On today’s episode of Steal the Show, we’re talking about crafting a speaking career that suits your personality and life goals. 

Scott Stratten co-founded UnMarketing and co-hosts UnPodcast with his wife and business partner, Alison Stratten. Together, they’ve published five bestselling business books, and recently released The Jackass Whisperer: How to Deal with the Worst People at Work, at Home and Online—Even When the Jackass is You. Scott shares what he’s learned from delivering upwards of 70 speeches a year.

How You Can Steal the Show

  • The role of selling books in your speaking career and vice versa. 
  • What to do when you’re surrounded by jackasses. 
  • The best point in your speech to deliver a teaching point. 
  • Why it matters who’s laughing at your humor on stage—and who’s not. 
  • The two ingredients every speaker must have. 
  • What Scott’s singular goal is and how he nails it.
  • Why a video with 4,000 views was way more impactful that a video with 13 million views. 
  • The number one reason speakers get booked. 
  • One of the most valuable things he’s learned when negotiating his speaking fee. 
  • Scott’s secret for filling downtime between gigs, and why we should all do it.
  • The number one mistake speakers make before they even take the stage.
  • How Scott went from bankruptcy to booking 30 talks in 10 weeks from just one tweet.

Learn more about Scott here.

And, you can purchase Scott’s latest book: The Jackass Whisperer: How to Deal with the Worst People at Work, at Home and Online—Even When the Jackass is You.

If you enjoyed this show, you may also want to hear:

Episode 123: Drew Tarvin on Selling a Topic Nobody’s Searching For

Episode 122: Phil Jones on Getting the Gigs You Want

Episode 120: Alison Levine on How to Scale Your Story to a Referable Speech

Michael:
It’s a privilege to keynote an event and Scott Stratten should know. He delivers upwards of 70 keynotes a year a bestselling author top to your speaker, entertaining podcaster and good, good friend. He’s crafted a career that lands him exactly where he’s wanted to be since he was 12 years old. Center stage. He’s learned a few things along the way that every aspiring speaker and every polished speaker should probably know. This episode of Steal the Show the creator of UnMarketing shares his unconventional approach for crafting your career. That’s a lot of work, a lot of traveling and a lot of fun. Let’s welcome back to the show Scott Stratten. Scott Stratten you’re back.

Scott:
I never get asked back for anything I mean I’m talking birthday parties, events, neighbors. I don’t get invited back anywhere. I think it’s their problem not mine but-

Michael:
No I agree. I’m just a glutton for punishment. Just give me more. Give me more Scott Stratten is basically the way that I approach the world. No, but actually I want to start with the Jackass Whisperer. I wear the socks proudly. I feel that those socks actually do help me. I sometimes wear them on a day when I know I’ve got to deal with some stuff that may be difficult and I can glance down at the socks and go, “My job is not to be the Jackass Whisperer.” Now speaking of jackasses somebody didn’t send me an advanced copy of the book.

Scott:
Nobody got an advanced copy of the book.

Michael:
No names. I’m not naming any names but so I haven’t had the pleasure of reading the book yet. I’m so excited to read the book. It just came out I think yesterday.

Scott:
It did.

Michael:
I want to talk about the book even though I haven’t read it. That’s where I want to start because I think it’s a really important concept. You’ve been writing marketing books for years. Well of course you and your wife Alison and now you ventured into what might seem like a slightly different lane to folks maybe that are uninitiated with your work because it seems like you’re dealing with how to handle personal issues, conflict, etcetera rather than marketing. However, if I look at all of your work over the past couple of decades it’s always been about this.

Scott:
You’re exactly right though, because it’s been funny because here’s the … I’ll bring you back to when we are telling the concept to the publisher. When you pitch a book Jackass Whisperer how to deal with the worst people at work at home and online even when the jackass is you you’ve got to preface it right with people. We went with Page Two publishing which is a wonderful Canadian hybrid publisher for this one since it’s not a business book. Our first five are with Wiley. We contacted them and got in touch with the team and I sat them down and we had dinner in Vancouver and I said, listen the way we’ve moved the first five books it’s through speaking. The books get the gigs and the gigs move the books. It’s just a nice little relationship that goes back and forth. I looked at them and I said I don’t have a talk about the Jackass Whisperer.

Scott:
I’m not going to do talks to sell books. This is just something for fun. Then they’re like awesome whatever you want to do. Then a month into it Alison and I were talking and I’m like, “Hang on every single story I’ve ever told on stage has to do with the jackass. Either myself being it or dealing with them, customers, coworkers or whatever that is.” I’m my goodness we could … I actually have a Jackass Whisperer talk. I just realized that. We flipped it. Then here’s the thing and this is from the speaking on the business side of thing it’s such a departure initially on the surface brand wise that a bureau gets concerned. Well how are clients going to take this when you’re he’s our disruption and sales and marketing speaker and now here’s a self help book. It’s been it’s certainly a brand challenge for it. Man I’m telling you we’ve never had more fun writing and recording a book. Our deal is Alison is the writer. She writes the books. I do the stage talks and together. We come up with the concepts and the ideas and everything together.

Scott:
This I’m telling you when we recorded this audio book it was the most fun I’ve had in a recording studio because I couldn’t stand recording them just reading a script. We got to be riffing on it. Banter. We had a sound designer do the chapter stories and we’re so excited.

Michael:
I mean this is the thing about controlling the publishing process that’s so powerful. We couldn’t do that when we were publishing with big trade publishers. I remember when I did the third edition of book yourself solid and Amazon was publishing that. They had someone in the room making sure that I read the book word for word.

Scott:
When you say word for word man I’m telling you I think the third book they came back with edits … Audible came back with edits owned by Amazon and said, hey, in the book it says ha ha ha but you said in the audio recording ha ha. We need you to go in and fix that.

Michael:
Exactly right.

Scott:
I am not exaggerating. It was and I’m you want you don’t want to loop a ha just yourself. It’s so ridiculous and monotonous that it was so different because we own all the rights. For the launch we just did went out yesterday, and we’re you buy a hard copy of the paperback and you automatically download an eBook of it. I can finally do the super book which is buy one get digital, audio and print. Because you and I would talk about that a decade ago. We wish we had that type of stuff and it’s … The first five books we still love wildly. They’re a great partner and still are. Since this is a self help type of one and we wanted to run with it. I said forget it. I’m not doing the game this time. I’ve told them very specifically we’re not doing a pre order campaign, not doing any of this. That does affect stock levels some of it because you don’t pre-buy as much but I’m like, I’m not playing the game anymore.

Scott:
I’m not leasing out my friends and cashing in my currency with them to promote it. I don’t want to do these things because I know what it’s like and we’ve done … This is our sixth book man. It’s just you get to the point as you know you get to the point you play this game where you don’t know the rules and they change daily and you bust your hump and just leverage yourself and do a bunch of gigs for book sales then you do or do not hit a list. It’s just a game that we were no longer willing to play. When we do it ourselves since we fronted the cost. I just went to my assistant, to Karen and said contact every event I’m doing in November already and at the end of October and then December. Just tell them if they want we’re going to give them the book.

