Speaking: It’s not about You

speaker-at-podium-e1433906390544A would-be speaker told me he desperately needs to tell his story.  It’s a sad story, though it ends on an upbeat note. It’s also a compelling story; it could generate a lot of interest.  But that’s not the point, is it?

A client said she has trouble sticking to the time she’s given to speak because, “I have so much information I need to share.”

You might be familiar with the feeling. You have an opportunity to talk and you don’t want to waste a minute. You cram your speaking time with content; you think if they just understand how important it is, they’ll buy. Or buy in to your idea.

Time to take a step back.

The mistake these folks are making is making it all about them. Their needs. Their information. Their agenda.

Successful speakers spin that around. Instead of focusing on their own needs, they emphasize what their listeners need. They strive to include information to educate or entertain their audience (ideally, both).

Look, people with tragic pasts sometimes do feel driven to talk about it; it’s understandable. And the place for that is a therapist’s office or support group. The healing has to happen before they take their tale to a wider audience.

And those who are enthusiastic about a company, a cause or a candidate often get the notion that if they just give us enough reasons for their passion, we’ll share it. We’ll be compelled to buy their product, donate to their organization, vote for their candidate.

The reality is: when we’re bombarded with information, we shut down and shut out that earnest speaker who’s trying so hard to enlist our support. When we sense a speaker crossing boundaries or venting their emotions for their own sake, it makes us uncomfortable. We pull back instead of leaning in.

So. Of course you have an objective when you speak, whether it’s a keynote or a brief introduction at a networking meeting.  You DO want us to buy or donate or support – you want us to take some action or you wouldn’t be speaking.

How do you reconcile your appropriate desire to influence your audience with what I just said about focusing on their needs rather than yours?

Try this. Run everything you’re going to say about you through the filter of them.

Stop and ask yourself:

  • Who are the people I’m talking to? What fascinates them? What drives them? What ticks them off?
  • What can I say about my service that will mean something to my audience? Here’s a hint. It’ll be about the results people get from your work, not about the process you follow.
  • How much information can they take in, given the time we have? (The answer is almost always less than you think.) And what else is competing for their attention?
  • How can I translate my jargon to their language? Example: they don’t live in a residential property. They live in a house, a home or a condo.  So a Realtor should use that language instead of “residential and commercial property.”  Same thing is true for you, whatever field you’re in.
  • Where can I replace the word “I” with the word “you”?  This can be as simple as changing phrases like “I want to tell you” to “You’re about to discover.”  Notice that the focus shifts from what you want (they don’t care!) to what they’re going to get.
  • What do I want them to think or feel or do as a result of what they hear from me?

Here’s your challenge. Sometime in the next week, you’re going to be speaking about your work or your passion (if you’re lucky, they’re the same thing).

Try running your material through the Filter of Them and see how it changes things.

catherine johns


Catherine Johns coaches business owners and professionals to be more pithy, potent and persuasive when they speak. So they can get more clients, have more impact and make more money. www.catherinejohns.com

Client Spotlight: Michael Ortiz

Client Spotlight Ortiz

This month marks many milestones for businesses.  It’s the end of another year, the time to start making resolutions and goals for 2016 and a time of reflection.

This week, I am choosing to reflect upon one of my clients whom I’m so very proud of, Michael Ortiz owner of Massage Customs.

Michael and I began working together in January and from the very beginning there was no doubt in my mind he was destined to do great things.  He’s not only the owner of Massage Customs who oversees 5 employees, he’s also a very talented massage therapist.

Over the past 12 months, he has worked tirelessly to reach and then surpass his business goals.  I’m so impressed by all of his successes and I’m excited to share his story with all of you.

Massage Customs is nearly 3 years old, why did you decide this year to hire a business coach?

“I always knew I wanted to work for myself and that when I did I would need a business coach.  I met a few and just never clicked with them.  Then I met Dana and knew she was the coach for me.”

How has working with Dana changed the way you run your business?

