How my patronising altruism WILDLY benefitted me

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t publicly admit having had this thought process. It shows that I can sometimes be an egotistical dick. But I like the end of it so much that I want to tell you.

I come to you from the train I’m taking from St Catharines (no apostrophe) back to Toronto. Last night I ran a workshop – my third in a yCopy Marsha at BioLinc, Brock University copyear – for Brock University, on Networking That’s Effective and Actually Fun, for their entrepreneurial students in their BioLinc incubator.

One of the things I teach the students was how important it is to add value to people, long before you ask for anything (video full of ideas – and, of course, wigs – HERE).

An amazing way to add value is to thank people for teachings you’ve enjoyed, being specific where you can.

Another is offering to make an introduction to someone they might find interesting or useful.

“It’s very important,” I told them, “To NEVER do this unsolicited – always check with both parties, first.”

Last year, after the three hour workshop had finished and I was putting away my stuff, some students came up to chat. One of them introduced himself as Benjamin.

“I really enjoyed that,” he said, and I thought, Tick. “I particularly liked what you had to say about sending Nice To Meet You emails.”

Being specific with his thanks. Double tick.

Then he said, “There’s this podcast I listen to; it’s these two guys that do it, Jordan and AJ. I think you’d be really great on it. Would you mind if I suggested you to them as a guest and introduced you?”

Triple tick for checking. And, while promotion is always welcome, I wasn’t really sure what good going on some small-fry student podcast would do for my career. But I liked this guy’s style, he’d immediately acted on suggestions I’d made about great ways of networking, and I didn’t mind doing him this favour.

Why not, I thought. I’ll go on your student friends’ little podcast that they make in their basement. I’ll be a quality guest for them and make you look good.

(In case you didn’t figure it out, that’s the part where I look like an arrogant dick).

“Sure,” I told him, “Here’s my card, you can introduce me over email.”

When the email came, and the podcast people said I needed to a “Pre-interview”, I realised that, maybe, it might be a bigger deal than I first thought. 

The pre-interview went very well, and they booked me in for an actual interview. Before it, I decided to look up how many downloads this podcast gets per episode.

Bear in mind that, when I did a podcast (the one that spawned my new book), our most popular episode had 10,000 downloads. We’d be happy with 3-5,000 for a show.

I discovered that this podcast – the one I was about to go on – has an average number of downloads per episode of




MILLIONone million dollars

One meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelliiiiiion.


The podcast was The Art of Charm, and going on it was a TOTAL game-changer for me. I’ve since done more for them – and had more podcast invitations, list sign-ups, clients and opportunities than I can count.

Best of all, I got this email, from a gentleman:

Hi Marsha!

First of all, I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your interview with Jordan. I took a lot out of it, especially the “secret sentence”. I recently started a new job, selling commercial fitness equipment in the Southeast. I pride myself on following up with potential clients, but find it frustrating when I don’t hear back from them.

Since I started using the “secret sentence“, the percentage of responses increased exponentially. I began hearing from people I could not get a hold of before, including two clients in particular who are looking to collectively purchase around $300,000 worth of fitness equipment this year. I have locked in a sale with the first client and am a few weeks away from closing the sale with the other client. You don’t know how huge this is for me, considering I work off of 100% commission.

I have even told my wife about the “secret sentence” and she has seen increased success at work as well. Thank you so much for sharing your exp10525662_10105237074572394_3594045743757203847_neriences, knowledge, and advice. It has made a huge difference for this newly married couple.


Chaz Linn

So I was more than a little grateful to Benjamin.

After several emails where I thanked him PROFUSELY, and offered to help in in any way I can, Benjamin finally took me up on it earlier this year: he was in an entrepreneurial competition, where the prize was $5,000 for your business. He’d got through to the final round – and now, he had to stand up and do a presentation to the judges, pitted against two others.

This was a time when I knew I could help him with my storytelling coaching. People will only ever part with money – theirs, or assigned – if they’re having an emotional response to something. And I knew that a bunch of facts about his business wouldn’t cut it.

So I helped him tell the story of his potential customer, in a way that would put the judges in that person’s shoes. When you tell a story well, the person listening’s brain responds as if they are in that story1.

Through a couple of sessions, we crafted a way for him to start his talk with a story that was compelling – and showed why his business could really help those people. Then he would move onto the facts.

I got an email the next day:

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 1.16.55 PM

Reading it in my empty apartment, I pumped both fist above my head and shouted “YESSSSS!!!!!!”

I’m so happy I got to help him.

And I’m so happy that, even in my most patronising, self-aggrandising mode, I still agreed to do the podcast.

Thanks so much for reading! Any thoughts, stories about favours you’ve done or had done for you – or friendly admonishments for me being a bit of a D, I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

You rule,

xx (Yes Yes) Marsha



PS want to know my best-ever client secret – and get even more advice, tips, plus stories that I won’t put on the internet? Come and join the Yes Yes Family – it’s free! Just pop your details in below:

Photo Credits: Biolinc and MIKI Yoshihito (´・ω・) via Compfight cc



  • Catarina

    Reply Reply October 21, 2015

    Patronizing altruism, HA! How dare you. Someone invited me to speak about stress and burnout + lead a laughter yoga session at a small non-profit and I said yes more of as a favor to them than anything else… they used flattery in their request and it worked. As I drove out to what felt like the middle of nowhere I expected to arrive to find a handful of social workers and youth development workers, but it ended up that the non-profit was hosting a meeting of the National Association of Child Care Workers – a large meeting with individuals from MANY different organizations – and I was the keynote. We had a blast and several have reached out to me wanting to book me for wellness days at their orgs. So glad I did the lovely social worker a ‘favor’… I gave her lots of hugs and on the way home ate some humble pie.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply October 21, 2015

      i LOVE this!!! Aren’t we lucky we decided to these people massive ‘favours’!!

  • Eilidh

    Reply Reply October 22, 2015

    Popped over from the YYM Mailer just to say I shed a tear at the email the gentleman sent you about his son. Off to learn the “secret sentence”…..thanks Marsha!

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply October 23, 2015

      Aw, Elidh! I cried too (and so did my mum)

      Thanks so much for dropping by and letting me know! THRILLED to have you in the Yes Yes Family!

  • Becky

    Reply Reply November 6, 2015

    I *almost* cried.

    What a wonderful, serendipitous story.

    Thank you for sharing it even though you think you looked dicky (you didn’t).

    I will be on my toes to help out where I can in the chance that I have my own Benjamin moment. Now THAT’S dicky!


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