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The Importance of Connecting Your Audience

Small Biz Buzz hosts Crystal Heuft and Scott Martineau are joined by Mel Kettle of Mel Kettle and Associates, who is a Communication Specialist whose area of expertise is helping people connect.

“I work with clients so that they can get a clear understanding of how to connect with compassion, with conviction,” said Kettle. “I help people communicate so they connect and engage with their people. Whether it’s their people, their workforce, their customers, their stakeholders, their investors, their volunteers or whoever else they need to have that strong relationship with.”

She also has a podcast called This Connected Life where she discusses what’s important when it comes to connection and her audience, as well as welcoming many guests.

“Probably 50% of my episodes are guest interviews where I talk to leaders about how they stay connected with their people so that they can achieve the outcomes that they want to achieve both personally and professionally,” Kettle said.

Kettle believes that connecting starts with yourself. You need to have that self-connection piece and you need to be comfortable and competent with who you are and to look after yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. If you don't do that, then you're never going to present your best self as a leader to your workforce or to your client base, which is what many people forget when it comes to connection.

Kettle also provides insights on what small businesses can do to connect to their audience, their family, and themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and what they should be doing to anticipate permanent changes in the workforce for the future.

Click play for more.


Derek Harju (00:00):

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Crystal Hueft (00:58):

So Scott, this is a topic near and dear to your heart too.

Scott Martineau (01:00):

Oh, yes.

Crystal Hueft (01:01):

I feel like you're all about the connections.

Scott Martineau (01:03):

Yeah. I'm excited lest we do what we always do and jump into premature bantering. Are we officially bantering now on air?

Crystal Hueft (01:14):

I'm always bantering-

Mel Kettle (01:15):

Hard to see what's going from as soon as we get on, so.

Crystal Hueft (01:19):

That's a good thing. Because there's been times that I didn't realize we were going and they play it. Later, I listen to it and I'm like, oh my gosh.

Mel Kettle (01:29):

Some of the best conversations I've had on podcasts have been before we've officially started and I've just gone, damn.

Scott Martineau (01:35):

Yeah. Exactly.

Crystal Hueft (01:36):

I know. It's like you peak too soon. I'm always worried that I'm not going to have anything insightful to say once they're actually recording. Luckily, it's your job to bring the insight Mel and it's my job just to bring the entertainment. Scott, Mel, our lovely guest today and I spoke at the Digital Branding Conference. It was all online. I had the joy of meeting her during Panel Q & A at the end of day one because it was all digital. I'm telling you, she is a joy. You were a delight. They were eating out of the palm of your hand by the time we were done there.

Mel Kettle (02:14):

Thank you. That was so much fun. I really enjoyed that.

Crystal Hueft (02:17):

It was fun. I could tell you had a passion about the customer. I think that's something all three of us on this call really do as well. We're very passionate about that. I wanted to kick it off with you telling us a little bit about yourself, your business and what you do. Then we'll dive into talking really about making those connections with your audience.

Mel Kettle (02:38):

Yeah, of course. I'm a Communication Specialist and my area of expertise is helping people connect. I work with clients so that they can get a clear understanding of how to connect with compassion, with conviction. So yeah. Essentially, I'm a Communication Specialist and I help people communicate so they connect and engage with their people. Whether their people or their workforce, their customers, their stakeholders, their investors, their volunteers or whoever else they need to have that strong relationship with.

Scott Martineau (03:13):

I want to make sure, did you say the name of your business too?

Mel Kettle (03:16):

Oh, no, I didn't. It doesn't have a name. It's me. It's Mel kettle. My official company name is Mel Kettle and Associates so that people buy me. My logo and all my branding is my name.

Crystal Hueft (03:29):

Yeah, I can't stress enough. Personal branding is becoming more and more important to help you make those connections. That's very intelligent. You also have a podcast.

Mel Kettle (03:39):

I do.

Crystal Hueft (03:39):

You're a pro at this!

Mel Kettle (03:41):

My podcast is called This Connected Life and I alternate between talking about things that are important to me when it comes to connection and important to my audience, obviously, as well. But also, I interview guests. Probably 50% of my episodes are guest interviews where I talk to leaders about how do they stay connected with their people so that they can achieve the outcomes that they want to achieve both personally and professionally.

