How do you influence other people to share your message? Today’s guest Michael Roderick, the CEO of Small Pond Enterprises, explains that you need to package your idea in such a way that other people will talk about you even when you’re not in the room in a good way. Michael’s mission is to help thoughtful givers become thought leaders by making their brands referable, their messaging memorable, and their ideas unforgettable. If you are a giver and you want to influence other people in a good way, this episode is for you. In this episode, you will discover that accessibility, influence, and memory are key principles you need to master. What are these, and how can you apply them to your own brand? Tune in to find out!
Package Your Idea With Michael Roderick
Build Live Give. Mentoring With Paul Higgins
The person spent time on Broadway and helped take the wonderful things that happened on stage by getting the crowd, the people buying the tickets to understand it. What he does is he helps coaches and consultants do the same thing. How do you package your IP so you might know it in your inner world but how do you draw others into your world? He does a brilliant job of going through the AIM model that helps you build some structures, and he does practice what he preaches. Over to Michael Roderick from Small Pond Enterprises. You can find out more at SmallPondEnterprises.com.
Welcome, Michael Roderick from Small Pond Enterprises to the Build, Live, Give Podcast. It’s good to have you here, Michael.
Thanks so much for having me. I’m excited to get a chance to chat.
This is a bit of a returned favor because you did have me on your podcast, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.
Why don’t we kick it off when someone asks you, “Michael, what do you do?” How do you best describe that?
The way I like to frame it is I help thoughtful givers become thought leaders by helping them create referrable brands. I basically make it so you’re able to package your ideas so people will talk about you when you’re not in the room in a good way.
I must admit, when I read that on your LinkedIn profile, I thought, “Does he work for a non-profit?” I know I’ve got Build, Live, Give in my title so everyone’s 100% clear, it’s anyone that’s a giver, not someone that’s going to business in giving.
The thing is, a thoughtful giver is often an individual who’s good at doing the work that they do for their clients. They love to give, support, and serve but often those people end up deprioritizing packaging their intellectual property, so they rarely take the time to break down what it is that they’re doing, how they’re explaining it, and how they’re crafting it. Have their own process, all of those different types of things.Communicate to people outside of your circle to spread your message faster. Click To Tweet
Those people who are reading right now who are constantly doing and they think, “If I could package this up to make it easier to sell and easier do something online, so I don’t have to be in every component of it.” I certainly went through that journey. I had it all there. I made it hard for people to buy because it wasn’t done in a package. Tell us now, what do you know about packaging your IP that many others miss?
What I do is focus on referability. When I think about how somebody is packaging their stuff, I don’t think about it from the angle of, “How do we make this look cool?” I think about it from the angle of, “How do we make it so much more likely that people will share it and talk about it to their friends?” The main principles that I focus on are accessibility, influence, and memory. It’s easy to remember because it spells the word AIM. If you first take the idea of accessibility, the first hurdle that you have is, can people outside of your industry understand what it is that you do? Are you in what I like to refer to as the Echo Chamber of the Enlightened, where everybody in your industry is patting you on the back, but you go outside of that industry and people don’t necessarily get it? That’s usually the first hurdle.
Why would you want to go outside of your industry?
Because the people who are outside of your industry don’t have all of that jargon as part of their vocabulary, the thing is, if you can communicate your stuff to people outside of your circle, it means that it can spread so much faster. The reason why most people stay stuck either within an industry or within a particular level is that their message only works in one place. It is like real estate. If you start to carve out real estate in different people’s industries and different people’s worlds, eventually, you become well known. People start referring back to you. That aspect of thinking, how does somebody outside understand this? How do I make this show so clear that if you were a dentist or working in childcare, you would still get what it is that I do? That’s the heart of it.
To back up one step, let’s go to the who before we go through your methodology. Who do you love to work for? If I’m reading now and I’m thinking, “This sounds good, but am I the fit to work with Michael?” Who is that?
It’s usually the coaches and the consultants who are stuck in the middle. They’re no longer beginners but they’re not at the level that they would like to be yet. Often, what happens is, they find that people are lapping them in their industry who don’t necessarily even have as much experience as they do or don’t know the amount of things that they do. Those people are so good at the packaging that they’re taking off.
