In case you haven’t noticed, it’s presidential primary
season. There are any number of reasons to pay attention to primaries, one of
which is you can learn a lot about leadership communications strategies and
tactics by watching how the candidates do what they do. The most successful
ones tend to go both broad and deep with their communications. They send
messages to very large groups of people while at the same time try to establish
personal connections with individuals.

Sometimes it’s a coffee klatch for a small group and other
times it’s a rally for thousands. Sometimes it’s standing for hours taking
selfies with a line of supporters and other times it’s giving a big speech to
mark out their positions and platform. Sometimes it’s a text message or phone
call and sometimes it’s a 30 second television ad on what seems like every
commercial break.

Successful candidates are masters of both retail
communications (the coffee klatches and selfies) and wholesale communications
(the rallies and ad campaigns). Retail and wholesale communications have
applications far beyond politics. The distinction definitely has importance for
leaders of any kind of movement or large organization.

Here’s a rundown of the similarities and differences between
retail and wholesale communications and some ideas to consider as you work out
your leadership communications game plan.

Many Channels, One Strategy:  Choosing a retail or a wholesale
communications channel depends on the need, the reach and the moment.  Either way, the channels and the approaches
within them need to be tied to an overarching strategy. A simple framework for
building a communications strategy can rest on three questions that you keep
coming back to:

What? – What are you trying to
accomplish?So What? – Why does it matter and why
should people care? (And, by the way, what do they already care about?)Now What? – What do you want people to do
next? What do you want them to know or think? How do you want them to feel?

Narrowcasting or Broadcasting? Narrowcasting is
another way to think about retail communications. It allows you a lot of
opportunity to tailor your “So what?” to individuals or small groups of people
with common interests. It gives you the chance to be more nuanced in your
messaging. Broadcasting is a wholesale communications approach. It’s delivered
through online and offline channels that can reach a lot of people at once.
It’s best used for establishing themes and value propositions that can fit on
the proverbial bumper sticker. Highly effective communications campaigns use a
combination of narrowcasting with key influencers and broadcasting to the
larger group.

Simplicity vs. Complexity – Building off the
narrowcasting and broadcasting distinction is the need to hit the sweet spot on
the spectrum of simplicity vs. complexity in your messaging. As a general rule,
simple messaging (again, think bumper stickers) is the way to go when you need
to wholesale your communications. You can definitely be more nuanced and
complex in your retail communications but be careful not to make the messaging
too complex. The human brain can only process a limited amount of ideas at any
one time. Make your points for sure, but keep them short and memorable. Simple
and familiar analogies help a lot on that last point.

Adjust Your Energy Dial – As a general rule, the
bigger the room, the bigger your energy needs to be. This point was driven home
to me years ago by a client. My natural energy setting is friendly but low key.
I’m not usually going to be the loudest voice in the room. When I was getting
started in my career as a speaker 15 years ago, I had a client organization
where I spoke to 40 or 50 high potential leaders three or four times a year.
Sometimes those sessions went great and other times they were kind of flat and
I never really understood why it went one way or the other. After watching me
in action a few times over the course of a year, my client contact gave me some
incredibly valuable feedback. She said, “I notice that when the group has a lot
of energy, you have a lot of energy. And, when the group starts out kind of
flat, you’re flat. I need you to lead the energy of the room, not be led by the
energy of the room.” That’s something I worked on for several years and I’ve since
learned to adjust my energy to lead the people in the room toward a particular
outcome. That lesson has a lot of application to effectively using both retail
and wholesale communications. The more intimate channels of retail
communication usually call for a level of energy projection that is appropriate
to the room. You want to hit the sweet spot and not overdo it. In the wholesale
communication scenario of much bigger rooms where you can’t make eye contact
with everybody there, you almost always need to dial up your energy. The goal in
big rooms is not an inauthentic version of you; it’s a bigger version of you.

CTA’s Beat FYI’s – One thing we know for sure about
communications in 2020 is that people aren’t going to stay with you very long
if you don’t keep them engaged. CTA’s (calls to action) almost always beat
FYI’s (you know what that means). Whether you’re using a retail or wholesale
communications channel, your messaging needs to be delivered in a way that
encourages interaction and/or action between you and the audience, within the
audience, from the primary audience to other audiences and especially within
the minds of individual audience members. No matter what communications channel
you’re using, always be thinking about the Now What? What do you want the
audience to know, think, do, feel or believe? What’s your CTA both during and
after the communications event?

So, that’s a recap of some my experiences and observations
on the ways successful leaders use both retail and wholesale communications.
What have I missed? What do you agree or disagree with? What’s one takeaway
that you intend to act on?

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It’s excruciating when we know what’s killing us but we can’t do anything about it because as you know, it is not easy to pull the brake on a high way. According to Napoleon Hill, “remember this always – the best (and one might say the only) way in which old habits may be removed is to form new habits to counteract and replace the undesirable ones”.

Meaning the desire to kill a habit is not all we need, rather, we need something to counter it. Therefore, before you think about getting rid of that habit, find another habit to replace it. Because it’s the emptiness we feel when we try to kill a habit that keeps pulling us back to it.

So after making the decision to kill an old habit, and you’ve found a new one to take its place, here’s how you can easily get the new habit to take precedence;
1. Add enthusiasm to it

After defining the new habit that will take you to that place where you wish to be, to that height you wish to reach, that goal you desire to achieve, the next thing to do is to add enthusiasm to it. By adding enthusiasm, we can feel the emotions around having that goal come to pass, and dwell on them.

Write down how it will feel at the end of the day when you’ve finally achieved that thing. Then start expressing the emotions. If you can’t feel and see yourself being happy with the result, chances are, you’re not going to want to do what you have to do.

“Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.” – Sean Covey

2. Focus all your attention on it

Before anyone can truly focus their mind on anything, they have to remove that thing which is on the way. And the one thing on the way is that old habit. When the thought of doing that thing which you used to do comes, remind yourself that the old habit is not going to take you where you want and this new habit is going to bring you more joy and help you live better. So when the thought of the old habit comes around, remind yourself of this new habit and concentrate all your attention on it.

3. Think about the new habit more often

Similar to the second point, the more you think about the new habit, the more you feel inclined to do what you have to do, or get where you want to go. This is the part where using timed affirmations comes in handy. Write down your new habit and read or remind yourself of it morning, afternoon and night or as much as you can. While reminding yourself about this new habit, think about the end goal, because that’s what will make the new habit seem less stressful.

4. Don’t go looking back

Sometimes, we tell ourselves “we’re just going to take a look, and we won’t do anything”. The more you take a look, the more you realize how much you miss it and more prone to doing it “maybe just once”.

So cut all ties with that old habit. Don’t keep any friends that still engage in that habit. Don’t be in the circle, avoid even talking to them when they’re performing that habit. The more you try the new habit the stronger you become, but the resistance to get back becomes weaker if you still pay attention to it.

“Your habits will determine your future.” – Jack Canfield

5. Have mini goals for the day, week and month

The more visible it seems that we’re moving toward a course, the more determined and motivated they become. And that’s why you should set mini-goals that will help you feel that you’re making progress. Because if you don’t feel you’re making progress, then there’d be more reasons to go back to the old habit.

Let’s say you want to form the habit of reading a book. Set little goals such as, read 2 pages every day, 10 pages at the end of the week and 40 pages at the end of the month. This way if you feel demotivated on the third day, you’d realize you’re 70% there which will force you to do more.

As you repeatedly perform these acts, with time, you won’t have to consciously remind yourself that you have to perform them rather, your body will force you every time to carry them out without stress.

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If the last 20 years has taught us anything it is that we have no idea what the next 20 will hold. That being said, we can focus on the road ahead of us, and make a plan and execute it on a higher level than last year. As we close out this decade and move into what is without a doubt one of the most exciting times for technology, entertainment and entrepreneurs, we need to keep a few things in mind to crush it in 2020.

Here are 4 strategies to keep you ahead of the game in the new year:
1. Stop being a CEO

This is not a delegate better, or be the best leader suggestion. Literally, stop calling yourself a CEO. This last decade has shown that anyone can call themselves an expert, and prove it with some good videos and amazing posts. Endless amounts of people had an idea this last decade and called themselves a CEO right out of the gate, and really never did anything worthy of the title. Tim Ferriss talks about this in the 4-hour work week. defines a CEO as a chief executive officer, the highest-ranking person in a company or other institution, ultimately responsible for making managerial decisions. You really want to stand out? Identify yourself by your true role in your company. The title of CEO is something that should be earned, even if it’s your own company.

If you are looking to start off 2020 as a new entrepreneur, don’t make this mistake. Go with Vice President and set a goal to earn your own promotion. If you have been doing this for a while and it works for you great, keep it up. If not, you may want to consider a demotion in the new year and set a goal to achieve the title so you can show real growth.

I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.” – John D. Rockefeller

2. Podcasts will be the new professional network

LinkedIn has proven to be an amazing way to grow your professional social network, and this past year it showed it’s also a great place to generate business. That being said the word is out and the space is getting crowded. The new professional network and social proof in 2020 will be your podcast, and who’s podcast have you been a guest on.

More and more you can see people who seemed untouchable not sitting down and doing some big TV network interview to get traction, they are guesting on a bunch of podcasts. The more podcasts you can be a guest on, the more you will establish yourself as an expert in your industry. In addition, a podcast is a great way to reach up and down the corporate and social ladder to make that next level connection you are looking for.

Thanks to today’s technology, the barrier to entry to start a podcast is not that difficult. Many applications out there can get you on all the major platforms at no cost. Also, if time is an issue, many people are offering this as a service and it can really enhance your social media presence. As Gary Vaynerchuk has been saying for the better part of 2 years, “voice is the next big thing”.

3. Write an article every week on LinkedIn

Yes, we just talked about LinkedIn getting crowded, but another way to stand out is publishing an article on LinkedIn. Consider your next 3 paragraph post you are going to put on LinkedIn and publish it as an article. It shows up on your feed as a published article, and it looks different than all the other post people are putting out there.

It can be more specific about your product or service too because it is an article and that is what people expect from articles. You are also putting yourself in the space with many influencers on LinkedIn who are doing the same.

Not sure what to write? Go with hot topics in your industry or information about your product or service that could be helpful to someone who wants to learn more. If you’re still hitting a wall, see what is trending on LinkedIn and join in the conversation. Combine this with your podcast and your voice just got clearer and louder on social media.

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” – Abraham Lincoln

4. Be you

This sounds simple, but it is something many people take for granted. Social media is no longer new, it has traction. People can now see your past and present, if the two don’t match up that is going to raise major read flags. The old saying has not changed over the last 20 years, and it is still true, people do business with people they know, like and trust.

The bot that generates leads is not going to help you make the connection with your next big customer. If you are going to cold message someone, take some time to explore their website, social media and podcast. That human connection can save you more time than any automated system can.

As we will automate the simple things in our life in the new decade, banking, food shopping and other things we don’t need to leave the house for anymore, people will have more time to make connections and establish authentic relationships. This is your chance to get out from behind the keyboard and get in front of people who can help you achieve your goals.

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