Crystal Hueft (04:08):

I know we've been dwelling a lot. But it's just becoming more and more important as the world changes to really make sure we stay connected, which is what we're going to be talking all about today.

Scott Martineau (04:17):

I remember being in a conversation. It was a group of marketers. Perry Marshall was the host of a mastermind and somebody made a comment. I remember he flew off the handle. He may have said a couple of curse words during the whole conversation but he basically said, attention is not free. I remember that stuck with me. I guess if I had to set up a nemesis opposite of connection and attention, it would be the noise that's in the world today.

Scott Martineau (04:51):

I'm just excited because I think this whole idea of being able to connect with your audience it's getting, maybe to say, more complicated. I'm just really excited to hear some thoughts for you. I know that, business owners, we just got done doing some lifecycle automation webinars. I think yesterday we did the one where we talked about engagement and for the people who aren't ready to do business with you today, you've got to have a strategy and a system around engaging with those people in an ongoing way. And obviously right at the core of that is connection. Anyway, I think it's a fantastic topic.

Mel Kettle (05:25):

Yeah, thanks. I think that connection also starts with yourself. You need to have that self-connection piece and you need to be really comfortable and competent with who you are and you need to look after yourself physically and emotionally and spiritually and mentally. If you don't do that, then you're never going to bring your best self as a leader to your workforce or to your client base. I think that's the piece that a lot of people forget when it comes to connection. For example, if you don't get enough sleep as we've already just witnessed, your brain won't function properly.

Mel Kettle (06:01):

You won't be able to communicate clearly because you'll be, inherently, focused on the fact that, oh my God, I'm so tired. I didn't get enough sleep last night. Because I haven't slept enough, I haven't made the right food choices. I haven't drunk enough water. I might've overcompensated with caffeine or alcohol just to keep on going. Then maybe at the end of the day, I haven't done my exercise or I haven't spent time meditating or doing yoga or doing whatever it is that helps me maintain that level that I need to function fully, human person. Then how can you lead others if you can't lead yourself in looking after yourself?

Crystal Hueft (06:52):

That's so deep. But I'm experiencing that today. Usually I would say, 90% of the time, I'm probably pretty positive. I look at things I can assess them. I know if they're bad or not. But I think some of that, now that a lot of it's been taken away by being home alone or I have a roommate with my roommate but not having any exposure to really my family or my nieces, my sister, the outside world.

Crystal Hueft (07:19):

I've been noticing, today, I'm feeling a little depressed and that connection to yourself is important because I'm going to need to do something tonight to recharge and get me on a positive mindset again. But that being said, things can be really overwhelming. For small business owners, I think, it just is exponentially so. They've got the weight of the world on their shoulders. What can small businesses do right now to feel that connection to themselves or to avoid feeling overwhelmed?

Mel Kettle (07:51):

Oh, look, I think probably the quickest and the easiest thing that you can do is just sit down somewhere quiet and just close your eyes and take three deep breaths. Just get some oxygen flowing through your brain and through your body. I know, for me, whenever I feel completely overwhelmed just stepping away from everything and maybe lying down and closing my eyes if I can. Even I used to have a phenomenally stressful job where I would often just sit at my desk and close my eyes and just try to think happy thoughts. Even that for a few seconds can make a really big difference.

Mel Kettle (08:35):

Because it switches your brain off. There's a lot to be said for all the mindfulness experts in the world about doing something that brings you back into focusing on the here and now and not. Because when you're focused on your breathing or on listening to the sounds that are around you, other thoughts don't as easily come in and it's the other thoughts that can lead to that sense of overwhelm. I think the simplest thing and the things that I do is just to stop and take a breath.

Mel Kettle (09:06):

But then once I've got that breath, that I'm a real planner and I just look at and at the moment, especially, I'm thinking, okay, what's happening right now. It's definitely unprecedented, in not just my world but in everybody's world. I'm just sitting down to do a 12-week plan. What does the next 12 weeks look like for me? What will the next 12 weeks look like? Then what will the next 12 weeks look like?