I love to work with those people who are geniuses. They know what they’re doing but they’re so stuck in their genius. They’re so good at the work that they’re not thinking about how somebody else would look at this. I come from a Broadway background and I love to think about it if your business was a Broadway show, would anybody buy a ticket? How are you packaging that so people are like, “I totally understand what you do and I totally need that?”
I love that analogy. I’m going to write that one down. That’s so important, isn’t it? I had a business partner who was an absolute genius in what he did, but you can sometimes see in a client call or client demo that he loses people. You could see it in their eyes. It’s a bit like what I say to my parents. I don’t need their permission now but when I said to them, “I’m going to leave. I’m not going to be the Director of Coca-Cola anymore. I’m going to go be a coach.” They’re like, “What?” It took me ten years trying to explain, “I know your youngest son. He’s a policeman so that’s easy but what does your oldest son do?” I love that so it’s that connection. What do I say if a seven-year-old can’t explain you’re in trouble? That context helped with the solution. As far as accessibility, anything more on that you’d like to say?
The one thing that is important, as you’re thinking about accessibility is doing your best to boil things down to the most basic issues. The way that I like to think about this is, if you want your business to be a need to have as opposed to a nice to have, you want to do at least one of the three things I’m going to talk about otherwise, you’ll be SAD. That is Solve a problem. Alleviate pain, or Decrease friction. ￼If you are not clear on how you’re solving a problem for your client, how you’re helping get rid of their pain, how you’re making it so something that normally takes them a long time, or is an arduous process is easier with you, you have a nice to have as opposed to a need to have. It’s hard to sell that.
If you’re able to get in there and talk about, “This is the problem I solve. This is the pain I help you get rid of or this is how I can make your life easier.” Many people will get it right away. I call this giving yourself an F because most of the time, what we do as entrepreneurs, we spend too much time being like, “This is what I do.” We try to explain it to everybody and walk that line. What we want to do is say, “This is what I do for,” and talk about what we do for our clients. How do I help these clients? How do I support these clients and break them down in terms of solving that problem, alleviate pain, decrease friction side effects?
You’ve got some but I choose not to have some but I say, “Why you’re here on fire problem?” What people have to put out straightaway. Most people look at me blankly and like, “I’ve got no idea,” because, as you said before, there’s so far in their genius. They don’t see what it means to people. It’s selling the sausage, not the sizzle, as we say. That’s brilliant, accessibility. The next one is influence. What’s the influence?
What’s interesting is that for years, we’ve all been taught that influence is about persuasion. It’s because there are tons of books that talk about if you want to influence somebody, you need to persuade them and there are lots of materials that are out there. When we look at true influence, influence is when somebody does something without us asking them to do it. If we get somebody to share our message to talk about us to somebody else without us saying, “Will you tell your friends about me?” That’s true influence. That’s when we have caused someone to be like, “I want to do something because of what you’re putting out there.”
It goes back to a lot of what I was talking about before. We tend to focus on how do I make myself look cool as opposed to how does this idea, concept, or this thing that I’m teaching make other people look cool when they share it. If we want to have influence with the message, we have to think about, “Is my methodology and process the thing that I’m teaching something that somebody else would want to share with one of their friends because it would make them look interesting, cool, and informed?”Always keep track of the things you need to be grateful for. Click To Tweet
When we package that way, when we create that, I like to refer to it as the magic trick. If you’ve ever been to a party, magicians always have at least one trick that they will show you exactly how they did the trick. What do you do naturally? You go to your next party and you do that trick because you look cool. You look like you’re a magician. We want to think about what are those concepts and pieces of thought leadership that we have that we consider a magic trick, we can give to somebody, and have them be like, “I’m going to share this. I’m going to talk about this because it makes me look cool, or it helps me understand my friends,” and all of those different types of things.
That’s a brilliant concept. As they say, “Nothing better if someone else says something about you rather than yourself.” Give us a quick example of that.
I have a concept I call the TCM Index. The way that the TCM Index works is every single individual, no matter who you’re meeting, has an index of time, connections, and money. They have a concern around one of those three things. Usually, there’s a deficit in one of them. What I often will say when I’m teaching about the TCM Index is that the best way for you to figure out wherever the deficit is, is to audit the other two things. If you have a deficit in money, it is directly tied to how you’re spending your time and who you’re spending your time with.
