September 26, 2023
October is almost here and that means uniting your team for the final quarter of 2023! In our latest podcast, Richard Newman, an award-winning expert in leadership communication, shares tried-and-true tips that you can implement into your strategy now to influence your team and positively impact your brand’s bottom line. From storytelling to personal presence, here are the insights that have kept Newman’s business in a state of growth for 20+ years.
[00:00:00] Rochelle Reiter: This is The 19, a 19 minute or less podcast that brings you marketing insights aimed at improving lives presented by Orange Label, the leading response marketing agency for wellness brands that grow when their customers do. Hello and welcome to The 19, I’m Rochelle Reiter, President of Orange Label. Today we’re picking back up with Richard Newman on marketing and communication tips that can help you positively impact your team and achieve your goals. So let’s get started!
[00:00:33] Rochelle Reiter: So whether we like it or not, we’re always marketing to our internal teams at our companies and our external audiences. What real role do you believe that leaders play in ensuring that a company’s marketing message aligns with its mission, vision, and values?
[00:00:52] Richard Newman: Yeah. when you have a company that talks about their mission, vision, and values, often you’ll see these where they are sent out in maybe a memo, an email of some sort. Or you even get them engraved in the, foyer of the company’s headquarters. This is what it is, and people feel highly disconnected, from that. And, as an example of that,Enron who had the famous massive collapse, going back a few years. In their foyer was their top four values and the number one was integrity. And it’s a company that fell apart ’cause they didn’t have any. so it’s so important that we actually bring those to life as leaders because like I was saying earlier, people buy people. And so we want to understand the story from our leaders because if we can go in the direction of following them and we believe in those stories from them, then you can repeat them. So to look at the, how we engage with people on this. This is something that always gets a reaction at, conferences. I’ll often get booked to speak at a conference where my team and I will go and we’ll be speaking on the final day of the event, and this is what I’ll say that always gets a great reaction, I’ll say to them, so I. You remember the last year’s conference, I’m sure that when you were last doing your leadership event, your leadership conference, away day, that you came up with some great ideas, didn’t you? They’re like, yeah, yeah, we absolutely did. I said, did you come up with sort of some brainstorming, some fantastic initiatives that were gonna happen? Yes, we did. Fantastic. And I said, did you notice how you got back? Through the office and you suddenly realize, because you’ve been away for a couple of days, you’ve got 200 emails waiting for you, and there’s 17 meetings that you missed out on, and you think, ah, those, yeah, those initiatives about our mission, vision, and values, we must get on with it, but I need to get back to work. And a year later you realize you’ve done nothing about it and there’s suddenly this’s groan in the room of thinking, oh yeah, that’s true. We maybe we sent out an email about this stuff, but did we do anything about it? I’m not sure we did. So I say to them, my aim for them is to give them the tools so they can have. So that whatever their current mission, vision, and values is, they are able to cascade that message in a way that it connects with people, that it’s concise, it’s utterly compelling, and it’s meaningful for the person they’re speaking to, not just the person who’s on the leadership retreat or in the leadership brainstorming that comes up with the values, but it actually connects with people. And so the way that you do that is through telling a story that is all about the other person. It’s not about the leaders, it’s not about the KPIs. It’s not about the number of the amount of profit you want to hit by the end of five years time. It is all about the individuals in the organization. So it becomes their story. And so you can talk about what the vision is, what their place is on the mission. And you can think about this in terms of, Mission Impossible, where suddenly you get Ethan Hunt where he realizes, there’s the world needs to be saved from some sort of, existential threat. And there’s always an utterly compelling scene where he gathers people together and he talks about his vision about this greater world where everyone’s going to be safe. And everyone in the room is waiting to think, what is my part of this mission? What am I going to do? How am I going to be involved? And there was even one of these where Benji, played by the brilliant, Simon Peg is told by Ethan, your job is go home and don’t do anything about it. He says, no, Ethan, I want to be in this mission. You’re gonna tell me what I’m gonna do in this mission. And because I believe in you and I believe in your values, and I’m here for you. So that’s really what the leaders need to do is to have a powerful vision they can state in a story that they say in a compelling way is meaningful for them, but also meaningful for the people such that they want to be involved in that mission.
