Retail Checks & Balances

Share Your Story Change the World with Alan Cohen

December 18, 2023 Kevin Spencer Episode 8
Share Your Story Change the World with Alan Cohen
Retail Checks & Balances
More Info
Retail Checks & Balances
Share Your Story Change the World with Alan Cohen
Dec 18, 2023 Episode 8
Kevin Spencer

In episode 8 of Retail Checks and Balances, Kevin Spencer interviews Alan Cohen, an international speaker, public speaking coach, and author. They discuss the importance of emotional intelligence in business and how it can benefit business owners, leaders, entrepreneurs, and parents. Alan shares his expertise on emotional intelligence and explains why these skills are essential for success. 


Tune in to this insightful episode and discover how emotional intelligence can transform your personal and professional relationships. 


TIMESTAMPS

[00:01:20] Importance of Emotional Intelligence.

[00:07:24] The Challenge of Connection.

[00:09:41] Chaos and Purpose in Leadership.

[00:20:03] The Power of Storytelling.

[00:23:40] Stories About Family Dynamics.

[00:27:23] The Neuroscience of Storytelling.


In this episode, Kevin Spencer and Alan Cohen 5talks about the importance of interpersonal relationships in the workplace, emphasizing the crucial role of understanding and connecting with others for success. The ability to interpret nonverbal cues, such as body language and facial expressions, and to read the room are highlighted as essential skills in building effective relationships.


In addition, Kevin and Alan discuss the significance of emotional intelligence and empathy in developing exceptional leadership skills. They mention being brought into companies to help leaders enhance their emotional intelligence and empathy. They also believe that emotional intelligence is the key to success and that it distinguishes exceptional leaders from those who are merely competent.


QUOTES

  • “One of the things I like about emotional intelligence is it's that ability to be energized and energize the people around you.” - Kevin Spencer
  • "The set of tools that comprise emotional intelligence are the most important skills and tools that any business owner or leader, entrepreneur or parent needs to develop and master." - Alan Cohen
  • “I'm often brought into companies and into businesses to help leaders learn how to be more emotionally intelligent and learn how to develop empathy and all the different aspects of emotional intelligence, which really, I believe, are the keys to our success.” - Alan Cohen
  • “The interpersonal relationships are, that's what separates people who are just good at their jobs from people who are exceptional leaders.” - Alan Cohen
  • “So checking in with people is so important because otherwise if we're missing those cues, we're not connecting with people in a way that can create meaningful exchange.” - Alan Cohen
  • “Sometimes we don't know how to relieve our stress or position our stress in a different way. And I think that's important by people understanding or sharing the words that you really want to hear at that point in time.” - Kevin Spencer



SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS


Kevin Spencer

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kspencer007/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinspencer007/


Alan Cohen

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alansamuelcohen/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alansamuelcohen/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alan-samuel-cohen-33a7418/



WEBSITE


Rod Plus Solutions:

Show Notes Transcript

In episode 8 of Retail Checks and Balances, Kevin Spencer interviews Alan Cohen, an international speaker, public speaking coach, and author. They discuss the importance of emotional intelligence in business and how it can benefit business owners, leaders, entrepreneurs, and parents. Alan shares his expertise on emotional intelligence and explains why these skills are essential for success. 


Tune in to this insightful episode and discover how emotional intelligence can transform your personal and professional relationships. 


TIMESTAMPS

[00:01:20] Importance of Emotional Intelligence.

[00:07:24] The Challenge of Connection.

[00:09:41] Chaos and Purpose in Leadership.

[00:20:03] The Power of Storytelling.

[00:23:40] Stories About Family Dynamics.

[00:27:23] The Neuroscience of Storytelling.


In this episode, Kevin Spencer and Alan Cohen 5talks about the importance of interpersonal relationships in the workplace, emphasizing the crucial role of understanding and connecting with others for success. The ability to interpret nonverbal cues, such as body language and facial expressions, and to read the room are highlighted as essential skills in building effective relationships.


In addition, Kevin and Alan discuss the significance of emotional intelligence and empathy in developing exceptional leadership skills. They mention being brought into companies to help leaders enhance their emotional intelligence and empathy. They also believe that emotional intelligence is the key to success and that it distinguishes exceptional leaders from those who are merely competent.