If you have a deficit and connections, it’s directly tied to how you’re spending your time and how you’re spending your money because if you’re going to free events, trying to sell a $5,000 product, you’re not going to meet a lot of people who are going to be able to buy that. If you are stuck in time, if you don’t have enough time, who you’re hiring, who you’re working with, and how you’re spending your money so you get that time back is how you fix that particular problem. The thing is I explain this concept and what happens.
Other people will then go and go to their friends and say, “This TCM Index, you’re having this challenge. Let me take a look at what’s going on with your time? What’s going on with your connections?” They’re like, “Where did you learn that? How did you figure that out?” It refers back to me. When we are trying to get people to share an idea or share a particular concept, the thing that we want to think about is you want to be sure to share. SURE is a shortcut first. The first thing is a shortcut. It’s an easy concept that cuts through the noise that makes it super simple.
Second, and this is super important, does it have utility? Is the concept useful where somebody can use it and do something with it? This is why Myers Briggs became so popular. This is why so many of these evaluation tools that are out there get spread like wildfire because there is a utility to it, so people use it and they share it with their friends. In addition to that, the R is reputation. If I give you a better reputation as a result of sharing my thing, you’re going to share it even more.
You share the funny video, the TED Talk, or whatever, not because of how good it is but how good it makes you look, how you look interesting to your audience, how you look funny to your audience, or any of those different types of things. Finally, the E is for expediency. If it’s not simple for you to share it, if it’s not an easy thing for you to do, you’ll leave it. If there’s not a click and make it happen, you’re not going to share it and you’re not going to put it out there.
When we think about creating that magic trick, we’ve got to also think about how we are going to be sure to share. How are we going to make sure that there is a shortcut there? How are we going to make sure that aid is useful? How are we going to make sure that this is going to create a reputation for somebody and how is it going to be expedient? How is it going to be so easy for them that they give that to their friend because they’re like, “This is so useful. I want other people to know about this.”
If you’re reading this, there are things under our nose that we forget about. One of them is the fact that you can go back. Go back and read this a couple of times to get these fantastic little indexes and other things that Michael is talking about here. The last one is Memories. Spoiler again. What’s happening with memory?
The thing that’s interesting about memory is that you could have both of these other things, accessibility and influence, completely unlock but you are absolutely screwed if you don’t have memory down because if people can’t remember it, they won’t share it. Most of the time, we spend hours, months, days, years thinking about how we’re going to tell the story but we spend next to no time thinking about how somebody is going to retell the story. How are they going to share our concept? How are they going to remember it?
The way that you want to think about this, if you want people to remember you more, you focus on LESS and that’s Language, Emotion, Simplicity, and Structure. I’ll start with Language. The reason why we have studied Shakespeare, and we all know who Shakespeare is, but only if you’re in the literature world, do you know who Christopher Marlowe is. Shakespeare added new words in the English language. If you go into the dictionary, there are words that are attributed to Shakespeare that Shakespeare created those words.
When people are walking around Stratford-upon-Avon talking and using those words, what do you think happened? People ask, “Where did you learn that?” It would drive people back to those places. The thing is, most of the time, we don’t take the time to come up with our own language for things. We don’t take the time to come up with our own way of explaining it or breaking it down because it’s much easier to take somebody else’s phrase, little piece of marketing copy, or whatever it is and use it but the second that we do that, we’re a bootleg version of the other person.
The second that we start using somebody else’s phrases and art and making that part of our process we’re referring back to them. It’s worth it to think about what is the language that you’re going to create because if you come up with either new words or new ways of saying words, you don’t necessarily have to come up with brand new vocabulary. You can change the order of things sometimes and it will give people a completely different impression.
If I say to you, Facebook, you have one impression, but when I say to you the Book of Faces, you suddenly have a different take, and all I’ve done is change the words around. When you create that and people start attributing that piece of language to you or that concept to you, you end up carving a mental piece of real estate for them. You are in their brains under whatever that category is or piece of language is.
Once you’ve nailed the language piece, if you want to make sure people are remembering, you’ve got to think about emotion because emotion solidifies memory. That was part of our primitive brain. Our primitive is wired to basically absorb details based on heightened states of emotion because if we didn’t, we would die. When we were in heightened states of emotion, we had to remember all of the details of those scenarios otherwise we wouldn’t be attacked by that tiger, thrown over, or get hit. All these things would happen. That’s part of our wiring.
