We are naturally storytellers and listeners. We connect through stories that deliver an emotional punch. For your current coaching clients, they can deepen your relationships, increasing success. For your potential clients, they can increase your memorability and attraction. Videos that incorporate storytelling work incredibly well for this. But what if you’re camera shy? Uncomfortable with being vulnerable? What if you feel you’re no good or don’t have any stories worth telling?
In this episode, I talk with Aaron Jacobs, CEO at Storied Coaching and OMH Creative about the power of stories in coaching. We discuss how stories are all around us, you just need to recognize and apply them. One of the best applications is by creating videos. It’s really not as scary as it sounds, I promise. Aaron shares the uplifting fact that making stories more impactful and memorable can be learned. He even has a free guide to help you choose the right video equipment. I urge you to give it a try. You truly can uplevel your coaching through engaging storytelling, both on camera and off.
“It’s not a talent to get good being on camera, it’s actually just a set of skills that anyone can learn.” – Aaron Jacobs
About Aaron (in his own words)…
No Risk, No New Story. No New Story, No Change.
I have completely re-written my story, stepped into a new version of my life, and now I know exactly how to help others do it as well.
I can help you create a new story for your life too. I have helped hundreds of professionals learn how to identify current stories in their life that are holding them back from reaching their full personal and professional potential. People just like you who felt burned out and stuck.
I lead an amazing team that helps businesses sell more by learning how to tell compelling stories and differentiate themselves by using the camera.
Because you should be inviting your audience to engage with you. Encouraging them to laugh. Helping them feel a connection with their own personal identity that makes their world better than before they started watching you and hearing about what you offer.
Then they become your evangelists. They help you achieve your business goals.
You can learn to tell your audience a story worth listening to. Do it. Do it now. I am happy to help.
Intro: Welcome to The Masterful Coach podcast, with Molly Claire, where coaches learn skill mastery, business mastery, and life mastery at a whole new level. If you’re ready to create a meaningful coaching business that makes a difference, you’re in the right place. And now your host, master coach instructor, Molly Claire.
Molly Claire: Hello, coaches. Oh, I have got an amazing guest for you today. I’m so excited to introduce you to Aaron Jacobs. Say hello Aaron, before I tell them all about you.
Aaron Jacobs: Hello, Aaron.
Molly Claire: No, hello to the audience.
Aaron Jacobs: No, that was a call back to the old George Burns and Gracie Thick. Come on. I’m getting vaudeville on you.
Molly Claire: Yeah. Can you tell we’re going to have a good time today in this interview? So, Aaron is amazing. I actually met Aaron through coach certification. And he just pointed out that when I had talked with Mark Butler that we referenced Molly’s Millions. So, Aaron, you are the ringleader of Molly’s Millions.
Aaron Jacobs: I don’t know if I get the title of ringleader, but definitely, I have trouble shutting down my marketing lens sometimes. And so, when a tagline or a button needs to be come up with like the alliteration, Molly’s Millions, yeah, absolutely.
Molly Claire: Yes, which is why you’re all going to love this episode. So, yeah, Aaron was in one of my very favorite certification groups for coaching. Aaron is a coach, some of the things that are really amazing about him that you’re going to hear today is, Aaron is passionate about the power of storytelling, and helping you to be able to bring out those stories in you that are going to help you connect with your clients. And Aaron also is masterful at helping people take informational tutorials, or things that would otherwise be boring, and really bringing them to life through story. Yes, right?
Aaron Jacobs: Absolutely. Yes. If you have an acronym that needs to be changed, we’ll come up with a great story about why that’s amazing.
Molly Claire: Yes. So, Aaron is amazing with storytelling, how it brings everything to life, getting you as a coach comfortable on camera, he has so much to offer, and we’re going to have an awesome interview. So, let’s do it.
Aaron Jacobs: Let’s do this!
Molly Claire: Awesome. Anything to add, anything else about what you do or how you got here?
Aaron Jacobs: Well, how we got here, like a lot of us do is saying yes to things that were uncomfortable. So, saying yes to when someone first wanted me to write a script for them, and then someone wanted us to make a video for them and figuring that out and then how to tell stories better. And then starting a marketing firm, after having done casting in the entertainment industry for a while and then specializing with software companies, mostly like Microsoft and SAP, and helping them tell like you said, sometimes, what could be dry subject matter, turning that into an engaging and funny story.
