Friday 29 March 2013

What am I selling: me or my book?

In the 90s, training videos, like John Cleese's Meetings Bloody Meetings, were popular. They provided a novel alternative to corporate classroom learning.

This week, I thought of a video that Jim Hensen, of Muppets fame, had created called Sell Sell Sell. It was more expensive than other videos and was short, but it was entertaining and the message was clear: you must sell. 

I am now the head of sales for Change with Confidence.  This is a welcomed move because I have held sales roles before and led many sales training courses. I communicate the benefits of my product, supported by its features, to people who value my book and services. 

It's important to know what you are selling. Are my customers buying my book or me? I think it's both; they are buying my credibility as a change leader and my book that captures my experience and knowledge. Therefore, I need to build awareness of both. I will not be successful if either of them are invisible.

One way I'm building awareness is with "how to" videos. Lucas, Marketing Manager and great supporter at Wiley, provided me with an excellent opportunity to create a promotional video. I decided to answer the following questions:

  • How can leaders help team leaders deal with change?
  • How you can help leaders lead change?
  • What is the first thing leaders need to do when leading a big change?
  • How can people make the best of change?
  • What are the universal truths of change?
  • Why is confidence so important when leading change?

Sebastian Cluer
The video shoot took about ninety minutes to complete. The director, Sebastian Cluer, was relaxed and supportive, which made my many retakes seem part of the process versus messing up. I would have been nervous if I had known that he is an award winning film and television director. Don't you find that the most talented professionals are humble? I don't think I will make it onto his highlight reel, but I know he will create a great piece of work.

The video will be posted on the Wiley website, the Change with Confidence website, Youtube, LinkedIn and my National Speakers Bureau profile page. The more places I can profile me and my book, the more successful I will be.


Friday 22 March 2013

Taking Time to Celebrate

What a party! The launch event was a tremendous success. It is difficult to describe how I felt seeing family, friends, former colleagues and new acquaintances together to celebrate the launch of Change with Confidence. It was overwhelming in a great way.

It looked like a 70's poster where celebrities and music icons from all eras are combined into one image. This was my celebrity poster and I was proud and honoured to have so many wonderful people be in my life.

I had first discussed my launch event with the Wiley team in August. When I asked for advice, in unison they said, "Keep it short, thank people for coming, get off the stage." It seemed like good advice, just like when speaking at a wedding. Got it.

I had thought a lot about what I would say in my speech. My goal was to thank everyone for their support. I also wanted to share what I had learned about myself and what I had realized about change management. On a lighter note, I also wanted to share some fun facts about the last two years. 

I don't know what happened, but my son Sam told me that I had talked for ten and a half minutes. It only seemed like four. What were the Wiley folks thinking?
Thanks to Mel Barnett for the photos

Before I knew it, two and a half hours had flown by. The caterers were cleaning up and Ben McNally, the owner of this amazing bookstore, was packing up with his daughter. It was a great night. 

Barb, Sam, Charlie and I went out for dinner to end of the night in a perfect way. The Earl's waitress even brought us a complimentary "book launch" family dessert, which we devoured.

It is important to take time to celebrate. This is not a strength of mine, but I am working on it. It allows you to thank those who have contributed to your accomplishments and strengthens you for your next challenge. Mine is marketing my book. With the support of my family and friends, I am ready to roar.

Thanks to everyone who attended my launch event!


Friday 15 March 2013

When the Big Day Finally Arrives

Like most big events in our lives, we think more about planning them than what we will do when they arrive. They can seem like surreal experiences where the elements are known but how they play out are not. This is how I felt when I received my first hard copy of Change with Confidence

A thoughtful Editorial Assistant at Wiley had sent me an email saying that the first copy had shown up on his desk and that he was couriering it to me. I was on assignment in New Jersey, which meant it would arrive home twenty-four hours before I did. 

