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Takeaways and Lessons From The GKIC Info-SUMMIT

Frank Kern, Mari Smith, Dan KennedyI just attended and spoke at the Glazer-Kennedy Inner Circle Info-SUMMITSM 2009 in Atlanta, GA. It was a packed event with over 800 attendees and an incredible speaker lineup, including George Foreman, Frank Kern, Master Lloyd Irvin, Mike Koenigs, James Malinchak, Sonia Simone, Chris Cardell, Ron Seaver, and Michael Cage.

[Pic: Frank Kern, Mari Smith, Dan Kennedy]

Main highlight – Frank Kern!

For me, one of the highlights of the Info-SUMMITSM was meeting legendary marketer, Frank Kern, whom I’d heard so much about for some time.

I love Frank’s highly entertaining style, having read his blog and watched his videos for awhile. I also recently got a copy of Mass Control at the Engage Today event.

But nothing beats live and in person. Frank blends his super smart marketing brain with a complete no-bull, in-your-face hilarious style. (Of course the no-bull part is Frank’s mentor, Dan Kennedy‘s, specialty!)

One of the exercises Frank Kern did during his presentation was about getting super clear on what you want to achieve in life and then creating a foolproof system to pay for it all!

Frank brought up on stage the lovely Maritza Parra and proceeded to take her through this process which consisted of three simple columns: (1) Thing you want, (2) How much it costs per month, and (3) Why you want it.

Once you’ve listed a dozen or more things you want (from houses, cars and horses to travel, personal trainer and nanny!), tally up the monthly cost, multiply by 12 then divide by 365 and you have a daily amount you need to earn. Take that daily amount and divide by the dollar amount of the main product/service you sell and that’s how many sales you need to make per day.

Frank makes it all sound so easy! In fact, I created this downloadable form that you can fill out and it will calculate the numbers for you (once you fill in your three columns!): Your Ideal Lifestyle – Clarity Calculator.

Lessons from my social media presentation

Facebook & Twitter - social media success Now, on to my own presentation: I spoke about social media success, particularly using Facebook and Twitter to grow your business. I was on a panel first thing on Day 1 as a quick preview of my presentation that evening and all went well.

However, my actual presentation wasn’t my best. In fact – in total transparency – I feel I let much of the audience down by not providing them sufficient content and value, which is the opposite of what I’ve done in all my other talks.

What happened is I chose to work with several speaking/sales coaches at short notice. The impact this had was I deviated from my own natural presentation style so much so that it was uncomfortable for me… and the audience.

My speaking schedule has been super-intense for most of 2009; I had the Info-SUMMITSM engagement booked for about six months, so ought to have given myself more time and practice for such coaching.

Mari Smith blue stilletoes As my dear friend and personal trainer, Ashley Mahaffey, said to me, I was like a marathon runner who went out to race with a brand new pair of running shoes and ended up with sore feet and blisters! [Ok, I know this pic is high heels – but imagine running a race in these?!!]

Thing is, much of the Info-SUMMITSM audience provided positive feedback to me and I had a reasonable uptake of the training program I offered, which I’m delighted about. But I just know I could’ve done a whole lot better in hindsight.

As we say in the seminar business, “Correct and continue.”

I did watch the Twitter stream like a hawk and was able to connect with a couple of attendees who expressed their experience of my talk – I was grateful for their constructive feedback.

This is also a great lesson for other seminar attendees on the importance of monitoring what Jermiah Owyang calls the back channel.

[I have since put up a page of free social media resources for Info-SUMMITSM attendees to view/download here.]

Going forward, here are my key takeaways from this experience:

  1. Be more selective about such intense travel and events in 2010 onwards – better to speak at fewer events and do a stellar job than pack in three a week and stress myself out!
  2. Allow plenty room in my schedule for proper planning, rehearsal, coaching and logistics – particularly prior to major events.
  3. Stay with my natural style and my propensity to over-deliver on content and value – even though some schools of thought differ.
  4. Strive to attend the full events I speak at, so as to better compliment the other speakers and provide a more cohesive experience for the audience.
  5. Integrate coaching input over time… and practice on smaller audiences! 🙂

If you attended the Info-SUMMITSM, do leave me your feedback below. I’m always open to constructive criticism. Whether you attended the Info-SUMMITSM or not, I’d love to hear your own tales from the trenches about public speaking and selling from the stage in the comments below:

Mari Smith

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is widely known as the Premier Facebook Marketing Expert and a top Social Media Thought Leader. Forbes describes Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” IBM named Mari as one of seven women that are shaping digital marketing. Mari is an in-demand keynote speaker, corporate social media strategist, dynamic live webcast host, and popular brand ambassador. She is coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day, and author of The New Relationship Marketing.

