The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode 130 · 9 months ago

130. The Mindset of Improv in Sales w/ John Sweeney


The sales funnel is actually a pyramid that looks like this: top-level is sales tools, middle level is sales skills, bottom level is the humanity of the sales professional. By restoring a connection to the authenticity, emotion, and mindset of the sellers themselves, the art of sales can begin to return to the foundation of customer experience: making people’s lives better.

In this episode, I interview John Sweeney, the Owner and Speaker at the Brave New Workshop Theater, about blending principles of comedy, improv, theater, and art to train sellers in using emotion to sell in person and via video.

John & I also discussed:

- What the art of theater has to do with sales

- Understanding the real sales pyramid and the mindset of the authentic self

- How to become comfortable with being uncomfortable

- Strategies for putting the human at the center of customer experience

Check out this resource we mentioned during the podcast:

- The Innovation Mindset

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What we have found, though,is that the productivity, the potency, the effectiveness of the tools and theskills really is determined by that human being, by that authenticity, by that mindset. The single most important thing you can do today is to create anddeliver a better experience for your customers. Learn how sales, marketing and customersuccess experts create internal alignment, achieved desired outcomes and exceed customer expectations in apersonal and human way. This is the customer experience podcast. Here's your host, Ethan Butte. Today we're talking about the role of emotion and the roleof laughter in the customer experience and the relationship between improvisation, comedy and sales. Our guest is a business thinker, consultant and keynote speaker. Among hisclients are our household names like Microsoft, target, honey well, US bank, Hilton and the Minnesota Timber Wolves. He's the author of four books,including the Innovation Mindset, which will probably get into, and he's the ownerof the oldest comedy theater in America, the brave new workshop, as introducedto him by a mutual friend, Josh feedy, founder of sales reach,who is my guest on this show on episode sixty eight. John Sweeney,welcome to the customer experience podcast. Thank you for having me. I'm gratefulto be here. It's to see you again. Yeah, we've after Joshintroduced us, we spend a little time together. I was like, Iwe could have recorded these. It would have been useful to somebody in additionto being fun for both of us. So so I'm glad we could doit in a little bit more of a formal setting this time and I'll startwith you, John, where we always start, which is customer experience.When I say that, what does it mean to you? Yeah, I'myou know, you've got all the traditional definitions and stuff. To me,like I always just think is it's just a simple thing, like is thatperson better after they had that experience? Like are they happier? Are theysmarter? Are they wealthier? Are they more fit, whatever it is,and so it's almost like I always think of customer experience is anonymous with thatword transformation, right, like was there, if you're doing a good job anddo you want to come back? Right, like it's pretty simple.But I I'm always so grateful as a customer when I experienced something and Ijust go yeah, thank you, I'm I'm a little bit better, whateverthat version or better is. You know, I mean my backs more line becauseof a chiropractor, or I just I'm happier because of that movie Ijust saw, or I'm I feel satisfied because I had a well cooked meal, or these shoes are wonderful. But have I somehow transformed into a littletiny bit better version of me? And then, if I did, I'mgrateful. I love it. First of all, I always appreciate gratitude.I don't think any of US experiences enough within ourselves and expresses it enough toother people, including the people who were grateful for so I appreciate the wayyou Otton that up. But but above all, I really like your focus, very intense focus, on the desired outcome. You know, there's ajust in general there's kind of this ongoing conversation about kind of the surprise anddelight in the feeling part of customer experience versus the desired outcome part, andand I think they're both as you incorporated. I think they're both critical to theexperience. You know, we can feel amazing or be surprised and delightedas much as we want, but if we didn't get what we paid for, it kind of doesn't matter. So really roved down there. I've beenvery privileged, you know, owning a comedy theater because you get to seethat transformation and it really is satisfying. Right. So, and what Imean by that is, you know, picture, it's a Friday night,it's downtown Minneapolis. There's two hundred and four people who decided to of allthe things they could do, they decided to come and spend time at yourtheater and drink your beer and see your comedy. And a lot of them, if it's a Friday night, maybe a bit grumpy, right because theythey rushed from work, the dinner was late, the reservations, the cab, whatever it was, and so they kind of come into your theater andthey're, you know, complaining, maybe their seat wasn't perfect or something,and you could just tell they're a little...