We like to use humor a lot, because the human brain, the limbic system, finds things more memorable when humor is involved. It’s why we send and receive jokes, what’s why we remember a good joke and retail it, it’s a sticky staying power. So, we started doing that for companies and then ended up going to the Life Coach School to getting certified because I just really was attracted and had a magnetic pull towards that. Ended up meeting you and then finding ways to help people tell their stories outside of the visual medium, how to help them tell their stories for their business.
And then, how to look great on camera, realizing that at one point… I think it was actually during an event that you might have been at as well. It was a Mastermind event where the person on stage… I don’t want to out, but she’s like, “All of your videos suck.” She was talking to the whole room.
Molly Claire: That sounds like Brooke.
Aaron Jacobs: In a very Brooke way. And I raised my hand and said like, “Oh, I know some production tenants, it’s like, I could say a couple things about lighting and about microphones and about camera placement that might be helpful to some of the people here”. She was like, “Great, you’re doing that, as soon as I’m done, you’re coming up on stage and you’re doing that for the whole group”.
Molly Claire: I remember that. I remember everyone flocking to you. And they should have.
Aaron Jacobs: But it was so funny because I thought like, oh, maybe a handful of people will stick around, maybe if I can help 20 people out, that’d be good. And literally, like you said, everyone stayed. And then I ended up just speaking for like 10 or 15 minutes. But I’d had never really realized it, like, oh! And this was before the pandemic times. The coaching industry was starting to go in a direction where it was more and more feasible, more possible to serve your clients remotely, and not just phone calls, but some people were getting more comfortable talking on camera. And so there was some growth maybe that needed to happen there. And it was neat to be able to help people in that way. And it’s only of course exploded since then.
Molly Claire: Yeah. Well, one of the things I love about you – and I’m sure you can hear this, if you’re just listening to the podcast – but Aaron, you exude so much confidence. And I do think you’re such a natural leader and you make it look easy to be in front of people and easy to be on camera. Do you feel that way?
Aaron Jacobs: I don’t always feel that way. But like anything else—and this is actually when we work with students, this is such a great thing to bring up, is that we like to help people understand that it’s not a talent to get good being on camera, it’s actually just a set of skills that anyone can learn. And much like with learning how to be a coach, and then I’ve seen people go through your program and have great, huge leaps as far as their coaching and their confidence in themselves. It’s about repetition, doing anything else, it’s about repetition.
And if you have a structure, where if you have someone that’s mentoring you and say, “do these things in this order and do it multiple times,” that you get more confident and you do it. And so for me, I have a master’s degree in acting and directing. So, people will be like, “Well, it’s easy for him”. But, through my career, I’ve been working with people in technology that are amazing engineers, like technical engineers. They can tell you all about how the software works, and how the code is built. And they have this amazing skill set in that area. But tell them to get on camera, or to be in front of a group and have large audience and talk and they’ll freeze up like a lot of us would. But if you can just show them that, hey, this is like learning a new form of code, or new coding language, or…
Molly Claire: And speaking their language, meeting them where they are and making it so it makes sense to them.
Aaron Jacobs: Yeah. And then just say, “Hey, do these things in this order and you will more than likely get this result. And if you repeat this over this period of time, it’s actually going to be just a new skill that you learn.” So, that’s one of the things we try to separate for people is, this isn’t something you have to be good at presenting, good at being in front of an audience, good at turning on the camera. It’s something you can learn just by following steps and practice.
Molly Claire: Yeah, I love that. Because don’t you think that most of the time, it’s because people think, “Oh, I’m not that kind of person. Aaron is that kind of person. He’s good at that.” And I think certainly some people, maybe it feels more natural to them. But I think that, thinking of it as a set of skills, and something anyone can learn is really is that growth mindset way of thinking about it, right?
Aaron Jacobs: Absolutely. Like any other skill you want to acquire. If you want to get better at your storytelling with your marketing, if you want to get better at your website copy. If you want to get better at turning on your camera and making small videos, whether it’s just a smallest, like making a Loom video or something to explain something to a client. The first time is hard. The second time is a little less hard, but you’re starting to get the hang of it and then before you know, it’s no big deal.
Molly Claire: Yes. You just have to start doing it. Just do it. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
Aaron Jacobs: Absolutely 100%.
Molly Claire: Well, and I love that you have pushed yourself to say yes, and to practice again and again. Because I think the confidence that you exude. I know that I’ve seen this when you’ve worked in our small group, for example, with our coaches, the way that you exude confidence and present yourself on camera, I feel like it helps others to see that as an example of something to aim for. And I think there’s a lot of value in that.