The package was waiting for me on our front table as I opened the door. I maneuvered around it as a golfer does when sizing up a putt: I needed to study it before moving into action. It was late, dark and I was exhausted, so I decided to wait until the morning for the big moment. I didn't want to compromise something that I had waited for so long to arrive. 

I am glad I did. The sun was shining and the promise of a new day matched my excitement. Without hesitation, I opened the package. It was an incredible feeling to hold my book in my hands. Barb was there too, which made it more special. 

Like a new parent who points out that their baby has ten fingers and ten toes, I said things like, "Look it's the cover...and look, it's the table of contents..., and the back cover, too."  After scanning the pages I flipped them like a deck of cards and even smelled themthey smelled like paperit was a sensory experience

The cover blew me away the most. It is striking in person, especially the tones of blue. E-books are convenient and portable, but they can't beat the physical beauty of a hardcover book.

Last Sunday, my dad said he wanted to buy the first copy of Change with Confidence. I can't wait to give it to him. Phil

Friday 8 March 2013

Everyone's Invited to the Party!

Launch preparations are in full swing: early-print books have been sent to reviewers, articles are being submitted to business magazines and blogs, and speaking engagements are being booked. 

The most symbolic event, however, will be the launch event. Not all authors have one, but it was important for me to do so. I am passionate about experiencing every element of my journey and this one, even though I wasn't sure how they worked, is a big one.

So, what is a launch event? It is a celebration of a book being published by an author and publisher. In other words, it is a big party held for an author to thank people for their support. Books are there to buy and have signed but that's not the purpose. The purpose is to say thank you with refreshments and good conversations.

Ben McNally Books, Toronto 
I am fortunate to have a great senior publicist from Wiley to make it a special moment in time. She selected a wonderful bookstore, Ben McNally Books, in downtown Toronto to hold the event. I laughed when I asked her and other members of the Wiley team for advice on what I should be doing at the party. All of them said, "Whatever you do, don't give a long speech. Make it five minutes at most." Ah, so this is like an author-book wedding. 

As I prepared the invitee list I thought "Who would be interested in attending?" I abruptly stopped this sorting process. My launch event is a celebration where everyone should be invited, even if we have never met. It's a great networking opportunity, a chance to reconnect with past friends and colleagues, and a fun time. Everyone is invited.

If I have missed anyone, please send me an email to let me know ( It would be great to see you so I can personally say thank you. It will be fun too.


Friday 1 March 2013

How to Write an Article in Four Hours

A key element of my marketing plan is to place articles into paper and on-line business publications. The goal is to inspire readers to view my bi-line credit and either visit my website or a bookseller to buy Change with Confidence. There are many benefits to this approach:

- placement where my target market goes for information
- builds change leader and writing credentials
- easily customizable through topic selection
- provides flexibility to comment on current events
- highly scanable content
- leverages my publicist team's network

I don't have much experience writing articles. Just a few for corporate newsletters a few years ago. I was starting from scratch. 

My time line was short so I went for a "learn by doing" approach:

1. Select a good topic
2. Check with publicist team to make sure it was good
3. Research my topic
4. Define my position - what's my central point?
5. Write first draft
6. Self-edit
7. Write second draft
8. Ask Barb to edit
9. Send to publicist team for review and final edit

I have written three articles in the last week: change advice for the publishing industry, views on the American Airlines-US Airways merger and the importance of confidence in leading change.

It takes me four hours to complete an article; about two hours on research and positioning and two on writing and editing. I use the EBSCO research database to source articles on my chosen topics, which speeds up the process. For the airline merger article, I scanned seventy-seven articles and read ten of them. The process reminded me of the research I did for my case studies. You know almost immediately when you have a hot topic.

Writing articles is enjoyable. The topics are interesting and it's liberating to articulate your views in short editorials. It will be gratifying to see the first one published. I am not the fastest writer, but that's not my goal. My goal is to spread the word about Change with Confidence, something that is more fun that I thought it would be.