Guy Kawasaki’s 5-Step Guide to Becoming an Enchanting Authority

Guy Kawasaki’s 5-Step Guide to Becoming an Enchanting Authority

Reader Comments (64)

  1. So basically, you have to be a perfect human being to sell like he does. Got it.

    People only hear what they want to hear so it’s always best, at a selling point, to give them what they want in the first place. Of course, you need to know your audience, which can be as easy as asking them what they desire most, what problems they may have that they would solve if they could, why they are listening to you.

    • I think one of the things that makes Kawasaki’s style work so well is that he doesn’t pretend, ever, to be remotely close to perfect.

      What he is is damned good, and that’s something we can all work toward.

    • Jeffrey—Gosh, no, not perfect! Perfectly *yourself.* And just as you say, in tune with your audience. What’s wonderful about that is it’s a really intuitive place to start.

    • Perfection doesn’t sell it alienates much like cynicism with no hope. Authentically being yourself takes grace not perfection.

      Laughing at yourself takes humility not a belief in the “awesomeness of ones sense of humor”

      People follow and connect with people; occasionally there comes a human being skillful enough at pretending to be human that we are conned. But in my experience this “pretense: usually comes after their humanity has been corrupted by power.

      Agree or Disagree? Perfection in my mind is completely different from grace-filled authentic humility.

      Geoff Talbot

  2. Thanks that was fun AND helpful. My fav was the prognosticate tip…will make sure to do more of that, myself. Also – I’m wondering how I can get a Copy Blogger “stamp of approval?” 😉

    • Tea—Glad you liked it! Every stamp of approval I’ve ever gotten was though building bridges, slowly, so that’s my recommendation. (It’s the slowly part that’s tricky… but well worth it. 🙂 )

  3. So great to see your guest post here Kelly. Personality is key with me.

    P.S. I know these two women (one is a male who wears women’s underpants) who are enchanting authorities on fiction writing. I’ve begged them to write fiction books, but my pleas have not been convincing enough. Any ideas how I can convince them they are enchanting anthorities? 😉

    • Wow — what a coincidence, Shane! I also happen to know of a woman who is incredibly gifted at creating emotionally gripping, compelling, and entertaining stories. I love her work!

      But she also seems to pooh-pooh the idea of actually writing and submitting some of her awesome work.

      Kelly, should I:

      1. Provide validation to her that her work is amazingly good? It is!
      2. Predict that her work would be incredibly popular and much-loved? It will be!
      3. Confirm the social truth that other people agree with me that she writes incredibly well? They do!
      4. Point to a well-documented history of past performance of wonderful stories? It’s there for all to see!
      5. Affirm that she has a warm and welcoming personality, evident in every post she writes? I do!!!


      She has a nice smile, too!!!!

    • Shane, Chris—There *is* a novel in at least one of those ladies’ drawers. (*ahem* Maybe drawers was the wrong word.) But alas, no publisher begs me as much as you do to make more of it, so I just play at and content myself with that. (And it looks like I’m behind again. Ack.)

      Thanks for calling me and my dear Canadienne partner in crime authoritative—and I’m glad you both liked this post enough to re-interpret it so sweetly!

  4. #6 should be “Years of Hardwork” because you certainly don’t become an authority in anything overnight.. It takes years to prove yourself, especially now on-line. People are skeptical and you have to prove to them time and time again that you are worth listening to and trusting.

    • Rob—Yes, that’s why #0 was “I’m not going to lie to you. This takes time.” You’re absolutely right. Overcoming our natural skepticism isn’t an overnight thing by any means!

  5. Great post, Kelly!

    I think this gets back to the heart of what blogging was three or five years ago. Blogging started as a way to reach out to the world, usually on personal projects. Then of course people started to find ways to monetize it.

    But what most people didn’t understand was that the best way to “cash in” on a blog was to collect social currency. Getting the eyeballs, that was what mattered most. Monetizing came only after you got people’s attention — an important step in the process. The smart ones like Guy Kawasaki got that.

    Why is this an important lesson? For many people (most people) in the world, it’s not. But there are many of us who can benefit from eyeballs. Novelists, for example (an example I’m most familiar with lately…), are using social media to help sell books, whether they are self-publishing or have a publisher. Not always directly selling, mind you, but as a way to connect with readers. Can you imagine reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s blog? And now JK Rowling’s launching her own interactive website this fall, which she says is for Harry Potter fans, a way to say thanks.