Aaron Jacobs: Absolutely. And there are some small tools that people can start using, even if they want to start doing it on their own and getting used to how they look and sound and show up on camera. Using little things like Marco Polo or FaceTime with a family member, the more you can do those little interactions on camera and get used to the way that when you see the little window when you see yourself in it, that that sense of self can be a little jarring at first. The more you practice it… And it’s because psychologically a lot of us that are a little bit older—I’m in my 40s—and this technology…
Molly Claire: Did you just say us? Did you just include me?
Aaron Jacobs: No, I said us, as in people and I, not you specifically, like me on this side.
Molly Claire: I just want to make sure.
Aaron Jacobs: I barely got out of that one. Okay, that was the tip of the knife there, people. But the way that you show up on camera, like we have a sense of self that is defined mostly by how we think we look when we look in the mirror, a very two-dimensional sense of self. And it can be a little jarring at first to get used to the way that you show up on camera, the way that you sound when you hear it through the speakers, the way that you’re like, “Oh, when I see myself reflected back, that’s not exactly how my sense of self naturally, I think of myself.” Do I make that expression all the time?
There are all kinds of little thoughts that start firing, and that we start judging. We start judging how we sound, how we look, do I always make that face? Oh, I shouldn’t do it that way.” We get caught up in our head and that, of course, distracts us. So, if you can start to find little ways to interact on that space and get used to it, it’s like anything else, it’s like, oh, it’s just it is what it is, it’s absolutely fine.
Molly Claire: And then you can be more natural about it.
Aaron Jacobs: Exactly. So, it’s not a big deal.
Molly Claire: I want to get into storytelling, but I have to say a couple of other things that have come up. Because as you’re talking, I’m thinking about this idea. So, for example, I talk with my hands all the time…
Aaron Jacobs: Same here.
Molly Claire: It’s very natural to me, and sometimes my kids will hold my hand down at my side and see if I can still talk. And lo and behold, I can.
Aaron Jacobs: Sorry, kids.
Molly Claire: But I talk with my hands a lot. And certainly, we all have mannerisms or manners of speech. And I think there’s a place sometimes to improve the way that we present. And then there’s also this space of being you naturally. So, do you see a difference between these two? How do they fit together? What are your thoughts on that?
Aaron Jacobs: I would say that most times the evolution that I see in students is them being very measured and very aware of every movement they make. Because if anyone’s ever, for instance, been on a stage and had to do a public speaking thing, even if it was in fifth grade, when you had to give your first big report, all of a sudden, you’re very conscious of your body. Where do I put my hands? Literally, people will be like, “Do I usually have it in my pockets? Are they down at my side? It feels weird just to have them like this.”
We don’t think about this normally when we’re doing it during our day. But once something is being examined, or our perception of ourselves, we feel like others are examining us, judging in our minds, that we become very self-aware of our physical body. And so, I see students at first that don’t want to move their hands, that don’t want to move their head, they might be like, “I’m giving the information. I’m getting it all out. I’m doing all the things. I don’t want to mess up” and they’re in their head. And the more we can just have conversations about things and allow them to start to use their hands and use their bodies, even if you’re not on camera. Right now, Molly and I actually have our cameras on, but if we didn’t, I would suggest to anyone that’s doing a podcast or anything like that, even if it’s a non-visual medium, get your body into it. It helps with your vocal tone, it helps with the way that you come across, it helps with your energy levels, your body informs the way that you do that.
So, the more permission you can give yourself to be your authentic self. And if you’re a hand talker, like Molly and I, and that’s the way you communicate, you need to bring that. And it might look a little weird to you or dissonance at first, because you’re seeing yourself in the little window—in the zoom window or whatever. But just realize, no one cares about that but you, you are literally the only person thinking about it.
Molly Claire: Yes, and your kids.
Aaron Jacobs: And your kids. But that’s mostly because they have ulterior motives.
Molly Claire: That is right. That’s so funny, as you were talking, I noticed in my brain, where are my hands right now? What am I doing? Am I doing something weird on camera while I’m talking to him right now? So, it’s true.
Aaron Jacobs: Our brains, they really like—especially that lizard brain can really kick in. I’ve even seen people, these amazing, like vice presidents of corporate accounts at Microsoft. They speak in front of live as keynote speeches in front of basically stadiums full of people, and they just kill it. And then I have a small crew of 10 or less people with a big camera in front of them and that little red light goes off, and they even can freeze up sometimes and become very aware of where they are. So, yeah, just realize that it’s not just you. This is something everyone has to practice. And that it’s okay, you can learn how to do it.