Michael:
We actually haven’t announced this publicly yet and I don’t think I even mentioned it to you yet. I’ll say it here because it’s not something that we’re trying to keep quiet at this point. Andrew Davis and I are working on a book together.

Scott:
That’s awesome.

Michael:
It’s about the business of speaking and it’s called the Referable Speech. The concept behind the book is to answer the question that that speakers ask, which is how do I get booked more and how do I get paid more for the gigs that I do? It’s really a simple question. We’ve been unsatisfied with the answers that we’ve seen in a lot of the I guess work that’s out there on it. The idea of [inaudible 00:08:09] Davis making a baby together probably sounds pretty scary but so far so good. I bring this up because we’re also working with Page Two and we feel so much freedom because the whole book is about this concept of a referable speech. We’re really leaning into that whole concept of referring and referrability when it comes to the marketing campaign for the book.

Michael:
We were we said to Page Two listen we might not want to make it available to people who don’t … Who have not been referred to it for three months when we release it. They’re okay, great whatever you want to do. We wouldn’t be able to do those things in the traditional publishing world in the way that we can now. It’s a lot more fun.

Scott:
That’s it. At the end of the day man I’m telling you it’s especially when you’ve done … I give everybody a pass on their first book because it’s just there’s a whole thing. It’s a life accomplishment. You play whatever rules you’re given you do it. It’s a huge success to have a book and it’s a huge success to sell one copy. It’s hard to sell one to a person. It’s a big effort. The amount of struggling go through to say this is my life’s work and I’m trying to sell it to you for 1695 or something. It’s ridiculous to the point where any sane person would say, “Don’t write one.” Because of all the things that come with it.

Michael:
Well after my eighth I told Amy and everybody on my team I said if I say I’m going to do another one in the next five years please punch me in the face. I have two black eyes right now, two because we’re doing two this year.

Scott:
You need to be … You have to have a strong self confidence to do this type of thing too where you put it out there. It’s the same thing though. We put out five full titles in six years and then two more re-releases of UnMarketing and it was … It’s books get the gigs and gigs move the books. That’s our [inaudible 00:10:10].

Michael:
Well I’m just thrilled that you did this book because look I’ve known you for a long time and when you get to be a witness to somebody’s body of work over the years, to see them produce the thing that they were always meant to produce that they’re doing because they care so much about it because it’s such an important work for the people that will have the opportunity to read it. It’s just so meaningful as a friend and as a colleague. It’s inspiring because I think very often especially in the earlier part of our business development we do what we think we should do and we do what we think people want and we do what we think is the thing that we should be known for. Sometimes we look back at it and we go I understand why I did that book but or I understand why I did that speech.

Scott:
It’s so true.

Michael:
[inaudible 00:11:09] you’re in a place now where you’re just doing what you want to do and the market wants it.

Scott:
That’s the difference where it comes down to this has been 10 years in the making, this book. The funny thing is it came the title, the phrase came out of a tweet a onstage that I’ve always … The stages. It used to be Twitter but now it’s the stage that shows what resonates and what doesn’t. That’s why we wrote QR Codes Kill Kittens as a title of a book because that got the biggest laugh from stage when I said the line. It’s always a mask for something. QR Codes Kill Kittens is a mask for saying don’t use technology and things that actually won’t help you. It actually hurts. Then Jackass Whisperer, it’s full circle for me. I started out like work life balance speaking and Work Your Life was the company name. The whole thing was about looking at what you can control about things and then it come full circle and I’m pulling back my lions from back from then because it’s the whole point of the book although it’s this very sarcastic.

Scott:
The Jackass Whisperer or the phrase itself you’re just like, “What?” It comes out of there. At the end of the day the book is really saying if you’re always running into jackasses wherever you go … I’m not saying I’m just saying you may be the jackass in the situation. I’m not saying I’m just saying.

Michael:
I’m just saying that you could be that. The point is okay, we’re surrounded by them. What are we going to do about it? The first step is admitting that we are all one. That’s why the book is set up that we have 125 jackasses named in seven or eight different environments that work and travel. Kids have their own section because they’re such big jackasses, all these things which is the joke because they’re not. We are the jackasses with them. At the end of the day but there’s no age limit on jackassery. By the way it’s from birth to death. The point is there’s 125. We described them and you’re all that person I can’t stand them. Then there’s a jackass response if you want to continue the jackass and then there’s a whisper response for each one which is just to end it. It doesn’t mean stopping somebody else from being a jackass. That’s not our job as people.

Michael:
Our job is to say all right how I’m I perceiving this? How I’m I taking it in? What I’m I doing in the context of it? For me the example that Allison likes to use is when I drive it’s one of those … It’s a jackass bubble. You’re in it and you’re perfect and everybody else is horrible. Somebody cuts us off and we literally try to catch up to them just to see their face, just to give them that. You know the look and you give them that look because we want to find out who they are so they fit into one of our silos. You have to look in there saying it’s a woman. It’s a man. They’re young. They’re millennials. Or they’re old. Why are they driving? They fit our narrative. Then when we cut somebody off we give them the wave, that little wave in our mirror which just makes it worse. I picked up what’s my tactic. Now if somebody is annoying me while driving I break into song and I do it from the tone of the final countdown from Europe.

Michael:
It’s like you’re not moving. The light is red but you can turn right. It was in my head so, when I sing it ridiculously, I can’t stay mad. Then so if there’s the kids are in the car you know when you felt uncomfortable when you’re driving and one of your parents just got mad, it’s actually really jarring for children. When I started singing they just laugh at me and I realized that I can laugh at myself because I’ve been in a light and haven’t turned or I’ve been in the wrong lane or whatever that is. Our perception is all we have and that’s all we can change.

Scott:
Let’s talk about dealing with jackasses in the audience when you’re giving speeches because we certainly don’t necessarily just want to automatically cancel people and go not our job. You know that person is being difficult. They’re having a bad day I’m just going to ignore it and that’s it. At the same time it is not our job to make everybody … To give everybody very, very special attention when they want attention. That’s a unreasonable. How do you approach dealing with difficult situations that occur in audiences? Are there any examples that you can point to where some of these techniques that you’ve addressed in the book have come in handy for you?

Michael:
For sure. Well you have … It’s a very delicate and dangerous thing. When you’re on stage as you and Amy have said and carried to everybody. That’s a position of honor and proves to be on that stage for that audience. You want to value your time. That includes everybody. The problem is when you take them for that ride you have the absolute power in that room. Since my personality which is my brand. Luckily it’s just my personality is I’m sarcastic. I don’t look a lot of speakers. My attitude is against the flow of things and so I make fun of things. I’m very good in the moment improv style type of thing where I can call stuff. When the ringer goes off on the phone, my default line because I said it once on stage which was there’s other ringtones other than default. You know what I mean and everybody laughs at that and actually the person.

