Catherine Molloy’s discovery of the Million Dollar Handshake and her communication of the technique through an international bestselling book has catapulted her onto the global business stage with gusto.
In this interview, Catherine shares her incredible journey of authorship, with an opportunity that came out of left field once she began making waves in her industry.
Catherine is an International Speaker & Communication Expert, specialising in leadership, sales and service. She has owned and operated several highly successful training companies and been recognised both nationally and internationally as a leader in sales and service training.
As Managing Director of Auspac Business Advantage, she was recently awarded an International Stevie Award in America for Sales Training/Education Leader of the Year.
Catherine has developed the award-winning Conscious Connection Framework, which is a holistic roadmap that combines insights from over 25 years of studying body language, behavioural science and Neuro-linguistic Programming to radically transform how teams and individuals self-lead and communicate.
Catherine is the author of The Million Dollar Handshake and the soon-to-be-released The Conscious Leader.
Watch the video above or continue on to read the interview transcription:
Roxanne – Hello everyone. And welcome to The Pheonix Phenomenon. My name’s Roxanne McCarty O’Kane. I am a ghostwriter and your host for today. Thank you for joining us for another episode where we delve into the transformative process of becoming an author and talk to the change-makers who know this journey all too well. Today I am joined by Catherine Malloy who is an international speaker and communications expert specializing in leadership, sales, and service. So thank you so much for joining us, Catherine.
Catherine – Thank you for having me.
Roxanne – Excellent. So to tell you a little bit more about Catherine she’s owned and operated several highly successful training companies and has been recognized both nationally and internationally as a leader in sales and service training. As managing director of AskPat Business Advantage she was recently awarded an international Stevie Award in America for sales training and education leader of the year. Catherine has developed the award winning conscious connection framework which is a holistic roadmap that combines insights from over 25 years of studying body language, behavioral science and your linguistic programming. And it’s radically transformed many teams and individuals to help them to self lead and communicate more effectively. The reason we have Catherine with us on the show today is that she is also the author of “The Million Dollar Handshake” which is doing the rounds around the world and really transforming the way that people view the way that they communicate and interact with people in their families in their business, generally in their lives. So thank you so much for joining us today, Catherine. I know you’re a very busy lady.
Catherine – Yes and it’s interesting times in COVID. I always say in business you’re busy because you’re busy or you’re busy because you’re getting busy. and yes I believe everyone today is still very busy.
Roxanne – Absolutely Wonderful. So I’d love for you to give people a bit of a rundown in some of your business achievements but I’d love to find out a bit more from you about what it was that led you into the realm of really studying and learning about how we communicate and what drove that passion for you.
Catherine – Yeah, that’s interesting. You know, it started when I was young. I was orphaned in Australia, adopted and unfortunately my mom died when I was 16 very suddenly, and you know had to grow up quickly and, you know get a job and how to look after the house, etc But what I did was I used to take these short trips away to in those days, third world countries. And one of my trips was to Bali. And when I was there, I noticed that, you know people negotiated on everything they bought. And so, you know, I wasn’t an instant success but what I did was I sat back and I started to watch and did you know they shake hands with everyone when they meet you. So the first thing we always do is shake hands and say, Hey, you know, they might say something like this. Hi, my name is Roxanne. You see it’s on my hat. And so you would have to get them. They’re very good with customer service and they’d shake your hand. And what I started to watch was, you know some people negotiated well. Some people really scribbled them down and then the seller was upset and would even tell them to leave. And sometimes the buyer would get upset and get in tears. Anyway, I started to watch these transactions and then I started, you know firming my handshake into match that person. Some was soft, some were firm. I start to match it and I started to get really good deals. It may not have always been the best deal but it was such a good deal that the next time I came they would be giving me extra things doing different things for me. So very quickly I learned how to create win-wins. And then I started to study body language. And by the age of 22, I was topping sales for Westpac. So we were CVA we merged together and I was in Queensland and then in Australia and they say, what are you doing? And, you know, I said, I studied body language. So I loved it. I actually really love working with people. And then I started to help people with customer service, product knowledge and customer service, and went into training. Had children and then I stopped work during that time and then my husband fell ill. And the age of around 40 ish, let’s just say the GFC hit. And my husband wasn’t well so we nearly lost everything. And I started my training company then. And so I chose to go back into the field of communication because I still think on this planet today it is the number one skill that is needed. And in times of crisis the way that we communicate to ourselves, communicate to our family, at workplaces, you know this is really what creates mental wealth. As far as I’m concerned it’s all in the way that we communicate. You know, you’ve got to imagine that brain imaging technology really does show that we react before we speak. So our body will be in a position before we’ve even uttered a word. And that’s why husbands and wives can fight for up to two days because of the raise of an eyebrow at the wrong time. Because we keep reading these messages and making up stories for them without communicating and actually asking what’s going on. And I think that’s why that big movement of “Are you okay?” came out because, you know, people will say yes but we really need to stop and communicate. And we need to be a global listener, not just in the headless now where we’re reading the body language signals and ends the words at the same time and not just separating them.
