Image Power at Power Boost Live

Here’s a success story from one of our customers, Yolanda Facio from Red. Hot. Momentum

Yolanda Facio Speaks about Referral Marketing

I was pretty excited when I was recently asked to present a workshop at Pam Slim’s Power Boost Live event.  Pam asked that I give a breakout session on building a referral-based business.

I set up the 90 minute workshop to include three work sections.  I would give a small amount of content and instructions then had the participants work on that content.  The first item involved outlining a target market and differentiating statements about what set them apart from the competition.

I wanted to make sure that each person left with some usable work that could be translated into action immediately after the event.  In order to do that I knew I would need to get creative.  My workshop was in the last breakout of the day so folks had been talked at all day and were starting to get tired… as was I!

So in order to make my job easier, to ensure I would spark conversation amongst participants and get them working, I used the VisualsSpeak Image Set.

Use photos to guarantee success

Before the workshop began, I set up one table in the room with all of the images.  I used all but the smallest sizes.  I mixed them up all over the table, it looked great and generated quite a bit of interest as people entered the room.

After my introduction material I started in on the first of the work items.  I explained what I expected them to work on for the next 15 minutes.  Then I asked them to stand up, go to the table and pick out some pictures that might help them think about their target customers and what made them special as businesses.

The process was an absolute hit.  Talk about breaking the ice!

The excitement and energy at the table was great to see.  The participants engaged not only with the images but with each other.  Lots of conversation and most importantly laughter and smiles.  I had beat the afternoon slump.

My experience using the images and the feedback I received after will definitely ensure I include the images in all types of workshop formats.  There are just too many benefits not to.

One woman who had tried to work on a target market description in the past said that it finally all just came to her.  She credited my workshop.  Secretly I credit the images.  She was not alone in the assessment that “things just clicked” during the workshop.  As a result I received lots of “thank you’s” after the event.

I couldn’t be more pleased!


Exploring Your Strengths

“Good morning friend, I got the “Exploring Options” deck yesterday and this morning during my meditation time I used them. WOW! Since it was a quiet time for me, I decided to write out my learnings/insights rather than to talk them out –tough for me, as you know talking is my default mode of communication! ;-)”

Using my new tool from VisualsSpeak — the “Exploring Options” card deck.

I chose to focus around the “Exploring Strengths” question prompts — asking the following questions of myself,

“What are my strengths when it comes to my Professional Speaking and Training work?” “What do I do when I speak?” “What does my audience get out of it?”

Going through the deck I chose 5 cards:

  • Painting of a person standing facing to the left of the card. There is light coming from (or going to) heaven/the clouds. This light connects in two places with the person, the head and the heart.
  • A photograph of a campfire at night. No people, just the burning fire.
  • A photo of a wooden foot bridge – the kind you wold find up in a hiking trail in the mountains.
  • A close up photo of blueberries . . . with one lone raspberry in the middle of them.
  • A photo with the bank of a river in the foreground and barren trees/grassy patch in the middle.Towards the top of an incline there are stick frame outlines for 3 buildings. The photo was taken in late fall or winter (itʼs a clear day, but no snow). The outlines of the buildings may have been drawn in by someone.- a photo of exploding fireworks.

Here is how I tell my story

My professional speaking helps people connect what is in their heart with what is in their mind. The ultimate purpose is to also connect their head, heart and actions — what they believe, what they are passionate about and what they “DO”. (Purpose, passion and behavior)

The way I do this is in connection with a form of human engagement that goes back to the beginning of humankind — the story around the fire. Retelling stories,talking about the day, sharing wisdom and humor around a fire has a primal quality about it — interacting around the fire is one of the oldest forms of human interaction –the fire provided warmth, light, sustenance (cook our food), and a space for humans to share what was important to them.

COMMUNITY. When I speak I like to take people on a journey — like hiking on a trail. The trail may be familiar or it may be brand new — every step is unique – whatʼs around the next bend? How does the sunlight shining through the forest feel on my face?

One of the things that people are able to get out of working with me is the ability to see, understand, and celebrate their own uniqueness. Each of us is different, and itʼs the difference that makes life interesting and fun. My work helps people answer the question, “What makes you special?”