If you can put people in a high emotional state, their brains become a sponge and they remember all of the details. The way that I often like to illustrate this is if you were to ask somebody what are the opening scenes of the movie Titanic, they cannot give you any details for the most part, but if you said to somebody, “What image pops into your head when I say, I’ll never let go?” That same person is going to give you a specific image because when you’re in that heightened state of emotion, you remember far more details.
This is why you see lots of talks and presentations don’t start by sharing with you their concept. They start with the personal story. They start with the narrative that causes you to feel the emotion and the second that you feel the emotion, you start remembering all of those details. If you’re remembering all those details, you’re way more likely to share them, relive those own moments in your own life, and want to talk about them. You’re still in a lot of trouble from a memory standpoint if you don’t focus on simplicity.
Throughout our entire lives, we have been rewarded for complexity when it comes to academics. In school, as you got up in the grades, your papers got bigger, your words got bigger, and everything you were taught was about how to sound smart. Everything that we end up being taught is this aspect of, “Are you going to use the big words? Are you going to write the big papers?” What happens with tons of entrepreneurs is that they go out into the world with that same concept and they think, “I’m going to use these big words. I’ve got to be verbose. I’ve got to amaze people.” The memory rewards simplicity because our brains can only handle so much information at any given point in time.
If I were to start this presentation and say, “I’m going to talk to you about the 48 points of how to create a referrable brand,” nobody would still be here. Everybody would be gone. We need that simplicity. We need something where it’s like, “Accessibility influence and memory. Great. I can go. It’s taking AIM and I can go.” That ties to the last piece, which is structure. The fact of the matter is we need structure in order to be able to process information. If we are reading, we start at the beginning and we travel our way through the book.If you can put people in a high emotional state, their brains become a sponge, and they remember all of the details. Click To Tweet
If we are trying to understand somebody’s process, we start it and go, “This is the beginning, this is the middle, and this is the end.” We are always thinking about, “How do I structure this information?” If the information doesn’t have a structure, we are far more likely to forget it because we’re sitting there trying to give all of this information to these people. We need something to organize it all. When you give your audience or you give people a structure to follow something that they can use and that they can go through, they are far more likely to share the message because they know they can rely on the structure.
They know what’s coming next, so they’re not worried about looking bad in front of people. One of the core reasons why a lot of referrals don’t happen is people feel awkward when they feel they can’t explain something. The second that you feel you can’t explain what somebody does or what their value is, you are going to stop wanting to refer to them because you don’t want to look awkward in front of your friends. You don’t want to go to your friends and say, “There’s this guy, Paul, and you should work with him because he does all this stuff. I’m not sure.” The second that happens, they’re not going to keep sharing.
If they know exactly what to talk about and if they have a structure for it, they’re way more likely to do it. You focus on language, emotion, simplicity, and structure, you are going to solidify yourself in people’s memory. The second that you’re in their memory, you’re going to pop up again and again because our memories are always banging around. The second that we put something together that’s memorable like a hit song on the radio, while we’re doing the dishes or walking around suddenly remember that particular thing. That comes from that language, emotion, simplicity, and structure model.
That’s an absolute masterclass, Michael. If you’ve been taking notes, that’s great but if you haven’t, please go back and go through these. There are so many of us that are inside ourselves and we do find them. We always say, “I know what I’m doing. I know what I’m saying, but it seems no one else does.” “I’m screaming but no one can hear me.” There are some brain structures here and you can find out more about Michael at SmallPondEnterprises.com. Before I go into the Live section, I’d like to find out if you’ve got a sales machine to meet your ambitions.
If you’re wondering, I’ve got an assessment that can help you. If you go to PaulHigginsMentoring.com/Assessment, there are fourteen questions on what I believe makes a sales machine. I spent years in Coca-Cola getting trained and the last couple of years in my own business, so I know a little bit about sales but I give that to you in fourteen super questions. It takes you about three minutes to answer it but the most important thing is I have a call with you to give you a specific plan. Go to PaulHigginsMentoring.com/Assessment. Michael, the next section is the Live section. What are some daily habits that make you successful?
Meditation is a big one for me. I always work towards twenty minutes twice a day. Every once in a while, I have two young girls, so sometimes that doesn’t happen but I always shoot for twenty minutes twice a day. The other thing that has always been a major thing for me is at the end of the day, I write down my reflections. I look at what are the things that I’m grateful for? What are the areas in which I can improve? What are the areas where I should focus on? What are the things I learned? What did I pick up? I write that stuff down, and look back at it, and look at what are the patterns that I’m seeing in my life. When I see certain patterns, I’m like, “I want to keep doing these things,” or if I see patterns where things are not working as well, I’ll say, “These are the things I need to shift. These are things that I need to change.” Reflection is a huge part of the work that I do.