[00:04:15] Rochelle Reiter: I love it. Okay, so now in terms of personal presence, what qualities do you believe leaders should have to effectively drive performance in their teams?
[00:04:24] Richard Newman: this is something that, I’ve been fascinated by for years because, when I was younger I would look at people who have this presence and this gravitas, these actors or sometimes politicians, people in the public eye, they walk on stage, they walk on screen, and people think, wow, look at this person with this presence and gravitas. And I look through all sorts of books and research that had been done over decades to figure out, what. Is it actually, can I teach it? Because clients would come to me saying, I wanna have that presence, that gravitas, that charisma. I’m not sure how to do it. And so we built up a bunch of techniques that we were teaching for people that within the space of about 30 minutes, we could transform them to the place where they would have presence. And their colleagues would say, what did you do to this person? And we’d say it’s just a couple of techniques. And so we really wanted to prove it though. So in 2016, we worked with the University College of London and the head of psychology there, which is Professor Adrian Ham, who’s published over a thousand papers on, influence presence, non-verbal impact for leaders, throughout his 35 year career. He’s one of the top psychologists in the world, and we worked with him. And it’s so funny when I put together the study with him,the first version of this study I came out with, or I said, we’re gonna prove. What, what is needed to be done non-verbally to create presence. And he laughed at me and he said, this isn’t gonna work. And it took 18 months for us to devise a study that would be absolutely irrefutable, and we put it together. We’ve ran this for over 2000 people, took part in our study from all over the world, across Europe, Asia, across the Americas as well. People aged from 18 to 65. And we essentially what we did is we showed them a video of someone speaking to them, and at the end of the video they had to rate how much presence did this person have? How much gravitas, are they a good leader? Would you be persuaded by them? Would you vote for them in an election? A whole range of different pieces. And they saw one video and gave us their answers. What they didn’t realize is we did a whole range of different videos. In some of the videos, the person was a man and sometimes it was a woman. They might have lighter skin or darker skin. They might be older or younger. We changed all these variables to figure out is this truly universal? And what we found out, in every video I. They wore the same clothes and they said exactly the same words. Now, firstly, what we found out is it didn’t matter, what the gender was to the person who was in the video. It didn’t matter what their age was or their skin color was. It made no significant difference to our results, which was a big surprise to us. I. It also didn’t matter if we showed the video to an 18 year old in Mumbai or a 65 year old in California. We were getting the same results, so we were, we were able to prove it was universal. What we did find, though, is there was a couple of small changes that any human being can make where you can go into your next meeting, you say the same words, you wear the same clothes, but by making a couple of simple shifts, you can increase the number of people convinced by what you’ve said by 42%. You can increase the number of people who think you’re a good leader by 44%, and you can also increase the number of people who’d vote for you in an election by 58% just by changing a couple of simple things, going from the most common habits that people have every day and going across to the, the most effective use of your body language. And what I loved about it, what we essentially proved is it wasn’t about learning. manipulation techniques. It wasn’t about that sort of thing. It was actually about stripping back habits that most people have in day-to-day life that they’re not aware of. And coming back to the way we are born to stand, the way we’re born to gesture, the way we’re born to breathe, move, and speak. And when you get back to that, there’s this authenticity that suddenly happens where we look at the person, we think, wow, they’re so congruent. Their body language, voice, and words is all going in the same direction. I’m utterly engaged with this person. This person has present. And so it, that’s something I encourage people to thoroughly work on because most people are not aware of the habits they have that are pulling them away from that sense of congruency and presence
[00:08:10] Rochelle Reiter: So I’m dying to know what these, tips are. so as we look on when we’re in a virtual environment. So how would you say. That we can address a virtual like we’re doing right now, environment and really increase our personal presence, on video?
[00:08:29] Richard Newman: Sure. so some simple things to do here. and this is coming off the back of before 2020. My team had never taught people how to do virtual communication. We hadn’t done it ourselves, but we’re blessed with having four people on our team who are either current or former B B C presenters who’ve been on live TV for, decades. And so they shared with us very simple tips that everyone can use. simplest ones to think about is height, light and the rule of thirds. So highlight and the rule of thirds. the first piece to look at is height. Now, this is something where I’m sure everybody’s experienced since the pandemic, where people got hired, where they hadn’t met anyone face to face. They’re working virtually. And then eventually one day you come into the office and you look at people who think. Wow, you’re much taller than I thought you’d be.
