Creatives explore humans’ archetypal plots By Tim Nudd

You think you’re being all clever and original with your brand storytelling. In fact, you’re not. From Shakespeare to Spielberg to Soderbergh, there are really only seven different types of stories, an Advertising Week panel hosted by TBWA suggested on Wednesday. The challenge becomes finding which one best suits your brand, and then telling it skillfully, believably and—if you’re going to invite consumers to join in the story—extremely carefully.

TBWA’s global creative president, Rob Schwartz, led the discussion, which was based around author Christopher Booker’s contention, in his book Seven Basic Plots, that seven archetypal themes recur in every kind of storytelling. Booker looked at why humans are psychologically programmed to imagine stories this way. Schwartz and his two panelists, Droga5 executive creative director Ted Royer and novelist (and former agency creative) Kathy Hepinstall, focused on how the theory applies to brands—and how creatives can make use of it in developing persuasive stories for them.

Continued at Adweek >>

photo credit: jim pennucci


July 16-17 – Complete Communicator (one seat left!) with Terry Gault

The Complete Communicator work combines communication techniques in an intense, highly individualized, skills development program. Employees learn to communicate effectively one-on-one, in small groups, and standing before large audiences.


August 22 – Super Storytelling with Terry Gault

From that primitive stone-age tribe who sat around and listened to stories in their cave to today’s high tech sales force armed with the latest electronics, the art of storytelling survives. Stories capture attention and make information believable, memorable and understandable.


September 24-25 – Art of Presentation with Terry Gault

Using interactive methods, rather than lectured instruction, participants cultivate a personal style – a style that gains the audience’s attention through confident composure and meaningful interaction. Through the Henderson Group’s unique and proven feedback model, participants receive immediate feedback from instructors, peers and videotape, enabling them to rapidly learn, reflect and improve their presentation skills.


November 6-7 – Complete Communicator with Terry Gault

Over 95% of the workforce must interact with others in order to do their jobs, and communication skills are the number one factor affecting employee relationships with customers, superiors and colleagues.


December 11-12 – Art of Presentation with Terry Gault

Building rapport with an audience and moving them to action requires the ability to confidently present information that convinces and engages even the most skeptical customer. This intensive work educates and motivates participants to deliver high-impact presentations.

For more information please contact Chuck Kuglen at 415-292-7587


What Clients Say>>



Forward by Terry Gault

“I’ve never heard anyone speak about driving new business like this.  It feels like it could be game-changing for The Henderson Group.”

That’s what I thought in November of 2013 when I first heard RC Peck speak at BACN, where I’ve served on the board since April 2011.

We decided to start working with RC in January of 2014.  Here we are in July and not only did RC fulfill on his promise but we have been smashing our revenue goals all year. And yes, with less effort.

Hence, we are hosting a 60-minute Webinar on RC’s “Easy Conversation” process Wednesday, July 30th at 11 AM Pacific.

More on this after the article.


The three lies that keep you from getting more sales.
And the truth that will set you free.

I sometimes joke that three women raised me.

My mom and my two older sisters. Yes, I had a dad. But he was a workaholic, so even when he wasn’t traveling, and he traveled a lot, he would be focused on work when home.

You see, my dad was a career sales person. And he sold for a living. He worked for a company called Siemens Medical Systems. He sold Linear Accelerators, Magnetic Resonance Imaging machines and CAT scanners.

All I could remember growing up is that I did not want to be a sales person. I remember living through some pretty tight years even as a kid, when the sales didn’t fall my dad’s way. There seemed to be a lot of uncertainty in this whole sales-thing and I wasn’t too keen on it.

In fact, sales felt yucky to me and it seemed to load up a lot of anxiety in my body if I were ever to think about it, let alone do it.

So guess what happened?

I grew up.

Started my own company.

And realized that what I just did was become a full time sales person for my own business. It took me a while to realize this but once I did, I wanted to find a better way to sell. One that was extremely effective and had zero yucky emotions for me or the prospect.

So who is this article for?

