Help Others Find Their Win (So You Win)

“You will get everything in life that you want if you just help enough other people get what they want.”

– Zig Ziglar

I recently received an email that reminded me of this quote from Ziglar. It also prompted me to think about how we are more likely to win or persuade when our focus is on helping others. Check out the email below. I think this email a good example of why it’s important to put your focus on others—not yourself.


We’re really trying to fill the room on this one. We’ve got some congressional staff that will be in attendance and some higher-ups from DC in town.

Do you think you can help us get some attendees?



Although I like the sender as a person, I had no motivation to jump in. I was swamped with my own to-do list, emails to return, writing, etc. Like always, I faced a day with lots of problems to solve. Could I have helped? Did I know people that I could have urged to attend this event? Did I have the ability to reach out to them? Yes. But I didn’t. The sender didn’t persuade me. The request was about him, what he needed, with no attempt to convince me that attending would be good for me as well.

But with a few, quick tweaks to the ask, I might have responded differently. Take a look at this revision to the ask:


We’ve got some congressional staff that will be in attendance and some higher-ups from DC in town, and I know you are building your network of DC power players. The room is full, but I could add you and a couple friends if you want to bring someone.



Do you see the difference? I can tell you that I likely would have responded to the revised version. That version is written in a way that shows me how the request meets my needs. And the sender would have won too.

We often think of persuasion as a way to get what we want. But it’s all about your audience. Always. They care about themselves, their health, finances and families and friends. Your challenge is to remove yourself, to begin to see things through your audience’s perspective and to find a way to message from their needs, wants and desires. Step into their shoes. What matters to them? Determine what that is, and adjust your messaging accordingly. Speak to their needs. Address those needs, and you’ll win as well.

So how do you help others find their win? I think it can be broken down into three easy steps: listening to where your audience is, asking questions and then seeking alignment. Let’s walk through three effective tools to make your audience your primary focus.

  1. Listen

You have a lot to say. I get that. We all do. And I’m willing to bet you’re passionate about the issue at hand. That’s fantastic. But are you willing to put that on the back burner – just for the moment – to listen? There’s information that you need, and you’ll only get it by listening.

I’m talking here about three types of listening: (1) informational listening (to learn); (2) critical listening (to evaluate); and (3) therapeutic or empathetic listening (to understand feelings).

Here’s what I can promise you: If you’ll commit to active listening, people will likely tell you everything you need to know.

  1. Ask questions

One of the best ways to show you’re listening while also showing that you value what your audience is saying is to ask questions. As discussed earlier, allow your audience to communicate without being judged.

I would encourage you to refrain from leading questions. At this stage, it isn’t about taking your audience somewhere. It’s really about understanding them.

Ask open-ended questions, clarifying questions, and questions that might uncover emotions.

  1. Seek alignment

Here’s where your magic begins to happen. This is the phase where your skills really come into play.

You understand exactly where you want your audience to be. You understand where they are. You understand why they are where they are. You understand your message and reason for persuasion. You understand where the person is. Now the question is, “Where is the alignment?”

Now, can you move your audience? Can you solve their problem, and demonstrate the value? Can you understand them and guide them to a new place? Frame your conversation by speaking to the values of the people you wish to persuade.

Again, winning is ultimately about your audience. Help them find success, and you’ll find success. You can persuade them. You can get what you want. Just start with them. Help them win, and you’ll win too.




Make It Sticky

“If they can’t repeat it, they didn’t get it.”

— Sam Horn

When I say to make sure your message is sticky, you’re probably scratching your head. How can messaging be sticky?

Have you ever stepped in gum? We’ve all been there. You’re walking and all of a sudden there’s a slight drag on your shoe. Not enough to stop you in your tracks but definitely enough to notice. And if you continue walking you’ll sense the traction of this gum sticking on your shoe. This example is exactly what I mean when I say that you need to craft a sticky message.

Why does stickiness matter? Two reasons:

  • You want your message to remain top of mind. Something needs to trigger in the brain to keep your information front and center.
  • Since it will take multiple times of seeing your messaging for people to take action, you want people to remember this initial messaging so making the connection with future messaging will likely be quicker.

Most times, people will need exposure to your content 6-7 times for them to move from awareness to take action. And you’ll want to make sure they can see the connection with each new view.

Brands understand the importance of saying the same thing over and over. You may feel like it’s redundant and boring. But your audience doesn’t. They need the repetition. Check out this list of repeated phrases that Jeffry Pilcher pulled together. I’m willing to bet you’ll agree that well over half of these are ‘sticky.’

