How to Use Controversy the Right Way to Attract the Right Attention

By Jennifer Hall | Podcast

Sep 30

How would you like to be the business owner that gets attention from the right people for the right reasons instead of being Mr/Mrs McNegativity that just gets everyones backs up including your ideal clients? 

I’ve not only seen a continual drivel of negativity from business owners thinking they are ‘speaking on behalf of the people’ when actually their audience are just hitting the mute button… but I’m also seeing a lot of opinions and ‘people bashing’ going on for the sake of getting attention. News flash – this does NOT lead to sales or respect.

But how about finding a controversial angle that actually gives you a stamp of authority and positions you as a strong leader… in this episode I’ll show you how to polarise effectively to get the right people to tune in.

Useful Links –

Book a Call with Jen  – bit.ly/claritycallpodcast

Download my free Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Market Leader – http://bit.ly/MARKETLEADERGUIDE

Send your emails to jen@jen-hall.com

Book onto my Evolve & Elevate Strategy Session –http://www.jen-hall.com/strategysession
Special Mentions – Colleen Kochannek – helping women from the typewriter generation (aka over 50) become successful laptop entrepreneurs.
Read Full Transcript

Please note this transcript is machine generated so it is not perfect and should be used for reference only, you will get the best from the podcast by listening to it in it's designed format

[00:00:00.060]
Have you thought about stirring the pot a little, but are worried about how that might land in this episode I'm going to be talking about how to use controversy the right way.

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Hello and welcome to the Experts Unrivalled Podcast. My name's Jen Hall, your business positioning couch and Market Leadership Expert. And today's episode is Episode 50, which I am super, super chuffed with. You know, 50 isn't necessarily a particularly miraculous number. However, this podcast is a form of content which I have been promising myself to stay consistent with. I have done that day. It was a day out, week in, week out, creating podcast episodes every single week.

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And so we're on Episode 50, which I'm just super chuffed with because we're nearly approaching a whole year of the podcast. And it's just been an absolute blast creating these episodes for you guys and hearing all of the amazing feedback from you as well. It would be really, really amazing if you guys are regular listeners or even if you're not even if you're new to the podcast. If you're enjoying the episodes, please, please, please. I would love it if we could start to push this podcast a little further up the ranks.

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To get the message out there to help more business owners become market leaders would just be absolutely amazing. If you wouldn't mind leaving a review on iTunes or wherever it is you have, it would be absolutely amazing because it really does help to get the message out there and to push this out there to more people. So, yes, reviews all the way pretty, please. And also, if you do leave review, you will also get a little shout out.

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So make sure that you let me know afterwards via email. That's easier, jen@jen-hall.com to let me know that you've left a review. And of course, I'll give you a little shout out as well on the podcast. So today's episode is Episode 50. I was trying to come up with think of episode 50. What are we going to talk about today?

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And I thought I would go with an interesting one, an interesting topic around using controversy as a way to get attention, to help people to see more of you, because everyone's looking for that kind of hard hitting angle that's really going to start getting people to notice them, to see what they're doing. In my program at the moment in our group call, just last week, we were talking about this. We're talking about what are the hard hitting angles that you can use that are relevant to your niche and to your industry that will actually start to see you starting out.

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Because the one good thing about finding those hard hitting angles and finding those strong opinions is that it really does set you in good stead. It positions your authority in your field. So it's something I absolutely recommend doing. And by the way, if I'm looking to find out more about the Elevate program, you could do so literally by Googling, you know, market leader, league elevate program and the page will pop up. Or if you'd like to just jump straight on a couple guys to discuss how I can help you become a market leader or any of the other options that I have for you, then do make sure that you could call in the show notes, I think is that should you want to?

[00:03:21.160]
But we were talking about it and we were discussing the different angles that we could take for each different individual to really find the topics that would make them stand out. And relevancy was key because something I see that's done very badly is when people trying to be controversial just generally. And it almost feels very forced. It feels like, you know, you're almost being controversial for the sake of it, like you just have something to moan about. And so one of the lessons that I've learned over time, because when I first came on the scene, I was following some very kind of like harsh, hard hitting coaches, if that's what you call them, where they would be kind of calling out the B.S. and all that sort of stuff.