QUOTES

  • “One of the things I like about emotional intelligence is it's that ability to be energized and energize the people around you.” - Kevin Spencer
  • "The set of tools that comprise emotional intelligence are the most important skills and tools that any business owner or leader, entrepreneur or parent needs to develop and master." - Alan Cohen
  • “I'm often brought into companies and into businesses to help leaders learn how to be more emotionally intelligent and learn how to develop empathy and all the different aspects of emotional intelligence, which really, I believe, are the keys to our success.” - Alan Cohen
  • “The interpersonal relationships are, that's what separates people who are just good at their jobs from people who are exceptional leaders.” - Alan Cohen
  • “So checking in with people is so important because otherwise if we're missing those cues, we're not connecting with people in a way that can create meaningful exchange.” - Alan Cohen
  • “Sometimes we don't know how to relieve our stress or position our stress in a different way. And I think that's important by people understanding or sharing the words that you really want to hear at that point in time.” - Kevin Spencer



SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS


Kevin Spencer

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kspencer007/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinspencer007/


Alan Cohen

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alansamuelcohen/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alansamuelcohen/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alan-samuel-cohen-33a7418/



WEBSITE


Rod Plus Solutions:

Intro/Outro00:02 - 00:28
Welcome to Retail Checks and Balances, a podcast that takes you behind the scenes of the bustling world of commerce and culinary delights to help you grow your business and win. Join us as we explore the fascinating stories, trends, and challenges that shape the retail and hospitality industry, from cozy corner cafes to sprawling shopping malls and everything in between. And now, here's your host, Kevin Spencer. 



Kevin Spencer 00:31 - 00:49
Welcome, welcome again to Retail Checks and Balances. Today, my guest is Alan Cohen, who is an international speaker, public speaking coach, story guide and author. Alan, welcome to the show. 



Alan Cohen00:49 - 01:06
Thank you so much for having me, Kevin. I'm excited to talk with you. You're one of my favorite, favorite new friends and You bring joy and I'm going to match your joy. 



Kevin Spencer 01:06 - 01:20
I know you're an emotional intelligence expert. So, you know, that's something I read about probably this late last year. Tell me about that and how important that is for business. 



Alan Cohen01:20 - 02:39
Yeah, what a great question. So I've immersed myself in the study of emotional intelligence for many, many, many years. And have all the certifications and and I bring it into all of my work as a as a speaking coach is a communications coach. It's I think that it's the set of tools that comprise emotional intelligence are. the most important skills and tools that any business owner or leader, entrepreneur or parent needs to develop and master. It's funny how people refer to them as soft skills. It's if they're so soft, how come people so many people don't really do them very well? Exactly. And so I'm often brought into companies and into businesses to help leaders learn how to be more emotionally intelligent and learn how to develop empathy and all the different aspects of emotional intelligence, which really, I believe, are the keys to our success. The interpersonal relationships are, that's what separates people who are just good at their jobs from people who are exceptional leaders. 



Kevin Spencer 02:41 - 03:26
And that's a good point because, you know, one of the things I like about emotional intelligence is it's that ability to be energized and energize the people around you. And, you know, you speak about interpersonal relationships in the office. It's so important because you should be able to tell somebody who's having a bad day and, you know, think about even in different situations when somebody is having that bad day and may not answer you how you would like them to answer, but you take a minute to try and understand what they're about. And I want you to share what's your experience in terms of that. 



Alan Cohen03:27 - 05:17
Yeah, yeah. So our ability to read the room, to get a sense of where people are at, to listen between the lines of what they're saying. It's often not what they're saying, it's what they're not saying. To read body language, to read facial gestures, and to have the courage at times to stop the conversation, to acknowledge, like, hey, you know, Kevin, I'm I think we were on a call the other day, I was like, Kevin, I feel like I'm losing you, what's going on, right? So checking in with people is so important because otherwise, if we're missing those cues, we're not connecting with people in a way that can create meaningful exchange. So it's in the in this fast paced world, it's very easy to miss a lot of these subtle cues. And it's really important that we try to slow down a little bit to learn how to read people. And that's whether you're a business person in the boardroom or whether you're sitting around the breakfast table with your family or whether you're on the stage and you're looking at the audience and you're seeing people checking out. Well, how do I bring them back into the conversation? How do I how do I risk the vulnerability to say, hey, it looks like I'm losing you? What's what's going on? Or I've noticed the energy shifting here a little bit. Right. You seem real quiet, like, you know, something, you know, something you want to something you want to say. 



