Guest: Seth Donlin

Podcast Release Date: 7/7/2021

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Welcome to Trulyfit the online fitness marketplace connecting pros and clients through unique fitness business software. 

Steve Washuta: Welcome to the Trulyfit podcast I’m your host Steve Washuta, co-founder of Trulyfit and author of Fitness Business 101. On today’s podcast, I speak with Seth Donlan. Seth is the founder and owner of a one coaching A w e n.

They focus on leadership and communication skills. He really specializes in helping people with sport and fitness-related businesses and how they build their authority, expand their reach, grow their message, really hone in their storytelling. And that’s what Seth and I discussed today, everything from proper communications to mistakes people make when trying to connect with their audience how to effectively incorporate storytelling into presentations or social media or advertising. Do you know what measures you can take to be a better presenter or a better speaker? It’s a well-rounded conversation. I really enjoyed speaking with Seth. with no further ado, Seth Donilon. Seth, thanks for being with the Trulyfit podcast, we spoke a little bit on the front end, but why don’t you give the listeners a bio of who you are and what you do?

Seth Donlin : Sure, thanks, Steve. My name again, it’s Seth Donlin. I am a marketing and communications coach, I work with sports professionals, primarily within sports fitness, and health professionals. I help them really to connect with their audiences.

And in many cases, actually, you know, figure out who their real audiences are and figure out what it is that their real audiences are, you know, their, their, their true audiences are looking for, and then how to how to properly connect with those audiences so that they’re, you know, that they’re speaking the right language, and they’re really making a connection, which draws their ideal customers to them and kind of at the same time, you know, repels those customers that aren’t the right customers.

So you get you to know, good self-selection in there. Yeah, I’ve been doing that for you know, a few years now. I have 20 at this point, maybe plus years in communications in general. And, you know, I’m a lifelong fitness. I’ve not been a fitness professional. I’ve worked with fitness professionals for many years. But you know, a lifelong from junior high, you know, kind of with little break right on through, you know, running swimming, martial arts, various other you know, hobbies, but primarily running swimming in martial arts.

Steve Washuta: Cool. Yeah. What martial arts if you don’t mind me asking?

Seth Donlin: Well, when I was young, I moved a lot. So I dabbled in a little bit of this and a little bit of that. So I’ve done a ton. I started with judo. Um, and I did a lot of various kinds of, like Kenpo Karate, and that kind of, you know, karate, you know, kung fu confusion there. Yeah.

But mostly I’ve done keto has been, the martial style that I practice the most. And the, for me, the newest one is I got my young daughter, I have a seven-year-old daughter, I got her into mixed martial arts. And then I you know, I just hit it off really well with her instructor and he runs adult classes as well. So I started taking that and that’s a lot of fun, I enjoy the, I have no desire to like compete even, you know, amateur, but it’s a lot of fun to roll around in the mat and get back to that like wrestling, which I did back in the day when I was doing Judo because there’s, you know, a lot of wrestling and Judo as well. So,

Steve Washuta: Sure, yeah, I mean, if you have a judo background, doing sort of BJJ gives you an advantage, right? Because there’s a takedown aspect. And there’s a body awareness where your hips are, how do I use their weight against themselves right in momentum and things of that nature I’m a huge martial arts knots Actually, we have two podcasts coming up with some martial arts experts. And you know, and how and how that sort of fuses with fitness.

Because, you know, what a lot of people don’t know is that you can use martial arts, specifically for fitness, and never get hit, right. So like I practice, I practice Muy Thai but I don’t spar I just hit a bat, and right it’s my cardio so there are so many things you do with that, but I don’t want to deviate too off-topic here.

So you know, what you said is you know, and what you do is so important now in the industry because basically if you don’t have marketing knowledge, it’s a huge arm. It’s a huge branch of our business, whether you’re an independent fitness professional, right? You’re a personal trainer who’s just trying to grow yourself or whether you’re a small gym with 12 employees or whether you’re the Planet Fitness share, you know, traded on the DOW and the NASDAQ.

You need to have that like marketing arm and like you said, understanding your clients but the issue with us is we’re so invested in the books and understanding the body. Because we are not at a desk all day, well, we can do multiple things, if I’m spending my hour with the client, so it’s very difficult for me to learn all of these things, so this is maybe a, you know, slightly, we didn’t really talk about this: But is it possible for me to handle this all on my own? Or is it important that I have a specialist like you to make sure that I’m doing the right things?