“She has kept me on track with my goals and holds me accountable.  We strategize on ways to increase my revenues and she puts me in contact with the right people.  I’m not the most organized or detail-oriented person, but she is.  She also highlights my areas of weakness and opportunity so I know exactly where to focus efforts.”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned or taken away over this past year?

“The importance of systems, processes and operations in general.  She helped change the way we do things, making us more efficient.  Before I was just winging it, and now I’m more focused.  If I hadn’t found Dana I would probably be half as productive as I am now.  There’s something about that weekly phone call with Dana that puts a fire under your butt to get things done.”

“Self-improvement is big too.  Dana talks a lot about that and I think reading a lot has helped me get where I am today.  I want to make myself a better leader so I can take my business to the next level.  Having a family really takes that mindset to the next level, it’s not just my success, it’s about the survival of my family.”

Did you achieve your goals for this year?  What is in store for Massage Customs in 2016?

“We are so close right now.  I made some pretty big goals, but that’s what I do.  Whenever I reach a goal I always think I should’ve made it bigger and better.  There is always room for improvement.  Next year I’ve got some huge goals.  To get there, I’m going to have to push myself and work harder than ever.  I know it’s possible though because we’re more capable than ever.”

What makes Massage Customs different?

“I believe pain is a symptom of not taking care of yourself.  People tend to put everyone else first and themselves last.  I want to show people that when they put themselves first (even if just for an hour) they can improve every other aspect of their life.  I and the 4 other massage therapists listen to our clients very well.  If they want their neck worked on, then that’s what we do.  Every client has different needs.”

The Holidays are upon us so what sort of specials do you have going on?

“Our 12 Deals of Christmas starts December 12th.  Each day we’ll have a new deal posted on our Facebook page.  We have some advanced services too that everyone can check out like Thai Massage,  Active Release Technique and we even have therapists licensed in Cranial Sacral Therapy.”

Be sure to check out Massage Customs and take some time to put yourself first.  Massage, after all, is considered self-improvement!

To Your Continued and Ever-Growing Success,


P.S.  For a taste of what I can help your business accomplish in 2016 join me on a complimentary Strategy Call.  Who knows, maybe it will be your story I’m highlighting this time next year!

3 Ways to Keep Your Business Spark Alive

Business Spark

Running a business is rewarding and, it can also be exhausting.

Whether you’re trying to keep up with the latest technology to motivating team members, it’s a mammoth task, and somebody’s gotta do it!

So how do you keep that entrepreneurial spirit alive?

Think of your business relationship as a life-long commitment through the high’s, low’s, droughts, floods, feast and famine.

Here are three tips on ways to keep that business spark of yours alive and thriving…

1. Be an Inspiration

Make a difference, get involved with your community.  It makes you a valuable member and someone people look up to.  Remember, you’re a human being first and a business person second.  Becoming a person that others look to for inspiration helps keep you on the track to living an authentic life as well.

Become a “brand” that people simply can not forget.  The easiest way to do that is through positivity and inspiration.  Knowing that your business is making a difference (to a charity, person, business or local community) will keep you motivated to do what you do best, because doing good makes you feel good.

Also, look to mentors or other business owners you admire to see what they’re doing.  Ask yourself, “why do they inspire me?”  The answer can instill new ideas for your own business.

2. Create a Plan of Action

Date night is important to keeping your relationship healthy in marriage right?  Same goes for regularly scheduled “dates” with your business.  Create a plan of action, one that will fuel your business to keep growing.

Growth in itself will keep your spirit and spark alive because, think about it… who DOESN’T want to see steady growth and profits?!

A plan of action should include your SMART goals (both long and short term) and specific times when you assess those goals.  By keeping track of your successes and actions, you’ll be better equipped to make appropriate business decisions.

3. Respect Your Business

Honor and respect your business just as you would your partner.  Expect there to be ups and downs over the course of your relationship.  Your ability to weather those storms will only make your business stronger in the end.