Kevin Spencer 05:17 - 06:30
No, you're right in that regard. And then, you know, one of the things that, you know, kind of touched me the other day is when you I told you I was having a hard week and you said you need to get back centered. And that was a powerful line that really I wasn't really focusing on. And sometimes we don't know how to relieve our stress or position our stress in a different way. And I think that's important by people understanding or sharing the words that you really want to hear at that point in time. Tell me, I know you have your book. your author, right? I have it right here. You have my book right in front of you. Um, actually we moved and I, I just found it over this weekend and I'm, I'm going to start reading it. Um, I know you gave it to yearly before I wasn't there when you presented it, but I mean, um, I'm learning so much from, from your program. I mean, we're going to talk about that in a bit, but I want you to talk a little more about your achievements as an individual. Let's talk about that. Thank you. 



Alan Cohen06:30 - 10:18
So so I joke that I coined the term connection. I want to take credit for it. And I'm joking because I wrote a book about connection. About five or six years ago, I feel like it was before it just became such a buzzword, such an overused word, just such a corporate jargon kind of thing. And no, I did not invent connection. But as a communications coach and consultant and having been in this business all my life, I felt like there was a real need to write a book about connection, but particularly the challenge of connection in a world that is moving at such a fast pace. So connection is easy when everybody has space and time and patience, but how do you connect when there's so much distraction and noise and conflict. So interestingly, I wrote that book five years ago, and the book I feel is just as important now as ever. It's really a handbook for executives and professionals to learn how to connect more deeply with their customers and their clients and really all the people that matter most in their business. I get into a lot of different things around. I I approach connection from every different angle, the neuroscience of connection, like what happens in our brain when we connect, what are the things, behaviors, things that we do that create disconnection, everything from judgment to blame to checking out, like what happens there. I talk about connection in telling stories, which we're gonna talk about a little bit later in storytelling. I talk about the levels of connection energy, because I think that we have these sort of energy force fields, right, and if we're kind of in certain kinds of energy, whether we're in conflict or we're feeling like we're wanting to blame people or judge people, we actually can push people away. So I talk about seven different levels of connection energy. And I talk about case studies from my 20 years of working with clients and how they've learned how to deepen connection in their organizations. I also talk about the big kahuna, which is connection to shared purpose, which is also the subject of my TED talk called The Magical Power of Shared Purpose. So there I talk about how any group can weather any storm, and navigate through chaos when they work toward a common goal or a common purpose. And so I talk about my experience. wait for this, leading the Harry Potter book publicity team 25 years ago. And how chaotic that experience was because it was a first in the book world, something that big, but the way that we were able to get through it was a shared purpose to get young boys in particular reading great books of fiction. And I guess we did something right, Kevin. 



Kevin Spencer 10:19 - 10:35
Of course, I mean, you did for sure. I mean, everybody, my daughter bought all those books. I love it. And then she loved the books actually more than the movies, to be honest with you. Yeah. Because I guess from the book, it sparks the imagination, right? 



Alan Cohen10:36 - 11:29
Well, for me, there were a lot of really tough days because we were being asked to do things that were never asked of any book, children's book publishing team ever. I led that team. But whenever we needed to get back to what was important, we would go to those bookstore signings. We would go to those midnight book parties and look at the faces of those beautiful kids getting their, their copy of the latest Harry Potter book. And, you know, it's important to remember who you're serving in whatever business you're in. But for us, that helped a lot. Didn't make all the chaos and craziness go away, but it sure was a useful reminder that we were changing kids' lives. And I've got a lot of stories about that. A lot of stories about that. 



