May 22, 2006 Program Summary

“Using the Power of Congruency to Bring More Value to Your Business Communications

Sharing and comparing notesThis standing-room-only event explored the verbal and visual messages we impart to our customers, colleagues, clients, employers, and others. Speakers Dianne Legro and Polly Mertens explained new ways to convey effective and precise impressions that express exactly what we represent, regardless of our technical or creative areas of focus.

Participants learned new ways to make highly favorable, indelible, and even transformative impressions on their audiences through their communication styles, branding, and messaging. We received exposure to important, transferable skills that apply to many areas of our professional careers.

See the highlights below!

Speaker John HouserSpeaker: Polly Mertens is a strategic marketing consultant, trainer and writer. She holds a Bachelors degree in Marketing from Cal State Hayward, a Certificate in Marketing Communications from UC Berkeley, and a MBA from Cal Poly.

Polly is presently a full-time realtor with RE/MAX Parkside in Paso Robles. She also advises local small businesses through the Cuesta College Small Business Development Center. In addition, she leads workshops in marketing for Mission Community Services and Cuesta College. Prior to moving to the Central Coast five years ago from the Bay Area she worked mostly with high tech companies in the areas of sales, marketing, advertising, and strategic business management.

Polly showed us the secrets to designing positive and memorable experiences and applying them to all of your customer touch points — including creating an effective story, turning it into a marketing plan, and building a powerful professional impression known as a “brand.”

The Power of Branding and Messaging in Your Business
by Polly Mertens

Every business, no matter how small or large, has a brand. Brands are developed and experienced in three primary senses: visual (what we see), auditory (what we hear) and kinesthetic (what we feel or sense).

The real power of a brand is in the kinesthetic; therefore it is critical to pay attention to the way we make people feel or what their sense is of our company. For example, consider how Starbucks wants its customers to feel when they buy a cup of coffee in a Starbucks store.

A brand is created through the perception people have about the company and its message or image as they experience the company. Customer touch points are “opportunities people have to interact with a company or brand.” For example, customer touch points occur when a customer:

  • Calls into a company for the first time
  • Needs to return a product received by mail
  • Hears about a company from a friend
  • Sees an ad in a magazine or newspaper
  • Has a billing dispute and contacts the accounting department

The key to developing your brand is in managing these customer touch points and ensuring the way people experience your company is consistent with the way you want them to feel about the company. In business: consistency + time = loyalty. Customer loyalty can lead to more sales and greater profits to companies today when competition in the marketplace is fierce.

To manage customer touch points in a consistent manner, it is critical that every employee of the company understand what message the company is trying to convey to the world. Developing a brand starts by answering five key questions:

Who….are we?
What….is our product or service?
Whom…do we serve (our target market)?
What…problem do we solve for people?
Why….should people buy from us; what makes us unique or valuable?

Answering these five questions as well as, “How do we want people to feel about our company?” and “How do we want to make people feel?” will help to develop an identity.

Design every customer touch point with the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic in mind, now that you have designed your identity. The message (and brand) is delivered from the top down — starting with the company’s mission and eventually branching out to every employee in every communication and all of the customer touch points.

A great way to fast track this process is to find a company in another field or industry that represents the identity you want to portray and model how they manage their customer touch points.

For more information,

  • Please contact me at pollymertens@remax.net, or 805-610-3081.
  • Learn more about my professional services at www.pollymertens.com.

Speaker Tauria LinalaSpeaker: Dianne Legro is the founder and president of Speaking Success International. Dianne successfully blends an unusual background as a businesswoman, coach, and award-winning Broadway performer to help speakers and businesspeople create authenticity, presence, impact, and unforgettable messages that achieve stellar results.

What began over 15 years ago as a coaching career in NYC for stage professionals headed to Broadway and television has grown into a nationwide training and development organization based on the Central Coast. Her clients have included Bank executives from Barnetts Bank, Chase, and the Bank of Montreal; and Fortune 500 Companies such as GE, Starbucks, Johnson’s Wax and many others.

Dianne explained how honing your personal presence can help you fine-tune your leadership style as well as burnish the spirit and values of your business or professional practice. She demonstrated how to bring congruency into your personal interactions to increase profitability and success. She also offered spontaneous coaching to attendees interested in refining their 60-second networking pitches.

Connecting at the Speed of Trust
by Dianne Legro

If you are working with other professionals mentoring or fostering conscious growth in any of its forms in the corporate arena, humanities, arts or sciences, you know that there is nothing as fast or as transformative as trust, be it self trust, team trust, or universal trust. Things go smoothly, relationships deepen, and projects simplify and come easily into being.

As the only “authentic leadership presence coach” in the field as of yet, the presentation and speaking skills I offer focus physically, mentally and spiritually on building and sustaining high trust with those you need to communicate with. There are beautiful hidden dimensions to meaningful communicating as well as an art and science to fully engaging or liberating adults. They start the second we meet.

Do you know what builds trust within the first crucial moments of meeting someone?

The first few seconds of meeting between two people are driven by instinctive reactions. Each person makes unconscious, unthinking appraisals that have to do with assessing their own safety. “I do/don't feel safe with you” and “I do/don't trust you.” This animal instinct is our fight or flight response. We are super alert at a subconscious level until we assess how safe we are to reveal ourselves and how fast we can reveal ourselves.

Becoming aware of this fact is key to the progress of the relationship. Here are four things people register instantly that you can add to your awareness for more success when you are meeting new people.

1. Attitude - Your attitude is the first thing people pick up on. It is an option to consciously choose your attitude. Based on testing of this in my field we know the three best to choose are: enthusiastic, curious, and humility. The number one people factor most admired by others is health and vitality. Are you putting energy in the room? Are you encouraging growth and giving rather than taking?

2. Body Language - is 60% of what we communicate about ourselves. You want your body language to be open (high heart in open chest) facing your new meet. You want to mirror the person you are speaking with. Be subtle, but reciprocate in kind with similar gestures and vocal inflections. Why? (We) People trust others who seem to be like us.

3. Eye Contact - look people in the eye and smile. In most cultures this is the fastest way to let people know you are happy to be with them. (When traveling, do research this — in SOME cultures (France for one) a smiling stranger can be interpreted as an approaching con.

4. Voice - Lower the pitch of your voice. It signifies your competence, self-esteem, confidence and authority. When we are stressed, our voices get tight and small, or sound forced. Others interpret this as “overwhelmed” or “disconnected” from yourself. Unfortunately this creates skepticism about your effectiveness and sincerity.

These are four things that contribute to connecting instantly with high trust. By no means are they ALL the relevant factors, but they do help with initial trust building and rapport with audiences and individual interviews.

If you are in business, the skills of speaking and presenting yourself are important to your success. If you would like to know more about the gifts the process of learning to speak offers you, please contact me. I am happy to discuss your interests and needs.

For more information,


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