Roxanne – Absolutely. Now that’s amazing how at a previous time that quite your work is taking you around the world. And it’s very rare that you are actually on the Sunshine Coast. So we’re very fortunate that we can have the time with you today. But tell me about how far and wide this work has taken you.
Catherine – Well, I’ve worked in Saudi Arabia and that’s hard to get into, but you know what an amazing experience and, you know I’ve worked in well over 18 countries, lots and lots of cities throughout India, China. I’ve been in Dubai, UK. I have won awards in America and I’ve worked virtually but I haven’t worked physically yet. So, you know, I think the way we’re going that we will be working more virtually now, which you know is good for the planet as well. I don’t know how good it is for us as human beings. You know, we do love that connection and meeting people and you know, that little zoom dots. I think we’ll soon find that there’s a thing called zoom stress.
Roxanne – Absolutely. Yeah. Excellent. Okay and so I’d love to find out when it was that you first had the seed planted to write a book, to document this knowledge that you’ve been getting over the years and to create another platform for yourself so you’re becoming an author.
Catherine – Yeah, great. Great that you asked. Well, I started my training company, you know I always think there’s two reasons people do thing. One is through inspiration and one is through desperation. So I wanted to, you know, we lost well over a million dollars in the GFC and we had children at school and I didn’t wanna lose a house, started my training company and I signed over a million dollars in that first year in training. And so then from there I was able to grow the business vertically. We had a team of 18 on the Sunshine Coast 36 trainers around Australia. And as it was growing, I found that I wasn’t really doing what I wanted to do, you know, I ended up managing this business instead of, you know, speaking with people and clients and growing people and businesses which is what I love. So then I sold that and I had the opportunity where I had the company to take it internationally. And I started to speak on stages, you know around communication, mindset, sales, customer service enhancing your cultural awareness you know, throughout of China And all this knowledge you know, I kept being told you need to write a book. And what happened was I missed a couple of talks that I wanted to do because they chose an author speaker. Now, just because you’re an author doesn’t mean you’re a great speaker. And just because you’re a speaker doesn’t mean you can be a great author. So I had this in my head, you know, a lot of people write books and, you know, are they great quality? And who’s gonna wanna publish my book. You know, I started think there was a bit of self sabotage happening. And what I did was I started to create my book. I don’t know if you can see on my wall behind there I have all these stickers. So I’m a big strategy person and I strategize this book but I turned them into workshops. And I started delivering workshops off of body language, mindset, behaviors, the million dollar handshake keynote I’d been delivering for a few years about the way we connect and communicate even in those first seven seconds. You know our first impression does really matter. Anyway, I was told to write a book and I was sitting in this taxi. I was coming back from a TV station, channel nine in Sydney, and the taxi driver heard a phone call I just had, and he said “Ma’am, may I ask what you do?” And I said, “Oh, I’m a trainer speaker.” And he’s like, “Yes, ma’am. But I think there’s more.” I said, “Sorry?” He said, “I overheard your conversation. I hope you don’t mind. So I was just about to meet Hachette, which is a book company that had heard about my talk and thought it would be really great having a woman, you know, create this book on “The Million Dollar Handshake.” And he’s like, “I think you’re an author.” And I said, “Oh no, no, no. You know, I haven’t written a book.” “Yes but ma’am, I think you’re going to, and I’m very excited because I’m gonna tell my wife I had an author in the car today.” And I was completely going okay, universe. I’m getting the message. I’ve been told this for two years now. So from there I had the meeting and the first chapter off to the publisher and the rest is really history. So this is “The Million Dollar Handshake.” And the interesting thing is there’s so much, I didn’t know about publishing. And you know, as a ghostwriter, it would be wonderful to have someone there alongside you as well, you know getting those ideas and putting them into place because in the end it took about four years. I’ve been working since 2017 on the other one. It’s a long process by yourself. There’s all these different things. So this book was Hachette which was released in Australia, New Zealand. And then before it got released it got released internationally as well. So a rival and apparently this is very rare usually to be two or three years after Australia get released internationally. And so Seven Dials then bought the book but they used the same cover just a little bit lighter. And then Hachette India bought it and created a backpack version. So it’s really light, but it ended up Seven Dials on it as well, because Seven Dials in UK made it “Business book of the year in 2018” for their seven dials. And then it was released in traditional Chinese, in Taiwan. And it’s been bought by Vietnam. So it’s in every Commonwealth country and it’s just making its way around the world at the moment. So, you know, it’s not just obviously that a handshake you know, it’s about body language for business success. You know, our mindsets creating that, you know million dollar mindset is so important, especially