    These are reverse examples, of course, where the readers would seek out the blog because of the writer. But blogs spurring novel sales for those a little less famous is happening right now too. Amanda Hocking was blogging before she ever hit the big time, and that surely had an impact on her ability to enchant new readers.

    Today, it’s not just blogs but Facebook and Twitter and other social media outlets. But the idea is the same: put yourself out there and make connections.

    Perhaps not everyone will become Guy Kawasaki. But that’s not always the point, is it?


    • Graham—For me… I’d rather be the 100% authentic Kelly than the next Guy or anyone else. And I agree with you, the best way to get known as The Authentic You is to gather the right eyeballs to you.

      A lot of folks want to wait until the eyeballs just magically show up. Yikes!

      What I wanted to say with this post is, you *make* the magic, and you *gather* the eyeballs. They’re active verbs, not passive ones. We buy into Guy’s message because he took the (active!) steps to help us buy into it—one little step at a time.

  6. These are great tips. A lot of people don’t realize the power of putting a unique, fresh spin on not-so-unique information. We see it over and over again in movies. How many bad romance movies are produced until finally someone puts a unique spin on the same old story and makes a killer movie?

    It’s about communicating in a way that connects with people and highlighting your unique qualities – good or bad.

    Great article.

    • Jeff—Yes, for sure. And there is nothing at all wrong with a fresh spin on classic ideas.

      I think of Tim Ferriss’ wildly popular book (The 4-Hour Workweek). It’s “Do what you love and the money will follow” reinterpreted. But for some folks, it’s Ferriss’ interpretation that “stuck,” because it’s the first one that jibed with their own worldview. If you’ve got a fresh spin—and you must, because you’re the only one with *your* spin—then shouting about it in your own way helps you gain authority with folks who look at the world similarly.

  7. I got a copy of Guy’s book and its super awesome. I love the way the book is written and I’ve put quite a bit of his teachings to use and they are working like a charm. Of course there are certain scenario where, you just have to not try and enchant people cause they can be a real pain in the you know where. Anyway, I loved his book and I’ve become a big fan. Or should I say he has enchanted me with his book. Thanks for this post and Thanks Guy. Good luck to all.

  8. Kelly,

    Fun article!
    There is much to be learned from Guy’s approach to business. Perhaps in a future post you could examine how he uses storytelling to market and sell his ideas?

    His presentation method changed the way I build slide decks.

    “One of the things I learned about in the formative stages of my career was public speaking. I learned by watching lots of presentations, and one thing I figured out early on is that most CFO-level speakers — particularly CEOs, particularly male CEOs—really suck as speakers. They’re boring; they’re long; they wander around. I saw speech after speech, and I discovered that if there’s anything worse than a speaker who sucks, it’s a speaker who sucks and you have no idea how much longer he or she is going to suck. That’s a horrible feeling.

    To prevent you from getting that feeling, I’ve developed a Top 10 format. All of my speeches are in Top 10 format, because if you think I suck, I at least want you to be able to track my progress through the speech so that you know approximately know how much longer I’m going to suck.”
    – Guy Kawasaki

    • Ted— “All of my speeches are in Top 10 format, because if you think I suck, I at least want you to be able to track my progress…” That’s his storytelling style distilled down, isn’t it! Keep it engaging and give it a framework people can relate to. (And never let your audience feel trapped!)

      Thanks, glad you liked the piece.

      • The zen simplicity that is the Kawasaki Top 10 format changed the way I approach communicating: how I write e-mails, how I create presentations, what I say.

        Presentation Zen (endorsed by Guy) is a fun read.

  9. I like this point: He’s comfortable in his own skin. VERY comfortable. And I think that goes a long, long way towards being enchanting. No one likes a loose cannon or someone unsure or someone too authoritative.

    But comfortable with himself? That he is, and it works. (Plus, he must feel damned sweet!)

    • People who are comfortable in their own skin are automatically more charismatic. It’s really easy to absorb someone else’s discomfort, even if it’s just with themselves. On the other hand, innate confidence makes it easy for others to push past that initial membrane of uncertainty. The key is to deliver when it’s your turn on the mic.