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  1. Web Hosting Chennai on August 20, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    These information helps me consider some useful things, keep up the good work.

  2. Dave Doolin on May 3, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    I have that same Faccionable shirt that Kern is wearing. I've had it for years, one of my favorite shirts in fact.

    His advice is right on. I have the video on replay.

  3. Tsufit on December 31, 2009 at 8:25 am


    We met briefly in Dallas this year (your delivery was sent to my hotel room).

    If you’ll forgive a little “front of the blog” selling here,
    you may want to check out
    Step Into The Spotlight! : A Guide to Getting Noticed

    Disclaimer: I wrote it.

    That said, it’s about all the stuff you’re talking about here. (NOT selling from the front of the room, but finding your own voice and kicking it up a notch so it’s irresistible).

    It’s about attracting not selling, ie about creating a situation in which the buyer approaches YOU asking to buy.
    I’ve never received a cold call from Madonna!

    Love your openness!
    Author, Step Into The Spotlight!

  4. Sonia Simone on November 11, 2009 at 5:05 am

    As you know, I’m a big fan of your natural style!

    I think it’s very natural that those of us who are a little more content-driven want to experiment with a bit more traditional “push.” Finding that balance is more art than science, IMO.

    Kudos to you for getting out of your comfort zone a little bit. That doesn’t always end up feeling so wonderful, but in a way I wonder if you don’t have a stronger sense of your strengths after trying a different way.

  5. Deborah Smith on November 10, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Hi Mari,
    I’m a first time commenter here. I just want to thank you for your candor in this post. I am new to public speaking and can use all the advice I can get. It is helpful to me knowing that even the seasoned pros can be unhappy with their performances on some days.

    Wondering if you have any book recommendations or online courses you recommend?

    Thank you,
    Deborah Smith

  6. Pam Brossman on November 9, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    Mari from what I hear of the event you were brilliant. But I applaud you for taking on board other’s feedback and doing better next time. The thing is there is always a next time and we are always more critical of ourselves than other’s are of our performance.
    I think it is very wise of you to proceed with quality instead of quantity in 2010. If you over book yourself then you cannot always give 150% every time. Less is definitely more.
    Steve and I look forward to growing and learning with you. Selling from the stage is one of the hardest gigs in this industry, even harder now that people are sick of the constant ‘pitch fests’ and ‘product launches’ occurring weekly. So in hindsight I think you did fantastic.

    To to all our success in 2010.

  7. Catherine Behan on November 10, 2009 at 2:56 am

    Hi Mari,

    I can really relate to your story. I LOVE how open and vulnerable you are. I wasn’t at your event, but I know the peeps there were entertained and informed no matter what it seemed like to you.

    I also have struggled, especially right after being coached or being at another event. I feel myself trying to do what I “should do” according to the experts and it feels awful. I am better off being me!

    As far as your schedule. I have thought to myself, “Wow, how does Mari do it, I know I couldn’t keep that schedule!” As a matter of fact, Larry saw you in the airport on Saturday but didn’t get to you to say hello. I hope you take more Mari-time in 2010. You work so hard and share so generously with all of us.

    I vote for some real down time!!

    Love you and thanks for sharing so openly!

  8. John Morgan on November 9, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Hi Mari!

    I’ve had the pleasure of speaking at the same event as you before and can say there’s nothing wrong with your natural style!

    But I love how you strive to do better. That’s what makes you one of the best!

    I spoke at an event this year where each speaker had 20 minutes to present. 20 minutes doesn’t give you much time to get into details, but I still felt like I didn’t put my usual energy into it.

    The feedback from it was great, but I personally felt bad after. As you said in your post “correct and continue”

    Looking forward to seeing you again sometime!

    John Morgan

  9. Steve Brossman on November 9, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Hey Mari Great Comments
    It is certainly much better to go for quality over quantity any time. You know Mari I saw your slides, watched the twitter and facebook feedback and even had a couple of friends over there at GKIC give me their valued personal opinions. I have a couple of suggestions that I would loev to sher with you when Pam and I come to San Diego 8,9th Next month. I think you will feel very comfortable with them.
    keep up the awesome work with ISMA

  10. Christian Mickelsen on November 9, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Hey Mari,

    Selling from the front of the room isn’t my strong suit. I’ve had great experiences and I’ve totally bombed. I’ve done over $50K in sales to Zero dollars. This is an area I need coaching in too. I think my biggest challenge is my inner game. I feel like people don’t want the pitch so I feel uncomfortable sharing.

    I just gave one yesterday myself and I was uncomfortable and the audience could sense it. I don’t think I made them uncomfortable except to watch me crashing and burning. 13 of 23 still signed up for my $2K program but I think I could have signed up 90-100% if I felt strong.

    If you ever want to buddy coach or just commiserate, let me know 🙂

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