...and then by Intermission, through thetransformative quality of laughter, they they're a little bit kinder to the ushers andthe Bar Staff and the conversation is going a little bit better at the tablewith their friends. And then by the time the show's over and they've seenthe IMPROV set, they're like thanks for having us, so was great andyou know in their skin color and their smiles and their gate they are atransformed person. and that's not necessarily because we do such a great job.It's just the you know, the art of theater is just a wonderful thing. You literally take someone from this point of view to two hours later beingbettered. It's one of the things I missed the most. Now you knowthat we've been closed because because of the pandemic, is just standing outside thosedoors and watching those customers leave with that smile and you know they're they're doinggoofy stuff walking down the street to their car and then really they got theirarm around someone and they're just more happy and it's it's beautiful. I loveit. Yeah, what did joy tell us a little bit more about thetheater? I mean it is a theater, but you also mentioned the impacts ofthe pandemic. But you also do a lot of teaching, coaching,consulting. Traine Yard, you two trainings today and we're recording this pretty latein the afternoon. For you tell us what you're doing with brave new workshop. Sure, and it's a quick little story. But so the brave newworkshop is the oldest, longest running satirical and improvisational comedy theater in the UnitedStates of America. Our first show was made ten of one thousand nine hundredand fifty eight. And one of the hard parts of the pandemic for usis so the first time we had ever missed a weekend of performances was thisMarch. So we had sixty two years in a row where we had nevermissed a weekend, which was kind of fun. And so it was startedby this wonderful man who we also have unfortunately, lose this this year,although he had a great life. His name was Dudley Riggs, fifth generationcircus performer, so barnum and Bailey Guy, and then in the early s brokefifty two bones. Are Forty two bones, in one fall off thehigh wire act in Blackpool, England. Stuck around there and healed, wentback to New York and decided he wanted to leave the circus and so hestarted doing this instant theater, they called it, and he was really kindof a warmup act with other acrobats, jazz musicians, actors, just aRagtag Group of extroverts, I guess, and they would bring a trunk upon stage, and this was the last days of Vaudeville, so they mightbe warming up for the marks brothers or for a big orchestra. That's ourstuff. And then they started traveling that around the country and then he fellin love when he came to Minneapolis, Minnesota, thank goodness, and heplanted his roots for the first time in his life, like literally as acircus performer, they would summer in Arkansas, our winter and Arkansas, but thatwas only for a month. He was on a circus train his wholelife until he moved to Minneapolis and then started this little coffee shop because hehad an expresso machine that he had brought back from Europe. And so weare not only the longest running cut comedy theater, but we have the firstexpresso machine ever to serve Espresso on the west side of the Mississippi. Andso he brought people to this cafe and they were weren't spending a quarter forespresso because coffee was only a nicols. So he said what if we didthis instant theater in the front of the coffee shop, and that was madeten the one thousand nine hundred and fifty eight and the grew and grew andgrew. In one of our our claims to fames is that really this show, Saturday night live, has its roots at the breakdow workshop, because AlFrank and and Tom Davis were taken off our stage to be the first twohead writers at Saturday live. So when you come to our theater, andI hope you do, when we can make it safe again, we doscripted comedy that is social and political satire, and then we always do an improvisationalthird act, and so it's been great. My wife and I boughta twenty three years ago from Dudley and the reason why we have our corporatetraining is because two years into buying it, this wonderful thing called the Internet cameout and DVD our players and Netflix and cat videos and t vo andso the live theater business, our big recession was kind of one thousand ninehundred ninety eight, two thousand and two and we lost a third of thetheaters in the twin cities alone. And so as an entrepreneur we had todecide as a couple, how can we keep this theater from going under?And my wife had really developed our improvisational... at that point, and sowe're up to about three hundred students and we asked them got any ideas,like, we can't make as much money as bees do on live theater,and the more we got to know them we realize that they were taking improvisationalclasses with no intention of ever performing. And then we got to know thatthey worked at General Mills and at best buy and at US bank and itcargale and all the wonderful companies we have in our twin cities and they weretaking improvisation as a way to practice the things they were using at work,whether it was sales or service or leadership or innovation, and it seemed likeit was an activating gym for the behaviors that they were then using and applyingto the to the real world, I guess, in Corporate America. Sowe said maybe we've got something there, and so I started going around andasking the large corporations if I could come and buy them lunch and and dosome improvisational exercises that we did in our school, and I had been inthe corporate world, so I was able to bridge them to the corporate jargonand the corporate strategy and all the wonderful things about that world, and ittook off and we've done thirty two hundred events and and we've kind of developedthat. What we're really helping people with is the improvisational mindset. And thenthat mindset could be applied to sales or to service or leadership, but themindset of an improviser is the unique one, because our customers are in front ofus, they're mildly intoxicated. We ask them what's important to you andwhat should we build for you, and then they say, well, we'dlike you to build as a comedy scene, but we'd like it to be aboutHilary and trump in a canoe in Antarctica solving healthcare. And then weinstantly build them that without knowing our role, without having any props, costumes,directors, scripts or practice, and we just get that done. Soas almost a laboratory, it's a great way to understand what an innovative cultureis, what confidences in your articulation, how to work with others really quickly, how to reduce that Voice of judgment, how to how to bring things tomarket even though they're not completely perfect yet and it's not a perfect modeland metaphor, but we've been able to do to use it to help peoplebe their best selves at work. What an awesome story. So many importanttransformations and decisions there. I loved your process of talking with your customers tounderstand what problem you were truly solving for them. It's obviously not make mean Improv improvisational performer, and so so many good tips just in that.We could spend the rest of the time breaking that down, but let's gohigh level and then get into that improvisation, the mindset and maybe confidence talk justin general and your experience and observation. You know there. It's easy totalk about the tools in the technology, especially in a sales or service capacity, but I don't think we talk enough about the human side of it. Just give me a go at kind of the human side, maybe ofsales, the role of emotions or emotional connection or human connection. Bring usback to Earth with regard to that dynamic. We've been kind of explaining our workfor a long time now, maybe fifteen years, and just a simpletriangular pyramid, right, and the top third is the tools that we useand that middle strip is the skills that we have, and then the bottompart is that humanity. It's that mindset, it's that authenticity, it's that emotion, it's the person. And what I can tell you used to judgeus a lot more than I ought to. I'd noticed while people spend so muchbudget and time and effort on tools and skills and and as an improviser, we don't have any tools or skills. We just have us right, andso that's why the metaphor works for us. But I realize that itwasn't that they were trying to purposely avoid the human it just made sense tome, because what gets budgeted gets approved. And so how do you budget mindset? How did you go to the CFO and say the Roi on betterhumans is and so after I kind of step back from my judgment. Iwas right. They're buying new tools because they can. They can convince someoneto buy a tools because if we have...

