get stuck and need their momentum again.

5 – There’s no quick solution to a major change of thinking, habits, and productive results.

Find you a coach and program built around the principle that change comes through a guided, mentored process over time – baby-step wins, in a building-block sequence, that lead to your strong sense of self-confidence.

For example, in my own business, I call myself the Video Maestro because over the years I’ve developed a scientifically proven process for cloning a thriving mindset and system.

I focus my coaching on using video to master three “Hot Spots” in every business that will make you or break you:

  • Attractive and professional signature brand…
  • Magnetic sales “hook” to draw in only your ideal prospects…and
  • A legacy learning experience that actually delivers the results your clients paid for and trusted you to deliver.

The coach who is both an expert in the desired process and also passionately committed to delivering the promised transformation will be able to help master those critical hotspots. 

So when you’re thinking about a lasting gift for the entrepreneur friend or family member, you can’t do better than connect them with the right coach and program that I’ve described above.

Remember, there’s not a business or entrepreneur online who can’t benefit greatly from such a gift that keeps on giving year after year, with long-term personal and financial benefits.

So find that special coach and program – and go rock somebody’s world!

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.