Mel Kettle (09:36):

I was on a call with one of my mentors the other day, a beautiful woman called Linda Hutchings. She said, do a little three by three grid and down the left-hand column, say three months, six months and nine to 12 months because I believe that it's going to be a good 12 months before things start looking like they're normal again. Then across the top have worst case scenario, likely case scenario and best case scenario.

Mel Kettle (10:05):

Just think about all of those, what could go in all of those boxes from a personal perspective, from a professional perspective and from whatever other perspective you need to be looking at in terms of its impact on your life right now? Hopefully, it'll be the best case scenario but at least you'll have started thinking about what the worst case scenario might look like and then you can put some plans in place around that.

Mel Kettle (10:31):

Then once you've done that, then look at that first three months and go rightyo. What do I need to do to get through the first three months? Then do a 12-week plan and do something every week that will help you take some sort of action for your business and then maybe do one for your family and then maybe do one for your personal life as well. Have an action or an activity in there. Maybe have a project and then maybe think about, what is it that your offering is to clients? What's your offering today versus what was your offering three months ago when the world was normal and we could go out? What's your offering today and what could your offering be in six weeks or 12 weeks?

Mel Kettle (11:18):

For me, all of my work is gone right now because I'm a professional speaker. I do a lot of face-to-face training and workshops. I facilitate strategy days and planning days. All of that or the majority of that is face-to-face. Pretty much everything that I had in my calendar for the next six months has been either postponed or canceled. Now I'm thinking, okay, what else is there that I've got that I can promote to my clients and potential clients?

Mel Kettle (11:51):

The other thing is my client base is also really, really struggling right now. How appropriate is it for me to go to my clients and say, I've got this great new program, would you like to buy it? It's only $10,000. They might be thinking, I can't even afford to pay my staff. Who's this person to come to me and try to sell me something when we are barely keeping afloat.

Crystal Hueft (12:16):


Mel Kettle (12:17):

You've got to take a pulse check of what's happening in your market right now as well and how much of the people that you normally work with, where are they at? Factor that into your 12 week plan as well.

Scott Martineau (12:32):

Mel, it's interesting. Because I think my personality type is one where I definitely, would not turn to a plan when it comes to trying to put myself in the right state of mind to be in a place of connection. Most of the time when I start to plan, I ended up getting into a state of depression. That's what puts me there. I have to trick myself. I have to trick myself into it and I'm probably overstating that a little bit.

Scott Martineau (13:00):

But I think, maybe just to draw out what I heard you say from a, maybe a slightly different lens, number one, I think just recognize the importance of where you are and the importance of that in being able to create a connection with your audience. It matters, right? I think we're conditioned right now in our world to be so active and so busy that it's like, the thought is, well, I don't have time. I don't have time to slow down and do that. I've got to keep rushing like a mad person, right?

Scott Martineau (13:29):

Then I love the proactive ownership orientation that comes from the way you're talking about planning. I think your advice is fantastic, by the way, especially for times right now. Because it puts people into a state of mind where you're getting clear on the potentials of the future and you're going out into the future to create, right? That's really what entrepreneurship is about at the end of the day.

Scott Martineau (13:58):

As much as I don't like to admit it, it needs to manifest itself in terms of a plan that you then need to have accountability to. By the way on accountability, I was just curious if you have any thoughts on, you know how to create accountability in an environment like today.

Mel Kettle (14:17):

I think that accountability is very closely linked to trust. One of the things that I'm really noticing at the moment is that if you don't trust your people, then you are going to really struggle with what's happening right now. To give you an example of that, everybody in Australia, pretty much is who can work from home, is working from home. There's very few people going into offices today. There's obviously people go to work if they're in essential jobs that they can't do from home. Some teachers, medical professionals, supermarket workers and probably a few other people as well.