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And it really rubbed off on me. And so every kind of piece of content I wrote, it was it was rather aggressive, actually. In reality, if you to go back and read some of my stuff, it was quite it was quite aggressive. But something I've actually learned as a business owner over time is that negativity and controversy and all of those things are best use like sports. Too much salt in your meal will turn really lucky. And that's what happens in your business.

[00:04:35.770]
If you use just a pinch here and there, it really start to boost the flavor and reap a stamp on your authority. But you go overboard. I've seen this a lot recently on the underground ear to the ground. I've seen and heard and seen a few coaches who were just continually this kind of got to the point where they're just moaning, they're just moaning online. They're just getting aggravated by every little thing in their lives because they think it gets some attention online and it just continually comes out.

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And I hear so many people, you know, quite rightly so, saying, you know what, I really love what this person does, but I can't bear to hear them on social media anymore. You know, their processes and the expertise that they're teaching a great. But actually, I'm just bored of listening that negative energy constantly, all of the time isn't doing them any good. And that's why you need to be careful, is that yes, it's great to be visible on social media.

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Yes, it's great to be talking about things that are happening your day to day life.

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But, my gosh, like don't go too far down the hole of negativity and controversy because it can actually be a big turnoff. And, you know, I scared a lot of people in the early days. You know, people were scared to work with me because I was just like, you know, almost too much. And in real life, I'm not like that. And that's the thing. And, you know, sometimes if you're a newbie listening to this episode, you know, it does take time to kind of learn your voice and get to grips with, you know, who you are and really aligning the content you're putting out there to the I apologize, guys, the buzz words about to come out, but the authentic you, because I see so many people like, you know, turning on, turning up the volume, as it were, on their content, but actually it's not really them.

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So how do you find the authentic statements that you truly believe in that you do stand for? Because if you don't find those authentic statements, what happens is, is that you go out there and you think you're being controversial and you think that you're getting attention and that it's going to get people talking. And, you know, lo and behold, quite often it does it does get people talking, but it doesn't always capture the attention. And then you get the you know, the trolls out there, like, if I ever see something like I don't agree with or that, you know, I just think, oh, gosh, please be quiet like not you again are swollen.

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Like, I'm not going to waste my energy trolling on things that really got better time to be spent elsewhere. But you will find these people who to who like spending their time on these things and they will start to trust me and they will start to write comments, you know, and they will start, you know, spending lengthy time arguing with you about a particular point. And if you're not prepared for that and actually you know, some of these cases, these people who do seem to have time on their hands, you know, on the on occasion, they actually do have a good point.

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If you haven't thought through your opinion or thought through your points properly and you're not actually creating this content from a place of calm and thoughtfulness, then you're just going to find that you're going to be all.

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Actually, you do have a point there. Oops. Now, how am I going to like, you know, get over this and then you just find people deleting the posts because it's like, oh gosh, I do actually know how to defend my point because actual my point wasn't very good and I didn't really think about it and I just wasn't engaged, not just spouted out there. Or if you like some of these other coaches out there, they will just continue to just blindly spend awful amounts of energy on arguing these trials.

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And it just doesn't do anyone any good. It gets attention for all the wrong reasons. And so you have to be prepared to defend your corner. So that's how you find your authentic statements. You authentic, controversial angles is by actually looking at it. Hey, what do I truly believe in? What would I happily defend to the hilt and not necessarily spending hours and hours debating with people, but actually having thoughtful responses to say totally get your opinion here.

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But, you know, under these circumstances or in this experience that I've had, because your experience is fact, at the end of the day, this is what I found and of and you and you feel confident and comfortable that you're happy to defend it without deleting your post, because you're happy to have people told you because they will even in the cases where you are being authentic, even in the cases where you are stating your opinion in a very thoughtful way, you will still find people with all the time in the world that they seem to have on social media wanting to have arow.