      • James, Sean—It’s funny, because a lot of folks do go too far with it and come off as bombastic in public, even though they’re much more low-key in their private lives.

        Maybe it’s a matter of seeing the stakes realistically. If every word is life-or-death, you can get overly nervous, or overly pushy. If you can remember that some folks will gravitate toward you and some won’t, and *that’s just fine,* you can relax and be comfortable in your own skin even in public situations.

        Mostly comfortable. Then hide your shaking knees with a big podium and a bigger smile. 😉

  10. This is great stuff, no wonder you’re top.

    I agree with everything, there is absolutely no doubt about the list you gave covering the general requirements:

    Social proof
    Past performance

    It is exactly the same as any business, reputation.

    Marketing reputation rather than a brand or a product is the way to go, of course as long as you have the reputation to market.

    • Kommando—Absolutely. That’s the building blocks of reputation. Putting the blocks together, that’s up to you.

  11. Wonderful! I first heard about Guy in an e-business book from university. My curiosity got sparked, typed his name on Google and all of a sudden I got motivated just by reading his blog! Really special guy

    • Demian—In the post I linked to, I had recommended making bold choices in your business during the recession, to put you in a great strategic position as we enter recovery. Hence, “put a lion in your pocket.” I still recommend a lion in your pocket!

      But I may have missed by a bit (!) on when the recovery would really start to take off (I’d been researching averages, and this hasn’t been an average downturn). So that’s why I said prognostication is worthwhile, but tricky. Sometimes you’ll get it wrong, but every time you stake out a position, you do strengthen your voice.

  12. “They want bite-sized thoughts, and they want you to dig deeper only occasionally. They want to absorb your ideas right away, and only take the full PhD when they feel like it.”

    I nearly fell on my knees and applauded at point 1. I see so many people out there making things just too complicated for the average busy person to deal with. Take simpllcity, add a dash of personality and you will do well.

    Thanks for the post, Kellie. Great reading.

    • Hi, Anne! You know, when it comes to things we want to (buy, read, watch…) ourselves, we all know that. “I’m busy—bottom-line it for me!”

      But we tend to forget that people who might buy-read-watch us, feel the same way! It’s an odd, and interesting, facet of human nature.

      Thanks for the applause. 🙂

  13. Validation is an interesting point to bring up, especially in an age where there seems to be an information overload. People can only look through so many Facebook status updates, Twitter feeds, and mobile apps to find relevant information. The goal, then, seems to be not to provide something groundbreaking, but something that is different that people can easily latch onto. They want someone to sift through the crap and find the good stuff that they can latch onto.

    • Mike—”They want someone to sift through the crap and find the good stuff that they can latch onto.” Absolutely! That’s a great way to put it.

  14. Hi Kelly – #5 (Personality) – as you pointed out – is the easiest but, for some, seems to be the most difficult. Whilst we all have one, the moment you try to focus too hard on projecting it or even thinking ‘I must let this come naturally’, well, it’s like when you think too much about your code when you go to the ATM. It flies out of your head immediately and you become awkward and unsure. You need to have confidence in who you are, to know the steps you’re going to take without consciously thinking about them. Otherwise, personality becomes a liability and all the other ‘stamp of approval’ items on the list suffer.

    Thanks for a great post 🙂

    • Jo, I’m glad you liked it. And yes, that’s exactly why I saved personality for last—it’s deceptively simple. It takes only a second to say “aha! I don’t have Guy’s personality, but I do have mine, and it’s a heck of a lot easier to project ME than to worry about being more like someone else! I can do this!”

      Then (like anything else you want to master) it takes time to put that aha! moment into practice without thinking too hard about it.

  15. So how do you build social proof and past performance if you’re just starting out? I’m already down two strikes right out of the gates. I guess I will need to press on with my personality, tell people what they want to hear in their future and boom…Instant Authority.

    Damn, just answered my own question.

    Kick ass post Kelly.. Thanks!

    • Brad—My favorite blog posts are actually the ones where at the end, I can answer my own questions. Glad this gave you a push in that direction. Press on!

  16. Hi Kelly!

    I am an admirer of Guy Kawasaki and I’m glad you shared his “magic” with all of us here as the basis for your post.

