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Small Message Big Impact

Speaker and trainer Terri Sjodin specializes in helping professionals sharpen their presentation and sales skills.

In her new book coming out this summer, SMALL MESSAGE BIG IMPACT, she highlights the power of the proverbial ‘elevator speech’.

Her definition of the ‘modern’ elevator speech is simple: a brief message…communicated in 30 seconds to 3 minutes… whose sole purpose is to intrigue the listener… and obtain additional time (to present).

Read Success Magazine’s article 1-on-1 Targeted Talking Points for more.

Remember: If you can articulate your message clearly, compellingly, concisely, convincingly, cleanly, consistently (any other ‘c’ word)… you can raise as much money as you need to fund your vision!!! (The whole point of Impact Drives Income!)


Memorable Life Experiences

Sometimes I re-read my own stuff… and it causes me to think even more about the subject.

Wednesday’s thoughts on WEALTH and MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES (from the article in Ode Magazine) triggered this simple journal page this a.m.

TJS/OG: My Experiences.

My life is about a wealth of experiencesnot possessions. In no order, some of my amazing life experiences:

  • Trip Around the World. (23 days. Solo. 32,000 miles. 9 countries.)
  • Notre Dame Boxing. (40 years as Coach. 6 weeks a year at Notre Dame for the last 25 years.)
  • Rafting the Grand Canyon. (2 weeks with Nick. Amazing experience.)
  • Hiked Pike’s Peak. (With daughter Kerry for her 30th birthday. Also with Colorado College Advancement Team.)
  • Harley in Pasadena.(1999 Women’s World Cup. With daughter Meghan. Rose Bowl. USA Wins.)
  • Harley in San Francisco. (With daughter Kerry. Golden Gate Bridge. Muir Woods.)
  • Harley to Chicago. (To meet son Taggart in the middle of his bicycle ride across America.)
  • Harley in Colorado. (Garden of Gods. Rockies. Multiple times.)
  • Ireland. (With granddaughter Savannah. 3 work days. 2 days in the country. Just the 2 of us.)
  • Family Trips. (Ski Colorado & Utah, Hilton Head, Lost Valley, Chicago, Arizona, etc. No ‘money’ when kids growing up but amazing experiences.)
  • EAGLE CREEK. (A Memorable Experienceevery day. Fridays At Farm during the summer with daughter Shannon and kids and friends. Walk the property. Feed the animals. Build fences. Cut grass.)

*Note: Very personal list. Meant to remind those much younger than me it’s the EXPERIENCES you remember… not the possessions you bought.


‘Visit’ (Presentation) as Memorable Experience

SALES thought for the day:

How can you turn your VISIT/PRESENTATION into a MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE for your prospect/potential investor???

Yeast to get you started… 3 ‘Sales’ Stories:

  1. Salesman arrives with a parrot! Uses as part of presentation. Memorable.
  2. Peter Gruber rolls around on floor like a gorilla! (To pitch Gorillas in the Mist.)
  3. Steve Jobs uses simple, powerful tech demonstrations.

3 For Impact Ideas:

  1. Do VISIT at your SITE!
  3. Bring someone IMPACTED by your program.

“Wealth Is An Abundance of Things We Value”

You might have seen this from me before. As an ‘Old Guy’, this definition of wealth becomes even more meaningful the ‘longer the shadows’.

Almost everything I (and probably you) VALUE rarely ‘COSTS’ anything. If you don’t believe me, just take a moment and write down a list of all the things that you VALUE. Then put a dollar amount next to it. Pretty amazing.

I’ve been thinking about this from a new perspective that was recently reinforced in Ode Magazine in an article entitled A New Kind of Personal Wealth. At the highest level, the theme of this great article by Adam Smith can be summarized as follows:

EXPERIENCES are much more valuable than ‘THINGS’.

WHAT you spend your money on matters much more than how much of it you HAVE.

