The Communication Connoisseur With David Delaney and Elevating Engagement Levels With Lisa Ryan

Communication is key when it comes to connecting people. David Delaney, known as The Communication Connoisseur, helps companies reach their people through comprehensive marketing communication workshops and coaching. Not only is he a keynote speaker but also a Winner of the American Marketing Association award and has authored the book called New Business Networking which explores online and tips, offline tools, and techniques to grow and nurture your professional network for your business career by communicating the right way. Today, David talks about the importance of communication and connecting with people as well as where we fail in our communication with them.

People that don’t love what they’re doing and aren’t aligned well can create engagement issues in the workplace. Award-winning speaker and gratitude expert Lisa Ryan works with clients to develop employee and client engagement initiatives and strategies that keep their top talent and best clients from becoming someone else’s. Her expertise includes strengthening workplace culture, improving employee engagement, increasing customer retention, and initiating gratitude strategies. She joins us today to talk about her company, Grategy, the power of gratitude and reaching out, and elevating engagement levels.

TTL 626 | Elevating Engagement


I’m glad you joined us because we have Dave Delaney and Lisa Ryan here. Dave is a Communication Connoisseur, a keynote speaker and author of New Business Networking. Lisa is a keynote speaker as well. She is also an author of ten books and she has co-starred in several inspirational films and does a lot of different video formats that I’m fascinated to talk to her about. We’re going to talk to Dave and we’re going to talk to Lisa.

Listen to the podcast here

The Communication Connoisseur With David Delaney

I am here with Dave Delaney who is known as the Communication Connoisseur. He is the author of New Business Networking. He helps companies reach their people through comprehensive marketing communication, workshops and coaching. He works with big brands. FedEx, Google, LinkedIn, UPS, you name it, he has worked with them. It’s nice to have you here, Dave.

Thank you for having me. I’ve been excited to talk to you.

I like that you’re an early adopter. I was looking through your stuff and I’m always fascinated by the people who know when to get into things. You got into a lot of things early, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. How did you know these were going to be what they ended up being? Do you just do whatever it is you’re in and you like to try the next big thing?

If I knew that, I’d be rich. I can’t claim the crystal ball exactly. My thing has always been about communication. I’ve been always about finding ways to improve the way I communicate with people. That goes way back CB radios as a kid and then also running a BBS on my Commodore 64 back in the ‘80s. I’ve always been about connecting with people both in person through events and networking that way. Also, online, I’m a nerd. I love being able to connect with people. Naturally I got extremely excited as social media started to become what it became. I was early to Myspace and Friendster and the more popular ones that we’re familiar with now, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on. I’ve become an early adopter and I was excited. I got into it more for the community aspect, the connection aspect. All these mediums are wonderful ways to connect with people and that’s what I’m all about.

I had a Commodore 64 and you think back to those days and you know how little things they even did, you got so excited you had this computer.

It’s funny because I bought one for my birthday on eBay.

Does it turn blue screen? There is hardly anything it does. Does it do anything?

I’ve been able to download games. This is how nerdy I am. I found a Wi-Fi adapter for it so now I can get on the internet with it and there were bulletin boards that you can access through it. If your readers are following me on Instagram, I’m @DaveDelaney on Instagram. You could find some of these hilarious videos and photos of things that I’ve been doing with my Commodore 64, old school nerd.

It seemed like the cool thing at that time. You mentioned a couple of sites, Friendster and stuff. I never got into that. Did it even crash that you thought should have made it? Were you surprised by the way that some of them went?

'Yes, and' teaches you to accept and lead with acceptance. Click To Tweet

Both ways, Twitter historically would hilariously and tragically go down almost daily, it seemed. When I first started using Twitter in February 2007, they had this image that would come up whenever they would crash. People don’t even know what a fail whale is now, but that was later. Before the fail whale, there were kittens with screwdrivers and there were images of a cat with a screwdriver saying, “Be right back. I’m fixing something.” Twitter was interesting. I wasn’t sure what would happen with Twitter.

Twitter at that time was called a micro-blog. There were other micro-blogs like Jaiku, Plurk, Pownce and these other similar things to Twitter. Jaiku got acquired by Google around the same time that Google acquired a startup called Dodgeball which later became Foursquare which also became Swarm. I thought they were going to take Jaiku which was like the chocolate and Dodgeball which was like the peanut butter and put them together into a location-based micro-blogging thing. Unfortunately, nothing ever came from it. If I had that crystal ball, that would be handy.

It’s hard to be in all these. I teach a lot of marketing classes, a lot of business courses and I know you do workshops, keynotes and all the things you do. We did talk to so many people in so many different ways. It’s so many, I can’t be in all of them. You could set up Meet Edgar or whatever to keep up but then in a way, you’re trying to keep up instead of communicate. Do you think we’re communicating well with them? Where are we failing in our communication with them?

