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Does the thought of speaking in a public arena send shivers down your spine? Don’t worry, if it does, you are in good company because 73% of the population also suffer from ‘glossophobia’, or fear of public speaking.

BUT. Being a confident speaker is a huge advantage in business. The ability to confidently get up and address a group of people and use your excellent communication skills to influence their behaviour is a skill that can help you to amplify your message, to build your personal brand, to drive leads to your business and ultimately drive sales.

So, if you feel that it’s time to overcome your phobia and learn the fundamentals involved in becoming a confident public speaker, you’ll want to hear from Andrew Griffiths; an Entrepreneurial Futurist and global presenter who specialises in helping entrepreneurs and business owners to future-proof themselves.

He’s built a strong reputation as trainer and mentor. And he helps people to become world-class communicators through writing books and building their speaker skills.

You can find Andrew Griffiths here:

https://www.andrewgriffiths.com.au/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/griffithsandrew/

Interview Transcript:

Jane:

Okay. Hello and welcome to the How to do Marketing Show, Andrew.

Andrew:

Hello, Jane. Lovely to be here. Thank you for having me on the show.

Jane:

Absolute pleasure. I am really looking forward to deep diving into the topic of presentations with you today. Now, first of all, to set the scene, there are so many ways that you work with small business owners and I’m sure a lot of my listeners will have a really good idea of who you are, but if they don’t, in a nutshell, you have run small businesses, you have written 14 books, you run multiple courses and programs of which I have attended two or three of those, if not more. And you are also an accomplished speaker. In fact, you’ve delivered over 500 presentations from Mexico to Iran, from New York to London. And that’s what I’d like to really kind of chat to you about today. What is it that you enjoy about speaking or presenting, Andrew? And how has this helped you in all of those businesses that we’ve just mentioned?

Andrew:

It’s a really great question and it’s something, I guess over time that has probably changed. I was one of those really cool kids who did Toastmaster. Right. So straight away, you’re up there with the kids that do gardening and any excuse to get out of actually doing anything else, Toastmaster and debating. And I guess for me as a 15 or 16-year-old kid at the time, I became quite fascinated in seeing how other people were able to engage a room full of people by getting up and speaking. It was pretty amazing for me. Whilst I appreciated it, I don’t think I realized the impact that it had on me. And so even when I was larger than life and I’m kind of talking to people and I realized that pretty much everything that I did, every career choice, every business I did, involved teaching, and it involved transferring of knowledge, transferring your skills.

Andrew:

And so I’ve really been presenting since I was a dive instructor. Bought my first business at the age of 18, and I was teaching people learn how to dive. And I think what I really love is to transfer knowledge. I love to be able to share stuff that I’ve learned, package it up, put it in a way that others can use to help them kind of grow their business or solve a problem, whether I’m talking about personal development stuff or whether I’m talking about how to grow your business or how to be a better speaker or how to write a book or whatever it might be. Personally, I just love being able to share stuff that I figured out and I find to see a room full of people that you can teach yours your skills to, I find that incredibly rewarding, Jane. Everything about that I love.

Jane:

Yeah. Yeah, no, I completely agree with you. And it’s funny, I’ve actually never really looked at presenting as teaching, but that’s exactly it. Like my mind just went then to my school teachers and my university educators just going, oh, of course, that’s exactly what they do. Yeah, no, I really resonate with that. However, I’m sure that all of our listeners can remember the best presenter that they’ve ever seen and probably the worst that they’ve ever seen, no matter which environment that’s in. And I think it’s fair to say that there are a lot of people who never wanted to be, say the worst presenter. So perhaps this actually means that they are really fearful of public speaking. Maybe actually just positioning it as teaching might take the fear out of it a bit. But the thought of getting up and presenting in front of a crowd absolutely terrifies some people. So whether people are teaching or whether people see it as presenting or just getting up and talking and transferring that knowledge, as you say, in front of people, how do you think people could actually work to getting over that fear? What are some suggestions that you have for people to overcome that?

Andrew:

It’s a really interesting thing again because I think that we’ve read the statistics where people would rather die in a car accident or burn the death of something ridiculous than get up and speak on stage. It’s the number two fear that most people have. And I completely get that because everyone goes, oh, you’re a speaker, you’re natural. You wouldn’t understand what it’s like to have nerves. I don’t worry. I spent much of my life where I’d be sitting in the room getting ready to get up on stage and present to hundreds of people, and I’m looking at the door. I’m going, I still make a run for it. That’s the effect, it was in there. And I think most of it boils down to, we don’t want to look like an idiot.

Andrew:

We don’t want to look like a dill. We don’t want to get up on stage and just completely flame out. I mean, who wants that? And that leads to that fear of, oh my God, everyone’s going to think I’m an idiot. I’m going to embarrass myself. So there’s a whole pile of stuff around it. Well, okay, don’t look like an idiot. So how do you not look like an idiot? Make sure you’re organized, make sure you’re prepared, make sure that you are rehearsed, make sure that you’ve really done the effort and you’ve put in the time to prepare your presentation on whatever it might be. That helps. That goes a long way to alleviating nerves without a doubt. The second thing I think that for me was I felt this enormous pressure, Jane, of being the expert and then having to have all the answers. You feel like you go on stage and go, oh my God, I’m the expert.

