to Create a Bond With
by Burt Dubin
Bonding is creating a close and valued relationship. An ongoing
relationship. Let's look at a few dictionary definitions of
According to the Merriam-Webster, it's the state or character
of being related. The Random House calls it an emotional or
other connection between people. The Oxford says it's the
state of being related. I say it's all that goes on between
people, once they've connected.
We're going to look at your relationship with the decision-maker
who can hire you to speak or edutain. And we must first recognize
your most important relationship -- your relationship with
you. You're the best you there is. There will never be another
you. And you've got this one-way ticket -- to life. To your
life as a speaker. You've got your shot at making a difference.
And the better you relate with decision-makers, the more of
a difference you can make.
- So your first accountability is to yourself. You
are accountable for giving the very finest programs you
have in you. For stretching and growing constantly. To help
this happen, before you accept an engagement, ask qualifying
questions. Time, place, intention, theme, topic or issue,
your potential role. Be sensitive to the attitude of the
decision-maker. Ask yourself if this feels like a fit, feels
like it's right for you.
- Instead of pitching your services, analyze the possibilities
for a mutual exchange of values. Look for the chance
of long-term synergy rather than a one-time gig. For in-depth
connection. For relationship. At the very least you want
to know there will be referrals and recommendations flowering
from this program. You want this to be the beginning and
not the end. If there is to be no chance for introductions
to other decision-makers who can hire you -- as an outcome
of your giving your all, and doing a fine job -- then you
are accountable for seriously considering whether you want
this gig at all.
- You're accountable for your comfort level relating
with this decision-maker. Choose to do only those programs
that feel right to you. With groups you can be comfortable
with. For organizations whose policies you can admire. Whose
approach to their markets and their clients you can support.
And whose mission you want to serve. When you limit yourself
to working only with such clients, you'll enjoy the relationship
far more. (Why bother with any other kind?)
Put the cherry on the top:
Go the extra mile. It feels so g-o-o-o-d. Include
something extra. Always. Something not expected. Something
not required. Something above and beyond. A surprise that
delights the decision-maker -- and your audience, too. Here's
one of my favorites: I make an acronym out of the name of
the organization. I print it in bold letters on the left side
of an acetate. Then I conceive a slogan starting with those
letters. Sometimes a series of inspiring short phrases. Then,
pulling back masking tape, I reveal it a line at a time. Often
I close with this, including their meeting theme as my last
rousing words. After the program, I present that custom transparency
or slide to the decision-maker. That's relationship creation!
- Accept this truth -- decision-maker is already doing
her best. There may be imposed policies she can't change.
Maybe there are ritualized procedures she must use to keep
her job. Go along. Be detached about it.
- Do not invest emotion in outcomes. Be unconcerned
about whether or not you get a specific engagement.
- Offer your services at a fair fee. Have a "take
it or leave it" attitude. No one gig matters.
- Have resolute, impeccable, untouchable integrity.
It's not enough to simply do what you say you'll do. More
than that, be predictable and reliable in every way relative
to your word.
- Include a bit of fun. Light-hearted, with good-will
and tongue-in-cheek. Be a little off-the-wall when possible.
Be sure there's elation in your relationship.
- Say "Thank you." Express appreciation
and gratitude as often as possible. With the decision-maker.
With everyone. People talk. Word gets back that you're nice.
Decision-makers like to relate with nice people.
- Remember: you create, promote, or allow everything
that happens in your relationship with the decision-maker
-- and all others.