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  • Hey, it’s Marie Forleo and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business

  • and life you love. And today I have a question for you. Do you ever struggle to clearly communicate

  • your message? Whether you wanna get media or a new job or a new client, being able to

  • be clear, concise, and compelling is vital for success, and my guest today is gonna show

  • us how.

  • Emmy nominated speaker, strategist, and media trainer Rachel Hanfling helps clients catapult

  • their brands to new heights. Whether it’s one on one or teaching at Harvard, Rachel’s

  • approach is based on 20 years of producing television for big names like Oprah Winfrey

  • and Anderson Cooper. She’s received thousands of pitches and can tell you how to make yours

  • one of the few that makes the cut. Rachel’s mission is to show you how to deliver on demand

  • when it counts.

  • Rachel, I’m so excited to have you here.

  • So thrilled to be here. I love MarieTV. I watch it, I learn from it. Glad to be here.

  • So this is so valuable for all of us because I think all of us have a message that we wanna

  • communicate whether we want to pitch something to an employer, we wanna get a new job, we

  • wanna get on TV, we wanna get in a magazine, and you are such a pro. So if we wanna simplify

  • our message, where’s the first place that we should start?

  • Well, I just love this topic because I see the many ways that it can really help somebody.

  • It can help you get media attention but it also helps you in your everyday life when

  • you're pitching clients, customers, if youre a doctor with patients. This topic is such

  • a game changer if you do the work.

  • Right.

  • So where do you wanna start? Well, I’ve noticed over the years that most people do

  • have difficulty simplifying their message. And the interesting thing about this is that

  • most people don't evenwell, many people don't realize that this is their problem.

  • And I always say that if you confuse people, you lose people. You don't wanna confuse people.

  • You have a matter of seconds to make an impression on a producer, on somebody that youre trying

  • to impress for a job or a gig or something like that. So everybody needs to know what’s

  • most promotable about themself. And there are four ways that you can really hone in

  • on that and up the ante. Number one, I always say you need to meet people where they are

  • to take them where you want them to go. So what does that mean? That means you need to

  • figure out what the person youre communicating with cares about. Ok? So I could be talking

  • about one person or I could be talking about millions of people in an audience. Same concept.

  • Once you figure out what they care about, then that’s your point of entry. Then you

  • go from there. Ok. So let me give you an example. When I was producing, sometimes folks would

  • call up and they’d pitch me something. And it wouldn’t be appropriate for the show.

  • And I wouldve sensed that they probably were not watching the show, so sometimes I

  • would ask them, “Do you watch the show?” And they inevitably would say no or, “I

  • haven’t watched it in a long time.” And both of those don't really work. Obviously

  • you need to be watching the show. But also, you need to be watching it currently because

  • shows change over a period of time. Shows can sometimes change very quickly.

  • Right.

  • So I would encourage them to go back and watch the show and if they still felt like there

  • was an appropriate pitch to come back to me. And this is something that everybody can keep

  • in mind any time theyre pitching. I would encourage anybody to watch a show for at least

  • a week before they consider pitching it. Another thing that’s really important to keep in

  • mind is that every pitch should be personalized. Sometimes people send out 100 pitches, 250

  • pitches, whatever the number is. Let me tell you, producers know when theyre getting

  • those pitches and you want the pitches to be personalized for that show. And even if

  • you can, for that producer.

  • Yeah. I mean, there’s something really important that you said and if anybody watching youre

  • like, “Well, this doesn't relate to me because I don't necessarily wanna get on TV,” this

  • relates to you if you wanna pitch yourself for a job, if you want a new client, if youre

  • trying to get on a particular blog, if youreanything. That personalization, I can’t

  • tell you, Rachel, how many times something will come through our desk, so to speak, where

  • I can tell it’s just a form letter and I’m like, “You have no i… do you even know…?”

  • They spell, first of all, they call me Maria. And I’m like, “You really think that’s

  • gonna get you anywhere?” Butso, anyway, just to put a pin in your point about the

  • personalization piece, it is so important.

  • You know, it’s funny that you mention that because I was talking to a friend of mine

  • when I was getting ready to do this interview with you and she said, “You know, sometimes

  • they spell my name wrong, sometimes they even send me a letter that was meant for a different

  • show.” And, I mean, you wanna let the producer know that you really care and that youve

  • put the kind of effort into it that anybody would want if they were being pitched. It’s

  • really important.

  • So curious from you, from all the years working on Oprah and Anderson Cooper and everything

  • that youve done, have you ever seen someone try to pitch you and theyve kinda got it

  • all wrong, you know they didn't watch the show, but did anyone ever come back and get

  • it right and totally wow you? Or do they lose credibility just right from the get go and

  • they never really circle back?