Michael:
Whoever I take a shot at I usually approach afterwards and say thank you for being a good sport type of thing and just to close that loop a bit but immediately after. The audience sees me going up to the person and giving them a hug or something like that. I learned not through my own experience but hearing a story from somebody else. I used to, once in a while depending on the context I used to call people out for getting up and walking out. Usually they’re going to the bathroom or something or they have to do a call or a thousand things. Why? I used to just stop and I was doing and just stare and watch them walk out and everybody would laugh. I am being serious here. I’m actually to a fault. I’m at the mercy of the laugh. I’m always going for the laugh. That’s not smart because I then heard a story from somebody who somebody had called somebody out and the person began crying.

Scott:
It was that they had something horrible happen at home and they just got a text or somebody has IBS or somebody … I realized that I’ve stopped doing that because my place is of absolute power in that stage and I’m not honoring somebody else when doing that especially that because it’s so unknown. A phone I give myself pass and I don’t even know if I should do that. Or sometimes somebody who’s maybe it’s an after dinner one which I rarely do. You don’t usually want to because usually there’s an open bar. I had one bit a couple of years ago at an event at West. It was open bar and I’m like okay, fine. I’m going to do it but I know it’s going to happen. It was realtors. I get riled up in front of those people. I just get so mad at-

Michael:
Something about realtors that just gets you going.

Scott:
Ka boom it’s my trigger and I go up there and they’ve had their beverages and one of the slides I used to do to talk about generations and one of the things I used to say was I know what generation you are when I ask you who’s your Batman and what actor you name. Christian Bale, Michael Keaton, all these guys. I pull him up and I pull the slide up and I’m about to bring in all the actors. Everyone applauds for their favorite one. I’m who’s your Batman? Just some guy drunk in the first row just goes Bruce Wayne. He’s revealing who Batman is to the audience. Of course this is perfect for me. I’m rude spoiler. Don’t tell the audience who it is. This guy seriously just thought. I actually don’t mind that almost a heckler style because we don’t get heckled really in speaking. Its comedians. They get the heckling going. That was one of those things where … I control where I’m speaking.

Scott:
You don’t get a lot of audience issues at 8:00 in the morning other than people not showing up or sleeping. I realize that I have to honor that position by not always going for that laugh.

Michael:
I remember our good friend Ron Tite once said … I think it was actually on the podcast he’s done. He’s either been here once or twice now, that he said when he was a comedian obviously he was always going for the laugh because that’s the job and that’s how you can evaluate your success if they laugh, successful if they don’t laugh, unsuccessful. He said but when he started speaking and he started going and he started instead focusing on going for the oh, type of moment. He said it was so much more satisfying for him because it was a transformational moment rather than a just a laugh. I think … I mean actually I know because I know your work well is you produce dozens if not hundreds of those transformational moments throughout a speech.

Michael:
I think that often the great speeches are just a series of interconnected moments, some micro transformational moments, some more macro transformational moments. The aggregate of those moments is what produces change for the audience. You use humor to get them to listen. Because often they’re not going to listen to the things you’re talking about unless you have a way of getting them to drop their guard, lower their filters. You use that but you do create a lot of those little transformational moments of people go, “Oh, shoot.”

Scott:
You’re exactly right. Humor is my tool to get the learning done. I’ve always say if you’re laughing you’re listening and that’s the key for it. You usually get the real good right after the punchlines where I make my main point and also it’s all structured around that and I use humor to get them on my side. My opening line on stage I walk out and say you want me to address the elephant in the room? Do you want me to talk about the man bone now or explain it at the end? It immediately changes the audience’s his demeanor. You can see it from the stage. I just did it yesterday and just their shoulders move a bit and they start smiling. It’s realizing because a lot of times we come up there and you put it beautifully. You always put this beautifully as people. We get up there and try to prove how smart we are and you had the best line for that which I’ll butcher right now.

Scott:
You’re on stage. You’re already the expert. You’re already in position of expertise and that always stuck with me. Actually it’s one of the biggest pieces of advice I give you and I give the other speakers and I give you zero credit for it.

Michael:
Thank you very much.

Scott:
Which is you stop trying to prove how smart you are. We overstuff the talk with all these facts and figures and all these things to say, “Look how much I know.” I’m very confident in how little I know but I know how to get the message across. The humor is such a strong tool for me. Also the problem is when you get on that run of laughter you feel like you can do no wrong. Trust is a very fragile thing too. You don’t want to blow it. Once I didn’t do the man bun opening and I immediately took a shot at the CEO just did my introduction to sit in the audience and usually have a great rapport with them. I had it with the CEO but I didn’t have with the audience.

Michael:
The audience got nervous when they heard you take the shot?

Scott:
Yes. I didn’t preface it to start I didn’t even say me and Chris spoke backstage and [inaudible 00:22:58] that occurred on many things but I just went for the jugular right away. I’ve done that many a times. It’s one of the fun parts of it that they like to play off of that because it takes the air out of it a bit. I didn’t structure it right. The whole audience is why would he take a shot.

Michael:
This is one well one of the reasons I love this work so much is because there isn’t one way to do it. We’re constantly walking this line between safety and tension. We first and foremost want to make sure that we can create an environment where people feel safe, relatively safe and then at the same time provoke them because part of our job is to help them see the world in a way that is different. Maybe to think differently or to feel differently or to act differently or all of the above. It’s not easy to do to walk that line. Because if you pander to the audience in order to create safety then you’re probably not going to get much change in the way they think or what they do. If you don’t work to create safety but you just provoke them then you are probably going to change the way they feel but you might not change the way they think and probably not going to change what they do.

Michael:
That’s why the best performers often inadvertently skid over the line to one side or the other from time to time. That’s why we hear a comedian from Saturday Night Live gets in trouble for going just a little bit over the line. Understandably there may be some things that they said that were inappropriate but they didn’t mean necessarily to be inappropriately provocative but they just accidentally crossed over the line because they don’t always know where the edge is.

Scott:
We’re in speaking to though with when it comes to my role one of the reasons they didn’t hire a professional comedians one of the reasons sometimes is like they don’t want them to go over that edge. Then I come out just guns are blazing and pushing the line and pushing the comfort zone. They signed up for … They want me to unleash the Stratten. I get it. They always want … They want the effect of it but they just don’t want. They always end the call before the event the pre call with … Our audience is a little more conservative. What they’re trying to say is please don’t swear on stage.

Michael:
Behave yourself.

Scott:
Behave yourself. We love you. Go nuts but stay within this boundary. I get it too because what happens if you do say something that is inappropriate or offensive. That just colors the entire event?

