May 4, 2011


stage curtains 500x370Some of the best ideas I've ever heard came from the keynote speakers and fellow attendees at the members-only Conference for Advanced Life Underwriting (CALU).

For instance, Dr. Robert Cialdini spoke about the six universal principle of influence. The right message at the right time. The Prime Minister usually speaks, but not the day after an election. You'll find CALU-inspired links at the bottom of this post.

My Turn

I'm presenting with CALU board member Roger Thorpe of Thorpe Benefits (website). Our topic is Building Trust With Social Media (microsite). This is my most important talk ever.

Here are three reasons for speaking at CALU
  1. repayment
  2. recognition
  3. feedback


There's considerable interest in social media these days but most "expert" presenters sell marketing services. That can be self-serving. Elsewhere, a speaker made misleading statements about Facebook to get hired for customization. The audience seemed to believe her. That's not how to hire a social media expert.

Roger and I have experimented with social media and are revealing why we started using it. Since we aren't selling anything, we're instantly credible.


There's a feeling of "having arrived" when you address your top peers. There's also the fear of flopping.
Roger and I are taking our talk very seriously. We developed a schedule five months ago and have met monthly to keep on track. We've timed our session down to the minute.

Now do you see why I finally joined Toastmasters five months ago? I practiced in front of my club three weeks ago and before Steve Carlson of Marketing Options (website) last week. Many of my 2011 blog posts are related to this talk.

I didn't think recognition would matter to me. I didn't think that getting interviewed by the Toronto Star would either. Both do. The ego likes attention more than I expected.


CALU is the most elite place I can speak (so far). I'm looking forward to getting written feedback from the attendees on a specially-developed form. That will help improve skills and market.

Do try giving unsolicited feedback more often. That's an excellent way to help.


The best proof of success will be if attendees see the merits of social media and some start using it. That also increases competition because the Internet isn't restricted to a specific geography or niche market. However, we're competing fairly and educating the public. Consistent persistent generosity makes the world better.


Roger and I checked our presentation hall. The microphones and projector work. The video plays. The volume is fine. We did a rehearsal. We're ready.

So much can happen in a live event ... including magic!

This post goes live just as we take the stage ... here's a recording of my section (new)


  1. CALU 2011: Video of my presentation (new)
  2. CALU 2011: Building Trust With Social Media microsite
  3. CALU 2011: How the wealthy feel about their advisors (new)
  4. CALU 2010: Billionaire Sir Terence Matthews on how to compete with India and China
  5. CALU 2010: How would you market a family office?
  6. CALU 2009: Stephen Harper seven years in a row
  7. CALU 2009: Jim Flaherty on the economy and financial literacy
  8. CALU 2009: 3 in 1
  9. CALU 2008: Sharing the wisdom
  10. CALU 2008: The Prime Minister and others live
  11. CALU 2008: How effective are tax auditors
  12. CALU 2007: The Prime Minister and the Producers
  13. CALU 2007: The six universal principles of influence
  14. CALU 2007: Succession planning
    • How to hire a social media expert
    • LinkedIn's Jonathan Lister discusses social media
    • The ROI on social media, reputation and a hungry rabbit
    • Picking the best medium for your message
    • The easiest way to catch up with social media
    • Event planning showdown
    • How to prepare and present a brand-new presentation
    • image courtesy of Rakesh Vaghela (UK)
    PS If you attended, do share your thoughts below. You can do this anonymously. The process is painless and gives you practice using social media.

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