Seth Donlin: I think for some people, they can handle it on their own. I mean, you know, there’s, there are people that just have a natural talent, right at anything, and they’re like, multi-sport athletes or right, so you’re like a great trainer, and you happen to be good at marketing, just like, you could be a great football player and baseball player or something like that.

But, you know, for your average person, it’s not that you can’t do it on your own, it’s probably, it’s more that you won’t do it effectively unless you have somebody to kind of show you the ropes. And that’s what I realized that I have a second business. I started a business. Back in the late 90s, early in the year 2000, I started a newspaper that was my first “foray” into entrepreneurism. Luckily I got lucky it became successful, my partner and I sold it to a larger Publishing Group. And then I went to work for other people for many years, and then came back into, I started a small communications consulting firm.

I’ve done that for a number of years longer than I’ve been coaching. But what I really realized is, there’s a lot of people that don’t necessarily need to hire somebody to do it for them. But there’s a lot of people that need the help, they need to do it with my help, or that of a coach, you know, brings to the table. I started a second business, in coaching rather than just consulting or doing, you know, doing piece work for people. I think that, that a lot of people can be quite successful if they get that six months of coaching or that year of coaching that they need to really understand where their strengths and weaknesses are and the things that they need to focus on. And the things that are that they can not worry about.

Right? Most personal trainers, gym owners, dojo owners, whatever it may be, can probably do it on their own, with a little bit of help from maybe a personal assistant here or there or, you know, some staff member that’s doing some administrative work for them, or, you know, something of that nature.

Steve Washuta: Sure, yeah. I just had a tax professional, a tax specialist, who specialized in fitness businesses, and sort of along the same lines is, you don’t have to use a coach for marketing every single day, right? You don’t have to hire this tax professional every year. But even having a tax professional for your first year in business, so that you learn the nuances, and then you go off on your own and do it. It’s important.

It’s the same thing in our industry as a personal trainer, right? You don’t necessarily need a personal trainer every day, I don’t have a I don’t work with Muy Tye coach now every day, but I’ll go once every six weeks so that he can tell me, Hey, Steve, you’ve been doing this kick wrong, you gotta switch this kick up. And then I go practice it on my own. And that’s what I think, where the marketing comes into play.

Seth Donlin: Yeah, it’s like anybody that plays golf. I mean, you don’t go, every time you play golf, the pro doesn’t come with you, you go to have your lesson with the pro every once in a while to, to make sure you’re not falling into bad habits and to have you know, him or her tweak you a little bit and improve some aspect of your game. Then you go out and you enjoy your game and you practice on your own and you go to the driving range, or you go out with your friends or you know, however it is that you’re sure you’re getting your swings in.

Steve Washuta: Well, I’ll push back there a little bit. I don’t I don’t enjoy the game. Every time I go out there. I’m worse than I was the time beforehand. So golf is so

Seth Donlin: Well, like you, you wouldn’t be both and the funny thing is, my father and stepmother own a golf course. And I grew up working on golf courses and people are like, you must play great golf. Like No, I’m terrible, terrible.

Steve Washuta: You and me both doesn’t stop me from doing it. But so well, I digress again here, but let’s get back to the marketing arm here. How does one effectively market for a small business? Let’s say I want to connect with my audience specifically, what are my first steps in connecting with my audience?

Seth Donlin: Well, the first step is really knowing your audience. And knowing what your audience wants, right? I have a lot of times anybody that’s an entrepreneur is likely to be some kind of expert. Right? And so they’re, you know, hopefully, you’re an expert in some aspect that you didn’t, that’s what you’re bringing to you to the market, right? And we get so caught up in our expertise. We understand what we believe people should want or something like that.

Let’s say that you’re you know, let’s say that you’re a personal trainer who, who has really devoted a lot of time Two kettlebells, right? And like you have this fantastic kettlebell program. And you know that it’s great both for weight loss and it’s great for people that are, you know, looking to add muscle and you’ve got two programs or whatever, right? Well, the mistake that a lot of people make as they start selling the benefits of the kettlebell, like kettlebell is great. And kettlebell will do this for you. And kettlebell will do that for you. When in reality, their customer, their customer doesn’t care about kettlebells, their customer cares about building muscle, their customer cares about losing weight.

And as the entrepreneur, as the trainer, you spend all your time trying to convince somebody about kettlebells. And they’re like, I don’t, you know, why are you telling me about kettlebells? I don’t care about that, right? Now, they’re happy to do kettlebell work, right? If you convince them that you can help them lose weight, or you can help them build muscle. And they’re like, yes, here’s my credit card, I want to start working with you. And then you bring them into the gym and you say, you’re gonna swing this kettlebell, they’ll swing the kettlebell all day long, right. But they don’t care.