Michael:
It’s not a comedy club. It’s a business environment. We have to-

Scott:
It’s a conference.

Michael:
It’s a conference. We’ve got to watch that. It’s interesting before we got on the line to do this interview, I was talking to one of the biggest … One of the agents from one of the biggest speakers bureaus in the country. I said I got to go because I got to talk to Scott Stratten. He said I know Scott. I said, “Have you worked with him?” “Well no I mean I haven’t worked directly with him but I know him from the business. I think I’ve been involved in some events that he was booked.” At etcetera. He said, “I really like Scott. One of the things I really about him is his edge. He walks a fine line … Not his exact words but essentially what he’s saying with that edge and he brings a … He brings an interesting perspective to the events they know that he’s speaking at.

Michael:
When your brand has an edge, people they should expect that there’s going to be edginess in that presentation. Then there’s folks who … I saw a speaker once during a Q&A session and there was probably about 3,000 plus people at the event. Why they’re doing Q&A I’m not exactly sure. Nonetheless, they had people lined up at these microphones, standing microphones. One person said, “Hey, listen how do you make sure to meet all the important people at the conference? This particular speaker I didn’t really the question. His answer first was well that’s a stupid question. What I saw were people who were lined up behind these standing microphones very slowly start to turn around and walk back to their seats because who wants to be abused by the person you’re asking a question of. When you’re asking a question of somebody who’s on stage, you’re giving them status and respect by asking a question in front of thousands of people assuming they have the answer and you’re interested in their answer. Then to crush them like that so upsetting

Scott:
A huge and it’s such a precious spot to be in. The problem is there people will say well they just won’t book. They won’t get booked again. They won’t do this. It just changes everything though. I did a gig recently where they refuse to go through a bureau because the only speaker they booked through a bureau once came out and said something not right for that audience at all. They were warned about it. Please don’t bring this topic up. He did. It was in the Q&A. Maybe we should stop doing Q&A’s at these things.

Michael:
Maybe that’s the problem.

Scott:
That’s a whole another episode. It’s true because it’s not just a comedian on the club who gets inappropriate. You have the person that booked you. It could be a group, a committee that booked you for an association. They could be sponsors in there. There’s so many more layers even so on a place where they’re look and you’re now the brand of the company that brought you in or the association and the person that sponsored your talk. People come up to me, like they’re, “Hey, this is Mary from the sponsor and you’re sponsoring keynote. They’re like, “Hey, thanks so much for doing this.” I’m like, “Well you’re thanking me and I haven’t said anything yet.” They have this look of, “What?” I’m just playing but don’t worry. It’ll be great. It just it always but I play off that. I say something that’s funny but a little bit off and I’m brought to you by dah dah.

Scott:
They laugh at it and stuff but you still got to be careful because here’s the thing you might have 95% of the audience laughing but if the person that booked you and their boss is that was not appropriate then you’ve done a bad gig.

Michael:
One of the things that we say at HBS is that audience interaction should be proportionate to the amount of trust that you’ve earned.

Scott:
Exactly.

Michael:
Now trust is a … It’s not a clear stake in the sand. It’s something that you have to make some assumptions about when you go in to give an hour long keynote how much trust you’ve earned at any given point in that keynote. Generally I like to assume that I’ve earned less than I might think so that I never make an assumption that I have more trust with them than I’ve actually earned. I would always err on the side of less. One of the things that I think you do very well is tickle the audience because I think that one of the things that audiences love performers to do is to create what I would call benign violations because … Which is like tickling someone. Obviously you don’t tickle someone you don’t know. Let’s be clear about this. If I’m tickling one of my kids when they’re five years old they love it and they squeal “Stop, stop, stop.” They love it. Then you could put … You can go over the line into tickle torture.

Michael:
Now that becomes a violation because it actually hurts and makes them uncomfortable and feels like they don’t have control. I think what you do very well is you do … You tickle them just to the point where they’re like, “My God I can’t take anymore.” And then you back off.

Scott:
That’s what exactly what it is. I find people that to back up your point you find speakers coming out and immediately start asking the audience to do things. Raise your hand. Raise your hand. I know you brought this up.

Michael:
Raise your hand if you’re an alcoholic.

Scott:
You bring it. You always bring this up beautifully which it’s just like raise your hand if you don’t raising your hand. It’s almost like you haven’t you haven’t earned it. You haven’t earned it from the audience and you’re already taking that. That is my thing where you get to a point where … It’s like Jackass Whisperer where he’s like you can’t exactly tell everybody they’re the problem without the proper preface to it and the proper preparation. It’s true I get people to align and I’m still learning this and I’m always learning this and you might have the … I have the Kanye West level of confidence on stage. I am meant to do this but I’ve changed my brain in the past couple of years of saying I love doing this. I’m really good and I can always be better. That’s a big shift for my brain, which is it’s almost that tickle how far do you want to go with that?

Scott:
I used to try to go sometimes too early with it. An audience that knew me a bit they were marketers or something else. It was easy to start with but then if it wasn’t then my tickling, the needling I do type of thing because it comes off as arrogant to people. We’ve got to position it better. That’s how I structured my talk where the main stuff, the tickle fight happens halfway through. That’s a big deal.

Michael:
In 2016 you keynoted the national speakers association annual conference and in that speech said something to the effect of you don’t have to be a great speaker to be deemed great. You only have to be mediocre because everyone else sucks at it. Actually that was the quote part. That was the little … Because everyone else sucks out. It was actually I think what you said unless you correct me.

Scott:
I did.

Michael:
What do speakers need to have to not only be better than mediocre but actually be great?

Scott:
I think there’s two always two ingredients. This goes back to … I used to be on a committee to book speakers 25 years ago. I sat on a committee to book the biggest HR conference in Canada and there’s 4,000 people attending. I got to see the other side of the table first before being on this side of it. It was all in it. This has not changed. You’re looking for two things in a speaker. Can they all rate? Can they perform? Can they steal the show if I may state. Also though do they have the content? Do they have the pedigree? Do they have the body of work to have the justification to be able to get the audience to then say well I can listen to this person? The problem is it’s you. It was usually one or the other. They could perform greatly but they weren’t saying a lot or they had a great content.

Scott:
The content itself was really … But it was presented in a way that didn’t get understood as well or was above their heads or below their heads. There was this match of it where I used to love following economists. I used to love to have so many economists go before me or a CFO because it would just be on a bunch of numbers and graphs and they really just … Every slide was just blinding, and you just couldn’t absorb what they were saying. Now, including yesterday I spoke at an event for Indeed for the re-hiring. The crew, the online, the jobs and recruiting.

Michael:
Yeah, we use that.