Mel Kettle (15:02):

But the vast majority of my clients are now all working from home. Most of the managers in these organizations are used to having a team of people in the same office that they can see. They can physically see what they're doing each day at their desks. I think if you don't trust your people to do their job, then you are really going to struggle with believing that they are. I think that's where accountability, from a work perspective, is you're going to struggle with keeping people accountable and keeping yourself accountable if you don't trust yourself and trust others to do what they have been brought in to do. I think the way that you build trust is by connecting and engaging.

Mel Kettle (15:53):

Because people do business with people they know, love and trust and that is the same whether you're a client or you're an employee or you're a volunteer or you're an investor. Before you can get to trust, you've got that, know in that like phase. One of the things that I'm really noticing with people who I'm speaking to is they're using Zoom a lot and they're using video technology a lot and they're getting to see a side of their colleagues and their workforce and their customers that they've never seen before.

Mel Kettle (16:28):

Because you're getting to see a snapshot of people's home lives in the background of their Zooms. You can see the background of mine is reasonably, a semi-tidy credenza. But every Zoom call I've had up until about two days ago, that thing behind me had piles of paperwork. The floor was covered in papers. I just had an old duvet cover thrown over it all to hide it all. You're getting a really clear sense now of this thing about the people that you're working with that you never got to know before.

Mel Kettle (17:02):

You're getting to know them more. Then over time, as we converse more in this way, you're going to start to see people potentially not at their best as they'd bring into the office and that, that people who try to keep their work life and their home life separate that's going to merge and blend more than it's ever blended before. As you get to see people in their less glorious moments, you're going to get to know them and you're going to get like them and love them more and over time, I think that we'll be finding far deeper bonds of trust because we are all going through this together. One of the things that I've noticed over my time on earth is that when you go through a really traumatic experience with other people, the bonds that you create during that time are unwavering and will not break.

Crystal Hueft (18:00):

That is so true. Anytime in life, when I've looked back, if I've had a rough time, the people around that time are special to me forever. I think we will see a lot of that. I'm maybe not feeling quite as optimistic as you. I think there's probably some people I'm going to see their home life and be like, wow, you really were faking us all out.

Mel Kettle (18:23):

Absolutely. One of the things-

Crystal Hueft (18:26):

I was just going to say, do think it helps you align to your core group who you relate to. Good, bad or ugly.

Mel Kettle (18:33):


Crystal Hueft (18:34):

When I see other people's dog running behind them in their house, I'm like, that's my kind of people. Because typically, my dog will be running through my Zoom and it's who I am, right? So you'll start being able to easily identify who's part of your pack?

Mel Kettle (18:47):


Scott Martineau (18:48):

All of a sudden I start to feel really nervous, Crystal. Because I don't have any dogs, am I out of your pack? No pun intended.

Crystal Hueft (18:54):

No, not at all. You're actually exactly how I expected you to be from home as you were in the conference rooms at Keap.

Scott Martineau (19:01):

I don't know if that's good or bad. Shoot.

Crystal Hueft (19:03):

I think it's great. I always enjoy our conversations. I'm just saying, you present yourself the same way at work as you do at home. For you, you've already been building that trust. I think you've already been-

Scott Martineau (19:13):

Obviously that's what you're looking for, is the discrepancy between the office person and the home person.

Crystal Hueft (19:17):

I think to Mel's point, there are people that keep work and home very separate, very different lives. I put all my hot mess out there whether I'm at work, whether I'm at home. I think, for me, I'm hoping people will find me to be the same person I present in the outside world while I'm home. But I think that does build trust. When you start seeing people, they are who they say they are. Scott, all I can say about you is so far from any environment I've seen you in, you are who you say you are.

Crystal Hueft (19:46):

Which does help you build those connections and helps you feel like very much a part of someone's life whether it's work related or not. It helps you feel that connection.

Scott Martineau (32:45):

Today, obviously, we're talking about connection. I really love that last point about just the fact that the authenticity or people's perception, I think, of me trying to be someone who I am not as very high. I think it's probably one of the things that can flip connection on its head, right? It can be the thing that can create amazing connection and it can be the thing that destroys connection. If I feel like there's some facade, I don't want to connect with the facade. I want to connect with the real person, right?