Got milk? (used for 21 years, starting in 1993)

Just do it. (used for over 26 years, starting in 1988)

What happens here, stays here. (used for 10 over years, starting in 2004)

Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.

Tastes great, less filling. (used since the 1970s)

Where’s the beef?

Good to the last drop. (used for over 97 years, starting in 1917)

Melts in your mouth, not in your hands. (used for over 60 years, since 1954)

Breakfast of Champions. (used for over 87 years, starting in 1927)

Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is. (used for over 43 years, starting in 1971)

The nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching head, fever so you can get rest medicine.

Head On. Apply directly to the forehead.

Don’t Leave Home Without It.

15 minutes could save 15% or more on car insurance.

Creating sticky messaging isn’t an elusive task. There are concrete devices that you can use to make sure your messaging remains with your users. Here are three techniques you can use to get started:

  • Repetition
  • Alliteration
  • Rhyming

Often there’s a bonus to rhyming: cadence. Cadence is derived from a Latin word “cadentia” that means “a falling.” Linguists refer to this as the prosodic pattern. Check out this example from a recent political activist’s sign:

Can’t build a wall. Hands too small.

Know what this sign is referencing? Know who it is referencing. I bet so. And what a catchy phrase that is the epitome of a sticky message.

Again, your goal is to make sure your messaging sticks to your reader as part of the process of moving them to responding to your call to action. I encourage you to try several of these techniques. Find what works for you and your message. Get out of your comfort zone a bit, have some fun, and craft a message that will last.

You now have plenty of creative ways to make your messaging sticky. Which leads us to one final question: How do you determine which words to select? Which words should you repeat? Or use some form of rhyming?

Although there are numerous ways to approach this question, perhaps the simplest way is to ask yourself

  • Which words are most important?
  • Which words help to emphasize your main point?
  • Which words help to make an emotional connection?
  • Which words connect with an already known/experienced fact?

Make sure you share with me your tips and successes on making your messaging sticky!

Jeff Tippett Named to Governor’s Institute Board of Directors

RALEIGH, N.C. (May 4, 2017) – Jeff Tippett has been named to the Board of Directors at the Governor’s Institute on Substance Abuse. Jeff is founder and partner of Raleigh-based public affairs firm, Targeted Persuasion. In addition, Jeff recently acquired Total Management, a curated speaker management firm for an elite group of the world’s most exciting speakers.

Using his background in entrepreneurship, communication and marketing, Tippett is excited to have the honor to contribute to the Governor’s Institute’s mission of improving the health care industry’s approach in treating, identifying and preventing substance abuse. And he is personally connected to this issue having lost a close family member dealing with substance use disorder.

“It’s an incredible honor to be a leading member of the Governor’s Institute,” says Tippett. “There are so many ways which they contribute to our state: Improving medical school curricula, addressing issues in the veteran’s health system, or spreading knowledge about substance abuse recovery – to be a part of that mission is so important.”

Jeff is not the only one excited about the chance to further the organization’s mission. The Governor’s Institute Executive Director, Sara McEwen, M.D., MPH, is fully aware of what Tippett can bring to the table. “The Governor’s Institute is pleased to announce that Jeff Tippett has joined the Board of Directors,” stated McEwen. “Jeff is deeply embedded in the community and his wide range of contacts and skill working with diverse stakeholders will be a great asset to the Institute.”

About the Governor’s Institute

The Governor’s Institute was founded in 1990 to collaborate with the four major NC medical schools to change how healthcare professionals and providers address substance abuse. Today, the Governor’s Institute is involved in the healthcare community on multiple levels – providing assistance to healthcare education systems, workforce development and collaborating with schools, clinics, and hospitals to address multiple healthcare issues.

Learn more at


Mindsets on Steroids: A Conversation with Dr. Tashni-Ann Dubroy

In my Mindsets on Steroids blog series, influential leaders share their secrets to help you win by finding your inner desire to change, ignite your passion, and instill life patterns. If what you were doing right now would get you there, you would already be there.

Dr. Tashni-Ann Dubroy was named the 17th president of Shaw University in August of 2015. She then led an incredible turnaround to improve the university’s culture and sustain it financially. Before entering academia, she left a successful corporate career at BASF to follow her passion and start her own hair care business, Tea and Honey Blends, which is still operating today. Dr. Dubroy holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from North Carolina State University and an MBA from Rutgers University.

After a career in corporate America and running your own company, how did you get on the path to becoming president at Shaw?

“They had a chemistry position opened, and so I applied for the job and nailed it. I started at Shaw as a chemistry professor and very quickly got promoted to department chair, then to special assistant to the president for process optimization, and lastly to the position of president.