How do you keep on going when feeling overwhelmed with your business?

Or are you still struggling with dealing with these feelings?  I can most certainly help get you out of that rut and into a steady flow of increased success.  Schedule a complimentary Strategy Call with me today!

To Your Continued and Ever Growing Success, Dana

PS – We are in the midst of our own November: Thanksgiving Appreciation offer, including bonuses worth over $1,500.  If you are interested in growing your success in and out of the office, contact us TODAY for a Complimentary Strategy call to learn how you can take advantage of this.  Limited Space is available and it will go quickly – Take Action TODAY!

What Baseball Has In Common With Your Business

baseball and businessMajor League Baseball’s regular season is winding down and that means the hunt for October is on.  Teams on the heels of playoffs and competition is at it’s height.  So what does all this sports talk have to do with your business?  A whole lot, believe it or not!

Baseball and small business have many things in common.  Here’s my list of the top 5 ways running a business is just like baseball.

1.  It’s a Team Sport

A great roster stacked with talent is key for a victorious baseball season, just as a well trained, and educated team of employees is necessary for successful business.

And as the business owner, you get to choose your “players” like a coach chooses his.  In some cases contracts are negotiated for employment and then there’s the hierarchy.  Baseball teams and businesses both have rookies and the seasoned veterans who are familiar with all aspects of the game/biz.

In order for everything to come together and flow properly everyone must work as a team!  In baseball the defense and offense need to bring their A-game and communicate if they want to win, just like in business.

2.  You’re More Than a Boss or Coach

Your title may be CEO, Owner or Manager AND you are so much more than that.  First and foremost you’re leader, teacher, motivator, someone your “teammates” look up to.

A coach and leader serve many different roles, all of which help to shape and drive their team/business toward the ultimate goal of winning.

3.  The Customer is Always Right

MLB teams all play 162 games each season. That’s a lot of seats to fill in the stands.  They do so by keeping their fans happy.

It’s the same concept for customers in a business.  You give them a reason to shop with you or use your services.  Give them an experience like no other company can.  A baseball game isn’t just about the 9 innings, it’s about the ball park experience… the food, the fellow fans, the atmosphere.

So don’t think of your business as simply the end result of a customer’s purchase.  Put thought into how you attract your “fans”?  How is your product or service delivered?  Do you follow up?

You create loyal, raving fans with a great customer experience. Period.

4.  Stats Matter Big Time

Baseball is all about statistics.  From batting averages to win/losses for pitches, fans take note of all those numbers and happenings.

Similarly, your customers keep track of your performance.  Only, in the form of testimonials and reviews.  Your website testimonials, social media shout outs, Yelp, Google, etc. all play a role in your business’s identity and customer perception.  If someone reads a great review about your work done somewhere, they are more apt to pick up the phone and call you.

You get a new sale or job just as a baseball player can pick up a new team through a trade because of his consistent stats.

5.  It’s a New Game Every Day

One day a pitcher can give up 10 runs, the next game he throws a no-hitter.  There’s no telling what any given game will mean for a team as a whole.  A win could secure a wild card spot in the playoffs, while a loss, well you know what that means.

You go to work everyday not knowing what challenges or successes you will encounter.  In order to stay on top of your game, do what the best baseball players do, study and analyze your past performances, continually looking for ways to improve.

There you have it, from a woman who’s not so sports minded and still sees the correlation between America’s favorite past time and business.

Did these comparisons stir up anything in your mind?  What similarities do you see in your business?  What could you work on?  Let me know in the comments below.

And don’t forget to contact me for a complimentary Strategy Call.  I can help you and your team to hit goals in no time -even the 9th inning!

To Your Continued and Ever Growing Success,


5 Simple Steps to Creating A Great Mission Statement

Mission Statement

For many the Mission Statement is a thorn in their side… a necessary evil that just comes with the territory when launching a business.

We all understand the importance of a first impression and in its simplest form that’s exactly what a mission statement is. The initial opportunity for you to put your best foot forward, as it helps to define goals, ethics and overall company culture. The key is to find that balance between realism and optimism.