Andrew:

So when I really started traditional speaking I was running a little marketing company in Cairns. I just happened to write a book about marketing that was very, very successful. But I had no marketing qualifications, no university degree, nothing. I was just a street smart marketer. And all of a sudden, I’m asked to go on stages in Sydney and Melbourne and talk to big audiences about what you’ve got to do to be successful in marketing. So I felt like the absolute total fraud, total impostor. And I go like, I’m going to get up in front of these audiences and say this stuff and I was like, oh my God, someone’s going to stand up at the back of the room and go, Andrew Griffiths. You’re full of crap. You don’t know what you’re talking about. I spent 20 years waiting for someone to get up and say that, but what I realized and what took the sting out of it for me was, I don’t get up and say, I’ve got all the answers.

Andrew:

I don’t get up and say, if you don’t do what I’m saying, you’re an idiot. I would never do that stuff. I get up and say, hey, I did this and it worked for me, maybe it’ll work for you. And it’s really interesting for me how that took all this pressure off me. Right. It took all the pressure off me to be right and to be if someone got up and said, well, I disagree with that. I’ll go, that’s great, fantastic, great to have another perspective, but I did this and this is what worked for me. Maybe it’ll work for you. That took a lot of the sting out of the tail for me of feeling that I had to be someone that I wasn’t, imposter syndrome, et cetera. And it’s great. And the third thing is I always say I became a great speaker, and I’m proud to say I’m a great speaker, when I stopped trying to be one.

Andrew:

And I learned that what is more important than technique about, is your slide perfect, is your presentation, how you’re standing on stage perfect, is nowhere near as important as if you’re coming from the right place. So when I’m going on stage, my desire is to help the audience. Whatever topic it is on there to talk about, I’m there to solve their problems, give them skills that they don’t have, encourage them, nurture them, inspire them, whatever it might be. That’s actually my job. So if the slide isn’t quite right or the data projector doesn’t work or I forget something, I used to get so stressed about that stuff. As soon as I said I’m going to stop trying to worry about that stuff and I’m going to focus more on being authentic and delivering my message, I took all the pressure off myself and I just got on stage and I was still well-prepared and still all the rest of it, but I’d gone on stage and started having fun.

Andrew:

And I started really enjoying myself because I didn’t care about the little things going wrong. I cared about teaching the people in front of me the skills that they were there to learn. And so I think my motivation changed. I didn’t need to look like I was the world’s greatest speaker. I didn’t need to look like I’m really smart, intelligent, I needed to show that I cared and I needed to show that I was passionate. I needed to show that I had solutions for their problems. And I had that big aha probably 10, 15 years ago and it was an amazing transition for me then because what I really… At one particular event, what I noticed was I finished this event, it was called 500 Financial Planners.

Andrew:

I got off the stage and as a speaker, people come up to you and go, oh, that was great, rah-rah. And had this chap come up and say, Andrew, that was amazing, fantastic. And for the first time in my life, I felt different. I didn’t need that. And then someone else came up said, oh my God, that was amazing, that was great, I loved it. And I kind of went, thank you. I go, oh, something has changed in me. And I realized what it was. My bucket had been filled. I’d had enough people say, you’re great, you’re this, you’re that, that my ego didn’t need it anymore and that took the pressure off of me to again, so my ego doesn’t lead people to tell me I’m a great speaker or whatever. It really let me be just totally myself.

Andrew:

And that ties right back into your first question about nerves and all that kind of jazz is as soon as I stopped trying to be a great presenter or the world’s perfect presenter, and I focus more on helping the audience, solving their problems, et cetera, I started having a whole lot more fun on stage. And I told more stories. I shared, I got excited about getting on stage because I’m getting up there and my job today is to help these people. And everything changed for me. I know that’s a really long answer.

Jane:

No, but it’s such a profound one actually. And I love that last point about the not needing validation. And I’ve just been kind of thinking that through a bit and I get it because I think even as a marketer like even in the profession that you’re in, I think while you’re kind of finding your feet and you’re becoming an expert and you’re doing your 10,000 hours and you’re getting yourself out there and you’re getting yourself into kind of new, expanding and growing yourself, you kind of look a bit for that validation too because you’re being unsure. And so for people kind of speaking for the first time, there’d be yeah. I guess, really conscious about, well, did I do a good job? Did I not do a good job or whatever? But once you’ve done it enough time, there must be kind of a tipping point, I guess, that once you kind of get to that tipping point where enough people have come up and said, you’re actually really good at this, or you’ve done… You go, oh, okay.

Jane:

And you start to go, oh, okay, well I must be because people kept telling me, great. Okay, well, I’ll keep going. I think that would be such a great point to get to.

Andrew:

You do reach that point, but also your audience knows when you’re being authentic and you’re there to help. I think we feel that intuitively, we can listen to a speaker and we intuitively pick up the field, the knowledge, their level of enthusiasm, et cetera, all of that rolled into one. So I think for me, without a doubt, when I look at that line that always I say, I became a great speaker, the day I stopped trying to be one. Yes, you’ve got to have a skill set and all the rest of it, but you’ve also got to appreciate what you bring to the table. And I think we’re so big on comparing. Like I know it would be intimidating for people with me saying, oh, there’s a guy, I’m speaking after him, he’s spoken in hundreds of presentations, 25 countries, 14 books around the world.