...a new crm and sales will automaticallygo up by sixteen percent, and the crm was only a half million dollars. That makes sense. We're going to make money if everyone is six sigmacertified or everyone has knows how to do standford design or if everyone is gotthis sales designation, the stats say they will sell more, so let's dothat and that I'll make sense, and it's true. What we have found, though, is that the productivity, the potency, the effectiveness of thetools and the skills really is determined by that human being, by that authenticity, by that mindset. And mindsets a big, huge word. So youcan have your own definition. Everyone does. Our mindset is kind of when we'reon authentic self. That mindset is just that Lens we're going to lookthrough to see the next moment, the next sales call, the next customerexperience, the next conversation with someone. So what I love about it isthat if we can help people really get to their most authentic self, itabsolutely accelerates the productivity of this the skills and the tools and when it comesto sales, are programs really simple. We believe that process is important andthat you know your product and you have the steps of your sales process andall the technology you need. But what we try to add to that isbe your authentic self. Use the metaphor of improvisation as a way to navigatethrough sales conversations and learn how to tell stories. We can be authentic selvesbeing an improviser and tell stories. I think we'll do okay in sales.Yeah, I love it. I love the try. I Love The pyramid. I also started to visualize it potentially as like an iceberg where, youknow, the tools and tech are sticking out. We can point out themand talk about them and look at them. You know, like partly add orslightly above the waterline might be the skills. But some of those arebelow the waterline. But this big differentiator is hidden from view and often takenfor granted. Let's break those three things down again, I guess. Actually, first let's get into improvisation, for you know, when I hear theword improvise or I think about improvisation, obviously comedy comes to mind, butI also think of jazz and I think of basketball. Is kind of likea physical extension. Well, jazz is physical to but I think anyway,that that's where my mind goes. Talk a little bit about improvisation in generaland why are those skills like, especially maybe at that point where you're tryingto make the decision what direction should we take this business in? So youcan crease sustainable revenue, speak about improvisation in general and then maybe at thisintersection of helping me be more effective in my role every day on the job. Sure, a lot of times people will guess it's how the brain works. They want to kind of think of either or right. So I'm eitherimprovising or I'm using a system or a process. And and that's just nowwhat we advocate. We we advocate that you have to do both. Andwhat you find is, because of our neuralology, the brain is going tolean much more towards let's collect data, let's create a strategy, let's makesure we do analysis so we can prove the likelihood it will occur and reducethe risk, and then let's follow that system and that that's just wonderful.I mean, like one of our best clients has metronic right. I hopethey're not improvising their pacemakers. I really want them to work right. Andso we're not saying throw that out. We're saying, in addition to that, work on the ability to understand, how to identify opportunities that aren't necessarilyshowing themselves in the data. Maybe that's your instinct, maybe that's your gut. Know that we now live in a world that many decisions are going tohave to be made without all the data because we've got smaller, more nimblecompetition that's coming in fashion than we do. So can we develop the ability toknow I've got seventy percent, one I need and then I got someimprovisational gut and so now I know how to decide. So it helps thedecision mode. And then when it gets down to really, really practical stuff, right like a sales conversation, a Customer Service Conversation or a coaching sessionas a leader, those are just two person improvisational scenes and they have tobe because because they involved to human beings who are, in general, unpredictable. That's what we are, we're unpredictable,...