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You will get these people when you have a controversial angle. And but it absolutely is very important. You do stand for it because it is authentic. Don't would be deleting your posts. And this is the other thing is that, you know, controversy, whether it's authentic or not, will always attract that kind of attention. And you've got to be brave. You got to stand your ground. You've got to not believe not. You've got to be thoughtful enough in the first place or not.

[00:09:39.560]
You need to edit what you said so that you say in a strong and strong way where you actually leading with that opinion and that you're not running into the corner grocery store. I should have said that. I shouldn't have said that. No, you should say that, because if that's truly what's you genuinely believe, then you absolutely should. So you've got to find these different angles. And it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to bash people, because this is another way I've seen it gone wrong, as you know, bashing other people when they've got a controversial statement.

[00:10:10.640]
And you don't need to do that in order to make to have an opinion on something, show people the right way to do. Things, you know, fine point point things out that you don't agree with, but let's not bash people and that's rather than just bashing or pointing things out, actually, look. OK, so how could this be done better? How would you like to see it had been approached? Why do you believe this is damaging?

[00:10:34.800]
Why do you believe that that way of doing things is actually causing a problem? You know, it's fine to have these opinions and you absolutely should because it gives you that stamp of authority in your space and it pulls the right people over to you.

[00:10:47.460]
Your way of thinking and it repels the wrong people, you know. So you want to make sure that you're doing that? Well, I see a lot of times people try to be controversial. They push the right people away because they haven't been thoughtful. They haven't really researched or really dug deep into their own thoughts around it to actually come out with an articulate response or an articulate way of putting it. So it's really important to think before you put things out there.

[00:11:14.220]
You know, people have come up with some great ideas over wine that actually in practice, it's completely bad. You know, there's been lawsuits taken out and people you know, I've seen things massively backfiring, people faking bankruptcy to prove a point that, you know, bad news travels fast and the good news and all of that sort of stuff and actually lost a lot of their audience's trust because they're just like, gosh, you just told this weird lie that isn't true to prove a point and, you know, and it gets people's backs up.

[00:11:46.770]
So you do want to think about your leadership and how you're going to approach these things, because being hard hitting and finding these controversial angles is very important. That is important to do it in the right way so that you're not getting people's backs up. And like I said, I've been there and done that. You know, I've learned the hard way where, you know, I did push push the right people away instead of actually doing, you know, polarizing properly where I was pushing the wrong people away and attracting the right people.

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So be thoughtful about what you're doing.

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And so I wrote an article I'm going to say now, maybe six months ago, I can't remember on my LinkedIn profile.

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And it was around the silo mindset of women's networking. And this was a controversial angle because it's for a couple of reasons. One, I have been very strongly part of women's networks. And by the way, I would happily be part of a women's network again as well. I don't have anything against women's networks, but I have spotted a huge problem, and that is that there is this kind of mindset level. A lot of women choose to be in women's networks because they feel that it's a safer environment to be in.

[00:13:05.580]
And they also are perhaps newer to business. And it's a very scary world. And see, what you find is that you end up with these women's networks full of women who are new to business, who don't have that much experience, and therefore the knowledge level in terms of when you're networking with these other women, because as we know, there are also great mastermind experiences as well. You're the some of the people that you surround yourself with.

[00:13:31.770]
You can find it very difficult to kind of move beyond that next level to be more successful, to find the ideas that are more successful and to find, you know, network and networking is about finding a network, a finding, a broader network of people who are potential clients or who can open doors for you. And if we're all at the very beginning stages of our business, when we're all networking together, you're not going to find that experience because they just don't have a network.

[00:14:02.100]
They don't have the experience. They don't have the knowledge. And that's the issue that I spotted with women's only network. And, you know, my solution to that is absolutely stay there. And and also it's very important that there is that space for those who need that bridge between really taking your network into a more serious level. You need those more friendly, friendly and nurturing environments sometimes before you can be brave enough to step in environments which are totally outside of your comfort zone, where he is massively scary and maybe people are networking in a completely wrong way with businesses.

