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[0:02] We are live this is the pirate broadcast. Thank you Sarah
[0:06] We made it. Yahoo
[0:11] It's a Friday and I just want to welcome you if you come into the room and you're watching it after the fact.
Just hit replay and make some comments.
Let us know where you're where you're coming from.
Do you have any questions that we can answer or anything like that.
Few housekeeping rules. You know you can leave comments. However we can't see them in Linked In.
If you want to leave comments you can head over to YouTube or you can get on Facebook and I could see your comments link just working on it I know.
So however we have an amazing program and we're going to be talking about another amazing program later on in March.
And we we have a special guest today.
[0:56] Sarah Elkins the Montana.
[1:01] Good morning. Are you in Montana. I am. Am I right in the middle in Helena which is the capital of the state I've been to Helen Helena many times since that time.
[1:12] Yes absolutely.
[1:15] I was a musician for years in the mid 80s.
[1:20] I used to travel around the northwest Canada and play college towns.
Every week would be in a different town. We spent a lot of time in Helena.
However in Great Falls Butte Billings.
Wow all of those places. I love Montana Montana state and it's been a long time in Montana Idaho Wyoming or you know Washington.
[1:48] So it's you.
[1:50] Wow. Not many people can say that they've spent that much time in my Denver Idaho.
[1:56] Yeah there was. It was great to. What time. We had a 33 foot Bluebird bus tour in.
There are six of us and we had like that and a sound man for the band ended and we went out.
We drove this bus out camping we were camping and we woke up the next morning. There was a foot of snow. Good point.
[2:22] That's not unusual. This is it in June. Exactly. Exactly.
[2:28] So Sara you you are a storyteller. Art and I just I just have.
[2:34] It's just this connection with storytelling and how people interact and involve themselves in this mine.
[2:44] This this kind of mindset of storytelling and so how did you arrive at Helena Montana.
And storytelling and creating events in Atlanta Denver and now Chicago.
Tell us. Tell us. Walk us through the basic story than the diving deeper store.
[3:05] Well the basic story is that I was actually born in Washington D.C.
And my family moved around quite a bit when I was young and we settled in and Colorado and Colorado Springs is where I ended up finishing high school and went to college in Fort Collins and then had a paid internship in Washington D.C. and as an adult.
[3:24] Well I don't know if you could ever really call me an adult but I like really emails to Washington D.C..
[3:33] Gosh I hope not. I never I never want to be a grown up now.
So after my internship I ended up staying.
I loved the energy there. I loved being a young single adult there and played like crazy for the first couple of years and then met my husband,
and I didn't have any intention of ever getting married or having kids like that was definitely not on my list of interesting things to do in my life.
And met my husband and everything of course shifted and eight months after we met I asked him to marry me and he said yes.
You propose I propose I propose and then. And this was almost oh gosh it was twenty five years ago.
Oh yeah. Actually it's also you. Thank you. So we get things done.
Yes. Well that's that's I don't know if you're familiar with the strings finder but that assessment came up without any surprises for me.
Couple of years ago and one of my top strings of strategic and activator so I wanted I got something in my head I kind of immediately have a plan and just go forward with it.
Which kind of helped when it came to this.
Wild hair. Doing a workshop or conference. Not in Montana.
Let's leave Montana to go. Yeah.
[5:02] Yeah. So. Well part of what happened was it's really hard to get here and it's really expensive to get here. And.
I've I've spent a little bit of time in the hospitality industry as a director of sales at a hotel and knew that February and early March are the cheapest times to do an event because they're desperate.
The hospitality industry is super slow that time of year so restaurants and hotels will give you a crazy good deal.
And the first thing I ever have done in all of the years I've been planning events and participating in the planning of events is thinking about how my guests are going to get there.
Transportation how are they going to get there. What is the least likely difficulty that they can experience to get there.
[5:53] Whatever I can do to make it simpler for people to get to where I need them to be I'll do so the first year I did some research on different cities across the country where,
their statistics were good for February and arrival and departure times and Chicago immediately dropped off the list.
Yeah but I've always wanted to do this in Chicago. I love Chicago. It's a great city so much to do.
There's so much centrally located you can walk almost anywhere if you have an event right downtown.
Yeah but I was really handing on rates to be low for people to be able to make it and that first year Atlanta was definitely it was just the obvious choice for us and.
What was interesting was that I got the the best deal.
It was a hundred and forty nine dollars a night at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Atlanta for my guests.
Which is absurd. It's absurd.