...and so to me it's such abeautiful set of tools and and mindset skills to be able to say I'mgoing to go in an ex nails sales call, I'm going to go havea conversation with a CO worker. I'm not exactly how it's going to go, but I know the tenants of improvisation which will allow me to focus onwhat my partner saying, which allow me to not get too stuck in whatI expect and be more nimble and what can be which allow me to knowthat everything I need to learn is going to come out of my partner's mouth, which allows me to know that the imperfection maybe where the innovation will comefrom. And then this kind of selflessness and being of service, which Ireally love about our art form. Is My job is just to make theperson in the scene always look better than myself. And so those are justa handful of improvisational based tenants that we try to behave in the real world. But when I see leaders at their best, it's because they have greatanalysis and systems and they're just brilliant and all that sort of stuff. Andthen the human side, their improvisational side, and boy, I think a lotof leaders had to do a lot of that in the last twelve monthsbecause things are different than any data could have predicted. Yeah, so muchgood stuff there and I'm going to draw a parallel between improvisation and authenticity.I'm going to see if you buy it and then see where you take itfrom there. So the way you defined improvisation or kind of talk through it, I think one of the reasons people get hung up. I mean youalready mentioned kind of maybe a mental bias to the kind of the tangible andthe measurable, which will kind of take our attention perhaps in the wrong directionsometimes you're at particular moments. I think a lot of people, with regardto improvisation, probably struggle a little bit with active listening. They're really focusedon what they need to say next. That's probably a stumble. But Ithink something that improvisation might have in common, this is my kind of I'm teeingit up as a question, might have in common with authenticity is thatit requires us to kind of go out a little bit on a limb thatwe might not be comfortable and like. It's not. It's not as secure, it's not as known, it's not as comfortable. We prefer to retreatback to are a mayor quoting here for listeners, like safer ground or whatever. Do you find that to be true? Like when you're working with people onimprovisation and or authenticity, what are some of the things you need tounlock for them to allow them to experience it in full? Is this discomfortwith, or lack of security, fundamental to it? It is it,it's everyone. So, you know, twenty five years I've been standing upin front of an audience and having to prus innovation off the top of myhead without knowing what I'm supposed to do, and I'm still scared and I'm stillhesitant to do that and it seems to be a risk. And whatI've learned over the years, mostly because of the person I wrote the bookwith, a Lanna Muretsco, because she's kind of our res a neurologist,is that that just means my brains really, really healthy right, because everything aboutthat, including the authenticity, is kind of contrary for what the brainwould like. The brain would like to keep us safe, and safe issynonymous with predictable, and so the fact that we're asking ourselves to be inan improvisational conversation, or let alone in front of people who could judge uson stage with expectations of it's got to be funny. It's just counter ofeverything the brain wants us to do. What's beautiful about it, though,is that if you recognize that, then you can start to have daily practicesthat can help counterbalance that, and that's where you can actually start to determinethe mindset you want to be in and then, almost like a meditation practiceor a fitness practice, you can decide I'm going to work towards a moreconsistent mindset, mental state where I am more comfortable being uncomfortable. And that'sone of the things that people trip up. They say, if I'm going todo this, then I'll be completely comfortable and you won't. You'll justbe more comfortable with the fact that you're going to be uncomfortable. And that'sone of the things I find in sales a lot to write like. Howcan you not be uncomfortable? You're trying to convince someone to give you money, right like. And so what we... is we try to quiet twosets of voices. The one set of voice, my wife just wrote awonderful article about this, is those voices that we might have heard in ourpast that told us we weren't creative, we weren't a great salesperson, weweren't a great father, we weren't a great friend, whatever it was,those voices is darn brain listens to those in an amplified way and it writesit numerous times compared to you're awesome, you're great, your perfect salesperson,everybody loves you. Kind of poopoos those and so that's the one voice.And then the second voice, of course, is the voice that our own mindsare creating, that intervoice of why are you doing this? You're notgoing to be good at it, this risk here, stay away from it. And not to get too deep into the science, but the part ofthe brain that creates that voice is the oldest part of the brain. Soit's literally still stuck in don't go outside the cave, there's a saber toothtiger, you know. And it's not that. It's just a conversation abouta possible business choice that might increase our you know, vertical or something rightlike, and it doesn't do a good job of determining the level of thethreat. It simply sees it as a threat and says don't do it.So that's what I love about improvisation, is that it truly is a practice. And so and improvisation please, you know, for our listeners, takeit outside the world of comedy. Improvisation is the ability to create without anabsolutely certain path. And so that means if you want to improvise, havea conversation with a four year old, you're done. You're improvising so well, there's no there's no path you could follow with a four year old.You know, if you're on improvisation, think of your favorite songs and thenrewrite the words to how you're feeling that day, what it draws something,just do something in a way that is unpredictable and beautiful. I got tointerview her name is Liz and she wrote the book you pray love. Ibelieve she's a big deal. This is what your deal I have. Andyesterday in our interview she had the most beautiful definition of art that I've everheard. She said art that I feel this way kind of about improvisation,because our art is simply when we take anything, a person, article,a situation, and make it a little bit more beautiful than it need be, and I just thought that was so you know, just to go forutilitary into something, and so that just means we're all artists, which meanswe're all improvisers. So improvisation to me is, you know, it's justa simple practice of being more comfortable being uncomfortable, because you're exactly right,it's uncomfortable. Yeah, it's interesting to hear you describe it that way,this idea that it doesn't go away, that you just get more comfortable withit. It's interesting. What I've been thinking a lot about is for years, you know, at bombomb we make it easy to record and send personalvideo messages and emails and text messages, Linkedin, messages, slack whatever.And this same fear, like this fear of exposure, the self criticism whenthey see themselves in a recorded video like it stops so many people before theyever can turn it into a habit. And I love the way you talkedabout the science there and you did not go too deep. By you getyou feel free to go deeper. Where I stop talking at you. Somethingthat we've you know, we recognize it, that that there's this discomfort with vulnerability, the fear of Judgment. Are People going to accept me for WHOI am? Are they going to reject me? Because Millennia ago, ifyou got kicked out of the tribe, you would probably die on the beachor the desert or the forest or wherever your tribe lived. And like that'sstill with us, this ancient brain that still influences a dramatic share of ourdecisions, along with the Midbrain, which is emotional in nature, and assigence, kind of the emotions to the base instinct of our animal creature anyway.So I've recognized this, this fear that prevents people from acting in the interestingthing about, you know, a video messages that you can there is analternative already. You could just keep typing out your messages and miss the opportunityto express yourself in full, into make yourself available and invite people into relationshipwith you through this act of vulnerability.

