Today’s case study (and our first guest post) comes from Jill Savage, an author and speaker who is passionate about encouraging families. Jill is the CEO of Hearts at Home, a non-profit that seeks to encourage, educate, and equip moms. She has written nine books including Professionalizing Motherhood, My Heart’s At Home, Real Moms…Real Jesus, and her most recent release No More Perfect Moms.
I tend to be a lone ranger.
I’m an introvert which means that I am refueled by being alone. Many introverts are also internal processors. Rarely discussing an issue with others, I think through every angle of a challenge in order to determine how to proceed. My internal processing drives my husband crazy because I’ve been known to internally process a decision we need to make about home and family and then announce to my husband the decision that we—I mean I—have made.
When it comes to my writing and speaking, I have most often operated out of my introvert/internal processor tendencies.
Until this past year.
That’s when I learned about the power of collaboration for speaking and writing.
On February 1, 2013, my ninth book was released. No More Perfect Moms is my first book created by collaboration. Most of the concepts in the book came out of conversations I’ve had with people at my speaking engagements, on my blog, and on Facebook. They asked questions that caused me to think. They shared thoughts that generated creativity. They brainstormed ideas that helped me to formulate concepts. My Facebook followers doubled as a focus group that quickly answered questions I posed during the writing process allowing me to better address an issue than I could have ever done on my own. Collaboration strengthened the message that truly connected to the heart of the reader.
The release of the book was also a collaborated effort. In partnership with my publisher and based upon the principles of Michael Hyatt’s book Platform, we created a launch team of 100 influencers. Over 150 applied for the launch team and we selected 100 influencers we felt could best reach the intended audience of the book. This team received a preview copy of the book and agreed to share about it in their circles of influence. A bonus special of over $100 of additional resources for anyone who purchased the book during launch week gave the launch team something special to share with social media and blog followers. Mix in some strategic media coverage and this teamwork put the book in its second printing within 14 days of its release! Collaboration broadened the audience and enabled us to reach more readers in a shorter period of time than any other book I’ve ever written. Mark Sanborn, author of Fred 2.0, says, “The only thing more powerful than a committed individual is a team of committed individuals.” I certainly found that to be true.
For the first time ever, I chose to pursue collaboration to create my speaking message for the National Hearts at Home conference where I spoke to an audience of 5,000 moms in March. Again, I found the results of teamwork to be very powerful. I did this in three ways:
First, I created a private Facebook group for the book launch team. As the launch team members read the book they shared their favorite quotes, the stories that impacted them, or the way the book was changing their perspective. This helped me to pull out the most essential parts of the book’s message to include in my speaking message on the same subject.
Second, I pulled out my notes from Ken Davis’ SCORRE conference that I attended several years ago. At SCORRE, I learned the art of creating a focused message using the SCORRE method. Even though Ken wasn’t in the room with me, I was tapping into the wisdom I learned at his conference about developing and delivering a focused, dynamic message. Education is a form of collaboration that you can access anytime!
Third, I tapped into the wisdom of Michael and Deanne at Renovate Communication Design consulting group, to help me take the concepts I wanted to share and assemble them into a compelling message that would touch the heart of the audience and motivate them to action. Just two hours with Michael and Deanne took me from my usual “teaching” style to an “inspirational” message that was ready for the big stage. They not only helped me think through the content of my message, but also the visuals I could present on the screen that would enhance the message but be different than my “usual” powerpoint. Nearly a month out from the conference, I’m still receiving daily email and social media messages about the impact that message made on the lives of those in the audience. (Ed. note: Shown below are the notes we made during our session with Jill. Keeping the ideas visible during conversation is especially helpful when planning a talk –Michael)
As a leader, I’ve always been a believer in teamwork. I know that more can be accomplished when we link arms together to accomplish a goal. I had just never applied that strategy to the more solitary parts of my career like writing and speaking.
I’ll probably never be as collaborative as my extroverted, external processing husband. However, I am learning that teamwork is a valuable way to create a strong message, present it in a dynamic way, and reach the heart of an audience.
What about you? How can you bring the power of collaboration to the crafting and delivery of your message?