The next thing is the Give section. What is a charity, a community, or a cause that you support and why?
My first daughter, Juniper, was born not breathing. We had five weeks in the NICU and went through that whole process. The NICU nurses are absolute angels. The amount of care and time these people take is absolutely amazing. I am always passionate about supporting causes that have to do with any NICU type of charity. Anything that deals with younger parts of life, anything medically, and in that area, I’m always happy to support and share the message to get the word out about the amazing work that these people do.
That’s touching. The last section is the rapid–fire section, where I asked you some questions and you give me some rapid–fire responses. The first one is, what are your top three personal effectiveness tips?
Meditation is a major one. Reflection as well. Even if you’re not journaling, reflect. Take some time to sit down and reflect. The last one is curating. Pay attention to the people that you’re spending time with. The people that you’re bringing into your network, the relationships that you’re developing, and be honest with yourself about. Is it helping you to achieve the things that you want to achieve? Are you helping those people? Is there a flow there or does it feel random that you’re randomly meeting people? The curating piece is so important that we don’t take enough time to think about it.
The next one is, what’s a piece of technology that’s essential to running your business?
Superhuman, which basically takes your email and turns everything into keystrokes. It makes email the absolute fastest that it can be. I constantly end up at inbox zero no matter how many emails I get because of how solid a tool it is. I could not see running, running my business without that.
What’s the best source of new ideas for you?
Usually reading. New books, listening to podcasts, or listening to friends’ interviews, anything where I am experiencing new information and new ideas.
The last question is the big one. That’s why I leave it to the end. What impact do you want to leave on the world?
I’ve always thought about this and this is carried over into all the other work that I’ve done. I don’t want anyone to feel alone. I’ve always been passionate about that. It’s taken lots of different forms but this work. It makes it so if you are great and you and you’ve created all of this stuff, you’re not stuck in that world where you know you have this greatness but other people don’t. I’ve always been passionate about making sure that people never feel alone.
I’ve got to say, Michael, that was such an amazing gift you’ve given people. I know that there are so many people that have seen coaches and consultants that struggle or have that hair on fire moment that you can actively solve. As I’ve said, a couple of times, please go back and read this one again. There’s so much great IP. Have your pin, iPad, or whatever you take notes with, have it there because there is gold here and it’s such a great skill that you can learn to help more people. That’s ultimately what we all want to do. You can find out more about Michael at SmallPondEnterprises.com. Also, you’ve got a great quiz as well. If people go to MyReferabilityRater.com, they will get that as well. Michael, it’s been an absolute joy having you on. Thanks for all the wisdom you’ve shared.
Thanks so much for having me, Paul. It was an absolute blast. I appreciate it.
It’s my pleasure. Bye.
I loved that interview with Michael. It was one that I’ll always remember because he practiced what he preaches. I’m sure you can remember some of the models that he spoke of like the AIM model. There was so much ￼value. Go back and reset this one because it’ll be of real value to you. Also, if you love the key takeaways, let Michael know. Take a photo of the show and send him or mention him on your social media. As he said, “Share,” because it makes you look good. That would be brilliant. He also did talk about My Referability Rater, so you can go to MyReferabilityRater.com. You can find more about Michael at SmallPondEnterprises.com. If you want to know whether you’ve got the sales machine to keep up with your ambitions, go to PaulHigginsMentoring.com/Assessment. Take action to build, live and give.
- Podcast – Paul Higgins: How To Get (And Harness) A High-Performance Mindset
- LinkedIn – Michael Roderick
- Twitter – Michael Roderick
- Facebook – Michael Roderick
- Referability Rafer
About Michael Roderick
Michael Roderick is the CEO of Small Pond Enterprises which helps thoughtful givers become thought leaders by making their brands referable, their messaging memorable, and their ideas unforgettable.
He is also the host of the podcast Access to Anyone which shows how you can get to know anyone you want in business and in life using time-tested relationship-building principles.
Michael’s unique methodology comes from his own experience of going from being a Highschool English teacher to a Broadway Producer in under two years.
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