Mel Kettle (33:16):


Crystal Hueft (33:16):

Right. I mean, I think more now than ever, that started a lot. People were saying because of social. But really people share it. You still have so much control over what you share on social. Sure. If you go live, maybe, not as much. You can curate the heck out of a social post. But what we're experiencing now, people are going to see the real you in some environment one way or the other. Mel, that was such a good point. I really want to think through, okay, we've got Zoom. What other things can people be doing to connect with their audience, their employees, with anyone they're trying to connect with right now?

Mel Kettle (33:50):

One of the things that I'm doing and that I say to my clients is you need to, first of all, find out where people are at. It can be a little bit easier to find that out with your staff. But if you're currently thinking about, oh, with your staff you can just ask them. Maybe if you do a group huddle online every day, you can just do a quick check in around the room. You can ask them to say a word that describes them, how they're feeling right now. You could ask them to give a ranking out of 10, how they feel right now.

Mel Kettle (34:26):

You could ask them to maybe get a bit tricky and say, describe yourself right now as an animal and how you feel. I mean, are you lion and you're all aggressive? Or are you a goldfish and you're just swimming, swimming, swimming and barely keeping afloat? How do you feel right now? But the other thing I think is really important is you're going to have some of your team who need a lot of you and a lot more of you and you're going to have some of them who are just going to absolutely thrive in this new environment. Because they love the fact that they can just be at home in their comfort area and get on with things.

Scott Martineau (35:09):

I love the concept of just understanding where people are and so that you're adapting based on their needs. I've seen exactly what you're talking about. Some are thriving, some are craving more of the attention.

Mel Kettle (35:22):

I think a lot of that depends on what their environment at home is as well.

Crystal Hueft (35:25):


Mel Kettle (35:25):

Do they live alone? Do they live with their parents? Do they live with flatmates? Do they live with a partner? Do they have kids?

Scott Martineau (35:32):


Mel Kettle (35:32):

Are they having to also be responsible for making sure their kids are educated like a home schooling or whatever's happening like in Australia? We've got one more week of school until school holidays which is two weeks. Then what's going to happen after that. Dealing with all the uncertainty. But ask people, how much do you want? How much do you want me to talk to you? Do you want me to send you a text in the morning to check in? Do you want to have a Zoom call every day?

Mel Kettle (36:04):

What works for you as a team and what works for you as individuals and as leaders managing people? What works for them and what works for you and what are the hours people are going to be working? Because will there still be that expectation that you'll work a nine to five or an eight to six or whatever your standard business hours are? How do you do that? If you're juggling kids and you've got limited desk space or table space?

Crystal Hueft (36:30):


Mel Kettle (36:31):

I've got one friend who lives in a one bedroom apartment. Her husband normally works in a different city and so he's only there on weekends but he's there now, all the time. They're grappling with this relationship that's gone from them seeing each other two days a week to living together 24/7. They don't have a lot of space in their apartment for either of them to work because that's not what it was equipped for and that's not what they chose it for. Again, I think this comes back down to, the more you know your people, the more you'll know their working conditions right now and the more flexibility I think that you need to demonstrate right now. It won't be like this forever but until we get used to this new way, there needs to be understanding, kindness and some flexibility in that arrangement.

Scott Martineau (37:21):

That's great. What are your thoughts about applying this to your social media audience?

Mel Kettle (37:25):

Again, I think it's just being kind. I use many people, a social media scheduling tool and I went through that about a week and a half ago and deleted probably 30% of my content because it's just not appropriate for now. Because the world has changed. I think you need to be really conscious of what you're sharing. I think, depending on what your business is people, right now, don't really want to be sold to and people never want to be sold to. But even less right now, people want to be sold to. Unless you've got toilet paper, flour. Computer desks or work-from-home equipment, people aren't really interested right now because they're just trying to keep their heads above water.

Mel Kettle (38:18):

An example of that is, I got two emails the other day from two suppliers of mine. One is a podcast host and one is a social media scheduling tool. The podcast host one came first and it just went straight into, we're increasing our fees as of the 1st of May. I just read that and went, where's the greeting? There was no, Hi Mel. There was no acknowledgement of, this is a really strange time right now. It was just, we need to increase our phase and this is what it looks like. Thanks very much. See you later.