Andrew:

If you’re a newbie coming up, it’s very intimidating to have someone that’s got a whole far more experience in front of you. But the reality is that the world has an incredible thirst for knowledge and the knowledge of the 20-year-old new person getting on stage, there’s demand for that as much as there is demand for the 54-year-old [frizzled 00:14:02] veteran kind of thing. Yeah. I think what we’ve got to do is we’ve got to appreciate and realize that you have a unique set of experiences, realizations, aha moments, you’ve learned stuff, et cetera, and other people want to know that. And so as a speaker, if I’m just getting up on stage and I’m just parroting stuff which is readily available, there’s very little value in that. But if I’m getting up and sharing my stories and I’m sharing my experiences and stuff that’s worked for me, as much as stuff that hasn’t worked for me, but I’m vulnerable enough to be able to share that, that has great value to an audience.

Andrew:

Another interesting thing, Jane, is over the years, for a lot of the time when I was less confident as a speaker, I would try and fill a 60-minute time slot with as much information as I possibly squeeze in there where. Well, those poor audiences, their heads exploded about 30 minutes because I assign value to information. Now, my presentations in an hour, I might have seven points, but it’s mostly on telling stories for the whole one hour, and every year I spend more of my hour telling stories or less of my time diving into the detail, and the stories where the value lie. The stories are, what I got wrong, what I got right, what I’ve observed, what I’ve seen, how that’s changed, rah-rah. And I think when you start to go, okay, if I’m new and I want to learn to speak and speaking transformed my life in so many ways, I don’t have to be a perfect speaker.

Andrew:

I don’t have to have all the answers. I don’t have to be the person that’s the absolute authority in everything. I don’t have to have this incredibly polished kind of presentation skill set or whatever it might be. What I’ve got to have is a desire to help others, the ability to be able to share stories and to be okay, and have the humility to be able to share good stories, what you got right as much as what you got wrong. And I guess the courage to be okay with people disagreeing with you. I made that line, I’ve been waiting for 20 years for someone to get up and say, Andrew, you’re full of crap. Literally, I was. No one’s ever done it. And now it’s a standing joke, someone will do it out of fun because I’ll mention that line. But it’s that old fear factor that stops us from doing that. But I guarantee everyone listening to this, you have unique knowledge or experiences or both. It is of huge value to other people. And if you’re brave enough to start to try and share that and to start to do some speaking, even starting with webinars and things like that, incredible rewards come out of it personally and professionally.

Jane:

Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. And I think too, back to your point about being prepared, that was your first point, that preparation piece, so I was like you in terms of, right, how much knowledge can I jam into this so that they go away basically having a full marketing degree’s worth of knowledge by the end of this, but realize that yeah, that was too overwhelming. But the other thing that I have been practicing recently and this has been something that you’ve spoken about, I’m doing your speaker program, and this has been something that you’ve spoken about a lot, is the rehearsal side of things and just being really prepared? And something that I used to do because I can quite naturally get up in front of a crowd and start talking, for some reason I was just given a gene where I’m okay about getting up in front of people and chatting.

Jane:

So that wasn’t the problem, but just making sure that I’m prepared to actually kind of deliver the information, as you said, rehearse, make sure I’m not going to go over an hour. Because I’m a very verbose person, so make sure that I’m not actually going to rave on so much about one point that I actually don’t get the other two or three points into my presentation, which I’ve actually promised. All that sort of stuff, particularly now that we’re presenting virtually, just making sure the tech works. Sometimes I use a teleprompter, so lining all that up, making sure that my PowerPoints are coordinated, that sort of thing. If I’ve done all that and I know I’ve rehearsed, honestly, my nerves go. They completely go because I’m like, that’s cool. I’ve got this. Like, I’ve practiced it. I’ve done the work. I know what I’m talking about. I know I’m delivering value. I’m cool. If I haven’t, I’m crapping myself.

Andrew:

Yeah, absolutely. And it isn’t that interesting though because people don’t tend to think about rehearsing presentations because I’ve never been taught. I mean, I didn’t really know about that till I was trained, until I was taught, and I kind of went, oh, of course, like why wouldn’t you? And we all have a point as a speaker where we relax in the presentation. For me, it’s when I get the first laugh. So once I get the audience to laugh, then I’m relaxed after that. But when you’re are rehearsed and as we’ve spoken about in the stuff that we’re working on together, Jane, when you’ve done your research, when you know the audience, when you know the venue, when you know the town, you’ve done all your homework, when you’ve got all that stuff, if you’re just prepared and you’ve rehearsed your presentation, you’ve really nailed your opening in particular, because the opening is apart where most people are most nervous.

Andrew:

But you also have rehearsed it to the point where you go, I know that this is about 40, 45 minutes and my presentations about. Because we’re fearful of, A, we don’t engage with the audience, B, they think we’re an idiot, C, we finished too short, like we’re supposed to talk for an hour and we run out of things to say in 10 minutes. I can’t even imagine how that happens, but I’ve seen it happen on stage many times.