There was a Lexus dealership conference that same week that they shifted from a different hotel at the last minute and their rack rate went up to three twenty five a night and sold out a few days before conference.
So thank goodness none of us really you know told anyone else who was staying there how much we were paying.
[7:19] This would have been a Bravo. It would have been a riot.
[7:23] Seriously 149 a night and it was literally a one corner away from a Metro stop the MARTA so people could get on the train from the airport,
and be at the hotel in 20 minutes for,
like that nobody had to rent a car.
Nobody had to park their car which of course is outrageous prices to park cars around big cities and.
Everything was walking distance. So that's that's why we selected Atlanta that first year.
[7:55] That's the beauty of it. I love walking cities.
[7:58] I spent a number of years in Seattle living downtown to bike to work and all this kind of good stuff and then I moved moved to Houston and Houston is a completely opposite City.
It's amazing how it's amazing how different the dynamics are in different cities.
So I just want to give a shout out to everyone that's joining us today.
Sherri Lawley Julie Jeff good morning. Jeff says hi.
[8:26] How's the big sky turning. It's gorgeous and light. I know it's awfully dark outside right. Yeah.
[8:35] Our video Neil Lewis Jeff Young is here.
[8:40] I'll cut our cut. I just I just Candiotti. Good morning. Thank you so much for being here.
[8:49] What are the things that I love about this this idea that you have is storytelling and bringing with life people.
It's almost like the next level for linked to local and much more much more.
[9:05] Would I say the.
It's it's Spain goes much deeper so far.
What what was the what was the source of your inspiration for doing it this way and just deciding hey I want to do this.
I'm not going to do this because you're you're that type of person.
And then because I know Zach it's Shelly or are speaking at this event it's like to make amazing people two amazing people.
I just enjoy tremendously.
I've actually hired Zach a couple of times to do it so I notice a lot of people that are connected with this whole thing is that I'm a huge fan of late did and,
I just kind of wanted to see what your source of inspiration was for the center of course.
Well I was thrilled to see linked in local pop up and I've actually hosted a few I hosted one in Berkeley California and I was there visiting.
[10:08] A year ago almost two years ago Leighton local came long after and I'll be no longer virtual the first one was in 2017.
So the idea actually hit in August of 2016.
Yeah it was July or August of 2016. I had been connected to this handful of amazing people and we had just been sharing each other's content and I had gotten so much out of it,
and I don't know if any of our listeners have lived in that small city especially in Montana in the northwest,
but it can be really isolating and 10 or 12 years ago it was even more isolated.
So I as soon as I started connecting with these people all over the world I felt like.
Like my world had opened up and coming from DC to Montana was such a culture shock.
[11:03] And that is a huge culture. Charles the arc of that story.
[11:08] I I get this connected there with the why Atlanta.
But we we moved here to raise kids because I had planned to go right back to work.
I didn't even plan to have children. So when my impulsiveness hit and we got pregnant luckily we got pregnant pretty quickly. We didn't have to try very long.
And I went right back to work and then realized that it seemed silly to have somebody else raise my baby.
I had a great nanny but I was crying on my way to work every morning and that seemed so unlike me. So out of character for me and one day I got home and I said we need to live somewhere where we can spend more time with the baby.
And literally within a week of that conversation my husband was offered a job here in Helena Montana.
And remember this is at the cost. This is ninety nine. This is it.
[12:00] The Internet explosion. And we decided that it would be a good experiment to see if we could live in Montana and still be connected globally like we were in DC because of the Internet.
It was such a big deal and honestly we got here.
It's not that it's changed that much in the 20 years we've been here but there were two T1 lines across the entire state.
So it was not only slow it was expensive and it took me a long time to finally reconnect with my world of professionals and.
But I did and I connected with.
Folks like Chris Furby Neil Hughes Karthik Rajan these were the Lincoln voices of 2015 2016 and I felt so close with them just from interacting online and.
Karthik Roshan for one person I learned so much from so quickly and we had never talked on the phone and Chris pervious well he wrote the book.
[13:04] It's time to sell which really changed the way that I viewed what sales were.
The word sales as a sales person always made me cringe.
But for some reason his book changed things for me,
so I got on the phone with Karthik one day and I remember just getting this huge grin on my face when I saw his number come up on my phone and feeling like a little kid like there was a celebrity calling me which is so silly.
But it made me realize how it had even to the playing field.
These people that I thought of as you know out of my league in terms of brilliance and career success were calling me and asking me questions and we had this amazing conversation.