Mel Kettle (38:55):

I just went, okay, you have not read the room. You do not understand. Are you so deep in your bubble that you've got no idea what's happening in the world at the moment?

Crystal Hueft (39:06):

It's totally tone deaf.

Mel Kettle (39:07):

It was completely tone deaf. A couple of podcasting groups on that angle levels, at this company, are just through the roof right now. There's been so much conversation around who else can I use instead of this organization. Then the other one was an email from-

Scott Martineau (39:26):

Just to interrupt for just a second there, Mel. I think it's such a great point and I love the way you framed it in terms of being kind. Be thoughtful and be kind. What's fascinating to me is that I think the dynamics across the world are very different. Just like you said, some employees will be thriving at working at home. There are certain elements or areas of the market that are unaffected or even maybe benefiting from this.

Crystal Hueft (39:54):


Scott Martineau (39:55):

It's really about knowing your market. I think the biggest challenge with what's going on there is that it just didn't feel kind and it wasn't kind in that sense, right?

Mel Kettle (40:04):

Exactly. But it also showed he didn't know the market because his market is primarily small business owners. People who are podcasting as a hobby and don't generate any income from it and might just be keeping on doing it because it's a relief from because it's a hobby and it's something they love and it gives them joy and joy is in pretty short supply right now for a lot of people.

Scott Martineau (40:31):


Mel Kettle (40:32):

To suddenly have that thing that gives you joy, that you do because you love and now having a fairly significant price attached to it is causing a lot of people a lot of pain. Because they're now thinking maybe I can't do that anymore because I don't get an income from it and I've got to watch my money because I don't have any money coming in.

Scott Martineau (40:54):

Well, I assume Crystal would be on board with this but we're voting him out of the pack, right?

Crystal Hueft (40:59):

For sure. I can't even imagine that-

Mel Kettle (41:06):

But there's a lot of brands that are acting in that way. This is just one that came across my desk that I just went, whoa.

Crystal Hueft (41:11):

Right. I think to Scott's point, Scott, you and Clate have been talking a lot about adapting for small businesses. Being able to adapt this time. That really also means adapting the way you communicate. That's one of the first things you guys say. Adapt your messaging, adapt what you're saying to your customers and your audience. Now more than ever, people want to know you understand.

Mel Kettle (41:37):


Crystal Hueft (41:37):

It doesn't mean you can take all the pain away but they want to know you're empathetic to the struggle they're going through.

Mel Kettle (41:44):


Scott Martineau (41:45):

It's actually similar to what we talked about earlier. I think this is a time where people get to see the real you. Mel, the real company you, if you will. Right?

Mel Kettle (41:55):


Scott Martineau (41:55):

I think everybody has to realize that there's going to be a time where both the health and economic challenges that we're right in the middle of, they're going to go away and we'll be back to the normal and we will have revealed a lot about ourselves.

Crystal Hueft (42:09):


Mel Kettle (42:09):


Scott Martineau (42:10):

That's businesses, right?

Crystal Hueft (42:11):

I mean, I'm proud-

Mel Kettle (42:12):

People will remember.

Crystal Hueft (42:13):

Sorry. They will. I'm proud of working at Keap because the first thing you guys went to, your native genius went to, how can we help our customers? How can we change our own goals for the company to mimic what this time is and what they're going through and make sure we all stay afloat for them? But it was really all about the customer and the whole community we're trying to serve. I think that's really what people need to do to stay connected right now. Is think of who they're serving and find ways to really help them and make it clear through everything you do. Mel, you said your social, your emails going out down to even, you mentioned earlier, a course. Everything you do should be around who you're serving and going to build long-term connections that I think will result in more long-term revenue than trying to make a quick buck off of people and struggle.

Mel Kettle (43:09):

Absolutely. To give you an example, my emails, that have my newsletter that's gone out recently which has gone out every week for the last probably month, I've been more consistent with it than ever. The beginning of it is always a very vulnerable statement around this is how I'm feeling right now. How are you feeling? This is how I'm feeling. I'm confessing things that I never thought I would confess. The last one it's like, I'm drinking. I've gone through that. There's not enough gin in the world to cope with this right now but faith. Where I'm back to just having one a day and not the whole bottle a day which is what I felt like drinking.