Jane:

Yeah, me too.

Andrew:

It can be that, oh, we go too long. My topic is seven strategies for being a world-class speaker and it’s an hour and I’ve already told them two and that’s the ultimate sin. Right. It’s like, sorry, about the last five, you’ll have to come back. Rehearsal and research. Like I rehearse presentations. I’ve got a new keynote that I’m working on at the moment and I’m delivering it for the first time next Wednesday night for an American audience.

Andrew:

And again, I’ll rehearse it word for word, for at least two or three times before I deliver it. And that’s only so that when I am delivering it, I can relax and I can be a bit more spontaneous and I can kind of be myself. So the point of saying I became a great speaker when I stopped trying to be one, as you rightly pointed out, it’s more a bit about, I still do the work, but I’m more relaxed about it when I’m actually doing the delivery because I know I’ve done the work, but also I’m focused on the right thing, which is teaching people stuff, helping people, solving problems rather than the other things that are used to… My priorities were mixed up. I focused on doing a perfect presentation rather than helping the audience.

Jane:

Yes. And I think that’s probably where people do get stuck because, perfectionism, they want to get up and they want to be this Simon Sinek, TED Talker in their first presentation. And I think people listening to this, some of them will be business owners who need to get up and present to a group of stakeholders or even get up and present to their internal team to influence them to change behavior or to come on board with a particular project or whatever. So there’s all sorts of different presentations, but I know I’m working with a lot of small business owners who actually want to become a professional speaker. So yes, they have to present in their world, but they also want to hit the circuit because they’ve got to that stage, they’ve been doing what they’re doing for 20 years or whatever, they’ve got some things to share and they love the idea of that.

Jane:

And that’s probably one thing that I’ve got out of your program is the difference between someone who can get up and candidly kind of address a crowd and someone who’ll go and charge $10,000 and upwards probably for actually delivering a 45 minute or one-hour presentation. So this is not just come and speak to the crowd for free. This is like, I’m going to pay you to do a really professional job. Now we’ve spoken through some of the things. I mean, I think what you were talking about there in terms of preparation and don’t try and be the perfect speaker, some of the skills that those people will need to consider to become a professional speaker. But what would you say like the kind of technical skills are between someone who can get up and candidly address a crowd versus someone who’s paid a butt load of cash to do so?

Andrew:

So when you move into the professional speaker stage, so you’re going from being free to being a paid speaker. And as you say, sometimes a lot of money and there’s an expectation that you have a skill set in terms of how you are able to present to an audience. So the technical skills that you need to be able to master are like any skill that can be taught. But most of the time we learn how to speak from someone that we’ve worked with. So most people learn how to present from a previous boss who used to do training sessions for teams, so now you train like them. I love to teach people how to die from the instructor that I bought my business from because he taught me. We learn that side of things there.

Andrew:

The problem is we often haven’t learned the right skills or the skills that are relevant for now or the change. So as a professional speaker, you’re expected to be a professional. So in terms of being able to have higher quality stagecraft, you can, you can present in front of an audience, you can articulate. There’s a structure to your presentation. There’s a logical flow. You can engage and entertain the audience, which is a term that we would call stagecraft. So overall, the whole interaction with the audience is one of a professional who would get on stage, be able to get their message across and be able to share their ideas and their thinking and everything kind of worked accordingly. So technical skills means you’re proficient at doing that. Because we all start at the base point where we don’t actually have those skills.

Andrew:

And that’s why you don’t want to walk out on a stage to 10,000 people as your first speaking job. Like that would be a fairly awkward situation to be in. We start smaller and we tend to start speaking to maybe local business groups and whatever it might be. And that’s where you’ve got to learn how to do a bit of presenting. You’ve got to have a few failures, to be honest. I’ve had plenty of those in the early days where I kind of got it wrong, the mistakes that I made, but then I’m a big believer in saying, you’ve got to invest in training. You’d invest in training in just about any other professional need or skill. Speaking is no different. You need to invest in that, particularly if you want to make it a career, particularly if you want to make it something that is an income stream for you or whatever because there are many things you can get wrong.

Andrew:

And there’s many things that differentiate a world-class speaker to a speaker who’s not really cutting it as well. Tech skills are one, but there’s emotional intelligence of being able to read an audience. We’ve spoken on my program, Jane, about energetic mapping, about slide decks. One of the biggest problems we still see are terrible, terrible slide decks because people just don’t know how to do good slide decks. All of those kinds of things. So if you’re really serious about getting into speaking, you’ve got to invest in it. I did a course years ago with Tony Robbins team, two guys from there, Joseph McClellan III, and a guy called Joe Williams, two American guys, and it was a four-day course. And I think at the time it costs me like $15,000. And I really didn’t have the money, but my speaking was really starting to take off.