[00:14:39.370]
This is called stuck in their teeth, trying to force it down your throat. But, you know, the upper level of confidence to handle those situations, to stand for yourself, knowing that that's not the way to network and that you're going to do it the right way with the right people and that you happily be an environment where these people exist because you can stand your ground if you catch my drift.

[00:15:00.510]
So I thought about this topic a lot and I didn't want to bash women's networking. And that's the thing. This is what I mean about being thoughtful, because, like I said, I'd happily join another network, women's network.

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And all women's networks are, as I say, it just happens to be the majority. Of women's networks tend to be that way, but there's nothing necessarily wrong with that. I'm just pointing out that if you want to step up to a new level of networking, to take a broader mindset, you need to surround yourself with people at different business levels. And if you're in a women's network where you're all at the beginning stages, you're going to find it very difficult to level your skills and open new doors.

[00:15:40.190]
And really, that was the point I was making. But I tried to be as thoughtful as possible and really try and articulate all of these different angles in the same article. So it's almost like 10. Feel free to go in, search and dig it out and have a look at that. But it went down really well. It did catch a few people's eyes. It did get a few people's backs up who didn't fully read the article properly.

[00:16:07.190]
And I referred back to the things inside of the article to say, yep, totally get where you're coming from here because people can go, well, I'm part of women's networks that mean I'm not going to be successful. And the answer is no, that's not necessarily true. That's part of, you know, your journey is to take those steps that I'm encouraging people to think a bit bigger and to really open their network and surround themselves with people at different success levels, whether that's male or female, whichever the gender, but to really look at who you surround yourself with.

[00:16:37.310]
So I was able to go back and articulate responses back to people who were having, you know, umbrage with what I was saying. But I was still standing strong, in my opinion, and what I genuinely believe to be an issue. And it was a great experience that actually went really well. But I said in the beginning stages, I've had some very horrible experiences where I've just what is it going to fall away and hide in a hole because it's all gone terribly wrong?

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Because I didn't really think about what I was saying. I didn't think about the other side of the coin. And you need to do that. You need to put yourself in the shoes of your troubles to then predict responses so that you go, OK, if they said that, you know, what would what do I say back? Do I still have a point or do they have a point? How can I address this in a way that still has a very strong opinion, as still stands firmly on one side of the fence, but without necessarily having to be offensive, you don't need to be offensive to be controversial.

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I truly believe that. And I know that there's so much contradictory advice to this where it's like, no, you need to turn the volume up. You need to say what you believe. You need to get out there and add the F word in or do this or do that and make it really ballsy and just really just go out, go for it and, you know. Yes. Have an opinion. I really don't believe that you need to do it in a way that does that.

[00:17:58.640]
Do you see real, true market leading companies out there on the Internet offending people successfully? The answer is no. No, they don't. They lead their leaders. They lead thoughtfully and they take a stance and they stand for what they believe in. But they don't have to offend people in order to do that. They just have a well-thought-out argument, as it were.

[00:18:26.300]
You know, then they're putting their argument forward in a way as if almost as if it was a court case to say this is this is what I believe in. And, yes, you can say in your own way, yes, you can. Our personality doesn't need to be a kind of like a formal document, but it does need to have thought behind it. And you can absolutely stand behind what you're saying with power and passion.

[00:18:47.450]
And you can even out the F word in there, if you really wanted to, is not really going to make that much difference, particularly if you're standing against something that goes against, you know, humanistic, fundamental values, you know, sometimes as a case for a strong word here or there. But again, just think about the other side of the coin and actually come up with some thoughtful arguments around that before you put it out there so that you're prepared to stand your corner and say, yeah, I'm all for a strong opinion, I'm all for strong controversy, but just be mindful, be thoughtful, and don't just turn it into people bashing because I really don't think it's necessary and it doesn't really paint you in the best light.