Scott:
Indeed so and I love it. It’s my third gig for them. My problem with them though is they’re economists who goes before me is really good. He’s really good. Because he presents it in a very understandable way, but he’s also, he’s got some humor in it. Afterwards, we talk after every time. He’s like so what can I work on? I’m like, I’m going to stop giving you tips man. Because you already got the content and now your performance is getting there. You’re greatest threat to my business at this point. For being great, there’s … I always found there was a great part for the actual moment which is both these performance, but then the content and those two things. Then after that, there is the talk and then there’s everything else. The greatness, the reputation for the greatness sometimes comes out of the off the stage stuff as well. It’s the are you easy to work with, or your team easy to work with? Are you overly demanding? Are you attentive?

Scott:
Will you do the things? I’m somewhere in the middle of that where I don’t do everything an event asks. I don’t do the three cocktail receptions and this and this. We stand firm on what I do and I do it. My job is to do a keynote and to kill it. That’s my only job. If anything gets in the way of that. We try to explain better, but even how I used to explain that was differently. Two years ago, I was … Because I do this talk. Are you the best company to be a customer of? Are you the best to work with? I thought to myself, hang on. Am I the best speaker to work with? Because I knew my stage stuff was good. I’ve never had that lack as you’ve known. I’ve never had the lack of confidence in my ability up there, except when I go back and look at my talk 10 years ago, I’m like, that’s a train wreck. Of course now I’m the best, but in 10 years from the way sweets talk [inaudible 00:37:01]. All of that stuff. Was I the easiest to work with off stage?

Scott:
It wasn’t even that I was being a jerk or a jackass to people directly. I was doing it by proxy. I was doing it through my assistant and through the bureau where they’re like, they would like you to come at seven for the sound check and your talks at 10:00. I’m like, “Can you believe what they’ve asked of me? I cannot believe they’re asking me to come down three hours earlier.”

Scott:
In the contract it says 30 minutes. I could easily just brush it off and go back because I wasn’t the one directly telling them. When you do this by somebody else, then not only are you … It was cowardly of me to say for my assistant and then the bureau. You’re going through multiple people to say something to somebody I wouldn’t say directly was cowardly of me. I had to realize, so even if I … There was certain reasons why I didn’t want to go five hours early to a sound check or that I didn’t want to go to the cocktail reception the night before. Because that was more based on my voice. My voice can get really tired pretty quickly and I can lose it. Now I tell clients though, I have a problem. My problem is I’m a speaker. I can’t stop talking. If I go to the cocktail reception, I’m going to keep talking and I lose my voice. I said my only goal was to kill the keynote. Would it be okay if I didn’t go to it? Every single time was of course, of course.

Scott:
It was how I word it versus no he will not go to the cocktail reception. He will not do this. He will not come down. He will not send the slides in advance because one gig out of 500 in the past, 512 gigs one gig changed a slide on him and forever he’s like, well, then no gigs are getting slides. I’d only bring it on USB key. I had to look at my own stuff. Speakers are really good at giving advice. It’s what we do. We are performers, we are storytellers. Our job is to give people thoughts and things to help shift something. Yet I’m not getting my own advice. I had to shift that.

Michael:
When you give your speech, there’s a section in there that you do about millennials. I suppose I should call it a rant because it’s a bit of a rant. In fact, excuse me one of your millennial rant videos has some 13 million views and counting. The funny thing is that’s a pretty millennial thing to do. At HBS we’ve got a lot of students in their 20s and 30s who are, and older. We’ve got a lot of folks who are in that millennial range. They’re trying to start or grow their speaking careers also. Would you give any different advice to them than you would to people of our age and older?

Scott:
Well, I think so somewhat. The funny thing about that millennial rant going viral is it doesn’t, the problem is this. That’s me going for the laugh because the second half of that talk is actually me defending them. It’s like I do the whole bit and build up just to do a big reveal which is like, no we’ve always talked about generations this way. It’s a big flip. The clip is the one that gets the funny. The funny thing is 13 million views. You know how many inquiries I got to speak?

Michael:
Zero?

Scott:
No. I got one. One guy is like, can you come to my barbecue and do your comedy there. I’m serious. Can you come to my barbecue and do your comedy there? I’m like are you, well and what’s your budget?

Michael:
Exactly sure. If you came in-

Scott:
[inaudible 00:40:37] you got a bar mitzvah coming up. I’m in. Whatever you need man. Whatever you need I’m going to do. That side of it was different. Then my speaking trailer that I had made, and at 4,000 views got us 12 inquiries. Those numbers are crazy.

Michael:
Actually, let me just … I want to address that really quickly and then I want to give you the opportunity to pick up on that. Because this is a very important lesson here. In fact, what Andrew and I are focusing on in the referable speech, which is when people come into the speaking world, they hope they can move the market by marketing. I’ll do a clip like Scott. Because Scott got 13 million views. He’s a big speaker. If I do that kind of thing and I get these views, then I’ll get booked. It doesn’t usually work that way. What we find actually let me ask this as a question. Do you agree that this speech is generally what moves the market? When you deliver a speech, a speech that is worth referring, people will come up to you or they will call your bureau after or they’ll contact you via email after or fill out a form or something. Because they saw how good your speech was, and they say I want that speech for this conference on this date. What do you cost?

Scott:
100%.

Michael:
Do you agree with that? I mean, is that the … Do you think we’re barking up the right tree?

Scott:
The number one reason myself and the most speakers that I’ve ever talked to, and I’ve done a lot of research in this business and this is all I do. The number one reason you get booked because somebody saw you do it somewhere else. Number one. Number two is that one of their trusted friends or colleagues saw you speak somewhere else. Three through 10 are so distanced from that. It’s almost not worth mentioning. Honestly, it’s the gigs get the gigs, reps get the reps. The problem is even with filming, the time that was filmed, I had done that bit many, many times. I did the reps and if I filmed it earlier on, it wouldn’t have the same pacing, it wouldn’t have the same pauses and it wouldn’t have the same, so I didn’t have the reps. A lot of times when you see people trying to get clips.

Scott:
I want mine to go viral on this, I’m like well, how many times have you done the bit? They’re like that film that was the first time. Then I’m like then don’t put it out. You’ve got to do the reps. It’s the reps. It’s the practice. If I went back, and we can tie this in to the younger speaker question perfectly, which is that especially earlier on. You’re talking to a guy right now who at 24 years old was giving work life balance talks. I had no business giving that. What did I know about work life balance? I still had energy in all of my muscles and my knee cap wasn’t shifting to the left as it is right now. I’m going to physio for things that just happened to me, not injuries. I just woke up and my kneecap are like, “Forget it.” Back then-

Michael:
My tailbone hurts so badly from sitting on it. That’s how bad it gets when you get older.

Scott:
From just gravity.

Michael:
Just sitting on my ass.