For those who don’t know Meet Edgar, it automatically schedules your content to redistribute and send it back out for your evergreen blog post and content. Similar to Buffer in a way, Hootsuite has scheduling built-in and things like that. I got very early on excited about these different mediums and playing with them, meeting people on them and that kind of thing. Twitter didn’t start with an algorithm. Now it has one and it’s trying to show you things that would be of interest to you.

That sometimes backfires the way algorithms can work and we can get into that for a long time. Algorithms in a way, have messed up a lot of these social networks or at least removed the social aspect to social networking. For me, it’s in a way ashamed and sad that way. Nowadays, especially if you’re using social for your business, you need to focus on what works best for your business and reaching the people that you most need to reach whether that’s LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. You’re right, you can’t spend your time everywhere.

It’s interesting that you’re talking about the recommendations they make. On Twitter, they make no sense to me. Other people tell me, “Perhaps you would like to follow this person or that person.” They make sense in some of the other platforms but I don’t get Twitter. I look at them and I’m thinking, “It will be like sports,” or something I don’t even deal with at all. Do you know what I mean?

Yeah, I’m the same way. I scratch my head about Twitter a lot because the two best features of Twitter are features they never promote and never talk about. The two are Twitter List and Twitter Advanced Search. These two features are awesome, they are killer features. I do a lot of presentations, workshops and training on networking effectively on social online and offline and speaking about communication internally as well. When I speak at social media conferences or those types of events, I’ll ask the audience, “How many people use Twitter?” Every hand goes up, and then I’ll say, “How many people use Twitter List?” It’s maybe 10%. “How many of you use advanced search?” It’s around the same. It fascinates me that Twitter has done such a poor job of promoting some of the best features. That is interesting.

They don’t. I use LinkedIn the most, I have to admit. It’s where everybody I need to be is chatting and where they are chatting. On Twitter, I teach a lot of marketing or if somebody put their foot in their mouth or something, I might go to Twitter to see the trending conversation about it. That’s where you’d go for something like that or to see if an ad is doing something great. There are different ways. I found it interesting that the President shows Twitter as his means of communication because you can’t say that much in one shot. Does that surprise you?

TTL 626 | Elevating Engagement
New Business Networking: How to Effectively Grow Your Business Network Using Online and Offline Methods (Que Biz-Tech)

Yeah. There might have been some good reason for that I don’t know. It is off way convenient to jot up 140 characters or 280 characters now. That was part of the attraction for me for Twitter in the early days and still to an extent is the brevity of it. You had to be quick, simple, concise and witty. Many years ago, I used to use when Twitter introduced its favorites button or it’s like. You could take a feed from all of your favorited tweets. I started favoriting only the funniest tweets I came across. I had a page on my site dedicated and I embedded that Twitter feed of hilarious tweets.

You’re verified, I noticed. A lot of people want to get verified. You can’t get verified anymore, why?

With social media in this day and age, unfortunately with the number of trolls, bots, media manipulation, all of that stuff that is taking place up again for that matter. They’ve got to be very careful with how they select people through verification. I was verified reasonably early on as a person. I’ve been using Twitter since the very early days, February 2007. I’ve been around a while.

This makes you a networking expert as well as a communication expert. I talk a lot to group spec communication and soft skills, emotional intelligence and all the stuff. I talk about that I’m an expert in the area of curiosity. I’m very interested in how you think curiosity plays into the importance of how we communicate and how we can recognize the importance of communication and its link to curiosity.

A part of my background besides business, marketing and communications professionally is, I studied improv at Second City in Toronto many years ago and went through their entire program for improv. I spoke at HubSpot’s inbound conference in 2015 and did a presentation called Improve With Improv. How we can use improvisation to improve the way we communicate with one another, with our prospects, customers, colleagues and families to that extent. I created this workshop called Communication Mastery and a big part of that workshop is improv and teaching people. I have a presentation called The Master Communicator’s Secret Weapon and I did this in Wisconsin for the AAF chapter there in Madison. The audience doesn’t know what that secret weapon is, but the organizers do as I tell them. It’s using improv and the skills from improv to improve the way we communicate and it brings on that curiosity. Even for people who are completely shy or more introverted or what have you, I teach them how to use skills from improv. I’m not talking about them performing improv or anything like that.

Like within a skill.

“Yes, and” is a perfect example. For your readers who are not familiar the way “yes, and” works, let’s say I have a ball in my hand. I hand the ball to Diane and I say, “I have a ball.” Diane responds with, “Yes, and,” then insert the blank. Go ahead, I’ve handed you a ball, “Hey look, Diane, I’ve got a ball.”

“Yes, and what else do you have?”

“Yes, and I’ve got a baseball bat.”

“Yes, and is your baseball bat new?”