The last thing you want is a generic mission statement full of fluffy words that would work for any business under the sun.  So to help, I’ve broken down the daunting process into a simple 5-step plan. Simply grab a pen and paper and get to it.

1. Write down three words that describe your company.

Do you want people to associate you with words like creative, trailblazing and vibrant?  Maybe traditional, dependable and trust-worthy? If you have a slogan that may be a good place to find appropriate words.

2. Who is your dream client and ideal customer?
Define your target audience.

Just jot down the first few things that come to mind, we’ll worry about adding finesse to everything later.

3.  What sets you apart from your competitors? What makes your business special and different?

Keep this to one or two sentences. If you’re having trouble with this question, then take a fresh look at your business plan.

4. What are your aspirations, and goals for the business?

Aim high and, make it achievable. A mission statement is supposed to point you in the right direction – straight to the top of the success ladder.

5. How does the existence of your company make the lives of others better?

Sounds scarier than it actually is. You don’t have to be putting and end to world hunger to make a difference. (Providing pain relief and stress reducing massages makes the world a better, happier place!)

Now that you’ve got all these ideas down on paper, craft it all together in a couple sentences NOT paragraphs. It should take no longer than 30 seconds to read. Get your employees’ opinions on whether or not it is representative of the company’s identity and culture.

Voila, you’ve got yourself a great mission statement. Remember as you grow and prosper you will need to update the mission statement, and that’s a good thing!

Time to share that creative genius of yours and help inspire others by leaving your mission statement in the comments below!

To Your Continued and Ever-Growing Success,


P.S.  If you’re in need of more direction, including a strategic plan for your business, contact me today to schedule your complimentary Strategy Call.

3 Reasons Why YOU Should Always Come First

You always come first before business

As a small business owner you probably live and breathe your business.  That passion is commendable and admirable… to a point.

You see, taking care of yourself should come first.  As selfish as that may sound, looking out for YOU should be priority number one!

“When you take care of yourself first, you show up as a healthy grounded person in life.” ~ Bob Rosen

Here’s three reasons why:

1. Healthier You = Healthier Business

A healthy diet, exercise routine and good sleeping habits make you a better business owner.  Scheduling out “me time” doesn’t make you a self-involved person, in fact it makes you a smart one.

Experts say business owners who take care of themselves are not only a healthier person, they also are more productive.

It makes logical sense.  If you’re feeling 100%, then you’ll give 100% of your efforts right?

Meditation, journaling and/or prayer should be included in your healthy habits as well since they are wonderful stress reducers, among other things.

In order to sustain the path of success in your business, your physical, personal and emotional health are paramount.

2.  You’ll Be a Better Leader

We’ve all crossed paths with a few highly motivated and extremely determined born-leaders.  And if you take a good long look at them, you’ll notice they tend to take very good care of themselves.

Leaders inherently have a drive to succeed, a higher purpose that includes taking care of others.  The best leaders understand that in order to do both of those things, they need to be a little selfish.

Studies have shown that acting in your own-self interest may give you an advantage in leadership roles because those who have a well developed sense of self tend to be more confident.

Melissa Deuter, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, says the key is to be “self-focused NOT self-involved.”

Besides, if you can’t even take care of yourself, how on Earth are you supposed to be able to care for others.

3.  Happiness is Contagious

A self-focused person tends to be a genuinely positive person and that positive outlook spreads easily. Carve out some time to do activities you enjoy, it will recharge your mental battery and make you happy.  Not only will your teammates, clients family and friends feel that energy and happiness, they will be inspired by it.

Better relationships create a happier, healthier environment all around, personally AND professionally.

It’s important to remind yourself that you are the LEADER of you, take this role seriously and your professional and personal life will thank you!

To Your Continued and Ever-Growing Success,


For more in depth help on your journey to success, be sure to contact me for a complimentary Strategy Call today.

