Steven Herz: From Talent Agent To Writer
What made you choose to write a book?
I’d had some experience in high school and college with journalism and editing and I’d been talking about writing a book about all that I’d learned in my years as a talent agent. When I turned fifty I thought the idea had really gelled–it’s about how people can best present themselves and communicate well–I call it “AWE,” which stands for Authority, Warmth and Energy. I’d observed people communicating for 25 years in business and I realized these were the keys to successful interactions.
How did you decide to pursue this opportunity?
I decided I wanted to share “AWE,” so I made a PowerPoint and started doing presentations. At one of them, a woman came up to me and asked me if I had a book she could buy. I told my wife and she encouraged me to start outlining one. I went into the kitchen and the next thing you know I had four chapters and an outline. I got connected to an agent who loved the idea and got me started on the proposal process. It was crazy. Publishers competed for it.
Where do you hope this takes you?
In a perfect world, the book sells lots of copies and this message gets out. I truly believe in it, so if it ignites people to adopt it and improve themselves, I’ll be thrilled. There’s a gap in our education system. We are so weak in teaching people “soft skills” and they make the biggest difference in people’s careers and lives. If my book and ideas helped people make progress it would be amazing.
What surprised you most about this journey?
I feel extremely lucky and grateful, because life is not usually easy, but this came together fairly easily. I’m hoping it’s because the idea is as solid as I think it is. I think everyone has one great idea in them and this one’s mine.
What advice would you give to someone in the same circumstances?
I’d say in whatever you’re doing, take good notes. I know that sounds funny, but I’ve heard people say writing a whole book is this huge undertaking, and I do think it is a lot of work, but I had good notes. I’d really kept a record of the things I learned in my career and in many ways, the chapters wrote themselves.
Given your vast experience both professionally and personally, do you have a top 5 or 10 list of things that you would tell people if they would like to follow in your footsteps or follow a similar path?
-It’s as simple as ABC: Always Be Connecting. If you’re connecting with people, great things will happen to you.
-Nobody is going to take you less seriously because you are open to growth.
-Anyone can get better at anything they do.
-Vulnerability makes people more authoritative; they don’t come across as insecure.
-Warmth is based on authenticity. It’s not manufactured.
-Don’t practice being sincere. Be sincere.
-Be intoxicating with your energy.
-The greatest competition you have in life is yourself.
Steven Herz is a husband, father, long suffering Met and Michigan fan and a political and news junkie. The President and Founding Partner of IF Management, Steve believes that anything is possible. He has been a frequent contributor on CNBC, CNN and Court TV. Additionally, he has served as a guest lecturer at NYU’s School of Continuing Education. Steve is the author of Don’t Take Yes for an Answer: Using Authority, Warmth and Energy to Get Exceptional Results.