How to be charming and the dark side of being charming (Yes Yes Questions #2 review!)

words written on a wall we like you too

Two weeks ago – in the midst of moving apartment – I ran another of my live advice columns, which we’re calling YES YES QUESTIONS. For the first one, we’d had about 30 people on the call. This time, it was four – which, honest to goodness, I liked just as much, because it felt more like INTIMATE PARTY (that you can now eavesdrop on!) and we kicked it off with a very personal, really interesting question.

Below, I’ve listed the questions asked, and written a short form version of the answer I gave.

First though – I’m doing it again! Monday, April 6th @ 2pm ET. Want to come along?

Here are the questions people asked and short form answers: 

(1) Danielle LaPorte says, ‘Heart open; big effing fence.’ But I think my fences are too big. People tell me I’m impossible to get to know and come across as being aloof, especially in short-term interactions. Any advice? 

(Short Form Of Answer: Question where the aloofness comes from. Is it a defense mechanism, ‘If I hate you first, then it doesn’t matter if you judge me, because I already hate you’? That’s ok, just acknowledge. More on that HERE: yesyesmarsha.com/newpeople and here: yesyesmarsha.com/badmorning

Also, FAKE YOUR OWN SELF-CONFIDENCE in these situations. It will make you confident. It’s served me well for years.

Also, start with one small talk question before you get more interesting.

Also, being charming has a dark side, in the recording, I let you in on what that is.)

(2) If I don’t have a Big Brand Story, do I even need to use storytelling?

(SFOA: YES. And also, while a Big Brand Story might get you press, it might get you podcast interviews – it’s not what gets you clients. What gets you clients, is a small, small story that people can relate to. I give examples in the recording.)

(3) For as long as I can remember, I knew…

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The simple trick that saves you hours of time and gives you 10X the impact in your business, career or passion

A glowing sign this is the sign you've been looking for

If you have a business, a career, a passion that you want to turn into a business or career, then there’s one super-simple thing you’re likely forgetting to do, that means you’re wasting your time and effort.

It’s something that needs to happen before you do ANYTHING. For example, you need to do it before you:

Write a blog post (I did it before I wrote this one!!)
Write a bio
Go to a Networking event
Write literally anything on your website
Interview someone
Be interviewed by someone
TELL A STORY
Name your Instagram account
Do a talk
Decide to start a podcast
Write a newsletter
Post on your Facebook page
Do a Facebook live
Make literally any decision about your business

I see people ALL THE TIME not doing this, which means the thing they did – that blog post, that talk, that About page on their site – was a huge waste o time.

Here’s the thing you need to do first

Ask yourself, “What…

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How to say no, How to stay focused, How to love somewhere you hate living – Yes Yes Questions #1 REVIEW!

Marsha on the phone

GUESS WHAT???!?!??!?!?! You know that thing I did? Where I had a secret wish that seemed silly, had little to do with my job and is only for already super-famous people (or paid journalists)… but I thought I’d try it out anyway? IT WORKED!! If you missed the whole story, the Cliff notes are: –…

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I had a weird idea & now you get free one-on-one coaching and/or life advice from me

Marsha with a green dress pointing to yes yes questions

I used to feel bad about this. Like, kind of guilty. Because of my work, my interests, and the kinds of conferences I go to, I’m in a lot of spaces where people ask, “What’s the burning thing you’ve always wanted to do, but never been brave enough to?” And I always used to worry…

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That Time I Cried On Stage (and how I dealt).

crying on stage

The first few times I practised the story, I totally fell apart. Alone in my apartment, I couldn’t speak for sobbing. A few months ago, I took a course with my storytelling teacher, Sage Tyrtle. Our final class was a live show, where we would each tell the story we’d been working on. Except… I…

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Teaching new ideas that people sometimes resist? Try this!

a man looking at something

“So guys,” he said, from the front of the large room. “Try this, and you can get to the root of your issue.”

I was on a table right down at the back, so he couldn’t see me rolling my eyes. Jaw set in fury, I looked down at my paper.

It was the Sunday before last, I was at a business retreat, and I was very, very angry.

This year, I’m in a group program, run by Jonathan “Good Life Project” Fields. I’ve been following him for years, and he’s always steered me right. Under his guidance, my business went from doing okaaaaayyy to suddenly making a living doing the thing I’m best at and most enjoy. Working with him again seemed like a good idea.