Smith cites a lot of great studies and books that support this whole idea of EXPERIENCES and RELATIONSHIPS being much, much more meaningful and important than ‘buying stuff’.

  • “Our collective plunge in net worth (recession) has led to a rise in a different kind of personal wealth, prompted by a more thoughtful approach to consumption that emphasizes experience over excess and community over commerce.”
  • “People are shifting from mindless to mindful consumption.” John Gerzema, Chief Insight Officer, Young & Rubicam
  • “Perhaps our biggest misunderstanding is the link between increased wealth and increased well being.” (Tons of research) has supported the fact that any income beyond roughly $75,000 does nothing to boost our day-to-day moods.

Here are some other thoughts on EXPERIENCES.

  • The experience itself is less important than just doing it. Evidence for the outsized impact that experience can have on happiness has been around for a long time. (Smith even cites Pine & Gilmore who in 1999 published one of my favorite books, THE EXPERIENCE ECONOMY.)
  • All kinds of recent work confirms the VALUE OF EXPERIENCE in promoting happiness.
  • Experiential purchases were defined as those made with the goal of living through events! (Material purchases were defined as those made with a goal of acquiring certain physical objects.)
  • In one study, more than half of the subjects said experiential purchases made them happier than material ones. Most agreed that experiences represented better value for their money(!)

And on and on. Article goes on to cite ‘gifts’ as another great way to feel happiness. “… the more you give, the happier you are.”




Do the Work (Part 2)

In case you didn’t read Do the Work (Part 1) or haven’t ordered Steven Pressfield’s book, here are 3 more great nuggets:

    1. 3 PARTS. “Any project or enterprise can be divided into 3 PARTS: BEGINNING. MIDDLE. END.” Pressfield says to decide what comprises the beginning, middle and end… then fill in the gaps! (And then the gaps between the gaps.)
    *Works perfectly with our For Impact Mantra: EVERYTHING’S A PROJECT! (EAP)
    2. “What is this damn thing about?”
    Love this! Pressfield says to stop every few days (or weeks) and just ask yourself: What is this about? (He uses the word THEME.)
    WHAT is the goal? WHAT does success look like?
    3. In our world, “Don’t reflect. Act.” This is followed almost immediately by “Reflect. Act. Reflect. Act. Reflect. Act.”
    (e.g. If ‘writing’, this would be: Write. Edit. Write. Edit. Write. Edit.
    If ‘entrepreneur’: Build. Fix. Build. Fix. Build. Fix.)

Again, order this book. Read it. Put it into ‘play’ (ACTION)!


Do the Work (Part 1)

I love Steven Pressfield’s writing, thinking, prodding… and his authenticity.

He’s written some fabulous historical fiction (Tides of War and Gates of Fire), plus The Legend of Bagger Vance. His WAR OF ART, however, is one of my absolute favorite books.

Now he follows up with an e-book, DO THE WORK (available for free at Amazon until May 20th… read the fine print). Written in his usual powerful ‘voice’, Pressfield challenges us to overcome.

Please trust me on this: ‘DTW’ is required reading for entrepreneurial start-ups, ‘artists’, sales professionals and FOR IMPACT leaders.

Takes 30 minutes to read… but have notebook handy for nuggets/gems like these:

  • To ‘ROCK & ROLL’, act on these 3 mantras:
  • 1. Stay Primitive. (Instinctual. Gut. Go for it.)
    2. Trust the Soup. (Forget ‘control’. Put faith in the source, your muse, yourself.)
    3. Swing for the Seats. (In For Impact Vocab: THINK BIG!)

  • ‘START AT END’. 3 words for Covey’s ‘Begin with the end in mind’. If you don’t know the ‘end‘… it’s hard to ‘start‘.
  • START BEFORE YOU ARE READY. Great line! Stop researching, planning, thinking, worrying… JUST START!
  • And, DON’T THINK… ACT!

Overcome Resistance. Don’t procrastinate. Do it now. Order this book… NOW.