They’d be just as happy doing free weights or set, you know, likely that they’re, your client is likely agnostic as to the is to your method. In many of us make the mistake of really, because we care so deeply about our method. And because we’re so convinced that it’s really the going to be the most effective for our clients, we spend a lot of time talking about that, and what the client really needs you to be or the potential client, right, but what, what your audience needs you to be talking about, is their problem, not your solution, they the way that they’re going to understand that you are the right person for them, is when you make them understand that you really get their problem that you get where they are, and where they want to be.

And that you have taken people on that journey before and that you can, you know, you are the right person to get them from their point A to their point B whether their point B is 25 pounds lighter, or whether they’re their point B is 15 pounds of extra muscle or you know, whatever their their point B is, and that’s where you need to spend the bulk of your time is really digging down into what’s the conversation that your clients having your potential clients are having with themselves, you know, I can’t do it. I’m too lazy, oh, I look terrible.

Oh, like, you know, what, what are their fears? their insecurities? And what are their dreams, and you need to be talking about those things, and you need to be letting them know that those fears and insecurities are just that and you can help them to get to their dream, and it’s doable for them. You know, and you’re gonna make it happen.

Steve Washuta : Sure. Now in in finding that, that makes perfect sense, because I’ve made that mistake before do you use? Or do you recommend, like, also, surveys are like data analytics and things so that people can actually have hard numbers and go, you know what, this is what people are looking for, I need to, I need to shape my kettlebell program around the fact that people are looking for, let’s say, injury prevention, I have to make it a kettlebell injury prevention thing, because that’s what people are googling? Absolutely. Right. So,

Seth Donlin : Like you said, googling, I mean, you can you can search for certain, you know, you can go online and and look for what are people actually googling for when they Google personal trainer? x, you know, what’s the X that they’re searching for? Yeah, the other thing is to is to, you know, use the networks that you already have to find people, and maybe they’re not your ideal client, maybe they’re never going to sign on with you.

Seth Donlin: Because, you know, I don’t know, for whatever reason, you don’t, you don’t have the sense that they’re like the ideal client for you likely to sign on with you. But you know, that they’re probably similar to your ideal client, where you can get those people and you can actually do interviews with them, like you would do you know, if you’re job hunting, you would do an informational interview, if you weren’t actually looking to land a job at that company, but you’d be, you know, try to get an interview with the VP and be like, what do I need to do to land a job at a similar company, right?

Seth Donlin: And so you go and you have a conversation with the person, have it on zoom, if you can tell them you’re going to record it for your own purposes that you won’t, you’re not releasing any of the recording, you know, and you’ll delete it when you’re done. But what you can do is you can record the interview that you have with the person and then there are a lot of transcription services that will auto transcribe, you know, with 95% accuracy, your, you know, your 30 minute interview that you did with somebody about okay. You know, you used to be an athlete. Now you’re, you know, 30 pounds heavier.

Seth Donlin: Then we’d like to be like what you know, when you start asking them? Okay, so what would you be looking for? Why aren’t you with a trainer? Like, why aren’t you going to the gym? I know you’ve had a gym membership in the past? What made you not go like, you know, what did you like? What didn’t you like you ask them all these questions. When you get it transcribed, you can then very easily find the key things that they’re saying.

Seth Donlin: I mean, you can even put them into those, I’m sure you’ve seen them, those, those programs you can run where it makes a little like Word, image where like, the bigger the word, the more often it said, right? Like, you can put it in there to see, what are the keywords keep coming up over and over again. You can also just easily read through that transcript and find where they really say something where you’re like, Ah, that’s an aha thing.

Seth Donlin: You can literally take that quote from that person, you don’t have to attribute it to them, but you put it into your marketing. Now, you’re literally speaking with your target audiences own words, and the other people are going to read that, or hear that in a podcast that you deliver or whatever, or see it on a Facebook Live when you say those words or write those words. They’re like, you know, oh, my God, that’s, that’s exactly what I’m thinking, right? You start speaking their language, you inject yourself into the conversation they’re already having with themselves in their own mind.

Steve Washuta: Yeah. And in addition to that, just to piggyback off something you said before you don’t you see it from your perspective, you’re the expert, you don’t see it from their perspective, right. So I did one of these, you’re talking about, I had a PowerPoint presentation. When I was naming this company, actually, right. So we had 30 people on and if anyone’s looking to do this, you just offer up a freebie, whatever it is, right? I had a book so I can offer up my book as a freebie to get these 30 people on right, take a half-hour of their time, I asked them a bunch of questions, they type in the zoom chat their answers, right, so that I have all that data.