And it's so interesting because I wouldimagine then this is why people retreat into the known in the secure. I'ma little bit restating myself, but they retreat into the known in the securebecause that's where, I guess, the voices die down. So what area couple practices? You know you have to give away all of the secrets, but like, what is something that a listener could do today, becauseI identified so much with your definition and examples of improvisation. You took it, of course, outside the sales roll and brought it back into it andtook it back out to get into like daily life of talking to a fouryear old. What are one or two things that are listener could do todaythat would maybe help them either a become aware of these voices so that theycan just start listening to them and talking back and or be start getting comfortablewith that discomfort. Sure there's an I'll I'll start with something really specific,right. So I'm a big, really big fan of your product in yourservice and I use it all the time and one of the things we doin our sales training, of course in the last ten months, is todeal with the fact that we're now selling virtually or via video. So oneof the things you can do to help your mindset with that judgment talk ofOh, I get a little intimidated by this video thing is is to actuallyacknowledge it right. So, like right now, and this is real primal, two eyes have a really, really big role in whether or not webelieve we're being judged. When we are being looked at, our brain getsthat right. So right now I'm looking at my flip camera, so Ican see me with the green screen and back of me, then I cansee you looking at me and then I can see the zoom screen looking atme. So now I have three sets of eyes willing to judge me.They see the wrinkles, I used to have hair, I'm fifty pounds overweight, I look tired, I cut myself shaving over here, right. Allthat comes in, and so part of what we try to help people dois just just say that, that that is a truth, because guess what, I'm still okay, I'm still good, and the brain is really like saying, I don't know if you're good. You mean, what could happen?I am going to become invisible. It will selfcombust like the brains tryingto scare you, right, and then you can imagine if we're doing thisall day long. We have a program now that that's just about relieving someof the stress that the virtual world has brought us, because we got peoplelooking at you know, the training I did today one on fourteen hundred people. In the way we set up our zoom calls, I could see everysingle one of them. So I got fourteen hundred people stare at me.I'm used to it because I give speeches for a living, but so toacknowledge it. And then here's what we do. When it comes to thespecific thing like bombomb the next time someone sends you a video or the nexttime you're on a video call and you're looking at fifty people, write downhow many times you are looking at people going Oh, they don't look sogood, Oh that guy's a jerk, oh that person should lose some weight. You don't, and your brain is telling you that you're getting all thisjudgment. It's an ear rational set of data. The truth the matter isthat you send out a bombom video, you do zoom call and, especiallyin this new world, everyone is compassionate and interested and caring and there's notnearly the judgment that your brain is artificially escalating. So we try to getreal with the data, I guess is a way of saying it. I'venever had someone send me a bombomb and go wow, the lighting, oh, that guy's an idiot. Right, you're just happy to see a face. It's all good, man, it's all good. The other thing wedo is to try to have a handful of people. Are Just one personin your life that is that other voice, that Voice of after affirmation, thatvoice of you took a risk, good job, and you find thosepeople and hang on to them and it sounds a little bit therapy, butI you know I'm a pretty confident guy and and a lot of it isthat I depend on a group of people who are kind and loving and affirmingof me, and that means like, Hey, you know, whenever itwas nine months ago, wow, what's this thing you sent me? It'sa it's like a video and I could see you and it was easy andI just clicked on it and that's pretty cool, you know. And soI knew they would, I knew they...

