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CMI Blog

the latest from cmi speaker managment

5 Resources for Self-Isolation during COVID-19

By Karen Harris | Mar 27, 2020 | Comments Off

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1. Staying healthy

Free online yoga classes

3. Staying connected to others

Virtual Book Clubs on Goodreads

5. For your mental health

9 Practices To Help Maintain Mental Health During The Coronavirus Lockdown


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Storytelling in times of struggle

By Ty Bennett | Mar 26, 2020 | Comments Off

Right now, the world has been turned upside down. Your industry has most likely been impacted as mine has. Many are confused, some are paralyzed because of fear and others are pivoting to the new normal.

In this time of change, one of the most important skill sets for leaders and influencers to develop and employ, is the skill of storytelling.

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Stories help us make sense of situations. They paint a picture and cast a vision. Neurologist Paul Zak at Loma Linda University found that stories increase levels of Cortisol and Oxytocin. Cortisol controls focus and attention. Oxytocin, often called the trust hormone, increases empathy and emotion. So stories cause the listener to focus and emotionally connect to the message.

Gary Vaynerchuck said, “Storytelling is by far the most underrated skill in business.” And while I believe that is true in normal conditions, it becomes an absolute truth in times of challenge and change.

I have taught leaders for years that an influential story follows a model of 'struggle to solution'. You engage people with the struggle and then you help them with the solution. This model works because when the struggle is relatable then the solution becomes credible.

But here is what leaders need to understand about this model. 

When we are sharing stories that cast a vision about the future - the solution is not positional - it is directional. Meaning we don’t have to have arrived there to present with confidence. We need to present clearly articulated struggles so that our people understand that we get it and relate. Then with confidence, we need to cast a vision of the direction we need to go to arrive at the desired solution.

The right 'struggle to solution' story may be exactly what is needed at this time of turmoil. There is a power in storytelling when it is developed as a skill and employed as a tool to engage and inspire your people. 

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The advantage of your problems

By Mike Rayburn | Mar 13, 2020 | Comments Off
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Being Brief Is Digital Fresh Air

By Erin King | Mar 11, 2020 | Comments Off
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Read an excerpt from Erin's book Digital Persuasion: Sell Smarter in the Modern Marketplace

Think about when you last got a message that cut straight to the point, didn’t waste your time, and gave you what you needed in a matter of seconds. It’s so refreshing, isn’t it? Before they’ve even read one word, just seeing the brevity of your message visually inspired an instant appreciation, an instant liking—you’ve been so brief that they’ll want to repeat the interaction in the future. It showed that you are not someone who is into time-wasting.

Say you’re sitting down for a meeting at work. What’s the absolute best thing you could possibly hear from the meeting organizer? “All right, guys, let’s keep this short.”

Yes! It’s a wonderful feeling.

The most valuable things in life are time and money. If you can save someone time, or save someone money, that kicks in the reciprocity principle; you’ve given them a gift. They’ll respond by looking you up, replying to your message, referring you to someone else—the opportunities are endless, all because you kept it shockingly short.

Try being shockingly short with your next message.

  1. First, go through the last ten unique sales messages in your Sent folder. Get a word count on each and find the average word count across your typical outbound message.
  2. Then, cut that number in half. Yup, I said it—in half! Aim for two or three sentences max. Remember, the goal is to communicate for a click, and to inspire some kind of action, not to try to sell them within that one message. You want to sell them on giving you a chance, not sell them on your entire product, service, company, or idea.
  3. Rewrite your message and restrict yourself to the above number. Make sure to send it out and track your response rate so you can compare it to the wordier messages you were sending before. Watch your response rates improve dramatically!

Learn more about Erin

Vinh Giang's The Leaders Instrument Keynote

By Vinh Giang | Mar 04, 2020 | Comments Off

In this world where electronic communication is seemingly taking over, effective communication skills have become more important than ever. Have you ever asked yourself, “How much is the way I am communicating, or not communicating, costing me?” That’s the question Vinh Giang helps to answer for influential leadership professionals around the globe.

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Find Your Communication Potential

By Vinh Giang | Mar 04, 2020 | Comments Off

Interview with Ty Bennett and Vinh Giang


Ty: Why the focus on communication and what led you down this road?

Vinh: I think a lot of the times when we do the things we do, it's probably because of the impact it's had on our life. For me for a long time in my life. One of the things I do in my workshop is I show my students a video of me from about seven years ago. I freak out every time I look at it again. I can't believe that's how I used to communicate. What is really cool is I used to not want to show the students because out of, you know, pride but by showing the students, they kind of go “wow, you used to be really crap”. 

It's cool because I didn't know that inspires them. For me, it changed my life in that I wasn't able to communicate to my parents effectively. I wasn't able to communicate to those I was working with, I wasn't able to express my value to love interest. Not being able to communicate well held me back so much as a magician as well. I lacked the ability to communicate well. I didn't realize how much I was missing out on. Only in hindsight, is that so painfully clear. Every time I play that video, there's a moment in the workshop I'm kind of inspiring myself to teach even more because of how much I realized. Now having the luxury of having students and the videos that they send me, you know, a year down the track or two years down the track, I go back and I dig up the old videos. It just inspires me so much to do what I do know, because seeing that transition is unreal.

Ty: Yeah, I think it affects all of us, right? Communication is such a universal skill to develop. I often find that people think it should be natural, right? You have a young son and I've got kids, and it’s not a natural skill. You have to develop that. You have to have to work on that. One of the great points that I've heard you make before that I think is maybe a good way to kind of kick this off is, is, regardless of how good you are, how proficient you are at what you do, let's say that you're a great leader, and you have the knowledge, the skills, the competency, that the way that you're perceived will be in direct proportion to the ability you have to communicate that value. Do you want to speak to that a little bit?

Vinh: The way I summarize that is: you may be a 10 out of 10 at what you do. But if your ability to communicate is a 2 out of 10, people don't perceive you to be a 10 out of 10. People perceive you to be a 2 out of 10 and you're only as good as you can communicate. Just like you said, I think in a lot of organizations, as we travel and speak Ty, we both know as speakers that we see so much potential out there in the audience. That potential is not being realized, because the audience hasn't been taught how to improve their ability to communicate. So as we look out into the audience, there's plenty of people who are sitting at a 9 out of 10, 8 out of 10, 10 out of 10. But because their ability to communicate is at 2 or 3 out of 10, the potential is not being realized. As they improve their ability to communicate, they renew their potential. 

How many people are sitting there in boardroom meetings, not voicing their thoughts, their opinions and their ideas? How many people in team meetings are not sharing their thoughts on how things could be better? Not because they don't know how things could be better, but rather because they're either either afraid to voice their thoughts and feelings or they don't know how. Maybe the last time they tried to voice an idea they couldn't do it properly. I didn't know how to do it well and then got shut down because of it. So to me when people talk about, oh, there's so much potential here, I think the pragmatic version is literally what we just spoke about. That as we improve their ability to communicate, we improve their ability to collaborate, share ideas, and to help improve the business.

Listen to the full episode here!