If you have to bring people to make a choice in a conversation to work with you (or buy from you), then this article was possibly written for you.

It doesn’t matter if the title on your business card has the word “sales” in it or not.

If you have a service/product that is over $1,000 and have to bring people to buy it within a conversation, then you might find value here.

So let me ask you some questions…

Do you sometimes get anxious about having to sell?

Do you feel your service is worth more than what you charge?

Do you love what you do and “sell” because you have to?

Do you feel stuck at your current income despite doing what you’ve been taught?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions then you may have bought into one of the top lies that has kept you (and many others) from getting more and higher paying clients with less effort.

You see, I was sold a basket of lies about sales. And worst of all, I started telling myself these lies. And as you may know, it’s the lies you tell yourself that are the most damaging.

See if any of these three lies resonate with you…

Lie #1 = sales involves convincing.

The first lie I was told is that I must cause someone to believe firmly in the truth of my service. So, what did I do? When I would talk to people I would spend time and energy on what my services could do for them. I would tell them how amazing the service was and how this would help them.

I later learned that what I was doing was trying to convince them to buy. I’m not sure about you but I hate when someone is trying to convince me of something. In fact, most times this convincing thing distances me from the “convincer”.

You get it? Their convincing actually pushes me away.

And this is what happens in sales all the time. People, knowingly or unknowingly push prospects farther away by attempting to convince them how to solve their problems.

Lie #2 = sales involves cajoling.

The second lie I was taught by the “sales world” was that part of my job when selling was to persuade someone. Persuade them with sustained reasons why my solution was best for them.

The problem I found was this sustained persuading felt more like cajoling. This process felt like I was trying to further my own interest above theirs. It felt bad.

The problem was I didn’t really know what the prospect wanted. Yeah, I knew what they logically wanted. But getting to someone’s logical reasons never results in a sale.

All purchases, be it a candy bar, a flat panel screen TV, or a $1,000,000 consulting service happens when the buyer believes they will have an ‘emotional want’ filled.

And this is what happens in sales.

Sellers act a certain way towards prospects that puts the prospect back on their heels and makes them feel like they need to protect and defend themselves.  Sometimes this protecting happens consciously and sometimes it happens unconsciously.

When people are defending themselves they have their guard up and are most focused on survival (not buying). It’s hard for someone to buy when they are in defense mode don’t you think?

But that is what “sellers” are doing to their prospects all the time.

Lie #3 = sales involves concealing.

The third lie is that sales conversations are somehow different than people just having a conversation. I’m not sure where this lie started but I bought into it early.

I felt that somehow the sales conversation had to have all these “tactics” and “angles” and pressure. I was concealing that I wasn’t just having a conversation with someone.  I was concealing the fact that I was trying to “sell” them.

And that feels bad. It felt bad to me. And it felt bad to them.

See, I thought sales was about convincing, cajoling and concealing. When that didn’t produce I worked harder and bought more information.  You know, did the sales course thing.

No results.

Results come from somewhere beyond -  Something that I was unable to see.  I invite you to the possibility that there is something that you’re not able to see.  Something you don’t know that you don’t know. Something that is so obvious it’s hard to see.

The foundation of sales is conversation.  And understanding this one thing, is the truth that can set you free.

And the foundation of that conversation is curiosity and “Our-we-even-a-fit?” type thinking.

It sounds really simple.

I know that.

And in fact there is more to it…but not much more.

And it’s in getting past the logic and into the emotions of what that person really wants. And when you can have that interaction with the person in a conversation, then amazing things happen to your life and your company’s revenue.

-RC Peck


Hey everyone, Terry Gault again.

RC approached me with his 3 question sales technology at the end of last year.  I wanted what he was promising… increased revenue with less effort. So we hired him in January (six months ago).

Since that time, we’ve had our two best consecutive quarters and are on track to have our best year since Chuck and I bought the business in 2009.  Not only that but the process feels easy and I feel like I am spending less time on driving more revenue, not more.