On this afternoon, 70 other people and I were in a session led by productivity coach, Charlie Gilkey. I’ve hung out with Charlie before – just that morning, he’d been telling me about his recent trip to Hawaii. We get on well and I really like him. I know a lot of people who’ve been coached by him to wild success. He’s a charismatic, clear and powerful speaker.

But, right now, I was cross with him. Furious, actually. Seething.

Or – to be clearer, I wasn’t so much angry with him, as with what he was asking me to do…

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Want to build trust, connection, influence and loyalty? Use THIS in stories. (Science!)

Woman and a Man dancing

“My stomach was in a tight knot as I walked up to the front door.”

If you want people to really care about your stories, and be inspired to take action, there’s one element you MUST include… and yet, I see people leave it out all of the time.

What is this magic bullet?

EMOTION.

Consider the difference between these two stories:

‘I walked up to the front door.
For thirty seconds, nothing happened.
Then, the door opened, and Sally appeared. I took a deep breath, and said, “Hello.”’

Now, read this one:

‘My stomach was in a tight knot as I walked up to the front door.
For thirty seconds, nothing happened.
I started panicking. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea, I thought. Maybe I should stay out of it.
Then, the door opened, and Sally appeared, smiling. Nervously, I took a deep breath, and said, “Hello.”’

Which story do you care more about? Which one makes you want to keep reading? Which has the strongest effect on you?

I’m guessing it’s the second one. The difference between the two?

In the second, I told you how I FEEL.

Emotions make your story more powerful for five reasons:

(1) We invest in your story
In the second version above, did you wonder WHY I was so nervous – and what might be about to happen?

Telling us how you feel builds tension in a story. Suddenly, there are high stakes, that might not otherwise exist. Researcher Paul Zak discovered that tension is an essential ingredient to keeping us interested in a story.

(2) We trust you more
Have you ever got nervous…

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The Best Life-Hack I Know

people's feet.

Sitting in the circle of 30 people, I scanned their faces and tried to read them. My chest felt fizzy; a rampant mix that was equal parts excitement and utter terror.

I was in New York for a weekend workshop on coaching. It was directed at people like me at the time – those who only recently learned that coaching was even a thing – to give us some basics and help us decide whether or not we wanted to make a career out of it. I was excited because this felt like a job that had been invented for me; in one way or another, I’ve been coaching (for free) my entire life.

And I was terrified, because of all those people.

What if they realised I had no idea what I was doing? What if they thought I wasn’t cut out to be a coach? What if they knew I hadn’t had a proper job for months?
And, deep down, another question:

What if…

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Want to find your best stories? Do this in restaurants.

People in a restaurant

I’m breaking a rule by writing to you today.

This week – last Friday until today – I was supposed to be in New York. On the final trip of a spate that has lasted almost three months, I was going to be hanging out with my mum, who had a week-long job there. But then her job got cancelled, and so I decided to do something I’ve never done before:

Take an internet break.

Email and social media. Not because I’m in the woods, not because it’s Christmas, just… to see what happens.

What’s happened is that…

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WDS: Five Storytelling Lessons from Coaching the Attendee Storytellers at World Domination Summit

People on a stage

I stood up, feeling the fizz of excitement under my skin, and started looking around the empty lobby of the conference hall. It was evening. I knew that most people had left, but I needed to be certain.

Yep, I was definitely alone.

I walked to the space where there were no chairs. Then, silently and frantically, I began leaping up and down, alternately punching my fists in the air, before ending on a little stationary run.

It was Saturday night, and I had just finished coaching the Attendee Storytellers for World Domination Summit.

WDS is a conference where, once a year, several thousand do-gooders descend on Portland, to get inspired and try and figure out how to make the world a better place. Along with TED-style informative and inspiring speakers, every year, they have a number of “Attendee Stories” on the main stage – where people from the audience can apply to get up and have a go themselves.

I told a story a few years ago – you can hear it here – and, since then, I’ve become the Official Storytelling Coach for World Domination Summit. Which sounds like loads of fun – and is – until you know that I have just one afternoon to help all the storytellers get their 20 or 30 minute stories down to one minute.

One.

Tiny.

Minute.

It’s brutal but, every year, I do it – and, every year, the challenge makes me feel high as a kite afterwards. Hence the silent, solo leaping around.

Here are five things I learned from coaching this year’s attendee storytellers at World Domination Summit

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