Entrepreneur Edition with Michael Allosso – Part Two
March 30, 2021
We shared pragmatic tips on the lights, camera and sound quality behind video communication in part one of The 19: Entrepreneur Edition. Now it’s time for the action! In just 19 minutes, the always entertaining Michael Allosso (Communications Expert and Professional Actor/Director) explains how to form emotional connections with the people on the other side of the screen and become an even better leader. Learn how to identify and focus on your objective to guide you through obstacles, practice empathy to convey authenticity and “put a ding in the universe” with each daily interaction.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:00:05] This is The 19. In 19 minutes or less game-changing insights from Orange Label, the leading response marketing agency for established brands that are driven by a fearless entrepreneurial mindset.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:00:23] Hello and welcome to The 19 Entrepreneur Edition. I’m Rochelle Reiter, President of Orange Label. Today, we’re going to dive into part two of our series with Michael Allosso, master communications expert, self-awareness, specialist and professional theater and film director and actor. In part one, we talked about the pragmatic tips of being an effective communicator in the virtual world. Today, we’re going to shift to the softer side of things. The emotional connections created during virtual meetings and find out if this is even possible. Michael, welcome back to The 19, part two in our series.
Michael Allosso: [00:00:57] Thanks Rochelle!
Michael Allosso: [00:01:03] Steve Jobs, 66th birthday today. “I want to put a ding in the universe.” That’s what he said and so do I and so do you. That’s why we’re here today. So let’s begin dinging
Rochelle Reiter: [00:01:18] Awesome, so in our previous episode, we talked about the pragmatic tips of communicating virtually. This time, let’s talk about the emotional connection during meetings and where do you see people missing that mark right now?
Michael Allosso: [00:01:32] I’m a huge Brené Brown fan, as so many people are. I know you are and Dr. Brown says if you don’t own your own feelings, they’ll eat you alive. She said, you may be afraid, but you do it anyway. One of my favorite things, she says, Rochelle, is there are many cheap seats in the arena. Leaders are people who step into the ring and so what I think happens is that this medium virtual, virtually makes us falsely think we can be passive. That we’re sitting in our home, the small of our back get’s comfortable in the chair, and we forget that we have to jump in the ring. Whether we’re the leader of the meeting or are not the leader. It’s our job to jump into the ring and so, so much of this is about energy. You know, I have my thirty five nuclear weapons helping you, be you and your best day. Number one is energy. I think it’s so important. I wrote it first. I wrote it three times and put an exclamation point after it. And right now people are whining about the low energy. And the problem with that is it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. You have got to bring it.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:02:43] Yeah.
Michael Allosso: [00:02:43] We call it in theater, playing the obstacle instead of playing the objective. You follow what that means Rochelle?
Rochelle Reiter: [00:02:49] No explain that to me.
Michael Allosso: [00:02:49] Well, former military and military people get this the best. So secret weapon, 16, 17, 18, objective tactic obstacle. So Navy SEALs will tell me. Objective kill the enemy. Tactics, land, sea, air. Obstacle find war in the desert, the enemy lives in the desert, but it’s theater 101. If I were to coach you in the scene, those would be the questions I’d be asking. What is your objective? What is your desired result? How are you going to get it? Those are your tactics and what’s preventing you from getting it. That’s the obstacle. And right now where I’m finding where people fail is they play the obstacle rather than the objective. Oh, I have this obstacle that I can’t be with you in-person. I have this obstacle that I can’t touch you. I have this obstacle that we have this screen between us. No, no, no, no. Turn the obstacles into opportunities. During the downturn, a lot of my construction clients would say to me, Michael, I just laid off three people today. You want me to go in tomorrow all chipper and happy and energetic? That’s not authentic. And so Rochelle, I’d say to them, I’d say, is your objective tomorrow to make the people left standing mourn the people that you’ve laid off? Oh, no, no, no, no. Is your objective tomorrow to make the people left standing fear that they’re the next ones to go? Oh, no, no, no, no. Or is your objective tomorrow to make the people left standing do the same amount of work, if not more, for the same amount of money, if not less so that you can get your company out of this and put food on people’s tables? Yeah.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:04:26] Yeah.
Michael Allosso: [00:04:26] That’s the authentic event. Complaining about and feeling sad or my emotions are all wrapped up, that’s playing the obstacle. The simplest example I can give you is if I’m directing you in a play and I give you the script on the first day and it says your character is drunk and then you come into the scene and you say, “Good Morning Michael how are you?” I’d say, “Rochelle, ugh, what are you doing?” And the actual, well, it says the character’s drunk. Rochelle, when somebody is drunk, what usually is their objective? What do they usually trying to get people to think?
Rochelle Reiter: [00:05:04] That they’re…
Michael Allosso: [00:05:04] That they’re not drunk, that they’re relaxed and sober, and everything is wonderful. You don’t play drunk. That’s playing the obstacle. That’s the obstacle to the objective in the scene. So I think spiritually, what’s happening right now, from my observations, is people play the obstacle and they’re not playing the objective. In order to play the objective, you have to articulate it.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:05:30] Right.