Mel Kettle (43:52):

There was another one where I said, I'm coping with this. I'm completely regressing with some of my habits and I'm reading a Danielle Steel book, which I haven't read since I was about 20. Two people rang me and said, I cannot believe you confessed to reading Danielle Steel to your this other list. Then I just went, well, you know what? Most of these people know who I am by now. The more you give of yourself, the more they'll feel that they can relate to you. They might not be reading Danielle Steel but they are doing things that give them comfort and they have previously given them comfort during difficult times and for me, that's one of them.

Crystal Hueft (44:27):

My connection would be that I used to watch Judge Judy to look at what was happening on there and think your life's not that bad. Now, when I watch it I'm like, well, we're right about there. Now I'm watching it just to feel like someone else can relate.

Scott Martineau (44:45):

I feel this sudden urge to confess-

Crystal Hueft (44:48):


Scott Martineau (44:48):

But I don't think I'm going to be that vulnerable.

Crystal Hueft (44:51):

Come on, Scott.

Scott Martineau (44:52):

I'll think of something.

Mel Kettle (44:52):

All right. Come on.

Scott Martineau (44:52):

I do have a burning question.

Crystal Hueft (44:52):

Come on, Scott.

Scott Martineau (44:53):

I'll think of a good one. Okay. That's my job. Before the episode's done, I will confess to something embarrassing.

Crystal Hueft (45:05):

Okay. Sounds good.

Scott Martineau (45:06):

But I wanted to dig in there. Two things that I saw. One, you mentioned earlier, when I saw just getting ready for the podcast. But one is this concept of conviction and the other is this concept of emotional connection. I imagine there's, some, no pun intended but connection between those two. But I'd like to hear more about your take on each of those concepts?

Mel Kettle (45:27):

I think that, as leaders, you need to back yourself. We make a lot of decisions every day and I think there's a lot of really difficult decisions being made now. I think that leaders who really show who they are and show, I guess the true leaders... Leaders who rise, I guess, during this time will be those who make the difficult decisions and who stand by them, when they might not prove to be the right decision or when they get criticized for the decision that they've made. I think that's what I mean about the conviction piece. You need to be convinced within yourself that you're doing the right thing. How you get to that level of conviction will differ across different people.

Mel Kettle (46:27):

But it might be through having conversations, weighing up pros and cons, acting quickly in some cases. But then I think the biggest thing about communicating with conviction is that sense of, sometimes it's emotion that needs to come out. Sometimes, well, emotional always needs to come out. But it's what that emotion is. I now look at some of our global leaders right now and I think who of our global leaders am I believing?

Mel Kettle (47:01):

Because they clearly believe in themselves and you can get that through what they're saying. How they're saying it, the expressions on their face when you see them in a media conference or when you see that video. One of the leaders who I believe is completely convinced that she's doing the right thing, even though it's really, really hard, is Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Mel Kettle (47:28):

She did a Facebook Live the other day from her bedroom. She looked like she was wearing her pajamas, I suspect she probably wasn't. But she just put her one-year-old daughter to bed and she said, I'm just hopping into bed but I just want to let you know that I'm thinking of you, elite citizens of New Zealand. It's the first day of the lockdown, which we're going to have for four weeks and this is how I'm feeling about it. I just want to let you know that I'm going through this with you.

Mel Kettle (48:00):

I look at that and then I look at other global leaders including ours in Australia who is running media conferences as though there business as usual. He seems to have turned a corner a little bit in the last 24 hours but he doesn't sound convinced with what he's saying. That he doesn't sound as though he believes what he's saying. If he doesn't believe what he's saying, how can we be convinced that what he's saying is the right thing?

Crystal Hueft (48:30):

Okay. Before we get to Scott's confession to lead us out of this-

Scott Martineau (48:36):

Oh, we're going to end with it. That's even better.