Scott:
How did you hurt your tailbone gravity. I just was sitting there and just the force of gravity hurt. This is how I know you’re my brother. We’re at the same spot. Our bodies just saying, I’m out. I’m just going to go … It’s like that SpongeBob meme like, all right I’m out of here. Let me just walk away. The difference is, here’s the thing. When I was younger, and this is about anything when you’re younger. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, but that’s also an advantage because I love listening to the case studies and the how I built this, which is a great NPR podcast. Which is about founders of really successful companies of saying, the founder of … From Spanks to five guys to, and those can have something to do with each other, but all those founders, how even Herb from Southwest. They all almost said the exact same line at some point in their interviews which was, if I knew now what … If I knew then what I know now, I never would have started the company.

Scott:
That ignorance is not a bad word. When it comes to being younger, you get to try those things. You get to the point where you can make those errors and do the difference. One of the things I would have done differently is just done everything about the reps. Meaning, I would just speak to speak as many times as I could because outside of all of those things, once people say hey, the number one trusted thing. I saw you come to my thing and do that. The second one is where this important, the reps count which is hey, I saw Scott speak here. You should bring him in for your event. They’re like, well, let me check him out. That’s where the other stuff kicks in which is topics, testimonials and trailers.

Michael:
Yes.

Scott:
What they speak about is the testimonials covered if it’s a referral, so they’ve already given a trusted one, but you show other people and then let me see you in action. Very rarely if ever speaker ever book where they’ve just unseen onsite, like no talk, no video or nothing.

Michael:
Unless if they have worldly fame, then it makes the difference.

Scott:
Then you’re [inaudible 00:45:42] and you talk about meatloaf if you want. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. That’s a group I never get into it because it’s a different set of rules for a celebrity level speaker.

Michael:
Correct. Last topic. You are someone who is known for being well connected, meaning a connector. From the beginning of time, you have been organizing groups online of like-minded folks to interact and grow together. I’d love for you to talk a little bit about how you stay connected to people. Because I mean, you have a blended family, you have many children. You have a busy career and yet you still make time for people outside of your family. You make time for people that you don’t even know, who just say, listen hey, I’d love to get some advice from you. You make time more often than I think most people do for other folks in the industry. I think it’s one of the reasons that you have done so well because you are very well respected by your peer group. Not just for your work on the stage, but also for who you are.

Michael:
The longer that you’re in a particular field, hopefully the more one recognizes the importance of this. One of the reasons that Ron Tite is one of my favorite speakers in the world, is not just because of what he can do on stage, but because of who he is.

Scott:
Me too.

Michael:
I wonder how you approach that so that you don’t get burnt out. You still have the private time because you’re relatively introverted actually for a person with a very gregarious personality. How do you manage that and still stay sane and stay motivated to continue to connect with people and meet new people?

Scott:
I think that’s a fantastic question. I think that there’s … You can dive deep into life stages or your brain or the psychological side of things. We get to a point in our lives and our careers where we like to give back. There’s different ways we can do that. You can donate. You can give back financially to an industry or a group. You can give your time, you can give your expertise. I just, I have gotten to this point on the advice and help of others because this is a lone wolf industry with great people in it. If you just put them in together into packs, into groups we can help each other. I realized that the learning curve in a lone wolf industry, especially one that’s there’s a very low hanging shingle like in speaking, you just say you’re a speaker and you are. It’s just because … It’s like, it’s not like where it comes to something where you’re working in a company and you’re an accountant.

Scott:
You’ve got your department plus you’ve got an association of accountants. You’ve got a lot of things, where it’s a little more fragmented and scattered. I would learn something from Jay Bayer and he would talk to me about a travel bio. One of the most valuable things I’d ever learned which is getting a client just to give you a flat fee for airfare and you have to deal with approvals. I’m that changed our business the way we did things. I’m like I wish I knew that five years ago. I kept saying that. I wish I knew that 10 years ago. I wish I knew that two years ago. I said well, we’ve got to have a depository of the stuff. We got to have a place where we can all learn from these things. I decided, you know what, I can help with that because I think if we don’t share our mistakes and what we learned from them, which is how advice comes out, I think then they truly are mistakes.

Scott:
We run to this notion and speaking that if you get the gig, I don’t. I don’t think it’s that zero some type of way. I really don’t think, and I know you’re on the same train is that, which is just there is lots of gigs, there’s lots of places and there’s plenty of things to go around. There’s also multiple ways to be a speaker. Instead of viewing us as a threat. I say this to my friends and the people that are in groups online is that, it’s not my line. I just, I always saw something which is it’s better to take an elevator than a ladder to success. You don’t have to step on one … There’s only one person on a rung at a time. I think we can bring this I care deeply about this industry. I’m living my dream right now. This is what I’ve always wanted to do with the woman I love and the kids I love, and I get to be on stage.

Scott:
I wanted to do this since I was 12. That’s no secret. I’ve said it many times. The part of that is, all right, now look down … Look over and look to people who are still trying to take that elevator where you are. Can you help that? Can you do something versus just looking if I can get now to the next pinnacle? If I can try to get to that next thing, the next level of fee or whatever it is. One of the things is and you mentioned how I’m doing this and I’m busy and stuff. I have a lot of downtime by myself on the road and that can be a big detriment too. One thing that fills me up as a person in my DNA, is helping others. In our front hallway, right beside me here when you walk in to our right in our front doors, of framed picture on the wall. It just all it says is, you don’t need a reason to help someone.

Scott:
That’s it. We live our life by that. When I can take that thought and make it across everything. Why I help other speakers is because I do, because it helps them and it makes them better. The next time somebody hires a professional speaker to do something, they have a great experience or a better experience than it even would have been. It’s a collective. It’s not my advice. It’s just advice in general in this business. It fills me. It fills me up. The road is a lonely place. I am not busy when it comes down to that. It is 47 hours of monotony for one hour of incredible. It’s like a touring musician except we have no logical geographic tour. I have a lot of time on planes and in hotels. I’m very good at taking care of myself. My goals at every ballpark, arena and stadium in the majors in North America, I’ve done half. I love, I can occupy myself.

Scott:
You’re right. I am introverted in that way. I’d rather just sit in my hotel room most of the time because I just turn the switch off. We can use our time differently. For me … But here’s the thing. I’m also privileged that way that I don’t have to consult, that I don’t have to run my agency anymore. That I don’t have to do these things. I have the time to give. I just choose to use this time in certain ways we’re still having time. I think it’d be very different if I was still doing the consulting and really bogged down with work. Because to be able to give, you have to have the mental freedom to do it too.

Michael:
I said this in your last topic, but I’ve changed my mind. Because you just mentioned that you don’t have to do consulting, that you don’t have to run your agency anymore et cetera. I just want to speak to that for a moment because you just speak. There are certainly more than a handful of people out there who just speak. Most people do other things as well.

Scott:
I don’t just speak either. I just keynote. No breakouts, no trainings, no workshops and just keynotes which is even more specific for me.