  • You know, any time something ends up on TV it’s a collaboration between the producing

  • team and the person who’s gonna be on the show. So there’s always an evolution. Maybe

  • something isn’t quite a fit but then the producer has a way to make it a fit. But generally

  • what people wanna realize is your credibility is always on the line. So if youre pitching

  • something that’s just completely inappropriate, it says something about you. Not to say that

  • there’s no way to overcome that, but it can say something about you. And it does.

  • I wanted to ask you that because I think it’s really important for all of us to recognize

  • we all have memories.

  • Yes.

  • And our reputation is important. So to take the time to really do this right from the

  • get go, it's vital.

  • Yeah. And to think of it in a positive way, I remember the people that really got it and

  • those are the people that I wanna go back to. You know? Over time because everybody

  • wants to work with people who get it, whatever it is that they do. Right?

  • That’s huge. I mean, that's… I can see that, again, even if you don't wanna pitch

  • something on television or youre not trying to get media, somebody who gets it who actually

  • pays attention to the details, takes the time to add that personal connection to connect

  • with someone where theyre at, they do. Youll remember them for a long time. Ok,

  • this is fantastic. What is step number two to simplifying our message?

  • Ok. So step number two, I wanna encourage people to let go of insider jargon and really

  • speak in words that everybody can understand. It doesn't mean you don't know the insider

  • jargon, I just wanna encourage people to use words that everybody can understand. So what

  • happens is every industry has their own way of speaking. This is more commonly an issue

  • for people who work in more technical fields, but every industry does have their own way

  • of speaking. So let’s take doctors, for example. Ok, so there’s a big need for doctors

  • on TV. Let’s say for example, somebody famous has a brain aneurysm, God forbid. Right? And

  • a producer needs to find a doctor who can explain it. Ok, so that doctor is gonna get

  • on the phone with that producer and do what we call in the industry a pre interview. That’s

  • basically the gateway to the opportunity. You hit it out of the park, you have a good

  • chance of ending up on TV. You don’t? Well, then the producer moves on to somebody else.

  • So that doctor has 2 choices, that doctor can either speak about that aneurysm in a

  • way that he would speak to, or she, he or she, of course, would speak to their colleagues

  • at a conference who all have same knowledge base. Or they can speak in everyday words.

  • Well, if you wanna be on TV, you need to be using everyday words that are relatable, if

  • possible visual cues. You want to make even the most complicated topic as simple as possible.

  • Really important.

  • This isit’s so important. I will tell you, I’ve even been in business meetings

  • where someone’s talking to me and they start using words and I feel like a little kid in

  • I’m like, “I’ve gotta raise my hand. I don't know 5 things that you just said and

  • I’m lost.” And even though I sound… I’m sometimes to myself sound a little silly,

  • I won't let the conversation go on because I’m already lost back there. So, of course,

  • for the media, this is so important and I think for many people, they justtheyre

  • so used to their jargon but they also wanna sound smart and sound intelligent, and weve

  • gotta dumb it down a little bit. Weve gotta just break it down to a level that everybody

  • can understand.

  • And the thing is that breaking it down to a level that everybody can understand is smart.

  • Because if youre not connecting with people

  • Yeah, that was horrible. I just said dumb it down, but it really is making it smarter.

  • Right. But I think what you said is great because a lot of people view it that way but,

  • actually, the realand people say that to me, “I’m worried I’m gonna be dumbing

  • down whatever I have to say,” so I’m actually really glad you said that. The smartest thing

  • you can do is make someone able to understand you.

  • Yeah.

  • And, ok, so let’s… I’ve already explained how this can really help you with media, but

  • what I find to be so fascinating is if you continue with the doctor example, learning

  • these skills serves you in your profession. So I was working with this doctor last year,

  • coached him, he’s an incredible doctor, he also took my course. Within a month or

  • so of working with me, he really wanted to be implementing what we were doing and he

  • was really a go getter, which I love, and he started changing the way that he approached

  • his patients and his patientsfamilies. He started practicing what he was learning,

  • many of the things that were talking about today about how to be successful with media

  • and the way you communicate. And what happened was within that month, he soared to the top

  • of his group in patient satisfaction scores because his patients were so much happier

  • dealing with him. And he actually felt that it made him a better doctor, and that’s

  • across all professions. So that, I’m talking about doctors here, but this could be anybody

  • who is watching today. It’s not just doctors. Does that make sense?

  • Completely makes sense. And I know even dealing with people whether theyre designers or

  • programmers, theyre people that work in film or television, when the jargon starts

  • coming out it’s like I check out, I don't know if I can trust them, I don't know what

  • the heck is going on, and I’m like can you please speak in layman’s terms? And as I’m

  • thinking as youre talking, always the folks that treat me like, “Hey, I know this isn’t

  • your industry. Let me explain it to you so that you can really get it so you can understand

  • what were doing,” those are the people that I wind up hiring.