I focus on finding and sharing your unique value proposition.Very often people have an “ah ha” moment during/after hearing me speak. They get inspired to share more of themselves with each other and the world. They gain a moment of clarity around their unique purpose and how to live/what to do (next). They are ready to explode — making a unique and beautiful impact on the world.

Thanks Sean for sharing your experience!If you’d like to share your experience with the VisualsSpeak tools, we’d love to hear it!


Deepening Strategic Visioning

deciding which image to use to describe vision priorities

In a recent visioning session, long-time client Valerie used the ImageSet to help bring focus to a group of nurses who were getting stuck.

The nurses were trying hard to get away from their stock answers and needed something to spark some creativity and renew focus.

Using the VisualsSpeak tools, Valerie asked the nurses to think visually by selecting one or two images to represent their priorities.  Adding the physical element of getting up and gathering around the table to look at and chose images is a fantastic way to add additional tactile elements to the exercise.

They got up, moved around, engaged with one another and really embraced the experience.  This process lead to a much more in-depth discussion about what the priorities they were focusing on meant to them individually and as a group.

This is a common response.  Research shows that when you can get individuals physically engaged in a process you up the potentiality of new and deeper outcomes.  The physical coupled with the visual helps to bring new insights and fresh ideas to established patterns.

The nurses were struggling to come up with new ideas and meaning, the ImageSet broke the struggle and enhanced the process.  The visioning session was a success for Valerie and for her clients!

If you’d like to learn more about the ImageSet >>> Click Here!


Can an Image Paint a Thousand Words?

Here’s what’s interesting about the brain.  It relies on memories to develop our values and belief systems.

I had to think about that at first because my initial reaction was, don’t I decide what I believe?  Nope.  My brain has an active role in determining what I believe based on what I remember.  Of course then I get to filter that information. 

So the mind, what we think of as our conscious self relies quite heavily on what the brain is doing and lets face it, the brain doesn’t really have the best filing system in the world or I’d be able to remember the name of that movie, you know the one with that guy…

And that leads me to images.  Images are the place where our memories hang. 
If you don’t believe me then look at the word below:


Now, how do you feel? How many memories were immediately triggered?  Or did you have to think about what the word meant first? 


Now, look at the image below:

So, this time, how did you feel?  How many memories were immediately triggered?

With the word you probably got some ideas about what the word means and what it means to you.  But I’m betting you didn’t have an emotional reaction like you might have when you looked at the image.

Images are powerful.  Not only are they worth a thousand words, they are worth a whole host of emotions, values, beliefs, passions and more. 

This is what makes VisualsSpeak tools so effective.  When working with individuals or groups on big questions about innovation or leadership or teambuilding.  Nothing breaks through barriers quite as quickly as images do.  Images reach into the brain’s filing cabinet of memories and make connections we couldn’t make as well on our own.

If you want big breakthroughs with your clients, if you want successful sessions every time, give images an opportunity to shine.  You’ll be amazed at the results… we always are!

The ImageSet does it all – check it out! >> ImageSet


Leadership as Art

darknessI recently read an article, “Every Leader is an Artist” at the Harvard Business Review web site.  The article, written by Michael O’Malley, author of a book by the same name, makes the argument that great leaders are artists.  He compares the artist to the leader to show those similarities.

While I agree with O’Malley, it raises the question:   “How do we get leaders in business to see themselves as artists and, therefore, embrace art?”

It’s a big question.

Many in traditional leadership positions favor the “left-brained” way of thinking.  Spreadsheets filled with numbers certainly doesn’t feel like art.  On the surface most of the decision-making activities of a leader don’t feel like art.

But the interconnectedness of those numbers to real-world solutions is a form of art.  It takes not just analysis but the ability to see through the numbers to the bigger picture.  It isn’t just about one product or service but the implications of it’s existence in the marketplace.  It isn’t just about customer as consumer but customer as partner.

All those connections, some more abstract than others, reach far across both the left and right sides of our brains.  It is art.  It is analysis.  It is a combination of both.