...would affirm me. So get realwith the data and then surround yourself with the voices, because the brain listensto them as much as it listens to yourself. So interesting, because that'sanother thing that I that I recognized years ago and continue to promise people.Will Happen is, and you just added this this function to it, whichis if you put yourself out there and you make it about the other personin a video message. Let's just say you send five or ten messages todayin the vein of something like thank you, good job, congratulations, I justnoticed that, or I was thinking about you, dot dot dot,and you make it about the other person, you'll get at least a few repliesthat kind of validate the effort let you know that you are okay,that you are good enough and all these other things. And it's interesting thatit's that, that you see yourself as a confident person, but also arehonest enough with yourself and with me and with the listeners that it depletes youat some point to express this confidence, and so you surround yourself with peoplethat fill you back up with affirmation. And it's not empty affirmation either,right. It's not this idea of, you know, standing in the mirrorand hearing these voices of people telling you how amazing you are, although II've heard that that's effective, to that, that it's like that. You're surroundingyourself with real supportive people, and I think people do it differently.What I do is it. Those voices helped me in this battle of lettingmy brain know that it's just genuinely inaccurate and that it's using a set ofcriteria to judge the risk inappropriately, and so that takes it away from me, it takes away from shame. I'm just trying to get some accurate,rational data so I can offset the ancient data of if you go on cameraand a sales email, the the tiger will come into the cave right.I have to tell you, and I don't I don't want to turn thisinto a bombomb commercial because I know what my see insincere. But when Ifirst started using it, and I've been doing this right, this is actuallywhat I was tracking. I was tracking the difference in the reply back andI found something I think is is. I'm sure he's this with a lotof your stuff. If I sent an email, the reply back was almostexclusively about the content of the email, the text, the practicality, theissue at hand. If I said a bomb bomb, they certainly heard thecontents and email back about that, but they always included something about me orthem, and so it made me realize that an email is almost exclusion areof the human being and the relationship. And you know, many of thepeople that I sell to have been sold to for a long time. Soit's the language is casual and so my bombom videos are casual sort of stuff. But like if I would have said, you know, like a dear friendnamed Dannis, he dared Dale. You know, we're thinking about thisnew training program I think it'll be appropriate for your you know group. Let'sget together and chat and see if we can add value to your next companymeeting. He would say, okay, by next two days open, andI think I might be intrigued with that. Let's Great. In the bottom bombhe's like, sweetey, how you doing, man? How's he hangingup? How's The theater? What's going on? I think you got akid who's going to college this year. Right. It's instantly allows the humanconversation to happen, and I don't think that's by chance. I just thinkit's because I'm seeing it's back to the neurology, like how can I havea relationship with a flipping email? Like? I have one and I hate it. Ye Know, that all I love about bombomb and that's what actuallyI love about zoom selling, like let's get it. God, yeah,so good, is really interesting insight. I you know, I've never heardit expressed that clearly. This difference. We leaned on a little bit ofscience in Rehumanize Your Business, the book that I co authored with my friendand teammates Steve, where our brains don't recognize typed out text as having beenwritten by a human right, and which is captured in what you just said. Right. So, I'm responding to the information my brain doesn't assign,except maybe in these rare cases where you know, you're maybe typing up anemail to someone you know well and they know you well and they see yoursignature or your logo and it just triggers...

