How to communicate like a million dollars

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Thank you for tuning in. Of all the things you could be spending your time on right now, I’m thrilled you’re spending it with me. I’ve got you exactly where I want you – directly in front of me. I’ve earned your attention. Now I’m going to reward you for giving it to me.

For the first time ever, I’m going to deliver a masterclass in how to communicate like someone that other people believe is worth $12 000 an hour. Yes, $12 000 an hour. That’s $200 a minute. That’s what I get paid. Over 100 times a year. I’m not telling you this to impress you. I’m telling you this to impress upon you how valuable outstanding communication can be. Of all the shows that I’ve created, this could be the one that has the greatest impact on you.

In the Chinese Zodiac, the year of the Fire Monkey begins on February 8. The Fire Monkey is the most active and assertive of the Monkeys. Naturally dominant, it automatically gravitates towards leadership roles and is competitive in whatever it is doing. It’s also always in control. Its main drive is to head straight for the top and stay there. However, when it is in charge of a situation, its social skills enable it to nurture those under its charge. With its hot energy, the fire Monkey often leaps where angels fear to tread. It is creative, charming and charismatic.

Hey, I love this creature and I know that I’m going to love this year. I’m going to unleash my inner fire monkey to boldly go straight to the top and stay there. At the same time, I’m going to guard against the monkey chatter that could interfere with my focus on keeping the main thing the main thing. The noise around us is deafening. We are deluged with data. Every minute brings another distraction that could blow us off course. People are overwhelmed, anxious and fatigued in equal measure.

At the same time, the Fire Monkeys among us are excited, inspired and invigorated by the plethora of possibilities ahead. They are anti-gravity. They’re going straight to the top and they’re taking their people with them one branch, one tree, one forest at a time. It’s all about agility, mobility and vision.

So what have fire monkeys got to do with communicating like a million dollars? They are both images that stretch your imagination and increase your appetite for more.

So let’s begin with a definition of million dollar communication: it’s the process of using words, sounds, images, or gestures to exchange information or to express your ideas in such a way that others are inspired to take immediate action. Let me repeat that: million dollar communication is the process of using words, sounds, images, or gestures to exchange information or to express your ideas in such a way that others are inspired to take immediate action.

Inertia is the enemy. Success is the capacity to follow through on your commitment after the mood in which you made the commitment expires. Million-dollar communication connects with people at a visceral level. It embeds itself in their DNA. It moves them in a way that cannot be denied. It is a process that anyone can master and it has ten steps. Are you ready to be touched, moved and inspired into action? Then let’s go:

The first step is: get into the right mindset. Before you can influence anyone, you have to influence yourself. Powerful communication happens twice – first in your own mind and then with others. So before you communicate with anyone, listen to a great communicator like JFK, or TD Jakes, or Sheryl Sandberg or Amy Cuddy. Watch them speak. Read something that animates you. And move like a champion. Create your own power-ritual before a conversation or presentation. I have my “yes-thump” and readiness-twist. I also have a mantra that programs me for success: “I now command my sub-conscious to give me the power of divine communication. I can, I must, I will give my audience the most exhilarating experience of heir career.”

The All Blacks, the New Zealand rugby team, do the Haka before every game. It’s based on an ancient Maori war dance. It’s also a major reason why they are 3 time world champions. Create your own Haka and win your world championship.

The second step is: visualize your desired outcome. Before every presentation or key conversation, take three minutes to see the presentation going exactly the way that you want it to. See your audience resonating with you. Feel the connection. Make the image bright and sharp. CIA – celebrate in advance. Know that you’ve won even before the game starts. People often wish me good luck before a talk. I always say to them, “Thank you but the talk has already gone well. I’m in lag time.” I’ve discovered that the human mind cannot tell the difference between what you visualize in your head and what your eyes actually see. I see what I want to see and then I help everybody else see it. That’s the difference between a vision and a hallucination. Everyone can see a vision but only you can see a hallucination.

The third step is: prepare to win. There is no short cut to mastery. Million-dollar communication is rooted in intense conditioning. Know your stuff at a granular level. If you understand the minutiae, you can connect the dots. You absolutely cannot fake it and make it at the same time. Then rehearse your message aloud. Listen to yourself speaking. Record yourself on your iphone. There is a big difference between talking to yourself in your head and saying the words in reality. Then do a dry run if you want to make rain. Get the opinions of trusted advisors before you step into the arena on Game Day. Don’t stutter at the start.