So how do we get leaders to embrace art?

Is it in the ability of the artist to embrace analysis?

Is it in the joining of forces, the bringing together of both artist and business leader?

Where and how can we begin to create the threads that will bring them both together?


Building Great Teams One Image at a Time

What do pinterest, tumbler and facebook have in common with VisualsSpeak?

Images.  Visuals.  Pictures.

Over the last year, we’ve seen the popularity of visuals rise.  From Pinterest to infographics, images are everywhere.

The reason is simple.  Images are highly effective.

That’s what makes VisualsSpeak tools so powerful.

The ability to “paint a thousand words” in one image is one reason the human brain loves pictures.

One picture can convey years of meaning and memory.  When used in team-building efforts, images can be a powerful team-building tool.

Why Image Decks are So Powerful

Of course the primary reason the VisualsSpeak image decks are so powerful is that they are made up of images.  But, the decks aren’t just piles of images, the images themselves have been tested and vetted to make sure they get results.

In a team-building setting, images can cross all sorts of interpersonal communication boundaries between members of a group as well as shine light on all of the variations among group members.  But the images can also shed light on the similarities among a diversified group of team members.  Unveiling these often unnoticed similarities can create a more powerful group dynamic, creating a much healthier and more productive team.

Don’t Just Take Our Word For It

Here’s Lori Silverman’s story:

Lori Silverman is a builder. As a key leader of Portland State University’s Professional Development Center, Lori helps the university build new degree and certificate programs. And that means bringing teams, boards, and committees together. A lot.

So when it was time to put a new advisory panel together and set up a first meeting? Well, we’ll just let Lori tell you herself, in her own words:

“It was my first meeting with my advisory panel and on it’s way to a humdrum bother of a meeting for everyone until I decided to use VisualsSpeak. My biggest anxiety was giving up a full 90 minutes of a two hour meeting just to introduce

“In just 90 minutes I have the richest understanding of my new advisory panel’s ability to contribute, special attributes, natural leadership and group tendencies, willingness levels, commitment level, level of understanding of the program and most interesting to me – they have a genuine curiosity about each other – and a desire to work together in the future. Sometimes I have worked for months to glean that kind of knowledge on a team – and almost never got it.

“I have to admit that biting the bullet and committing 90 minutes of their first meeting to playing with images was risky – I didn’t know them well, and I felt like and they made me feel like I was asking a lot of them just to be there – but WOW. One of them had told me in advance that he would not be able to stay for the entire meeting – so when the meeting finished and I asked why he stayed – he said that he guessed it was a barometer for his interest in the meeting!

“I couldn’t have done that with my old agendas’ ‘Statement of Purpose, New Business, Yawn, yawn.’ Thanks to the team building tool, I think we have eliminated so much of the hidden agenda, anxiety, waste of time kinds of feelings on behalf of the group.”

You can learn more about the Team-Building tools here >>  Building Great Teams


Unplugging at the Oregon Coast

If you’ve been following our video series, you may want to know more about the Oregon Coast and why it makes for a great place to get unplugged.

Jalene and Christine talk a little bit about the Oregon Coast  in this last video.

If you haven’t checked out the Women Unplugged retreat page, please do, it gives all kinds of details about the retreat.  This is a one time opportunity to get Christine and Jalene together to help you unplug, get creative and have fun in a relaxing and restorative setting. 




Connecting With Your Inner You

If you are anything like me… you probably have some really cool projects and hobbies.  My office is filled with journals and sketch books, moleskines and pastels, watercolor paper and charcoal, photos and cameras, colored pens and pencils and yes, in the corner a guitar.

My partner’s desk is filled with electronic parts and little robots, drafting paper and sketch pads, catalogs and books.

Our creative endeavors are different to be sure, but the one thing they have in common… dust.

When I do think about working on “arting” up a photo or playing with some pastels the pile of invoices on my desk reminds me that I have bills to pay, inventory to buy, calls to make and, well, work to do.

The worst part is this, as long as I’m near my desk, 24 hours a day, weekends included – the work pulls me in and keeps me from those real pleasures.