Molly Claire: Yeah, I know. I’ve had some of my clients before, they’ve dared to say out loud on a call. “I can’t stand watching back my videos.” And, of course, that is the flag right there where I say, “Guess what I’m going to ask you to do? Watch them back.”
Aaron Jacobs: Never tell Molly what your deepest coaching fear is.
Molly Claire: But I have a fairly high voice. I have a little voice. And it used to really bother me, but the more I’ve listened, I just I don’t think about it anymore.
Aaron Jacobs: And I just realize that everyone does that. Like, if you are a person that is thinking about your voice and how it’s a little too high or a little too low, or all these different things that we decide to judge ourselves on, realize that I have worked with professional actors on TV sets and movies and large-scale commercials where hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent during the day and they don’t like to watch their performances back either. I know, actors that premieres, don’t want to go, but their manager and their agent said, “You are going because you need to, this is part of the job.” It is like nails on the chalkboard of them having to watch themselves on the screen.
Molly Claire: Okay. We should have like a whole day workshop on what’s going on in our brains. But we won’t go there right now. I have so many ideas of about it.
Aaron Jacobs: Yes, it’s just human. And just realizing you’re not alone, I feel like is a big part of it. Everyone thinks these things, you’re totally normal.
Molly Claire: Okay, so let’s talk about storytelling. What is the value in telling stories and marketing? And sometimes this means your own story, and sometimes, it means like an analogy storytelling. Would you agree? Is that what you mean, when you talk about storytelling and marketing?
Aaron Jacobs: Yeah, absolutely. For us, it’s, “Hey, are we telling a story about a product? Or are we telling a story? Are we helping someone unearth their own story, for instance, in the case of a coach, their own story? How do we connect why they are a coach? Because what’s really interesting is, people often think, I need to tell the story of why I’m a good coach. Why I feel justified, that someone should exchange money or services or goods, however you accept payment in your coaching. It could be barter system with chickens. I haven’t seen that yet. Maybe that could be a thing. But that they want to tell a story of credentials, and why someone should take them serious; because they’re still working on those thoughts themselves about being perceived as a legitimate coach.
When really, the most resonant story you can do is to be vulnerable, and talk about why you decided to become a coach. And that really usually, almost, always leads to why you’re the perfect kind of coach for this specific kind of person. And our initial knee jerk reaction might be to cover up some of our tender places where we’re afraid that we might be judged, like talking about it on camera, and the way that we do that to protect ourselves, our lizard brain might kick in a little bit, you’re like, “We don’t want to let people know about that, we want to feel bulletproof.
But the more that you can tell a story, tell analogies, talk about something that happened to you, and how that connects to the topic or the thing you want to coach on, that resonates with people, they are pulled into that story. “You are a human just like me, and you overcame it. And you know a shortcut to help me get through where I’m at right now.”
The thing to remember is that at a very basic level, all humans, we are storytellers. It doesn’t matter what part of the world you’re from age, demographic, anything, race, gender, we traded a currency of stories, sending and receiving stories. This has been happening since we were in caves, and around a fire trying to keep Saber Toothed tigers out. We send and receive stories, oral tradition and then as kids, the golden books with morals to stories are how we learned right from wrong and how to have a moral compass. And you can continue to do this as you’re working on your website copy, as you’re thinking about what video you want to do. It makes it so much easier just to say, “What it would be a good analogy, or a good story, something that’s happened to me in my life that connects in some way to the topic that I want to talk about?”
What it does is it teases the listener’s limbic system. It says, the limbic system looks for what we should pay attention to at any given time. And so if there is something interesting or the way something is being told, and it teases the brain in the right way, it pulls the attention away from those little rectangles that we carry around in our pockets that dig in deep and everything like that, and the email that just came in and the kids asking for a snack and then all the things that we have going on. The limbic system is trying to prioritize at any given time.
And so if you can tell a story in such a way, especially at the beginning, we call it the tease and connect it with something that’s human, it can really help you. Whether that’s marketing copy, whether it’s making your videos, whether it is having a consulting call for new clients, tell them about how you can help them, by giving them an analogy, or a story, or some way that universally they can go, “Oh, okay, that’s a common experience we both share. And now I know exactly how you can help me, and I feel that emotional punch as part of that.”