'I love to be micromanaged,' said no employee ever. Click To Tweet

“Yes, and I’d loved to try it out with you.”

“Yes, and we could do that right after lunch. Can you join me for lunch?”

“Yes, and I would love lunch and I love baseball.” From doing that, “yes, and,” it teaches you to accept and what I call leading with acceptance. It teaches you to become a leader to lead with acceptance. You’re accepting and you’re empowering and being empathetic to whoever is sharing that idea. The flipside to this is “yes, but.” If I say, “Hey Diane, I’ve got this ball,” and you say, “Yes, but.”

“Yes, but it’s a little bit too big for the game we’re playing.”

“Yes, but we could try it and it might work.”

“Yes, but I’m not feeling the need to do that right now.”

Do you see what I’m saying?


What you’re doing is pushing back and you’re saying “no.” You take this and you put into a board room, and this happened to me once many years ago where I worked for the company and they had a time when you could offer product ideas or services ideas. I started there and I have this idea and the CEO said, “Go ahead and share your idea.” I’m in front of the senior leadership team. I pitched my idea and he says, “That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.” You can bet I never offered another idea in my short tenure there. I sunk in my seat and I felt like a jerk. The point here is that it could have been a bad idea, that’s fine. What he could have said was, “Yes, and let’s talk about it after the meeting over coffee,” or “Yes, and let’s talk to sales to see if that is a viable idea,” or “Yes, and let’s talk to customer service and see if this is an issue our customers are having.” By using this “yes, and” mindset and using this alone, this will help you definitely with curiosity but also be more open-minded.

TTL 626 | Elevating Engagement
Elevating Engagement: If you’re using social for your business, you need to focus on what works best for your business and reaching the people that you most need to reach, whether that’s LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.


When I do this as a presentation and I talk about these key skills, there is a few that I share in this Master Communicator’s talk, the secret weapon talk. I share these tips that they can use during the conference as they meet one another. It rolls into the networking thing as well. They can then share what they learned with their colleagues. I also do this half-day workshop that gets more into this and I work with teams so that the entire team is “yes, and” one another and other great goodies throughout that too. I did it for FedEx and heard great feedback from that. It’s fun.

That ties in so well to my research in curiosity with the four things that keep people back. One of them is fear, and that’s fear over helping them not shut people down and have fear by doing that. It’s funny because you don’t think of improv for that. I took improv classes thinking, “This would be great to be a better speaker to learn improv.” You get stuck in an area and it makes you think of, “What was I talking about? Where can I go? Yes, and let’s go over here.”

I love that you bring that up because that’s the second thing I talk about. I talk about leading with acceptance and not fearing failure. I also talk about how to listen effectively and actively as part of that talk. What’s funny is, I begin the presentation by talking about a time that I was doing a high-pressure presentation in front of a huge audience and my equipment failed. I go and I share that story in that presentation as the opening of that talk to explain how I realized that a secret weapon kept me alive on that stage as I rolled with it, went along with it and pulled it off. That secret weapon was definitely improv.

You have to be able to think on your feet and a lot of people don’t have that skill and improv is good for that. I went to a conference at the Genius Network where Joe Polish was interviewing Naveen Jain, the billionaire behind Viome and Moon Express. He is awesome. He is great. He was a guest of the show. Naveen is a funny guy and so was Joe. Joe was getting ready to interview him. He looks down at his iPad to look at what he is going to ask him. Naveen grabbed it and threw it across the room like, “We’re going to have a chat here.” These things happen, people want to have real communication. He is in front of a group and he was like, “I don’t need that.” He went on. I love that when people can move on and you have sometimes better conversations. A lot of people get too planned, too status quo, too stuck, “This is what I have to do, this is how it has to be.” Do you think that we get into that too much?

If we do get stuck in that, we get complaisant for sure.

It’s a little of the, “What got you here won’t get you there,” thinking. We need to open up to some new ideas and I like the idea of using improv to make you open up to, “What else can I think of? What else?” Do you know what I mean?


I don’t think we do enough of that. What you’re doing is important. Your book, New Business Networking explores online and offline tools, tips and techniques to grow and nurture your professional network is how you put it. Who is this book for?

It’s for anyone who is trying to grow a business. It’s certainly for business leaders, management. I’ve got sections in there for students or for younger people. People that are transitioning careers or maybe getting started with their careers as well. I have a lot of different ideas in there about everything from organizing your own events, attending conferences and networking there. I also have a course at about how to network before, during and after a conference and what to do there. The book has a lot of that. I also have chapters specifically on using different social networks, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus.

Your employees will give you their heart, their soul, and all of their efforts when they feel that you value them. Click To Tweet

Before networking, now you got my attention, what do I do prior to my networking event that you can give me a little tip?