And this is on a Friday afternoon in the summer and I walked home from work which you can do in some places in Montana and my commute was like eight blocks or something like that.
[14:01] You look terrible in the beauty of Montana.
And I walked home and I started talking to my husband about this amazing conversation I had.
And I could not stop grinning for the whole weekend talking about Karthik said this and then we talked about and he said this in the story he told me and my head was like OK.
That's wow you met this guy. How.
And I reminded him that I'd been connected with Karthik for a year online.
And I remember waking up that Sunday morning totally on fire because first of all I had been really concerned about the disconnect people had been having,
really relying on their online relationships for their human connections,
and forgetting that we're built for face to face as humans we see so much face to face that we subconsciously observe,
that our brains can't possibly process it all when we're face to face,
like biker expressions. And.
And I saw so much depression rising which is really interesting that I saw this so long ago that I saw this depression rising and I immediately attributed it to people not leveraging this amazing tool of connection of Linked In,
by meeting face to face and deepening that.
[15:26] I see people lose I mean there's two sides of it realistically because the face to face,
being online and building a connection like we're doing right now,
is is an amazing opportunity because what happens is you have this element of.
Getting to know one individual you know from a soft introduction piece of the equation where we can have a conversation we kind of understand where we're at.
What we're doing what's happening in our lives.
And you can really cultivate that that emotion that feeling.
And then when you get face to face it's almost like you're two steps ahead of anyone else because you've already kind of gone through the system of the process of getting to know each other.
[16:26] Exactly. It's you're leveraging this amazing tool.
And that's that's what I was seeing was missing with LinkedIn and if everything else I saw the direction it was going in in terms of.
People not realizing why they were depressed I'm so connected I have all these friends but,
I'm so sad and isolated and you know that conflict and they didn't necessarily put it together realizing that it's because we are designed for using all of our senses when we connect authentically with another human.
And the thing that I realized that Sunday morning was I had learned so much from these people so much like it it had changed the way I saw myself the way I saw my role in the world.
It built my confidence and I thought if I did this all just from interacting online just imagine what could have happened if I'd met these people face to face.
I mean just imagine the energy that we would share and grow by meeting.
I mean this is a perfect time of year It's Hanukkah.
And I think about the lighting of the candles the Hanukkah candles and the fact that when you take the leader candle you'll see nine candles on the menorah and one is used to light all the others.
[17:45] And when I gave a Hanukkah presentation to kids two years I give the hunt in Montana. There aren't a lot of Jewish families.
So I gave presentations every year my kids were in school to tell the other kids what Hanukkah was about expose them to it in some small minor way.
And I would always remind them that when you had that leader candle and you would light the other candles that it didn't take away any of the brightness of that original candle.
And in fact when you put that candle next to another one to light that other flame it made the flame for a moment grow much bigger.
And that's that's what an LV was all about was getting individual candles and putting them together in one place.
My light just turn off and turn that on.
[18:39] It's still dark. Right. Yeah. It's really dark. It's really dark here.
And I when I thought about meeting people face to face I imagined that that light just growing exponentially. And it did.
And as Karthik actually said later on we did a podcast about it.
He said it felt more like a reunion than a business conference.
[19:05] Yes. Yes. Yes. Because that way you know it's not the obligation.
[19:12] What I think is I think is I think a lot of people fail to understand the power of this connectivity that is developing around the world because of platforms like we did.
[19:26] And later for me is you know like the source of inspiration every day.
You know I do these programs because I really truly believe that everyone has a gift.
And people are doing interesting things that we seldom see or have an opportunity to understand.
And if I can highlight something from someone else you know just like the candle you know if I can light your candle and we can we can shine a little bit brightness,
on what you're doing then more people will understand what you're doing and it just kind of it just has this upward spiral kind of effect.
And you know it's it's a kindness that people fail to understand sometimes in this life. Get to know people.
Everybody's you know everybody's approachable for the most part. And you know we all have busy lives we all have the things that we want.
Or if you can connect with individuals and then meet them in person.
It's it's incredibly powerful. And I just applaud you for doing this. Thank you so much for the opportunity to talk about it today.
It's really fantastic. So talk a little bit about Chicago specifically and what's coming up.
What what what are your goals.
You know wild imagination flies free. What would you like to see take place at that.
[20:49] Well if it can be even,
a little bit of what it has been for the past three years it'll be fantastic.
I. I can't take the credit for what it's become.
I always limit it to 50 people because I think that's about as many as can be in a room and really truly connect with each other.
And also I I try to make it as affordable as I can because the diversity in the room is really really important to me.