...some of those feelings, but notnearly in the same way as seen your face, in hearing your voice andreally having the kind of the the immeasurable's come to surface. You know,is one of my first reactions. Is Like I've been spending so much timetrying to humanize my emails so they will make that connection. Again, Idon't I'm not aware of any of the science or I don't like I gottaget them a joke in there. I got to tell him something, apersonal and that takes so much time. I got to think of what tosay, I got to type it all sort of stuff and then that instantlyhappens when I'm like hey, dale, like, we're done, we're connected. So I'm lazy. I was like this is a lot easier than tryingto figure out a clever email. Yeah, and it's a little bit of anin between two. Like the email, you have to be very conscious andrational and thoughtful about you know, improvisation is reacting in the moment toyour partner, and this sits somewhere in the middle where you know you don'twant to just hit record and just start yaking at somebody, because that's athe you know, it's just disrespectful of their time and attention. At thesame time, once you do hit record, you know you just kind of goso you're not working off of somebody else, as you are in likea true improvisational situation. At the same time as it just you don't haveto manufacture the humanity because they see and hear you right like the effort isto take in an email to to do that, like even if you justgive a pretty straightforward word content in your bomb bomb, by its nature thehumanity just is there. So, like, I don't know, it's saves mea time. I don't I can just get to the point too.Like I actually think it's a really succinct way of communicating to yeah, absolutely, okay, thank you for all that. That was super interesting for me andactually very, very helpful. I really appreciate you sharing your experience withit. One of your books is titled Return to Civility. Now, Ihave not out confess I've not read the book, but I love the titleand I know You well enough to know that if I, if I introducedthis, that there will be something interesting that comes back. When did wehave civility? When or how did we lose it? How long has itbeen gone, and is civility coming back? Sure, well, I can,I can give you a little bit of data. So, probably becauseI was actually I got excited about hoot sweet. I'm a technic, butthen I'm not very techy, which is kind of an odd thing, andso I was like, do I have anything that I could like load intohoots sweet and do a daily social media thing? And again, I'm all, I'm old. So this stuff is all fascinating. It seems like abig miracle to me, right. And so I was like, well,I wrote this book called return to civilility, which is really just a thought ofthe day book. It's three hundred and sixty five things that the bravenew workshop pledges to do to make this world a little bit more civil,and they're all ridiculously practical and simple. Like, if people are getting offthe elevator, let them all get off the elevator before you bar John tothe elevator. Every time someone has their blinker on to merge, let themin every time. If you're shoveling your stidewalk in Minnesota and you live nextto an older person, shovel their sidewalk. I think today's was just take alittle bit of time to clean up the public restroom after you use itand be sure to flush like nothing huge, right. And so, anyway,we wrote this book along time ago and I'll tell you that story realquick. But so I was like, I've got three hundred and sixty fivej pegs of each page that the publisher sent me. I'm going to lovethat in a hoot. Sweet and January, first two thousand and twenty one,I'm going to replay one each day and I have to say it's beenone of the biggest kind of responses I've ever got in Linkedin, in Facebook, in instagram. People are yearning for simple, complement decent acts of civilityand none of these are very complicated. So I think there's a need.I think there's a passion for it. Again, I own a very politicalbass theater, so I won't go into the timing of perhaps when it wentaway, and the truth the matter is I bet you it's coming gone amillion times. The real reason that I wrote the book was, once again, because just because you're write a book...