And some are open-ended some they can sort of just click A, B or C, what’s the you know, it could be as, as Vegas? What’s the first thing you think of when you see this? Or it could be as you know, as direct as Do you like a or b better? Right? Either way, right? They’re all helpful, right? any of this information is helpful. But what we found out and using some of the names is that I’m not going to give the exact name but there was a there was basically we got down to three names.

And one of the names which we like better, it was it, it represented almost like a, like a tribal thing. Like almost like people said they The first thing they thought of was like, like an Indian reservation, okay, with this name. So I’m like, Okay, well, like that’s, there’s no problem with that. But that doesn’t represent my fitness podcast, right. So like, I can’t use that.

But I didn’t think of that, right. I only knew that by getting the feedback from the other people, I would have never thought of that. And I’m talking like seven of the 30 people said that which was wild to me, right. So just that’s just piggybacking off your point where it’s important to know that also, as the experts don’t really have an idea of what the general public thinks of our message, we have to find out what the general public wants, and then kind of transform our message to them.

Seth Donlin: Yeah, and you can’t, you can’t fall in love with your message, either, right? Whether that message is the name of a company, the name of a program, or just, you know, the two or three paragraphs that you’ve written for a landing page, that’s going to be the signup page for your program or something like that, you know, you need to AB test things, and, you know, get it out there.

And like I said, not be married to it, I mean, if, you know, you come up with three different versions, and you know that you really love version a but B or C or Okay, and you put them out there and the the audience hates a well, you know, too bad for you, then you’re not using a you’re gonna use C you know, which whichever one they like, the purpose of it is not to make you happy, the purpose of it is to attract the customer that that you want. I mean, obviously, it’s got to be reflective of you, you’re not going to say things that you don’t feel are in integrity with with who you are. Yeah, but you know, don’t like an example of mine.

I was thinking of coming up with a program called I can’t, you know, I never got quite far enough into the like, what the, the exact program name would be. But I started toying around with the concept of burning the boats, you know, we’re going to burn the boats, there’s no going back, you know, that, like that concept. And so I started testing it on people.

First, I was surprised that a lot of people didn’t know the reference. And then second of all, as I was talking to a good an old friend of mine, who was who was like a nationally known diversity and inclusion expert, she was like, well, what’s that all about? So I start telling her the story, and I’m like, Well, I think it was Cortez. It’s like, well, when Cortez went to and then he was like Bernie, and as I’m saying this to this woman who works with a lot of, you know, Hispanic people and you know, I was like, Oh, no, I can’t use that term like because if somebody is like, wait a minute, you’re referencing Cortez is like massacre of my, you know, like people and I was like, Okay, well, I guess, I guess that term is off the table for me.

Now other people might be perfectly happy with it because they’re not as sensitive to that. I don’t think it’s necessarily a right or a wrong thing. But for me, it was like, Alright, that’s not you know what I mean, as much as I understand what I meant with that phrase, and that I didn’t need it at all mean it to be offensive anyway, I suddenly realized how it could potentially be offensive to some people. And I was like, Okay, well, that’s just that’s out. I still love it. I’d still like to use it. But at the same time, it’s like, No, I can’t, right. So you got to be willing to walk away from from stuff.

Steve Washuta : Yeah, I’m a big fan of that phrase. One of my football coaches used it before, like our biggest game of the year. He said, The ships are burning, there’s no turning back. And he just ran out. He ran out of the locker room. hollered behind him. It’s a great phrase, but I do get it in this day and age, you don’t know. I still forget exactly what they did on the island.

But I’m sure when they lit the boats on fire, and they went to the island, it was not a it was not a nice greeting by any. So yeah, I actually in my book, I shamelessly plug a Fitness Business 101 behind me, I write something about adjusting and adapting to anything but including marketing. So if you’re if your Ford Motor Company and you’re selling, let’s say f 150s.

And also like a small little electric car, and gas goes up to $7, it doesn’t matter that you like your f150 model, or that you make more money off of each individual one, if people want the smaller car, then you just your goal is to sell cars. So you just adjust and adapt. And now you sell that car, and then maybe five years later, gas comes down to 80 cents, and you go Okay, well, then we’re gonna adjust and adapt again, we’re gonna sell those cars. But it’s important, like you said, which people sometimes forget, and I forgot to is that, what is my primary goal? And am I as long as it doesn’t, you know, as long as it reflects me, I can tinker with things and especially tinker with that message from time to time. 