Andrew:

And my partner at the time was saying, look if you’re going to be serious about it, you should invest in that. So by the time I paid for the course, all on credit card and bought whatever it was that they were selling me as well, flogging a video shoot or something. It was probably around $20,000 grand for the four days or five. It was a lot of dough. Right. All on credit. I look back at that and that was the best investment I’ve made. That was such a huge turning point for me because these guys were world-class, like really, really world-class speakers. And there were 60 of us on this program. And it was just extraordinary in terms of my skillset went through the roof, my understanding of what it meant to actually be a professional speaker, that was really defined.

Andrew:

And I thought I was a pretty good speaker. And I realized exactly where I was in the pecking order, all of a sudden. So there was a nice dose of humility kind of put in there as well. But the investment, if I knew now I’d pay $100,000 for that program. I wouldn’t even think twice about it simply because of what it enabled me to do. But it is daunting sometimes for some people as well. And I kind of get that. Every speaker, we don’t think that these incredible speakers have this amazing skill that you don’t have. It’s a skill set that we learn, we develop, we grow over time and we all start at a space where we’re not really that good and we learn to be better, and we learn to believe that we’ve got something of value to say. We learn to read an audience. We learn to share. I look back at some of my presentations that I’ve got filmed from 10 years ago and I cringe. I just go, oh my God, that’s horrendous, what was I thinking? And I’d probably do the same if I looked at one I did last year because you’re constantly getting better.

Jane:

Yeah, no, that’s a really good question. Sorry, a really good point. Thank God, I didn’t have to pay $15,000, but that’s something that I’m finding going through your program, again, I came into that going, well, I’m good in terms of I can put some slides together, I’m in marketing, I can articulate myself well, I’m confident in front of the crowd, but it’s been amazing just how much I have learned, additional stuff. How much stuff that I just didn’t even think about to add to my skill set there. But then, okay, so speaking is one thing, and certainly, at the moment, there’s not a lot of people kind of doing speaking as a career, particularly face-to-face. And now that the virtual platforms are allowing us to kind of deliver presentations in an engaging way and people are becoming more comfortable with that, that’s all great. So it is possible, I guess, to forge yourself as a speaker and a speaker only. But you use it in particular, as one of your revenue streams.

Jane:

I would use it as one revenue stream, I don’t want to just be a speaker. I just want to incorporate co-operate that into my kind of business model. Can you kind of talk about how someone might fit speaking or presenting, particularly small business owners, into their marketing ecosystem? Like how do you think being a professional speaker or presenting to crowds of people that they don’t know might be able to create business opportunities for them?

Andrew:

I guess the best way to talk about that is if I go back again to when I started the traditional kind of speaker role, so wrote a book about marketing, get asked to talk about marketing at events. The interesting thing that came out of that, yes, I was getting paid to speak. So that did become an income stream, but most of the time if I did a presentation and there were 100 people in the room, I would get about 10 to 15 to even 20 inquiries straight after that event, wanting a marketing consultant, wanting coaching, wanting training, whatever it was. The business development that came out of being a speaker is extraordinary. And even right through, today it’s like whether I’m doing a webinar, whether I’m doing a live event, whatever it is, it’s an incredible lead generator for business.

Andrew:

So what really changed the more I spoke, I think it was the opportunity flow that started to change. So I would find that if I was presenting, that generated so many leads. The more I presented, the more business that came in my direction. Same as writing a book, same as doing all those kinds of things. So as a small business owner, if you look at getting up on a stage as part of your marketing mix, it’s an extraordinarily cool way to actually generate inquiries, business, et cetera, even if you’re starting out and you’re not getting paid to speak, but you’re getting up in front of audiences. Like sometimes it’s better that, I mean, for me back when I was marketing, if I was going to write a marketing plan for, I don’t know, say $5,000 or something like that, if I got five or 10 marketing plans, potentially out of 100 people in a room, that’s pretty good money. But it was also, you had this inherent credibility.

Andrew:

You’re almost like pre-qualified, if they’ve had a chance to see you on stage, to see how you interact, to see and hear whatever your message may be. Very, very high level of credibility straight away. So literally, it was a part of my marketing mix when I first started without a doubt because I didn’t really have a profile. Even before I wrote the book, I was talking about marketing in my town because I was the marketing guy in town. Like you’re in Port Macquarie, same kind of thing. You’re the marketing lady. I was the marketing guy in Cairns. So I would be asked to talk about marketing all the time and it was great. I always got plenty of business as a result of that. And a lot of that was very…

Andrew:

I wasn’t particularly good as a speaker, but I had good information to share. And that led to even running workshops and government-type things where I’d run a marketing workshop that then I would end up getting clients as well. So that’s a really very, very cool business development tool in many respects. I think it’s a great tool for business owners to be able to share that. That’s one element, the direct business, but there’s also a lot of brand building. A friend of mine owns a few pharmacies. Now he does a bit of speaking and it’s not so much that he’s going to get people rushing out and wanting to go to his pharmacy because I’d seen him speak, but he talks a lot about business and doing business.