Kevin Spencer 11:29 - 11:46
And you kind of mentioned the TED Talk as very minuscule, but I would love to hear about that, the experience and how you felt doing that. I mean, I've never met anyone who's done that. So this is an amazing experience. Oh, wow. 



Alan Cohen11:46 - 14:45
Yeah, well, it was something that was on my list. I really wanted to become, I really wanted to be a thought leader in the area of connection. I think you already are. Yeah, thank you. Yeah, it was on my list for a long time. And I really put a lot of effort and energy into it. And it's, it's It was a shining moment, a real pinnacle of my public speaking career. It opened up tremendous doors for me. But what was really interesting about that, Kevin, is that it was the coaching that I got to actually be prepared to do the speech, which, again, is called the magical power of shared purpose. And it was the great coaching that I got that informed formed me that that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to really start coaching. people who wanted to do TED Talks, people who wanted to be better speakers, people who wanted to inspire people from whatever the stages, small stage, big stage, but people who had ideas and stories that could change the world. And so doing the TED Talk was great, right? Who doesn't want to be on the limelight and feel like you're impacting people? But for me, I wanted to, I like that multiplier, right? How many people can I impact? If I'm coaching 10, 20, 30 speakers who are going to go out there and impact hundreds of thousands of millions of people, and that's the juice that's going to keep me working until the day I drop. I have such a renewed sense of passion for the work that I do in communications and storytelling and speech writing and speech development. For a short period last year, I thought maybe I would retire because I'm of an age where a lot of people do. And my brother says that basically I suck at retirement. And I was miserable. I'm miserable at retiring, and so I restarted my business with a renewed sense of purpose and passion. And I feel pretty unstoppable right now. There's a lot I want to do, and I'm going to do it. And I'm going to keep going. My dad is 94 years old, Kevin. And he still writes. My father is a writer. He's been writing for 70 years, and he still publishes columns. And I'm like, man, he's going strong. And so if my dad can do it, I can do it. And as long as I love what I'm doing, I ain't stopping. And that's where I'm at. 



Kevin Spencer 14:45 - 15:28
No, that's amazing. And you talk about passion, and I think passion is important because that drives the inspiration. And, you know, just, I mean, me knowing you for the short period and we're part of this BNI group, you are my, you are one, you are the inspiration in terms of what to do in BNI, because you really, You're a master at that, right? Because, I mean, the one-to-ones and pushing myself to ensure that, you know, it's, and we have good banter. You know, we had that fun time the other day. It's just great in terms of how you inspire. And I think that should not be left out with anybody that, who has an experience to be around you. 



Alan Cohen15:30 - 16:32
Thank you for saying that. I was just talking to a client of mine earlier and I said to her, you know, to not share our gifts is really a crime against the world. And we are given these gifts from, you know, you choose, you know, you choose, you know, God, higher power, the universe, Well, you got of your understanding, whatever it is, right, doorknob, I don't care, you know, but it's comes from somewhere. And, and to be greedy, to be selfish with that gift. um, is, uh, I think that will leave a hole in our souls. So, uh, just, you know, just give, just give and support and, uh, and, and share your gift freely and without expectation and, and you make the world a better place. 



Kevin Spencer 16:32 - 16:57
Perfect. I think I would like to ask you about your programs. I mean, I have the honor of being in one of your group programs, Share Your Story, Change the World. Let's talk about your programs. I mean, These are great tools, I believe. I mean, and I'm learning so much from it. And I think you're a master of storytelling, right? 



Alan Cohen16:57 - 19:16
Thank you. Well, first of all, Kevin, you are a star pupil. And I was just sharing that with you earlier on because you do the work and you show up and you're vulnerable and you use the tools and you take it seriously and you commit. So in our 16-week, I call it a story incubator and speech development group, we learn the skills of great storytelling and great speech writing and speech development and we practice those speeches and At the end, you walk away with a killer speech, a killer pitch, whether it's for a TED Talk or a conference or a Chamber of Commerce meeting or your BNI group or an association or wherever you want to be in front of people to influence them and move them to action. where I, it's a small group, right? So your group is eight people and we meet biweekly on Zoom. The difference, there are a lot of people out there who teach you public speaking and I cast no disparagement on any other courses or any other ways that people learn how to do public speaking. But there are a couple of differences in how I teach. First of all, I want the impact of the 16-week program to last well beyond the time that we have together. So I want to change the way that you see the world in terms of story, in terms of the lens that we're wearing so that you are constantly mining for story, not in a way that takes you out of the present, but in a way that has you see that everything, every interaction, some more than others, have the potential to find their way into a story or a lesson. And once you start seeing the world that way, everything changes, in my opinion. Well, you're absolutely right. Yeah, you were sharing with me earlier on this very topic. 