Michael Allosso: [00:05:30] What is my desired result? And so I think when we say that right at the beginning of the meeting, if I say together we’re going to put a ding in the universe, well, then you and I know what this meeting’s about. And we delete anything that doesn’t support that. And the fact that my back hurts, the fact that I can’t be with you, the fact that I’m looking at the Atlantic Ocean and I’d like to go put my toes.. their obstacles. They may all be authentic, but they’re not the authentic event right now. They are obstacles to the authentic. Is that too jargony, does that make sense Rochelle?
Rochelle Reiter: [00:06:03] That makes perfect sense. It’s great advice. In a previous conversation, we talked about empathy and what’s needed right now to really connect. Share a little bit about empathy and how it applies to the business world.
Michael Allosso: [00:06:16] This organic hole of act one and act two. Act one is what we’re doing right now, which all my business life. Act two is behind the door behind me, Peggy, my personal life. And what’s happening right now for many of us is there’s no separation between act one and act two. So, if I were to do a live interview with you right now, I’d fly to some city. We’d need, there’d be cameras, we’d finish the interview. Maybe we have a coffee, say goodbye, and then I’d go explore whatever city I’m in, find a coffee shop, sit down, pick up my phone, call Peggy, check in. A, no intermission. There’s no intermission between act one and act two. So, empathy cannot be this fake thing that you kick into for the moment. Has to be who you are. And right now, people want to share their DiSC profile with me, their predictive index characterization, well, I’m a low-empathy person. If you’re a leader, I’m sorry. I’m not I’m not that empathetic to your low-empathy position, because right now people aren’t getting the hugs at the coffee machine. People aren’t getting affirmations at lunch. So your ability to connect through the screen is critical. And so to really see and hear people is so important right now. I have thing called secret weapon number twenty-nine. It’s like getting three oranges on the slot machine, Rochelle. So, if I refer back to something you said ten minutes ago, three things happened. One, I call you by your name. I recognize you as a distinct person in God’s universe. Two, I tell you that I was listening to you, that I wasn’t just worried about my own thing. And three, I give you credit the idea for the idea, not me. Ching, ching, ching, ching, ching, ching. That’s empathy, empathy, empathy. Empathy, to call you by your name. Empathy, to listen to you when you speak and the empathy to credit you at a later point in my virtual meeting. That’s what keeps virtual meetings alive because then everyone feels like, whoa, she heard me, he heard me, whoa, I’m going to pay attention. And so I call everybody by name all the time and people don’t know when I’m going to call on them.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:08:30] Right.
Michael Allosso: [00:08:30] And remember, you got to ask questions. So one way of motoring that is to constantly ask questions. Great presentations are not monologues or dialogs. And we sometimes think, oh, I have to carry all this burden myself and let’s empower others, ask non rhetorical questions and have other people share the leadership of the meeting.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:08:53] It’s so interesting that that seems easier in-person from my perspective, but when you put it like that. It’s like what is different? We’re on screen, we’re still talking. We can still communicate and reach out and connect. On that emotional level.
Michael Allosso: [00:09:08] I say turn the obstacle into an opportunity because I can write I can have, if I have twelve people in the Zoom. I have twelve pieces of paper here and I have the Rochelle piece of paper and I have to say, Rochelle talked about her Labradoodle, Sadie. And again, I go to my red pen, I write the name Sadie down and then I use that as an example later.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:09:29] Yeah.
Michael Allosso: [00:09:30] You know, so Rochelle, if you were walking Sadie, whoa, people pay attention. That’s empathy.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:09:36] Michael, going back to our very first podcast with you, almost two years ago, we talked about the different types of communication styles, the head, the heart and the groin. How can individuals best utilize each of them in today’s world to be our most authentic selves?
Michael Allosso: [00:09:52] Quick definition for folks who did not listen two years ago. Head communicators communicate by data, logic, facts. Heart communicators communicate via empathy, but we’re just talking about even sympathy. They are sensitive. They have their feelings hurt. Groin communicators are direct. No edit button. They tell you like it is. They don’t waste time right in your face. All three of those make for a dynamic presentation. Heterogeneity right now seems to be more important than ever, Rochelle, because of that microcosm time and because I’m in the little rectangle. So the more I can visit all three in a single paragraph or in a single meeting, that’s when things start to cook, where I think we fall down as we get mono-positioned that this is my head meeting where I’m going to give you tons of data and put up thirty eight slides with numbers on it because we really have this material or it’s hard. Let’s all go around the screen and let’s share what we’re grateful for during this time. And that’s what I’ve chosen to do with our three hours today. Groin, we failed on this. You all are terrible. Let’s go around and what are you going to do better next time? Let’s rock this. Now, all of those, even though I’m parodying all three of them, they’re all valuable. They’re all important pieces of the communication. The logical thing to think right now, though, is if I’m not heart dominant, I’ve got to get that piece up there more. You can’t be intolerant of a single parent whose two year old toddler crawls into their lap in the middle of a meeting or never mind, single parent. If both parents are working or just if the kid bursts in the room and wants to say hello, I think what happens is that the head dominant people will say, I must stay focused and continue. Nope, add a little heart, say hello to the child, say hello to the dog that pops into the lap. And those heart pieces are really genuinely enjoying saying hello to the child or the dog enhances the meeting and now you get back to head to refocus where groin comes in really handy. Is that what I’m finding tedious. People speak in declarative sentences all the time. I am happy to be here. We are working on this today. When people speak imperatively, I pay more attention. So if someone does a presentation and that person says everybody lift their right hand, that’s growing communication. It gets me interested because then the whole room is active. Questions, so you add more interrogative. You know, what has been your single biggest success? What has been your single biggest obstacle? What’s preventing you from doing that? What would stop you from doing that? Remember what Brene Brown says, you may be afraid, but you do it anyway. So it’s by getting in there heart wise. And I’m finally head here’s a head thing that really works for those of you who are dominant head out there. When you remember how many people are on the screen and you refer to that. So when I say things like this, Rochelle, the sixteen of you today came here with certain expectations and someone leaves because they had a meeting that they announced. And then I refer back. Now, if the fifteen of you every single time I do that, someone in their takeaways will say it was really cool how you knew how many people there were. So the head people really enjoy that acknowledgment of statistics, data. What I find had people enjoy that I know thirty percent of you have heard me speak before and the other seventy percent of you are brand new. Head people enjoy that. So, I find accessing statistics, data, mixing it up so that there is a blend of the three really keeps for a sparkly virtual meeting.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:13:46] That’s really helpful. So what would you say is the most important piece of advice that you would give to our listeners to emotionally connect?
Michael Allosso: [00:13:54] For some reason, people do not like the four letter word love. They’re afraid to say, I love you and I love what you’re doing. If there’s some love in the fiber of your being, now is the time to do it. Rochelle, I’ve been locked down for almost a year now, and when this is broadcast, it will be exactly one year and two days of my locked down. And on the very first day of my lockdown, March 13th, a man named Brother Richard Hendricks, he’s a Franciscan Monk in Dublin, Ireland, wrote a piece that totally helped me. I didn’t find it till a month later and maybe it’ll help your listeners. May I share it with them?
Rochelle Reiter: [00:14:34] Yes.
Michael Allosso: [00:14:34] They say that in Wuhan, after so many years of noise, you can hear the birds again. They say that after just a few weeks of quiet, the sky is no longer thick with fumes. A blue. Grey and clear. They say that in the streets of the CC, people are singing to each other across the empty squares, keeping their windows open. So that those who are alone, they hear the sounds of family around them. They say that a hotel in the west of Ireland is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound. Today a young woman I know is busy spreading fliers with her phone number through the neighborhood. So, that the elders have someone to call on. Today, churches, synagogues, mosques and temples are preparing to welcome and shelter the homeless, the sick. The weary. All over the world, people are slowing down and reflecting. All over the world, people are looking at their neighbors in a new way. All over the world, people are waking up to a new reality. How big we really are. To what little control we really have? So what really matters? To love. So we pray and we remember that, yes, there is fear, but there doesn’t have to be hate. Yes, there is isolation, but there doesn’t have to be loneliness. Yes, there is panic buying, but there doesn’t have to be meanness. Yes, there is sickness. There doesn’t have to be disease of the soul. And yes, there is even death. But there can always be a rebirth of love. Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now, today, breathe, listen behind the factory noises of your panic, the birds are singing again. The sky is clear and spring is sprung and we’re always encompassed by love. Open the windows of your soul and though you may not be able to touch across the empty square. Sing.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:16:56] Wow, what a beautiful piece. Thank you so much for sharing that.
Michael Allosso: [00:17:00] You know, we’re all blessed for the voice. It’s not the time to hold back that voice. We all have to sing.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:17:08] Michael it was so great to have you again today back here with us, sharing your wisdom and thoughts on communication and how to be you on your best day, virtually. So I always appreciate time we have together. Thank you so much, Michael.
Michael Allosso: [00:17:23] Thank you, Rochelle.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:17:29] Thank you for listening to The 19 entrepreneur edition with Michael Allosso to learn more about Michael. Check out our show notes or visit michaelallosso.com. If you have any additional thoughts on this topic, send us an email. You can send questions, comments and more to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rochelle Reiter: [00:17:58] A special thank you goes out to our contributors, Studio Manager Kelsey Phillips, Micah Panzich, who edits our show, and Ashley Ruiz, Content Writer. Be sure to subscribe to The 19 on iTunes and Google Play, and, if you like what you heard today, leave us a review.