Seth Donlin: Yeah, and I think I mean, you know, it goes back to, to, to what I said is like, the first thing is you have to know who your client is and what they really want. I often find this when people enroll in my, my coaching program, one of the things that I have to ask them as I’m like, Okay, well, what are you doing now? And they tell me like, well, I work with these types of people and these types of people in these types of people on and I offer this type of program and this type of program in this type of program, right?

There’s a whole bunch of stuff going on. I’m like, Alright, well, what’s the most important thing to you? is the most important thing, the service that you’re offering? Like, is it the kettlebells? Or is it the fact that you’re working with like postmenopausal women, because like, maybe the postmenopausal women don’t want the kettlebells. Or maybe the kettlebell people are not put, you know what I mean, like, there may be a disconnect there.

So what’s important to you keep the thing that’s important, throw everything out, potentially, or be willing to throw everything out, and then look at the important part, and make sure that everything else around, it fits with that thing that’s important and build, you know, slowly build off of that.

Steve Washuta: Yeah, and it’s, you know, it’s easier said than done in the, in the respective, you know, we, we, as trainers might have this energy, someone might listen to this podcast and go, you know, what everything set said, I’m going to do it tomorrow.

But what happens is, you get caught up in stuff and your clients and your life and you just don’t do it. And that is why, again, you hire a coach, like Seth, and that is why you have people because otherwise, you’re not going to stay on track, you’re lying to yourself, just like our clients, a lot of them, I have a lot of clients that who are in fantastic shape, some way better shape than me, but they come to me because they know if they book that session with me, there’s no way out of it, they’re gonna come work out, right?

Seth Donlin: There’s an accountability thing and the action, I mean, that in my marketing program, I have a if I say that I have a naked marketing system, it’s an A k Ed and extra an in there and one of the A’s is authenticity, but the other a is action.

You know, and that’s what you’re speaking to, you need somebody that’s going to help you to take the action and take the action in the appropriate time. And the reality is, is that I’m one of my own worst clients, I don’t even always take the action that I know that I should be taking at the time that I know that I really should be doing it is because you know, I’m busy, like trying to help other people and it’s like me, my marketing often becomes catches catch can or something like that. But, you know, coaches, most coaches I know have had coaches, right.

And whenever I’m working with my coaches, maybe I’m like, hey, I’ve got some big webinars coming up. I’m going to get back with my public speaking coach and tweak a few things and refine something. When I’m working with one of my coaches. Again, it’s boom, everything’s firing away because I’ve got somebody there keeping me accountable and keeping me on track. I know to do pretty much all the things He’s telling me to do, but I need, I need somebody there kind of keeping me accountable and keeping me on track. And, and you know, that’s a big part of it.

Steve Washuta: So I want to move on to storytelling here. I’m not good at it, I don’t know a lot about it, it’s, you know, I have a public relations background. And, you know, part of the PR, the media relations is, you know, you’re representing a company and agency and doing that, but I left PR for a reason, I wasn’t very good at it. So explain to me how one uses storytelling appropriately.

Seth Donlin: Okay. All right. One, one tip is, you know, the story should be unnatural. You know, you’re not telling, it’s like, you’ve heard that advice before, start a speech off with a joke. And so you know, people come out and they’re like, let you know, tell a joke, or whatever. And it doesn’t really feel in most cases, it doesn’t feel natural, because it’s just like some formula they’re following. Yeah, a lot of people use stories as entertainment or to break up information blocks or something like that. And, you know, maybe they even say, let me tell you a story, or I’ve got a good story for you or something, which is absolutely not what you want to do. You want to just flow from whatever you’re talking about, into a story that where, you know, it pertains to whatever you’re talking about in the

Steve Washuta: not force, right? Don’t force it.

Seth Donlin : Yeah. And the idea of the story is that the story should be held should be entertaining. Obviously, you don’t want to bore people with your story. But the story should be making a point. Right, so I’m going to break my own rule here, because it’s kind of like difficult to not do it in this fashion.

But I will give an example of a story that I often tell I’ll try it, I’ll do it really quickly. When I’m talking about, I often make two points together when I’m speaking to people in webinars and about public speaking and about storytelling. And that’s that one, you have to learn, you have to learn to be comfortable. It’s almost like you use the enacting method, you want to be authentically you, but you don’t want to be authentically you.

However you are that day, because you may not be feeling great that day, you may be sick, or you may have not slept well. Or you may have gotten into a fight with your spouse, or your boyfriend or your girlfriend or whatever, right? You’re, but the audience is not there to see you at 80% or 50%, or even 95%, the audience is there to see you at 100%, right. And we’ve all had those 100% days where we are, like, you know, this is whatever, for whatever crazy reason, we think we’re the greatest person in the world.