Andrew:

He doesn’t offer services in that, but it builds his overall brand really well that he’s in front of groups regularly at local level, that then associate him as a good corporate citizen. He’s a good part of the community. They have some form of emotional connection with the brand that otherwise they wouldn’t have because they’ve seen him speak. And that changes everything. It’s like I remember, I was talking in Queensland, in New Zealand, and Michael Hill, the jeweler, not the man, was speaking before me. I didn’t know there was actually a Michael Hill, man. I don’t know why I didn’t think that. Who knew that but he bought a diamond to the presentation that he had, which was a $300,000 diamond that he just had purchased. And just kind of brought it to show what that looks like. And it was very hard to speak after him because the ladies in the room had lost all focus and the men in the room or felt totally inadequate after seeing that around.

Andrew:

But it’s amazing the emotional connection I still have to Michael Hill the jeweler because I’ve met Michael Hill, the actual man. For your business’s brain, if you’re saying, well, no one’s going to come and buy my product simply because I’m talking about my business at a chamber of commerce kind of event, but your brand value, your brand integrity, your brand reputation, all of those kinds of things I think come into play a lot more as well. So don’t always just think that it’s the direct linear thing, I present, I get 10 new clients. That’s lovely, but don’t the value of the brand-building that you’re doing for your business as well by speaking.

Jane:

100% and that’s not as easy to measure as the 20 people that come up afterwards that you convert to a business, whatever it is. And then what about, so you know what, six months now, you’re still in lockdown, which I’m terribly sorry about, but you have still been speaking and presenting keynotes and presenting workshops about out of hell it sounds so. So tell me, like what are the key differences, and I guess nuances, between delivering an online keynote and let’s call it a keynote versus one that’s in front of a couple of thousand people face to face.

Andrew:

It’s harder doing virtual, I think we would all agree with that, particularly as we all have Zoom fatigue and all the rest of it. It’s harder to engage an audience because everyone who’s on Zoom, you’re seeing 100 little screens or whatever it might be. The reality is people are distracted. They’re still checking their email. They’re still checking their phone. They’re still kind of doing what they’re doing. You can’t really do that in an auditorium when there’s a stage. It feels inappropriate. And it’s just like, checking your phone when you’re in a cinema. It’s like, it’s somehow it’s kind of wrong. So it’s harder to create engagement in a virtual world let’s say using Zoom, for a number of reasons. One is we don’t have enough external stimuli that we would get when we’re face to face and you can feel the energy in the room, et cetera.

Andrew:

You can see an audience. That’s the first thing. The second thing is we’re all on Zoom all day long now. So to actually be on Zoom for an event is not actually very special because it’s just something you’re doing all day long. So the Zoom fatigue thing is coming in. We’re saying we want less time on Zoom now, not more time. So it’s got harder to stand out from the crowd. You don’t get the feedback from the audience that you get in a room full of people that you can then adjust your presenting style, you can engage differently. I mean, you have a roof, an audience, you can physically see everyone’s reaction. You can physically see when they laugh and hear when they laugh and you can feel if the room is hot. If people are distracted, you can feel energetic chills.

Andrew:

You don’t have any of that really in the virtual world. So it’s much, much harder. So you’ve got to work harder as a speaker. And you’ve also got to get a little bit more creative about how you do it. But in saying that, a really interesting thing though, Jane, I think what we’ve started to realize, and certainly why I’m still getting speaking gigs and a lot of other speakers are, is that people are realizing just because you can use Zoom, doesn’t mean you can present. And my knowledge is no different whether I’m on stage or whether I’m doing Zoom, so my 35 years’ experience. What I do is still there. So what’s actually happened, is there are a lot more speaking opportunities coming out simply because people are still saying, well, we want to get authorities. We want to get experts. We want to get people knowledgeable to be able to talk to our audience.

Andrew:

But all of a sudden we can pick from people around the world because in the past, if someone was putting an event in Las Vegas and there were wanted speakers, there’s a budgetary constraint to get someone like me to come from Australia to Las Vegas, with airfares and fees, rah-rah, it’s probably like $25,000. And so you can only have so many of those speakers, but when we’re not putting on a physical event and there’s no travel required, my fees are the same as speaker fees all around the world. So we’re actually now getting more speaking opportunities from around the world because people are going, well, we’re going to spend the same money if we got local speakers as we’re going to spend if we got people from Australia, from America or England. So the playing field has been leveled, which is really kind of interesting. And during a lockdown, I’ve done keynotes in England with English audiences, Spain, America, Singapore, where else has it been, like piles of different places and New Zealand. And again, delivering that because all of those kinds of reasons the more level playing field, the budgets can cover speaking fees. And people paying more for virtual speaking, which really wasn’t valued that much before, but now it is. I’m doing paid keynotes all the time virtually. So it’s happened.

Jane:

Well, that’s good to know. And I think that’s a great segue into something that can sometimes be a bit of an elephant that sits in the room, particularly with a lot of speaking opportunity and that is money. Not afraid to discuss a little bit of cash on the show to put things in perspective. Getting paid for speaking, now, for me, this has been a huge block. In an effort to promote my business, I’m often asked to present for free, and I’ll often provide presentations for free. And it’s exactly for that reason that you spoke about before because it’s a good lead generation tool. So if I make sure that I get in front of the right audiences for free, and I get people coming up to me at the end, which I often do, saying I need a marketing consultant, I need a plan or whatever, great, happy days. That’s fine. But as small business owners, and particularly if we’re experts in our field, our time and that IP is valuable. So if we’re offered to a speaking event, say at a huge conference, that will probably some of those leads, is it still important to charge for that presentation and how do you suggest we tackle this so that we create a win-win both for the conference provider and ourselves?