You might have curiosity and want to talk to us about our experience and how our income has changed, if so the next step is easy. Give me a ring at 415-364-8377 or leave a comment below.

photo credit: Dimitris Papazimouris


I am not a fan of the standard Social Nicety Opening.

Imagine if you picked up a newspaper and read, “Hello, I am Bob Woodward.  Thanks for buying a newspaper today.  For the next 17 paragraphs, I’m going to be writing about the Obama Administration …”  It’s not a best practice for writing and not for presentations. Tying a compelling opening into your main point will grab audience attention and help your audience remember your message.

Yet, how often have you heard speakers open their talks with a variation on one of these openings:

  1. “Today, I want to talk to you all about our internal feedback system.  I think that we need to make some changes because … “ OR
  2. “Thanks for coming here today.  I know that you are all busy and I appreciate you taking the time.  My name is James T. Boring and I …”

These come across as soft, bland, and procedural and DO NOT grab attention.  In fact, they have the opposite effect.   Audiences are likely to start tuning you out, assuming that everything that follows will be as tedious and meaningless as your opening.

If you are using openings like this, you have no right to wonder why the smartphones and tablets emerge shortly thereafter.  You’ve been informed.

Work on crafting compelling opening hooks.    For more on how to craft compelling openings, the following posts will offer some great tips and advice, or better yet, joins us at a workshop.

This is the fourth in a series of Pet Peeves.  While the title includes “#4″, the numbering is NOT to be interpreted as any sort of ranking.  We’ll eventually aggregate my Pet Peeves into a ranked list.  I feel fairly confident this will be the first of many and a Top 10 List will not be hard to compile.  (Aarrgghh!!)

More Pet Peeves>>

photo credit: steve snodgrass

Want to ruin a presentation in seconds? Just drop in one of these sentences from

While it’s really hard to immediately win over a crowd, it’s really easy for a speaker to lose the room within the first few minutes of a presentation.

To make sure you don’t lose your audience, here’s Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten, serial entrepreneur and founder of TwitterCounter and The Next Web, with ten things you should never say during your presentations:

1. “I’m jet-lagged/tired/hungover.”

Not sure where this comes from, but one in five presentations at any conference starts with an excuse: “They only invited me yesterday,” or, “I’m really tired from my trip,” or some other lame excuse the audience really doesn’t want to hear.

We, the audience, just want to see you give it your best. If you feel like crap and can’t give it your best, maybe you should have cancelled. Take a pill, drink an espresso and kill it!

2. “Can you hear me? Yes you can!”

This is how many people start their talks. They tap a microphone three times, shout, “Can you all hear me in the back?” and then smile apologetically when it becomes clear that, yes everybody can hear them, but no one raised their hand.

It isn’t your responsibility to check the audio. There are people for that. (And if there aren’t, test the volume ahead of time.)

But if you do speak into the microphone and get the impression it’s not working, just relax, count to three, and try again. If you still think the sound isn’t working, calmly walk to the edge of the stage and discreetly ask the moderator to check for you.

Throughout, smile at the audience and look confident. Assume everything works until proven otherwise, then stay calm and wait for a fix.

3. “I can’t see you because the lights are too bright.”

Yes, when you are on stage the lights are bright and hot and it will be difficult to see the audience. But they don’t have to know about all that.

Just stare into the dark, smile often, and act like you feel right at home. Feel free to walk into the audience if you want to see them up close.

And don’t cover your eyes to see people but politely ask the lights person to turn up the lights in the room if you want to count hands or ask the audience a question. Even better, talk to the lights people in advance so they know when you will ask them to raise the lights.

10 Phrases Great Speakers Never Say Continued at >>

photo credit: Boston public library

I was thinking about the many people in transition we meet. They come to us for help in how they represent themselves (their product, service, company, etc.). They also seek help connecting to new opportunities or jobs.

I enjoyed this read and understand exactly about the “types” J.T. O’Donnell describes in her online article. Good solid read. Please let us know if you have any questions or needs around your own “representations” and where you’re headed. Stay in touch.

