How Thought Leaders Turn it Up to 11

Britney Spears’ vocal coach taught me one of the most valuable marketing lessons ever. In 2003, my wife and I were sitting in a hotel ballroom with a couple hundred other pop and rock hopefuls ready to mix, mingle and learn from titans of the music industry.

You see, at that time we were in an alternative rock band named Desmo. (Imagine Incubus-style guitar rock but with Gwen Stefani on vocals and Flea on bass to get an idea of our style.) We were listening intently to speakers on the stage and rapidly scratching out notes as they shared wisdom about how to “make it in the music biz.”

Then Lis Lewis — vocal coach to singers like Rihanna, Jack Black, and Demi Lovato — got on stage and said something I still remember all these years later: “There are hundreds of thousands of amazing singers and songwriters in the world. Some of you are in this room today. But talent alone does not get attention. Here’s what I have noticed about every one of my clients who has become a big star. They’ve all taken parts of who they are — their personality, their look, or their story — and they’ve turned it up to eleven.”

The movie reference “turn it up to eleven” got immediate nods from a room full of musicians. It was from the 1984 mockumentary film, This is Spinal Tap, a satire about the heavy metal bands of the 80s. In one of the most infamous scenes of the film, the band’s guitarist is showing off his one-of-a-kind guitar amplifier with knobs that all go up to 11 while, “most blokes will be playing at 10.”

So what does all of this have to do with you creating a business and brand that stands and attracts a loyal audience online? While you may or may not aspire to rock stardom or celebrity status, there’s no ignoring the fact to generate income and impact you have to first get attention…something that is getting exponentially harder every day.

There are hundreds of thousands, scratch that, millions of people trying to share their message and sell their products on the Internet. The noise level is at an all-time high and only getting worse. It used to be that just starting a blog, podcast, or video channel was enough to get attention. Not anymore. This is why so many struggle to get traction and attention online, whether here on LinkedIn in our on other digital platforms.

Now, don’t worry. Not all is lost. There’s one technique that will crack that noise floor right open and help you rise above it. It’s something no competitor can duplicate. Here it is…

Take parts of yourself and turn them up to eleven!

In other words, accentuate the parts of you that are the most interesting, likable, entertaining, and valuable to others. We all have these things. You don’t even have to be a pop star or pretend to be a British 80s hair rocker. This is about showing up as your best self without holding back.

And let me be clear. This is much more than being authentic.

Authenticity tends to mean being genuine, integrous, down to earth, generous, and likable. I’m a fan of all of those things. By all means, be those things if they are part of who you are. But authenticity is not enough. There are hundreds of thousands of “authentic” people online. And one person’s authentic is another person’s fake.

When you know how to really turn it up to eleven in ways that are natural to you, you become…

Magnetic, fascinating, irresistible! Not to everyone, but to exactly the right people. You will easily attract the people you want to do business with and serve most.

That brings me to the Barenaked Ladies. Now, before you get any ideas let me clarify that I’m referring to the Canadian rock band that frequented the radio charts in the late nineties with a quirky flavor of folk mixed with rock.

I hated the Barenaked Ladies.

Though all my college friends loved their music, I just couldn’t help expressing my opinion.

“How can you listen to this crap?!”

That’s when my friends would barrage me with groans and boos in return. It didn’t matter. I had 1,132 specific reasons why the Barenaked Ladies were not deserving of their praise.

The truth is the same friends that booed me for this opinion loved to flip through my CD collection to get a look at my latest musical discoveries. They knew I always found the best stuff before it was popular. I had particular opinions about music, expressed them freely, and always backed them up.

I had conviction in the face of overwhelming backlash and that was the very thing that earned their respect for my musical tastes.

These days, my convictions and opinions tend to be more about things like marketing, business, strategy, leadership, influence, and other similar topics.  I’ve also learned to share my opinions without disdain while still keeping the passion.

Along my entrepreneurial journey, I discovered that I got more people’s attention and engaged them longer when I shared strong convictions with well-thought out reasoning.

This was a way I could turn things up to eleven.

You don’t have to be Lady Gaga, Dwayne Johnson, Howard Stern, or Ellen to fascinate and engage an audience. The secret is to find those traits, strengths, or qualities that others recognize and appreciate in you.  Look for the ones that you tend to do naturally, especially around people that you are most comfortable with. Then accentuate those in your marketing and sales content.

We tend to overlook these things because they come to us naturally. We just don’t see the value they bring to others.

Let’s take fast action to get results…

Get feedback from at least one person about which of your traits, strengths, or qualities stand out most or that they appreciate most.

What is a trait, strength, or quality that you can leverage to turn it up to eleven? Let me know in the comments!

Also, anyone else out there have a garage band when they were younger? 🙂

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