throughout through COVID understanding our behaviors. I absolutely love this section. And it’s something that I’ve been delivering for years and years. And I’ve got a quote. “What you believe doesn’t make you a better person the way you behave does. And I think that is the key in communication. You know, we’ve all heard it. Some people can, you know, speak the words but their actions don’t back it up. And I do think that actions do speak louder than words. And then it goes into connecting communicating cross-culturally. Of course you mentioned that a positive mindset for success ends the conscious connection framework. So this is a little tiny piece of it. And this was IP we’d been working with for a long time you know, our body language, our mindset, our behaviors to create this level playing field. And that’s what the book is all about. Revolutionizing the way you connect and communicate.
Roxanne – Absolutely. Might I just get approached so many times by people who, you know all they want some of these traditional publishing houses and they asked me, you know, what do you do? What do you do? So I was gonna ask what your process was but it sounds very much like you were approached by them to create this book specifically. How amazing is that?
Catherine – Really amazing. And I had already started, so sorry I had already started. And then they loved the idea of a female doing the handshake. Cause I thought they might wanna change the title because I wasn’t wrapped with the title. It was a title of my keynote, but I was worried that people would think it was just about a handshake. And of course now in the world without handshakes right? I constantly see people wanting to meet and greet and still shake hands you know, as long as you don’t touch your face and you use your hand gel it’s okay.
Roxanne – Absolutely. Find out more about your team journey. So you had all of the content there, all the IP there. Why was it that it took you four years to get the book out?
Catherine – I do believe like, well, number one you don’t know what you’re doing. Number two, I really wanted to have a publisher publish it. And number three, I was self-sabotaging and usually I don’t but I was probably worried when you put a book out it’s quite a brave thing. And I didn’t realize that, you know in the moment I realized it because courage is one of my things I thought, no, I’ll have to do it because people are going to judge you and say things. And luckily I’ve been getting amazing messages through. I got one recently from a lady who did Anthony Robbins program. And, you know, it’s very big with NLP and disk is part of it now behaviors. And she said, when I did your behaviors now I understand it all. She said, she didn’t understand it as much during that program, but once she read the books, she goes, I understand that Thank you. So, you know, it’s great. Some of the messages that you’re getting, you know I had another lady that seals the deal at Kohl’s supermarket. She hadn’t got in, couldn’t get in. She went in really confident did that handshake and then doors opened. So I think what’s really important if anyone is listening to this and you haven’t written a book yet is it’s okay to feel nervous. It’s okay to worry about all that. But you know what? Your message is more important than the way that you’re going to feel about it. So, you know, it’s important to get that out there. And I think, you know, Roxanne having a ghost writer would be an absolutely amazing trait.
Roxanne – Excellent. Excellent. I’m sorry. Talking about feelings, like having put so much effort and you know, spending so much time on it I’m sure you’re living and breathing your book through most of that period while it was being created. What was it like to hold that first physical copy in your hands and to, you know, have that tangible outcome?
Catherine – Yeah it was really incredible to see it for the first time. The cover that I had created, cause I’m really visual. So when I started, I had this cover and then this cover came through and I’m just like, well, they know what they’re doing. I don’t. So of course when we opened it up it was a little bit of, you know, teary moment. Oh my gosh, all this knowledge over the last 21 years and being able to take businesses and CEOs and managers through these processes and seeing the results can now get to everybody. And at the back of each chapter, we’ve also got online content. So if you loved body language, you wanna go deeper. There’s a free link you can get to and go through a course with us. Same with each pile of the chapters and it’s free as part of the book. So I’m just seeing it all come to life was absolutely an incredible moment. I think throughout the process or the most incredible part was number one, having a publisher that wanted to publish it. And then number two, receiving a letter about 10 o’clock at night saying, you know, we love your book. The whole team read it. The whole team has now, you know, it’s easy to read easy to implement and it works. And we want to make it Business book of the year in the UK. That was another one of those moments. You know, that was huge. And then when we got the letter from Taiwan and the letter from Vietnam. So I think all those moments just keep adding to those little miracles of, you know, it’s a little part of a legacy that your children can pass, your grandchildren can pass, Hey, this is what your grandma wrote. And it doesn’t date because human beings haven’t changed. And behavior style is still the same. And we look at this even in COVID, you know a hundred years ago they had to stay locked up and keep their distance and wash their hands which we should all be doing anyway. And so it’s all this technology that that was what they educated people in how to wash their hands. It’s quite amazing. Isn’t it?