And we can do anything on that day, right? We’ve all had those days. Just remember what that felt like, you know, actively try to remember what those feel like and try to be that version of you whenever you go and speak. All right. So you act as if the second thing is is that, you know, hey, we all have these stories, right? And so I will tell a story about going to the grocery store, and I go to this grocery store, and I get to the checkout counter. It’s late at night, there’s not much going on in the grocery store. So there’s like a couple of different aisles of of, you know, workers in the grocery store talking to each other, I come up, they start checking me out, we start having a conversation like, you know, two cashiers two-baggers and me.

And one of them’s like, Hey, you know, you’re one of our favorite customers here. Because you always are in such a fantastic mood and you like brighten our day up, and you know, you leave when you leave, we’re like a lot happier for like, Oh, my God, thank you very much. That’s really nice of you to say, and as I’m leaving, I’m thinking to myself, Well, isn’t that interesting, because I actually suffer from anxiety and depression.

And I’m nowhere near always like in a cheery mood when I go into that grocery store. But I turn it on when I go and chat with the people at you know because I just feel like, you know, they’ve got a job to do, they don’t need me coming in being gloomy, you know, whatever, bringing whatever bs I’ve got going in my head to them.

o I try to you know, I’m like, Okay, well, for like, two minutes, I can be cheery and positive and happy, right? And so. So I say, look, if I can do that at the grocery store, if I can convince these people at the grocery store that I’m this like, super positive person when I’m real when I suffer from clinical depression and anxiety, you can learn to like, be the person you need to be on stage. And then I say, but did you see what else I just did there? I said,

You know, I just told you a story about going to the grocery store. And it fit perfectly with the lesson that I was trying to tell you, but it’s a story about going to the grocery store. Like there’s nothing more kind of mundane and average and unexciting than a trip to the grocery store. So if you think that you don’t have stories that you can tell in your life, that will That will like be appropriate for you to tell, tell your audience the lessons that they, you know, need to learn, you’re wrong, you’ve got plenty of stories you could, you might have a story about going to the grocery store or something like that, right.

And so that’s the way you need to be telling a story, you need to tell a story that helps you teach the lesson that you’re looking to teach. And it doesn’t have to be about you winning the championship or climbing the mountain. Like it can be. Those are great stories, too. But right, it doesn’t have to be.

Steve Washuta : Yeah, there’s a there’s a trainer named Kai Evans, shout out to Kai, he was a former guest on the show. He’s a celebrity trainer. And he I think he coined the term entra trainer. Instead of entertainer where he’s like, you know, trainers, we really have to turn it on, especially if you’re a group fitness. It doesn’t matter.

You know, what happened? And, and I sort of relate to the trainers that I work with, hey, do you want to go into, you know, a back surgery and and have the surgeon go, you know, what I got in a fight with my wife last night. Maybe had one too many drinks? didn’t sleep? I’m not really myself today? No, you want that surgeon? to lie to you? Right? Yeah, happened he better turn it on for that hour and a half that he is inside of your body. And you’re and you’re fixing your spine? So it’s the same way. Right? We have to use that energy. And like you said, turn it on.

And it’s so important. But you know, the storytelling, I think for a lot of personal trainers, where are they miss and including myself, I include myself in this category is that it’s about how we maybe overcame something. But a lot of our clients have not overcome that yet. So they don’t want to just hear that we overcame it. Right?

We were always the hero in our own stories. But that doesn’t always help because sometimes the clients are like, wow, yeah, they’re, they’re put off by that. So sometimes we have to be not lying. But you have to show your vulnerability. Hey, listen, absolutely. I struggle, right I struggle waking up in the morning, it’s tough. It’s tough to hit my diet every day I had pizza last night, I had two glasses of Pinot Noir, I shouldn’t have had one extra, right, you have to connect it to the vulnerability and I think trainers struggle with that because it’s so hard for them and in our profession to say we’re not perfect on all ends.

Seth Donlin: Yeah, that vulnerability is huge. And it’s, you know, one of the i think it’s it’s one of the big keys to connecting with your audience is if somebody is coming to you, there, there’s something that they’re struggling with. And it doesn’t like I mean, you may have like a, like a major league baseball, you know, million dollars, you know, multi-million dollars a year athlete coming to you for help.