One thing I recommend is networking with the speakers and sponsors as well before going to the event by looking at their website. Nowadays, a lot of website for conferences include the Twitter handle, maybe the LinkedIn link as well of the speaker. That gives you an opportunity to message them, reach out to say hello. Let them know you’ll be at the conference and you’re looking forward to seeing them there. Maybe to begin a conversation or interact with content they’ve already shared, not in a stalker type of way, but rather in a friendly way. My friend Mitch Joel, do you know Mitch?

Yeah, he’s been on the show.

Mitch and I go way back because we’re both Canadian podcasters. I’m a recovering podcaster at this time. We both started podcasting in around 2005 or so. Mitch said, “Twitter is permission-based stalking,” which I loved. I quoted him in the book about that. Connect with speakers and sponsors, exhibitors before you go to the event. As a speaker myself, and I do a lot of presentations throughout the year, I tell you now, it’s a lot tougher to connect with the speaker after the talk, especially if they are a good speaker.

Because you can’t get in.

You are way better off connecting ahead of time. I make a point to try to do that as well before attending a conference.

Every time I go to a conference, anybody who I have gone to the conference with, I always like to try and connect with in general, “I saw you at this event.” The problem on LinkedIn is you start to get a huge following in a lot of people. You get to 20,000, you can’t have one-on-one connections anymore, they have to just follow you. Do you have a problem with maxing at 20,000? Do you think you shouldn’t go up that high? What’s your idea on that?

Early on the social media, the rule of thumb, although it wasn’t a rule, which is you’d follow back everybody who followed you. Accepted every connection request, friended anyone any friend request, of course, times have changed that way. The way I handle LinkedIn requests is I don’t accept requests from people I don’t know. Unless they send me a personal note that includes some reason why they want to connect and even then, it’s got to be a good reason. It can’t be like, “I saw that you are also in marketing and communications.” It depends and I’ll look at their profile. What I do with LinkedIn is I have a small short script that I copy and paste in every reply. When I get a LinkedIn connection request, if its people I don’t know where I don’t instantly say, “Definitely, I want to connect with them.” I will reply with a little blurb and the script is in one of my blog posts.

I also have a website called Networking For Nice People and it’s on that blog. The script says, “Thank you for sending me a connection request. I apologize, my mind is foggy. I haven’t had enough coffee today. Can you remind me where we met? If we haven’t yet, it’s fine. Here is a link to follow me on LinkedIn. I usually connect with people who I’ve met before. Feel free to let me know and I’m happy to chat about it.” Something to that effect. I copy, paste and send that to about every request I get. Every once in a while, somebody will reply and say, “I wanted to talk to you because remember, we met briefly at this conference,” and that’s when I say, “Of course.” Then we start the conversation. Instead of willy-nilly accepting everybody because unfortunately there are a lot of spammers, scammers, trolls, phishers, and you name it, they are all out there.

TTL 626 | Elevating Engagement
Elevating Engagement: Using the “yes, and” mindset will help you be more curious and open-minded.


I spend so much time on LinkedIn that I think of that for my business and Facebook, I think of it as more personal. I have a personal and a company Facebook profile. My company profile is tied into things as I speak as well in different groups that I’m in. I don’t get on there very often. I’m surprised that those groups connect so much on Facebook because I think of them more as LinkedIn since they’re business people. You don’t use groups that much on LinkedIn. They don’t appeal to people as much.

They’ve made some changes to groups to try to improve them, but I’m not using them yet. I’m not convinced it will be that effective. I’ve noticed with Facebook, there are so many private Facebook groups, that’s where I do most of my connecting on Facebook. I’ve got pretty negative feelings towards that business now. I’m not going to delete my Facebook account because of the groups like Speak and Spill and other groups that I’m a big fan of, enjoy interacting with and get a lot front those networks.

What I noticed was, it was a couple of years ago, there used to be a great official Facebook groups app. It was perfect because I can interact with all the groups within the app and they deleted the app and removed it. My gut tells me they got rid of it and I don’t know this officially but my guts tells me because they were losing people. They need to have people interacting in the news feed on the main site, otherwise you’re not clicking the ads and so on. The key thing with Facebook groups and why they are successful is because everybody is on Facebook.

LinkedIn only has 150 million but I could be wrong. It’s certainly nothing compared to Facebook. Facebook is in the billion. The fact that everybody is Facebook, you don’t have to log out and log in to something else. I have a group on Facebook, I run it as well called Networking For Nice People. I tried to launch that as a private forum website and what I found was you had to login to the forum to go in. It was yet another site, another place to go and people couldn’t be bothered. Where with Facebook, it became way more successful because people are always logged in to Facebook, that’s where the action is, that’s where the people are.

You definitely know where the action is and how to communicate and network. A lot of people could learn a lot from everything you’re doing. I know that they might be interested in your workshop, your keynotes and all that. Can you share how people could find you, Dave?