Molly Claire: Yeah, it’s like when I talk with my clients about marketing and sales, it’s always about connecting to the client. And this is just another way of connecting to the client…
Aaron Jacobs: Just connection.
Molly Claire: … in a personal way. And so, one thing that has come to my mind as you’ve been talking, because one of the places I see some coaches getting stuck is, some coaches have that kind of business where they overcame something personal, and now they’re helping others in that space. And there are other people who just have an expertise in something, but don’t have that personal experience. So, what would you say to people that are listening that are having some of those thoughts come up, like, well, I can’t tell stories because this isn’t my personal story, it’s just something I’m good at.
Aaron Jacobs: Oh, okay. Well, there’s still the story of how you got good at that thing. There’s still the story of why you decided to teach this thing to other people and serve them in this way. There’s still the story of overcoming the things you had to overcome in order to be able to be at the place right now where you can be the coach for those people.
Molly Claire: Yeah.
Aaron Jacobs: There’s stories everywhere. And this is one of the things that we teach people, is that at first people like to tell themselves this story. The stories that we have inside our own heads are the most powerful ones. They like to tell themselves that like, oh, I’m not creative, like how do I come up with stories? They’re everywhere, just become curious and aware of your daily experience as a human moving through this place we call earth. Going to the store, being in the checkout line, talking to your kids.
Once you start to tell your brain that we are being curious about little stories that happen to us all the time during the day, you will never run out of a list of podcast episodes you can do topics on, of videos you can help people coach things on that connect to the way that you coach, and what you coach on.
Molly Claire: Yes.
Aaron Jacobs: You can, the well can’t go dry, unless you’re not paying attention. I usually tell people, you can carry a little note pad around in your back pocket if you want, or, open up your note app, your Evernote, whatever you use on your phone, and just have a blank file with bullet points on it. And just write down a couple of keywords, like checkout stands, snickers bar. Whatever fires the thought of the interesting interaction you had, or story that you think might connect to something later, your brain will remember it with just a couple of key words. I just have a running list, and our students start doing the same thing, and they never use the excuse with me again, of “I can’t think of anything good to tell a story about.”
Molly Claire: Yeah, oh, I bet. And as you were talking, I was actually thinking about for you coaches listening, if you have certain things that like your certain topics that you like to speak about and teach about, I imagine you planting in your brain, this idea, I’m watching for stories today about this thing, right? So then, you’ll be aware of those tiny things you see, because it’s true, we make up stories about facts in our life, right? That is what the human brain does. And so, I would imagine that as we especially direct our brain to the kind of lessons we’re looking for in our lives, we’ll see those.
Aaron Jacobs: You do. It’s like magic, they just pop up. As soon as you have that intention in your brain of like, I think I want to do something on this. You’ll start to see connections happen. And even if you’re not that intentional, and you’re just…The next level of that is having a bit of a soft focus as you move through your day, where if an interaction happens, then you can work backwards from there, and go like, how might that connect to something that I coach on, or that I talk about?
It’s amazing how the brain, once you let your supercomputer just go to work, it’s like, oh, we could connect it this way, and this way, and this way, and oh, there’s also this other story that we hadn’t thought of, we could connect those two things, your brain loves that, if you give it permission to do it.
Molly Claire: Yes, and then we’ll have a new problem of just constraining, because our brain will show many things, right?
Aaron Jacobs: Oh my gosh, it’s totally true.
Molly Claire: And it’s a fun way to leave, ideas, stories everywhere, it’s a fun way to live. So, okay, so I’m hearing from you, and especially as you all are listening, if you have a personal story as to how you overcame something, and this is, your business is personal to you in that respect, share those stories, share the vulnerabilities, that’s where the connection is, right? And those of you that it’s not necessarily personal to you, but just something you’re good at, a profession that you have, remember the story and why it matters to you, because that personal aspect of it tells people you’re the right person for them, right? And not to mention stories of clients and people you’ve worked with, obviously protecting anonymity and confidentiality, and respect and all of that kind of thing. So, yeah.
Aaron Jacobs: Absolutely, but yeah, all kinds of stories that can happen from all those different ones.
Molly Claire: Yeah. Okay, so marketing, now talk a little bit Aaron about, because you’re a coach, and I know that you believe there’s a lot of power in bringing stories in with your coaching too talk about that.
