Notes from AXS International talk…..

Hello and good morning everyone…

I’m glad you’re here for this training, for this message, for this opportunity for personal and business growth.

According the Dr. Mark Goulston in the Harvard Business Review

You are a much more effective business leader when you undertake and invest in both professional AND personal development. I would add that working on personal and business development and growth makes you a better person, a better leader, a better contributor to the human experience.

In alignment with that message I prepared today’s topic.

Today we are talking about your “Personal Power Statement”

Harvard Social Psychology Professor Amy Cuddy and fellow psychologists Susan Fisk and Peter Glick have studied first impressions for 15 years now. The goal was to be able to clarify and define the effect of first impressions and the first impression process that is part of the human experience. We all engage in this as part of our daily lives.

People size you up in seconds… In literally seconds… You do not have an abundance of time in this very critical first impression process and as we all know we only have one opportunity to make a great first impression.

People quickly answer 2 questions about you when they first meet you.

  • Can I trust this person?
  • Can I respect this person?

Psychologists refer to these dimensions as




In that order…

Ideally you want to be perceived as having both.

Most people believe that competence is the number one factor.

They think that they need to be smart and talented. After all our talent and competence is what defines our value. This is most true, we think, in those moments of the first meeting with a new prospective customer, client or associate. Well the research tells us something very different.

The research tells us that warmth and trustworthiness is the most important factor when they evaluate you… in those very few initial seconds of meeting you.

Competence is highly valued only after trust is established. We want to be able to trust you before we are prepared to connect with you on a deeper level of business, collaboration or association.

A warm and trustworthy person who is also strong elicits admiration for sure. But as we have said only after warmth and trustworthiness.

So the question is…

How do you connect with people?

You’re here today in our mini workshop to connect…learn… connect…

You really want to connect with people and have an opportunity to learn new skill sets or philosophies that will help you grow as a person.

My question is how are you doing that?

What are you saying?

Are you prepared?

Do you know why I want to know you? It is important that ‘you’ know why I want to know ‘you’. You have to know why I want to meet and know you… You need to have given this thought, you need to have prepared, and you need to have practiced the potential conversation.

Answer this question: What makes you special, unique?

What do you do?

Who do you do it for?

Why should I care?

We all typically want to take the easy road on this one…

We just want to say “I am a Realtor, Financial Planner, etc…

When you do that you have given me permission to define you.

So I define you by my experience or idea of a _______________.

If my experience of a realtor for example is bad, then I now define you in that light, at least initially. And while I am busy defining you in that way I am possibly no longer fully engaged in our conversation. My mind is occupied with my defining of you and then I move onto possibly creating a way out of this conversation. All because you allowed me to initially define you.

You may well lose me in that moment….

I may stop hearing what you have to say….

So then how do you powerfully engage me?

I use the word ‘Powerfully’ as you’re personal power, personality, presence… You have an energy about you, you have your way of being present. You have your special unique way of doing what you do and if I can be introduced to that person I will want to know you better. I will be more open to extending this conversation or meeting.

Some of you may be thinking ’60 second elevator pitch’ about now…

Well I believe that 60 second elevator pitches or speeches no longer work in the way that they once did. You see there has been a shift in how we connect with each other. We are now in a space of wanting to connect with the person first and then their competencies. We want the openness of who you are as a person as much or even more than connecting with what you do.

I have learned that elevator pitches are simply too long. And as importantly they are all too often way to wordy and often too much of a sales pitch. Which is never what they were intended to be.

More importantly you do not have 60 seconds to get my attention…

You get maybe 15 seconds to initially engage me, to initially connect with me. If you can initially engage me, connect with me and create warmth and competence then and only then you have earned the right to continue the conversation.

Goldfish have an 8 second attention span and we (humans) currently have about a 9 second attention span. So you can see the challenge we have in those moments that we are attempting to make a powerful connection we ourselves create the barrier by trying to tell you a 60 second story in a 9 second time frame.

I have created a workshop where I will be train people on how to create their unique and highly effective… “Personal Power Statement”. But for now let’s work through some basics.

Remember how we define the word power… This is not a demonstrative definition of the word power. It is used to define the personal energy that you resonate with and from.

With that in mind let’s work on the process of creating a Personal Power Statement for you. Now when we open our statement strongly and emotionally we can actually use about 12 to 15 seconds for our statement.

The first section is about 12-15 seconds with 3 sentences in total.

Designed to give you an opportunity to really and powerfully connect. It is our intention to use this initial part of our overall Power Statement to:

DEFINE… DELIVER… and PRESENT you in a powerful way.

It is designed in 2 sections, section 1 is 12-15 seconds and section 2 is 15-20 seconds. These are rough time estimates based on a lot of research. A couple seconds either way will still be OK.

You need emotion, clarity and focus.

Think in 3’s… 3X3 times 2

Remember this is NOT a sales pitch… NO SALES AT ALL…

Here is an example of my very first elevator pitch that I wrote this in 1985. I had opened my consulting practice in San Francisco California and I had decided to fill a business need at the time in the area of various training programs for small and medium sized companies, with the goal of taking them to corporate America. I wrote the following;

“I train, motivate and inspire… Individuals, companies and organizations… to peak performance excellence”

Now at the time this statement actually worked very well as the opening engagement in the conversation. The times were certainly different then and the business culture was more direct and less emotional and certainly less transparent.

Now if I take that statement from my humble beginnings years ago and only give it a few small tweaks I can transform it into a statement that is more likely to create an opportunity for me to create trust and respect or as we have said, warmth and competence. Here is the adjusted version.

“I am passionate about training, motivating and inspiring… individuals, team members and company leaders… to results driven performance excellence”.

8-10 seconds

The word passion is emotional and we add individuals, team members and company leaders which represent the ‘people’ part of the statement and includes almost everyone possible. We then raised the bar with ‘results driven performance excellence’. We are all looking for results. These subtle changes make it a much more powerful statement.

If your initial statement is short, engaging, connecting and powerful you will have a much greater chance to continue and build a longer conversation which will more than likely result in a better opportunity to engage a new client, associate or collaborator.

The follow-up can be something like…

I do that with training, coaching and consulting programs, specially written, custom designed and tailor made to deliver maximum sales, performance and productivity improvement, resulting in increased gross revenue, improved net profit and excellent customer satisfaction.

15-17 seconds and look at our elements of 3’s in both of these sample statements.

I encourage you to do some homework on creating your custom

“Personal Power Statement”

Stop letting other people define you by their interpretation of what you do based on a less than powerful personal statement.

Engage them first with a very personal and well designed

“Personal Power Statement”.

Take the time, and it will take you some time, I promise, for you to craft your personal power statement. Set aside a couple of hours to do the first draft. Then re-visit it each day for a week for a few minutes (15-20) and as you re-visit it you will see and hear things to change or adjust.

Remember that your Personal Power Statement is designed to allow you to be the person who;

Defines, Deliver’s and Presents you to the world.

I am looking forward to seeing, meeting and hearing all of your Personal Power Statements.

Stay Awesome…..

Frank White MBA, PhD