The easiest way is It’s where you can find me. You can find me at as well, which redirects to the speaking page. I’m @DaveDelaney on Twitter, Dave Delaney on LinkedIn, Dave Delaney on Facebook and everywhere else. You google me and you will find me at the top.

Thanks, Dave. This is fun and I’m glad that we had a chance to chat and I hope everybody takes the time to look at your stuff.

Elevating Engagement Levels With Lisa Ryan

I am here with Lisa Ryan who is the Chief Appreciation Strategist at Grategy. She is a certified speaking professional, award-winning speaker and bestselling author of ten books. She does a lot of things. She is the host of Elevate Your Engagement Levels, what you need to know on Elite Experts Network. She is the creator of the Seven Mistakes Managers Make to Crush Company Culture video series. You do a lot of fascinating work and video. I want to talk to you about that. Welcome, Lisa.

Thank you so much for having me.

I was looking forward to this. I saw that you had been in two films with Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul. People can’t not know who that is, as well as John Gray of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. You have some pretty impressive people to do stuff with. How did you get to this level in your career? Can you give a little backstory?

When I first filmed for the Gratitude Experiment, I was at a National Speaker’s Association conference and while there, I met a gentleman who wrote How Thoughts Become Things. He was doing a program for it. I flew to Vegas and he was telling for this three-day boot camp type of thing. He was talking about this movie that he was making about gratitude and I said, “I’m a gratitude expert. How do I get involved in that?” Doug and I spoke and next thing you know, I’m flying to Calgary to film for this movie.

It took a long time. I filmed for it in November 2010. A couple of months later, I was going to Las Vegas and one of my friends said, “You have to meet Robin Jay. She owns the Las Vegas Convention Speaker’s Bureau.” I said, “Fine.” I was meeting with Robin, and Robin was telling me about this movie that she was making with Jack Canfield and Marci Shimoff of The Secret. I’m like, “That sounds wonderful. I filmed a movie with John Gray and with all these people from The Secret. Your movie sounds fantastic. Good luck to you.” I got on a plane and came back to Cleveland, never expecting to talk to Robin again. It was a nice meeting.

I’m at church that Sunday and this guy I have known for 25 years starts telling me about this movie that his daughter was making with Jack Canfield and Marci Shimoff. I’m like, “That sounds like Robin’s movie.” I said, “Erwin Jay, Robin Jay.” I said, “What’s your daughter’s name?” He said, “Robin.” I said, “I had dinner with her.” He said, “No, you didn’t. She lives in Las Vegas.” Dr. Jay got on the phone with his daughter and said, “Lisa needs to be in your movie.” Within six months of each other, I filmed two movies. The Keeper of the Keys came out in December 2011, and then the Gratitude Experiment, which I had filmed in November 2010, didn’t come out until April 2013. It was quite a journey but they’re both well done. They’re different types of movies. Keeper of the Keys is a little bit more scripted, where the Gratitude Experiment is a little bit more talking head.

I have had people who have created The Coaching movie. I know Marshall Goldsmith and a lot of people who have been on to my show were in that movie. It’s fun to see people you know in these movies. I was like, “I know him, he was on my show.” There were four or five of them on my show from that movie alone. It must be fun. Do you get to play yourself or did they give you a character?

When you’re open to the power of gratitude, it can change their life. Click To Tweet

I was playing myself, and the funny part of it too, is that John Gray of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, is in those movies. I am in not one but two movies with John Gray.

John was supposed to be on the show. I need to get him back on the show. It would be fun. He is interesting.

When I got to meet him, we had a red-carpet premiere in Las Vegas. I brought my mom with me and it was fantastic. Jack Canfield, Marci Shimoff and John Gray were all there. I was hobnobbing with them. It was very fun.

It’s interesting that you’re a gratitude expert. I had Judith Umlas on my show. She wrote The Power of Acknowledgment. I have to get you guys talking to each other because she was very much into the same things that you’re into and she was great on the show. When you talk about, even your company name, it involves this gratitude. Tell me about Grategy.

When I first started my business, I was Chief Appreciation Strategist at Appreciation Strategies. That was the original name of my company and it was quite the mouthful to say the least. I was at my friend’s house, Dick. He is an old marketing guy. He had been in marketing forever. I was over at Dick’s house and we were walking along the beach in Cleveland and we were trying to come up with a new name for my company. We were putting together all these things with thanks, gratitude, appreciation and all of these things for about two or three hours. We were brainstorming. Finally, I looked at him and I said, “It’s 5:30 on a Friday night, I have a date with my husband. I’ve got to go.”

My husband and I were out to dinner and Dick calls me, and I’m like, “Did I not leave you an hour ago?” He said, “It’s Grategy.” I’m like, “It’s Grategy,” and I look at my husband Scott, and I said, “It’s Grategy.” Scott was like, “What are you talking about?” It was easy because Dick’s brain was still continuing to process after our brainstorming session and as soon as he said it, I knew that that was the name. It took so little explanation and it explains exactly what I do for in all parts of my life for my corporate clients, for my association audiences. It’s all about the gratitude strategies.