[00:09:10] Rochelle Reiter: Yeah!
[00:09:10] Richard Newman: than I thought you’d be. Wow. What is going on there? And this is something that you can change on camera, like I can do it for you now, for anybody who’s watching the video rather than just listening audibly. So this is what happens is most people, when they set up their virtual environment, you’ll see that their head is in the. In the bottom half of the screen and suddenly I look like I, I’ve shrunk. I’m a short person in this position, but anybody can suddenly become six foot tall if they want to be. I’m actually six foot three. not that you can tell with me necessarily being here, but you can go up to it. where if you get your place, on the screen where you get to the place where your head is just slightly down from the top of the shot and suddenly. You appear to be a taller person and we encourage people to do what we would say to do anyway, in, in day-to-day life is to lift your posture. You wanna be upright in your posture, slightly lift the sternum, which is the center of the chest plate here, and get to that position where gravity’s going straight down in your body rather than going off to one side. I see too many people on virtual calls, they’re leaning off on one side, and if you’re leaning to one side, you are. Physically a pushover, meaning that if someone nudged you, you’d fall over. So you wanna get your, body in a position where you are nicely positioned with your eyes one third down from the top of the shot. So most people I see have their eyes about, halfway down of the midway point on the video. So you wanna make sure that your eyes are one third down from the top of the shop, a simple photography rule of thirds, and then we can think about where is the camera though. so I, I’ve demonstrated like moving me, but what if we move the camera? Now I’m hoping that this is going to work. If I switch around my cameras, this is what most people do. If I go across to FaceTime for a second on the video, is that gonna work? There we go. So this is what happens for most people is that they’ll be using FaceTime. So anyone listening in, I’ve switched to a FaceTime camera on a laptop that’s down on a desk, and this is what people do. They have the camera down on the desk. So I’m now looking down on the person I’m speaking to. It can seem slightly aggressive, slightly threatening in this position, like I’m talking down. and so the idea is you want to have the height of the camera. The same height as your eyes. ’cause if you get that, then you get eye to y communication. Now I can go across to a slightly less fancy camera if I come across to my webcam that I started to use at the beginning of the pandemic. And we get, this is okay, this is all right. This only costs like 20 bucks or something. And so it’s decent, but unfortunately it has this auto focus. So it’s like starts to pop the shot, back and forth. So if we go back to my main camera and suddenly we’ll see, this is the impact of having an S l R camera plugged in. Through a different source. So aiming to get your eyes one third down is fine, but you also want to measure the height from your webcam to the desk and the height from your eyes to the desk. It needs to be the same height. Otherwise, you look like you’re looking down on people or looking up to people. You wanna have that piece. And then of course, light. So this is something that’s so common these days, where I often see people where there’s a window behind them or a very bright light source behind them, and so they get to that position of being in the dark and they look like they’re in the witness protection program ’cause you just can’t see, their face very much. So instead, what we need to do, what I’ve done here for anybody watching on the video is that I’ve got light coming towards me from this direction. Now in my background, I’ve got something. Interesting for people to look at, but you’ll notice that just behind my head is the darkest patch of my background that allows me to pop out. And also I’m, I’m wearing a light colored shirt. If I wear something dark colored, I tend to blend more into the background. So much like yourself, Rochelle, you’ve got a gray background and a pink top, and suddenly it makes you pop out and it’s more engaging to look at. So that gives you a little bit around height, light. And rule of thirds. The last piece that I’ll say, which is critical in person or virtually, is that you’ll notice I’m gesturing. So I’ve positioned my camera in a place where I can gesture on camera, and so many people say, I can’t engage people online. they just don’t answer my questions. And I say to them, have you positioned your camera such that people can see your hands? Because if you’re in person, what you’ll do is you’ll gesture and say, Hey, do you have any thoughts on this? What? What are your thoughts? who wants to contribute to this part of the conversation? And you show them palms up and people know that palms up means you are invited into the conversation. But if you’re in a position where people can’t see your hands, you say, you know who wants to join this conversation? Who’s got some thoughts? They’ll look at you and think, I’m not seeing the signal. There’s no palms up. So subconsciously I’m not gonna respond. It’s a rhetorical question. So you need to make, be able to do palms up, but also to be able to do palms down. Which is showing people a strong statement such as this is definitively the best way forward. We must finish this by two o’clock on Friday. It’s a palms down position that tells people something that is specific and really good for leaders to give strong messages, convincing messages, more serious messages, just by having a slight palms down that people can see, on camera. So there’s are simple things that people can use every day.