Kevin Spencer 19:16 - 19:51
Correct. It's been a mind blower in terms of how much things we take for granted. And as being in your program, Alan, it's just showing me how I can collect stories and collect stories and collect stories and it's just and I said I use it often enough to share with customers, with my employees, with anybody, my friends, anybody that meets I think it's a very powerful program. that needs its merit, for sure. 



Alan Cohen19:51 - 22:49
Great job. And it's collecting the stories and then it's organizing the stories and it's figuring out how much detail to include when you're using a story and a speech. I think the best speeches could be one or two stories, honestly. I was sharing with one of our BNI friends the other day, Did his business networking international for those who don't know, but he shared a story and his story was probably nine minutes long. And after he finished telling that 1 story, I was like, that is a guy that I like. that is a guy that I respect, that guy captivated my interest and I would absolutely give him my business. And so knowing the right story to tell is an art and how to tell it is an art and few are really great at it. And I want to make every single person who takes one of my groups be a great storyteller and and then put those stories into a speech structure that will with a compelling call to action and a message that and a message that will that will have impact. So, you know, we have lots of fun. We, you know, we do drills, we do exercises, you know, brain benders, and we, to kind of, to fire up our brains and get those neurons working so we can come up with creative stories, relevant stories. And I am I am thrilled with the results that we're already seeing. Is it okay if I just put the link here in the chat? Would that be useful? Okay. So we've got, uh, we've got another group coming, um, starting beginning to form, uh, in February, mid February, which will go, uh, February, March, April, May, and then sort of the middle of June. I know that sounds like a long trajectory, but we don't meet every week and we give people a lot of time for, immersion. So but it's not just the time where we're doing the Zoom calls. We also have really active, interactive Facebook group. I pop in all the time and do tutorials where anybody in the group is struggling. And and I think the group is perfect for anyone who wants to be a more effective storyteller and speaker, whether you're a real estate broker, a restaurant owner, Anyone in retail, any small business owner, coaches, really runs the gamut. But stories are where it's at, my brother. Stories in marketing, stories in selling, and stories in speaking. That's it. Stories are our legacy, stories are important, and stories are the way that we connect heart to heart and head to head. 



Kevin Spencer 22:51 - 23:05
Well, for sure. And I think you're doing something right. You recently, if not this weekend, right, you celebrated your 35 years of marriage with your spouse. I mean, that must be a major achievement because a lot of... One day at a time. 



Alan Cohen23:05 - 23:27
35 years, one day at a time. Okay. And my marriage is the source of some of my best stories, many of which I can never share. For sure. 



Kevin Spencer 23:27 - 23:36
You know, sometimes I share some stuff about my spouse and she gives me the look and I said, OK, I'm going too far. But some things I can share, some things I cannot. 



Alan Cohen23:36 - 24:19
Right. Sometimes I have fun with it, though. Sometimes with my stuff, more often with my family, I'll be like, I'm about to share a story about the family and I just want to check in and see, like, do I have it right? Like, is that how you remember it? And it's fascinating. I have four brothers and sisters and people like, well, no, that didn't happen at all. And I'm like, no, yeah, it did. And they were like, OK, well, like half of that story is accurate. Like. Oh, really? Okay. So everybody sees stories through a different lens, right? And people remember things differently. And that's okay too. We take poetic license when we tell stories. 



Kevin Spencer 24:19 - 24:38
It's fine, as you say. It's fine. I mean, creation of stories are what you teach and what it's about. I mean, whether or not it's... I know we talk about things that are fictional and non-fictional. There's always a dabble in terms of what your audience is, right? So. 