Not because he can’t hit the ball, but because, you know, he’s hitting 265, and he wants to be hitting at 300 or something like that. It’s not that he’s not good, right? Now, he wants to be better. But there’s still right even in that instance, where it’s not like, Oh, woe is me, I must, you know, I mean, I’m fat, and I’m lazy, or whatever, or I’m weak, I’m strong, you know, even if it’s like, No, I’m great at what I do, but I want to be better, that person is still gonna have there’s insecurity, there’s some other player in the right in the majors, that’s better than them, there’s some, you know, they’re, they’re still worried, oh, my contracts coming up, I might not make as much money, if I don’t get the swing back to where I want to be.

They’re insecure. And when somebody is insecure, they’re not going to really relate to you, if you come striding out and be like, here’s all my victories right, there are going to connect to you better if you talk about your vulnerabilities and the fact that you can get that you get with where they’re at that you’ve had your mental struggles as well that you’ve had your physical struggles as well. Those help people connect way more you connect way more over your, over your weaknesses and your shared struggles than you do over-explaining, here are my victories.

I mean, as a trainer, you obviously want to talk about how, you know, you’ve accomplished X, Y, and Z, and you can help them to accomplish X, Y, and Z. But you in order to connect to them and get them to really trust you. allowing yourself to be a little vulnerable, allowing a little bit of your weakness to come out is is is a much faster route to connecting with people than impressing them with your accomplishments.

Steve Washuta : So you know, as a coach, you help people build rapport with their audience, you help them sort of craft and tell a story and for social media and advertisements or whatever else or they have to craft the story for you tell them if they’re making mistakes and things of that nature. Do you help them because I know you said you have your own coach with the process of like, presentation and speaking or is that something that you’re working on? 

Seth Donlin : No, no, absolutely. I mean, that that’s just like, you know, I mean, again, I’ll go I’m a big baseball fan. So I go back to like, you know, bass Bullets like, you know, some of the best hitters in baseball, they’re always working on their swing with the hitting coaches, right and on on the offseason, they’re going off to like, work with the best people in the world on their swing.

But then they get into the dugout, and they’re helping all the other people on the team with their swing, because they’re the best batter on the team, right? So it’s like, I still have coaches that I go to and work on every piece of my craft. Because I feel like a professional, I need to continually be working on my craft, right. But yes, I help people with all that stuff. I mean, presentation is a big part of what I help people to do.

Because ultimately, that’s the final piece of the puzzle that a lot of people, a lot of people struggle with, even even when people’s marketing isn’t fantastic. Unless you’re just doing a horrible job, you can get enough prospects, you know, oftentimes to fill your pipeline.

But if you don’t know how to then present your program, you don’t know how to really sell at that webinar that you’re doing or something like that your program is going to be under subscribed, right? You’re gonna say, Oh, I’m watching this group training program, and you’re hoping to fill it with 30 people and you get, you know, 200 people on your webinar, and you’re like, great, no problem, I’ll get 30 people, but then, you know, six, sign up, because you just dropped the ball on your on that final step, which is the presentation.

Steve Washuta: Yeah, I think a lot of I’ll speak for trainers. I don’t want to use this term lightly. But sometimes we’re pseudo, like schizophrenic, where, you know, we go through different stages of who we are as far as like, okay, we’re really into CrossFit.

And then now we’re really into yoga. Now, I’m really into this, I’m really into that. And, and our voice has changed a lot, right? Oh, as the years grow, and as we grow, and as we learn, our voice has changed.

So it’s important to work with a coach like you to say, Hey, listen, we got to hone in this message. And, and, and, and really, you know, keep true to who you are. Because you have an audience and that audience expects to see something out of you. And I think I think that’s important. So I want to move to mindsets. Is there a mindset that we need to have to be effective as leaders or speakers or our personalities?

Seth Donlin: Yeah, I think that I mean, one of the biggest mindsets is a service mindset. I mean, it touches on the two things that you, the first two things that you mentioned, both leadership. And you know, as a speaker, you want to have a service mindset from a leadership standpoint, I think what a lot of people do, if they’re just, you know, maybe becoming a leader for the first time, or they’re, they’re becoming a leader in a business setting, for the first time, maybe they were a leader on some sports team.

Seth Donlin: They understood that their job was to help the team and stuff like that, but then they get into a business setting. And maybe, you know, over the years of working part-time jobs or whatever, they had a bunch of bosses that were jerks, and they were like, “I’m the boss”, you’re here to work for me, you do it my way or whatever, right.

Seth Donlin: They begin to think that leadership is about I’m the leader, everybody’s here to serve me, which is, which is really the opposite of what a true leader should be, right? The true leader is there to set a direction that everybody is going to go in and make some very high level decisions, but then that leader should be making sure that everybody underneath her has what they need to get the job done effectively.