“I gained the presidency at Shaw within five years of being at the university, and I also am the second youngest president at the institution. I was 34 when I started and came into a turnaround situation. I inherited a six-year decrease in student enrollment. I also inherited a $4 million budget gap and two years of net losses on the balance sheet, so very quickly I had to lead teams to turn around the institution. So far Shaw has been extremely responsive in terms of their ability to do the work and get the job done.”

Lasting change starts with inner desire. What internal triggers have set change in motion in your life?

“I am intrinsically motivated. My mother always said that when I was a young child she never had to tell me to study… at the end of the day, I know from within what I want to do. When I have my eyes set clearly on a goal, I work to achieve it.

“I would like to tell you that I am only passionate about one thing and that that one thing is education. I would like to say that, but if I’m being true to myself, there’s a passion that I have from within with anything that I choose to do, whether it’s entrepreneurship, whether it’s education, young people, or giving back. Everything that I take on I ensure that I commit myself to it.

“That type of internal motivation really helps me to be successful in all realms of my career and personal life. I think the evidence for that is my history of being quickly promoted in every setting I’ve been in. I always say I can’t hold on to a job because I keep getting promoted.

“If I look at the variety of positions I’ve been able to master in my career, I think there are some common skills that are shared across all of these positions, and it’s interesting for me to see the challenges that I’m facing in the college presidency setting I’ve been able to solve because of the analytical skills, organizational skills, and people skills that I’ve developed over the years in each of these roles.”

Passion fuels explosive growth. What ignites your passion?

“I do get a lot of energy from being around people. I’m a people person and I enjoy giving back. If there is something that entails educating young people – especially young girls – and helping them to be confident, to be successful, get rid of perceived barriers to success that they may have, or eliminate real barriers to success, those are the types of things that I’m passionate about. That’s what keeps me going.

Where does that passion come from?

“My mother is my most early influencer. I have a very strong mom. I saw her working very hard to help our family. I saw her make sacrifices even up to having to migrate out of the country while her kids were back in Jamaica. She migrated to the United States while we were in Jamaica. I think those types of things certainly resonate with me today. I have a young daughter – she’s seven years old – and the things that my mother instilled in me are the things I’m cultivating in her as well.”

Consistent life patterns are often the missing component to greatness. How do you find discipline in your life?

“I have been waking up early from a very young age. My mom used to wake us up at six o’clock in the morning for no reason at all. So we were up very early in the morning and just up to be up. She created a bunch of early risers in the family and soon it became a habit for me.

“I wake up at 4:30 every morning and that’s just part of my morning routine. I wake up ahead of the family. I’m able to do so much work and by the time they’re up I can focus on them. That type of disciple I now realize is not common. Every time I speak about it, people are shocked,” she says with a laugh. “It’s not that I don’t get sleep – I do – it’s just that to have this type of schedule I have to wake up early.”

What is one result of change, passion, and discipline in your life?

“While I was working in corporate (at BASF), I was making a very good salary, and my husband and I were very well compensated in the jobs that we had. I remember when I started Tea and Honey Blends, I learned from one of the VPs at BASF that it was a potential conflict of interest with our customers, so I was either going to have to quit my company or have to quit corporate.

“I remember going home and speaking to my husband about the impact that me leaving would have on the family, and he said he would support me in whatever decision I made. I remember thinking about him in terms of how much more of a burden he would have to take in order to help the family’s finances, and so I told my VP in corporate that I would stay. But that night when I went home I was literally sick to my stomach. I couldn’t eat; I couldn’t sleep. I knew that I had made the wrong decision.

“Usually I don’t like to renege on decisions, but I had to go back in and I had to tell her that I wanted to take the risk to leave corporate while I was young and explore entrepreneurship. It was one of the best decisions that I have made in my entire life. I got an understanding of what it was like to own my own company and be responsible for ensuring people can meet the needs of their families, as well as just understanding taking a company from an idea and then executing. I think that’s an example of how passion and making a bold decision are how I approach everything in life. I make bold decisions and I don’t make any small plans.”

You can follow Tashni-Ann Dubroy on Twitter at @PhDTash.


Mindsets on Steroids: A Conversation with Paul Meshanko

In my Mindsets on Steroids blog series, influential leaders share their secrets to help you win by finding your inner desire to change, ignite your passion, and instill life patterns. If what you were doing right now would get you there, you would already be there.

Paul Meshanko is the founder and CEO of Legacy Business Cultures, a leadership training and organizational development firm that has served fortune 500 companies and medium sized business alike for 20 years. He is also the author of The Respect Effect. In the interview below, Paul tells us about his passions, what motivates him in his business, and shares secrets for being successful in business and life.