I met yet another job seeker in total denial this week. In spite of knowing he’s going to get laid-off by a large, high-profile employer who is unhappy with his performance, he can’t let go of some past career setbacks and is longing for the ‘good ole days’ when he was making huge money for being the guy everyone loved. An inventory of his current marketable skills, an assessment of his fragmented networking approach, and a review of his long list of demands in an employer, quickly made it clear he’s not going to find what he is looking for.I’ve seen many job seekers like this. They’re like Vince Vaughn’s character in the movie, “The Internship.” (This 1-minute clip is worth watching. It will make you laugh!)

Early Success As A Smooth-Talker Doesn’t Last

Some people develop the “gift of gab” early in life. It’s a wonderful skill to have. Knowing how to talk to strangers, make people feel comfortable in conversations, and develop relationships can greatly help any career. Especially, for young people just out of school. Their peers tend to be shy in professional situations which lets their inexperience show through. Those that communicate well often get ahead early because employers equate the ability to speak effectively with intelligence and aptitude. They hope hiring this type of entry-level professional will translate into being a good performer on-the-job. However, once hired, it can’t be the only skill you develop. Just because you give off great energy and people like you, doesn’t mean you are adding value to the organization that is employing you.

Fast Forward (A Decade+)….It Catches Up With You

The Vince Vaughn characters of the the professional world often use their communication savvy as a crutch. They know how to make things happen in their career by controlling the conversation, enabling them to score promotions and new jobs that pay well. They’re almost like a type of con-artist, skipping out on the hard work because the talking gets them the reward. We’ve all seen these men and women on the job. Everyone likes them, but over time, as it becomes clear they don’t do any of the heavy-lifting, the respect for them as a professional decreases. They forget: the older you get, the wiser you are supposed to appear. When you don’t have results to show beyond your stand-up routine, people will pass you over for jobs. When it comes to seasoned professional, employers want substance AND show – you need to be the total package!

Worst Part? He Knows The Show Is Over

When I told the job seeker I didn’t feel I could help him and that working with me wouldn’t be a good use of his money, he was silent. The intense energy he projected while telling me his story disappeared. Then he finally admitted, “I’m sad. I want my old career back and I know I can’t have it. I don’t see any way forward that will make me happy.” I felt bad for him. That’s a hard thing to admit. Seeing no future is scary to us all.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way for him, or anyone else.

3 Keys To Professional Success At Any Age

#1 – Accountability - When job seekers take accountability for their current situation and accept some choices they made along the way got them to a place they no longer want to be, they can finally release themselves from the denial that’s holding them back. Accountability isn’t about blaming oneself, it’s about objectively looking at what happened and learning from the past so you can plan a better future.

#2 – Open Mind - The next step is to free the mind of all the wrong assumptions and outdated beliefs the job seeker has about the process for getting hired. They need to clear the slate and start over to ensure they aren’t dismissing good opportunities that could get them back on track.

#3 – New Skills - Lastly, the job seeker must identify the new skills they want to develop that will make them attractive to current employers and keep them in-demand in the future. Finding that area of expertise they want to develop will ensure they are valued and respected for the right skills.

PS – Don’t Let Denial Stall Your Job SearchThe biggest job search mistake I see people make is staying in denial about their situation. Consider getting help. If you aren’t fixing the problem yourself, then you most likely never will. It’s time to accept something isn’t working and look for resources that will give you new insights into how you can fix it. There’s no Career Fairy Godmother. But, there are plenty of educational tools available to help you.

photo credit: COD Newsroom

Sometimes you absolutely have to make your point. Here are 7 tips on how to do it effectively with style and grace from

While many people don’t like to sell, most find themselves having to persuade someone at some point. Persuasion is not just for salespeople and their prospects. You may try to persuade an employee to perform better, or perhaps you want to persuade your boss to take on your brilliant idea. Often the most effective persuaders are your kids. Somehow they come by it naturally while you, the adult, has to work hard to find the persuasive path to success.