  • Absolutely. And those are the people you wanna watch on TV and those are the people you wanna

  • work with. Absolutely. The other thing is most people are not giving you 100% of their

  • attention whether theyre watching you on TV or whether theyre in a meeting with

  • you, quite frankly. And so you wanna keep that in mind when youre explaining, too,

  • that you wanna keep things at a level where people can tune in and tune out a little bit.

  • Yeah. So next, point number three, is getting rid of extra details. How do we do that?

  • This is so common. Every one of us has so many details that we could share about any

  • story, any message. And so often people say to me, “There’s so much I could be talking

  • about. I don't know what I should include, I don't know where to start, I don't know

  • what to leave out.” Well, ok, you wanna start with something that’s gonna reel people

  • in and you know that because youve done your research and you also know what’s most

  • promotable about you and youre gonna marry those. And then you wanna include the details

  • that strategically forward whatever it is youre talking about. Now, when you get

  • towards the point where you wanna finish up, you also wanna put a button on it, that’s

  • what I like to say. So putting a button on it means you don't just end on a random detail.

  • You sort of circle back to your messaging to help tie it all together for people. And

  • when you do this, this is so important because when you start meandering to some other kind

  • of detail that doesn't relate to the topic that youre trying to convey, that’s when

  • you lose people. Then people are confused, they don't really understand your messaging.

  • Youve gotta stay on point and think as youre speaking, “Does this detail really

  • pertain to what I’m trying to convey?”

  • Yeah. So this is huge. I mean, I know for me, it’s been so interesting when someone

  • asks me about what I do or, “How did you get started, Marie?” and I’m thinking

  • exactly what you said in my head. “Well, how far do I go back?” Because this is a

  • big story and there’s a lot of twists and turns, so I completely relate to what most

  • people think. It’s like what do I keep in the story and what do I let go of to keep

  • it tight and right? And one of the things that I’ve always done is think about how

  • do I want to position myself in this particular instance? So, for example, if I wanna highlight

  • the fact that I’m a multipassionate entrepreneur, I will talk about my coaching practice and

  • at the same time I started in dance and choreography and then I did this other thing. So I’ll

  • highlight that. If I want to highlight the fact that I learned about internet marketing

  • I’ll talk about how I took an ebook from a little tiny PDF, went through, self published

  • it, and sold like 8 thousand copies and then took it to a regular publisher and sold it

  • in 13 languages. I’m always kind of selecting pieces of my story based on A, like you said,

  • what the media outlet is wanting me to talk about and, B, how I want to position myself.

  • Is that something…?

  • Absolutely. So youre subconsciously doing, or maybe consciously, doing point 1. Youre

  • thinking about who am I talking to and how are they gonna relate to whatever it is in

  • my story and how can I most successfully connect with them? So when I’m communicating myself

  • and when I’m coaching other people, whether that’s one on one or in a group, however

  • it is, there’s constantly a sensor, a ding, ding, ding that’s going off in my head.

  • This point is moving us forward. This point isn’t moving us forward. And you obviously

  • wanna stay on the path of this is moving us forward. The second you start veering off,

  • then people don't know what to do with what youre saying. And people wanna be able

  • to follow you. You wanna make it easy for people to follow you. You wanna serve up what

  • they want authentically on a silver platter for them.

  • Yeah. And I think your point about putting a button on the end, something I was always

  • kind of trained with especially from doing a lot of fitness videos, was telling people,

  • Here’s where were going, this is the move were gonna do,” doing it, and say,

  • This is what you just worked out right now.” So it was always that little coming

  • back, circling it up, making a bow, bing.

  • And it makes such a difference, right?

  • Yeah. Really, really does.

  • Because people can follow you.

  • Yeah. So number four, which is great, and this is probably perhaps one of the scariest

  • things to do, but it’s probably also one of the most useful.

  • Ok, so number four is where you tie it all together. Right? So if you do 1, 2, and 3

  • but you don't do number 4, it’s not gonna work as well. Youve gotta do number 4.

  • So, here’s what happens. I want to encourage people to test drive their messaging on people

  • that are outside of their expertise and outside of their family and friends. Ok? So typically

  • what happens is people understandably test drive their messaging on the people they feel

  • most comfortable with. People they feel most comfortable with, family, friends, people

  • who share the same expertise. Well, then those people tell you that youre great and

  • because that’s what they want to do, they want to be supportive, and also they think

  • like you so theyre more inclined to think youre great and understand you. What you

  • really wanna do no matter if youre trying to get feedback on a product, on a book, on

  • your pitch for media, whether youre going into an interview, whatever it is, you wanna

  • test on people that don't share your expertise and aren’t your family and friends and don't