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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  July 12, 2011

How Gurus Say Goodbye

Takes a lot to render me speechless — and Oprah’s final episode did just that.  (And, yes, I just got around to watching it.  Three cheers for the DVR!)  I knew it would be good; just wasn’t prepared for her potent approach.  Oprah showed us why she’s the queen of daytime talk.

There’s a lot to learn in this powerful goodbye.  The biggest lesson is about what she didn’t do.  Oprah didn’t do a victory lap and make the hour all about her favorite memories.  Instead, she made it about us.  She took her vision (a big classroom) and tied her stories to big lessons with thoughtful insights.  Her goodbye was one of service and gratitude.  Her stories were not center stage; they were springboards to a greater point.  She left giving us a lot to think about.

So think about this:  how many times have we got so caught up in our story or our metaphor or our favorite word play that we didn’t focus on the insight?  This happens too often in our space.  It’s too easy to focus on the clever, at the expense of clarity.  We cheat the market out of our brilliance; we cheat ourselves out of the helper’s high.

Next time, my stories will be the spice instead of the main dish.  And I’ll watch this episode every week to remind me.


About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.