Whatever your persuasive need, here are 7 things that the most persuasive people consistently do:

1. They Are Purposeful

Truly persuasive people understand their power and use it sparingly and knowingly.  They understand that most conversations do not require trying to get someone to do or accept something. Aggressive pushers are a turn-off and will put most people on the defensive. It’s the person who rarely asks or argues that ultimately gets consideration when they strongly advocate an idea, especially when they do it with power and persistence.  Simply put, they pick their battles. Want to persuade more? Argue and advocate less often.

2. They Listen … and Listen … Then Listen Some More

People who know how to persuade also know that just pushing your own argument will get you nowhere. They certainly are able to articulate their position in a convincing way, but that is only half the equation. They are actively listening when in persuasion mode. First, they are listening to assess how receptive you are to their point of view. Second, they are listening for your specific objections, which they know they’ll have to resolve. Last, they are listening for moments of agreement so they can capitalize on consensus. Amazingly persuasive people are constantly listening to you and not themselves.  They already know what they are saying. You can’t persuade effectively if you don’t know the other side of the argument.

3. They Create a Connection

It’s easy to dismiss people who are trying to persuade you if you have no emotional stake in them or their argument. Really persuasive people know this, so they will be likeable and look for common ground to help establish emotional bonds and shared objectives. They show empathy for your position and make it known that they are on your side. They manage their impatience and wait for you to give them permission to advocate their approach. You’ll persuade people much more easily if they are open and aligned with your desires.

Continued – 7 Things Really Persuasive People Do at >>

photo credit: mystuart



by Terry Gault

If you don’t know by now, I am a Car Guy.  In particular, the Tesla Model S makes me drool like Homer Simpson.

And The Oatmeal is one of the most consistently funny internet resources.

When I started reading this piece in The Oatmeal (or should it be “by The Oatmeal”?) about his experience as a Tesla S owner, I started laughing and smiling (and drooling, of course).  (That dude Pavlov knew what he was talking about.)

It was a no-brainer that I needed to share this with EVERYONE WHO HAS ACCESS TO THE INTERNET.

Enjoy and share, readers!


by Terry Gault

This is the third in a series of Pet Peeves.  While the title includes “#3″, the numbering is NOT to be interpreted as any sort of ranking.  We’ll eventually aggregate my Pet Peeves into a ranked list.  I feel fairly confident this will be the first of many and a Top 10 List will not be hard to compile.  (Aarrgghh!!)

One of my pet peeves is when I hear people (generally in demos) saying, “I am just going to go ahead and …”  It distracts and bugs me.

First, I find it distracting when I hear future-based language.  Using present-tense language is more immediate and effective, in my experience.   “I am” is more compelling than “I am going to” for example.

Second, “go ahead” is such a weird affected phrase – yuk!

Think of the Gary Cole character, Bill Lumburgh in “Office Space” famous for such fatuous, passive-aggressive lines as “Ummm, I’m gonna need you to go ahead come in tomorrow. So if you could be here around 9 that would be great, mmmk… oh oh! and I almost forgot ahh, I’m also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday too, kay. We ahh lost some people this week and ah, we sorta need to play catch up.

Please just go ahead and drop “I am going to” and “go ahead” from your vocabulary.


by Terry Gault

I was getting bored with my standard, tired email sign-offs and did a Google search to find a source for some alternatives.  This piece from Forbes magazine fit the bill nicely.

One day last fall, my colleague Miguel Morales received an email with a sign-off that was so strange, it has stuck in his mind for the last year. It came from Melissa Geisler, who works in digital sports programming and production at Yahoo. Below Geisler’s title and above her cell phone number was this mystifying quote: “The Bird is equal to or greater than the Word,” attributed to someone named, simply, “scientist.”

With this and other strange sign-offs in mind, Miguel suggested I tackle the subject of how best to conclude an email. I polled colleagues, friends and four people I’d consider experts, including Cynthia Lett, 55, a business etiquette consultant in Silver Spring, MD. Below is their combined wisdom and some commentary of my own. I offer four rules and a long list of potential sign-offs.


photo credit: C x 2