Aaron Jacobs: Oh, absolutely, one of the things that we’re doing right now, because of, and this just started, is storied coaching, specifically as life coaching and learning how to tell your own story. One of the things that we saw…
Molly Claire: Hold on.
Aaron Jacobs: … Yeah, go ahead.
Molly Claire: You did a podcast. We just want to flag that right now. We’re going to talk about that, but just you said this, so, stay tuned, I want it to send you to his podcast too. Okay, keep that in mind.
Aaron Jacobs: Yes, absolutely. And that reminds me as well, like I have a… I know that your listeners, they might want to be like some of my students, who are, there are so many options out there for cameras and lights, and microphones, and gear and everything. Even if I just look on Amazon, it’s overwhelming. First of all, what’s a good price, what’s a bad price, what’s good quality? What’s bad quality?
So, one of the things that I’ve prepared for them is, they will have a link to a download, to a how to look amazing on camera ultimate gear guide. So, it will say, “Hey, here are the things to pay attention to, here is some links to stuff that’s good quality, but super good prices.”
Molly Claire: Awesome, that’s what we want.
Aaron Jacobs: So, I’ll be sending that as well. But yes, the podcast just started. One of the things that we noticed when we were doing more corporate coaching, which a large part of our business is, is helping sales and pre-sales teams and technology sell things with stories, and look amazing on camera while they do it.
And so, we noticed we had these moments with people, where they wanted to apply some of these tenants to their, either their own careers, or they were like, “Oh, I have a startup idea, but I don’t know if I really want to do it, or…” We noticed that they had these moments where they wanted to do storytelling work on themselves personally. And so, that’s what storied coaching, just, we just birthed that. That just happened two weeks ago, along with the podcast that happens as well.
But what we do there is, we follow the hero’s journey, if anyone’s familiar with Joseph Campbell’s work, he came up with the hero’s journey or the monomyth structure. And what it does is, he did all of this amazing scholarly research across cultures, across religions, across all kinds of hero stories that we see, movies, television. There is a commonality thread of these different stages a hero goes through, in order to be transformed from the outside and the inside.
And as coaches, we all know how transformation happens, and we hope that people—a lot of that with internal work, and that expresses itself externally. And so we’ve mapped that structure to using the model that I learned specifically at the Life Coach School, using it as a springboard in order to get through those things, and transition for them. But to help people tell their own personal story, but figure out what adventure they want to go on, and have a way to actually get there, so they’re transformed from the inside and the outside. So, that’s how we connect story all the way across, like stories that help you sell things, stories that help with business, and stories that help us change personally.
Molly Claire: Yeah. Almost like, it sounds like a lot of future focused work, like the story we want to tell about ourselves, the story we want to create. And I’d imagine a space of looking at the stories we tell ourselves, and how this might get in the way.
Aaron Jacobs: Yes. We call those default stories, and so that’s how we take inventory at first, it’s like, what default stories are forming your base operating system right now?
Molly Claire: You know what I love about that word, is that sometimes, we can speak to our clients about a story they’re telling themselves, and it can seem a bit condescending at times.
Aaron Jacobs: Yes, it’s totally true.
Molly Claire: Right? And kind of almost accusatory, like they are intentionally telling them this terrible story.
Aaron Jacobs: That’s so true.
Molly Claire: Not helpful.
Aaron Jacobs: It’s not helpful, yeah.
Molly Claire: And also though, we don’t want our clients to think that this story that they always typically go to isn’t something that can be changed, as if it’s fixed. And so, when you say the word ‘default’, what I love about that is, this is this idea, like coaches, for all of you and your clients. Like we don’t have to feel bad about the stories that are going on for us, it’s just a default right now, and there are plenty of options to move forward.
Aaron Jacobs: Our brains are these amazing supercomputers, and if we don’t direct them towards an intentional story or a constellation of stories…The way that we move through the world is, is a constellation of different stories, that we’ve decided, our brain has decided to make sense, inform who we are, and how we present and all that kind of stuff.
And some of them work well for us, and some of them might not be working well for us, as far as what we want to get as a result. We may have changed our mind. And so identifying and taking stock of that, and then being intentional about what’s the new hero story you want to do. Or how could we reframe some of those stories so that it gets you the result you want? That’s super fun.
Molly Claire: Yes. And I don’t know if you were speaking to this too, or if this is just something that stood out to me, but it’s like sometimes, we can have a story that serves us for a time, and then it’s like we almost outgrow that story. So, a story that once served us as overcoming or being strong or whatever, now that story is actually holding us back in that same place, right?