Michael:
Now of course, when we say just speak, I don’t want people to get the idea that all you do is walk on stage for 60 minutes and you don’t do anything else. You and Alison work on these books together.

Scott:
Good.

Michael:
There are lots of things that you do, but still you’re not bogged down by having to deliver other types of services to paying clients. I bring this up because, I’d like you to speak briefly to the decision making process that you went through that got you to this point. Because I don’t want people to make the assumption that it’s well, it’s only because Scott gets really high fees and is booked a lot that he doesn’t have to do anything. This was a conscious choice. I think that it would be empowering for people to recognize that this is a made up industry, and you can make your own choices about how you want to work through it. You don’t have to do it the way that other people have done it. Sometimes it’s a little scary because we don’t know necessarily when the next gig is going to get booked or how many we’re going to book next year or whether we’re going to be able to raise our fees et cetera.

Michael:
We see lots of opportunities out there and we just take them, and then we end up doing too many things and not all of them really well. We end up spinning our wheels a lot and not moving forward in a very productive or progressive way. I’d love to know your take on this and what your thought process was when you made the decision not to do these other things. What people should think about as they’re thinking about their offerings and how to focus and streamline those offerings?

Scott:
It’s a real deep question. When you look at … I knew this is what I wanted to do. I said that when I was 12. About when I was 12, I wanted to be a keynote or like I saw Les Brown on TV when I was 12. I’m like, that’s a thing. You can just yell at people and go home. I’m in. I swear that’s been my drive, just that.

Michael:
You’re the only person in the industry that I know, who knew they wanted to do this when they were 12 years old.

Scott:
Me too, dude I know how rare that is. People want to be a firefighter and an astronaut, and I’m like, “I want to be Les Brown.” They’re like dude, he’s not even the same race as you. I’m like, I didn’t mean less literally. I meant like, I want to yell at people and then full circle you go forward 20 years, I spoke at Les’s event. I’m just like, “This is full circle is incredible.” For me though, so the thought process was in stages. Originally obviously first and foremost, Alison I need to provide. You need to provide. You need to provide for your responsibilities, your children and everything. I would do whatever that took. I was always doing something speaking wise. I was a sales training manager then I was a professor at college. Always part of it, I always was in my wheel house. I knew that the spoken word was my asset. I always knew that.

Scott:
Then luckily, and I’m not the number one person in the world. I’m telling this to that already knows this. The inability to get up and talk in front of a group, whether that’s five people or 500 is very powerful. It helps careers. It helps businesses, and lead generation and your bank account depending on how you structure it. There’s no more powerful positioning to me as in standing in front of a room. I always did that. That’s what got me out of college. I graduated high school and college from my ability to speak, nothing else. Then most of my jobs had to do with that. I got into HR. One of the reasons I got into that in college a lot of it was there was the training department. I always, everything led to me doing that. When I launched all this stuff in 2009, this is my second life as a speaker. In 2009, I was bankrupt, literally figuratively everything. My agency was kaput, everything was gone. The recession hit and me and millions of others didn’t see it common because we weren’t looking. I wasn’t in denial.

Scott:
I’m just like, I’m doing this. It was easy money, huge margins on doing these viral videos. We were making best top company in the world doing them no problem. Then it all fell. Then I just said, what am I going to do? I had to provide. I looked through all this stuff and then I just started, well, where else can I make noise if I’m not hitting stages at this point? Because you can’t just say, I’m going to speak and start speaking this afternoon. There’s depending on where you’re speaking, there’s longer lead times. It can be a month, it could be a year, it can be two years. Speaking is so many wonderful things. One thing it’s not is fast. That you just, it’s hard fast because people plan ahead of time. I knew it was going to be something. I got … I made noise on Twitter. I knew I could transfer my thoughts onto a platform and I’d started doing that. It wasn’t about me getting speaking gigs. One of the biggest faults I see for speakers, and I’m sorry for going off the rails on this one, but it’s a really important point.

Scott:
Is that one of the biggest problems for speakers is that we market ourselves as speakers, versus experts. My entire job was to position myself as an authority in a subject. Because conferences and associations book experts who speak for the most part. They don’t go and find a speaker. They find somebody with an expertise in a subject they would like to have covered. My job in 2009, plus I had nothing else to do, and 2010 to start was to build my platform, to build my following. Actually used to have a site called build your following.com because it was that type of thing which was builds that following up and give the expertise. It’s UnMarketing at its best. When you say hey, I’m doing talks now, you already have a platform to an audience to send it to, versus because then you have an audience who would buy a book or go book you to speak because it’s your expertise versus I’m a speaker. If you’re a speaker and I don’t book speakers and most people don’t, we forget to mention that.

Scott:
Then the majority of people on this planet don’t book a speaker. There’s a certain part of the audience or the population that do. My job is, look, you can always if you like my expertise, if you like my brand and my style there’s books, there’s podcasts, there’s talks, there’s stickers there’s everything or there’s just free stuff. When you might not be in the position today to book a speaker, but in three years from now you find yourself on a committee because those committees and associations always turn over. Then you’re like, “You know what? I just had a gig two weeks ago.” Somebody came up to me and said, you Skyped into my class at university seven years ago. Seven years ago because we say, it was the University of Southern Mississippi because they’re using UnMarketing as one of their textbooks. One of the students tweeted and said, “Hey, we’re using your book. I’m happy to Skype in.” And I did.

Scott:
She goes I never forgot that. That’s the main reason why you came. I’m like I’m also a good speaker. She’s like yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. Look we are as my good friend Mitch Joel always says, we are coffee.

Michael:
Yes.

Scott:
We are the same as coffee and coffee usually costs more at the events we are interchangeable. It was building the platform and doing everything else versus just the gig. Just the gig. That’s what built. Then so when I went on Twitter, when the first book came out, I did the unbook tour, the speaking tour. It wasn’t at bookstores. It was doing talks. I did 30 talks in 10 weeks and I got all those from one tweet I sent in June. I said, the UnMarketing book comes out in the fall, who wants to have a stop on the unbook tour? Buy a hundred books, put me up and fly me there and I’m coming to your event. The reason why you had to fly me there and put me up is I had no money. I had a prepaid credit card, man. I was done. I just and I went to my assistant Karen. She’s been my assistant for 15 years. Her title here is the coordinator of Boston.

Scott:
I went to her and I said you should just work for somebody else. We are at zero revenue. She says, “I believe in you.” She stayed with me and because she makes a percentage and she’s doing great.

Michael:
Now you book seven figures plus a year just in speeches.

