Home » Transcript: Carmine Gallo Discusses Three Secrets All Inspiring Messages Share at Stanford

Transcript: Carmine Gallo Discusses Three Secrets All Inspiring Messages Share at Stanford

Carmine Gallo

Carmine Gallo, the author of The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, discusses Three Secrets All Inspiring Messages Share as a part of his address at Stanford GSB’s Mastery in Communication Initiative’s Expert Speaker Series. Here is the full transcript.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Carmine Gallo on Three Secrets All Inspiring Messages Share at Stanford


And I was getting a broadcast degree, and I recall coming back from an assignment. JD would appreciate this. Nice Italian professor of mine, very nice. When you have a name like Carmine, you get along with Italian professors really well. But JD, I came back and I didn’t have a story because there was no story. At least that’s what I told the prof, and he yelled at me and he just got into me and grilled me. There is always a story, Gallo! There is always a story.

That advice served me really well in my career as a journalist at CNN, in my books, in my writing, and certainly in my career today as a communications consultant. There is always a story.

So, all of you have a story to tell. Some of you are better than others at telling your story, but you all have the ability to tell a better story, to share your ideas, to inspire people with those stories. And so I think as future business leaders, you need to think about how am I going to inspire people? How do I inspire my team? How do I inspire investors to back my products? How do I inspire people to really rally around my ideas and my initiatives?

How do you do that? I believe that there are three components to inspiration. An inspiring message has to be understandable, memorable, and emotional. You have to have all three. Once all three elements take place, that’s where inspiration occurs. You need to reach someone’s head and their heart.

Now how do you do that? How do you do that through a business pitch? How do you do that in a simple PowerPoint presentation or a conversation with a professor or an investor? How do you truly inspire people?

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What I’d like to do today is spend the next 30 minutes or so revealing some very specific techniques that you can use today, right after this workshop, to inspire your classmates, your professors, your stakeholders, your team members, anybody in which you need to persuade them to take some sort of action.

So today is all about inspiration. Presentation skills, communication, that’s how we get there, but it’s all about inspiration, how do you inspire the people in your life. Because that’s the definition of leadership. True leaders inspire people to a bigger vision. How do you do that? That’s what we’ll talk about today.

Before I reveal the techniques that I think all of you can apply, I do need to talk about the foundation of all great communications. The one technique, per se, that — I can’t teach. You can listen to the rest of this workshop, you can listen to all of the methods that I’m going to teach you and really apply them.

But if you don’t have passion for your topic, it’s not going to make any difference. Passion is everything. You cannot inspire unless you’re inspired yourself. Bryce mentioned I wrote the Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs. One of the most astonishing things about Steve Jobs as a great corporate communicator was that he wasn’t necessarily passionate about computers. He was passionate about creating tools to help you unleash your personal creativity. He was passionate about building tools that would change the world, and he wore that passion on his sleeve.

Passion is contagious. I learned a lot about passion from this man, Howard Schultz. I learned a lot about passion and communications. I interviewed Howard Schultz for a book I wrote several years ago. And I recall having about an hour conversation with him and rarely did he mention the word coffee, because he wasn’t selling coffee. He was selling a workplace that treats people with dignity and respect. He was selling customer service. He was selling employee engagement. That’s what he was passionate about. It wasn’t about the coffee.

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Watch this clip from CNBC. Listen to how a great communicator and a successful leader like Howard Schultz communicates the vision behind his brand. And also, watch for the reaction of the TV host because he had the exact same reaction I did when I interviewed Howard Schultz.

[Video Clip Starts:

Howard Schultz: Starbucks in a sense has become the quintessential experience brand, and the experience comes to life by our people. We’ve been able to, I think, create a system of attracting, retaining great people, building a training system that replicates what we do. And I think the only competitive advantage, and this is, you know, an anathema compared to a tech company, is we have no patent. We have no secret sauce whatsoever. The only competitive advantage we have is the relationship we’ve built with our people, and the relationship they have built with the customer. So when we go to.

Interviewer: You mentioned competitive advantage. You haven’t mentioned the word coffee.

Howard Schultz: Not yet.

Interviewer: Your competitive advantage is not your coffee.

Howard Schultz: Well, well I’ll get to —

Interviewer: You just said your competitive advantage, I agree with you, is the —

Howard Schultz: Yeah.

Interviewer: Relationship with your people and the people with their customers.

Howard Schultz: And in fact, if you ask me what business we’re in, we’re in the people business. We’re not in the coffee business.

Interviewer: Mm-hm.

Howard Schultz: Of course, we are as a product, but we’re in the people business. 135,000 people, hiring 300 people a day, serving 40 million customers a week, it’s all human connection. It’s a sense of humanity and the sense of community that we’ve built in our stores. So, at the end of the day what we’ve been able to do is crack the code on being able to create an environment where people are treated well, they’re respected, they’re valued Customers come in and they recognize this is a different kind of environment, almost an oasis.

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Video Clip Ends]


Almost an oasis. What is he talking about? What is he really selling? You need to ask yourself what is it that I’m passionate about, and you need to dig deep to find that. I love at the end of one of Steve Jobs’ great presentations, one of his last presentations, he said it’s the intersection of technology and liberal arts that makes our hearts sing.

And so now I ask clients that question. I don’t even ask them: what are you passionate about? Now it’s what makes your heart sing? The answer to that question is a lot different than the answer to, what do you make? What do you do? How is it different? That’s a much more inspiring answer. So you need to dig deep and identify what am I passionate about and what really makes my heart sing. And don’t be afraid to express your emotion about it.

Passion is contagious. I’m not going to go into the studies, but there are now numerous studies which show people who are passionate and enthusiastic and excited, guess what, it does rub off on people.

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