Emotion – Logic

“People buy on EMOTION, and justify with LOGIC.” Zig Ziglar

I used Zig’s great line with a leadership gift prospect on Monday. Basically said (this couple) had been through the hospital ‘experience’ and were obviously engaged and committed EMOTIONALLY.

(Authentically) told them we weren’t there to ‘SELL’ them anything. They were already ‘SOLD’. Simply wanted to share the LOGIC part:

• Here’s our Priorities.

• Here’s our Plan.

• Here’s How You Can Help.

This example might help you with some of your very best CHAMPIONS.



In the restaurant business to ’86’ something means NO MORE. They’re out of it.

I heard somewhere that this comes from an old New York City Steakhouse where the most popular steak on the menu was numbered 86… and always ran out.

You need to ’86’ a lot of things right now if you’re going to move forward.

Here’s a quick example of what needs to be 86, no more, abandon, sacred sows turned into hamburger, baggage to be left behind, etc.


Not-for-Profit. Charity. Tax-Exempt. Asking for Money. Fundraising. Mission Statements. Special Events. Volunteer Solicitations. Bored Boards. Trading Dollars. Cash to Endowment. Sustainability. Silos. Appointments. Begging. Traditional Campaigns. Feasibility Studies. Strategic Plans. Building Campaigns. Case Statements. Donors. Donations. Cultivation. Annual Funds. Transactions.

Attached is a great Visual of No More.


100 Beautiful New Projects Every Year

“Foundations always want to support a new program. We don’t have anything new so we are now getting denied.”

This thought was shared with me by the founder of a Foster Care Agency that places about 100 children into loving homes each year. She had just been denied funding. The reason – the foundation officer said – was that the foundation wanted to fund new projects (read: programs started from scratch).

I’m not sure foundations always want to support something new. I believe it SOUNDS like they do. I believe some foundations officers chase ‘new programs’ because the perceived upside FOR IMPACT is greater. However, it helps to keep this perspective. Foundations (most) and funders in general (all) want to have the biggest possible impact. What they usually see are hundreds of grant applications from organizations with the same message: WE NEED MONEY.

This is not an apologist post on behalf of foundations. It’s encouragement to this foster care agency to be stronger. To stand up for its impact.

If I were this foster care agency, I would be enraged. I would be disgusted with the foundation but also disgusted with myself for failing to communicate the impact. I would call the foundation and communicate the disgust. “I’ve failed you, I’ve failed us and most of all I’ve failed 100 families. Somehow it was communicated that we don’t have any new projects this year. WE HAVE 100 BEAUTIFUL NEW PROJECTS THIS YEAR!”


Two notes: (more…)


“People don’t want more messages; they want more INTERACTIONS.”

Another great quote from John Maeda, current President of RISD and author of one of my favorite books, The Laws of Simplicity.

He goes on to say, “There’s no perfect memo where you can press SEND and get connected, or a Facebook group you can join to be committed.”

In this case, I think he is using the word ‘messages’ as blogs, tweets, posts, email, etc.

*If you’re a follower of For Impact, you know how big we are on the whole ‘MESSAGE’ thing. In our world, this means articulating a clear, concise, compelling, convincing, consistent MESSAGE around the vision and the purpose of the organization.

Note: The key word in Maeda’s comment is around ‘INTERACTIONS‘.


And, of course, JUST ASK. JUST ASK. JUST ASK.


Stand… and Walk Together

“When you know where you’re standing and know where you want to stand, it’s time to walk there together.”

Great line from John Maeda, author of THE LAWS OF SIMPLICITY and currently the much challenged President of Rhode Island School of Design.

This quote reinforces our whole concept of ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ (vs. face-to-face or eyeball-to-eyeball).

If you know where you’re standing… and know where you want to stand… gather your best Champions and Investors and walk there together.

*Just thought of a great quote from some Zen dude.

“When standing, stand. When sitting, sit. But whatever, don’t wobble.”