We all need away time.  The closer we are to our work space the harder it is to get that away time.

Imagine a few days of reconnecting with your inner you… Having time to remember the stuff you really love to do and do it.  Maybe just reflecting on how to incorporate it more fully.  Maybe just figure out a way to make it a bigger part of the day.  And what about all those new ideas that you jot down and never get to?  What if you had time for those?

You do.  You can.  It’s what the Women Unplugged Retreat is all about.  It’s about connecting with you, the most important person around.

Join Christine and Jalene for a weekend of reconnecting you won’t forget.

Now… just to figure out how to get the guitar and pastels in the suitcase…

Let’s hear Christine and Jalene tell us more about the connection side of the Women Unplugged Retreat.


Remember:  Early bird registration ends August 31st.  
Click here for more info and to get registered.


Everyone Is Creative


In reading the new book, Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer, I was struck by a story about an incurable brain disease.

And, like someone was trying to send me a message, the next day I listened to a Radiolab podcast with Jonah Lehrer as a guest talking about the same disease.

I was destined to write about it.

The Story

In brief, the stories in both the book and the podcast talk about a woman, “a brilliant biologist” who one day decides to quit her work as a biologist and, instead, become an artist… full-time.  Of course, her husband found it odd.  The biologist hadn’t studied art or trained or even had any experience, just a strong and sudden need to create.

She painted and painted and painted more, up to 10 hours a day in her studio.

She got better.  She began getting some high-profile commissions.  She began to get some gallery showing and had her work featured in exhibitions.  She painted for the next 15 years until she died of the very disease that unlocked her creativity.

Unlocking Creativity

It’s called frontotemporal dementia.  The disease destroys the prefrontal cortex.  According to Jonah, “As a result, nothing is repressed: the raw perceptions processed in the right temporal lobe of the cortex… are suddenly unleashed into the stream of consciousness.”

In the case of individuals with frontotemporal dementia, the disease creates an irreversible decline that starts with the need to… create.

What’s interesting is that we all experience, the shutting down of the prefrontal cortex, every night once we fall asleep.

Of course no one wants to shut down his or her prefrontal cortex just to create, but here’s the thing…

It debunks the long-lasting myth that only some people are creative and others are not.

Story after story about sufferers of frontotemporal dementia show regular non-artistic folks becoming highly creative and becoming good at it.

What Does this Mean?

Well from my perspective, it means everyone has the capacity to be creative.  That means you, me and all of the people we work with.

The idea that one must be creative to appreciate new things like using images to facilitate is simply wrong.

We all have the capacity to use creative tools, to enjoy creative things, to express creatively and to simply be creative.  The problem is suppression.

Once we practice suppressing self-expression and inhibit our impulses we stop those natural creative abilities. 

This means we need to be more active in the practice of letting ourselves go.  We need to make it safe to express.  We need to make it okay to let others express.  We need to be okay with expressing ourselves as well.

The next time someone says they aren’t creative or that they don’t understand creative things, tell them the story of the biologist turned accomplished painter.

Happy Visioning!

Check out the Radiolab podcast here.

Want to unlock your creative side?  Then join us for the Women Unplugged Retreat, you won’t want to miss this event!  Learn more about the retreat here >>>  Women Unplugged Retreat


Plugging Into Your Creative Side

One of the long time myths about creativity is this idea that creativity = art.  Not so.

Here’s another, only right-brained people are creative.  Also, not so.

Lefties and Righties are equally creative the only difference is the expression of that creativity.

That means that creativity is not all about art, many times it is about process.

The process of creating can be just about anything.  Of course it can be as obvious as writing, painting and composing music.

And yet there’s a forgotten side we many times overlook like just the act of throwing paint on paper no matter the outcome, maybe it’s a walk on the beach and reflecting, it could be meditation, yoga, running or journaling.  It doesn’t matter if there is a tangible outcome because what matters most is the process.  That is what leads to creativity and the practice of process can have huge implications on all those other things we do all day long that don’t feel creative.

Let’s hear Christine and Jalene talk about what creativity means to them: