Careering Towards Comedy with guest Donna Shannon

Donna Shannon is a careers coach with a difference. When she’s not helping people land their dream jobs, you’re likely to find her taking to the stage and making people laugh. You’d think career coaching and comedy would be worlds apart but not for Donna. She makes it work in her own unique style.

We discussed Donna’s road to where she is now, which included things like becoming a radio presenter. You’ll hear possibly the worst ever answer to the question ‘Why should we hire you?’ and you’ll get to find out whether or not I have any tattoos. Join us for a fun conversation about making people laugh and doing the things you love.

If you’d like to get in touch with Donna, here’s all the socials:

To claim the free 15-minute resume review & consultation Donna offers, go here:
https://personaltouchcareerservices.com/contact/

You can get a copy of Donna’s book Get a Job Without Going Crazy (3rd Edition)
https://www.amazon.com/Get-Job-Without-Going-Crazy-ebook/dp/B07S8D538W/ and be sure to check out her podcast ‘Tattooed Freaks In Business Suits. Donna’s book recommendation on the show was Stephen King’s ‘On Writing‘, which I will definitely be checking out.

Remember to like and subscribe to the show and look out for 2 great episodes coming out next week! See you then.

The Diversified Business Diva with guest Tamika Martin

There are times in life you encounter people who seem to be able to do it all and keep multiple plates spinning whilst also juggling and doing sudoku. Tamika Martin is such a person and it was a delight to speak with a charismatic entrepreneur, mother and now grandmother who is doing it all and continually pushing forward.

Tamika has expertise in event management, hosting and promotion and being the superwoman that she is, doing them all at the same time! She has her own podcast call ‘Hit me up’ and shares who would be her ideal guest, as well as who’s podcast she loves the most (other than mine… obvs…) and would like to appear on.

We chat about entrepreneurial life, networking skills, accidentally going on tour with Snoop Dog and a lot of other things besides. Enjoy the chat and make sure to subscribe for future episodes.

If you’d like to know more about Tamika and connect with her on the socials:

Next week my guest is career coach, professional speaker and stand up comedian Donna Shannon. We had great fun speaking and I’m certain you’ll have fun listening. See you next time.

Sex Education and Stand Up with guest Raylene Tasoski

Raylene Taskoski developed her unique mix of Sex Ed and Stand Up Comedy in living rooms throughout New England. For 13 years she’s educated women about how
their bodies work and why they work that way and along the way she’s gained
some hilarious universal truths and insights that leave her guests roaring with
laughter and a sense of relief that “it’s not just me!”

​Stand Up Comedy Sex Ed is about taking the living room on the road and letting
everyone hear what we’ve been talking about in private! The subject matter is a little fruity but although we discuss some adult themes, we just have an open conversation with nothing sexually explicit.

I had so much fun chatting with Raylene Taskoski and this episode is my New Year gift to you. If you’d like to know more about Raylene, you can connect with her on social media:

and her own website RayleneTaskoski.com

Remember to like and subscribe and leave a review.

Guess who’s coming for Xmas? With guest Ione Brown

Oh Boy! Do I have a Christmas treat for you!

I had so much fun chatting with impressionist, comedienne, actress and Bootcamp instructor Ione Brown that I just knew this had to be my Xmas episode.

Ione had me in stitches for this episode and she’s a very talented impressionist and performer. I loved chatting with her and I know you’re going to enjoy listening but if you want to see the characters and how much fun we had, you can see it all on my YouTube channel.

You can find out more about Ione on her talent profile https://www.starnow.com/ionebrown
or her Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ione.brown.14 or Linked In https://uk.linkedin.com/in/ione-brown-73578278 and if you get the chance to see her perform live, I highly recommend you do, I know I will look forward to that same opportunity.

All I want for Xmas is your sub, so please subscribe to the show, share the fun with your friends and look out for more fun episodes dropping over the holiday period. We’ll keep you laughing and entertained, whether you’re on lockdown, home alone, bored of the telly or whatever else, we’re here with some fun and hopefully educational chats to help you get through it.

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

(Sorry, no transcript for this episode as it needs to be heard on audio/video.)

Tick It Before You Kick It with guest Trav Bell (The Bucket List Guy)

Trav Bell is The Bucket List Guy…The Worldʼs #1 Bucket List Expert. 

As a self-appointed ʻBucket Listologistʼ, Trav helps people live their  Bucket List before it’s too late! His unique life-engagement message really wakes you up, stops ground-hog days and helps you to experience more fulfilment. 

He says, “A Bucket List is a tangible Life Plan…where our Business  Plan or Career Plan should fit into our Life Plan & not be the other way  around.”  

No one practices what they preach more than Trav. His ‘crazy’ globe-trotting adventures are contagious, hilarious & always fresh. He is the author of the best-selling book, The M.Y.B.U.C.K.E.T.L.I.S.T.  Blueprint™, a TEDx Thought Leader, a Certified Speaking Professional  & is also the Founder CEO of Bucket List Coaches who are now on a  mission to help 10 million BucketListers #tickitB4Ukickit. 

Before Trav became ʻThe Bucket List Guyʼ, he founded & franchised a  chain of personal training studios across Australia. Starting with 1 client,  he & his team went on to do over 2 million personal training sessions &  motivated 10’s of 1000’s of clients.  

This is why Trav is now regarded as one of the world’s most in-demand motivational speakers.

If you want to find out more about Trav and connect with him online:

www.thebucketlistguy.com

www.bucketlistcoach.com

FB & LI: Trav Bell – The Bucket List Guy

IG: @bucketlistguy.travbell

If Trav’s book recommendations on the show were:

  • ‘Happier’ by Tal Ben-Shahar
  • ‘The thought leaders practice’ by Matt Church
  • ‘The 10X Rule’ by Grant Cardone
  • ‘Be obsessed or be average’ by Grant Cardone

I feel for you. With guest Shola Kaye.

I was fortunate enough to be joined for my show by Shola Kaye. Shola is an amazing speaker and she’s become known for speaking and teaching empathy and inclusion in the workplace and taking this message out into the corporate landscape to change how we see and do business. Operating with empathy is not optional and the old models of hard as nails, low empathy business leaders are heading to the graveyard of bad business ideas, where they belong.

Shola has been a TEDx speaker and she talks about that experience with me and how a pair of earrings ruined her TED talk. We had a great time chatting about what happens when things go wrong and also about being heard and stepping out of comfort zones, and more besides.
I’m sure you’ll enjoy the chat as much as I did and Shola also shared a free resource from her website SholaKaye.com and to download her FREE resource, click here. Take a look for her book ‘How to be a DIVA at public speaking’.

You can connect with Shola on LinkedIn and other social networks.

Next week my guest will be The Bucketlist Guy himself, Trav Bell. Trav is a terrific and highly entertaining speaker who has been helping people all over the world create and fulfil their own bucket lists. Make sure you like and subscribe so you don’t miss this or any future episodes.

Transcript

John Ball
Welcome to speaking of influence the podcast for speakers and professionals or anyone who wants to present with impact, hosted by presentation persuasion Coach John Ball, remember to like and subscribe. If you’re thinking of starting a podcast, there couldn’t be an easier way to get started then getting started with buzzsprout. They have all the tools and resources you need for starting our podcast and getting out to all the major podcasting networks. Check out the link in the show notes and get your podcast started today. Welcome to the show. I am very lucky today to have with me a guest who is a specialist in empathy and leadership with empathy, and a communication specialist as well. She is also a professional coach, both one to one and group and we’re gonna have a bit of talk about coaching. She is a TEDx speaker, a keynote speaker on the subject of leadership and empathy. So let’s please welcome to the show. Okay.

Shola Kaye
Hi, John. Good to be here. Thanks for having me.

John Ball
Great to have you here. I’m really glad that you agreed to come on the show. And we have some very exciting things to talk about today that I haven’t talked about too much on the show before, I am really interested to know a bit more about the relevance of empathy and leadership and what you’re talking about in relation to that.

Shola Kaye
Yeah, thanks for asking. Well, it’s interesting the way that I came to empathy as a topic, because years ago, my first corporate job, and I was working in the States as a consultant, and as this little green, of District out of university person that didn’t have a lot of knowledge of leadership or corporate matters. And so I will say a timid, that I didn’t really want to speak up in meetings. So what happened was, I was very summoned to my managing director’s office. And I thought, Oh, well, they’re going to send me on a training course, or they’re going to get me a mentor. And they announced, right, we’re putting you on probation. But like, what? So. So that was my kind of introduction to the importance of communication skills. Because if you can’t speak up, and share what you know, and people think you don’t have any value. And then it was years later when I got the opportunity to do a TEDx talk. And I was thinking, Well, what should this be about? And I was thinking about empathy and realising that all those years ago, there wasn’t a lot of empathy being shown to me in that position, in what in the workplace. And so it’s interesting because now empathy is a really huge topic with the obvious sort of dealing with COVID dealing with remote working, dealing with diversity and inclusion. So So yeah, it’s sort of come back around some I am very inauspicious beginnings in the corporate workplace. And sort of ended up serving me Well,

John Ball
yeah. So I’m not sure that empathy is always the emotion or the feeling that gets associated with people in the business. Well, it’s usually one of those things that we’re kind of expected to shut off. And this actually is something natural, but a bit on the show before about, it’s sort of, if your archetype of business people as beings or hard-nosed and tough on decision making, and not emotional and very, very stoic about everything, and it’s all and there’s nothing personal, it’s just business and you make the tough decisions, and you’re ruthless. That’s the sort of archetype that we genuinely care about people, especially people who are successful in business. So is empathy, a welcome message.

Shola Kaye
It’s, it’s interesting because I think years ago, you know if we’d looked at this, say, 510 years ago, you’ve been, it would be seen as this kind of wishy-washy, quite sloppy, why, why even bother, as you say, get down to business, transact transact. And I think with the, a lot of the millennials in the workplace, there’s a lot of studies by Gallup and other organisations saying that they actually require empathy to be shown. And if it’s not, if there’s not enough, there, they’re going to walk. And of course, you know, situation sort of post-COVID is a little different, because obviously, the number of jobs aren’t quite as plentiful as they once were. But nevertheless, it’s very much something that the younger generations are looking for in their workplace. So I think a lot of companies now to be more competitive are realising that they need to up their game in terms of how caring they come across, and how understanding how much they listen. And of course, you know, tying into bring your whole self to work being inclusive. Empathy really does underpin a lot of those sorts of initiatives because it’s about listening and understanding what people need.

John Ball
Yeah. So I mean, in the business world getting red-faced and chancing snowflakes a lot of time for these kinds of things isn’t really going to fix it. It’s going to make the issue worse, right?

Shola Kaye
Yeah, It’s interesting because as I say, when I started coming into this, I sort of came at it because I’d been shown a distinct lack of empathy. And I feel like a lot of the work that’s coming to me at the moment is with senior leadership teams. And they’re actually understanding, Well, look, if we want this sort of workplace, it’s got to trickle down from the top. We can’t just say, Hey, you, you guys, just go and be empathetic amongst yourselves. And we just sit here doing our own thing. they realise that they’ve got to set an example. So it’s, so yeah, there’s a lot of obviously looking at how empathy can work not only making connections with your employees and creating a better workplace, but even people like sort of setting it Adela, who is the CEO of Microsoft, he gave a speech at Wharton, and he talks about empathy being a strategic advantage because obviously, you can empathise with your clients and customers, you can put yourself in their place, understand their problems, that they’re facing the challenges, even take their perspective and walk through their business processes with that hat on. And then, of course, you’re more likely to come up with better solutions, be more innovative, and so on. So I think people are really realising that it’s not, it’s not just a nice to have, but especially with all the rise in automation, and AI, and so on and so forth. The skills that we as humans are needed or required to bring to the workplace are becoming increasingly complex. And, you know, there’s often when I give a give presentations I took about five years ago, LinkedIn, every year, they release the top 10, in-demand soft skills, you know, as as they see, you know, in them, job postings. And just five years ago on that list with things like communication, punctuality, which looked like you must be on time, very, very soon, right, almost call it like a caveman, like required. And then we flash forward to 2020. And those are gone. It’s all about creativity, adaptability, collaboration, and, of course, and there’s the skill of being able to empathise with other people and emotional intelligence. So so we’re seeing that those sorts of skills are really, really important these days. And I think the workplace is beginning to cotton on to that. And they’re delivering these sorts of programmes of sorts that I am I deliver myself, yeah.

John Ball
So I think sometimes when I’ve talked about empathy with people, I’ve been aware that we don’t always necessarily understand the same thing when we say empathy. So So can you give us the definition of empathy that you are working with?

Shola Kaye
Yeah, good question, actually, because it’s funny, even among practitioners, I’ve talked to people and they’ve said, Well, you know, my view of empathy is this or, and I tend to think of empathy, as it’s the ability to understand the feelings of another person, and being able to get into their shoes. It’s not a trivial activity. I mean, it takes a lot of courage and energy to do that. And so the idea is that you can only be empathetic with a small number of people at a time. Whereas there are other practitioners who say, well, empathy is just a sort of state of being it’s, it’s just being open-minded to what people are feeling and being more considerate. And so I tend to take the former perspective on this. And typically, when I talk about it we, with clients, we say, Well, one of the downsides of using empathy as a tool like this is the fact that you cannot be empathetic with hundreds of people at a time, you got to choose who you want to be empathetic with. And then, of course, that’s where the biases come in. Because you end up you know, typically, you might choose those people who, you know, you get on well with, or you went to school with, or they like you. So, even with, with empathy being such a fantastic skill to have, we still got to be aware of how we employ the empathy and you know, who we use it with. So one of the things I often do is at the end of the session, I give people a sort of 30-day strategy. When I say, well, it’s all very well to say, I’m going to be empathetic, but choose those, that the people that when they come to you, you know, it’s them again, you’re really they’re the people that you want to try this live not with your buddies that you love hanging out with,

John Ball
yes, of course, where you naturally have empathy and rapport anyway. And that was kind of the reason why I asked about whether it was a welcome message as well in the business well, because the archetype of business bigger is more of the sort of sociopathic narcissistic personality, which is not empathetic at all. It’s not empathic and probably from frowns or sneers at empathy is as being a weakness as being something that It has no place in the, in the world of business. So you’re saying that now it very much does whether people want it to or not, there really is no option but to address this and, and to have this in your business environment.

Shola Kaye
Yeah, very much so. And sometimes we look at examples from the 80s, like there have been a lot of catastrophic, you know, loss of life, for example, the space shuttle where eight engineers spoke up and said, hey, there’s the shuttle should not be flying in the cold. And that message never got any further. Or, for example, there’s a very hierarchical kind of cockpit culture that we had in the 80s. And we had at least some very old and even into the 90s and beyond, but some very high profile, very tragic loss of life where the copilot was kind of hinting to the pilot, hey, well, do you think we should, we should be taking off and let your eyes just shut up and listen to me sort of thing. And then of course, what happens is there’s a crash and loss of life. And so part of empathy is, of course, around listening and being able to have the humility to listen to, you know, we’re talking about a leader, the people that have beneath them, so that you don’t have these catastrophic things happening. And I think you know, what, giving people those sorts of examples. And of course, in the corporate world, it’s not necessarily going to mean that you’re going to have hundreds of lives lost when somebody doesn’t listen. But nevertheless, I mean, those kind of extreme examples can often help to bring it home to people that hey, oh, yeah, I do. You need to listen to these people every now and again, and, and keep my team in mind and not just kind of blunder ahead. Because I’m the boss, and I know what I’m doing.

John Ball
Yeah, I would maybe even say that in, in a business or any kind of culture where, where a lack of emotion is frowned upon where emotion is seen as a weakness that encourages people more to switch off, switch that off, suppress that within themselves, and therefore perhaps make decisions that aren’t based on things actually looking after people is the kind of decision that allows you to say, Well, you know, if we, if we release this Chi, yes, sometimes it’s going to explode. And this many people will die. But, you know, but we look how much money we’re going to make the last season even gonna cost as much as that is like what that if you can make those kinds of decisions? I would say that’s not coming from a place of empathy. Kindness for other people, as someone who was, was a flight attendant for 12 years, which I was that, yeah, definitely, that the airlines, teach their staff, these things over there. There was a time I even remember this in the airlines, there was a time when you really could not say anything much to some of the captains on the plane that they much like, sort of surgeons in hospitals, sometimes they’re like this God complex, sort of personality, where, wherever what they say goes, and any dissent won’t be tolerated kind of thing, that that has had to change because it’s caused, it’s caused problems and is caused deaths. And whilst it may not be that in every situation, yeah, bad communication. Can I mean, good communication has to have a level of empathy within it?

Shola Kaye
Very much. So yeah. And it’s funny, he’s talking about this, this little CEO and sort of people with power, there actually been some studies where they measure the amount of empathy that people empower have, and they find that there’s a dip, you know, so the higher up the ranks you rise, the less empathy you have. And whether that’s because people with without empathy, are more ruthless, and naturally will kind of get to the top anyway, or whether it’s because there is actually some something that switches off the empathy in you, as you continue to rise up the ladder. I’m not really sure, but it’s quite interesting to see that, you know, can be measured, and there is, is a correlation between, you know, rank and, and, and anything.

John Ball
Yeah, I do think when certain things become part of a culture, that very much people who might otherwise be empathetic and, and have kindness and emotion, for others might find ways to switch that off to justify doing so as well. It’s always surprising what we can, what we can actually justify to ourselves and rationalise. And we tend to underestimate just how good we are at doing that even in thinking I’d never be that kind of person. Who’s that? Well, I think we all have the capability. But and perhaps we don’t all have such a capability for empathy, that some people may be just dying. But for the vast majority of us, we do

Shola Kaye
it all that there’s a study that quite a lot of it when you read the social psychology books, they talk about this study where people were given the option to kind of give subjects electric and sort of fake electric shock. So there’s someone sitting in another room, and these people are told, well, you know, I think it’s important to Give this person this electric shock. And some people are no, no, I can’t do that. But with persuasion, most people are not yet. And they see this person like yelping and yelling in the other room. And they because they thought that that’s what they should do. And that’s what they’ve been told to do, they’ll just go ahead and do it. So it does require and I guess if you’re in that sort of culture where it’s sort of frowned upon, or people aren’t particularly warm or empathetic or caring, I think people can very quickly justifying that, Oh, well, if this is how it is to get ahead, this is what’s needed. I’m going to do it as well. So, so yeah, it’s quite an interesting one, the way that human psychology wraps up all of this.

John Ball
Yeah, so so many kinds of ends up not? Maybe it’s one, maybe it’s the other, maybe it’s both. I don’t know if we necessarily need a definitive answer on that, but just know it exists. And then it’s something that needs to be addressed. What what in your experience have been, have been the benefits within business where that has been addressed, and where something has been done to create that greater communication, that empathy between the different hierarchies of a business?

Shola Kaye
Well, I think this is the classic things like your teams working better together, more flow of information, both up and down the organisation, because transparency, for example, is is is a huge factor in people feeling motivated and wanting to, to help the organisation move forward versus having this very hierarchy, where we, you know, we only need to know this information, no one else needs to know. So that sort of thing. And then also, it’s all going to sort of bias an inclusion, this idea that As humans, we need to be part of an in-group, you know, we need to be part of a group. And so the idea of kind of creating more of a warm and ingroup atmosphere amongst the entire organisation, and putting your competitors as the outgroup, so that you get those stronger bonds, you get the listening, you get the caring, the empathy, etc, within the organisation. And there isn’t that kind of competitiveness from one team to another or even individuals within the team. So I think when people understand the benefits of, of empathy, and even of just listening as a precursor to being more empathetic, and they may start thinking about what is empathic listening, which is, you know, not debating, not challenging, not interrupting, but just letting somebody talk about their lived experience. And of course, there are times for debate, there’s time for challenges times for all of that. But there are moments where you’ve just got to let somebody speak and acknowledge and respect what they’re feeling. And I think all too often, especially in the workplace, you know, we feel we’ve got to interrogate Well, what do you mean, you feel like, you know, we’re interrogating someone simple feelings, and then, of course, that person will never open up again, they’ll give less that work, etc. There’s a cycle that comes from that. So I think just in a very basic level, it’s just about, you know, just to say teamwork and transparency that just just

John Ball
Is part of this as well about teaching something like emotional intelligence?

Shola Kaye
Yeah, absolutely. Because, um, emotional intelligence is comprised of empathy, along with four other skills. So most definitely teaching about emotional intelligence. I mean, some people I was on, I did a post on emotional intelligence on LinkedIn a couple of months ago, and there was a leadership expert. That’s all that’s been knocked around for 20 years now. Cut, you can’t read something new. But a lot of people still find it a useful tool in set of skills to develop. So I think just because something’s been around for a while, doesn’t mean they should check it away. So yeah, very much so. And as I mentioned, this LinkedIn survey now where emotional intelligence, it’s in this top five, soft skills, it’s number five for the first time ever, it’s in that top 10. And it’s number five. So yeah, absolutely.

John Ball
What are some of the things that people who’ve never done any kind of emotional intelligence work before would start to do to get an idea of how to be more emotionally intelligent?

Shola Kaye
You? Probably my mom, say so. I’m sorry, John, what did you say again? So what kind of

John Ball
so is say someone has never really had any experience of emotional intelligence before working with that? Where would you start working with them? Or where can they start to understand it and implement it more?

Shola Kaye
Well, part of it is around having social skills. So being better at negotiating office politics, for example. That’s a big one. Then of course, being able to manage yourself Because you get people that fly to a rage or something happens and they get triggered. So another place to start would be looking at your responses what triggers you? And how can you deal with it? or How can you? If something does trigger you regularly? What can you do? Is it about taking more time for yourself so that you don’t fly off the handle so quickly? Is it about the sort of self-care is it about being able to communicate how you feel when somebody does something that irritates you? So instead of flying off the handle, you can actually have a conversation about it. So I think there are different places, you could either start with the communication side of things, or you could start with self-knowledge. And doing a lot of looking at your values, looking at, as I said, what triggers you looking at your past and how that’s affected you up to this moment? So there are different ways to get into this mess. Definitely.

John Ball
Yeah, so so injecting some conscious awareness into what you currently do, gives you the possibility to start to look at Well, there may be other options, then the ones that I have been traditionally done before I often use the example of people People often drive are and for those who drive, you may get from time to time, someone who isn’t driving quite so well. And might cut you up on the road or on any variant to the side of you trying to pull out where you’re driving that kind of thing. And the automatic response to that is usually some very choice words, as my mum experienced recently, sorry, Mama, I forgot she was in the car with me at the time that happened. But sometimes it’s just that immediate response. But then, generally over the years, I think something, it’s very possible to keep angry about that to get really emotional, and be really angry with that person. But I’ve decided that that’s not how I want to be. And I consider that part of life. That’s part of me having some level of control, exactly exerting some control over my own emotions over my actions and responses and saying, actually, I think there might be a better way to respond to that, then the way that I probably would, if I didn’t really think about it, and just let it go, where I keep thinking about it, I keep getting angry about it, and stay with me all day. And I’d be telling everyone and is like, well, well, maybe I just let it go. And actually just wish that person to have better driving in the future and, and let it go out my mind. And this is someone who has so many life situations that we have these automatic ways of responding or reacting, like unconscious strategies, if you like how we deal with things, our brains don’t want to have to work too hard. So we tend to just run an automatic. But when we stopped doing that for a little while, we really start to see some that there may be better ways of doing these things than the ways that we’ve been conditioned or conditioned ourselves into.

Shola Kaye
Absolutely. And sometimes it’s about just putting in a little bit of a circuit breaker, you know, so if something happens, even if it’s taking two or three breaths, you know, like, okay, I don’t have to just switch into this automatic response mode. Just set this and set the circuit breaker. Oh, okay. I’ll decide how I respond to this. And so yeah, in some of these tools can be really simple. But they can be incredibly effective. But it’s having that awareness to apply them at the right moments.

John Ball
If you could wave a magic wand and corporate culture could be transformed to a way that you see as being more beneficial, more empathic, what would it look like in those organisations?

Shola Kaye
Yeah, good question. I think it would be that there’s a lot of listening. Obviously, company has to the typical things and be quick off the mark. Obviously, they’ve got to, I’m not saying that to be in business, you’ve got to have a bit of ruthlessness, but you’ve got to have a bit of speed and agility and, you know, rapid communication and decision making happening, that doesn’t take too long. But I think even with all of that, I mean, I’ve got a client in California, they’re a tech company, they’re incredibly successful, but they have a very, very warm atmosphere since I stepped into the London office, it just felt like everybody was really was friendly, very supportive. And that came comes right from the top of the organisation. So I think it can be done it can you can have an organisation that successful and empathetic as well. And I think especially now with there’s so much choice but for consumers. And I think a lot of people out there want to know they want that story of the company they want to hear that there’s that it’s consistent what the message the brand message is getting out there is consistent with what’s happening behind the scenes. And so here you know, we’ve even people like Ellen, you know, the big kerfuffle recently where It’s, uh, you know, I think her ratings have parently declined, like dropped dramatically because of what happened there. And, you know, with where, what, with the George Floyd killing and a lot of companies coming out and saying, Oh, well, we this is our anti racist policy. And then employees coming out from behind the scenes saying, well, this is Bs, because this is what happens here behind the scenes. So I think people really are looking for that consistency. And so I think I think it can be done. I think it for some companies, it takes a lot of work, it’s going to take a huge effort. But I think that it can be done. And I think that there is an advantage beyond happy employees. There’s an advantage in terms of the way that they’re perceived in the bike by by the industry and also by consumers and customers.

John Ball
Yeah, certainly with some of the people I’ve had on my show recently, where we talked about marketing, we’ve talked about the development of relationship marketing. And I know from my own experience, as well, that has become seemingly a much more important element in the mode of marketing this year, perhaps more than ever before. And that was what I think was already happening anyway. And I think maybe this year has accelerated that. But that relates very much to what you’re saying people feel that they need to be able to like and trust and know what’s going on. And, and people care about the ethics they want to feel cared about as well by, by the people they buy-in from by the people that they do business with, much even with the companies and businesses that they work for on the side. And so that has become almost a non-critical part where perhaps in some ways critical part of doing business. There certainly is its importance is increasing.

Shola Kaye
Yeah, very much would agree with you. And I think also now with a lot of people at home, we’ve got more time even to, to read the story, you know, I remember I felt on the website, I think or looking a brochure just a couple of days ago, and I was looking for this, I wanted to read the brand story I wanted to figure out, you know, they also weren’t so where have they come from how they built this brand up, I was interested, and I think probably looked at where we were perhaps 510 years ago, people weren’t really sharing those sorts of stories. But equally, a lot of us weren’t really, really that interested. It’s just doesn’t do the job. Boom, let’s buy it. But I think now people are much more concerned about where their money’s going, essentially.

John Ball
Yeah. And I think this comes down something to what sometimes on the show shifts in values levels of moving from but there’s perhaps the most all-powerful power and control focus values levels, to the more collaborative to the more caring the more interconnected kind of feeling of values were, as they were, I think things were moving that way anyway. And if anything that as good as coming from COVID is maybe been to accelerate that, because I do see it as being. Do you see it as being a positive? I do see it as people caring more about, as you said, People care more about whether whether the companies they are actually big on diversity or whether people are actually being cared about and looked after or, or if it’s just kind of being ignored. They just want the sale. But they’ll say what they need to say, to at least keep their public profile. Okay, okay. Well, you know, that’s not enough it doesn’t cut it people actually want to want to know and want to look deeper than that and see what’s really going on. And I think I see it in a lot of the people who I connect with, for being on my show for doing client work with and the lies that people want to definitely want to feel that relationship that they have a connection.

Shola Kaye
Yeah, very much. So any. And it’s a good thing because I think I’d rather have a smaller number of clients and just work with them on a repeat basis. They’re just kind of revolving door of, okay, you boom, next, next, next, next next, and I think a lot of practitioners and people in business would rather be that way because as we know, it’s much easier to have a repeat client than to just have to keep finding new people all the time.

John Ball
So in your coaching work, then is that also specialising on on empathy and communication within the business world?

Shola Kaye
Well started out primarily doing a lot of communication coaching. So I think I’ve shared this with you when we chatted, but I started out as a professional singer. So after I had my sort of awkward moments in the corporate world, I decided, well, as a kid, I always wanted to be a singer. So I’m gonna branch off and do some singing. So I ended up working as a professional singer for about 15 years singing internationally. And after sort of not particularly enjoying communication, having spent several years as a professional singer, Of course, I was very used to standing up in front of audiences used to be My voice etc, etc. And so then I kind of looked back into public speaking and speaking of meetings and things, again, took some training. And then from there I, I kept getting people saying to me things like, oh, you’re a singer, that that’s amazing. And that being a speaker and a singer, there are two, there are a lot of similarities. So I moved into using some of my performance skills and my communication skills to be a professional speaking coach and a communication coach. Sometimes with people who worked who had their own small business, sometimes it was with people who worked for companies. But I was using that sort of performance background and what I call my diva framework, which I’ve kind of put together. But using that as the tool that I would help people to communicate with, so most of my coaching, and until fairly recently has been and still I still do a fair bit now has been around communication skills, whether it’s speaking up impromptu in meetings, high stakes, situations, q&a sessions, or prepared speeches.

John Ball
That’s cool. I forgot that I meant after we last spoke, I meant to go and search on Spotify and see if I could find any of your songs.

Shola Kaye
I’ve tried to pull them off Spotify.

John Ball
That’s great. Because some of the people I’ve had on my show, certainly I speak to other people who teach and train presentations and public speaking skills as well. And there’s all sorts of different takes on it. And, Nick, the circumstances where I head-on is an actor really is and is that a trained actor who’s bringing those skills into a presentation and isn’t my back man he’s also been on the show is trained in and run the Opera in New York ranches that she mentions directed people at Pavarotti and Domingo, people like that. And she’s bought those sorts of skills and her background into the public speaking training and presentation skills world as well as it is fascinating what just hear what can be so powerful, and all these different takes and different elements that people can bring. And now I think you can go and learn from everyone has these awesome backgrounds and come away with different things that are really going to benefit your performance and, and take you to new levels. Can you tell us a bit more about this diva framework? I’m curious.

Shola Kaye
Well, it’s funny because I, yeah, I’ve got my book here how to be direct public speaking. And yes, and diva stands for D stands for being dynamic. I stands for being inspiring, which is about storytelling and connecting with people’s emotions. V is about being valuable, which is all the bits to do with structure and content, and so on. And then A is about being your authentic self. And it’s interesting because I started out from early working with women. So it was fine to have this framework that was called diva, and living like the diva framework of a diva. And then as I started to work more with men, and even some women said, Well, I’m not a diva, I’m more of a rock star myself. So luckily, DIVA even though it’s only four letters it can be it can spell out a few different words. So then I started calling it my avid framework, so avid, meaning enthusiastic and keen. And then someone said, well, it also spells out Vida. So sometimes I say, Well, why don’t you speak with a bit of life, the Vida framework. So, fortunately, for me, it’s been fairly adaptable. But the essence of it is the same, which is you’ve got to bring a bit of life. Whether It’s Your Tony Robbins, you don’t put them down when you speak and you do 10-hour workshops, or whether it’s that you’re somebody who loves the language, and you use really choice, choice language and descriptive language when you speak. There are different ways to be dynamic. And I am, as a person, introvert. So for me, I always tend to do a lot of interaction. And when I started out speaking, I would think, gosh, I don’t speak for whole hell, how can I? How can I cut down to speak? And so I was building a lot of interactive exercises. And then I found that people rehiring me rebooking me because it wasn’t all about me it was because there was a lot of time for people to, to self reflect and come up with their own solutions in my sessions. So that, as I say, being dynamic, a lot of people think, oh, I’ve got to be super high energy. No, you don’t, you just find a way that works for you. So I think what people clients have liked about the diva framework is it’s, it’s not prescriptive, it just gives you enough to go on and to tick all the boxes, but you can find your own way around it. And make sure that you tailor it to your own particular style and the way that you want to want to come across.

John Ball
That’s fantastic. And so we usually work with men and women at work, what sort of fit is your Is the climate you generally like to work with.

Shola Kaye
I love working with small business owners because when you’ve got your own business, there’s no fighting around basically got to make it work to put the food on the table. So I like working with small business owners because of that, and because that typically a business owner will do anything they have to do to make it work. But more recently, I’ve done a lot of work with people in corporates. And in particular, I had I been working with an organisation called Women in Data, and they have a debt as you can imagine, data is every industry and every so and so there are a lot of people there who want that bit of extra gravitas so that they can present comfortably to the C suite or to the you know, exco level etc. So I do enjoy working with those people as well because often it’s just a tiny tweak, it’s just a little thing that they need to get in place and suddenly their presence and gravitas and confidence can skyrocket. So it’s it can be fascinating just trying to find what that what looks that thing was that little thing, that little key for that person that once it’s turned, boom, their potential is unlocked. So yeah, I like working across. I love coaching. And I, I’ve got to admit I prefer big groups, then working one to one. And I think perhaps that’s because I’m an introvert. And so as an introvert, when I’m doing big keynotes, I’ve got to step up. And then you just bring everything you need to the table to speak up. versus when it’s one to one, it’s much easier to be a bit more relaxed and kind of more low key about things. So I dislike the big, the big challenges as well as the small ones.

John Ball
Yeah. It’s amazing how many people I speak to who do presentation skills public speaking, public speaking training, who are introverts, naturally introverts, and you know, I’ve often described myself as that, but I really, I’m not sure I’m not completely sure I am anymore. And I think I’ve actually, I’m more hovering around the sort of ambivert that can be a bit of both. But I think that has essentially been because of years of coaching years of public speaking, presentation work and things like that, that that have pushed that needle for me a bit more to the centre, whereas I know I can actually recharge really well, being around people just as much as I can being on my own. But I feel like I kind of need both now, not just one or the other.

Shola Kaye
Hmm, that’s interesting. Yeah. I mean, the idea of recharging around other people is that, how can it be done. But that’s great that you, you can do both. That gives you a lot of flexibility there.

John Ball
I feel so I have to apologise that might be a bit of banging going on in the background here. There is a drastic refurbishments and repairs going on to the building next door. And so I’ll try and keep myself muted when that’s going on. But I don’t want to stop the conversation. But when we had a chat a little about one of the other things you did tell me about was that, that one of your experiences of speaking didn’t go quite so well as you hoped it might. And so Can Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Shola Kaye
Okay, yeah, I guess we’ve all had several of those were things happen that weren’t planned for. But I was doing a talk, I think it was Women in Engineering at the Royal Academy of Engineering in central London. And they had this stage. And I guess it’s a temporary stage, and there was a gap between the stage and the wall. And I was sort of quite a comfortable stage. And so I decided to sort of lean my hand back against the wall and step back a bit. And of course, my foot just kind of went in this gap between the stage and the wall. And so I tripped over and felt fell down, which is kind of everyone’s worst nightmare when you’re speaking. And it’s like talking somebody about this the other day, and I think it’s the audience are will go wherever you as the speaker, take them. So if I looked really upset, and oh my gosh, I fell over my lifesaver. They would have probably thought, Oh, no, this is awful. Whereas I just stood up loved and they all laughed as well. And it’s it’s, it’s kind of like when you have you know, little child where they fall over. And they look at their moms and really good. Mommy, Daddy, should I start screaming? Or should I just laugh? And then if the parents love it, oh yeah, we laugh and then if the parents like oh my gosh, my child and they start screaming and yelling and it’s an awful thing. So it’s, I think when things go wrong, and especially as a singer, you know, have things where the PA have been performing in front of 100 people and my pa cut out, you know, all the iPads that I was using kind of stopped working or there’s all sorts of things can happen. And I think that the obviously beforehand, you got to make sure that Is few things that can go well, you know, go on do but on the other hand, it’s that’s part of live performance. I mean, we could all sit at home and just programmers speaking to Alexa or Siri and just sit back and listen to something that’s perfect word perfect but there’s no energy there’s no life there’s no charisma there’s no spontaneity so so I think being things going wrong within reason I think it’s a good opportunity to connect with the audience as opposed to you know be worried that they’re going to judge you or think that something’s awful

John Ball
Yeah don’t be like the person walking down the street trip and over again flying and then to correct them themselves like it as nothing happened. Hoping nobody noticed. Yeah, absolutely go with it. Is that is part of utilisation? It’s part of flexibility adaptability on the stage as well. And not to ignore these things, but to address them, utilise them more for connection, utilise it in maybe it relates no conveyed in some other way to something that’s going on or can highlight it to make a point. But when things go wrong, I don’t think people really judge you negatively for anyway. And they, they empathise, they’re more likely to empathise with you and oh, my goodness, I would have if that was me, I’d die. And so when you come back friends say, It’s okay. I’m okay. So it’s so good. And we carry on and you address it like that and acknowledge it. I think that gives them a sense of Oh, goodness, thank goodness for that. Oh, how you carry on after that? I’m not sure I could know that I think people actually start to have a bit more respect and think oh, that’s, that’s pretty good. I know. I know, that’s been my experience in the past as well. And I’ve both been I’ve had things go wrong on stage, which I certainly have. I think most speakers and presenters do at some point. And also when, when I’ve seen that happen for other people as well. It’s, it is an opportunity, or an opportunity, and in some ways, which is really cool. So for you at the moment, what’s coming up for you what your plans for the coming year.

Shola Kaye
It’s, it’s a really interesting time, actually, because I’m at Samsung doing law speaking of empathy now, and linking that with leadership with sales and also with diversity inclusion. So I’ve got a few interesting projects. So some which are more working on a retainer basis for some clients and helping them to build up their diversity inclusion strategy, others, with one global organisation, we’re looking at rolling out an entity programme across the entire organisation. And so some really interesting projects, as well as the smaller ones like the one to one coaching. And I just have a new book that’s come out, which is on pre-order at the moment in is out, I think next week, which is on communication skills. And it’s a scenario-based. So it’s quite an interesting one because I have sort of come up with, I think about 50 different scenarios and how If this happens, how would you respond that happened? So so that’s something that I’m sort of looking at promoting at the moment. And in that,

John Ball
what’s the name of your book for anyone who wants to go and check it out?

Shola Kaye
Yeah, it’s got some hex, it’s called big talk, small talk and everything in between. and then the publisher did a really nice job of with the sort of lovely illustrations inside as well. So it’s beautifully coloured in even without the tips on communication. So So yeah, feel free. That’s I think that’s going to be around retailers, including target even.

John Ball
By the time by the time the show’s published, it will be available. So that’s great. People can go and order. I’ll make sure there’s a link to that and your other book in the show notes as well. Might that you have a podcast as well.

Shola Kaye
I do. I have a podcast. It’s called shortcuts to public speaking success. And it’s interesting is when we were chatting before you were saying that your podcast you like people to have as much time as they need to share. And when I started out doing mine, I started out just I was doing video blogs. And I thought well, why not just turn it into a podcast as well. So people have see have as many ways to sample the content as they need to. And so my videos were typically, like most people kind of reluctant to do videos at the beginning. So I thought, what, I’ll just do them, but please keep them short. So my videos are typically like five to 10 minutes long. So I was released in this podcast of like very kind of snippety kind of length podcast episodes. But fortunately, people I think people can consume, you know, a few in ago, and they found them useful. So I think it’s interesting how the long-form podcasts like your own can be really helpful because they dig deep don’t mean you really get a lot more insight from the speaker. But then the short ones can also be helpful because you just get like the tidbits that you need and then off to The rest of your day.

John Ball
Yeah, so most of my shows are certainly some interview-based and that’s been my preference I gave podcasting a try years back. It was a bit of a week try to be honest with him for too long, but I was just doing it by myself and I maybe I don’t know if it was just I didn’t feel like I had enough for but I find that the energy of talking to other people is much more powerful encouraging and, and I don’t where maybe it’s because also when I listen, I listen to podcasts that rather listen, usually to a conversation. I have put outside episodes that are just me by myself. And I may do that again in the future. But primarily my the way I love doing the podcast is is having guests on and getting to have interesting conversations like the one we’re having today. And I love doing that further show that you have which is shortcuts to public speaking what sorts of tips can people find come and find there on your show?

Shola Kaye
Oh, that’s a real mix, actually. So I’ve got quite a few tips for people who are perhaps getting business networking. So how to present yourself when networking is I don’t know if you’ve ever done any business networking, but you know, the 62nd pitch, yeah, you’ll get people that just don’t try and cram every facet of their business into the 60 seconds. And it ends up being just too much for people. So So talking about business networking, how to create a bit of intrigue, so that you get that next conversation with whoever it is that you’ve met at the networking event. And then also sharing frameworks. So frameworks for storytelling frameworks for speaking under pressure. And then some of the tips have been around just sort of motivation and because a lot of people see is you know, john, have a lack of confidence when it comes to speaking up and being heard. So tips around finding your voice tips around just visit there’s a great book actually called How to be an in perfectionist by Stephen guys. And he has some really good little tips in there about how to banish perfectionism and just kind of get on with things. And one that I particularly love is just telling yourself that you’re the best at whatever this thing is maybe just in the room that you’re in or in Sainsbury’s. But I think if we tell ourselves that I’m the best person, I’m the best person making, making cheese salad is the best person that there’s something that in the brain just, yeah, Hey, have you just set up a bit taller, and it might be the most bogus thing to be the best bet but it just gives you an extra boost. And I remember I was in Cyprus doing some gigs last year. And I like a lot of people you know, sometimes have a crisis of confidence. And I was in Cyprus didn’t speak the language and I was in the supermarket. I was like how the hell know what when I get to the till they don’t understand. And then I just said hold on. You’re the best Diana Ross impersonator in the supermarket. It’s like. So this is kind of silly little thing, a little game to play. But just telling yourself that it can give you an added boost.

John Ball
I’d like to think I’m the best Diana Ross impersonator in my office. But he’s just me here. So there’s not a lot of competition.

Shola Kaye
It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter. You’re still the best.

John Ball
That’s great. Well, that’s one of the things I did want to ask as well about book recommendations. I always like to get book recommendations for my guests. So definitely include that. But, but to actually asked that specific question, is that a book? Is that the book you would recommend? If I asked you for a book recommendation or other than your own books, what else would you recommend?

Shola Kaye
I think that’s there are so many out there. So I think that’s a good one. And it’s one that I just really listened to. Recently, like it’s very easy. When you listen to audiobooks, sometimes things go on, and you kind of miss a little bit and you sort of red zone and zone out. So it was nice to listen to that one again. But yeah, I mean, how to be an imperfection is by Stephen Guys, do you I see. It’s the first few chapters are all about the sort of theory and human psychology and why we tend towards perfectionism and the different kinds. And then he sort of stacked up all the tips and the hardcore takeaways for the last chapter. So it’s quite nice because you can just zoom to that chapter. Once you’ve got you’ve kind of got a grounding, and then just get some serious insights from there. So yeah, why not? That can be the book that I recommend. Yeah,

John Ball
great. It’s one I haven’t come across before. So I’m happy to add that to my list of books to check out for the future as well. It sounds like a good one. I often talk about in perfectionism and the problems that people often have with Brucker, procrastination because of perfectionism, and the whole thing of just not even getting started sometimes and I certainly had that issue myself when I was much, much younger. I did a lot of music myself. No such thing as more of a keyboard player, I used to do a lot of composing and the likes and often would just think, oh, that’s rubbish and throw stuff away, and then get to that or we like that idea. I had the other eight, I threw it away. Yeah, man. And that was, that was where I think I started to recognise that that perfection is and that thinking that it wasn’t ever good enough was actually a problem as I was maybe it’s not good enough right now, but it might be good enough a bit later on with a bit of work and a bit of time to develop it. And so I stopped being a bit stop being quite as hard on myself when I realised that But still, it’s still a journey to not falling into that perfectionism trap. So I love the recommendation. Thank you. And one thing I do like to do is give my guests an opportunity to, to share how we how our audience can get in contact with you and find out more about you.

Shola Kaye
Oh, wonderful. Well, yeah, I’m active on LinkedIn. So feel free to find me there show, okay, and please do connect and say that you listen to this podcast, I’d love to, to have you connected that way. And then also have my website which is shown a k.com. So k ye. And then on the usual social media, I’d rather not be sometimes but on the usual social media channels, say Twitter and Instagram and

John Ball
All your social links are in the show notes for everyone to check out so they can come and connect with you and find your website as well. And hopefully, people who want to come and work with you and maybe even check out your TED talk. It must be on YouTube, right?

Shola Kaye
Yeah, absolutely. It’s, I have a speaking page on my website, so you can find it there. Or just look me up on YouTube. Because I did have a bit of a nightmare with my Ted TEDx talk, where basically what happened was, they said to us, okay, don’t take up any earrings. take anything that might knock against the microphone when you’re speaking. And because during our soundcheck, I had the earrings in and there was no interference of the mic. I just thought, okay, I’ll be fine for the real food. But they might think slightly differently. So I stepped out, and the second I moved, you could just hear this earring, kind of banging against the microphone. And it was really loud, because, you know, the mic was turned up pretty high for speaking. So, so yeah, so when the TEDx was ultimately recorded, and there was just this horrible interference all the way through with this earring banging. So, fortunately, that when they put it up online, and then I just begged them, please take it down, take it down to give her let me edit the audio. So I took it down, I was able to edit the audio and put it back up again. So yeah, I always say to people that there is a dark side to TEDx. It’s not all. It’s not all a bundle of joy and laughs. But yeah, it’s there. It’s there.

John Ball
So people can go and go and check out your talk, which has been digitally remastered, or the knocks from the earrings. And there is now much more reasonable. That’s fantastic. I encourage people to do that. And it’s been a real pleasure speaking to you today. I always like to get some closing thoughts from my guests that could be a call to action or something that’s on your mind or just some words that you’d like to leave people with today.

Shola Kaye
I’d say something around taking action because I think it’s very easy to ruminate overthink things. And imperfect action is is better than perfect planning, basically. So just take some action move towards where you’re trying to get to. And as you sent you with your composing, you may not make it perfect with the first step. But as long as you keep moving in the right direction vaguely in a zigzag pattern, you will eventually get there. So just take action towards whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve. And I have faith in you you will make it.

John Ball
So, before we finish then you had you mentioned to me that you have some things that may be helpful to our audience and giveaways that people can go and check out.

Shola Kaye
Absolutely, John and one of the things that my clients have struggled with is speaking impromptu. So whether that’s being in a q&a session or in a sales meeting, or whether it’s speaking to sort of high profile clients or board meet members and so on. So I have put together a sheet have different frameworks about five or six frameworks, and I call it my short speech frameworks, but they don’t necessarily have to be prepared ahead of time. They can just be things that you keep in mind how to frame your ideas. So if you are interested in grabbing hold of that, you can just go to shoulder k.com slash short speech, all one word, and you can download that

John Ball
That’s a great point to leave things, with apologies again for the banging in the next room. It is must be some really heavy earrings for that kind of noise. Although they seem to have stopped, for now. I really want to thank you for coming on the show it’s been a delight to speak with you shared some lovely messages it’s been lovely to hear about empathy and to hear about your diva plan and, and your books and everything else as well. I really appreciate it. And I look forward to connecting with you again in the future. And for anyone who wants to come and check you out. Check out the links in the show notes and go and connect with Shola.

Shola Kaye
Fantastic. Thanks a lot, John, it was a pleasure.