And I want it to be exclusive because there are only 50 spots not because it's so expensive that only people with money can be there.
Right. So I've kept it at 550 is the registration for a full two day event which is pretty unheard of in our industry.
And the facilitators all volunteer to be there.
I don't I don't pay them to be. I would. My ultimate goal hopefully starting in Year Five which will be in 2021 is to be able to pay at least their expenses if not just give them a stipend toward their expenses because.
[21:59] They bring exactly what makes and I'll be an elite.
Yeah. And this year the theme is really about.
It's always about connecting because it's no longer virtual it's always about connecting.
But the theme this year is really to highlight what real engagement looks like,
because so many people have fallen into the whole like category where it's almost like they're they're watching from a distance because they're concerned about stepping in and,
What is this going to look like. How are people going to respond to those. Have an opinion because somebody might judge.
Exactly. Exactly. And so we hit the Like button to let you know that they were paying attention but there's no conversation.
And the beauty that I found in LinkedIn years ago and twenty sixteen 2015 when I first started getting in there was that the gold was in the comments.
As much as at the time I wasn't producing a lot of my original content but I was sharing other people's work that I found interesting and that there would be this whole conversation in the in the discussion and in the comments.
[23:16] And I really miss that. What I see more and more is the comments aren't necessarily contextual.
They're not there.
They're not deepening the conversation.
[23:30] Most of the time the comments are tagging other people which is great but they aren't.
[23:36] Yes it's perfect. I'm just scared of the water.
[23:40] Exactly so this year's theme really is about deepening that engagement taking the time to do it. And I know that some people do that because they just don't have time to dive deeper.
But I would say that it's better to spend 15 minutes in too deep dives than to spend 15 minutes skimming the surface.
And so that's that's really the theme in 2020. It's March 12th and 13th in Chicago.
We're doing it at the venue of the Mid-America Club. I have a room block at the Fairmont.
[24:16] So we're right near the big park and the Art Institute of Chicago which is one of my favorite places to visit in the world.
And one of the sessions is actually a field trip to the Art Institute.
So at the end the last session of the first days Chris Bergin and Megan Miller are going to host a session on the power of observation in sales and connection.
And we're actually doing kind of a scavenger hunt event of our session at the Art Institute in small groups and then we'll go back to the hotel and debrief.
And that to me is the key to this event and limiting it to 50 people is that you can do something like that and it's totally reasonable to do a field trip with 50 people.
[25:04] But if you have time that there's no way to do that.
[25:08] Well Candy added. Turner says delightful discussion Ross and Sara Linked In is magical.
So we're we're both fans of the linked magic and really building and developing deeper connections on weekends.
[25:29] And I would love to see some of our listeners that no longer virtual face to face and their 20 spots left.
Okay. I would really love to hit capacity and in 2020 because I know that it will just make the magic stronger the facilitators are phenomenal.
And again I just want to stress that this is a reasonably priced event because we want a diverse group there.
We want diversity of thought diversity of background to her city of Job and professional interests.
It's really an amazing group of people that comes together and cares about each other so well.
[26:08] I've actually met Zach and we we met in Vegas for a different event.
And I've had Sara on the show or not Sara Oz show the show.
So their presentation alone would be I mean phenomenal because I just know their backgrounds and what they stand for,
and some of the other people that I'm connected with the agenda in the curriculum is I know that this will be an amazing event.
So I just really can't I can't stress enough how amazing and I know I've seen amazing way too much but it seems like exclamation marks right.
[26:52] And that's how excited I am and I'm definitely going to do what I can to get there in 2020 because I think that this phenomenal opportunity to,
connect and realize and you know go deeper and understand people and where they are and where they're going.
And we can all contribute to this cause I mean we can all contribute to that.
You know it's like if you help others around you somehow you just get lifted up you know high tide raises all boats and it's just amazing that you've done this and you've created this.
And thank you and I applaud you for your efforts and energy in this things.
Thank you Ross so so.
In addition to this is there something that you would like to share. I mean you're a storyteller. You do storytelling on a regular basis.
How is how is the storytelling evolving in your world.
[27:51] You know it's pretty fascinating that it's suddenly a buzzword the last few years because I've been preaching about storytelling for years.
What's interesting is the dynamics around it that it's shifting because it's a buzz word it's kind of shifting to anyone can tell you they're a storyteller.
Anyone can tell you that they're a storytelling coach and it's I would encourage people to really watch other people tell stories watch how their audiences respond to those stories.