Crystal Hueft (48:37):

It is. Mel, I just want to ask you any final thoughts on what small businesses can really do to connect to their audience, to their family, to themselves? Last thoughts of what they should be doing?

Mel Kettle (48:50):

I think, first of all, you need to make sure you're looking after yourself because if you don't fill your own cup, you're never going to be able to fill the cup of others. Then I think you need to be focused on your staff and your workforce and make sure that they are doing okay. Because if they feel looked after then they will look after your customers. Doug Conant, who is the former CEO of Campbell Soup said, "If you, if you look after the workplace, then they'll look after the marketplace." I think now, more than ever, that's true.

Mel Kettle (49:23):

Then third, when it comes to your customers in your market, you really need to have a clear understanding of what it is that they're going through right now. How can you be of service to them? Being of service to them might just be offering and being there listen to them and listen to their challenges and their problems. I think the more we can listen to what our customers need right now, the more we can, maybe switch our offering, pivot change or realize that we do have what they need and provide them with things, services and products that will help them through this time and into the future.

Mel Kettle (50:09):

I think we really need to strengthen our listening skills, our asking skills and our observation skills. Observation is a little bit trickier because we can't be out there as much as we might usually be. But you can still observe what people are saying and doing through social media. One of the things I've observed is that people are using social media to express their fears and vulnerabilities far more than they ever have before. As a business owner or people in small businesses, you need to be observing that and you need to be doing a lot more social listening and seeing what people are saying and how they're behaving across social media and then reach out if they're your customers or your prospective customers and share with them how you can serve them now and how you can serve them best now. Quite often it's not selling to them, it's listening to them.

Crystal Hueft (51:15):

Well thank you so much Mel. You were a delight just like I knew you would be. I feel like we're going have to have you back on again to keep chatting and giving this great advice-

Mel Kettle (51:25):

Can I just touch quickly before we go on one thing you said, Scott, when you said we go back to normal. We're never going to go back to how we've had it. You know that, don't you?

Crystal Hueft (51:35):

That's so true.

Mel Kettle (51:36):

Because I don't know how long this is going to go for and none of us do but there's going to be so many changes that have come out of this that we're going to keep. There's going to be, the number of people I know who've never been allowed to work from home before because your job can't manage that who are now saying, well, I'm working from home really successfully now so I want to stay working from home. Or the number of events that I speak at that have been face-to-face and the number of client meetings I've had where I've had to fly to a different city because we couldn't possibly do it online, I think, there's going to be this whole shift in how we live and do business. Because of this time, it's opening up so many opportunities for doing things differently and better that I think how we used to be, how we were a month ago, we're never going to get back to that.

Scott Martineau (52:30):


Crystal Hueft (52:32):

Well, on that positive note. Just kidding.

Mel Kettle (52:35):

No. There are many advantages. There's so much.

Crystal Hueft (52:38):

There are, it's the land of opportunity.

Mel Kettle (52:41):

Two years ago, I was away 103 nights. If I don't have to be away 103 nights because I can do most of my job from home or from the city I live in using technology, that's a massive bonus.

Scott Martineau (52:54):


Crystal Hueft (53:00):


Mel Kettle (53:00):

I don't think my husband thinks it that way but I think it that way.

Scott Martineau (53:00):

Well, fantastic. I want to thank you both. Mel, thanks so much for being with us today. I think your gentle kind soul really shined through today and I'm glad everybody got to hear your advice. I think this is a time where we all need to connect. I love that we started off with connection by starting with ourselves. We worked our way into being kind, being adaptive to the needs of the people around us. I think it was a great session.

Crystal Hueft (53:24):

It was.

Mel Kettle (53:25):

Oh, thank you so much.

Crystal Hueft (53:27):

Lots of good stuff there.

Scott Martineau (53:28):

We're going to call this a wrap for Small Biz Buzz. Thanks everybody.

Mel Kettle (53:33):

Thank you.

Derek Harju (53:35):

Thanks for listening to Small Biz Buzz. Please take a second to subscribe to the show and leave a five star rating. It helps keep the show going. If you need a hand with growing your small business, head over to That's K. E. A. and get started. More business. Less work. That's Keap.

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