Aaron Jacobs: A hundred percent, absolutely, it’s so true. And those can be some of the sneakiest ones, because we have a very good feeling about them, because they got us through that tough time. And it did serve us well. And it’s almost like you need to get to the point, or at least I have in my life, of honoring that story, that story is not now bad, it has no… I’m not trying to say that it hasn’t been extremely helpful to me, it’s just that if I want to keep evolving and growing as a person, it’s almost like you have to thank that story for getting you past that point and onto that next step, or that next rung of the ladder, and then it’s okay to let it.
Molly Claire: Yes. And then what I love about that too, is just, it creates so much space to have so much peace and love for yourself every step of the way.
Aaron Jacobs: I love that. That’s a wonderful way to think about that, I’m going to take that.
Molly Claire: Yeah, love it. Okay, so marketing, storytelling and marketing is amazing, we talked about in coaching. I want you to also speak before we finish up here, I would love for you to share just like a few tips about how people can feel comfortable in front of the camera. I know you’ve said just get out there, practice it, but a few little tips you could offer up would be amazing.
Aaron Jacobs: Oh, absolutely, and I finally realize I’m talking about a visual media on a podcast. So, as I said before, I’m not going to leave anybody in the lyrics. Well, I’ll make sure that I follow up and I give Molly that link so that you can see some of the things that I’m talking about. But there’s three major things that we work on with people, and they can be made very simple. So, the first one is camera placement and camera engagements. So, some of these things might sound very, very 101, and they are, but it’s amazing how many people don’t take the time to intentionally do this, and it can help you so much.
So, the first thing I would say is, get your camera up to eye height. If you were coaching clients, you need to…Molly’s like, yes, I’m doing great. You’ve already doing great, Molly. You get that camera up to eye height. So many times, people…even professionals that sell hundreds of thousands of dollars, millions of dollars’ worth of things, have laptops that are below them, and that they are looking down the whole time, and they get this amazing, like triple chin effect…Oh, wow, that looks great on me right now. I’m glad this is a audio medium. Or they have their camera placed too high, and that’s what we call the kindergarten or effects. And for Molly, I’m ducking down right now. And it doesn’t make you look very authoritative at all.
Molly Claire: No, it doesn’t.
Aaron Jacobs: Yeah. And so, you want to be able to, just like we do in real life, you want to give the perception of making direct eye contact with the person you’re talking to, because universally across cultures, it’s a sign of respect, and of connection. And we want to create as coaches, that sense of a safe space for our people, so that they can feel like they can connect.
Molly Claire: Yes, I love that.
Aaron Jacobs: And so, it such a small thing, but it’s just practicing getting comfortable, looking directly into the camera lens, or putting your camera at a point, so that if you’re a couple of feet back from it, visually it looks like you’re looking directly in the lens. That’s number one. Number two would be curating your background. So, some people, in some situations, you might have a time that you’re coaching, where you need to use the blur background feature or something, if you’re on video.
Totally fine. There’s going to be times when it comes in handy to have a virtual background, great. It’s still never going to be as awesome, or as authentic as a real actual background. So, have your space, and what the camera sees…You’re only curating like three or four feet of space here people, you’re not redecorating your entire house. I’ve seen people to great effect, use a coroner in a common room, as long as they move their camera and they’re set up to where they need it to be.
So, look at your space, how I’ve worked with people on production sets for years, is they always say zero, everything out first, start with a blank slate. Again, some of those choices that served you in the past might not serve you visually right now. I usually tell people, how do you want your client to feel? Usually, coaches go towards, I want them to feel like this is going to be simple, and it’s going to be easy, that it feels freeing, that it feels easy and okay and positive. So, think about those emotions you want to trigger, what visually could you put in your background that a person would emotionally start to gravitate towards.
Molly Claire: I love that.
Aaron Jacobs: That’s usually less, so simple, take things out—something that you know, like the lighting, the simplicity, easy, safety, these are things that we want to model visually so that people, their bodies can start to feel that as well. So, curating your background is a big one. So, camera placement, curating your background. And other than that, the biggest thing where people will like—so a coach or someone that’s wants to up their camera game, as I say, wants to look good on camera, or feel good on camera. Because it’s all about the way that you feel, really.
Molly Claire: Yeah.
Aaron Jacobs: Again, it’s all the stories we’re telling ourselves in our head, people really don’t care that much, but if you feel better, you’ll present better. And that has a lot…
Molly Claire: Totally, I think that’s the energy you bring, that’s the thing.