The website was probably available, the URL, right?

TTL 626 | Elevating Engagement
Elevating Engagement: It’s a lot tougher to connect with the speaker after the talk, especially if they are a good speaker. You are way better off connecting ahead of time.


Yeah. The funny thing about the URL is there is this guy who was on YouTube, it’s my Grategy because he has Grategy and he is like, “One of these guys that plays with Japanese anime dolls or something.” It has been years since I looked him up, but I’m like, “Really? Grategy?” I don’t know if it was his last name and I don’t know if it’s Japanese thing, but it was funny. That’s the reason why I can’t have Grategy on YouTube, but I do have my Grategy and I have lots of videos up there.

You do a lot in terms of videos and we were talking about how you host Elevate Your Engagement Levels: What You Need to Know in Elite Experts Network. Tell me what that’s about. Is that about Grategy as well or something more about engagement?

I’ve been doing the episodes for over three years. I film two episodes a month and it’s a local company that she has the Elite Experts Network. It’s on internet, you go online and you can watch. She has a variety of hosts that talk about different topics and they are not overlapping topics. Mine is on employee engagement. At the beginning, I was all over the place where I did some on gratitude, some on engagement and they were in the 4 to 6-minute range. I met with this guy from SCORE, the Senior Core Of Retired Executives, Mike, 84 years old. He is watching one of my four-minute videos and he told me I was boring. What he did is he made me realize, “The videos can be more powerful, more impactful at two minutes,” that’s what they all are. We don’t like to hear negative comments. We think that everything we do is fabulous. Sometimes being open to real feedback from people who have no investment in you whatsoever. When you’re open to it and make the changes, I have a much better product now than I used to.

Something tells me that guy is not a gratitude expert though. You get a lot of trolls on the internet and on YouTube and they can be brutal. It’s so hard. What you talk about with engagement ties in a lot to my work with curiosity. I deal with engagement quite a bit as well because it ties back to engagement and people that don’t love what they’re doing and aren’t aligned well, you’ve got engagement issues. A lot of that ties into people wanting to ask questions and exploring new areas. I relate to what you deal with because that’s important. You also talk about your video series. You’re the creator of the Seven Mistakes Managers Make to Crush Company Culture. I’d like to know some of those mistakes that caught my eye.

The first one is micromanagement. I start off with the video as, “I love to be micromanaged said no employee ever.” Your employees know their job better than you know their job. As long as it’s getting done, it doesn’t matter that they are doing it exactly the way that you would have done it if you were doing it yourself. Empowering employees, make them feel important, make them feel included. There is no feedback, there is no training, no appreciation, unrealistic expectations, there are all these things that sometimes leaders do and it may not even be on purpose. We are so focused on making sure that everything is right, we’re keeping on top of it that we don’t get down to the basics of human connection, of recognizing people, people who are starved for attention, who want to be acknowledged.

When you acknowledge them, those employees will give you their heart, their soul, all of their efforts when they feel that you value them. When I go and I do my programs and I do these video series, unfortunately, there is nothing like mind-blowingly new in any of them. I teach people things like, “Say thank you.” When somebody says thank you to you, say you’re welcome. Don’t say no problem, don’t say no worries, don’t say it was nothing, complete the cycle of appreciation. It’s these little things, and sometimes people love my programs because it’s about human connection and it’s about the basics that work as well at home as they do in the office. A lot of times, if I have one of those negative Nellies or negative Neds in my audience, they’ll be like, “This is all the stuff I’ve heard before.” It’s like, “If you were doing something with it, then you wouldn’t need this.”

It’s all common sense. It’s interesting that the people who need it don’t recognize the thing you did a lot of times. My research in emotional intelligence was fascinating to me and what people recognize of themselves and others, there’s so much work that still needs to be done. I remember when I wrote my dissertation thinking, “That’s a cute topic. Emotional intelligence will be interesting for a little while.” All these years later, it’s still so huge and I keep thinking, “Have you not heard of emotional?” You think that everybody knows this stuff but that’s because you live it day in and day out from whatever you’re working on and then people out there. I’m always surprised at what’s new to people, that to me seems common sense.

Common sense isn’t always all that common. Click To Tweet

Especially when you’re around a lot of speakers or you go to a lot of programs, you hear the same things over and over again. You think, “Everybody must know that,” but I will tell you and you know this too, the stories that you share for some people, it’s mind-blowing to them. I’m certified in this, you know all the personality assessments that are out there. When people do personality assessments for the first time, it blows their minds. They can’t even believe like, “It’s not something is wrong with me. This is the way that I’m wired.” When we’re into professional development and personal development and we understand as well. Everybody should know that you’re either extrovert, introvert, people are tasked, people don’t and we have to stop assuming.