Roxanne – Yeah, absolutely. And so I guess it goes without saying that like this book, this creation of yours has really just catapulted your business and your profile to a whole other level that your books are literally around the world at the moment.
Catherine – Yes, so usually now obviously if people are wanting to create a better atmosphere in their offices, be able to communicate well understand each other’s strengths and behaviors. You know, I get booked to be able to do that and speak at conferences and raise people. And you know, the most important thing for me is getting real tools that people can take action. Getting simple. I love taking something complex and making it really simple. And one of my chapters in here was a leadership chapter and a sales, but they didn’t want them in because I said there are other books. And I’m like, I don’t want to write another book. As soon as this book was released, the other book just came. And I think that’s something that you would probably find with your authors, the minute one’s out the next one is already brewing. And I’ve been working since the end of 2017 on “The Conscious Leader” which I wanted for this decade to come out in 2020. So I’m very deep in it at the moment. And I’m just finishing my masters in leadership as well, because I really, even though I won the Australian Institute of leadership and management and I’ve trained the diploma of leadership and management to hundreds and hundreds of people, you know I’m always, you know, learning is of my big things. So is there something that I haven’t caught yet? Is there something else that I can value with? So that was the why I wanted to complete my masters plus, you know I speak and train on it all the time.
Roxanne – Absolutely. Oh, that’s great. So I guess, are you finding, you’ve got a bit of extra time to get your writing done now or is the demand just as high in the online hub for you at the moment?
Catherine – Yes I think like I was saying before, we’re all busy we’re just busy getting ready. You know, everyone’s using this word pivot and I always think of people going round in a circle pivoting, you know? So I think maybe we just wanna pivot a little and then we need to, once again, you know get traction in that area. So we are in another global financial crisis. So whether they are saying it or not, you know I said to my husband, the last thing I wanted to do was to add another business. However, communication and leading ourselves well will make the difference for many of the businesses. And right now, yes, I’m at home knee deep in online content. last night I was in India, the night before I was in Singapore. And night before that I was in UK and before that I was in USA. So I feel like I’m just traveling the world from my seat.
Roxanne – It’s that, and it’s minus the jet lag.
Catherine – It’s minus the jet lag. I’ve never got a jet lag. It was an amazing thing. I don’t know why, but very, very blessed. I was obviously meant to be doing the job I was doing.
Roxanne – Absolutely And I guess you mentioned the word pivot, but has the demand for the types of things that you’re being asked to present on changed? or are you very much using the same content that you’ve always worked with and maybe slightly changing it for the current environment? Or are you finding that that’s been very consistent throughout?
Catherine – Yeah, great question. So I guess with the first impressions I’ve been doing a lot more of virtual influence, you know, helping companies and corporates create those team meetings and, you know being able to get people to lean in and to turn up ready for meetings. So visual influence is really important and that energy level that is required online is even higher. So people don’t understand they really need to bring their A game to zoom calls zoom meetings, zoom training, you know after day of training with me, people go, Oh my gosh I feel so energized. How do you keep your energy up the whole time? And so your body language is hugely important. So I’m still speaking around body language, virtual influence, which is your first impressions. I’m still speaking on mindsets. Obviously that’s a really important part but I’ve been doing a lot more work in that conscious leadership space, which is of course the next book to come out soon.
Roxanne – Absolutely. So do you have a release date for that? Or is it more of a case of watch this space?