Before you dive into getting any advice from somebody who says that they do that it's kind of like I won't go to a hairstylist that has crappy hair like if you have a bad haircut.
I'm not going to ask you to comment about my hair and mayonnaise or.
[28:44] It's it's one of those things that I think people misunderstand storytelling for business is very different from storytelling for an individual but they're deeply connected in that.
You can't separate yourself from your business anymore. You just can't.
Your reputation is your whole self. It's not just what you put out on LinkedIn.
And when we can uncover our personal stories that connect us to other people,
it's not just about sharing our story because the magic is when you can share the right story with the right audience at the right time.
That actually helps trigger their memories and helps them share their story with you.
Yeah that's that's where the magic is it's not about presenting a story.
It's about engaging with the person and helping them draw out their own stories.
[29:40] Well I think I think the best stories are the ones that trigger that emotional connection.
Yeah I feel that I feel that. And it's really I mean it's a craft.
It's it's something that you really have to understand and dive deep into.
It's like a musician you know it's an instrument you know.
And the the psychology of those the words you use and how you use the phrasing and everything about it is just when when you hear a great story,
being told I just I just love that I just love drawn in.
[30:21] Yeah you're drawing it and I mean literally the best stories I've heard in my Life of Pi when I was growing up and going camping with my uncles and,
they'll listen to them tell stories about when they're kids growing up in some of the shenanigans they used to get into.
Yeah some of the problems they added and how they got out of it and those kind of stories are heartfelt and they're deep in meaning.
[30:47] And I think there's a lot of need for storytelling in our lives today because there is a disconnect in a little bit of depression that goes on and.
Yeah there's way too much actually. And it's not training so well.
[31:05] That's really that's what my podcast is about. My podcast is called.
Your stories don't define you how you tell them well and I just signed a contract with a publisher a couple weeks ago.
So my book will be out sometime in the late spring.
[31:19] I just say.
[31:21] Thank you. And I would love to remind whoever's watching listening to this that your stories don't have to be epic.
They just have to be meaningful. So if you feel like you don't have any stories because you don't have a celebrity sighting or a near-death experience that you can talk about.
That doesn't mean you don't have stories. And I love to share a story about when our first son was born and we lived in Washington D.C.
And every time I tell that story people cry.
And it wasn't an epic story. Nobody almost died.
There wasn't an accident or some ridiculous weird adventure.
It was that I was looking down at this beautiful eight week old baby and realizing how deeply my life had changed.
And I remember I was on the phone with my mother and I just started weeping sobbing which is very out of character for me.
My mom was panicking over the phone she was in California. I was in Washington D.C..
The fan she's a baby nurse and so she was convinced that something had happened to the baby or it was postpartum depression or was she.
It goes from zero to catastrophe as my friend Shelly Brown says in a millisecond.
[32:38] And I remember this moment of looking down at this baby with these huge brown eyes and eyelashes you know that you could get stuck in and I'm just sobbing and I can't get my breath back and,
you know that you can't even breathe because you're sobbing so hard so deeply and my mom finally said Sarah please please tell me what's wrong.
And I looked down at this baby and I said mom it's just that now I know how much you love me.
[33:10] And when I tell that story I I feel it all over again.
My mother and I cried together for a few more minutes and then got ourselves together because I finally got the words out.
And when I tell that story I remind people it's not what happens.
It's how you talk about what happens it's how you process it externally later on that actually builds that memory and becomes part of that neural pathway that makes you who you are.
[33:42] That that's beautiful. And I love that people share those.
[33:52] Those events those opportunities with us.
[33:56] And Sarah this has been a gift. I love what you're doing. I appreciate it and I applaud you for your efforts and energy in this. And and like I said I know what a hell hole is like.
It's a beautiful country.
And it's an amazing world we live in.
And I just want to thank you for jumping in this Friday and talking about your event your activities.
And I will definitely go enjoy your podcast and catch up on some other things going on and I look forward to 2020 with all the amazing things that are going to take place here.
[34:38] Thanks so much for having me Ross. I really appreciate it.
[34:41] Thank you so much. And always if you're in the community and you have questions drop me a line.
I'm I'm pretty much anywhere you can find social media and I'd love to have the opportunity. SARA This would be up on Russ Johns later on today.
And you can share it out. And you know.
Help Sara promote the events everyone. So it's an amazing opportunity. So let's get in.
Let's promote this event because it's important and it's useful and it's necessary in our world today. So Sara all the best in the world. Kindness is cool.
Smiles are free and you enjoy the day.