We don’t want to dumb it down or condescend people, but by the same token, this is wisdom, this is knowledge. I work with a lot of manufacturing plants and not only the leadership but I love working with the plant people. A lot of them have never been exposed to the power of their subconscious mind, the power that gratitude brings to them. When they’re open to it, it can change their life. We look for getting this message out to as many people as we can and as many ways as possible and bring it back to that connection.

You brought up so many interesting things. Many years ago, I wrote a book. Every chapter was about different personality assessment, DISC was one. My experience with another in emotional intelligence, all these different types. I’ve found it interesting to look at self-assessment and awareness of what you are. What I find most important is you know what you are, but finding out what if someone else is and if it’s opposite of what you are, you go, “That’s interesting.” Why would they want that?

It helps so much with empathy which is a big part of emotional intelligence. When I created my Curiosity Code Index which determines a lot of these what keeps people back from curiosity. You’re talking about a lot of the things that I found were factors and one of them is assumptions which is we assume these things. We have this voice in our head that tells us certain things that hold us back and it’s important that we recognize that. A lot of this stuff is bringing up common sense things to some people, but eye-opening things if you look at it, not from your own perception but from everybody else’s perspective, don’t you think?

Exactly. Also, common sense isn’t always all that common.

I definitely understand that. Your background is in sales and marketing and mine is as well. We have plenty in common. My husband is from Wickliffe, that’s probably not far from you.

TTL 626 | Elevating Engagement
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex

It’s about 45 minutes or so.

What kind of sales do you have in your background? I’m curious.

I started my career as an executive recruiter. I’m one of the few people on the planet who can say they sold their mother. Mom hated that job but I said, “Mom, you have got to stay there at least 90 days because I have a guarantee, and I can’t afford to give back the commission I made at it.” She was there for two and a half years and it’s all good. I went into industrial sales. First of all, I was in inside sales selling electrical cord and cable over the phone into the maintenance environment, 80 to 120 phone calls a day.

Don’t you love it when they throw you the yellow pages and say, “Here, dial?”

I went into the welding industry for seven years where that was outside sales. I got to go into all kinds of cool auto plants. I was down in the salt mines. I loved being in the welding industry. I did that for seven years, and then I was in healthcare. I’ve sold a lot and I thank God everyday for having a sales background.

It’s so important, that’s what I was leading up to. How critical is it does that help you with your communication ability?

Not only with my communication ability, as a speaker, it’s my ability to sell myself. You can be the best speaker on the planet, you can have the best speech in the world, but if you are not a good marketer and you don’t know how to get that message out to people, nobody is going to find you. Just because you’re good at what you do, doesn’t mean that people are going to find you without some outreach. I’m good at outreach and I like selling. I like sales.

A lot of people would like to know how you get your speaking gigs and things. I have a lot of speakers who tune in to this show. What do you do to market yourself?

You can’t out give people and not expect it to come back. Click To Tweet

I have done a program for the National Speaker’s Association, a couple of different chapters called Smiling and Dialing Your Way to a Six Figure Speaking Business.

Were you the past president of NSA?

Yeah. I served for two years. That was a couple of years ago. I had been calling on a lot of the HR groups, SHRM, the Society for HR Managers and others. In December 2016, I decided to focus my business on manufacturing, primarily because it’s what I love, I loved my audiences. I started with a cold list of 250 manufacturing organizations in December 2016 and I’ve turned that into $250,000 in speaking revenue. It’s picking up the phone, sending emails, connecting on LinkedIn, sending BombBomb emails which are videos.

People hear from me. If they’re not getting gratitude thought of the week because they’ve been in one of my programs, I look for ways to stay in touch. I took an improv class in August and the graduation was five minutes on stage with the improv, and it’s so cute. If you’re doing a search on YouTube, Lisa Ryan improv. I’m trying to break 500 views, I’m going viral. It’s about sibling rivalry. My siblings and I competing for the love of my mother, and I used that. I have sent that out to prospects, “Here’s something a little different. Here’s something to make you laugh on a Friday.”

I reach out and I touch people all day long. The mistake that a lot of speakers and other people make is it’s all, “Hire me.” No. What can you do for them? How are you to work with? Why should they like you? Are you funny? Are you likable? Are you providing value? That’s what I do. In my audience, as I use one of those join by text services and I give them the PDF of my book. If they do the join by text, they get my book, they get the video series. You can’t out give people and not expect it to come back and it comes back.

I’ve had so many people on the show, we’ve talked about improv and how it ties to speaking and how it makes it a little bit better. We’re talking about improv which is funny. There is so much that people can do to be more approachable and interesting. We all say, “Give a lot of free stuff before you ask for anything,” just give and give. Sometimes it’s challenging, people don’t want to be inundated in their email. It’s a wire you’re walking on if you do too much. Do you find that you learned a lot of that from sales, how much you can get away with?

