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How to Create a Bond With
Your Decision-Makers

by Burt Dubin

Bonding is creating a close and valued relationship. An ongoing relationship. Let's look at a few dictionary definitions of relationship:

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.

Your accountabilities:

  1. 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.
     
  2. 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.
     
  3. 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!

Ground Rules:

  1. 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.
     
  2. Do not invest emotion in outcomes. Be unconcerned about whether or not you get a specific engagement.
     
  3. Offer your services at a fair fee. Have a "take it or leave it" attitude. No one gig matters.
     
  4. 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.
     
  5. 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.
     
  6. 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.
     
  7. Remember: you create, promote, or allow everything that happens in your relationship with the decision-maker -- and all others.
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 © Burt Dubin
 1 Speaking Success Road
 Kingman, AZ 86402-6543
 928-753-5315

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