John Ball
I hope you’ve enjoyed the show. Please remember to like and subscribe and if you’re on apple podcast, leave us a review. Whilst you’re here, why not download a free copy of my new ebook the five key beliefs of bulletproof business speakers available from my website presentinfluence.com Next week, I’ll be talking all things bucket lists with the bucket list guy himself Trav Bell, please make sure you join us for that he’s a really entertaining guy, a great speaker, and someone who I’ve been connected with for years and finally had an opportunity to have a really good chat with. If you’ve ever thought about creating a bucket list for yourself, you’re not going to want to miss that conversation. Keep a lookout for some bonus episodes dropping over the holiday period as well. Making sure you don’t have to go one single moment being bored during the holiday season. And lots of fun chats and extra material coming out there too. So join me next time for speaking of influence. See you then

The Art of Talking Funny with guest Jeremy Nicholas

This is the very first live broadcast episode of Speaking of Influence and it was not without some technical issues, such as some clever Charlie knocking the internet out in my office.

Thankfully, my guest Jeremy Nicholas is a very experienced and skilled speaker and was able to keep the show going by sharing a story about interviewing the late actor Christopher Lee, perhaps best known for his appearances as Dracula. The story alone is worth checking out this episode but also Jeremy shares plenty of great information and insights.

You also get to see me doing my best to recover my composure and spending the rest of the interview worried my connection was going to crap out again! Anyhow… when the stuff you worry about actually happens, you just deal with it and get on with the show.

If you’re interested in working with Jeremy you can visit his website https://www.jeremynicholas.co.uk/ and find out more about his speaking work, books and courses. Maybe you’d even like to get your keynote tickled?

I’m starting to have doubts about doing future shows live but… we’ll see.

Next week’s episode is with the talented speaker, former professional singer and expert in emotional intelligence Shola Kaye. Don’t miss it!

Transcript

John Ball
Welcome to speaking of influence the show about public speaking presentation skills and influence and persuasion with your host John Ball. The speaking of influence podcast is published and distributed using Buzzsprout. If you want to get your podcast started today, check out the link in the show notes.

John Ball
Okay, hello. Welcome to speaking of influence. Now, this is a first for the show today because we are actually going live. We’ve never done that with speaking of influence podcast before, but we thought it would be something that’s fun to do. And I’m joined on my very first ever live podcast episode by an incredible speaker presenter and after dinner speaker, he’s very entertaining, has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the photo of presenting even on the old Telly box. So please welcome to the show, Jeremy Nicholas.

Jeremy Nicholas
Hi, how are you? Thanks. Doing it live. This is scary, isn’t it? Crikey whose idea was this?

John Ball
You know, is a little bit scary. And yet it was also kind of a lot of fun. I’ve done I’ve been playing with the lives and doing a few shows and actually have been something I was really terrified of doing before has turned out to be a lot of fun. And you guess you don’t really know what could happen. Anything could go wrong. Last night in the middle of an online training programme that I was doing the cleaner here tripped the power switch and everything went off. So that must have been, hopefully, we’re not going to have anything like that happened to us as well. So we’re going live today?

Jeremy Nicholas
Yeah, let’s hope so I’ve always enjoyed live better than recorded. Because if you do something live, you know, they’re not going to edit it out. Whereas if someone’s going to so I started in radio, and then when I moved into television, we’d be recording a show. And I’d say something a little bit funny. And they go oh, sorry, we didn’t know you’re going to say that. Could you just do that again? Because you know, perhaps I was holding up something and they didn’t have to close it. And I said that and the next time it never be quite as good because it won’t be spontaneous, you know, they said, Oh, wait, yeah, that’s not great. And I say Well, yeah, because I made it up. Oh, but we didn’t know you’re going to do it. No, I didn’t know that. It just came out. And so that’s why we love live radio better than Telly because you could you know, you have an idea that comes up your head comes out your mouth. And that’s it. I love

John Ball
I love the spontaneity of it. One of the things I think is really attractive about podcasting is that you get to listen in on people’s conversations. And, and it’s rare, I mean, other than when someone’s really sort of fluffed up on on a recording or he’s just gone on way too long. And I need to edit it down. I really don’t edit my shows, I just kind of cut the beginning where it’s sort of like getting started in the end just so it’s but people aren’t waiting around. And then we just go into it. And then I just leave it I try not to edit anything out of it. So doing it this way. I think when I’m taking a break from recording the show for several months at the start of next year. And when I come back, I think I’m probably gonna aim to do all the shows live, because I think it’s actually a fun way of doing it.  So this is this was kind of your influence on me, Jeremy that has pushed it to push the show going into a live format in the future.

Jeremy Nicholas
Yeah, it was me that suggested it, wasn’t it?

John Ball
It was you who suggested it yes. And I’m glad you did. I’m glad you did. I think it’s a really exciting way to take the show, and potentially even gives the opportunity for anyone who might join us on online who’s live to ask questions or post comments in the comment box as well, that I might even show on screen if they’re not rude.

Jeremy Nicholas
So, yeah, so it’s just it’s three minutes past 10 o’clock in the morning in London, England. What time is it in Valencia?

John Ball
And is one hour later in Valencia. Although it shouldn’t be. We’re on the Greenwich Meridian same as you but thanks to Franco who, who wanted to appease Hitler and put them put Spain on the same timezone as Germany and during the war and, and for some reason, Spain has never changed that back. You know, they’ve dug up Franco’s grave, they’ve moved his body, but they haven’t bothered to change back the time to put us back where we should be. I find that a bit strange.

Jeremy Nicholas
Yeah, you know, the more I hear about Franco, the less I like him, you know. Now, on top of all of those things, he did he’s messed up your time as well. I mean, that that’s me and Franco through, unfortunately,

John Ball
I know. I thought he was a warm and cuddly before and they changed my mind completely. If Jeremy for our audience, tell us a little bit more about what what you do like some of your experience and what it is you do professionally now.

Jeremy Nicholas
Yeah. Tell us who you are. Jeremy, what the heck do you want? Who is this man? So I started as a BBC News, a broadcaster in radio, doing news bulletins and reporting. And then I moved into sport and then light entertainment and then back to news. But with a bit of a light entertainment twist because I would do the funny story at the end of the news bulletin. So you know, when you’re watching the news, I don’t know if it’s the same in Spain but or in most parts of the world. You have the serious news, the murder, the politics, and the crime and then you perhaps have some whether they’re in some sport and then at the end, there’ll be a funny story about a duck that goes to the pub and has a beer or something. So I would do that one that would be maze garden. And finally, story. So that’s, that’s kind of my background. And then I started because I was the guy off the radio, I started being asked to compare conferences. And then I realised that actually, certainly in the UK, lots of speakers at conferences are very, very boring. And they just, you know, just send you to sleep. And I thought they should be doing this. And so one time I, I think this would be about 20 years ago now, I was at this conference, and I’d been paid to host a three-day event. They’ve got people from all over the world to come to the UK for this event. And the chief exec of the organisation was just so boring. He droned on for an hour. And at the end, after we were having sort of feedback, I said, you know, your presentation, would you like me to make that a bit more interesting for you? And he could have been absolutely furious. But actually, he said, Yes, please, because no one else has ever told me it was boring. And he became my first client. And since then, what I do is I help people be less boring. But I tend not to use the word boring in boxing because it puts people off but you know, make the what the phrase I use is make you more entertaining and engaging. And then alongside that, and stand up comedy. And I’ve still written funny stuff for radio and TV and I do a lot of after-dinner speaking.

John Ball
Now I’ve seen from your website, I’ve seen some of the stuff that you do in presentations and you definitely an entertaining and engaging and very loved presenter like people love watching and listening to you. And having seen you have a podcast as well. Yeah. And having seen some of that as well, that’s really entertaining, too. But what is your podcast called?

Jeremy Nicholas
So I do a YouTube show called The after-dinner show. And I did that in lockdown, just because a lot of my time work is in the evenings, going to dinners eating a lot of chicken dinners, and entertaining people from banks and organisations and things. And of course, they all got scrapped, it got cancelled, there were no dinners. So I thought the only way I can have dinners is to start cooking my own. And so I made up the show called The after-dinner show and I got all the after dinner speakers and any keynote speakers, I thought were a bit entertaining, I’d have three on each show. So it’d be a perfect little zoom window for. And the idea was they had to tell a true story, they had to tell it live and it had to be from personal experience. And, and that was it really. And we do that once I used to do it once a week, I just do it once a month now because it works beginning to pick up but I don’t know about you if I think of something funny during the day, and I haven’t got an outlet for it, it just feels like it’s going to erupt like a spot coming on my skin. And so anytime torn up in between radio shows, or I haven’t been writing for a magazine or something, I think I’ll just have to ring someone up to have just thought of this. I just need to tell someone. And that’s really what the point of the after-dinner show is just to get some of these things out.

John Ball
Um, yeah, Unlike yourself I’m not. I’m not a comedian, although I try to be funny, and I love making people laugh. And but this is one of the things that I’ve been doing in my show of having a series where I’ve been taking a look at humour as a presentation tool because it’s one that people tend to shy away from. And also looking at it as a, as a very, I think, a very powerful tool of influence and persuasion as well, which is one of the other aspects of the show. And I think in terms of what I’ve examined, and this is one of the most powerful and often doesn’t really get talked about in some of the psychological books and studies that are done into influence and persuasion. And yeah, I think it’s an incredible tool. What would be your thoughts on humour as both as a presentation tool and as a, perhaps a tool of influence and persuasion?

Jeremy Nicholas
Yeah, so I’m a fellow of the professional speaking association of UK and Ireland. And so we belong to the global speakers Federation. So there are 15 odd organisations throughout the world, the biggest being the National Speakers Association of America. And they have the saying, should you be funny when you’re speaking in public, only if you want to get paid. So that’s, that’s, you know, certainly in the professional speaking world. Now, a lot of people watching this may not want to be a professional speaker, they may just speak as part of their job. But I always think if you put a bit of humour in, you’re more likely to get asked again. And so that’s going to help advance your career if you’re the person in your team that likes presenting, and then you are a little bit funny, then they might say, right, you’re good at regional conference, can you do the national conference? And I think being funny does a couple of things. One is it shows you have confidence in what you’re doing. So the audience relax. And I think when you’re watching any kind of speaker, the worst thing is when you’re worried for them, and you think, Oh, god, this is going on a bit. It seems to have lost his way or she doesn’t seem to have the right slides. So as an audience member, the first thing I want is not to worry about. And so if they, if they crack a joke early on, I think, oh, that’s fine. They’re going to be right, we can relax. And the second thing is you’re going to hold their attention. I always say if they’re laughing, they’re listening. Now, that doesn’t mean you’ve got to put loads and loads of jokes in because it might not be appropriate to your topic. You know, if you’re there, if it’s the annual conference you’re going to announce some redundancies don’t come on with some Monty Python gags and it’s gonna be rough. But I think even in adversity, you know, with the pandemic at the moment some of the best lines I’ve seen virtual events have been to do with Coronavirus, you know, but sensitively dealt with don’t dwell on the deaths but dwell on the nuisance of wearing a mask and your glasses steaming up or, you know, the things you used to be able to do the things you’re looking forward to do. So it’s just always a question of, you know, being sensitive with it and not going to miss out on it. Right. Well, it looks to me like John’s gone, and I’m still here. So why don’t I tell you a story while he’s away? So I interviewed this vampire. And it was Christopher Lee. So he obviously wasn’t a real vampire was the actor Christopher Lee. Now, what would you say Christopher Lee’s most famous role in movies is? Dracula. Yeah, he was Dracula in about 15 different films. And so he came into my, I was doing the afternoon show on BBC Radio London. And he came in and he was in the studio. And he wants to talk about his new film, which was police academy mission to Moscow, you know, a very prestigious movie. And so obviously, he wanted to give that a bit of a plug. And I’m wanting to ask him about Dracula because I was a horror film fan, my producer was a horror film fan. And we had loads of Dracula questions prepared. Every time I asked Christopher Lee, the actor about Dracula. He just wants to talk about police academy mission to Moscow, you know, bear in mind, he was in some fantastic films. He was in the wicker man he was in Lord of the Rings. It was the Dark Lord and Lord of the Rings, is in Star Wars. Some of the later ones. And so he just wanted to talk about his latest film, he did not want to talk about all these old films and especially didn’t want to talk about Dracula because he didn’t want to be pigeonholed as just a vampire. So I started asking him loads of questions. backtracked. And every time he just rolled his eyes, and he said, I don’t really want to talk about Dracula. I mean, I’m an actor and not just a drac. And I said, Yeah, but I think you’re best known for being Dracula. And he said, No, I’m best known for being an actor, of which one role is Dracula. And I said, Yeah, but you played that role in 15 films. And he wasn’t happy. So he’s kept staring it back to mission to Moscow. I kept staring it back to Dracula. And eventually, it was getting a little bit uncomfortable. And then I noticed the producer over it said the producers in another room over there behind a glass screen. And the producer starts typing up little notes, saying I’m asking more about Dracula. It’s funny when he gets angry. Now bear in mind, he’s safe because he’s in another room. Oh, John, you’re back. Hello.

John Ball
I’m back. Yes. So somebody knocked out the internet connection, which is always fun during a presentation. So where were we at Jeremy? I think you were keeping people entertained there for us.

Jeremy Nicholas
Yeah, I’m just doing the story. About the time I interviewed Christopher Lee, the actor?  Right. So I’m interviewing Christopher Lee, the actor. This is a few years ago, cuz he’s dead now. And he didn’t want to talk about being Dracula. Even though he played a director in 15 movies. He wants to talk about his new film, which was police academy mission to Moscow, you know, which obviously a very prestigious movie wanted to give it the credit it deserves. And I kept asking him about being a vampire. And so the as I kept staring at back to vampires, and he was getting really, really angry, the producer wrote on the screen. He’s through the glass in another room. Ask him more about Dracula. It’s funny when he gets angry. Bear in mind he was safe in his room. I was in with the vampire but didn’t have any crucifix or garlic or anything. He was saved through this, we did go back to a police academy. And then the producers started writing up people in our ringing in saying it’s really funny when you make him angry. Keep asking him about Dracula. So I did. And we did that. And it was very uncomfortable. We got the end of the interview, and I was really relieved to survive. And at the end, I got up and went to shake hands with him and went around his side of the desk in the BBC studios. And I noticed to my horror that by accident, a second screen had been left switched on round his side. And he’d seen all of that stuff thing asked him more about Dracula. It’s funny when he gets him and he’d seen it all and he kept calm. But I did not sleep a wink that night because I just thought he’s gonna come for me in the night. I kept my window bolted at a steak by the bed because I get hungry and I’m scared and because I know he is dead, isn’t he but you never really know where that sort if they’re gonna come back,

John Ball
right? Yeah, there’s I’ve seen those hammer horror films and he always seems to come back somehow. Yeah, yeah. Right. So yeah, you mean you probably should never rest easy he might be Yeah, yeah, he might grant you eternal life.

Jeremy Nicholas
I mean, London scared of Coronavirus. I’m still more scared of Christopher Lee coming back, biting me in the neck for a bad interview I did about 20 years ago.

John Ball
But then nowadays I’m sure thing things are better now. And that’s it. That’s an amazing story. I think he was an incredible person, someone, I think, yes, I would love to love to admit him. That’s wonderful.

Jeremy Nicholas
He was in Star Wars and loads of things.

John Ball
Yeah. Oh, my goodness. Yeah. I think they CGI’d him into one of the recent ones. Right?

Jeremy Nicholas
Yeah, because he wasn’t available on account of been dead. That’s what they did.

John Ball
Well, yeah. Same with same, unfortunately, with Carrie Fisher, I think and I don’t think CGI is quite there enough yet to be fully convincing that, that it’s the real people there, but I’m sure we’re not too far off. Which, which is scary in itself? You know, you see all these deep fakes does when we can get people to say just about anything, I get the voice recorded and synthesised. And that’s pretty scary stuff.

Jeremy Nicholas
So what that illustrated there, when the line went down, is I just went to one of my signature stories. And I’ve got probably about 85 stories I could have done at that point. And actually started a story and realised it was very English centric, not much global appeal. And I said, Actually, this is a better one because everyone would have heard of Christopher Lee, whereas my other one was about a local radio station in whole. in the northeast of England, Ireland, it relies mainly on me doing a very, very accurate whole impression, because it’s one of the hardest accents to do. But then I realised actually, most people in the world just hear British you know, they don’t they can’t identify between the regional accents. Most people in the world there are two British accents. One is quite posh like this. And the other one’s a bit done the light issue I might call Blimey Gov cheeky Mary Poppins like that. And I was going to do whole northeast England, where they drink Coca Cola, and a glass of dry white wine that I bought for 999. And the subtleties in Yorkshire that could go down really well. But across the world, people just think it still just sounds like you’re doing the queen.

John Ball
Exactly. We don’t hear they don’t hear in English or British, British.

Jeremy Nicholas
Or British accent and I think, but there isn’t a British accent is that because there’s a Scottish accent. So different the English and the Welsh and Irish, Northern Irish, it’s just,

John Ball
It is interesting how people can’t hear accents. Because no times I’ve been asked if I was Scottish, or Welsh in other countries where people who just don’t recognise accents. But you know, I’m sure it’s just as much the case of I don’t hear distinct regional accents here in Spain, where I live as much as someone who is local can distinguish them and probably tell pretty quickly where someone comes from by the way that they speak. But I didn’t even live in Hull for several years as a kid, and I wouldn’t have known how to do a Hull accent. I was there for maybe two or three years as a child, and then we move south and it all went away. And now now I do speak a bit more BBC.

Jeremy Nicholas
I do always encourage speakers that I coach that wants to be funnier to do accents in stories. So because I’m sure you’d agree stories have a way better in presentations than loads of facts. Facts people forget stories they remember. And the key is, you’ve got to wrap a fact up in a story to make it memorable. So it’s like the fact is the cake. This the story around is the icing on the cake that makes you eat it, and then you remember it. And a great way to make people remember is to do a funny accent. And my top tip for accents is you need a keyword or phrase that gets you into that accent. So for me, Hull which is quite a difficult accent to do is Kurker Kurler instead of Coca Cola, and a glass of drah wahte wahne that I bought for nahn nahnty nahn because their i sound is ah and pretty much every accent I do I have a little phrase that gets me to so London would always be cor blimey guv’ner, you know, and straightaway, I think, right? Yeah, that’s right. But also the thing is, you don’t have to learn how to do the accent all the time, all you’ve got to do is learn to say whatever the person in your story says. So it might just be 10 words in a sentence. And you just learn that in that accent. So in my story, my whole story, it was all about the time I got ambushed live on air by a man with a machine gun. And the guy in the Hull accent says tayke me through to the studio now I’ve got a machine gun. So all I needed to do was learn that and now you really want to know that story. But I’m not going to tell it.

John Ball
But that’s interesting, because I mean I over my time, especially with entering people on my podcast, I’ve had mixed advice about doing accents in stories and some people say stay away from it, do it all in your own voice, but maybe it depends on the kind of thing you’re doing like for humour, I do think it’s important to get into characterization and I think that’s a really key part of being able to entertain and especially if you want to be humorous, and accents are a part of that. But I think some people worry of this sort of fine line. between being entertaining or even funny but towards being offensive At what point the trying to do so an accent become offensive and some people aren’t quite sure where the line is and just say, well just don’t do it because we don’t know where the line is.

Jeremy Nicholas
Yeah, so I think it’s you’ve certainly got to avoid racial stereotypes. And you know this, there’s some accents. I would say don’t don’t do a stereotypical person from a country that then reflects them in a bad way. But do get, you know, do an accent of somebody in, in the story that just makes them different to what you sound like. So then I did a show in South Africa, I do a show at the Edinburgh Fringe, which is a humorous Look, it’s a public speaking. It’s called What are you talking about? And I premiered it in Singapore. And then I did that just before I premiered it that I did a preview in Johannesburg, and I thought that’s a long way from the UK. If it’s rubbish, no one will probably get to hear about it. So that’s fine. I’ll try it all out. And I was built as being the 11th most famous BBC Jeremy and this is my 11th most famous BBC Jeremy off to Jeremy Paxman. Jeremy Clarkson, Jeremy vine, Jeremy Bowen, Jeremy ball, who’s the East Midlands, today social affairs correspondent I just put in because he’s a friend of mine. And I claimed I was number 11. And actually, I think I’m probably about number six. But 11 sounded better because it meant I could rant about being just outside the top 10. On the way into the show, I was greeting the audience’s that they were handing their tickets in just as a way of breaking down the barriers. I was welcomed on the way in. And this lady said to me, oh, you’re not the BBC Jeremy I thought you’re going to be? And I said, Oh, sorry, which one were you expecting? Now, I can’t remember his name, but he’s not you. And I said, Oh, I’m sorry about that. How do you know he’s not me? And she said, No, I know what he looks like. And he’s tall and good looking. And so that was nice, isn’t it? Then of course, you want to go Ah, straightaway, I had to mention that. And I say I’m really sorry. You’ve got the short, ugly one. And then, in the Edinburgh show itself, I thought I want to do that story about the preview in the South African lady who said, you know, the BBC, Jeremy, I thought you’re going to be but one of my other stories also has a South African accent in which was about the time I was presenting on how to use humour in business in 2010 Emperor’s Palace in Johannesburg. And I split my trousers just for I went on. And the whole kerfuffle about this. And then I eventually told the audience what happened. And at the end, I said, Are there any questions and this big Afrikaner guy stood up and said, Now, tell me this? Do you always wear those trousers for this talk? Like I packed a pair of comedy trousers, and I thought it seems a bit of shame to have two South African accents in it. So in the Edinburgh show, I made the woman Welsh. And I said that it took place in Cardiff. And she said, Oh, you’re not the BBC. Jeremy, I thought you were going to be and that’s fine. You know, I don’t feel like I like it still works. And does that. Does anyone think? Really? I heard an earlier version. And it was in Johannesburg. Yeah, it was. But I just thought, show your full range. Jeremy. I mean, how many people can do South African and Welsh? Yay, bound to get and it’s going to be worth another extra star on your review. It wasn’t three. I did get four stars from the wee review, which is one of the… but to me, it sounds like a review of going to the loo. But it’s got the wee review. Scottish. Wee means little in Scottish.

John Ball
Yeah, I think I think there are some websites that actually do that as well, those kinds of things. let’s not go there. But what you see things showing them that that’s a pretty major thing. And I think for anyone who does that is it is not a little bit terrifying at first before you actually go out there and do it.

Jeremy Nicholas
Yeah, it is. The more terrifying than doing it is getting an audience because it’s the largest Arts Festival in the world. It’s the whole of August, and all the top comedians in the world go there. So why would anyone come and see me when they can see people they know off the TV, famous international artists. So I always try and make my show. It’s about speaking and communication. And incidentally, it’s funny, rather than it’ll be the funniest show you’ll ever see. Because, for example, I never swear. And you know, most comedians would swear. And so people would expect that and they’ve almost get they get so desensitised that if you don’t put a swear word in on the punch line, they don’t even know it’s a punch line, because oh, it can’t be because he didn’t use the F word. I don’t ever use the F word. So I that’s how I distinguished it from I said, well, it’s more about storytelling and communicating and how to engage your audience, but instantly, there’ll be some funny stuff. And so I think if you’re ever trying to get paid for speaking you have to have a real niche and you have to go really deep with that niche. Should not, you know? So if you say you talk about presentation skills, well, you know, lots of people do that. So you’ve really got targeted, you specialise in how to make accountancy interesting or you target you know, a niche, like lawyers or something, or my big thing is adding humour. And like you say most people shy away from it, don’t they think? No, I don’t want to do that. And the reason people steer away from humour is they don’t offend people. Well, my message is, don’t be offensive, don’t swear. And I never say anything racist, sexist, homophobic, anything that’s going to make anyone in the audience feel threatened. And also, if it was on the front page of a newspaper that I said this, would I mind? And if someone told my mom, I said it, would I mind, those are my things, and we get through all of those it’s in. And it does help that I’m not racist, sexist, or homophobic. Whereas I think a lot of people are and they think, well, I shouldn’t really say that. But I for me, I don’t even think it’s so fair, that’s fine. And then some people don’t don’t YouTube, is they’re worried they’re going to lose their credibility. I was is that something that you would think that what better not do that because people might not then Believe me,

John Ball
I wouldn’t, I would just go for it. But I know when I when can people is like, especially in things like my Toastmasters club and things like that, where people want to try and be a bit more engaging and funny. And they’re more scared of that sometimes, then of actually just getting up and doing the speeches, which often for many people is terrifying enough, just getting up in front of a bunch of people and opening your mouth is, is one of the hardest parts, but trying to be funny or trying to get people to laugh on top of that. But I think that is kind of the issue of it’s like, well, you the whole time, if you start telling yourself, I have to try and get people to laugh. And you already kind of telling yourself you can’t do it. And I do think there are people who just think they can’t be funny, or that people are just going to think that they’re wasting their time or that they not just won’t take them, like by being funny people won’t take you seriously.

Jeremy Nicholas
Yeah, so I think the important thing, I run a group programme for speakers called talking funny for speakers. And the whole message of that group, we have an online call once a week. And they’re always trying to be out comedians at the start. And by the end, they’ve got the hang of it. No, you’re still being a speaker. It is I talk about that icing on the cake. It’s just the icing on the cake. Your main message is not to get lost, your main message is how to be more creative in workshops, or whatever you’re talking about. And then all the human stuff is is to keep them interested. It’s just little bits to keep them hanging on. And so this, we start off by saying jokes are bad idea stories are a good idea. Because if I do a joke, if I say here’s a funny thing, instantly, it puts pressure on you. Because you think well maybe I don’t find it funny. Then you might think well, maybe I’m not I don’t get it. And or you might have heard it before. So instantly, there’s loads of pressure being put on you as soon as I say here’s the funny thing was if I just do my normal stuff, and then just do a quirky line at the end of it. If you get it, then you’ll love it. If you don’t you don’t know that you’ve missed anything. Whereas if you do dare to dare to do a man walks into a pub, dah dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. And people do this kind of jazz hands that are if anyone what are you doing that for so so don’t look as though you’re trying too hard look as though it just effortlessly something has occurred to you. And that’s what I’ll do with ad-lib lines. I’ll do them as though they’ve just occurred to me, even if they haven’t, even if I had lived them three years ago, but it got a good reaction. I’ll store it away and do it again. Now a lot of my stuff actually is stream of consciousness stuff that just comes while I’m talking. But just in case it isn’t. I’ve always got some backup things like that. But particularly I find with English speaking audiences across the world. If you look like you’re trying too hard, and you look like you’re steering them towards a carefully crafted scripted, funny line, they almost fold their arms and think oh, and instead of getting a laugh, you get a groan. And you don’t want to grow in because the overgrown does is leads to more groans whereas laughs will lead to more. So you’ve just got to look like it’s occurring to people love it if you’re naturally witty, but if you look like you’re scripted and clever, they’ll think oh, you fancy yourself a bit. Right? It’s a weird reaction is you’ve got to look like you’re making it up even if you’re not. Right.

John Ball
And this is one of the things we’ve talked about performance or about, about improv and spontaneity of this thing of people think that sometimes thing even especially with comedians that you just get up on stage and do it and, and yeah, it’s not it’s like you’ve got a whole pool of resources because of your experience because you’ve been in that mindset, your practice with thinking that way and you know, probably got things you can pull on that they could do this, or I could do it like that. And so it’s not all sort of just come up with it on the spur of the moment is like, well, to a degree, it’s that but it’s from all these, all this pool of resources that is specifically for that, because you’ve practised it, and you know what you’re doing it, whereas some people who and this is probably the thing for people who just try and prepare a whole speech, whether it’s funny or not have it all scripted out, ends up just sounding like they’re reading it, which nobody wants to listen to, as well. So you know, that gets very interesting. In fact, I’ve even worked in the past with, like, professional coaches. So I work in the coaching industry as well, who do coaching sessions than just kind of reading from the script, reading questions from the script. That’s really horrible for me, some like me, and that’s really horrible as well, because it kind of says, You’re not really listening, you’re not thinking about what the right what’s the right question to ask next? Or what should you just following a formula following a script of what you think of what you’ve been told to say in coaching sessions, rather than any kind of intuition as to what should come next? And I think that is something you develop an intuition for what works and what doesn’t work, what feels natural, and but I think you have to have that sort of responsiveness to, to whoever you’re working with.

Jeremy Nicholas
Hmm, yeah. So I’m, I’m a great believer in going in with a set amount of stuff, so that I know if I think of nothing during my routine, I will stick to my set amount. So let’s say it’s a 30-minute talk, I will go in perhaps with six five minute chunks, and each chunk might be a story with a message. Now, if something happens at the event, and I think I could riff on what a previous speaker said, or I can have some fun with someone in the audience, I will then think right, all I’ve got to do is lose one of those five-minute chunks, and it completely comes out. It’s like a razor blade, razor blade, lift it out, completely squeezed in an ad-lib to fill up it. Rather than what I see some people do is they’ll go in with 30 minutes, then something will happen. They’ll have a laugh and a joke about that. And then they’ll either overrun or they’ll speed up and speak very quickly. And think no, so you’ve got to have whole chunks that you can take out to keep you on time. If you want to do any ad-libbing stuff and sort of ad-libbing stuff I like is finding the connection between two things that don’t appear to be very connected. There’s loads of humour in that. So you’ll see a lot of comedians, for example, that will be from one country, and they’ll be speaking in another country. And they’ll talk about the differences between where they’re from and where they are now. So for example, I was speaking in South Africa, and in South Africa, they called traffic lights, robots. Okay, so you can instantly see there could be quite a lot of things. So a woman did say to me, I asked for directions. She said, Now you got the street there till you come to this giant robot. And then you turn right. And I’m thinking of if there’s a giant robot up there, there’s no way that we’re different between things. And that is something that really did happen once a giant robot and obviously, I said, What are you talking about, you know, that’s what we call traffic lags. And then the connection between working someone came to me the other day, and they wanted some human adding to a presentation. So I, I do a programme with international speakers. It’s called tickle my keynote, where they come along with their talk, and they just say, Can you put some funny lines in? So tickle my keynotes? My mastermind group kept telling me it should be called tickle your keynote, because I was offering it but I said no, like tickle my keynote better. It sounds more mischievous. And I imagine people ringing me up and I go, hello, tickle my keynote. And they go, and you tickle my keynote. So yeah, it’s definitely my Anyway, what was the point of this? Oh, yeah. So I was working with someone the other day. And she, it was a talk for a convention. That was people in the art world art dealers, painters, publicists for art. And the whole thing was that there’s a lot of money laundering had been going on through the arts business. And so it was a talk on how to keep legal and how to keep the criminals out of art. So I’ve just got a paper here. So just on a pad like that, I would draw remember Venn diagrams from school? Huh? Oh, yes, we see. Draw those two circles, like that.

John Ball
love a good Venn diagram?

Jeremy Nicholas
Yeah. Okay. So let’s call one of them art, and one of them crime. And I’m going to try this on you now. So I want you to think of something that goes in that middle one that connects art with crime. That might be funny. So it might just be a phrase or word or concept. What links art with crime. Okay, now, I realised that I’m being a bit lean on you there, so I’m going to help you out. So can you think of something that you would do with a painting that you might also do to a criminal? criminal that hadn’t actually done it? that someone had put them up?

John Ball
Frames?

Jeremy Nicholas
Yeah. So painting gets framed, and so good. criminal. So frames, let’s put that in there. That’s a good one. And the other one is, can you think of what you do to a painting that you might also do to a murderer? Except we don’t do it anymore in the UK, but we used to,

John Ball
Would this be Pretti Patel’s favourite, hang, hanging,

Jeremy Nicholas
hanging, yeah, you hang a painting on the wall, and we used to hang murderers, but now we don’t just put them in prison for a long time. So yeah, frame framing and hanging are both things that will go with art and with crime. And from that, I would then build some funny lines, saying, at least we don’t hang them anymore and make your comedy genius except they wouldn’t do it to me, they do it to the person I was coaching. They’ve done it. And actually a lot of people I coach say they feel guilty when they get a laugh, and it’s the joke I’d help them with. And I go, but that’s, you know, politicians pay speechwriters don’t these are why would anyone feel guilty about that? Or I’ve got some people I’ve coached that feel bad when they naturally come up with a line. And then the next day they use it again, a different event. And they say I feel a bit like I’ve cheated it because, you know, I didn’t think of it. Yes, you did you sort of yesterday. I know but it wasn’t natural. What I remember, when I used to have a radio show, I used to interview loads of comedians. And I actually did a series for ITV where I visited comedy clubs to do TV reports on comedy clubs, I interviewed a guy called Phil Jupiters, who actually became a good friend of mine because he supports my football team Westham. And I said to Phil Jupitus. So I saw you 220 minutes at the Comedy Store last night, how much of that will be the same as the previous night? And the night before that? And he said, all of it. It’s exactly the same. And it really so I said, but it just looks like you’re just chatting about Yeah, that’s the secret. He said, If I’m touring, and I’m perhaps doing you know, over 100 shows a year, why would I think of a different 20 minutes each night, I haven’t got time to do that. He said, so we spend ages honing it down to that good, tight, 20 minutes, and then deliberate, deliberate, deliberate, perhaps for a year and then write a whole new set, you know, in the quiet summer months. And I think if you as a speaker, if you think of something funny that goes in, to think so it might be about framing or hanging in an art crime talk, every time you do the art, crime, talk framing and hanging goes in. Because, you know, when I and when I started speaking, I used to feel a bit guilty about that, because my background was radio. And every day you do a new radio show. And you’d have the same listeners. And they would think well, he did that on Monday. But when you’re speaking at an event, you have different listeners every time. So your best bits, do them again and again. And again. And as speakers we always want to do on new exciting stuff that we just thought of and the stuff that we’ve been doing for years, we’re not excited by but you know, if you went see Queen and concert at Wembley Stadium, and they didn’t do Bohemian Rhapsody, and we will rock you, and we are the champions. They just did stuff off their new album. You’d be disappointed, wouldn’t you? So yeah, I think every talk has got to have your greatest hits in plus some stuff off the new album. But don’t just do the new stuff. You know, because the stuff that you’re bored with, if people haven’t heard it before, that’s probably the best stuff.

John Ball
Yeah, it’s really important to understand that as well. I think if you if you never if you only ever do new material in with the speaker, comedian, or whatever, if you any of the new stuff, you’re never really going to have polished material. So so you might get better at delivering improv delivering on the spur of the moment. But you’re never going to have anything that’s really, really polished. And that’s one of the things you probably do really need. And to stand out and excel in, in the industry is to practice well enough to have stuff that’s really polished. And I’ve seen this going to public speaking practice groups maybe actually sets you up to have that idea of is always new, it should always be something new and different. And there are very few occasions where someone will come along deliver the same speech again. And it’s only really I think, in competition level where people will do that, and they’ll do so up to a certain level. And then I think in the final levels of the competition, they have to bring in a new one. But when I’ve seen people in my own speaking club, practice their speeches and deliver them several times, you actually do see qualitative levels of improvement in how they deliver it, that it to a point where after time, it almost feels like a different speech to the first one, even though it’s the same material, it’s the same content. It’s well practised enough to be delivered more effortlessly, much more naturally, it flows better and not having to take those moments to think about what you’re supposed to be saying next or anything like that. And so I think that that’s a really powerful point. You know, if this is one of the tools they’re using in the music industry to introduce new songs that they want to be hit, they’ll play them in between some of the most popular songs, something you’re already very familiar with. And so that it doesn’t feel like it’s such a new thing for you, it’s got placed in, in the middle of all this familiarity. And that that is very unlikely to notice that unless you know that that’s the strategy that gets used. But you suggesting something similar when it comes to speaking, right?

Jeremy Nicholas
Yes, I think so. And I’ve been to speaking clubs, I used to go to the Toastmasters in Twickenham in southwest London where I live. And I enjoyed the humorous speaking contest. But there was there seemed to be very much a structure and formula and a right and wrong way of doing it. And I always think, a breakout from all of that. I would often in the feedback sessions like oh, yeah, this, you do this wrong, and you do that wrong. And then at the end of the night, I’d win Best speaker and I think, okay, so I think you have to break rules. If you think of, in comedy, someone like Steve Martin, who does it ever does it? These structures, brilliant, he does everything by the book. And he’s very widely regarded. But someone like Robin Williams, who’s just too was just a wild card, just did it off the top of his head was much more likeable, and lovable and funnier, because he was spontaneous. You didn’t know where it was going. So I do think it’s good to learn all those rules that speaking clubs teach you, and then to completely disregard them and go your own way. And if you are in a contest, people might go Yeah, they’ve actually done it but it’s almost on the judges scorecard. They wouldn’t get as many points beef. It’s, what is it like it’s like in ice dancing Torvill and Dean ice dancing at the Olympics, where there’s one way it’s like technical. And so you wouldn’t score very highly on that. But like star quality, you’d score very high artistic reputation, something like that. So I do think learn all the rules, but then don’t be afraid to break every single one. Because the rules are great. And it gives you a great structural that Toastmaster stuff, great structure. But then why would you want to live in a structure? You know, because particularly if I’m speaking a conference, I want to be different to everybody else. And if everyone’s learned the same way, then I don’t get much better with practice. But what I think I am better at is being able to be slightly different. And so that’s I think that’s what I encourage humorous people to be slightly different. But the big thing with speaking and humour is you have to keep your status. You have to make sure that you’re a wit high status, not a clown, low status, and the difference being that you laugh with a wit and you laugh at a clap. And that’s, you know, you don’t if you clown about you know, you do funny faces and voices and fall about and swear, people will love but they’ll be laughing at you. And then at the end when you deliver your final message. We want them to do something or some behavioural change, buy something, sign up for something when you get your big message. If you’ve clowned about, they’ll go Oh, it’s the funny one. You know, and they won’t believe you as much as keep your status. Wit, not a clown laugh with no.

John Ball
Yeah, but that’s important. I mean, I have often said that you have to as a speaker, as a presenter, you have to be prepared to go wherever you need to go to, to engage and entertain your audience. But there but what you’re saying is that there is actually a limit to that is if they start laughing at you, you kind of lost them to some degree definitely don’t you don’t want that and you want to be, you don’t want to be the joke. And you want to want to make sure that the jokes are off from you that people are laughing with you, which is no a good principle in life in general, not just on the stage, right is that we don’t really generally want to be that person who’s just foot tripped over in a field and landed face first. And the cow pattern has been laughing at them. It’s the humiliation side, we can do it. But I think, what if you accidentally find yourself back and you come back from that?

Jeremy Nicholas
Yeah, so I’ve seen I saw a speaker once that there was a stage that was four blocks, and he was moving around quite vigorously and the two blocks, it’s come slightly apart. And he’s foot went down between the two blocks of the stage. And everyone just laughed, and I thought, how’s he going to recover from this? And he said, Sorry about this. It’s just a stage I’m going through. And I thought, well, that’s genius. And then afterwards, I had a chat with him. And he said that the other one that he’d been thinking about was I will now take questions from the floor, which is quite good. You know, that’s impressive when I can do that. So don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. I mean, I’m if ever I’m in trouble and when I’m in trouble, it means I’m not getting the laughs I think I should have, then I will be self-deprecating. One of my clients that work at mine keeps saying self-depreciating. And it’s got to the point where I should have said it early on in in the coaching Now reaching out because you’ve been saying it for quite a few weeks, self depreciating is a guaranteed way to get a laugh at yourself. So for example, if I’m speaking in America, or Germany, I don’t want to make jokes about Americans or Germans, because they’ll hate me. So, if I’m in Germany, I’ll say, oh, in London, we do this and talk about the ridiculous things that we do in London. And they will laugh because they’re high in London now silly. And also, he seems like quite a nice bloke because he can joke about himself. My Germans not quite as good as my South African world. But do you see the point if you don’t, you don’t want to be attacking people, because then they don’t want to come over here. Having a go. So remember, an American speaker once came to a conference I was at. And he thought it would be a good idea for his walk-on music to be God Save the Queen, which is our national anthem. Okay, God save our gracious Queen long move on Oh, but when he walked onto that, and he’s, he’s thinking was everyone would stand up because national anthem, I’m able to have a video saying are brilliant, I got a standing ovation. I haven’t even said anything yet. But actually, the audience which was European, but about 90%, British just sat down thinking, What’s he doing coming on to our anthem, you can’t do that. Like, that’s our team, you know, and so everyone just folded their arms and day, a little bit flustered. And then he started talking about how he loves the royal family. And in fact, he really fancied princess Kate. And what we’d like, and we were like, don’t come over here, mate, making jokes about our Germans, which is, you know, like, what we talk about the royal family because of the German heritage, and a few other people’s died putting on Twitter. Anyway, she’s not a princess, she’s a Duchess, which is such a British thing. It’s like, they’ll expect anything but not fake, you know.

John Ball
Some things you just shouldn’t mess with

Jeremy Nicholas
And that is chiming into the sense of humour of wherever you are. So don’t look as though you know, people in the UK will make jokes about the royal family all the time. Because we feel like we’ve paid our taxes for them. We can joke about them. And also, you know, I love the queen, but otherwise, I’d make a joke about it, because that’s what we do. But what we don’t want is an outsider coming to have a go our queen, then it’s like, oh, no, no, we’re allowed to do it. But you’re not.

John Ball
Yeah, you get very and then kind of thing. So you have to get on side with the audience. You’re reminding me when you’re talking about a speaker, one time, an American speaker who came to present in the UK when I was still based there doing event work and stuff and started off his speech to a large auditorium of people a thing, I want to start with a prayer to God forms No, over half the room just right then and there. That maybe wasn’t a good way to start. Like, that’s a really good way to misjudge your audience. But in the US, I don’t think anyone would bat an eyelid if somebody wanted to start. So it was like a personal development seminar. If someone wanted to start like that, you would assume that most of the people have some sort of God belief but in the UK event, didn’t go down very well at all. You really have to know your audience and get on fire with them.

Jeremy Nicholas
Yeah, you do. You have to really, that you have to research the biggest thing I think beforehand is researching who your audience are, what they know, what they need to know. And also what works with them and what you must definitely avoid. You know, I speak a lot in the Middle East and there are things that I’d say in the UK I definitely wouldn’t say in the Middle East. And I like you with the Christianity thing with American speakers. It’s they just think it’s fine. Even when I’ve said to some of them, I don’t think you should do that in the UK. Oh, no, it’s fine. We do it all the time back home. Yeah, I just wouldn’t do it in the UK. But they’ll still feel like it’s not up to you, Jeremy to decide. But my God, so they’ll do it and it will die. And they go Yeah, I shouldn’t have done that. You know, well, so that’s why whenever I go to a country I’m not familiar with I’ll say to people, is there anything I should know about here? You know, and it might just be something like hands gestures might mean something completely different. In-country, like, like, for example, in Japan, you know, that you, you bow your head when you greet someone like that. But I see a lot of people when this greeting Japanese people instead of banging their head like that, they’ll kind of go down like that, but still look up at them with their eyes, which is, you know, you have to the whole point is showing you’re lowering your eyes not it’s not anything to do with your hair. But if your eyes aren’t like that, well then it’s just the culture you have to be aware of there was one American speaker that I did take the Mickey out of once on stage because something he’d said, in front of the audience, Jeremy, I think you’re in danger of being a little bit patronising (*pay sound). And I said, Oh, we say, patronising (*pat sound).

John Ball
Which you do know that means talking down to people. Yeah, there are some good ways to handle that. Yeah. is one important thing is as people who want to be a bit funny in their presentations, is there anyone who may be should avoid it? Maybe it’s like, Okay, this isn’t gonna work for you.

Jeremy Nicholas
Yeah, well, if you’re not funny at all, and in your real life, no one has ever laughed at anything you said, then probably don’t do it. But how many people is that? You know, most people will get a smile at some. So I think to try it. If it’s not for you, then don’t, don’t do it. I like to give people a toolbox of things that can make them better speakers. And one of the tools is like a rapier wit. Think of it as like that, right? Try that. Oh, yeah, you’re, you need to use that a lot. And somebody else will say you could use it a bit, you could use it sparingly, you don’t touch it, because you’re going to cut your fingers on that rapier wit. So but I’d say there’s only about 10% of people that that should completely avoid humour. It’s the same way with an audience, I always think there’s 10% of an audience that will laugh freely at anything and 10% that won’t laugh at anything at all. And it’s the other 80% in the middle, you’ve got to persuade some people off really easily now the 80% in the middle, they, maybe 40% of them will laugh if somebody else laughs But someone else needs to start it’s like a snowball and needs to start rolling down the hill. And I’m probably in that 40% that will laugh but only if somebody else’s laugh first, I don’t want to be the first one to laugh. So they’re like little, it’s like a barbecue. If you think they’re little firelighters, they’re the 10% of easy laughter. And as soon as they catch light, then then the coals around them will catch fire. That’s why you want your audience close in it sitting next to each other, you don’t want the spread around on big tables in a massive room and they’re all at the back. because it’d be like a barbecue where the coals have been spread out too early in the heat disappears and you need heat. That’s why you need a low ceiling, comedy clubs, low ceilings, dark, bright lights on the stage. So that’s really focused, trying to do comedy outdoors, you know, you know, open-air festival, all of the sound goes up like that, rather than going sideways and infecting your neighbours. And then you’ve got the other 40% that will only have a smile probably and then 10% won’t laugh at all. And so ideally, I want if I’ve got an audience of 100, then I want a couple in the front row, they’re gonna laugh and spread, you know that. Obviously, you don’t know who they are. But as soon as somebody in your audience laughs focus more stuff on them. And it’s a bit like throwing parafin on the flame. Getting that ignited good, that bits going over there. Now there’s someone over there law, focus a bit over there at them, and then someone over there focused on that. And then you got these little flames and gradually, the whole thing will catch light apart from the 10% they will always sit there. You know, like, I know what is going on? I don’t quite get it, but everyone else is laughing. So I’ll just smile.

John Ball
Yeah, as an MSP, I’ve never really considered the sort of potential effects of, of the environment that you deliver humour in or the logistics of delivery and in terms of how funny makes things? And yeah, it’s, it makes sense that that would be important. It’s a great thing to consider. Which, which is why I like to have conversations with people like yourself who have expertise in these areas and a great experience to share. And so you’ve already mentioned that you teach a lot of this to people, you help people with their presentations, you help people to be funnier with their own delivery. And so if there’s anyone watching this live or the replay, and if we’ve got anyone live at the moment, but if they’re not watching the replay, and who wants to find out more about how they can come and work with you and be funnier in their presentations, how can they do that? Yeah,

Jeremy Nicholas
so my website is Jeremy nicklaus.co.uk. And I have sort of three levels that I work with people. There’s my entry-level, which is my group programme, which is a six-week programme and you get to watch 12 five minute videos on how to be funnier and it’s techniques, skills, things to avoid things to watch out for. Definite guaranteed ways to get a laugh structures that you can use, like doing three things. You know how in speaking speakers always do three things. In comedy speaking, we do normal thing, normal thing, weird thing, or big, big, small, global, global-local. So there are three things but the third one is weird. And it sets up that pattern like three people going to a pub and one does something. The second one does something similar. The third one does something completely different. So set up reinforced sub that, that so that’s one five minute video will be on that and there’s 12 of those with little structures for guaranteed loss and then the six live zoom calls across six weeks, and then there’s an online mastermind group where people put their homework and everyone else comments on it, and we do it limited to eight people, time can sign up for it. And I’ve done that four times in lockdown, there’s a new one starting in January. If anyone wants to do that, that’s the entry-level one, that’s the group one because obviously, I can do eight people in one go. So it’s much cheaper. The second one is one to one coaching, where you might have a particular talk coming up. And you might need, say, three zoom sessions to get that into a funny way. Or you might just want to learn some techniques and one on one stuff. So I’ve done that a lot with people, I’ve got best man speech, or Father of the Bride speech, or a bride speech, or mother of whatever. Or I’ve done it with people delivering eulogies at funerals because often they want to make those quite humorous. And then a lot of it just boring chief executives that know they’re boring, and they think someone says, I should come to you, Jeremy, you’ll make this funny. And I go, Yes, I will. Though, those just online zoom things. And then the most expensive thing is taking my keynote, which is like the others except I’ll actually write the funny lines for you. Rather than coaching you on how to find the funny, I’ll actually write them for you. And obviously, that’s why it’s more expensive because you can then go away and for the next 10 years use those lines. I’ve only been paid once. Yeah. So yeah. Jeremy nicholas.co.uk, don’t go to the dot.com, because that’s an actor.

John Ball
So you, you probably won’t get the same level of quality on your help with your speeches. If you go to the .com instead of the co.uk. So definitely come and work with you. And I like that you built in your residuals to your highest ticket item, it makes a lot of sense. Yeah.

Jeremy Nicholas
Well, I’ve, I’ve been to so many speaking events over the years that I know all the tricks like you’re gonna have three levels, and the premium ones gonna be so expensive that everyone actually goes for the second one. If you didn’t have the third one, they always go for the first one. But actually, No, mine is group, then there’s one to one. And then there’s do it for you. Because I’ve done a lot of work with companies on how to be a good conference emcee, you know, and I’ll train all the people on how to be a good conference MC. And you know what mainly happens from that. At the end of it, they’ll go actually, could you just be our emcee? And I’ll say, Yes, I can. So I’m a great believer in that in a show. That looks really hard. Could you just do it for me? And it’s the same way with tickle my keynote. Okay. Yeah, I like the idea being funny, but I just don’t, I’ve never had a funny thought in my life. All right, well, I can do 22. So we’re taking my keynote, what happens is, I have a three-hour session with them, where they’ll deliver their stuff, or I’ll watch it on video or whatever. And we’ll talk about things like that art crime thing, finding the things that are different, or other, and then I’ll go away for a week and then I’ll come back and I’ll have written 20 lines, exactly. 25 lines. And then I’ll spend an hour with them on zoom saying which these like, this is how you deliver it. Try that one? Yeah. Okay. Now I’ve tried putting an emphasis on this word. Yeah, no, that’s not working. So it’s, it’s a little bit bespoke. But that you know that what you’re paying for is that bit in the middle where I go away and come up with 20 things which will come to me mainly when I’m walking in Richmond Park with the dog, or I’m singing in the shower, or I’m driving somewhere if we’re allowed to drive at the moment. You know, and that’s, most people think when they try to write funny lines, they sit down a laptop thing. And then they wonder why they come up with stuff that just sounds like a joke that they would be booking.

John Ball
So yeah, I think we’re still in the UK still allowed to drive to Barnard castle.

Jeremy Nicholas
Yeah, you can if you have an opticians appointment.

John Ball
So yeah, I had hoped to actually come on one of your courses recently I ended up having to move out but not having to end up moving out of my previous apartment and got a bit waylaid with all of that. So hopefully, we’ll be coming in joining myself in in January. That’s my plan. Because I think there’s a lot to learn from you. And I’ve learned a lot just from this from our chat today. And as Xena couldn’t have had a better guest for today’s show, because I think most people had had I dropped off sort of five minutes into the presentation with the internet knockout what might have struggled to carry it on. Whereas you just started telling everyone a story which is wonderful. And that makes you the ideal guest have on my first ever live version of the show. And let me just before we do close things off for today, are there any final words or thoughts you’d like to leave everyone with?

Jeremy Nicholas
I think only use humour if you like it don’t feel there’s a thing to know why in the speaking world people have this idea. Or you should always start with a joke. I don’t know whoever said that. But that’s bonkers. Don’t and don’t do jokes do stories because jokes put pressure on so don’t start with a joke just do a funny line that the check-in and then if they like it great if they don’t find that that for me is my big. My big things are jokes. No Stories, yes, wit knots clown. And probably the biggest thing and I haven’t mentioned this at all. The biggest thing is if you say something funny, pause, and let them laugh because I’ll see so many speakers that will say something funny, and then they’ll carry straight on and the audience starts laughing. And then they go, Oh, hang on, I’m missing the next bit. So they stop. And then the next time, they won’t laugh at all, because they’re worried that you’re gonna miss the next bit. So that’s my big takeaway. Get to the funny bit, Stop, wait. And sometimes you’ll have to wait maybe two minutes before they laugh, but they will. If you just stand there quietly for two minutes. They’ll laugh eventually. And so what I used to do early on when I didn’t really know if I was funny, is I would just have a drink. And I’d say dare to do that. But I’d wait. And then they go. I think he said something funny. Oh, yeah, that is quite funny. And then they’d start laughing. So water, I think people would think Crikey, he must be diabetic or something. He’s drinking water. But it was literally no. And what I’m doing is I’m waiting for you to laugh without looking like I’m waiting for you to off yet. So the pause does two things. One is it gives them time to laugh. And one is that gives them permission to laugh and kind of hints that I think I might have said something funny.

John Ball
And also hydrates you Yeah. Even better when you’re present too much.

Jeremy Nicholas
Otherwise, if you’re doing a long set you might need to pee.

John Ball
Yeah, that’s probably not such a good idea. If you end up having to rush off and hold it in whilst you’re presenting great words of wisdom and advice and has been a real delight having you as a guest today. My apologies for the technical issues. I’m going to probably can find somebody to pin that all on and say something very delightful to them about. Why did the internet cut out partway through my cool but Jeremy Nicholas, thank you so much for coming and being my guest today? On my first ever live show of speaking of influence. Next week, my guest will be the amazingly talented speaker and presenter Shola Kaye, she is she’s a TEDx speaker. She is a former singer is a very talented lady. And we’re talking about things like emotional intelligence about her experiences doing a TEDx talk and things like that. So not a live show next time but definitely one you won’t want to miss. So see you next time for speaking of influence.

Jeremy Nicholas
Thanks very much, goodbye.

John Ball
Before you go Remember to like and subscribe and if you’re on Apple podcast, leave us a review it really helps with the show. Also why not pick up a copy of my new ebook the five key beliefs of bulletproof business speakers available from my website present influence.com if you want to get in touch if you’re interested in working with me or finding out about any of my courses or trainings, or having me come and speak for one of your events or to your company or organisation. Email me john@presentinfluence.com if you’d like to be a guest on the show, or maybe you want me to be a guest on your show, visit matchmaker.fm its a site that connects podcasters with hosts and vice versa. And you will find me and the speaking of influence podcast on there. I look forward to seeing you again next time for another episode of speaking of influence.

Does that include me? With guest Esi Hardy

Are you and your business fully inclusive?

I was introduced to my next guest at a time when I had several clients attending some of my live online events who were struggling with accessibility due to their disabilities. Thankfully, we’ve been able to accommodate their needs but this is something we could have been better prepared for so that people with accessibility issues can feel not just included but valued right from the start of their engagement.

Whilst things are improving in the area of inclusivity, there is still a long way to go and many good reasons to get on top of accessibility and inclusivity right away, as so many people don’t wish to make a fuss and end up feeling left out altogether or separate from other groups. My guest on this episode is Esi Hardy who is a speaker, trainer, writer and disability/inclusion expert who founded her company Celebrating Disability to help businesses improve their accessibility, both for employees and for guests.

I learned so much from chatting to Esi of the ways we can be more inclusive and helpful without it becoming patronising or intrusive. I honestly believe that we all miss out when there are people who feel they can not join in as well as everyone else. Whilst it may not be possible to do everything imaginable to include everyone in every way, there is so much that is easy to do and makes a world of difference to people who may otherwise feel like they are stuck on the periphery.

Esi has her own podcast called ‘Part of me’ which is all about disability inclusivity in all walks of life. You can find out more about disability inclusivity from Esi’s website CelebratingDisability.co.uk and Esi will be delighted to hear from you if you would like her to her you and your business become more disability-inclusive. Esi Recommended a book called Ripples from the Edge of Life by Roland Chesters

Next week I’m going to be trying out my first live podcast episode on LinkedIn. If you’d like to join me and my guest Jeremy Nicholas talking about public speaking and humour in presentations, we’ll be live at 10 am UK and 11 am CET on Friday 4th Dec 2020. Find me on LinkedIn and you’ll even be able to ask questions live as we broadcast, which is a first for my show… hopefully. If it goes well, I will do more. The show will go out on the same day, so if you miss it, you can still pick it up in the usual ways.

See you next time.

Transcript

John Ball
Welcome to the speaking of influence podcast with virtual business speaker presentation skills and influence coach John Ball. Remember to like and subscribe. The speaking of influence podcast is uploaded and distributed using Buzzsprout. Buzzsprout makes it really easy to get your podcast started and out to a wide audience with lots of tips and useful tools to help you on your way. If you’re interested, check the link in the show notes and start your podcast today.

Welcome to the show. I’m really happy to be joined today by my special guest who is a speaker, writer. She is a trainer as well. She is also a host of her own podcast, which is called part of me. Is that right? That’s right. Yeah, her name is Esi Hardy. She has a company called Celebrating Disability. And today we are going to be talking about what she does in her work and how she uses the tools of presentation and influence and persuasion and in what she does. So welcome to the show Esi Hardy great to have you.

Esi Hardy
Thank you very much, John, it’s great to be here. Thank you for inviting me,

John Ball
I’m really pleased to be speaking with you. And when we had our initial conversation to discuss been being a guest on the call. And I was really interested by what you do and why you did what has been your motivation. So tell us a little bit about what your company is and what led you up to doing that?

Esi Hardy
So celebrating disability is a business that supports businesses and not for profit organisations to be inclusive of disabled people. And that could be several candidates when they’re applying for roles. It could be disabled employees when they work within organisations, or it could also be sampled customers, guests and clients when they’re interacting with the business. So I support them through awareness all the way through to inclusion for confidence, and then to have the tools to competently implement strategies that will be inclusive of disabled people in that workplace culture.

John Ball
And has that been something that has been a challenge that many places not being all that inclusive?

Esi Hardy
Yeah, I think, yeah, it’s getting better. So we’re in 2020, we’re kind of edging towards the end of 2020. I don’t like to admit it, because it’s like we haven’t had a year at all. And it’s getting better. A lot of especially the more high profile, companies and corporations are beginning to really grasp what inclusion means and inclusion and equality of disabled people means and but we still have quite a far way to go with people kind of understanding the distinction between first of all diversity and inclusion, and then inclusion and accessibility.

John Ball
Yeah, these are really important areas. I mean, as a statistic, roughly what would be the percentage of people in the workforce or the potential workforce that with disabilities,

Esi Hardy
A good 50% of the workforce has a disability. So if you think one in five, one in five people have a disability, and a lot of disability. So about around 80% of disabilities acquired during the lifespan of a person and a lot of is acquired during the lifespan of a career. So people are coming into the workplace, perhaps without the disability, so they’re non-disabled when they enter the workplace. And then they might acquire a disability so they might gain a disability gain sounds a bit wiggly word for disability, but they might become disabled while they’re at work. And also, if we think about the majority of disability is hidden. And so I have a physical disability, I’m physically disabled myself, and I’m a wheelchair user. So when I’m out and about, it’s very obvious that I’m a wheelchair user because I am in a wheelchair, and I am not a very good driver. So chances are I would oppression to your door or the person standing next to you, but a lot of disability is hidden. So people and organisations sometimes misinterpret that they’re low numbers of disabled people that they’re engaging with just because they can’t see that disability. And a lot of disabled people don’t like talking about their disability because they’re worried about repercussions, as in discrimination in the recruitment stage, they’re worried about they won’t get the support they need when they’re in their business. They’re worried about not being promoted, and not being supported in the right way if they disclose a disability, so essentially, it’s detrimental to them. And a lot of people don’t recognise their disability as such, and don’t want to recognise the disability as such. There’s still a lot of stigma around disability and a lot of bias that comes from disabled people themselves. Because we all live in society. And we pick up on what everybody else says. So because of all those reasons, a lot of disabled people are not opening up to employers, or asking for the support they need, because they don’t want to. So a lot of the data that would otherwise be gathered, is not being gathered, because people don’t know how to ask them the right way. And people don’t know how to disclose in a way that they feel confident to.

John Ball
So So you are part of the solution, championing the cause to get equality to get a fair representation and parity in the workplace? What have been some of the challenges that you’ve personally experienced in this area?

Esi Hardy
Oh, where do we start? So I would say it started right back in education. So I mean, I, you know, I am nearing 40. I know. But I’m nearing 40. So I grew up in the 80s. And I went to primary school in the 80s, in the early 90s. And there wasn’t these inclusive education strategies then. and integrating disabled people with it was called in those days quotes normal children was a relatively new thing. And by normal, it’s not the word I would use non-disabled children is a relatively new thing. Therefore, and a lot of my education was secondary, because I couldn’t access the rooms, or I couldn’t access what they wanted me to do. The projects that one that we wanted to happen, and there was no education for the children as to how to, you know, interact with me. Luckily, primary school children a lot more open than older children and adults, so they just get on with it. And my mom told me that when I grew up, well, I was born in Germany and grew up in Scotland. And we moved in Scotland when my stepdad got a new job. And apparently, the school had told the children in the class on the Friday that on the Monday, there was going to be a very special child coming a very special little girl. And we would have to be very nice to her. And apparently, at the end of Monday, one of the children said to the teacher, I don’t know what’s special about her, she’s just like us. So children are a lot more accepting and a lot, they just get on with it, then adults, but as I got older, those differences, widen those barriers widens. And those opportunities got bigger and bigger. And I went to a school for physically disabled children. And the onus wasn’t on education, it was on making as in quotes better so that we could go and live in quotes an independent normal life. And so a lot of physio, a lot of quotes, independence training, and then when out so by the time I got to college, and although I had GCSEs, they weren’t at the standard that they needed to be for me to do the courses I needed to do. So in the education, I was already on the back foot by the time I went to university, and then in the workplace, workplaces again, at the time, were very much used to looking at what you’ve done and what your experiences, I was an actress. And so my experience was limited, not because I wasn’t good at what I did. And not because I didn’t get the opportunities in college, but because they couldn’t see my potential, you know, I was just the disabled girl, what could I possibly do. So I got turned down for lots of auditions, obviously, I got some drops. But a lot more of the auditions I was turned down for because of how I physically presented and the biases that those casting directors held about me. And then in the world, in the workplace as an in the office environment. And because I perhaps didn’t have the qualifications or the other candidates had. But also because of just that bias around disability in the first place. I found it very hard to secure a role. And so I become a became self-employed. And at 25 purely because it was harder to find an employment role. And I got my first employment role. I think when I was 33. I only stayed for two and a half years because by that time I liked being my own boss, and then left again and set up my own business. But the story that I’ve just told, is not unusual for a disabled person’s experience because of the prejudices and the lack of understanding about the support that a disabled person might need.

John Ball
I can well appreciate it and from everything you say, and I can see as someone who is not disabled. I can certainly see that those things have been there and maybe haven’t been in general awareness for most for many people because of not having disabilities themselves and not necessarily having somebody In the family with a disability, and, and but I have in my own family experience and a family member who has learning difficulties. And they were diagnosed quite young. And again, an invisible disability. But what I saw in the education system there even more recently is that she’s still quite young. And is that the options that she was presented for her life were very limited. They were based on still very fixed ideas about what you do when you finish school. And really none of it was actually looking at where she might have talent or ability naturally, yeah, it was all very focused on Well, this is probably the best you can hope for. And she was already about that, though. Okay, that’s not good. And as much because that got so instilled and I think, even to some degree, and this family member, her parents were kind of believed it as well, if I can see the limitations that and not just society was placing on her, but she ends up placing on herself as well realise that, yeah, like accepting this is the best I could go for. You didn’t accept that. And you’re encouraging other people not to excel and saying it can be more, you can be more you can have more. And I’m definitely glad to hear that experiences are changing. But even just seeing, not that I watch much and UK tv But from what I do see, once the may see some more inclusivity is still not that much for people with disabilities that I’m aware of.

Esi Hardy
I think you’re absolutely right. And I think you’re absolutely right with a lot of what you just said. And I think that that empowerment piece that you were talking about before with the person in your family that has a learning disability is so important to disable children and set the families of disabled children are told all the time that you know, they can’t, you’re This is the best you can hope for they’re probably going to die. So it’s a miracle that they’re still alive and all of those things. So when a disabled baby is handed to a parent, and the first thing the doctor often says is Oh, I’m sorry, your baby’s disabled, not Congratulations, you have a new baby and say from the moment, dots parents are the message to parents has been reinforced that there’s something wrong that it’s going to be hard, it’s going to be a struggle, that it’s all negative. And it’s really hard, especially when it’s a negative based practice to turn as in what can you do to turn that into your what can you do? What do you enjoy doing? What can we, you know, what do you want to achieve? How can we support you to achieve what you want to? Yes, you can rather than no, you can’t. And it’s easy for that stable person to slip into? Well, I can’t. I mean, I have lots of friends and colleagues that are still in that attitude. And I had that attitude for a very long time. And I had a mom that was very positive. Just because you’re disabled as he doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. Yes, she did send me to a special school, but she was sending me to that special school because she was told that that was the best place for me. She wasn’t told about what wouldn’t happen to my education. She was told she was essentially told that I could probably skip hop, skip and jump after five years. And because they want, you know, they think the best outcome is to be in quotes normal, but you know, what’s known? Yeah, exactly when that disabled person becomes confident with their disability, that that empowerment rarely happens. But there’s a lot that people can do in the meantime, to empower people. And, and because I went back of what you said, I forgot what your leading question was.

John Ball
I don’t even remember. But I love what you’re saying then, interestingly enough, I mean, I think those are, that’s a subject that’s really relevant to everyone, whether they realise it or not that Yeah, General systems that we grow up in, often limit us in ways that we just tend to accept because we’re told to, and that’s what we’ve been told. That’s what people say is the best for you along. And maybe just we see it more clearly in these sorts of specific situations. But I think it’s generally true. Because I think most of us grew up with these limitations and we end up placing them on ourselves and believing them to be true. They don’t when they don’t have to be. What I do want to come to with you though is that you did take things further and you dreamed of more, you decided that’s not enough for me, I want something more. And so not just from the acting stuff that you did, but you decided to go into talking about this and presenting and speaking what was your path to actually getting onto a platform and speaking?

Esi Hardy
You know what? I think you said we weren’t going to discuss acting but I think it was acting so, acting gave me confidence when I was young. So I started in drama class at school when I was 14. And I suddenly thought, oh, wow, everyone’s looking at me. This is amazing. You know, I’ve got everyone’s attention, they’re standing up, and they’re clapping, and they’re laughing. When I say something funny, this is incredible. And that, and for a lot of actors, a lot of actors are very shy people, but they come into their own when they’re on stage, because when you’re on stage, you can be someone else. So I think that was the beginning for me, and I enjoyed the fact that I had everybody’s attention. And then I can give them a message, whether it be a fictional message, or then a bit more kind of a motivational message or whatever the message was. And then so and I think every kind of role that I’ve had since acting has kind of been an A talking platform, and empowerment platform in one way or another. So I used to go into schools, and run disability awareness talks and disability awareness, training sessions for primary school children on disability awareness. And then I worked for my legal authority, where I trained social workers, and sports enable people. And then the organisation I worked for before setup, celebrating disability used to send me out and do the talking opportunities, because again, I loved being in front of people, and I would give my opinion anyway, so I think, god, she’s gonna say something anyway, let’s just let the talk in the first place. And that, you know, I just think it’s a really powerful way of delivering a message to a group of people, if you can make when you talk, if you can make it tangible, and relatable to your audience. So this is saying isn’t that, you know, as a speaker, you have to know your audience. And it’s so true, you have to tailor your talk, and pitch your talk to the audience that you’re going to be delivering it to. I’ve heard so many speakers quite recently, actually. And in networking events, and all sorts that just start without understanding their audience. So not asking the question, hands up, how many people have a marketing strategy, for example, or hands up? How many people have a product, it compared to how many people deliver service, and by gaining and maybe asking a few more general questions. And by gaining that knowledge, you can then pitch your talk to the position, the audience they’re at. And I think that’s so important to kind of foster engagement, but also to show the audience that you, you care about how they’re receiving. So you care about their experience?

John Ball
Yeah, absolutely. And one of the things that come up over time, and again, in many of the conversations I have with speakers, and that’s about reasoning with a lot of professional comedians as well, who I’ve been speaking to, and is about the connection part of that connection with the audience. So with your topics, what would be the ways that you’d like to start that connection with your audience?

Esi Hardy
That’s a good question, as so I’m just trying to think so I mean, generally, I know the audience, I know that the type of audience before I go in. And but I will start I mean, a lot of people have the story, their story that they tell I don’t have a story, specifically, and but I will start by telling them who I am and why, in a way that I feel justified to be here talking to them. So I might usually, you know, if it’s face to face, they’ll see that I’m sitting in a wheelchair. So my justification for talking about service inclusion is that I’m a wheelchair user, but obviously lived experiences only one part of it. So I also tell them about my professional background, and what I’ve been doing, or if it’s appropriate, what other businesses and companies I’ve worked for, so that they can relate. When I’m about to tell them with, Oh, she must know what she’s talking about, because she’s talked to x, y, and Zed, but also in our sector. And then when I’m discussing a subject, I will try and relate it back to something in their life. And so for example, if I’m talking about and how to make a venue, inclusive and accessible for disabled people, I’ll ask them to think about what it feels like when they go into a building. And people don’t walk up and greet them, or they go into a building and they didn’t really know where to go. Or, or as I said, or they go into building and they need to learn they can’t find the facilities, or the facilities are locked, and it helps them to kind of thing Oh, yeah, no, that’s nothing because I think some people think, Well, I’m not disabled, I can’t possibly relate to one dislike for a disabled person. But actually, you can experience being excluded, therefore for my talk, because that’s relatable to you. So if I’m talking about business strategies, For example, I might then relate that strategy back to my own barriers of the strategies and the processes not working for me, and why it’s so important to change it, and then what the benefits are.

John Ball
Yeah, and which, which is born and we make it relatable, you make a unit part of the universal experience, things we can all connect with. And that’s important. So that’s engaging. That’s the connection part. That makes a lot of sense.

Esi Hardy
But I also think it’s important. I mean, I use humour a lot in my talks. And I also, I mean, not practically my trumpet, but humour is not easy comedy is one of the hardest skills in acting. And but I’m quite lucky that I’ve got quite comic timing. And I’m quite good at the one-liners, and humour helps to engage with people. So people, they’re a bit standoffish. I think, all this has nothing to do with me. And I can make them laugh, and then they can still think this has nothing to do with me. But that was funny. And then later on, they’ll be thinking, that was funny. Oh, I get it now. So by putting in that, that bit of humour, every now and then it sticks with people, and then slowly they can process the information and it becomes relatable to them.

John Ball
Yeah, no, I agree. 100%, I talk a lot about the tools of influence and persuasion. And my podcast is called speaking of influence. And one of the best tools of influence and persuasion is humour. And, you know, with, with having a lot of conversations with professional comedians recently, and stuff that has been coming out of those conversations has been around how humour, helps us deal with things that might otherwise be a bit difficult to deal with, how relaxes people creates greater connection puts us more in alignment, we feel like we’re all part of something when we’re laughing and joining together. So yeah, really important areas and no harm in blowing your own trumpet about that. And being prepared and making people laughing. That’s a great thing. It’s, it’s not always easy to do, which is why a lot of people don’t even try for humour. But it’s actually not that hard to be at least a little humorous, just to be light and playful in your presentations. And it certainly helps if we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Right?

Esi Hardy
Absolutely. Yeah, I agree. And I think also, it’s so important to recognise and talk about the fact that it’s not going perfectly, so we’re only human, nothing ever goes perfectly. If your presentation isn’t on the right page, or whatever, you don’t talk about it, don’t ignore it, because everybody can see it. And so why not kind of Foucault, you know, you make sure that that you understand that this is happening. So I use PowerPoint, essentially, to remind myself what I’m going to say next. And so I have slides with minimal information on it, but they’re really a jumping-off point for me to start talking. So if I gave you my slides, you would be like, I don’t know what you’re talking about Esi. But with me talking, there will just be a reminder. And I have to look at my slides, because I have a terrible memory. And I always say I promise I wrote this myself. And because you know, other people, it would look like oh, I’m just reading somebody else’s work, because I can’t remember what’s coming up. So yeah, acknowledging that things aren’t perfect is really important.

John Ball
That’s really good. Because I’m interesting enough, you may have come across this before. But there’s something called the presenting world, a visual stack. And it’s a memory technique for learning your presentation, where you create images that represent different parts of your presentation. And you can then go and link them up, make some wild crazy story that links these parts of your visual stack. And, and even make it as images that represent that. And in the slide, using a slideshow to do that makes a lot of sense. Because it’s the cues that you need, that that fit with what you’re talking about and makes sense as a visual representation. But as you say, don’t give everything away, but they keep you on track for what you’re talking about. And those cues. So rather than just having those pictures in your head, make them part of your slideshow. Very clever. I like it.

Esi Hardy
Yeah. And I think it’s better. I mean, obviously horses for courses, but I personally think it’s better than having prompt cards, because you have to look down at your prompt cards, which is taking your way from the engagement of your audience, because obviously one of the most important things is eye contact. So it’s taking you away from having the eye contact. So it’s when you’re looking on this slide for these prompts. And it’s almost like you’re all in it together.

John Ball
Have you found that since COVID, and quarantines and things that pretty much has been online presentations and what kind of differences has it made for you?

Esi Hardy
So yes, it’s all been online. So the first one I did that rather than a training session, a talk that I did online, was I think it’s quite early on, I think it was April. And I am used to delivering half a day to whole day courses for about 16 to 20 delegates on my own in a room. And I was so much more exhausted after one hour of delivering an online presentation than I would have been delivering a day’s training session, because there was no engagement and there was no interaction. So I was staring at the screen with my PowerPoint presentation, where I couldn’t hear anyone, everyone was muted, and I couldn’t see anyone. And that’s really hard, because I get my energy for delivering from my audience. So I see my audience, and I see how they’re reacting to my material. And then I adapt accordingly. Either I tone it down, or I ham it up, or I do whatever I need to do to deliver that message and to engage, and to make sure it’s tangible. So if I can see that people didn’t quite get it, I couldn’t give them another example, if I could see they have got it, and I can move on. I can also ask them questions. And in this particular presentation, I couldn’t do any of that. And it was absolutely exhausting. And you would see a non-speaker would think, oh, that’s really easy, because you just talk and you don’t, you’re not gonna be stopped by questions that you have to think about. But it’s really, really hard for somebody that’s used to engaging and interacting with an audience. So yeah, it’s, it’s been challenging, but you know, like everybody we’ve been learning. And so one of the things I find really helpful, and I think this is a good point of practice, anyway, is to, to kind of tell your audience what’s going to happen and how it’s going to happen. So I send when I’m running training sessions, I send a pre-training, how to guide out to them. So if they, I mean, most of us are quite good at zoom these days. But there are some people that are still not working on computers, short power. And so you know, it’s really helpful to send that how to go, this is how you join the meeting, this is what’s going to happen when you’re bad, this is how we’re going to engage. This is how you can engage with me, giving them as many options that are possible for them to engage in the way that they feel confident. And then also at the beginning, I have housekeeping. And the housekeeping is, okay, so please meet yourself when you’re not talking. And please be aware that I also have access requirements. So I’m not going to get to the chat box as quickly as somebody without limited dexterity would. And then all of those things to relay worries and anxiety of my audience members.

John Ball
Right, so as someone like yourself who’s like a natural performer, then I appreciate that you really like having that feedback and the energy for someone like me, maybe not quite such a natural performer, but who has been working mostly online for at least the last 10 years. And that wasn’t a transition I needed to make I was already doing it. But I do remember. And that when I first started doing webinars and large group coaching sessions on the legs, that there was a, there was a lot to learn in terms of differences, like big differences to live presentations. And certainly there, when I first started doing webinars, the functionality that we have now was not there. audience interaction really was super limited. And there was only a few things that people could really do. And like some of the events, none at all. And that those systems are still I guess they’re still around to some degree. But when you feel like almost like you’re talking to finance, I just had to remind myself how many people are on the call, because you could always see how many people were there. And like these, I have to assume these people are listening. I think one of the services I mean was GoToWebinar used to tell you when people weren’t being attentive, and they’re no longer allowed to do that. Because of privacy. breaches, which is kind of the summary that was really useful, because people clearly come on to these sorts of and then made me probably people listening to us, I was there listening or watching, they’re checking their phones and whatever else if you’re not familiar, fair enough. But when you’re on a webinar, that you really want people to be paying attention. So you don’t really want people shifting off to Facebook or emails or whatever else it is you want people to be attentive on the webinar. And so it was nice to have that as a tool to be able to bring people back and say, you know, let’s get everybody attentive on listed as attentive. Now that’s not there. But again, that was the only way to measure it there. Now. There’s a lot more things I’ve had to learn in terms of interaction, zoom offers a lot more interactive interactivity. And but how good is, generally, this online world for accessibility for people with disabilities?

Esi Hardy
So, it’s getting better. And I’ve had throughout the months of lockdown, and then into kind of social distancing, and still remote working. But for many disabled people, not all, but for many disabled people, they felt as though they can be more engaged, and been more included and involved in the conversation. And I mean, if you take a disability out of it for a second, and I attended a meeting in Liverpool the other day, I wouldn’t have done that, if it was live, if it was face to face, because it’s too far away to go for a two-hour meeting. But online, it took me two seconds to type in a URL code and go straight there. And I think if you relate that to disabled people, so when as a, as a physically disabled person, when I go to an event live, I have to think about the access, how am I going to get there? What’s gonna happen when I get there? Is the loo going to be accessible for me? How am I going to get from the front door to the venue? What happens at the buffet lunch? Who is going to put some food on my plate? Because I’m always thinking about lunch?

How am I going to get out? Is there going to be taxis? What time is my trade? Are they going to be trading platform stuff to help me on the train? Or do I need to organise my support when I get back is the support going to be there when I need it? All of these it What am I going to wear, I can’t wear a coat. So what make it aware that it’s going to be warm enough, but it still makes me look presentable. And I’m not going to be too warm in the building. All of these things don’t matter when it’s online, because I could essentially be in my pyjamas and wear a nice looking top and rock up and still be my engaging and expert self or annoying talking to myself whichever way you look at it. And but you know, in fit lots of disabled people that is the case. So all the barriers that presented as prevented them getting to the online to the meeting beforehand to take it away. And I think a lot of the platforms are thinking about accessibility. So for example, and zoom, have a closed caption option that somebody can type in the closed captions, whilst people are talking. So if there is a deaf or hard of hearing person in the audience, they can still access the meeting. And that was something that I tapped into, in the summer when I was doing a bunch of webinars. And a participant contacted me and she said, because I invited people to tell me if they had access requirements, they needed to be me, tip for me to be aware of. And this one participant contacted me and said, can I provide closed captions. And then I was able to source a company that was able to type for me, and use the closed caption service on zoom to do the typing. And I happen to know that in beta, they do have an option where automated closed captions can come up. And so as we’re talking, the closed captions would come up on the bottom of the screen. Right. And but there’s loads of things that hosts and platforms can tap into to make it more accessible. But there’s also a lot of things that people can do hosts can do without having to buy into a service or to download anything that they can just do as part of their presenting staff. So like before, when I was talking about how to engage in a meeting that helps people who perhaps have mental health issues that are struggling with confidence, or struggled with anxiety to know ahead of time, what’s going to happen. And I’ll say what the break is this, this is when the break is and I’ll put in more breaks is somebody perhaps who has ADHD or something who got it down for or can’t concentrate for too long. And they know when the regular breaks are coming up. And I also give people lots of options to engage. So I’ve seen because I’ve attended lots of meetings myself on the confirmation email that says, Please engage this way. And I think well, I can’t so I’m just going to do it my way anyway, but that’s because I’m confidence. And but lots of people will think well, I can’t so I won’t go. And so what I do is I say these are all the options you have to engage. Please bear in mind my access requirements. So if your option is to type in the chat box, I will get to you but it will take me a bit longer. If you feel confident to please raise your hand or just start talking because also there are people that can’t press the buttons or can’t physically raise their hands Because of their disability, so I’ll say if possible, could you meet yourself or raise your hand. But if it’s not possible, please just talk. And so, so making it as inclusive for everybody as possible. And what I find and not making it mandatory that people turn their videos on, I think that’s so important. Oh, you must turn your video on Well, why? I mean, it helps the house, but it’s not about us as hosts, it’s about our audience, it’s about making our audience feel comfortable. And what I find is when I say I’d love you to turn your camera on, but I completely understand if you’d rather not, throughout the event people, because I’ve set that out, and I’ve said, you can do what you would like, I’m not going to dictate to you how to engage, people begin to feel more confident. And they do turn their cameras on eventually.

John Ball
This means meeting people where they’re at for sure. Now, one of the things that I run regular group coaching calls, and zoom has this wonderful breakout rooms feature. And so we like to put people in and I do say to people on the calls you, if you have a camera and you want to put it on, you’re very welcome to but you don’t need to, in the breakout rooms, it might be nice, because you’re going to be with a small group of people. So if you can, you might feel more comfortable to do it there and get to know people who are on the programme with you. And but that’s been a really nice function. But because people can communicate and feel more comfortable communicating in those smaller groups. And when they come back into the main room area, as it were, they communicate more in the main room as well. So for me as a, as a host, it’s been a real benefit, to have that, and also noticing that people are feeling more included more part of it, who might not otherwise have shared or interacted very much on those kinds of calls and programmes. So I really like that, do you other than for yourself? Because you know what to do? Do you come across some examples of businesses now? Or maybe businesses who you work with? Who are doing it? Well? And are helping get the inclusivity? Right.

Esi Hardy
And, yes, so off the top of my head, I don’t know the names. But yes, there are I mean, I’ve been to quite a few diversity inclusion conferences and sessions throughout lockdown, where they have put those things in place. So the closed captions are part of the service already there. It’s always very helpful when the organisation is bigger than a couple of people to have the host. And then somebody in the background doing all the technical things. It’s sorting out the breakout rooms, making sure that the questions are being allocated and things like that. And that helps as well. And, again, I know what I’m not just talking about myself, but one of the things that I struggle with, is when the questions need to be put in the chat box, I can’t type very fast. So five minutes to the end, then when having questions are busy typing out, my questions were finished. And so what I have noticed is a lot more companies are saying, type your questions throughout. And then we’ll make sure that we ask them so that people have time. And then also put your hand up if you’d like to answer the question. But I went to one the other day, I think it was by sky, which is Sushil care Institute for excellence. So you would hope that they would know what they’re doing with engagement and accessibility. And they actually said, anonymously, please let us know if you prefer to put things in the chat box. Or if you prefer to speak through to your access requirements, because then we can tailor how we interact with you to what you need. So actually, they’re not just saying blanket, do what you like, but saying actually, individually, please tell us what we can do to make this easier for you. Which really helped and it helps with engagement as well, because it helps the audience to understand. But who cares about that experience. And it’s just a little thing that also makes life easier for the host. But you’re going to go back there, I’m talking about it now because it was such a good experience. Right? It’s something some people’s minds, it’s a good presenter, thought about their audience needs and how they’re going to experience the session.

John Ball
For you then when you turn up to an event online or in person where people are really thought about these things. How does that feel?

Esi Hardy
It feels great. I think, for me inclusion, the difference between accessibility inclusion and accessibility is helping somebody to access inclusion is making sure that once they have access, that they feel part of the community. And so for me, inclusion, apart from what I just said, inclusion is feeling as though I can do things the way I want to do when I want to do it and how I want to do it. And so that for me is really important. Say that kind of how would you like us to interact with you this is what’s going to happen, which would be easier for you means that I can still have a conversation with four other Joe and Jean Bloggs in the room, but in the way that works for me, so I’m not on the backfoot, I don’t feel that, okay, I’ll join you in a second, when I’ve been able to press these five buttons, I need to press and I can do it now. And there doesn’t have to be an obvious difference.

John Ball
It’s, it’s a big thing that I think, I’m glad to know it’s getting better. And I’m glad though, that the when inclusivity is happening when people are actually being candid about that, that we all we’re all going to benefit from it, because there are potentially a lot of insights and contributions that are otherwise getting missed out on because we’re not having equal access for everybody, we just kind of sitting there sometimes setting things is just one thing. And this is the one way you can interact. And, and so we don’t know, in those situations, what we may be missing out on but some people are very aware, and what we’re missing out on and it’s maybe struggling, they’re feeling that they’re not just not being heard or pay attention to. And one of their know, for me personally, but one of the biggest things generally in life that people kind of hate or maybe even feel worried about is feeling ignored, feeling left out of things. And, you know, I know for myself, I’ve never liked that experience. And you know, we know, not even necessarily exclusion, but just being ignored not having any attention paid to that when we do that we actually are empowering people by including them by acknowledging people and their needs and, and bringing more in that we’re setting up a better system of equity for people and, and more opportunity as well, because that’s really what it comes down to. You’re a great example of like not being held back by limitations that you could easily have just accepted in the past and saying, I can’t do that. You know, you’ve gone well beyond that. You’ve even started your own podcast. So tell us about that.

Esi Hardy
So ‘Part of me’ podcast is the peer to peer podcast where I interview other disabled people on their experiences of the workplace. And the workplace for them could be anything. And so I have had a an Olympian or Paralympian tennis player. I’ve had an Olympian journalist, and I have had tried to think of some more. I’ve had the business owner, and I’ve had a rugby like a para Paralympian rugby player. So also across the spectrum of workplaces, I’ve had it I’ve had people that work in offices, and data entry jobs all the way to strategic positions. So a range of, of people that work in the workplace. So they talk about their own experiences. They taught they give advice to managers who might be managing disabled people in the workplace. And they give advice to other disabled people as to how to feel confident and empowered in the workplace to do what they want to do and how they want to do it. And they talk a little bit about customer service and customer experience. So how they experience barriers or opportunities as disabled customers and the advice that they gave to business owners in that setting.

John Ball
Yeah, well, great. And so how long is your podcast been running for?

Esi Hardy
So it started I think, in November 2008. And the first season ended September 2019. So it’s on a break. And because the next season I’m going to be interviewing people within business, within the strategic DNI diversity and inclusion positions, about why DNI diversity inclusion for disabled people is important. And what they’re doing to make strategic change and to be more inclusive of disabled people. And so far I’ve interviewed the diversity inclusion lead for sorry police and also somebody else that works for an organisation called Global giving. And that’s a charity that supports disabled people across the world, mainly in African countries.

John Ball
Great. My general experience as a podcaster is that other podcast is not really something people go into because they think it’s gonna make them successful or that we did because we love it and because we care about all we talk about, what what are your favourite things about doing the podcast yourself?

Esi Hardy
Talking and hearing other people’s experiences as well. It’s really good. I think it’s great that I mean, as I said, interview as your audience listeners, and viewers with the head on this podcast, I do like talking about myself. And I do use my own experience, but also it’s so important to hear experiences of others. And because I mean, I always am anyone disabled person. And people say to me, oh, we want you to come in and tell you tell us about your experience. And I think, well, that’s not helpful, because I can tell you all about what you can implement to make it find me, but then the next person will come along, and you’ll have to start all over again. So why don’t I give you a general overview of the barriers that disabled people face. So I think it’s so helpful to hear from different points of view, because it reinforces that everybody is different, and every buddy is unique, and there’s no access, there’s no support plan that’s gonna support everybody. And, and also, you know, I like, I like, I like promoting it, I like people engaging, and then contacting me, I get quite a few emails to say, I really enjoyed this podcast, can I find out a bit more about this, and then I find post on to that person, if appropriate. And, and also, you know, for me, yet, it’s not a big moneymaker. But it has drawn in some business for me as well. So people that listen to the podcast, that then might get in touch and say, Oh, I really like this, we can be able to help us with this that you talked about in this episode. And it’s also really good for making connections. So you and I linked up, because we both sell that we were podcast hosts, and I’ve made loads of connections and contacts, that have either become associates of friends or just friends in general, through being in the podcasting world.

John Ball
Yeah, and I know, for me, personally, my network has expanded massively since doing the podcast. And some of that is just by actively reaching out to other podcasters or people who want to be podcast guests. And being active in certain communities. There are many groups and places where you can connect with people who are interested in podcasting as podcasters, or as hoping to be guests. And so yeah, it’s been very powerful. And I personally find it to be a very friendly given clients that people do it. Generally the podcasting because they love it. You know, some people do get money and do really well with their podcast financially. But I think the vast majority of people aren’t in it for that. And I think I’ve heard Tim Ferriss and maybe a few others say before, now, if you’re going to start a podcast, don’t do it because you think it’s going to make you rich or famous, do it because you enjoy it, you love it, otherwise, you won’t stick with it, because it is a bit of a long road. But it can be a lot of fun, it can be really powerful. And it gives a voice and a lot to come back to than what you’re saying. Because I think the stories are so important, like hearing people’s stories, gives us that opportunity for empathy, to be able to put ourselves in that position or say, or at least I understand that or get, I hadn’t considered that before. Because you get to you get a sense of an experience of the world that is outside of your own. And sometimes one of the reasons why people are aren’t always appreciative, all and always actively seeking to improve on their inclusivity is just not having that awareness and not having that understanding, which makes hearing people’s stories really powerful. So giving out your platform as your podcast as a platform for that is a powerful thing. Because it’s our stories that really break down barriers and help people to get a sense of what’s really going on and have that awareness. Now more so when we click to meet and when you actually know people in those situations, it makes it even more powerful. But certainly a great way to do that on a bigger scale is by exchanging our stories and our experiences, which is fantastic.

Esi Hardy
I think so yeah.

John Ball
Great. And so one of the things that when I see a list of things that would be good to talk about you said was influencing, influence and empowerment. We talked a fair bit about empowerment. But let’s talk a little bit about the influence side of things if that’s okay, and why that’s important for you and where that comes into what you do?

Esi Hardy
So I think there’s two sides of that. Again, as you say, we’ve already talked about empowerment side, but I think the influence and empowerment, they work hand in hand when it comes to supporting, in my case disabled people. But in other cases, other people that might need a bit of help to have confidence in themselves in any way by seeing somebody else doing it and by saying, well, Should we try it this way? Who said you can’t do that? I don’t believe that. Let’s try it. It supports them and I do think influence and empowerment work hand in hand together. And also it works in business as well. So I think that businesses are getting better. So there are a lot, for example, the top 50 inclusive companies. So a website called inclusive companies every year, and promotes the top 50 inclusive companies that they’ve in the UK that they’ve audited to say, they have inclusive practices, and they are an inclusive company. And then they, they publish out their website. And then the big companies can publish it, and then the best material and everything. And if people are not doing it for anything more than the business case, as an overview, it looks good. It’s a good PR platform to be inclusive of disabled people. And then they can see the other companies have done that. So the list of names includes people like Bloomberg, and BT, and Auto Trader, so you click on it and think, Oh, you know, I didn’t need to worry about this diversity and inclusion, politics. And then you see auto trade, and you think, Oh, my God, Auto Trader is doing it, I’ll do it too. And then I think once you start doing it, then you realise it’s not as complicated as you think it was. And also, it brings you lots of benefits, both from the business case, and also just from the professional and personal point of view that we’ve discussed in this podcast. But I think influence is so important and influences the speaker is so important. So again, it goes back to making it relatable. So being able to relate to your audience and saying, I know, you know what you might be thinking, I’ve been there too. So again, if I can talk about myself for a minute, so when I deliver training, and I want people to be confident, and they want to be competent with the language they use when describing disability, because people are terrified of saying the wrong thing. And so I say, so what are the words that you think are appropriate and appropriate to use? Silence, and they will look at each other, you know, if we’re in a room, and don’t know, so for example, when I was 19, my friend and I used to call each other sparkies. And they go, Oh, well, they fancy said that, then I’m gonna say, Oh, these things. And then the conversation goes on for about 14 minutes, which is what I plan to do. But I think that that as a host, we can influence or a speaker we can influence and by helping people to understand that we really relate to where they’re coming from. So I know this is difficult, I know that this is challenging, I know that you have lots of other priorities. This, I know this, because I went through it too. But these are the steps that I took. And these are the benefits and look at these other high profile businesses, or high profile people that went through exactly the same journey and look at where they’ve come from. And I was talking to quite a high profile client the other day, and one of the things that won them over was telling them that they could be an influencer, if you do this the right way. And when we do these things, then you can influence and I saw his eyes literally light up, be in it’s not a bad thing. To be honest with yourself and say, I want to be an influencer because it helps drive that business’s profile, or helps drive your personal profile. And breaking influence is so important for change. And by saying this is you know, here I am, you respect me, or whoever it is, you respect me, you look up to me, I went through exactly the same and the same thought process as you did. This is what I’ve got, you can do it too, if you just take these steps. Yeah. And we’ll do it together.

John Ball
Yeah, great.

Esi Hardy
exactly example with disability confidence, which is a government scheme to support businesses to put in accessibility and inclusive processes, into their recruitment and into their business as usual strategies. And one of the things that they do is when you become disability confident, you join, you can join Facebook groups, you can join LinkedIn groups. And then there’s three tiers. So on the second and third tier, you’re actually being assessed and audited by other businesses that have reached that level. So you’re not working with an external person that doesn’t really know anything about it. You’re working with people that have already been through it. And they can say, I’ve had the struggle. This is what we did when we struggled in this area. This is what we found work for us.

John Ball
Yeah, we want these kinds of things to be Business Standard. Really.

Esi Hardy
Exactly. Yeah. But the starting point of all of that is influence. Look at me, I’m this massive multi-national billion-dollar business you could you know, and I want to do this. So surely you want to do it too? Oh, yes, I do. Because I want to be seen in the same light as that business.

John Ball
Yeah, sure, yeah. That those are the businesses that kind of one of that morally leading the way for everyone else and saying, you know what this is, this isn’t just something that that some people should do. This is something that everyone should do, and it matters. And it should matter to everyone. Now, we’re more likely to value doing business with people who share these values as well. We know that we generally like to spend time within our personal lives with people who have similar values to us. Well, yeah, very different values. It’s very similar in the business world as well. We want to do business with people who share our values, ideally, as well. And we don’t want to do business with people who don’t. So it’s really important stuff. And the inputs are definitely very, very, very powerful. They’re what would be based on less than what you said, it might just be recapping, really, but what would be your vision for where you would like things to get? And how far away Do you think probably we are from now maybe just in the UK at least?

Esi Hardy
Well, I think first of all, I want the second part, I don’t think we’re going to get to fully inclusive workplaces or fully inclusive societies in our lifetime. And obviously, you’re a lot longer than I am. So in my lifetime, I think it’ll be like still hundreds and hundreds of years away. And but what I want what I would like to get to, and specifically, well, new actually not specifically aimed just a business, but specifically aimed at society as a whole, which obviously encompasses business is a place where everybody no matter what your beliefs, what your values, obviously, if you’re not murderer, and what your beliefs, what your values, what your lifestyle and your lifestyle choices, and everything else that encompasses all of those protected characteristics and all of those underprivileged characteristics. And is that people feel as though they can be who they are, with the support there, and do what they want to do successfully without having to plan five steps ahead about Okay, what am I doing? How am I going to present myself that this person, what am I going to do to get on this bus? How am I going to explain this, there should be no need for that it should be done. So you should be able to walk in a restaurant, I should be able to as a wheelchair user, go into a restaurant and say, I would like to sit at this table and not have to worry about somebody saying I’m sorry, I lift is broken? Well, we don’t have a lift on the second floor. I can just go where I want to go or I don’t have to call a few towels as long say, Would you have any accessible rooms available because the rooms are accessible, or nine times out of 10? The rooms are going to be accessible, and they’re going to have the things I need. And if they’re not there, they can be sourced by the time I get there. Or I’d love to come and present your session. Is this accessible? Oh no, well, then I can’t. And the luckily that hasn’t happened often where I couldn’t take an opportunity because of the accessibility and my speaking career. But it’s happened a couple of times, we’ve had some really good opportunities presented, but I couldn’t do it because it hasn’t been accessible to me. And obviously, I’m talking specifically about disability. But this covers every characteristic, and no characteristics should have to and think about how people are going to accept them into whatever community that is they would like to be a part of it should be given that people are going to be accepted and celebrated for who they are.