Andrew:

It’s another really great question because this becomes one of those little hurdles to overcome for most people, is that the biggest shift to make for most people is to go from speaking for free to being paid. Even if it’s only like $500 or $250. My first paid speaking job was $250. So to look at that, it’s kind of interesting. So I think there’s a few different ways of looking at it as well. So I still do free speaking jobs if I want to because maybe it’s to help out a friend of some sort. If I want to because I feel that there’s good exposure to do that and then I can kind of leverage that, that helps me get other speaking jobs. Like a TED Talk, for example, you do a TED Talk, TED-X Talk, you’re not going to get paid to do that, it’s going to be a freebie, but it’s very leverageable as a speaker.

Andrew:

If you’ve done a TED-X Talk like your credibility goes up dramatically as a speaker as well. So I think that people sometimes go, oh, I’m going to stop speaking for free rah-rah, and I go, well, I still speak for free and it depends on what the purpose is. Sometimes for not for profit, I might say, well, yeah, I’ll do a keynote for free et cetera. Or I’ll charge you and then I’ll donate the money back is what I normally do. So don’t be afraid of doing speaking jobs if there’s a clear value in doing it in terms for your brand or potential leads, et cetera. You’ve got to kind of make that assessment. In the same vein though, don’t be afraid of saying no to a speaking job because everyone promises you the world and often they don’t deliver that side of it.

Andrew:

So I think that there’s a nice kind of a shift in being able to say, well, I’m doing it. I don’t really know that there’s a whole lot of value in doing it. Why would I do it for free? So be okay with either scenario. The real key is to actually be okay with starting to charge and a line that I always use is when you get that nebulous email that says, oh, look, I’d love you to come and have a bit of a chat about something to me and my 500 people, they’re not paying to come along. Because you know how much time and effort is going to be involved in that. The line that I say to everyone is you should email them back and say that sounds fabulous, can you please tell me what the commercial arrangements are that this particular event?

Andrew:

And it’s a line that changes. Most people who I mentioned that to, they go, oh my God, it changed my life because now that person has got to come back to you, ah, could you tell me what your fees are or, oh, well, we don’t actually pay. We don’t have a budget. We don’t have this, we don’t have that. But otherwise, you end up in this weird thing, I don’t know if this is a paid gig or not. I don’t really know what it is, but you’ve also got to draw the line in the sand and say, I’m a professional speaker, I charge for speaking. It’s a service that I offer. And that’s a bit of a hard leap for many people to make that initial one. So what’s the commercial arrangement for this event, soon lets you know, is it paid, is it free, what’s your speaking fee, et cetera?

Andrew:

And I think another interesting thing here, Jane, is we make assumptions about events and go, oh, well, that’ll be a freebie. Don’t make those assumptions. I’ve done plenty of presentations for not-for-profits and you would assume that it’s a free job, but no, it’s a paid job. If you say what’s a commercial arrangement, they’ll say, what’s your speaker fee because they’re going to use that event to raise money. It’s a fundraiser. So if I’m in a room and they’re going to generate $200,000 or $300,000 out of me speaking at that event, why wouldn’t I be paid a speaker fee to be there. Now, often I’ll decide whether I want to donate that money back to the charity because I want to support it, et cetera. But that’s my choice then.

Jane:

Yes, that’s a transaction that still occurs, regardless of whether you…

Andrew:

Exactly. And I think that we do reach a little bit of a frustration stage as well, where we get a little bit sick and tired of speaking for free all the time because it does take a lot of time, it does take a lot of energy, it does take a lot of investment. So my overarching response to that question really is, it’s okay to speak for free if there’s a really clear outcome or you just want to do it. It’s a Ted Talk or it’s whatever it is you want to do and go, yeah, that’s cool, but it’s also okay to say what’s the commercial arrangement and you decide what you want to do from there. And it’s very okay to say, no thanks, that’s just not for me.

Jane:

Yeah. And I had that liberating moment. I took that advice. You gave that advice and I took it and was approached by… And I think too now because everything’s virtual, there’s probably more people going and asking for the kind of, come and have a chat request. And I sniffed one of those coming my way. And I asked her about, well, who’s your target audience? I assessed the opportunity in terms of the leads for me. I don’t think there was much opportunity. And so I went in with the question because I think there’s just something not really confronting about that, what’s the commercial arrangements? It’s not like you’re saying how much are you going to pay me? Or can you afford me kind of thing? It’s, what’s the commercial arrangements? And you’re right because it will come up with a pretty clear answer as to where they stand on that.

Jane:

And I asked that question, and immediately she said, well, we let you promote your stuff. And at that point I said, well, I think your audience will find what I have to say is really valuable, but honestly your audience is not typically an audience that would buy from me. I don’t really have products for them or a service for them. And she said, oh right, well, okay, tell me how much you want and I’ll go and get that signed off. And I haven’t got back to her to this day. So I don’t know whether that’s just a bit of lip service or not, but for me, I was like, oh, that was so easy. Like, do you know what I mean? Like, this is not something I should really struggle with in the future. So I’ve spoken so much about this speaker program that I’m doing and you do, you help people to fine-tune their speaking skills with this program? It was supposed to be a retreat that was supposed to happen in March in Victoria and it didn’t. So you’ve delivered it online. Can you share a little bit about how you might be able to help other people get their speaking skills up to scratch?