Alan Cohen24:38 - 25:11
Right. Well, and just be true to the intention of the story. What do you want to achieve? What's the message that you want to impart? What do you want people to do? And not in a manipulative way. And then how do you need to tweak the timeline or the details or in such a way that it will really drive the message home. And that's a standard operating practice of all the best speakers in the world. 



Kevin Spencer 25:11 - 25:24
So I know you're a native New Yorker and you moved from New York to Miami. How's that transition? I mean, New York is a beautiful city. That transition has been great for you, more or less? 



Alan Cohen25:25 - 26:17
Yeah, it's been great. I have family in New York, so I get back pretty frequently. I go back maybe every six weeks. The last time that I went back, which was very recently, was the first time that I was driving into New York and realized I don't have a place of my own to stay at. It's like I do not have any real estate in New York anymore. Now I'm going out. It's like I'm staying with a friend. I'm staying with my father. I'm staying at a hotel. And that was a little weird. But I also had this like great, great emotional, positive emotion driving in. New York's always going to be my home. I was born in New York City. I lived there a long time. I've only lived in Florida a year, a year. And I'll always be a New Yorker, always. 



Kevin Spencer 26:17 - 26:35
For sure. Once you're a New Yorker, you're not going to move away from that. I mean, I was in New York over the weekend and, you know, they're proud people. And you hear it in everyone's voice when they say, I'm a New Yorker. They want you to know for sure I'm a New Yorker. So that's great. It was a great experience. 



Alan Cohen26:35 - 27:04
But I have friends down here from New York. People have moved down here. And I have fast-tracked friendships by joining Business Networking International, meeting people like you who are just wonderful spirits. souls. And so I, I feel very at home here. I don't feel I don't feel like, or I should say, I am finally feeling like I that the Miami is my home. 



Kevin Spencer 27:04 - 27:09
Perfect. I mean, let's talk about your hobbies. 



Alan Cohen27:09 - 28:45
What do you like to do? Heaven, this is like the best interview I've had in quite some time. So my hobbies are, well, one's going to sound a little boring because it's very work-related. So I read everything that there is about storytelling, like the neuroscience of storytelling and all of that. I don't read a lot of like fantasy or anything like that. I watch a ton of like horror movies and, you know, I love like, you know, Netflix movies. I paint, I'm a painter, I draw, I swim, I play tennis, and I love the theater. I worked on Broadway for many years, which is, why I love so much coaching and training speakers, because I feel like I'm back in the theater in ways. And I love to travel. I really love to travel. I love food, maybe a little too much. Anyone in particular? Any kind of food in particular? Yeah. Bread. Any kind of bread with butter. But I am making a commitment to cut back on all the carbs. I feel like if I can do that, I'll be back to my fighting weight. So that's a goal. 



Kevin Spencer 28:45 - 28:58
That's the second time I heard that today, fighting weight. Yeah, my fighting weight. Yeah. Someone told me that today at lunch and I said, were you a boxer? And he said, no, it's when you get back in shape. I've never heard that before. 



Alan Cohen28:58 - 29:04
Yeah, I just feel bad. I feel better when I'm a little lighter. Yeah. So at least that way. 



Kevin Spencer 29:04 - 29:27
Well, Alan, this has been great. I mean, I mean, I enjoyed this to the extent of, you know, really connecting, as you said before, you know, connecting is it has its purpose. And, you know, I think a lot of people would love to listen to this this podcast and get in touch with one of your programs. I think it's going to be great. 



Alan Cohen29:28 - 29:48
I hope so much. And I just want to say also how grateful I am that you invited me because you are so popular in our community. And I know there's probably a waiting list of people who want to get on your show. And so I'm just really happy that I get to be in the early early adopter. 



Kevin Spencer 29:48 - 29:53
It's important. You know, it's great. It's been great. Thank you so much. 



Intro/Outro29:54 - 30:07
Thanks so much for tuning into this episode. We sure do appreciate it. If you haven't done so already, make sure you're subscribed to the show wherever you consume podcasts, so we'll get updates as new episodes become available. And if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review. Until next time, friends.