[00:19:31.880]
And if you do it constantly, you know, once or twice people kind of read and go. That was a bit sharp. Not sure. Not sure I agree with that, but cool. And again, I'm what I'm saying that I'm talking about the right you're right. The right kind of people here, not necessarily the wrong people, the wrong people. You happily, you know, they could happily trot off the right people will forgive you a couple of times, but if you're constantly doing it, then you will find people will just tune out and you will put the right people off.

[00:20:01.190]
So, yeah. So just just be thoughtful in the stance that you take in order to make sure that you're ready to stand that corner and that you're not having that vulnerability hangover, that you just put your ass on the line and then it's all a bit scary afterwards. So that's my biggest hit when it comes to controversy and put forward your argument, put yourself in neutral shoes and know that you are still happy to stand your ground regardless of the thoughts of others.

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The other thing as well is, is that some people think that they're being controversial when they're not

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If you're thinking of an angle and you actually think that you won't find anybody that's going to have a problem with it, then you're not being controversial enough to say, here I am, changing my tune slightly towards the end of this podcast, because equally, if you have a controversial angle, you need to have a controversial angle. There is absolutely no point coming up with something where you think everyone's going to be agreeing with you because that's not really hitting the mark.

[00:21:05.070]
We need to take up that next level that's going to capture attention and that people are going to find it intriguing enough to want to find out more about what you're talking about. For instance, I'm going to give you an example of one of my Elevate members, Colleen, and she is amazing, by the way. She helps business owners over 50 to actually start making their online business work because it's, you know, for that age group, there's a lot of issues with tech overwhelm.

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And, you know, if you haven't ever been in this kind of like, you know, tech world before or even online business well before, it could be a very confusing place.

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So she really helps the age group to work through the foundation, the hidden foundation of pieces that people don't really talk about to really start getting their online business to work for them.

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And something that she said happens all the time is that she ends up attracting people of that age group who are at a lower level.

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They're not really serious about their business. They're happy, happy making doilies and their little fuzzy friends that they want to sell on a farmer's market.

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And they're wanting to make millions from it. And she has an opinion, which I completely agree with, which is that's just not possible. You know, you're not being realistic in terms of, you know, what you're trying to attempt to do. If you're not thinking bigger, if you're not outsourcing, if you're still attached to knitting, then you're going to have a problem with making the money, because the capacity issues, along with many other things, are very wrong with that situation in terms of the the realistic things that they're coming up with.

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So, you know, she said to me, you know, she's got this interview with somebody who creates these amazing chairs that they upholstered these these chairs paint them crazy colors, amazing patterns. And she is has really scaled that. And she's this woman's have like a 90 day launch. And so there was a part of her. She wants to interview this woman because she wanted to show that you can turn your passion into a business. But, you know, she was also saying, I also don't want to be attracting all of the the stall type businesses who are out there on the farmer's markets trying to sell their stuff, because that's not the crowd that she wants to attract.

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She wants to attract serious business owners. And this woman who these chairs is not the norm. She's had to do a lot of things differently. She's not attached to the doing and the actual making of those chairs. She's outsourced a lot of things. She's had to think bigger. She's had to think, you know, capacity. How are you going to cope with more orders, all of these different things. And, you know, and how she's turned the upholstery business into actually teaching people how to upholster and selling products on the back of that.

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So she's so much bigger than just this one idea that there's one concept that she originally came up with. And so we really dug into that and we wondered, you know, trying to find ways that we could put off the wrong people. And sometimes that has to happen through a controversial angle. So the angle that she came up with was basically, well, if you see what I said a minute ago, if you're hoping to make millions sitting on a stool, selling a doilies, it's not going to happen.

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And, you know, that is hard hitting. That is going to put those people's backs up or it's going to help them step up and go, gosh, no. But I want to be like this woman you're interviewing. I want to scale my business. I want to take it seriously, and I want to take it to that next level so it either helps people step up or step out, which we know which one is going to happen is up to that person, you know.