Andrew:

Yeah, sure. Thanks, Jane. I think this program, in particular, it’s called Speaker 2.0 and it’s a virtual 12-week program, but it’s live, as in we do live masterclasses and webinars and e-learning and all that kind of stuff. And I’ve been doing speaker training for years in terms of teaching people. I started off doing one-day events and workshops. And then over the years, I’ve done everything from 12-month programs to group training and all that kind of jazz. And what I’ve realized again is like most of the stuff that we’ve spoken about even today, it’s a big, big topic just speaking, there’s a lot to learn. And I put together programs that address whatever level you are as a speaker. I can help you get to that next level. So if you’re an experienced speaker, you can do my program and you’re still going to go to your next level.

Andrew:

If you’re a new speaker, you can do my program and you’re going to go to the next level as well. So it’s not like it’s just for beginners or just for experienced people because it’s the depth of the knowledge that you want to take on board that kind of identifies that, which I think you would agree with. Like the people doing the program now, the one that you’re on, some of them are brand new speakers. Some of them have been speaking for quite a while. It’s quite a mix of people. Some have written a book now; they want to start speaking. Some of them are business owners that are developing in that. And it’s like a crash course in speaking skills, the business side of speaking, stagecraft, all of that kind of stuff, and just giving people the tools and the frameworks to say this is what a world-class speaker does.

Andrew:

You work out what level of this you want to kind of take on board. And I think that that’s why this first program, the virtual one, again, has been so interesting because my problem is I can go so ridiculously deep that it’s almost overwhelming on that. So I just being able to kind of pull that back a level and going, okay, everyone’s going to be able to learn what they need to learn out of this. And we’re covering everything from how to look after your voice, to speaker health, to energetic mapping of presentations, to subtle selling, to the business of being a speaker, to presentation structure, slide deck structure, all of that kind of stuff. So there’s a lot of knowledge in there.

Andrew:

And then I look at it and go that’s a course I wish I could have done 20 years ago and looking at that there. And it comes back again to that point of whatever you want to do from a speaking point of view, it needs to be a generic enough program that I can say, well, if you want to develop your speaking skills to generate leads by speaking great, if you want to be a professional speaker, this is going to be that path as well. And over the years, I’ve trained everyone from priests to politicians to all kinds of… Like the diversity of people. To sales managers, they’ve got to present a lot in front of teams and just need to work on that skill set as well. And I find that really it’s the same skills that everyone needs. It’s just that, as I said, right back at the beginning, Jane, these are skills that no one’s ever taught before.

Andrew:

And there’s so much that can be taken away. Just she nerves. Anyone who’s driven and fearful of nerves. People say, oh, can you stop me being nervous before I go on stage, just say yeah, I can. I can certainly. If you do the rehearsal, if you’ve got a great structured presentation, all that other stuff, you won’t have nerves, you’ll be in control. So there’s a lot of stuff to learn, but I also like to feel that there’s a nice versatility about that because everyone’s little speaker journey is quite personal as well. I used to teach people how to dive. And I remember a lot of people that I taught to dive were doing a dive course to overcome their fear of the ocean.

Jane:

Interesting. Yeah, right.

Andrew:

And I used to constantly be surprised by that. And I admired it. It was also challenging because they were often the ones. that would freak out and rah-rah.

Jane:

Yeah. That would be me.

Andrew:

It was that common kind of a thing and it’s interesting with speaking as well that it’s like, I think a lot of people want to overcome that fear of speaking as well. And I go that’s a nice thing to overcome, it’s a nice challenge because for some people it’s actually holding them back in their career

Jane:

Yeah great.

Andrew:

A lot of people that I’ve trained have said, oh, look, I’ve got increased responsibility. I’ve got to do more and more and that now means I’ve got to be speaking to more audiences, more teams internally and my speaking is what’s letting me down.

Jane:

That’s right.

Andrew:

That’s a shame. So I would get a lot of people like that as well who go, I guess I need to be better at speaking for my career.

Jane:

Yeah. Everyday stuff too. Yeah. No, I can appreciate that. And even in the case of a small business owner too, when they are looking to get outside of their comfort zone or scale that business beyond their kind of low-hanging fruit, that’s exactly where they will kind of want to maybe get comfortable speaking to crowds of unknowns. So if any of our listeners do want to connect with you, where can they find you?

Andrew:

Easy, easy, easy, www.andrewgriffiths.com.au.

Jane:

Excellent. My goodness. I feel like we have just covered so much ground in that. I appreciate your generosity and your insight that you’ve just shared with us there, Andrew. Thank you.

Andrew:

You’re so welcome, Jane. Thanks for having me on the show. It’s really nice to talk about this kind of stuff. I hope we haven’t gone too deep, too hard for the audience, but it’s a great topic to be able to talk about.

 

 

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