Seth Donlin: If they need a little extra help, then she jumps in and helps them right. And then the leader is there to support the rest of the team and to serve the rest of the team. The same thing is true. On stage in a lot of people suffer from, you know, stage fright. Some of the biggest entertainers in the world continue to suffer from stage fright. I mean, you know, athletes, professional athletes start getting, you know, sick in the locker room before games or something like that, right? It doesn’t necessarily go away, you learn how to deal with it. And one of the ways that you learn how to deal with it is realizing most people when they start out, you know, recording video, actually walking out on a stage to be a keynote speaker, or whatever the case may be.

Seth Donlin: They look at the audience, the audience is looking at them. They, they say all the attention is on me. This event is all about me and my performance, and oh my goodness, that’s a lot of pressure on me. But in reality, the event, that speech, whatever it is, it’s not about the speaker, the speaker is there to serve the audience to provide the information to the audience. The reality is that the audience is much more focused on themselves than they are on the speaker most of the time because you think about it, you ever go to some kind of like, seminar some you know, some History event. You had a conversation out in the hallway beforehand.

Seth Donlin: Maybe you said something that you now you’re regretting that you said, and then you come into the audience and you’re trying to, you’re late and you’re trying to shuffle in, and you’re hoping that you’re not disturbing people, and you knock this woman’s purse over, and then I’m feeling like an idiot, and you sit down and you’re like, you’re all in your own head, the last thing that you’re doing is critiquing the speaker for whatever the speaker may be thinking that he or she is doing wrong, right. So as, as a presenter, as a speaker, remember that your audience is most concerned with themselves, everybody’s most concerned with themselves, right.

Seth Donlin: So your job is there, to entertain them, to help them relax, to give them the information that they want, most of us are probably spending a lot more brain processing power. Worrying about how we’re doing, and how we look and how we’re acting then how you are, you know, looking and acting and speaking and walking up on stage. Once you start to understand that you can it’s it’s a comforting feeling, you can calm down and you can be much more kind of fluid and easy and relatable.

Steve Washuta: That is a fantastic point and can’t be emphasized enough. Something that comes to mind for me is weddings. You know, I had a wedding just a few years back. And there’s always things that go wrong in weddings, but the only people who know are the bride and groom in the wedding planner, right? So it’s like, oh, they delivered the blue flowers. Instead of the purple.

They had six circular tables, we said seven oh, the DJ played this song instead of this song. And he said he switched them. Oh, I can’t believe they serve these orders at this size. I asked him for this size it all these things go wrong. And you as the person who helped plan the whole wedding which me and my wife did because we are type A, everything’s going wrong.

But you know, the next day, you’re getting a zillion texts telling you how amazing your wedding was because nobody else knows what’s going on. So I think that is a fantastic point to keep that in front of consciousness is that you know, you’re presenting these things, the audience is taking a few things from this, but they’re taking it from their perspective, not from yours.

Seth Donlin: Yeah. Just remember that your focus is on the audience and the audience’s focus, right? We teach kids were you know, pay attention to the speaker the focus should be on the speaker but the reality is we all know right? We’re all in our own heads. Our focus is on ourselves. So the audience’s focus is on the audience your focus is on the audience that’s where it should be because the if there was no audience you wouldn’t be there speaking right it’s about them not about you so don’t get caught up in making it about you that will just drive you crazy and won’t make you an effective presenter you know serve the audience keep your mindset there.

Steve Washuta: Set this was really great. Can you please tell the audience how they can contact you directly and find out more information about you and what it is that you do?

Seth Donlin : Sure, well, my company name is our when it’s pronounced AWEN coaching, it’s awencoaching.com so you can go to our when coaching.com I will always have on there, whatever kind of program or webinar I’m running next. Or if somebody is really feeling like, Hey, this is the kind of coaching that that could help me and I’d love to talk a little bit more about what my program is and whether it might be the right fit. You can always get on my calendar that ReachSeth.com.

Seth Donlin: I’m on LinkedIn, I’m on Instagram, I’m on this, I’m on that but you know, I won’t. I won’t overwhelm people with all those addresses. You just go to my website, and you can find it all. 

Steve Washuta: Awesome. I hope to talk again on another topic down the road on the Trulyfit podcast, and thanks for joining. 

Seth Donlin: Yeah, I would love to Steve, thanks very much for having me. 

Steve Washuta: Thanks for joining us on the Trulyfit podcast. Please subscribe, rate, and review on your listening platform. Feel free to email us as we’d love to hear from you.

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