...doesn't mean you're very good at things, right. And so every August there's a wonderful singer and songwriter named SeanColvin and it's my wife's absolute favorite musician and she's won a couple grammy's andshe's kind of a classic singer Songwriter, right, and she comes through Minnesotaand it's always around the time of my life's birth days, so we alwaysgo. So here we are. It's an outdoor amphitheater. It's filled withwonderfully educated, polite MINNESOTANS. were all so great, but they've been drinkinga little bit maybe, and after the second song sewn has to stop singingand ask the audience to bring their conversation down because she can't hear herself inher own monitor. And it's my wife's birthday and we also can't hear hervery well. Right. So I'm Irish and I've been sober for twenty sixyears and I've used to have a worst temper problem than I have now.Thank God, but I'm about to go off. I'm like, shut theheck up. She letters sitting right and and my wife can tell that becauseI have a vein right here that really kind of stands out. One ofthose my time. So she puts her hand on my knee and she says, honey, remember, they're not trying to be jerks, they're just forgettingto be civil. And I realized that's what it is. I do havefaith in humanity. We I believe we're all good. We get so busywe forget to be civil, and so I was like, well then,we're just going to remind them in really simple ways. So we sat aroundas a company and we wrote that book in thirty six hours and we cameup with five hundred ideas and we narrow it down to three hundred and sixtyfive. One of the funny stories about that, because we're very irreverent littlecompany, we ran out of civil ideas after about fifty, because that's simple. So all we did as COMEDIANS is reverse engineer. We came up withhorribly heinous things to do to people and then just reward the words those like, you know, instead of like knock down people on an elevator let themoff like yeah, I love it. I love the you were able toen exit that way from like the first fifty up to five hundred and then, of course, the edit back. Normally I asked this at the end, but because you mentioned that this is out in different feeds, where cansomeone access these tips for civility? What like twitter, hand aller or pagesor whatever? So my facebook is John Sweeney speaks. My linkedin, Ithink, is John Sweeney mindset. But yeah, they're on. And thenmy instagram is I am John Sweeney, my twitter as I am John Sweeney. Awesome. I'll link those up for folks who are listening. We doshort write ups. We put in some video clips, for example, ofyou want to see his shaving accident, maybe I'll maybe that moment will windup in a clip at bombombcom. PODCAST is bomb Bombcom podcasts, and Iadd I had links for things that that come up in the conversation as well, so you can find all that there. Well, if you really want toget to know me, you can go to Jigglie boycom because that's whereall the action is and you'll see me dancing with my shirt off in frontof Eighteenzero people. So yeah, with the with the respect and appreciation ofKevin Garnett, one of the greatest of the basketball players of all time,which was a life goal. Yeah, and you will never see John Sweeneythe same again once you visit Jigglie Boycom. I know I don't not close todinner time or anything. It's not and don't show the kids. Yeah, good for anyone to see. Well, but we didn't hit everything that Iwanted to address, but I love the conversation. I think it wasvery interesting. I think it was very helpful. I think any human it'sfun to talk about these themes and I'll bet you experience. It's like Italked about some of these themes and different ways, in different formats, andI'll bet you get the same experience, even when you're going into, youknow, fortune five hundred companies. Everyone can identify with the realities of thehuman experiences, especially the you know, you mentioned the word shame once,but like the discomfort, the times we feel shame, even confident people suchas yourself, you know, we all experience these things and so I justappreciate that in a business context, that some of these ideas are a littlebit more out on the table instead of, you know, being hidden and nottalked about. In your left to figure it out on your own or, you know, if you're fortunate enough... have someone close enough to you, or you can be your real, true, whole full self and anhonest way and say some of these things out loud and just the kind oflike let them free and maybe get the support of other people. So Iappreciate that you're out there giving this permission to people to be comfortable with theirdiscomfort and some of these other themes that you're sharing. What I could tellyou. You know, as an entrepreneur, we've had lots and lots of upsand downs and one of the things that we did through the EOS processis to really nail what our mission was right and we we came up thata long time ago, and so we wake up every day and we dothe same thing, however it's implemented, but we try to use transformative laughterto help people find their best mindset so they can be of service to others, and that's just drives me all day long. Now that might be helpingthem be a better salesperson or be a better leader or or just making themlaugh at our theater. But that's you know, I'm so grateful to thethe entrepreneur operating system methodology to help us narrow with and that focus, becauseit makes it really clear and we use Meta Ivization, but that's what we'retrying to do. We're trying to say you're awesome, practice small things,be your best self and your best mindset for the sake of others and lifewill be okay, and that that keeping it that simple works for for someonelike me, I think so too. I don't think that requires an excessiveamount of hope. I don't think it requires an excessive amount of faith.I think it is basically a truism and I appreciate given voice to it.If you're listening to this episode, I know you are enjoying it, andhere are two more that you might also enjoy. I already mentioned it inthe beginning episode sixty eight with Josh feedy, founder of sales reach. We calledthat one creating better buying experiences with videos. If you like some ofthe video talk we had. Josh and I also talked some video. Asyou probably not surprised to know, Jod and then more recently on episode one, hundred and two with Paul Ross. He is also a speaker and anauthor. His kind of brand area is subtle words that sell, and wecalled that one. Using suggestion to sell decisions and good feelings. We getinto what are we actually selling when we're selling, and so, if youlike, some of the psychology, some of the brain science in this convertwere station. There's a little bit of that one. They're in episode oneout two, John, before we call this a show or before we wrapor before we bring the curtain down. I'm sure I'm mixing metaphors and butwe all know what I mean. I think I'd love to give you twoopportunities. The first is to think or mention someone who's had a positive impacton your life or career. In the second is to give a shoutout ora mention to a company or a brand that you really appreciate for the experiencethey deliver for you as a customer. Sure, the person who's had somany people that have had great influences on me, but the one I liketo share today. Her name is Jackie Bergland and she's the founder and CEOof Finnegan's Beer Company and it's the only beer company I know that that donatesa hundred percent of their profits to feed people. And she's been doing thatfor eighteen years and I don't know if I've ever met anyone who, onsuch a moment by moment daily basis, is as true to her mission.She just wants to feed people who are hungry by the sale of wonderful beerand she's just an inspiration. So Jackie Berg lend of Finnigan's is the personwho inspired me a lot. And the brand that I that I love latelyin that that is just wonderful to their customers, including me, is redwing shoes. And again they're there. are a Minnesota company, but they'reworldwide now and it's not just the quality of their product, it's how theytreat their customers and how customized they can get when it comes to the fittingprocess. And then, just because I have to know a little bit aboutthe CEO and their company, they are just to a company that is allabout the communities that they serve and that they they are there to improve thelives. You know, a core of base of their's is people who areusing those shoes to get the job done, to work, and so they wantthose people to have a healthier life because of the shoes and boots theywere. So Jackie Bergland and red wing shoes. Awesome, well done.I appreciate both of those in the in the spirit behind them, which doesn'tsurprise me, are really awesome. Dude, I appreciate you spending time with me. I'm pleased to be able to...

...share this conversation on like some ofour previous ones, with anyone who cares to listen. For folks who havereached this point in the in the PODCAST, they obviously are into your ideas.Where would you send people to follow up? They can just go totwo places. Just brave new WORKSHOPCOM and that's a place where you can learnabout our training in our theater and that sort of stuff. And then myspeaking website is John Sweeney Dot CEO, and everyone thinks it's a type hoole, but it's not thatcom it's John Sweeney Dot CEO, and that's just becausea wonderful re order named John Sweeney and San Francisco won't sell me his website. So if he's listening, I still want to buy John Sweet so good. That's really funny. It's in for folks who are listening and aren't goingto go to bombombcom slash podcast to get these links. Sweeney, is therean Ey or just n? Why? It's a three word. I'm prettybig deal. We us. I only used to have two ease and thenwe got up, but it'sswe and Ey. John Sweeney Dot CEO. Awesome.Thanks so much, John. Yeah, thank you.

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