I don’t do a newsletter. Gratitude thought of the week has been coming out every week since 2011. It’s generally about 300 words, it’s black and white, there is no picture, its text only, there’s a quote, a story, a lesson, a PS and sometimes a PPS. It takes less than two minutes to read. My open rate on that is between 20% and 30%, and that open rate doesn’t even matter to me. My name is in their email box every week. If they want to hit reply, “That Lisa Ryan woman,” reply and I’m there. The other thing too, about give, that’s important but you have to ask. You also have to let people know, “I’d love to work with you. I’d love to speak at your conference. How can we make that happen?” You close the deal. It’s not just, “If I give them all of these, they’ll assume that I’m a speaker and they’ll want me.” No, they won’t. They don’t even know what you do. You pick up the phone and you ask them.

TTL 626 | Elevating Engagement
Elevating Engagement: You can be the best speaker on the planet, but if you are not a good marketer and you don’t know how to get that message out to people, nobody is going to find you.


I was in pharmaceutical sales before I was in lending, real estate and computer sales, everything else. You teach to paint a picture in people’s minds of how you can solve their problems sometimes, and some of these things that people send out are so vague. They don’t paint much of a picture, do you think?

Exactly. Either they sent it out and it’s vague or it’s all about me, not what I can do for you. You’re reading and going, “What does she do? Does she speak? Does she do workshops? What’s the point?” It has to be benefit loaded language. Also, in a lot of different ways, I’ll send snail mail, I’ll create post cards, I’ll send my books in the mail. For manufacturing day, which is the first Friday of October, I sent out a PDF of my book, even though it’s happy manufacturing day, the subject line was, “Happy Manufacturing Day, here’s a gift for your members.” I sent them the link to the PDF to my book and I said, “You can use it however you want. Share it with your members.” I had people, they didn’t even tell me, they are like, “We are going to put this on our website.” Honestly, I’m good with that because it was a response.

Everything you do, it shows how much you’re open to working with people and how you are available to them and, “This isn’t all about money, this is about other things.” That’s an important message. When I was looking at some of your stuff, I was thinking, “This is going to be fun.” I could tell with your background that we have a lot of things that we both focus on that were very similar. I knew we would have a lot of fun on the show. I know a lot of people want to find out more about your website and I have listed about twenty things you do. Where is the best place to reach you?

My website is My company name is Grategy. You can do a search on that. I’m on LinkedIn, Facebook. On YouTube, my channel is MyGrategy. If you want a couple of minutes of nice laugh and you have siblings that you can relate to it, do a search on Lisa Ryan improv and you’ll like that. You could send me an email to I respond to all my emails personally. I like to stay in touch with people. You know how I can help. On the website at Lisa Ryan Speaks, there is place where you can sign up for gratitude thought of the week which is, I like to say it’s a short inspirational message that seems to show up every Thursday when you need it.

This has been so much fun. Thank you so much for being on this show.

You’re very welcome and thanks for having me.

You’re welcome.

I’d like to thank both Dave and Lisa for being my guests. We get so many great guests. If you’ve missed any past episodes, please go to From that site you can go to the Curiosity Code information at the top, you can also listen to the show. The show is also available everywhere you find podcast in addition to our AM/FM station. I hope you enjoyed the episode and I hope you join us for the next episode of Take the Lead Radio.

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About David Delaney

TTL 626 | Elevating EngagementDave Delaney is known as a communication connoisseur. He helps companies reach their people through comprehensive marketing communication workshops and coaching. Dave teaches effective corporate communication with his Communication Mastery workshop. He works with brands like FedEx, Google, LinkedIn, and UPS.

Delaney is an American Marketing Association award winner. He has appeared in USA Today, Entrepreneur, Inc, Fortune, and Billboard Magazine. His acclaimed book, New Business Networking, explores online and offline tools, tips and techniques to grow and nurture your professional network for your business and career by communicating – the right way.

About Lisa Ryan

TTL 626 | Elevating EngagementAs a Certified Speaking Professional, an award-winning speaker and author of ten books, Lisa Ryan works with her clients to develop employee and client engagement initiatives and strategies that keep their top talent and best clients from becoming someone else’s. Lisa’s expertise includes: strengthening workplace culture, improving employee engagement, increasing customer retention, and initiating gratitude strategies (“Grategies”) for personal and professional transformation.

Lisa’s participants enjoy her high energy, enthusiastic delivery and quick wit and they leave the session with ideas they are committed to acting on immediately to make positive workplace culture changes. Lisa costars in two films with other experts including Jack Canfield of “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” She is the Past-President of the National Speakers Association, Ohio Chapter and holds an MBA from Cleveland State University.

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