Catherine – I wish I had a release day. It’s more of a case of watch this space. I was hoping for October, so it just depends how hard we work now. This time because once you’re assigned to a publisher, all your books have to go through but our publisher isn’t releasing nonfiction this year. Well, since COVID. They’re mainly doing fiction that will go into, you know big W and can hit the shelves and keep on running because non-fiction is more of a slow mover. And, but they said next year that they’re doing it. They said, however if you wanna release it this year, you can self publish. So that started to get the cogs turning for me because you know, I’m always asked, do you self publish? Do you publish, you know I can’t say it because I don’t know. And because I’m such a learner I’ve decided to go down the self publishing route. And the second thing that made me want to do it is I want to get the book a little bit more accessible to everyone and make it cheaper. So to do that, it means that I can self publish it. And also in this book, I want to keep updating it which means there’ll be a version one. And in five years time, there’ll be the version two. So I just have a little bit more I think I’ll have a little bit more control over it but stay tuned I’ll let you know.
Roxanne – Yes, control is the magic word with self publishing. So I know that you will definitely have that for sure. Excellent. And how exciting yet. There’s been several guests I’ve had on the show that run the full gamut. So they’ve done, you know they’ve had the traditional publishing contract they’ve had a self publishing experience and they’ve also had an independent publishing experience so, yes, it’s interesting that you’re now moving down that path as well.
Catherine – Yeah, so isn’t that interesting Because you think, ah, you know, once you publish you do wanna stay published and it was the most amazing experience. You know, there were absolutely fabulous company and the books were in every airports and international airports and, you know it was amazing to see it at all the bookstores. So, you know, they really did do a fabulous, fabulous job which would be much better job than I will be doing that way, but it just means I’ll be able to get it to I’m hoping hundreds more people and announced doing our courses as well.
Roxanne – Yeah Perfect. And so the name of this show is “The Pheonix Phenomenon.” And I’ll call it that because, you know it’s very much about a process of transformation when people go down the path of becoming an author. So I’d like to ask you, you know, what was your main transformation in the process of becoming an author? Was it a personal one? Was it more clarity around your business and the direction you wanted to take your career? What were some of the main things that you’ve encountered on your journey?
Catherine – Well, interesting question. And I’m a little bit of a shocker because, you know I guess you should stop and go, Oh wow. You know, I’m always onto the next thing in my head you know, and people will quite often always say you know, yeah, you know, all of that goes on your title and now she’s an author. And I still don’t know exactly how that has affected me but I guess the great thing about it is that you become more of that expert in your field. I guess when you do put your knowledge down, then you have, you know written knowledge that can be used as well in your university assignments. So that has been a bonus. But apart from me I’m exactly the same person doing the same things because it’s never really about me. It’s about my audience and what we can do to make a difference. So if being an author helps me get more information to them then I think it’s a great thing.
Roxanne – Absolutely wonderful. And you’ve definitely quote the old the bug by the sound of it. That’s amazing. Excellent. That’s great. So you’ve mentioned online courses a few times, so I’d love for you to let our viewers and listeners know a little bit more about how that can connect with yourself get access to some of these resources then of course buy copies of “The Million Dollar Handshake.”
Catherine – Oh, fabulous. So if you go to www.catherinemalloy.com.edu there’s information, you know around our courses, what we offer and also our company site is auspacba.com.edu And then it has the link to our online courses, etc But if you think the book, you know, any Amazon kindle it’s everywhere, they’ve got it in podcasts, etc There’s six online links to extra curriculum and online courses as well that you can jump into from the book. And you know, if you do pick the book up I know will make a difference. It’ll make a difference for your family and your life. But I hope that you get to pass it on, you know even give it to your children. What a great thing to know in the teenage years I’ve had so many teenagers go, it’s been phenomenal. We have one girl that was fairly unwell mentally. We put it through one of our programs and she’s now a nurse. She’s loving life. And I just showed my husband the photo because all her posts she still thanks us for what we’re doing. And he remembered when she was sitting in one of our courses and, you know, she was one of the girls that was really at a stage ready to take a life. So I think it’s important that we take hold of who we are and we communicate the way we need to to get the best results.
Roxanne – So I mean, yeah, like you said, the title just it sounds very businessy but the book is absolutely so much more than that. So holistic and it covers all these other areas that can just impact your entire life like all the facets of life. So, yay. It’s a beautiful, beautiful product to have out there. So anyone that’s really connected with what Catherine’s been saying today and wants to find out more, you know exactly where to head to, to get hold of the copy and stop making those changes themselves. So thank you so, so much for your time today, Catherine. It was a pleasure to have you on.
Catherine – It’s been an absolute wonderful pleasure to be here and I wish you every success. And you know, if you are out there just start.
Roxanne – Absolutely. Wonderful, you heard it from the lady herself.
Catherine – Thank you.