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But at the end of the day, that's what good controversy does. It helps people step up or step out. And that's what she's doing, which is just incredible. And, you know, I was like, how how do you feel about saying, that's it? Absolutely. It's what I believe. I truly believe that.

[00:25:09.180]
It's just fact that that's not going to happen and it's going to really help to put those types of people off so that she's not generating an audience full of people that are never going to be great clients for her and potentially never going to buy from her because they're never going to be wanting to spend the money on business coaching when they're not taking their business seriously enough. So there's no point attracting these people. So who is it that you don't want to attract?

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And how can you actively put these people off by stating what you truly believe to be true, knowing that these people will have an issue with it? We'll take umbrage and piss off.

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There goes the explicit level on the podcast today. But it was always going to go that way, wasn't it?

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With the title, we have it around controversy. It was always going to have a swear word or two in here.

[00:26:03.660]
But yeah, you don't want them near you. You want them to be as far away as possible. And that's another great way to find a controversial angle is to think about it that way. Who don't you want to attract? Let's find an angle that's going to annoy those people. And then let's find an angle that's going to pull the right people towards you, but you can do it without being fully offensive. There's no name shaming there. It purely is saying that that train of thought is not is not going to produce the amount of money that you're expecting.

[00:26:35.540]
You know, it's not saying, you know, you and your crappy little business that you've got on your stool and really bashing them about it. It's just saying that plain and simple, if this is what you were hoping for, a million, a million dollar business and you are still stuck doing, creating, knitting the doilies, you're going to have to do something differently. And that's totally fair. And it said with love, it's it's sad to help educate and people can make decisions based on that.

[00:27:05.120]
You're actually helping people to say, OK, well, actually, that's let's readjust my thought patterns on this. I'm actually happy sitting on the stools. I'm cool with that. I like it. I enjoy it. It's fun. It's a hobby. Or do I actually want to take this seriously and take this business further and actually scale it stop being offensive? It's just saying how it is. But some people will take umbrage to it and that's a great angle.

[00:27:27.860]
So that's a great way to find that. A controversial angle. Who don't you want to attract? So there we go. Those are a few tips on how to use controversy the right way. I really enjoyed the episode. Again, if you would like to talk about working with me to help you really nail your messaging, to help you find these hard hitting angles that you can talk about with authenticity and with backbone without running into the corner and hiding, then do make sure you give me a buzz.

[00:27:57.770]
Bigger call in the show, notes below. There's a link in there where you could be cool with me. We can discuss how I can best help to position you in the market so that people pay attention. They see you as an authority, as an expert and a business to pay attention to and actually do business with us their number one choice. And do make sure you click the link below. Anyway, it's been a fabulous time talking to you guys this week.

[00:28:23.150]
I really enjoyed talking about this meaty episode. If you got any feedback, if you want to send through some of your controversial angles, I can maybe do another episode on this topic and I can shout out a few of these controversial angles. Do make sure that you send them to me at jen@jen-hall.com and I will make sure make sure you put your name what you do as a business. And I will perhaps the whole episode on controversial angles.

[00:28:53.210]
And if you've got a controversial angle that went bad, feel free to keep it anonymous. I won't mention the name, but if you just want to send that through to talk about to help other people not make the same mistakes, then I would love to hear about that as well. Good and bad stories is always a winner, so let us know. Like I said, I'm totally transparent. I've had stories that have gone down like a bucket of sick, but done right, done well.

[00:29:18.260]
You can really make a stand, really grab the right attention and really position yourself as an authority in your market. I will see you guys in the next.

About the Author

Jen Hall is Business Clarity Coach for Coaches, Consultants & Experts who want to become Unrivalled Go-To Experts. Jen not only gets you clear on your micro-niche, message and what makes you unique and desirable, but she helps you to define what makes you an irrefutable offer to the market so you can position yourself as a high-end 'must have' option for your prospects. She is a Multi-Award Winning Speaker and Best Selling Author of Expert Unrivalled.