Scott:
Right, she like, “I believe in you too.” I realized, okay then what do I do? All those 30 gigs they weren’t only not paid, they were negative dollars. They were negative amount of money. Going for 10 weeks traveling with no money and stuff, that’s a hard … And kids, young kids. It was so, so all this stuff was like out of necessity. My version of what I do has shifted. Because early on if you had … You want me to do a half day workshop for six people, I’m in. I would do anything to get that momentum, get the gigs and also I need money. I needed to live. Consulting was there so I did consulting. You want me to set up a training program, tell me what and I’ll help. It was anything and everything because I was so scattered and panicked. Then I was doing the speaking and the consulting. In 2011, I found out very quickly, you know how you get consulting clients, is tell people you don’t consult. They’re like, but can you come do it for us?

Scott:
Because it’s almost like that really wanted thing. The person you weren’t paying attention to who gets married, you’re like. It’s like that same thing with consulting. It was a big thing. I learned quickly that it was never the kids. It was never Alison saying it. It was always like I need to make a deal with myself was if I’m going to have my dream which is being on stage then I have to balance it with my other dream which is my family. The problem … The contradiction of every gig I get and I got and I still will get takes me away from the reason I do this, which is my family. That’s a contradiction that you deal with daily. Every time I hop in this car and the car service and go to the airport, I’m leaving my favorite thing. I never thought that. I just thought my speaking was going to be my favorite thing. It’s the superstar, I got … I have a healthy ego, all these things and it fills that tank. That tank is not the big tank in my soul. There’s always a contradiction.

Scott:
I made a deal with myself. When I got to the point where speaking could sustain things, I would remove the other things that took up time. I could be making a lot more money. I could do a lot more things. I could do a lot of things that come with training, with speaking, with franchising and we’ve talked about this. All these different multiple streams of income, but I have the privilege to say we have enough. Will we always have enough? We always have bookings. I don’t know. Every year I look at next year’s calendar, man, I’m like I could probably get a job and it’s always and the lead times of change, bookings it become much more shorter lead times. Literally yesterday I’m not making this up. Yesterday Karen wrote to me and said, “Hey, we just booked a gig for an event. I’m like cool. When? She’s like two weeks from now. I’m like who backed out? She’s like nobody.

Scott:
It used to be a year, a year and a half two years. Now it’s like, are they available Wednesday? These lead times, mess things up with your brain and speaking is so vulnerable, so imposter syndrome based, so vulnerable and so raw. It’s one of the raw forms of art to me, because you are the product and you are there in all of your nakedness on stage, not literally. You’re so vulnerable to it and it’s just a kick in the gut if something goes wrong or you don’t … Our entire self-worth is based on a booking that we don’t control. There’s a thousand reasons why you won’t get a gig, but usually not the reason you think. It’s like it just somebody else was more fitting or your name is Scott and that person had a bad experience with somebody named Scott two years ago, and that’s it. You just can’t control these things. My job was never making the gigs the goal.

Scott:
It was putting my stuff out in different ways for people to consume so there was awareness. When somebody said who talks about this topic, boom I was the guy they were going to think about. That comes out in all the things we do. It’s never been about the gig because I can’t control it. I actually don’t like, but when Karen says, this is how much we made this year because I don’t want to know, because I don’t control that. We look at the number of gigs and it’s like 60 ish a year or 50. A year round that’s 50, 60, 70 gigs we get depending on the year. I’m like I have no control over that. I have no control over getting them. All I can control is when I go on stage and what I do and what I do between those times directly with people. It’s not easy. This is like … This is what I get most upset about speaking is when people are just like it’s just this or just that.

Scott:
Just is a big trigger word for me. Because there is no just. There is no, I’m going to do this and I’m going to be a professional speaker and I’m going to make this amount of money. This ain’t easy. As you know, it takes a lot of work to make it look like it’s easy.

Michael:
Amen.

Scott:
I’m sorry for that tangent, man. I went off a little bit. I’m sorry.

Michael:
No. That was beautiful. It was beautiful. It’s perfect conclusion for our episode today. Scott, you know I love you very much.

Scott:
I got you. I love you too man.

Michael:
I’m just so thankful every time you come and talk to our folks because I know how much they love to hear from you, and how much compassion you bring to the topic for people who are really working hard to make a difference in the world. Every single person who’s listening right now wants to contribute to make the world a better place in some way.

Scott:
That’s why I talk about these things, because there’s also as you and I both know, there’s a lot of people in this industry that are saying things the other way. That they’re saying that, well, you will you have to. Do you have to be like this, you have to be … You have to act like that person and be like that person. I think you and I, one of the reasons we’re put on this earth is to tell people that there’s strength and power in what they do and what they say, in their own way.

Michael:
Individuality, in uniqueness. Exactly. All right my friend. Thank you so much for being here.

Scott:
Anytime, and I can just can’t believe I’m asked back. That’s great.

Michael:
No. This will be the last time.

Scott:
We are done.

Michael:
We’re done. That’s it.

Scott:
You [inaudible 01:07:27] self-help book, and now you’re just too much to handle.

Michael:
All right. Thank you so much. At the end of each episode of Steal the Show we’re featuring Heroic Public Speaking alum who is saving the world one speech at a time. This week, we’re profiling Doctor Theo [inaudible 01:07:51]. A neuropsychologist who stepped up when his slides went down. In academia, conventional wisdom is that you show your expertise on stage by sharing as many information rich slides as you can present. For years, Theo prepared customized decks of copy heavy slides full of tables and charts for his speeches. Frequently making changes to his slide deck, right up to the moment he took the stage, like so many other academics. When he watched his colleague’s presentations he recognized how distracting the slides were. Because switching from reading dense copy to listening to a speaker is, he says, cognitively taxing and he should know. He realized his job wasn’t to read his slides on stage, but to provide a transformational experience for the audience. Even a PhD can learn something new.

Michael:
He signed up for training at [inaudible 01:08:49] public speaking. Adding storytelling and performance skills to his repertoire. Soon, his slide decks got slimmer and the content on each slide shorter. That’s because he’d learned to rely on his performance skills, instead of words on slides. That was a good thing. He got his training when he did. Because one day an event organizer lost Theo slides moments before he was slated to take the stage. Though he was a bit distressed, he was actually thrilled because it gave him the excuse he needed to try something completely different. A performance instead of just a presentation. As a result, his audience was engaged and he was so confident and comfortable. He didn’t care when the slides were finally located. He’d made research that’s often deemed dry than interesting and memorable experience. Not only is he a better speaker because of his performance training, but he says, he’s a better consumer.

Michael:
Now Theo has a different appreciation of the work that speakers put into performances and the skills required to connect with an audience. His new skills as a performer have led to training and workshop opportunities, all because of a mind shift from narrating slides to performing and creating an experience for the audience. Thanks for listening to Steal the Show. I’m your host Michael Port. We record our episodes at Heroic Public Speaking HQ. Thanks for listening and learning how to be a performer in your spotlight moments. Make sure to reach out to us on Instagram and Facebook at Heroic Public Speaking and leave us a review on iTunes if like the show. Until next time, keep thinking big about who you are and how you see the world. Bye for now.

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