Time for a Lesson In Time Management: 5 Useful Tips

5 tips for better time management

If you’ve ever wished for more hours in a day… you are most definitely NOT alone.  The question is are you in spending your time wisely?

A recent study conducted by Microsoft found that its employees only used about 60% of their available work time.  Essentially meaning that out of a typical 5-day work week they were productive only THREE of those days!  This could easily translate to your own business.

So how should you make the most out of the time you DO have?

Here’s 5 tips to better time management that will in fact improve your productivity.

1. Resist the Urge to Multi-task 

Small business owners tend to be masters at spreading themselves too thin, taking on three to six roles on average.  I’m here to tell you to rethink that practice.  Multi-tasking can actually create MORE work for you!

Researchers estimate that by focusing on one thing at a time you will double your productivity and work performance.

Think about a computer, if you have 10, 15 even 20 different tabs open, you can often start to feel the computer’s speed start lagging – your brain is no different.

Try this:  Set a timer while working on a project.  When time’s up, move on to the next item on your agenda!  This will help to keep you focused on the task at hand and make the most of your time.

2. Get Organized

I really don’t think there’s such a thing as organized chaos.  If you can’t find anything in your work space than it’s not a functioning work space, period.

By being unorganized you could be wasting unnecessary time looking for things again and again!

Try this:  Eliminate everything that isn’t necessary.  Then create a system that makes sense for you!  If color-coded folders will catch your eye, use those to keep track of your clients or projects.  Set aside an extra 10-15 minutes at the end of the day to clean up your desk and organize files.  By doing a little bit each day, it becomes a much more manageable process.

3. Don’t Check Your Email

A few weeks ago we chatted about how unplugging yourself on occasion can do wonders for your business and own personal sanity.  The same goes for your time management.

Did you know that the average person checks their email every 5 to 10 minutes?  Talk about a waste of time!

Instead make your email work FOR YOU!  Set aside a couple times during the day to read and respond to emails.  Designated email times will ensure that messages won’t interrupt other tasks you’re working on.

Try this:  Set up an auto-responder that tells people you will respond to their message within a set period of time, a few hours for example or even a full day.  This will depend upon the industry you’re in, and by giving people an expectation on when they will hear from you will put their minds at ease and allow you more time to accomplish other important tasks.

4.  Get Things In Writing

Putting your thoughts on paper (or computer screen) will make goals and plans more tangible.  By writing down your plans for the day you have effectively put a schedule together.

This helps to prevent you from drifting aimlessly from one project to another throughout the day.

Try this:  Each night write down your top three goals and/or intentions you’d like to accomplish the next day.  Finish those tasks before moving on to any other projects and you’ll find yourself being more productive!  

If you haven’t requested your DAILY GPS PLANNER from me, be sure to enter your name and email address to the right and you’ll have it in minutes!

5.  Rely On Others

Delegate certain jobs to team members and employees.  This takes some responsibility off of your shoulders and helps to get all of your goals accomplished for the day.

Try this:  When delegating tasks, make sure that person is adequately trained for the specific job.  Hiring someone to be a “jack of all traits, master of none” will not serve you as a business  owner.   I am a firm believer in focusing on your strengths and hiring others for their strengths.  This is a great way to immediately increase productivity and efficiency and avoid wasting time.

According to my own experience, there’s just no silver bullet that can make you organized and efficient in a blink of an eye.  I’m always working on my time management skills because I know just how important it is. I like to consider myself a continual work-in-progress.  And I believe the best thing we can ask of ourselves each day is simply to bring the best version of ourselves.  So today I bring a better version of myself then yesterday and tomorrow, I’ll bring a better version then today.

How about you – what have you found to be helpful with managing your time best?  Be sure to share your insight with everyone in the comments below.

To Your Continued and Ever-Growing Success,


PS – If you are ready to add more strategic action, time management, FUN, accountability and SUCCESS to your day, contact me for your COMPLIMENTARY Strategy Call today.