John Ball
Hopefully, but you know how it is people don’t like people who are too different to them. And we tend to sort for differences more than similarities. And I think that one of the things that I hope by now I have to work on myself sometimes but is just always going to at least be kind in all of your interactions. And if you’re always going to be kind and have respect for people, and then you’re not going to go too far wrong. You might not get it right every time man or be perfect on that. But if you actually check in with people, be kind to them, ask the question, be supportive, and respectful for people, then people will usually tell you how you can help many people will usually appreciate that as well. We could all do with that bit more kindness to each other in all our interactions. And sometimes it’s just that those are more automated responses that we have more naturally done in our past. That’s what we need to do is take care. Take a moment to think before we respond before we act, but I’ve already given some really good some

Esi Hardy
I just said, because I completely agree with you. And I think that they can, but you said kindness, but I would add on to that compassion. And I think if we can be compassionate, and as you say, Take time to listen and ask the questions. And it’s so important, because as you say, first of all, it supports people to understand that you want to know the answer. As long as the person asking the question and then waiting for the answer. They’re not looking somewhere else, or changing their body language, but they’re actually waiting for the answer. and compassion. Because when we assert compassion, it’s easier to think, Okay, what can I do about the situation, and because you’re actually taking time to think about what it’s like for the other person. And I think a lot of things to do with disability inclusion, especially, and any other inclusion actually just takes a bit of compassion, and a bit of understanding, because the minute you start to think about what it might be like somebody else, the minute you start saying, Okay, what can I do differently to make it better? And then also ask it after asking that question, you know, how can I help? What support would you like, what could have been improved, be prepared to do something about his action, that feedback he would given. So it’s not just about filing it in your brain or filing it in a piece of paper and putting it away in a drawer? It’s actually this is really helpful, what can we do to make this an actionable change in our business, organisation, life, whatever it is, listen to people and actually encouraging them. So telling them that you would like to know their feedback. And because not everybody’s going to tell you, I will tell you, you know, if somebody asked me to fill in a feedback form, I will tell them or else don’t give me the feedback form. But not everybody’s going to do that. Because they’re worried about other people’s feelings. So making sure it’s the person asking the question, but you’ve set the premise for the person to understand that you want to hear the honest and critical truth, obviously, you know, and apply appropriate way. And then it’s going to give them more confidence, to say, Oh, actually, this was really good. But I think this could have been improved. And this is a way you could do it. Not everybody’s gonna have a solution to give you but actually saying what’s not right. And it could be a small thing that might be immaterial to the person asking, but could make an entire difference to that person telling you, and, and then showing them what you’re doing about it. Because so many people are disenfranchised by the fact that they give their feedback, and then nothing’s done. And it comes over and over again, it’s actually written in business theory, that in order to to have positive data, you don’t respond to people’s complaints. And then you can put your positive outcome because it’s all gone away. But actually, what it does is it disenfranchises the person, so they won’t do it next time. So even if you can’t continue that, continue what they suggested, because you don’t have the resources, you can tell them why you can thank them for their time.

John Ball
Yeah, I’m sorry, I was going to ask whether what you would recommend for us to be able to do on an individual level that would make a difference here. And I think he just answered it beautifully. So. So thank you for that. And people may want to get a bit more insight into what they might be able to do, especially if their business owners are involved in corporations that would like to improve their accessibility for people, how can they find out more about you and what you do?

Esi Hardy
So they could go my website, which is celebrating disability dot code at UK, and making that I’ve got lots of resources on there. So in this summer, so May and June, I hosted about eight webinars, and it was exhausting. And but all those recordings of the webinars are on the website so they can have look at them. I have lots of articles that they can look at. And they can connect with me through LinkedIn, which is my name Esi Hardy, and they can contact me. So through the website, they can send me an email because of time to chat with me. And just an informal exploration chats about, you know, any questions they might have, and they can join my mailing list as well where I send out inclusion bites, I call them disability inclusion bytes that go out once a week to help people with their disability inclusion strategy in their organisation, and it helps them define the difference between things like and diversity and inclusion and accessibility and inclusion.

John Ball
I’ve certainly learned some insightful things from you today and I really enjoyed the conversation. And are there any additional books or resources that you might recommend that either relate to This will just like a good book recommendation that you’d like to give out to people?

So a colleague of mine, Roland Chesters has written a book called ‘Ripples from the edge of life’. And it’s his experience of having HIV and AIDS and an AIDS-defining illness. So the book is about his experience, but also 13 other people’s experience of having HIV and AIDS-defining illness. And I think it’s brilliant, it’s insightful, it’s powerful. I don’t use the word, inspirational for lots of reasons that we didn’t have time to guarantee. But it’s insightful and powerful. It’s kind of heartwarming and heartbreaking. And I very much recommend that you can find it on Amazon dot code at UK.

I’ll put a link to that. And the other things in the show notes as well, as we wrap things up for today. And what would be the thought that you would most like to leave people with at the end of our episode together?

Esi Hardy
I think I think it’s what we talked about before compassion, and empowerment, I think that It doesn’t matter what position people are in. And whether they’re in a powerful position within an organisation, or they’re a person who doesn’t have a job at the moment and listening to whatever be it other people are saying and going out of their way to learn other people’s experiences, to kind of put into their own and ask people if they would like support and but understanding that not everybody wants support and mainly were struggling but they’re managing fine. Another thing that I always say is, you know, I live like I’m struggling because my hands are all over here and I put a face overconcentration face, which is a bit terrible. But actually, I’m managing fine and actually being interrupted is quite annoying. And but always offering that support but be willing to hear what the answer is, and asking people what could be done better if they work was in a position to change things.

John Ball
Excellent. I see. It’s been a real pleasure speaking today. Thank you to my guest Esi Hardy, we’re back with more great guests coming up soon on the show, as well as some individual episodes. So come and check those out in the future. Thank you Esi.

Esi Hardy
Thank you very much for inviting me.

John Ball
Thanks for tuning in. Remember to like and subscribe if you haven’t already and leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. Why not get yourself a copy of my new ebook the five key beliefs of bulletproof business speakers available from present influence.com if you’re able to join us next week, we’re doing something a bit different at 11am European time and 10am UK time on the fourth of December for the 4th of December, I will be having a chat with Jeremy Nicholas, who is a great presenter very experienced presenter and certainly has lots of TV experience after-dinner speaking and more besides the great event speaker and a good humorist as well. In fact, he teaches he runs a course in humour and presentation skills. So I am really looking forward to having that conversation with him. hope you can join us live. If not the episode will be going out the same day later that day, so it’s going to be my freshest episode. With a quick turnaround. If you can join us live, Follow me on LinkedIn, JohnABall, you’ll find me that on LinkedIn connect with me and you will be able to tune in live 10am next Friday the fourth of December at 11am European time with Jeremy Nicholas live on LinkedIn and say episode coming out the same day. So look out for that. See you next time.

What ya selling? With guest Jamie Martin

Whatever business you’re in, you need sales and marketing to make it work. I often hear people say ‘I hate sales’ or ‘I hate marketing’ and what they often mean is that they hate the amount of work that needs to go into it or they don’t like that the ‘build it and they will come’ strategy is BS. If you don’t market you don’t get sales and without sales, you don’t have a business. That’s where people like my guest on this episode come in.

Jamie Martin is an award-winning sales trainer and a careers coach with 10+ years’ successful sales experience working within the corporate sales, marketing, media, and recruitment/headhunting world. As you’ll find out in this episode, Jamie is highly passionate about sales strategy and sales training to help businesses improve their revenue and processes.

There’s something for everyone to take away from what Jamie shares, whether you’re in the corporate word or not. Sales matter and if you want to make it in business, it’s always great to learn from experts like Jamie Martin.

Here are links to some of the things Jamie mentioned in the show:

If you’d like to know more about Jamie, you can get in touch with him in one or all of these ways:

Transcript

John Ball
Welcome to the speaking of influence podcast with virtual business speaker presentation skills and influence Coach John Ball. Remember to like and subscribe. The speaking of influence podcast is uploaded and distributed using Buzzsprout. Buzzsprout makes it really easy to get your podcast started and out to a wide audience with lots of tips and useful tools to help you on your way. If you’re interested, check the link in the show notes and start your podcast today.

Welcome to the speaking of influence podcast and I’m really happy today to have with me is the first time that I’m actually having a sales trainer as my guest on the show. Not only is a sales trainer, he’s an award winning sales trainer, training business to business and doing very well as a coach as a someone who can guide you in being able to prove your sales in business and a number of things as well. He’s a professional speaker, he’s also a podcaster. Please welcome to the show, Jamie Martin.

Jamie Martin
Well, thank you for the warm introduction, John, delighted to be on your show. And yeah, just to give some value to the audience listening to what we discussed today.

John Ball
Really? Fantastic. Well, I think this is the first time I think I’ve spoken to a sales trainer as a guest, but I think it’s such an important area. And I know, some actually, you know, there was one lady Stephanie Scheller, who I spoke to, and she was very, very interesting as well. So you might be my second sales trainer. Just to ask you then, what is it you do and how did you end up doing it?

Jamie Martin
Yeah, well, hopefully, we’re not a dying breed or anything like that. But funny enough to speak it and sell it actually goes you know quite hand in hand really. So I’m sure there’ll be some useful correspondence we’re going to talk about today to help the listeners. But for myself, personally, I think we’re probably my career started was, I was quite academically bass a bit of an introvert in school actually, and that that will come out during the the this episode. But I did a psychology degree for years at the University of Gloucestershire, in the UK. And then I did a fourth year business psychology, postgraduate certificate. And during that time, I really had a passion for the subject, obviously learning individual differences in business psychology, learning about occupational psychology, onboarding, psychometrics. And naturally, during that time, I was always fascinated about building relationships. And I think I was, always had good communication skills apart from I do speak quickly. So maybe you can help me with that, sometimes, but it’s just my passion and my energy and, you know, people who get today we, they just, they’re all very authentic. So what I did was I started my career in sales, I did two years of telemarketing with a company that actually was a telemarketing agency, various other parts of it, but I was on the Vodafone campaign. So if you can sell mobile phones, you can basically sell anything.

It is predominantly the lead generation, and it was very tough. But I did achieve the targets. And I think I had a really good grounding in in lead generation and telemarketing. And for any one setting, that’s a really good career starting point to have, then I did about six months with our sort of local media company. So it was, you know, magazines, newspapers, digital online content. And I really enjoyed my time there learning a lot about business, learning a lot about the major industry. And I moved on because I found a career in recruitment. And I think that’s really where I excelled in selling. And I was fortunate because I got the job without read specialist recruitment. So one of the UK leading and a global company, recruitment agencies, brilliant, you know, it’s a fantastic company had a really good career there. And so six years later, within the company, I started on various codesa in the business, and I was I was very well trained, but you just have to have a really strong growth mindset. Have some grits, be a bit tenacious, dedicated, motivated, you know, to to learn the trade and and achieve your, you know, KPIs or key performance indicators, and anyone in a sales role will know selling is hard recruitment, slightly known as one of the hardest sales roles. So I suppose that that was my background. And during the time, you know, we probably have a goal day to hear all about my career there, but our seven over a couple of achievements. So within just under six years, I was promoted five times. I was an award winner. Within my first year, I worked on the finance desk, the sales desk, I was a record breaker for most revenue in the sales division. In one month, I placed the CFO and sales director for the same business. I did an international recruitment role placement in Germany, which was relevant in the business and in my time there apart from working with like footsie 250 companies and all different sized businesses and levels of personnel. I’ve made over 60 different placements across 20 different industry sectors and made around about a quarter million pound for the business. And I set up my own sales team and sales branch. And yeah, it was a really, really flirtatious career I gained success, you know, worked my way up within the business, I probably would have saved, you know, until, you know, later on it maybe director level because I know how dedicated and passionate I am. But I decided to move on from the business, which was April 2019. Now, and I had a bit of a career break, I decided, you know, I wanted to focus on you know, what I wanted to do next and focus on other areas of my life. So after a career break, I did a coaching diploma. And I also did an NLP diploma course, at my time at Reed which was great. And a four year recruitment Academy course and management Academy course a very well trained, and overall heard, you know, from my different types of roles had about 10 years business to business selling experience. So what I did, I decided to set up my own business, correct Curry’s coaching, and we’re just having a bit of a laugh about the name at the beginning of this before we started recording, but there hence the name is because I’m thinking, you know, like, Steven, Kobe with the end in mind, focus on you know, where should you know, what do you want to do in the end and work your way back? What’s your goals, I wanted to be able to brands, and correct careers conviction has three arms to where you’ve got the sales, training and sales strategy, which is what I predominantly focus on, because there is a real big gap in the market, the careers coaching side of it, because I was a bit of management and millennial as well. And I feel, you know, in your career, having a mentor or career coach could really be beneficial. And then the other side would be employee engagement and retention strategies. And the overall aim and vision of my business is to look at employee retention. I was looking at employee turnover for quite a long time at the recruitment world and I decided to how can we retain staff so first of all, developing their their training skills, their sales skills, you know, especially in a sales role to help them perform better and achieve success and hopefully stay longer with the business and other engagement strategies as well. So yeah, that’s that leads me up to today in the last year of my business, but a very, you know, fantastic star, a lot of support with networking. As you mentioned, I just recently won the Best SME sales training consultancy in the southwest UK. so delighted with that all the way to work to about 28 different industry sectors, sole traders to corporate businesses, and you know, b2b Anna, you know, better b2c as well, there is a real gap in the market, not just for learning the full sales cycle, which is what I teach show anything from lead generation to conversion. And obviously, everyone loves negotiation and talking about money.

But also, I’m a modern sales trainer, because I teach social media marketing, social selling, and that is a real big gap. Right now, especially due to the pandemic, I mostly work with professional services, business services, HR an areas such as this the sector’s some of them haven’t embraced social media. And we really need to say visible right now. And the other element I do is sales strategy. So not only helping the team before but perform better and increase your gross sales. But looking at how the business leaders in the overall company can focus on the making their sales process and strategy more efficient. So we’ll be looking at you know, whether it’s their resources, their marketing material, their ICT, their social media and their people and make sure everyone is in the right place and doing the right sort of activity and touchpoints with their potential clients and customers to making sure that overall, you know, the business is profitable. So yeah, that’s basically my background and the reasons for doing what I do. And I absolutely enjoy it and love working with new people love building new relationships.

John Ball
Some people listening might wonder why you’d step down from what seems like a very high trajectory career to start your own business.

Jamie Martin
Yeah, so I mean, I had a lot of success in recruitment, and I would always look back and remember the times that I built my character and experience to help me do what I do today. I think, you know, from my background, I was always, you know, finance myself as an entrepreneur, and, you know, being an a corporate business, you know, it didn’t I was challenging times as well, you know, but overall, I had a high of loser success. And, you know, we all have those wounds in a sales role. But I think, you know, it was just the right time for me to explore other areas and even focus on other areas of my life. And you know, I worked a lot that was due to my choice, but you know, so I can now you know, spend more time you know, in my personal life and my family and friends and you know, do what I do and you know, being as we talked about start being your own business owner, you wear many different hats and you probably work all the time anyway. I probably work more now but you can also be very flexible so no, yeah, that that’s probably why and I think I made the right decision. Now anyway. But sometimes I think you do have to take a bit of a leap of faith and and it’s and especially in sales. Don’t get me wrong. hasn’t been a huge learning curve running your own business. And constantly every day would be, you know, very, we’re changing things, we need to be very agile and adaptable, especially now, you know, post the pandemic or during the pandemic. But yeah, that that’s why I’m here today. And yet to really, I think I had a very successful career. So I’d like to, and I managed a team, and all I wanted really was, you know, my team and the people I try now to achieve the successes and rewards that I did myself personally.

John Ball
Yeah, for myself, coming from a very customer service oriented background, making the transition to having my own business was very hard. How did you find that? I mean, you have to have more of a professional background, more of a more traditional company background than someone like myself, but how was that transition for you? Were there some parts you found difficult? Did you have to work on your identity in order to be able to do that?

Jamie Martin
Yeah. You know, there’s various different, you know, answers to that, I think, looking back at start, I’m glad I may I started when I did, you know, it, I think the figures are probably around, and this changes all the time, but 20% of businesses fail in their first year. And it is a real shame. And don’t get me wrong, because cash flow and clients are, you know, absolutely, necessity in a business. And a lot of people spend, you know, a lot of time working on the business, which you should do, because you need to make it professional, I was fortunate I had a few months off as a career break inside really kind of planning what I wanted out of the business before I sort of launched it. And then you know, I suppose that helped, that I was naturally, you know, my my background is sales. So I would go out and I would sell and you know, there’s a few elements I still need to work on. Of course, there is but I was going out there I was networking a lot, I was building relationships, I have a mentor, you know, I I’m always doing continued Personal Learning myself. So going on webinars, reading books, listening to podcasts, including your show, john, you know, add, you know, just really, you know, think about current times think about what’s going on in the marketplace. So, I would say you do need to form an identity. And you know, there are there are resources out there to help you do that, you know, in our local area, there’s plenty of resources, you know, to give some help to, you know, and put you on courses and stuff. But really, I just think you probably should do your due diligence in your research. So the way way to do it is identify where the gaps are in the market. So I was looking in the selling environment, and I identified that, you know, social media and sales strategy would come, compromise, sorry, accommodate working with cell shading, try to pick the right word, that compliment. So this is basically you know, why I incorporate corporated, the full kind of cycle, including those areas as well. And so when I go pitch into new business, and upselling, with my current clients, I can explain to them that there’s other elements to my business, but you can’t kind of you know, show everything in your shop window at the start. So you some, you know, there will be you know, mixed reviews on this, some people say just focus on a niche, if I was honest, recruitment probably would be my niche because of the background I’ve had in recruitment. But I really wanted to actually push myself to go and explore other areas. And that was tough, you know, because as I mentioned, I work for 28 different industry sectors. Today, I do like to analyse and work out my metrics, where my needs are coming from what I’m good at, and that’s where your personality comes into it. But I think it was good for me to explore other areas because it pushes you out of your comfort. So it may be a slightly longer journey, you know, to where you want to get to. But at the end of the day, I can then demonstrate to you know, different clients and work with my own model. And I can and I can cross over to sectors if I need to So, so really, I think to anyone out there, I would say you know, first of all, definitely do your research. You know, read the material, look at you know the resources available, identify the gaps in the market. And you know, if you are genuinely passionate about something, pick something you’re passionate about, I’m sure that’s what you’ve done john as well, then you certainly any hurdles you come across in that time you will overcome them. And it’s just for breaking the goals down breaking it down into habits, having a good morning routine, we talked about how our roads Miracle Morning is fantastic. I follow that. And you know, just keep going you know any and I’m sure every business owners has some challenges Richard Branson, for example, you know, fifth fifth riches, I think in the UK, you know, that’s changed today. But you know, he had some setbacks early on in his career. So yeah, just got to keep going.

John Ball
You do and I often will say to my coaching clients that your reasons for doing something have to be bigger than your reasons not to. Because if you don’t have that, why if you don’t if you haven’t worked on that then when things do get challenging, which can happen quite fast in a business, then you’re not going to have to stick with it because it’s I think more Why am I really doing this is that is not really worth the hassle and people tend to drop out or just say it’s not worth it and go and do something else go back into the working world or, or try and move on from some of my friends do and move on from one thing to the next to the next without really getting any particular traction. Just Keep now like shiny object syndrome, let’s try this business. Let’s try that business and not really getting any results with it. And I love so many people are good at starting stuff, but not so many people are actually good at seeing things through. And so it does take a level of drive and commitment to get to where you were. So to achieve results like yours, show that you have a very high level of personal drive, you have your why you work on that, and you keep building on it as well, which is great. It’s a great example of what what can be achieved with determination and sticking with it.

Jamie Martin
Yeah, I liked what you said that, John, and if the listeners haven’t seen this YouTube video, but Simon Sinek, you know, he really talks about start with the why, or to focus on the why and the sort of neuroscience behind it. And I think you’re right, you know, I wasn’t in a closed group a little while ago, and they said, you know, you, you work a lot, you’re here, there and everywhere, you know, what, what’s the reasons for that it didn’t actually take me some time to, to naturally think about it. And, and, you know, when I did find it, it was a kind of a lightbulb moment, to be honest. And for me, if I’m going to be able to stand up in sales, train businesses and employees, I need to be able to show that it is possible, I don’t want to just say, look, this is what you do, I need to go and do it in my own business so that you can do it whenever you want to do it in your goals in your business. And I think that that was my way, what was your way, John, for your own business? And what you do,

John Ball
it’s interesting, I got into coaching over 15 years ago, really, but I didn’t probably about 15 years ago that he started working as a coach. But I’d studied for several years before actually opened up to clients, and the why of doing it well, you know, as I was in customer service, and I got introduced to coaching, and I’d never come across it before I had no, I’d always had an interest in psychology and things like that, but haven’t really studied it. And didn’t really think that Professional Psychology or psychiatry would be something that I wanted to work in for various reasons I’m not going to go into here but but when I got when I found coaching that was so solution focus I’ve always been a kind of a solution focused guy like looking at solutions. And and I very much like working through otherwise been one of those people who, who others would come to and talk about stuff that was going on in their lives, almost like an agony aunt or uncle. But but not not really big, because there be that thing of Well, I’m not going to tell people what to do. But I would often find myself saying what you can do about that is I think there’s come and moan to me about how terrible Your life is, what are you actually going to do about it? And and it was really at that point, I realised that’s kind of coaching people. And the more I found out about coaching there, the more it enthralled me really and and realised, yeah, this is definitely something that I want to be involved with. And then as I got deeper into it, like yourself, I studied neuro linguistic programming and a number of other things. And so I have a great many tools and that they keep building over the years to be honest, and that I can use in coaching situations, but I develop more of a passion for presenting and training as well. So whilst I do a lot of professional coaching, the is the training and the presenting side of things that I love the most. And that’s ended up tying in with all sorts of things like I have a real thing of I discovered a lot about hidden influence. And not long before I ever read Robert Cialdini, his book on influence and the psychology of persuasion, I discovered some stuff that people are showing were not social engineering or hidden tools of influence and marketing, that I would guess as well with rhetorical devices and being included with that as well. These things that are very often used in corporate world and political world, that people don’t realise our emotional trigger psychologically affecting them and influencing in ways that understand that part of me also wants to get that information to being more genuine knowledge for people because so many people are using those kinds of tools, as as a way to say I’ve got a bit back with it. So people are using those kinds of tools as a way to manipulate people to their own ends, rather than before other people’s greater good. So part of my mission is empowering people to be able to see where there’s outside influence being used upon them. And then being able to consciously say, well, is that for my benefit? Or is it just someone trying to rip me off and to be honest to see more and more, maybe see it you may be seen on YouTube and places like this where people are exposing certain certain people who use the sales formulas and then with hype to try and get their sales and what they’re offering isn’t actually all that valuable, or it isn’t even their stuff. And, and they’re just, they’re just there to make money, they’re not there for people’s benefit. And that more and more people are becoming aware of those particular situations now than ever before. And so that’s part of me, I think of myself as being part of someone who’s able to help create that level of awareness. And so that’s a big part of my mission to me.