The fourth step is: connect through caring. From the very first word, make it about the audience. Declare your purpose and then follow through. Your mission is to give the audience a higher return on their time than anything else that they could be doing at the that moment. Frame every message as a deposit on their success, over and over again. Here is a phrase you should use over and over again: “so what that means to you is…” and “what that really means is…”

The fifth step is: Focus on the students. In every audience, there will be four kinds of people: the prisoners – these are people who really do not want to be in front of you. Then there are the skeptics – these are people are need more proof before they agree with you. Then there are the vacationers – these are people who are not engaged but they’re happy not to be at work. Then there are the students – these are the people who are acutely interested in your message. Students are usually about 25% of the audience. They are the people you should focus on because they are the ones who will uplift you. If your content is compelling enough, the rest of the audience will soon follow.

The sixth step is: listen intensely. Nothing says “I get you” like direct eye contact. Be still. Leave your phone in your bag. The moment you look down, you break the spell. If you earn face time with someone, make them feel like it was really, really worth it. Remember this truth: in every meeting, we train people how to expect us to be in the next meeting. So demonstrate how similar you are to them. Mirror their posture. Reflect their tone. And practice the Starbucks Triple-shot: Repeat what you’ve heard, ask for their names and promise them you’ll make it perfect.

The seventh step is: talk the talk. Develop your unique vocabulary that differentiates you from everyone else. Every great brand has its own language. Just Do it. The Real Thing. Live Young. The Ultimate Driving Machine. Always Fresh. We The North. Everyday low prices. The land of the free and the home of the brave. Seize every opportunity to emphasize your message. It’s all about communicating like a million dollars. Until now, according to Google, that phrase never existed. Hey, we’re making history together.

The eighth step is: Use Your Body Like a Champion. Stand proud. Look up. Breathe deep. Be deliberate. Finish each statement with an exclamation mark. Move like you mean it. Emotion comes from motion. You don’t have to be loud but you do have to be strong. Play your role like an Academy Award Winning Actor. As Shakespeare wrote in As you like it, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts.” Or woman as the case might be. At first, it may seem a little awkward but then so does everything when you’re doing it for the first time.

The ninth step is: improvise through humor. If all you do as a result of this message is look like you’re enjoying yourself when you’re on stage, my mission will be accomplished. When people challenge you, respond with respect but also show that you don’t take yourself too seriously. As the geniuses at The Second City say, accept the offer. Whatever anyone says to you, work with it to make your message even stronger.

Finally, the tenth step is: Finish strong. Get through the tough moments. When your mind goes blank or you temporarily hit a block, don’t stop. Pause for a moment, or take a drink of water, or just take a deep breath while you look confidently at the audience. They don’t know what’s going on inside your head. When you’re finished, thank them for the privilege of their attention, compliment them for being so engaged and close on a high. In a final statement, tell them what you told them and get off the stage: We are all unfinished works of art and our mission is to help others create their masterpiece through communication.

This is Mike Lipkin and I really approve this message. Now go communicate like a million dollars.

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7 thoughts on “How to communicate like a million dollars

  1. Tom Curtis

    I get your emails, Mike, and I usually don’t have time to click on them. If I do, I only have 30-60 seconds to glance over them. Well, for some reason I read this entire post and boy am I glad I did!!! Thanks for the tips and I will definitely use them on my next one on one presentation and on stage in front of 200 people. Awesome!!!!

  2. Scott Beck

    Once again, great presentation. I shared it with the entire staff. People need to learn how to be real, personable and a communication specialist every day. I often do seminars, and I cannot believe some of the “lack of skills” others have. They have not invested their time in themselves, why should I give my precious life-time to them??? Next time I am in Toronto, and you need a tea, let me know…I would live to share a moment with you again (it has been years since you presented to Freedom 55 Financial in Texas.

  3. Brian E Webb

    Hi Mike,
    Thank you so much for your fantastic message. Great way for me to tap my inner Monkey and continue on with an already great 2016!
    All the best,


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