    Of all the things that could really seal a stamp of approval, I believe that it is really the fact that we could be bold and daring in our forecast. Prognostication. When you mentioned that this makes someone a leader, I believe it is. This means that you are studying and observing the movement of the market and you have foresight. When you’re doing this, and you eventually nail it, you’re actually projecting yourself as someone who is credible and trustworthy.

    • Elmar—Agreed! And the brilliant thing is that *your* bold assertions (some right, some wrong… hey, it happens…) are going to come straight from *your* expertise. Demonstrating your authority isn’t a competition to “get it right” before someone else does, you know? It’s more like connecting the right people to the answers that you have. Nobody else *has* got those answers.

  17. Kelly,

    I’m probably one of fourteen people who don’t know a thing about Guy Kawasaki, other than that he has a cool name. One of the greatest things about fans is that they’ll do a researcher’s homework. With one post, you have taught me more about Guy Kawaski than I would have gotten on my own initiative. So, thanks for that!

    To answer your question, I would definitely have to start with validation. My particular brand of snake oil is good for some people, not enough for others and absolutely useless for most. Because I need to find such a small segment of the population, validation from my small group of fans is vital. They don’t have enough juice to energize the cog wheel of social proof.

    Validation, in my opinion, is the little wooden handle on the stamp of approval. Social proof is the raised seal. Prognostication and Past Performance are manifested in the size of that stamp. Finally, Personality is the color of the ink. Somebody has to pick up that stamp before anything else happens.



    • Mitch—”Because I need to find such a small segment of the population, validation from my small group of fans is vital.”

      IMO… *everybody* needs to find a very small segment of the population. That’s key. You’re just ahead of the crowd because you get that right now.

      (And I love your extended metaphor for the stamp. As usual, your brain works in ways that just amaze me!)

  18. Very nicely written and very entertaining. My thoughts are these. The five steps to establish a stamp of approval are inextricably linked together. One cannot exist without the others. The problem is where to start? Just take the Personality thing. Guy’s personality sells for reasons difficult to comprehend or explain. It is easy to write paeans about it because it clicks. But supposing it didn’t? Would his personality be bad or wrong? We are all born unique. We have our strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. For the moment, he is riding the tide of his success. Will he be able to do that 2, 3 years down the road? Would it mean a reinvention of himself, another personality, to make him as successful then as now?

    • Thanks, Joseph! As to your question, where to start? I’d recommend #1. (Always recommend #1. 🙂 ) Find what your audience (or your customer) *really* wants to hear about, that you’re in the best position to deliver on. That’s the research and fine-tuning step, and it makes all the rest hum.

  19. We have always been a society that looks to “social proof” as a way to guide us and validate our view points – in this respect Guy has the ability to put his finger on the pulse of society and understand what resonates with the general population – something Steve Jobs is also quite adept at.

    • Mark—Agreed. And like Steve Jobs, he makes it all look easier than it is. There’s a heck of a lot of tweaking and practice that goes into “never letting ’em see your sweat.”

      Baby steps.

  20. The tactics and the strategies of Guy kawasiki is inspirational. I had heard the name of Guy many times but I was unknown about his stratategies. Thanks for sharing

  21. Great post Kelly.

    I got the chance to see Guy speak in person a month ago. He really is a truly amazing human being.

    Out of all your points, I really think it’s personality that really makes him shine. Jus. Looking at him, you smile and start nodding your head in agreement. Or at least I did.

    Guy is amazing and enchanting.

  22. Haven’t read Enchantment yet, but this blog did the trick for me. I’m going to pick it up today. Well played Kelly ; )

    These are all great tips. I believe the first four are the reason people first buy your product. The last one is why people KEEP buying your product.

    • David–Though I’ve read others of his books, I didn’t read Enchantment before writing this post, on purpose–I wanted to discuss what makes us “buy” his message and buy into Guy generally, to help folks put those elements into play on their own, rather than write a book review (not necessary–there are dozens already out there, lol).

      Glad you appreciated the focus of the post (and I’m happy to have encouraged you to get the book, as well!).

  23. I love Guy, he is so inspirational to me and many of my friends and family… What a great post. Thanks, thoroughly enjoyed it 🙂

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