Winning Hearts and Minds

Rick Capozzi | 01/16/18

How can you achieve greater success in 2018? Master the art of winning hearts and minds. I often ask people in my workshops, “What business are you in?” As you can imagine, everyone has a different answer and world view. I hear things like, “I am in the investment business,”, “I am in the relationship business”, “I am in the business of helping people achieve their dreams”, the classic “I am in the service business,”, or “I provide peace of mind,”. Those are all fair answers, but if you can’t win people’s hearts and mind first, then you can’t move forward. It doesn’t matter if your focus is on the advisor/client relationship, or if you are the leader of a team of 10 or 3,000 trying to lead change and build an outstanding culture; it all comes down to winning hearts and minds.

In my work with many wealth management and asset management organizations, it has become clear to me that the best teams have a sales and service culture. You can’t achieve sustainable growth by just being a great service provider, and you can’t achieve greatness by only focusing on sales. Stop debating whether one is more important than the other; you need to deliver in both areas. We are living in a technological revolution. Adding new technology and using data correctly will enhance the service delivery and the client experience. In addition, new technology will help the sales process become more effective, efficient, and consistent. The data will help you make better, faster decisions. That will leave you with more time to focus on deepening the right relationships and winning hearts and minds.

Since I have been a student of communication for the past 30 years, delivering over 1,500 keynotes/presentations to over 45,000 professionals throughout North America, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, I’ll share my top pointers:

1. We are in the business of winning hearts and minds. I always start with the emotional side: the heart. I focus on body language and anything that gives me clues into the heart of the person I am speaking with. My antenna is always up so I can make an emotional connection, whether it’s 1-on-1 or with a group of 1,000.

2. Develop a level of intimacy that makes each individual in the room feel as if you’re speaking directly to him or her. Again, it doesn’t matter if you’re talking to one person or many; make eye contact, and pay attention to your tone and your energy.

3. Great communicators read their audience carefully to ensure that they can connect quickly. Always make sure that you understand who your audience is before you open your mouth. Try not to adjust your message on the fly, but if you need to, be sure to stay on message. I always do my homework to understand the person or group that I am talking to and who they are. Since everything is up for interpretation, ask the right questions during the discovery meeting to understand objectives and what the audience is all about.

4. I am fully transparent and authentic. Never underestimate how smart your audience is and how fast they can pick up on dishonesty or inauthenticity. We live in the Information Age; people don’t come to you for more information. It’s all about connecting the dots of your story in a way that will move people to take action.

“We live in the Information Age; people don’t come to you for more information.”

5I give my energy to my audience, and in return, I get to feed on the energy that comes back to me. The energy that you give comes back to you many times over, and the energy that you keep is lost. It’s ironic, but that is the way it works.

6. Being liked is important, but any strength overextended becomes a weakness. Therefore, don’t focus too much energy on trying to be liked. That’s an amateur mistake in public speaking. Be yourself, and study great public speakers.

7. I go over a presentation in my head many times before I go on stage. An hour before a presentation or important meeting, I need to get in the zone— and nothing gets in my way. I also avoid negative people as much as I can, especially before a presentation. It’s all about good energy.

8. Use examples and metaphors to make your point. People are more likely to remember a good story than a random fact, and if they remember it, it’s more likely to move them to action. Tackle complex ideas and deliver them in a simple, understandable way. Remember simplicity is much more persuasive.

9. Start with the end in mind. What do you want people to say about your presentation? What do you want them to do when they walk out of the room? What are five things that you want them to remember? What do you want them to say about you? I like for people to say, “Rick was authentic, inspiring, and empowering.” Select the words that you want people to say before you start building your presentation. Never forget that you are the product.

“Select the words that you want people to say before you start building your presentation.”

10. I never use sarcasm, politics, or religion in my presentations. I am always respectful of the people in the audience, and I don’t assume to know their background or personal histories. I never engage in an argument because the people who initiate an argument are usually just victims trying to prove to others how smart they are. It’s a waste of time.

11. I never talk about what I don’t know well, and I never pretend to know something that I don’t. Let your track record speak for itself. I am perfectly fine saying, “I don’t know.” However, let’s be clear, I read as much as I can daily. I’m first a student of the business and then a teacher of it. Those with a growth mindset know that they can get better and accomplish their goals by learning and growing every single day.

Great communicators move us. They ignite our passion and inspire us to stretch and reach our true potential.

For more strategies on winning hearts and minds, check out The Growth Mindset on Amazon.


“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”