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The Messenger Behind the Message [Day 7 – 30 Days to Creating Irresistible Presesence]


This is Day 7 of 30 Days to Creating Irresistible Presence.  On Monday, Reese Spykerman gave us back so many incredibly valuable pieces of ourselves.  Elizabeth Marshall takes the spotlight today as she draws out the relationship between Creating Irresistible Presence and integrating your message with WHO you are as a messenger!  A must read if you want to stand out as a thought leader.

The Messenger Behind the Message

by Elizabeth Marshall | @lizmarshall

I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of Behind the Music.

In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, its the TV series that gives you the “inside story” about the musicians and bands behind all those pop/rock songs you love – and know by heart.

Each 60-minute episode features a different artist or band and tells the story of the struggles, hardships and life circumstances they faced along the road to success.  Along with the challenges, you get the inside scoop on their “big break” and defining moments that allowed them to go from no-name artist to pop culture superstar.

As the story unfolds over the hour-long episode, you also get a feel for the personality, worldview, values and overall character (or lack thereof) of that artist you love – or think you love – so much.

In other words, you get a glimpse of the musician behind the music…

At the end of the show, you either feel more drawn to their music or…well, less drawn to it as a result of peeking behind the curtain.

After all, it’s not just about the music, but about the artist and musicians who actually created it.  That person behind the song or album can either reinforce your love of their work or cause you to rethink why you liked them in the first place.

This is especially true if you imagine what it would be like to personally interact with your favorite pop star (as opposed to watching them on the screen).  Do you see yourself inviting them to dinner with friends, hosting them as a guest in your home, or even doing business with them in some way?

Here’s where it gets interesting…

Many of these pop/rock stars, as well as the celebrities, gurus, politicians, experts and leaders we like to follow (and even admire) from afar are not the same people we want to include in our everyday lives and in our business projects.  All judgments aside, there’s a difference between the people we follow out of fascination and interest and the people we actually turn to and trust for advice and guidance on how to grow our businesses and shape our lives to align with our vision and values.

But, when it comes to things like music, we don’t always care about the musician behind it all – or, at least, we don’t let their story derail us from listening to our favorite songs.

So, does the musician behind the music matter or not? I can see it both ways.

On the one hand, I proudly admit to liking a fair number of 80s hair-band ballads, rock anthems and hip-hop tunes by artists I don’t see myself inviting to my home for dinner – or seeking out for business or life advice. On the other hand, I must also admit to throwing away $700 worth of CDs (as a result of a brief phase I went through in college) after deciding the musician behind the music DID matter.

Now, let’s take this conversation another direction and apply it to this crazy online world of entrepreneurship and thought leadership we all inhabit.

Imagine there was a series like Behind the Music, except it wasn’t focused on music or artists at all, but on the world of ideas, messages and thought leadership.

In fact, it could be a show called “Behind the Message,” featuring your favorite authors, messengers, though leaders, and entrepreneurs, and give you the inside scoop on the ups and downs they’ve faxed along the path to success.  But, the show wouldn’t just chronicle the circumstances and situations they faced; instead, it would pull back the curtain on WHO they are as people – including whether they are authentic, generous, likeable and true to their message…or not…or some variation in between.

Now, if you could watch a show like my made-up Behind the Message series, would it:

  • Impact which messengers and thought leaders you choose to listen to and follow?
  • Change the way you feel about your favorite book or blogger?

In meeting and working with hundreds of authors and messengers personally (including many bestsellers), my experience is that the messenger behind the message DOES matter.

But, here’s the REAL question we should be asking ourselves…

Instead of watching our favorite blogger/messenger/author on the screen, imagine if our fans, followers and readers could watch a Behind the Messenger episode about US.

Would they like what they saw?  Would they want to follow us, buy our book, or hire us after getting the inside scoop about the WHO behind the message?

From where I sit, Irresistible Presence is about more than just your message (or book, brand, idea or business), but about YOU, the messenger.