[00:13:53] Rochelle Reiter: That’s great. I was gonna get to that. Okay. What can you give me in person? And you just did, so that’s great. Um, so, If you could leave our listeners with one piece of advice on how to lift their brand. You have a book and it has the word lift in it, so we wanted to use that. What would it be?
[00:14:12] Richard Newman: Yeah, so this is something that I’ve been really keen to figure out for people,for years, is to figure out, how do they lift their personal impact, but also their brand impact? And the key piece that I would leave people with is simply to listen. Now, I’ve seen this with growing a brand, a growing a business for the last 23 years. I’m sure many people have where they come up with an idea for a product and or service, and they think. This is gonna be amazing. Everyone’s gonna love this and it flops. And why is that? Because they weren’t really listening. And so,the key in building my business, which I’m super proud of, that it’s grown every single year for 23 years. Going through the 2008 financial crisis where people weren’t really booking soft skills and training and conferences going through 2020, which entirely shut down the live events industry. We’ve grown. Every single year. And part of that is through thoroughly listening and figuring out, rather than thinking what do I want to sell or what do I want this to be hearing from people? What do they want us to be? What do they want our brand to be? how do they want to be a part of that? ’cause then they feel connected with the creation and the growth of the company, in some way. so for example, in 2019, if we go back to that, The business model that we had was that 70% of our work required us getting on an airplane to go and work with our clients overseas. And all of our work required being in person and every part of that was canceled. And so it got to the beginning of, March, 2020 when everything in our pipeline was gone. We didn’t have a single source of income. We had a really expensive London office. Lots of people on the payroll and people were coming to me saying, Richard, we’re going out of business. Just be honest, how soon is it before we’re bankrupt? And because there’s a lot of money going outta the business and there’s nothing coming back in. And there was somebody in my company who came to me and said, look, we have to refuse to pay our taxes. we need to fire people, and we need to take out big government loans, otherwise we will never survive. And I said, I’m not going down that route. That’s a mindset and a story. Here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna listen to our clients. And so I booked in conversations with, I think I spoke to, maybe 40 different clients in the space of about three weeks where I was, talking to them saying, how are you feeling at the moment? what’s happening for you, based on this challenge that we’re all going through? What do you need? Is there a way that we can support you and serve you at this time? ’cause we’ve had a great relationship with you for so many years. what do you really need from us? And we listened to them and based on listening to them, we then delivered something for them that would help them through the biggest challenge that they’d ever faced, let alone the challenge we were facing. And helping them through that challenge in ways we’d never even thought of before, meant that year became our highest turnover ever, our highest profit that we’d ever had, even though everything had been deleted from our pipeline, and it came through the power of listening. So I would always say to people, don’t come up with grand ideas. Listen to people, figure out what they want, figure out what they need and how you can do that based on, your values and your brand way of doing things in a way that really, truly listens and connects with them.
[00:17:01] Rochelle Reiter: Richard, I have to say that this has been so insightful and, really ties into what we do for brands and people at Orange Label, so thank you so much for sharing your insights today. it’s been fantastic.
[00:17:13] Richard Newman: Thank you. I really appreciate it.
[00:17:14] Rochelle Reiter: Thank you for listening to The 19 with Author and CEO of UK Body Talk, Richard Newman. For more insights on leadership communication, check out Richard’s book Lift Your Impact on LiftYourImpact.com/thebook. To learn more about Orange Label’s strategy, data analytics, media, social content and design services, visit orangelabelmarketing.com. A special thank you goes out to our contributors Creative Services Director, Kelsey Phillips. Copy and Content Strategist Ashley Andreen and Design and Sound Director Micah Panzich. Be sure to subscribe to The 19 Marketing Podcast by Orange Label on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast and Spotify, and leave us a review!