Lasting change starts with inner desire. What internal triggers have set change in motion in your life?

“What put me on my current trajectory probably started 22 or 23 years ago when I was still in my first job. I went through a training program when I was with Allied Signal (Paul’s first employer) called ‘Increasing Human Effectiveness.’ When you’re in corporate America you go through tons of training all the time, but this one really stuck out in my mind, because it was the first training I’d ever been through that actually focused on me as an individual, and what those personal competencies were that enabled me to be effective as a part of a larger group.

“I was so infatuated with that that I actually volunteered to become a facilitator internally for that program, and it became literally almost intoxicating. That whole role of being a catalyst for helping other people learn and grow and develop their own potential was addictive. About two or three years after I went through the program and became an internal facilitator, I decided to make a vocational change and left the safety of corporate America and said ‘I’m going to do this for a living now,’ and so it was really that passion for helping others uncover their own potential.”

Why did you feel the need to leave your job to pursue this passion?

“I had so much doggone fun doing it! The day that I turned in my resignation, my boss at the time just kind of smiled and said, ‘we were wondering how long it was going to take for this to happen,’ because that was not my job. I was actually a new product development manager. He said ‘I’ve never seen somebody take such an incredible interest and really have an ability to excel in a discipline that really wasn’t related to their job.’”

Were you worried about taking a chance and leaving a secure job for an unproven venture?

“It was just me and I figured if it didn’t work out, I could always go back to a real job,” he says with a laugh. “Fortunately for me, 20 years later I’m still doing it.”

Passion fuels explosive growth. What ignites your passion?

“For me, I think one of my core personal attributes is that I am intensely curious about what makes people tick – at the individual level and the organizational level. Why do we do the things that we do, and when we’re doing things well, can we learn from it and do more of it? When we’re doing things poorly, what kind of interventions can we put in place to address it and fix it?

“I also have a technical background – I was a sales engineer when I first started with Allied Signal – so I’ve always had a technical orientation. So looking at that whole human equation through multiple lenses -psychology, anthropology, history, and most recently neuroscience – was always second nature to me. What I like to do is find a pattern and see if that pattern can be explained through multiple lenses and disciplines. For me, that’s the essence of my passion for what we do organizationally.

“The second part of that is distilling it into actionable training and consulting for our clients. It’s one thing to see a pattern, it’s another thing to be able to translate that into workshop content, or a speaking topic, or consulting or coaching that actually helps another person or organization improve their situation.”

Consistent life patterns are often the missing component to greatness. How do you find discipline in your life?

“My first thought is to laugh out loud because that’s probably the single reason I’m not a multi-millionaire already. Because I’m intensely curious, I also suffer from the ‘shiny object syndrome.’ If something catches my attention, even if it’s not 100 percent relevant to what I’m working on, I may go explore it a bit. What I have found is that my discipline comes in spurts, and it usually is around something that is new, fun, and educational for me.”

A good example of this is when Legacy won a contract from the Department of Justice to create a curriculum around unconscious bias training.

“My discipline went into high gear because I was just so absolutely fascinated by the subject myself. I was talking to researchers from Harvard, the University of Wisconsin, UNC-Chapel Hill, and really some of the foremost researchers on the subject. That kind of environment puts me in the zone where I can be focused and disciplined.”

Are there things you do every day to maintain that zone?

“One of the things I do every day is I go through the headlines and try to look at the events going on around the world through those same lenses – history, neuroscience, phycology – and try to spot patterns, and it’s that curiosity that allows me to keep our content relevant.”

Over the past 3 1/2 years, Paul has been through a lot of change and challenges in his life. His father died, he’s moved three times, divorced, and relocated business.

How do you deal with these challenges?

“I was talking with a friend and they said, ‘how in the heck are you still standing?’ and I said ‘ because I’ve got really good friends to talk to.’

“I don’t care how well-balanced you are as an individual, how resilient you are, how adaptable you are; at the end of the day human beings are social creatures. Neurologically we’re the most socially wired animal on the planet. We did not evolve to be lone rangers, and so I am as passionate as anybody about this notion that we are here to take care of each other. So when we’re going through tough times, if we don’t have a network of friends and family to fall back on, we’re in trouble, because we’re really not designed to go through hard times alone.”

What is one result of change, passion, and discipline in your life?

“There are two. I’ve been successfully running my own business for twenty years, and the number of people who start a business and are in business twenty years later as a percentage of those who try is very, very small; so I take some degree of pride in that.

“And the other thing I think is being a published author. I think having the discipline to take a concept and research that concept and then get it published through a major publishing house – that takes a little bit of all three of those also.”

You can follow Paul on Twitter at @PaulMeshanko.