Aaron Jacobs: Yes, totally. And it’s reflected in your vocal tone, and you’re like, oh, I feel good about the way that I’m doing this, it allows your brain to not worry, your lizard brain to not worry about that, and just concentrate on the client.
Molly Claire: Yes, yeah, I love that.
Aaron Jacobs: And so lighting, okay? We usually talk about the three-point lighting setup, light rings work great in a pinch as well. If you’re a person that wears glasses, you might want to default instead do a light ring, so you don’t have those circles reflected back at you. Having two light sources. These can be lamps that you have sitting around your house. They don’t have to be expensive things that you buy. It’s so much more about where you place the lights, than how fancy they are.
If you want to get fancy, like, I’m all for fun toys, but having two lamps with shades on, because that diffuses the light bit. Those color temperature ones that are more like that soft warm glow, you know those? And having them, turn on your camera, grab those little table lamps and on your desk, and then start take them so that you can see them on both of your hands, and then move them out until you can’t see the lamps anymore.
But so the camera can just barely not see it, they’re out of frame, but they’re on either side of you. What that will do is it will eliminate any shadows on your face, and give you a nice even lighting. So, you’ll like the way that you look better, which will translate to confidence on camera.
Molly Claire: Yes, this is brilliant, because I’ve had a lot of light drama, let me tell you. Well, I have very, very sensitive eyes. And so, when I’ve tried the ring lights, it really hurt my eyes, I have like those photography light things up, which they’re huge, and it’s not my favorite thing to have visually in here… But oh, you’ve got them, too.
Aaron Jacobs: Yeah, exactly. So, I’ve got soft boxes that I use as well, but yeah, not everybody has access to that.
Molly Claire: Yes. Because it can be a tricky thing. So, I love that trick. I love the idea that the shades diffuse the light a little, and get rid of the shadows.
Aaron Jacobs: Yeah, and then if you really want to take it to the next level and up your production value, have some sort of light source that is behind you. And so if you have the luxury of having a wall behind you, you can aim even a lamp, set it on the ground, and have a little bit of that light spilling up the wall that is directly behind you. What it does is it lifts and separates you from your background.
Molly Claire: Yeah, yeah, that sounds like a bra.
Aaron Jacobs: Yeah, oh my God, yes. This is the bra of, this is the wonder bra of production, is the light you have around you. You’ve got to trademark that Molly, it’s fantastic.
Molly Claire: You’re not going to be able to say that again, it’s great.
Aaron Jacobs: This is amazing. This is now my favorite podcast episode ever. Okay, and so, you can have a colored light, or just a regular light behind you. It will lift and separate you from your background, give you more [inaudible 39:43] effect. It’s much like a bra, yeah.
Molly Claire: I don’t think we could end on a better note obviously.
Aaron Jacobs: No, we can’t top that, its fantastic.
Molly Claire: Awesome. Well, that’s great, thank you so, so much, and I will have your information in the show notes, of course. And also, tell the people, where can they find you? Where can they hear you?
Aaron Jacobs: Well, so the podcast is the best way to hear the things that we’re talking about right now. They’ll be personal story related, they’ll be business related, it’s kind of a blend of all the different aspects of our business. And so, checking out Storied Life Coaching is probably the best way to do that. Wherever you’d like to listen to your podcasts, you’ll find us there, and you’ll see my shiny head, and you’ll know that it’s me.
Molly Claire: Awesome, awesome. All right, anything else you want them to know, other than what we’ll put in the show notes as to where you are, or…?
Aaron Jacobs: No, just to listen to what Molly says, from my own personal experience, like, just do what Molly says, you’ll have an easier time.
Molly Claire: Oh, thank you. That’s good advice…
Aaron Jacobs: And don’t tell her not to talk with her hands.
Molly Claire: That’s right. All right, thank you so much Aaron, I so appreciate it.
Aaron Jacobs: Absolutely, thanks for having me.
Outro: Thanks for listening to The Masterful Coach podcast. You can check out www.thecoachingcollective.com, for info about the ultimate program for coaches building a business. To find out more about Molly, you can visit www.mollyclaire.com.
Molly Claire is a 7-figure business builder with a blended family of 10. She is dedicated to helping women overcome their own limits, make the money they want, and have the time, freedom, and flexibility to be with the people in their lives that matter most. Especially the little ones.
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