In fact, creating Irresistible Presence happens when you have a:

  1. Message worth hearing – one that makes an impact on those who hear it
  2. Essence worth following – and overall BEINGnesss others want to be around

Granted, it’s important to have a compelling message.  In an overcrowded marketplace, you DO want your book and message to make a contribution – instead of adding to the noise.

But, assuming you have something great to say (which I know you do), your ESSENCE (or being-ness) makes all the difference in terms of whether your message is received – or discounted, dismissed or ignored.

You create Irresistible Presence when the messenger BEHIND the message is just as attractive (or even more so) than the message itself.

Although this Essence is not something you can buy, borrow, manufacture, steal or fake – like character, you either have it or you don’t – it is something you can cultivate and foster.

So, how do you take steps to strengthen your Essence?

Let’s take Les McKeown as an example of Irresistible Presence…

He’s got a compelling message – one that I truly believe every entrepreneur, business owner and leader needs to hear – and a GREAT book, Predictable Success. By itself, his message is making a difference.  In fact, thought leader David Allen read his book and immediately saw the value in applying his Predictable Success process to his business – quite a testimonial.  In addition, his book was recently named as a Wall Street Journal and US Today bestselling book!

That’s all fine and good, but the best part is getting to know the messenger behind the message.

Les is generous, authentic, and inspiring…I could go on.

Sadly, that’s more than I can say about some of the authors (including bestsellers) and thought leaders I’ve come to know over the past few years.

But, rather than lament that fact, let’s use Les as an example of 4 different ways you can cultivate a compelling Essence and Irresistible Presence:

1)    Are you a Go-Giver?

To borrow a concept from my colleague and friend, author Bob Burg, Les is definitely a Go-Giver. He’s generous and willing to give first, without expecting something in return.  Because of this attitude and mindset, he’s quickly built a loyal following and quality network of colleagues and strategic partners.  Because of WHO he is, colleagues and strategic partners GLADLY stepped up to support him during his book launch.

2)    How’s Your Likeability Factor?

Aside from being generous, Les is an all-around likeable guy.  In fact, he embodies the four personality traits that author Tim Sanders says contribute to our overall likeability – friendliness, relevant (being tuned into others’ interests or needs), empathy and realness (or authenticity).  To be clear, likeability is not about being fake or putting on a mask, but looking for ways you can be more kind, relevant and real – looking to Les as a great example of how your Likeability the spark to ingite the speed at which your message spreads!

3)    Are you Aligned With Your Message (aka Practicing What You Preach)?

Unlike some messengers who preach one thing and practice another, Les lives and breathes the practice of Predictable Success.  He applies the principles he uses with clients to his own business and life.  Because he’s aligned with his message, he’s not only a more attractive messenger, but a more credible one!

By the way, I could say the same about our dear Sarah Robinson 🙂 But, you already know that!

4)    Are You Willing to Admit Your Mistakes?

Although it’s generally accepted that “no one is perfect,” it’s not easy to admit mistakes and “own up” when you fall down.  It takes a dose of courage and humility to publicly say, “I screwed up,” which is exactly what Les was willing to do when his website went down during my call I hosted with him, Michael Port and David Allen.  Instead of making excuses, he instead made a joke about how he could have used the Predictable Success process to insure the website was prepared for the volume of traffic that day – increasing his Likeability Factor and making him more trustworthy in the eyes of those listening to the call.

Although there are many additional ways you can strengthen your Essence, here are four areas you can cultivate right away, so I encourage you to pick one of these and start cultivating away!

I don’t know about you, but I’m taking this post as an opportunity to polish up and strengthen my own Essence, as I believe we always have room to grow.

Want to join me?

– – –

Elizabeth Marshall is dedicated to helping messengers spread their message and sell their books.  She does that through her coaching, teleseminars, and out-of-the-box workshops, like Book Breakthrough NYC –

You can learn more about her by going to

P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  30 Days to Creating Irresistible Presence, please sign up here.

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