Jamie Martin
Yeah, and I liked what you said, there, you know, I try and always come up with my own content, and try not to look at others too much. Because, you know, there is no frameworks in place. And, and there is some renowned frameworks, you know, some really good sort of acronyms out there to help people remember, but I think, you know, being a sales trainer, or you know, a trainer, or coach, I really like that, you know, to work with someone personally. And you know, now it’s kind of over video conference in due to pandemic, but I really like to be in a workshop on site with businesses, and I like to really get to know them as individuals, and what’s like their pain points and how I can help solve their problems. I do actually have an E learning course come out. So I’m certainly not going to say, you know, illegal illegal alien, of course, it’s, you know, generic, because it’s not. But actually, the one that I’ve got coming out is English for HR. So you said, the HR profession I collaborated, we actually tailored it for that industry sector to give them a personal approach to selling better, but you know, and you know, you can do courses online, or you can like watch, you know, certain content. But I think because from a newer probably you do understand this as well joining it from NLP or from my psychology background, we all know that there, everyone’s different. So whether it’s your learning style, whether you prefer, you know, reflective learning or active learning or listening, also your communication style. So you might be a visual learner, you might be very auditory or kinesthetic. So I’m fully aware of that. And I need to make sure that each time I’m working with someone, firstly, analyse and understand them, or even ask them what’s the best way you’d like to learn. And then you can tailor the training around that Funny enough, I just read an article on LinkedIn, I’ve got a few articles as sort of series on there. But it was actually the disadvantages of not using an external sales trainer. And if anyone’s interested, go to my LinkedIn, as Jamie Martin, I’m on their BSc honours. But he’s just a really fascinating, interesting information, you know, really look like

John Ball
We can put a link to the article, as well.

Jamie Martin
That’d be great. Yeah, good. But so no, so you’re right. So you know, it’s really important to I think, I’ve said that the quote, I will use now more than ever is personalities will thrive. And I’ve been using that quite a lot, because I suppose we’re, we’re recording this podcast, you know, mid pandemic for some countries, but, you know, really sort of post the worst of the pandemic at the moment. So, yeah, hopefully, yeah, you know, fingers crossed. So businesses have handled, the business world has had a lot of changes during that time. And, you know, unfortunately, whether there’s some businesses that haven’t, you know, survive through it, or there have been redundancies, you know, a lot of companies will now be re strategizing and looking at the areas of the business, and I personally believe without cash flow, or without clients, which comes from selling and prospecting, then then, you know, how can you continue to operate a business? So these are the areas that companies need to look at now, and hopefully will give some advice, you know, far for how businesses listening can do that.

John Ball
Yeah, well, great. And they, they are important skills. And I just want to hone in on one of the things you said about about niching. Because I know that for speakers, for coaches, and for many businesses, there is a reluctance often to niche who they target, as their as their ideal customers, because many of the products or services that work could help could help everybody. But then without doing that, you try and help everybody, you often end up helping nobody. And so those decisions to neach aren’t something that’s really optional. For most businesses, unless you have a very specific service, then I think you have to focus on niching and targeting specific groups of people because it doesn’t exclude everyone else, it just means you’re going to have a message that’s actually getting through to the people who were most likely to want to solve their problem and pay you to help them solve it. What tell me a bit about your own experience in leasing in your company.

Jamie Martin
Yeah, so so and it is what I train on and you kind of hit the nail on the head there, john, you know, really, I would say Look at this, first of all, do focus on ICP. So your ideal customer profile. Now that that can be a niche, but it doesn’t have to just necessarily be a certain demographic or certain industry sector. What I be mean by ICP is, you know, the customer or client who is likely to buy your service, as you kind of just mentioned that so you know, what problem are you solving for them, and it will depend on sort of the if you’re a product or service selling industry or maybe the size of business you operate or you know what service or products you actually do deliver. But if you if you could, like you said you can’t speak to everyone so web marketing and social media marketing comes in, you have to kind of be consistent, and you have to kind of be personalised in your messaging because, you know, as we’re probably aware, it’s a 90% emotional by. And that means, you know, if we are communicating on a digital sales space, so social media or our websites, you know, even such things as newsletters, and webinars, which are, you know, bigger more than ever now, you know, what sort of messaging are we give to our target market. So our ideal customer profile, you can’t speak to everyone in the room, it’s just impossible because the the the the story tell, which is a really good sales technique, as you would you would be aware of, or the emotional message wouldn’t resonate with everyone. So you really do have to zone in on the sort of your tribe, your tribe of followers, or clients who are likely to buy from you. So that would be the sort of the first technique I would give. There’s something called sinespace selling. And it’s actually something that’s, that’s been more apparent than ever, where they’re using analytics and social psychology and neuro psychology, and neuroscience to basically identify what it is your customer actually wants. So it’s focusing on the customer by rather than you’re actually you know, your process or selling it to someone. So for example, when I was doing a workshop a few months ago, and during that time, in the workshop, I mentioned, someone called Carol herro is one of my favourite clients. Now, I really needed to get to know Carol, so not only just you know, what type of background education she had, but what her personality is, like, what her traits are, like, what she’s good at what she’s not good at, because she she turned out to be a really good client of mine. And I say, Carol is as the person for the business. So when I said talk to people, I say, so you know, who’s your customers at this moment, and, you know, find customers, you know, maybe similar to them, it could be their customers, customers, it could be their competitors, or it could be some as a vendor supply chain, but more and more importantly, now, rather than looking at quantity, we should look at quality. And when there’s quite the qualification stages of the actual sales process, you know, I would say it’s more about the business, you know, or the or the leaders of the business, the decision makers focus on who they are, how they communicate with, there’s a few personality hints I can give, you know, throughout this talk, but you know, focus on them as an individual because the more personalised you make it when you are having that discovery call, or you are doing that maybe that that introductory email, you know, no one really likes to be sold to, we can kind of immediately tell if it’s a cold pitch. So the more personal you can make it with someone, the more likely they are to firstly engage with you. And social media, primarily LinkedIn being the number one business to business platform is absolutely fantastic. And utilising it. So you could really kind of research someone on there and find out about, you know, groups, they follow their interest, what do they want any awards or, you know, more information about them. So when you actually pick up the phone, and talk to them, you can say, Oh, you know, you can actually give them some real life information, some real case studies about that person and their company. And then immediately, you’ve already strengthened the rapport building stage of the sales process. So, so those would be sort of my tips really, for, you know, focus on an area and you can, you know, talk him through this information with you, john, you can really kind of see the benefits of it, you know, when he uses a CRM system, or you know, even if you, you know, we’re just gonna use a spreadsheet, and you can identify, you know, who the customers are going to buy from you. So the demographics, what, you know, the personality traits are of the of the decision makers are and if you could really work that out, you could really cut down your, you know, the amount of output in sales activity, you know, it’s not about go around knocking on so many doors anymore, you know, in a world, which is forever changing, and everyone’s busy. And you probably hard to get hold of people on the phone sometimes now as well. What are the digital selling techniques can you use, but also it’s just been about being more efficient in your strategy and process to effectively sell better?

John Ball
Yeah, something something I’d be interested to get your thoughts on? I have a sense and I and I’m not 100% sure on my, I just think I might be right, is that selling is moving moving away from the sort of flashy, aspirational, perfect live kind of shiny, slick sales presentations kind of thing to more of a personalised relationship connected kind of selling. That’s that’s my sense about what’s happening and I heard other people saying this as well. And yet I still see a lot of that perhaps more familiar side of selling where people are they know I’m standing here in front of a private jet which may or may not be mine or here I am with Jared garriage, full of sports cars and telling you or telling you about how great I am and my product is kind of thing that people are I feel like people are responding to that lesson as I know I am. But I can’t obviously speak for the whole the whole world but what what’s your take? Got that?

Jamie Martin
Yeah, so I completely agree that it should be a personal touch point now So, and I wouldn’t what what the reasons why I would say that is because know, like and trust know, like, and trust is a renowned term, you know, within the selling environment, but it really does speak volumes, and I don’t think he’ll ever change. So you know, if someone knows you, or they like you, or they trust you, they’re more than likely going to work with you. And he’s, you know, it’s harder probably to wouldn’t say trust businesses nowadays. That’s that’s not what I’m saying. I’m thinking everyone sort of had maybe one sort of another a bad experience, you know, and in recruitment, for example, sometimes someone’s work, you know, hired someone, and it hasn’t worked out. So everyone, you know, in that in that environment, for example, you know, is very dubious, you know, to me, I had to really kind of give them evidence, you know, give case studies and evidence of how I can find the right person for the job and, and the process I went through to do that. So, for example, there was another article series, I’ve written about millennial bias. So the reason why I researched millennials is because if you look at LinkedIn, for example, so not only does it have 600, and 60 million companies on there, which is absolutely amazing, but 87 billion million Millennials are on there. So a lot of these Millennials are entrepreneurs, they’re going to be setting up their own businesses. So companies not only need to, you know, first of all understand the buying behaviour of millennials, but to be able to connect and engage with them, ideally, probably using LinkedIn, I did the research, when I did a survey through this article series, I was writing 100% of millennials said that they would go and read reviews before buying, but also that, that means that they would review your company, so whether that’s your recommendations on your personal profile, whether that’s testimonials, or case studies on your website, and that would really be a decision maker, as part of the buying process, before actually purchasing. So when you’re talking about, you know, building relationships, and building a more personal relationship, I would certainly agree that it is going to be instead of like, sort of, like, you know, the quantitative approach, really focus on the person approach, because naturally, you know, it’s always really hard to to pick up a customer or client in the first place, once once, once that’s happened, you can really nurture that relationship and and they’re more likely to, you know, to stay with you, and you can upsell to them, etc. But at the time of building a relationship, you know, because everybody’s selling, it’s a very competitive world, probably now more than ever, because of you know, that the challenges we’re experiencing. And so you really need to focus on a personal approach.

John Ball
Doing Okay, yeah, if anything, that’s all in all important, all great points as well. And I wouldn’t argue them what what has been the the relevance or importance of presenting and public speaking in relation to your business.

Jamie Martin
And so for me, to fold, as a sales trainer, you naturally need to develop your skills and communication skills. So you can really resonate to a different type of attendees to your workshops, or webinars or even employees or do is a you know, speaking in front of a larger audience. So for me, I have gone and got some, you know, additional training and speaking, because, you know, it’s something that I wanted to get better at, and is completely right to say that everyone needs to develop skills and some areas. But not only that, I feel like, you know, if you are a sales trainer, you really want to deliver conviction, and compelling information. And speaking will be able to help you to do that. webinars, for example, now in hosting more of a virtual space or using video competence, such as zoom or Microsoft Teams, it’s a different it’s a different world to sell in. And I know I think you’d mentioned it’d be in the show notes that I’ve written a video conference meetings, top tips to give areas for for anyone really building business relationships over video conferences, you know, we’re not in front of people at this moment. So it’s harder to read body language. And as we know, 93% is non verbal communication 55% of that being body language. So how can we utilise video conferencing, just to still end with our outcomes, our desired results, and if he was in a client pitch meeting your your obviously goal would be to convert them. So now we’re actually relying on more of the content we are speaking, or also the pitch and tone of our voice, which is, you know, a bigger than actually what we speak it’s only 7% verbal communication. And actually also, you know, using our facial features, so, you know, smiling, good eye contact, but think about you know, sometimes I do speak with clients and actually prefer to speak on the phone still, which is, you know, not not not surprising, they’re more auditory listeners. So on the phone, some techniques, I would say, a stand up, smile, you know, because then naturally, you’re more confident in how you speak with them. So really, you know, it’s just, it’s just a variety of, you know, using different techniques we have in our sales, what we’ve learned to portray that techniques to what is and I just just leave one last point on this section here, but No video messages, or even an auditory message on LinkedIn private message has actually proved quite useful now. And you know, sometimes I would, you know, go into a video and send that as a as part of a proposal to a client, because it really shows that personal touch. And not everyone maybe you know, understand. So when you’re getting the text from a friend, and they, they may split up the stakes a bit quicker in tech, so that, you know, sometimes written communication can be skewed or not portraying the emotional meaning we want it to. So if you can jump on a video, and you can record something for your client or your prospect, or you can send an audio message, think of how their learning style could really resonate that and actually help you join the iron journey.

John Ball
It’s interesting, I take the sort of Albert Mehrabian percentages of this with a pinch of salt, because most people misinterpret that. And that’s not really what what the study was about. But but I do think, you know, we do need to be aware to be able to work well with the different levels of different styles of communication, because I think it all matters. So when you’re limited in one particular sentence, you make up for it or ancient make up for it in others, like if if auditory is your only option. At first, when I first started coaching, phone coaching was really the only option. And because the internet wasn’t really good enough at that time to be able to do over voice protocols on the internet. And so everything was focused on that. And even now, I still do like Skype coaching without video with many of my clients. And I don’t feel limited by that in any way. But I am aware that I’m perhaps more focused in those particular times rather than on on my facial or postural things on my voice and my tonality, that does give me an opportunity to turn up a particular modality, perhaps in some ways, or at least have a bit more focus on it to improve the communication in those senses. And so, I think, we are finding now that we are having more and more opportunity to communicate in many different channels and many different styles. And it may be that for many people, it is better to find the channels that you feel you can communicate invest in that you’re most comfortable with. And then you will still connect with other people, we all have the I think we will have the ability to to enjoy audio or video just as much even if we’re in if we may feel more highly kinesthetic, or auditory did did so you know, we use all of these modalities, but we do have our own preferred styles. And I do personally think it’s more important that you work in the in the styles that you’re most comfortable with, rather than worry too much about why everyone else’s, because people will be able to adapt or to work with whatever you’re doing. If you are comfortable and working well with what you’re doing. So So for me, it’s that may be a bit of a different take on, on what you’re saying that but that’s all all relevant stuff, it’s all relevant stuff, then good to be considering.

Jamie Martin
Well, you know, I will, I will agree with you on the fact that first of all play to your strengths. So this is where personality and psychometric testing comes in, you know, if you really understand yourself, you know, what your likes are, what your dislikes are, your your personality traits, your characteristics, etc, etc, you know, then you can really kind of play to your strengths and anything that you know, you need develop areas off, you could either outsource that, or you could get some, you know, additional support with. And so I would say definitely play to your strengths. But then I suppose the other side of that, and there is a there is a few personality testing tests to help you and then also help develop relationships with others. You know, for example, you could be an introvert, but your your customer base could be extroverts. So you do need to be able to find a way of communicating with your with your target audience, you know, and it’s going to be different for every every single individual, every single business, but I think you you, you know, if you’re not playing to your strengths, then that’s when that’s when you’re probably best at selling if we’re talking about, you know, the selling environment here. So you can’t, you can’t necessarily, you know, change yourself too much. We can all adapt. But I do think you’re right, I think there’s an element needed there. I think you first of all need to understand who you’re selling to and make sure that you know, the messaging is clear for them. The communication style is clear for them. But then also, you know what, what you’re good at. So if we are talking about personality testing, for example, I know from the Myers Briggs, have you heard of the Myers Briggs?

John Ball
I have I’m pretty familiar with it. And I know it gets a lot of it goes well scrutinised as well. But yeah, it’s I find all of these things interesting.

Jamie Martin
well for for Myers Briggs, I know that I’m an INFJ. So that that does talk about introversion and judging and you know, traits of feelings. So that’s probably what the subcategories means. But overall, it means I’m a counsellor. So I really know a bit more about you know, how I am and what my strengths are. And you know, it says I’m compassionate and supportive so that naturally helps with with training and development and Anyway, but I think, you know, if you if you understand some of your personality traits, then it shows that you know, okay, so so maybe, how do I say this, like, you know, because sometimes you will hear the term a good and a bad customer. And now Nowadays, people don’t want to have a bad customer, because although there is money there, you know, effectively, you’re gonna, you’re probably still going to get a headache through the whole experience of it. So you know, maybe it is that you know, your, your target customers are people a bit more like you. And when I talk about, we mentioned this before, john, the personal approach, it might be that I’m not really gonna resonate with certain characteristics and traits to individuals like me, and then we’re naturally maybe going to build a quick and better rapport during the the prospecting stage. And they’ll see you know, my strengths, and they’ll all also understand the strengths, because they may have them as well. So that really could play to your advantage. And I suppose some experience I’ve had with psychometrics is when I was in the recruitment industry, during like, the senior level roles or hips, you know, second or third stage process, then, you know, some clients would opt to use the psychometric tests, and because they would really understand at that point, he would give some indicators, I mean, psychometric tests really are a more of a framework, you know, because there’s always going to be, you know, a set norm for a while, but there’s gonna be variables as well. And that it would give an indication of, you know, what, what their strengths are, and I think for maybe a leadership position is absolutely vital, because, depending on what operational side of the business are taken over, or department or the team existing, you know, if we were looking to replace the, or hire a new leadership member, then you know, you really got to make sure that they are going to gel with other members of in the business. So that will really give a good indication. And a couple of psychometric I will make aware are two people, there’s something called my role. So my role is actually very good. It’s more about working within a business. And it’s got several different behavioural modes to it. So we’re talking drive it energising analyse and organise them. And that’s really understanding, you know, as a leader, and within the team, so team differences, but also leader to, to employees, you know, the motivators, the behaviours, you know, how what, what your strengths are, what they’re like, and how you can really, you know, because when you’re, when you’re managing a team, you specifically a sales team, you go through the four stages of team development. So it starts with forming, storming, norming, storming, performing, basically. So during those stages, you know, if you’ve got the right team in the right positions, and, you know, they’re naturally bought into what you do, and you really understand what motivates them, and what drives them, then you can become a really high performance team. So that that’s basically the purpose of that disk. disk profiling is something similar. You know, and it’s got that bad day, but the dominance influence steadfast and compliance sections, and that’s also good internally, but also externally building relationships with, you know, customers or clients. And there’s, there’s, there’s colour, there’s various colour, psychometrics. So that’s, you know, also interesting to know about your cutter, I heard that one company, Food Network I was talking about, you know, actually had a colour code on their telephone system. So you would know who you were, what other people colours they were, as well, which is slightly interested. So would you tailor your behaviour, depending on who you’re speaking with? You know,

John Ball
I found I find these sorts of interesting, and, and I’m generally reluctant to put too much weight on them, because I think they can, they can offer you useful insights, that one of my concerns sometimes having worked in the personal development industry, in some of these groups, where we’ve given people these tests is that people, people just say, That’s me, that’s who I am. That’s what I am. And it’s like, well, it’s what you what you appeared to be today, or what the test is sort of indicating that you have tendencies towards more towards these things than other things. But you know, that certain psychometrics, you might take six months or a year later and be not completely different, but quite different, or some of the levels may change a bit. But maybe dominant features might still stay the same, sir. I mean, as as insights into things that might be helpful to you to understand how you best operate, and how to work with yourself, I think they can be really, really useful. And it’s great to get some feedback because I don’t think we’ve talked about this on my podcast at all before now. That my maione maybe advice or concern and this is to Don’t, don’t take it as your bad this is who I am, this is what I am. Okay, we can change we can evolve and take it as a Okay, this is this is some guidance as to holding a mirror up to yourself and saying these are these are things that are appearing for you. And you can choose it as your identity or you can say Oh, okay, there’s some things I maybe want to work on if I want to be more like this and to take care As as just a tool just as a reflection not as an identity in itself, which, which I worry that some people do too much with those things. But I’ve used certainly things like disk I find very interesting. And I think of metaprogramming dissertations, which you may have come across in NLP as well, which I worked with several companies and using things like that as a recruitment tool as well. Because again, it gives guidance and gives them some clues as to who’s going to stay or who’s gonna fit into the environment. And, and that’s what it’s clear, it’s not a complete that definition of who you are. But sometimes people say, No, this is me, and this is what I am. And this is everything about everything.

Jamie Martin
Yeah, I think you’re definitely right there. I mean, it’s a point in time that you’ve taken the the psychometrics. And you’ve got to bear that in mind, because people do change situations make people change as well. There is an interesting statistic, I did research about psychometrics. So the Gallup, which has a you know, I’ve done a few actually psychometric with them recently. But they they said that data data led companies are 23% more likely to acquire customers. So I do think, from the firmness, maybe like a scientific back of, you know, approach was a psychological background, you know, having data does help, it does provide, you know, some some evidence or some, you know, numerical statistics where, you know, it can guide you in the right direction. And, and I think, I think that I think it does hold its place, but I also think you’re right, you don’t want to just say that, you don’t want to kind of make excuses that because I am this, that’s the way I’m going to be We will also gonna be so malleable as well. And I think there’s something called neuro plasticity, which actually means that we Yes, we can actually, we can be we can change, I will actually leave the audience, you know, really useful website if they haven’t heard of this. So it’s actually called crystal nose. Have you heard of crystal nose? No. So well, as an action point for you, john, go ahead, go download it, if you’ve got Chrome, it basically aligns with LinkedIn, and what it does, people you’re speaking with on LinkedIn, it gives you an indication of their personality traits and characteristics. Obviously, it’s done from from, you know, from their process or their data, but it’s actually quite useful to know for example, you know, it can tell you a little bit about their likes, and dislikes maybe and if they are, say, you know, more trusting or whatever, because that’s really going to help if you are approaching someone, say, utilising social media, like LinkedIn, whether to engage or whether to, you know, to sort of, you know, do a private message, you know, how to communicate with them. So, yeah, there’s a really useful tool, actually. And I liked what you said, you know, we were talking about influencer, you know, child Dinis book, you know, absolutely fantastic. You mentioned earlier, there wasn’t, there wasn’t, it’s funny, because that was when, you know, not funny, haha, but it just goes to show, you know, how authority or people who are experts in that field can actually influence others. So there is a study, I remember in psychology milgrom 1963. Have you heard of that study? Yeah. Yeah. And it just shows how, you know, you can kind of shocks, right, yeah, the electric shocks. Well, I’m not saying anyone should do that at all. But how you can, you know, influence others, you know, in a position of authority to be able to distribute something like that. So. So, I think where we’re going with personality is, first of all, understand that everyone does have individual differences, and how we can use it to our advantage. And I think we mentioned at the start, so naturally, I was a bit of an introvert growing up, and now a sales trainer, you you need to be a bit more of an ambivert or an extrovert, an ambivert. Being between the two, I think you’re an ambivert. JOHN, is

John Ball
that right? or? Yeah, now and now I would describe myself as an ambivert I think there was a time when I wouldn’t very much said introvert, but yeah, we’ve moved the needle on that one.

Jamie Martin
So you know, now being a sales trainer where I you know, need to be speaking and presenting and, you know, in front of, you know, audiences or employees, you know, you really got to have that, that confidence about you. But, but you don’t have to be, you know, the socialist outgoing person ever, you can, you can just naturally demonstrate your, your credibility, prop your authenticity, and as long as your your values, your belief, your conviction is there, then you can be in a training position, or you can be a public speaker, so, we won’t look you won’t pigeonhole ourselves again, on, you know, if you will, what type of personality you are, but I think now more than ever, so, there are some famous people we’re talking Bill Gates marks, Mark Zuckerberg, JK Rowling, you know, various owners out there who basically were introverts and look at what they’ve created. They created, you know, empires, but you know, amazing, amazing things. Steven Spielberg also been another one. And I think during this time of the pandemic, the reason why I say my quote is personalities will thrive. If it’s going to have to condition extroverts who are naturally outgoing, sociable people who thrive on and their energy is from, you know, being in front with people in crowds of people, they’re going to have to now be a bit more isolated. So, so how can they adapt their skill set to still excel in what they’re good, but also likewise, introverts You know, this, this is a time where the The only thing hopefully, you know, from such you know, certain situations such as the, you know, Coronavirus, you know, moving forward, if new technology is created during this time from, from people who have the capability to do this, or you know, or medicine or, you know, that or science or whatever it may be, that can really help the human race and our lives moving forward. So, I suppose this time, you know, the introverts may excel in certain areas, you know, what’s your sort of thoughts on that, john, you know, how we go,

John Ball
I think that I think there are a unique strengths to both sides. And, and definitely, if you if you if you find yourself being an extreme extrovert, or an extreme introvert, and it would be a good idea, I think, to work on moving yourself more to the closer to the centre of somewhere circling around them to that, because I think we need both, we need to be able to cope well, in times of quiet and, and well by ourselves. And we need to meet email to restore ourselves with a bit of quiet time. But we also hopefully, can still do that in in more social situations as well and push ourselves out there, I think there’s a degree. And it may actually be easier for people who are more introvert to push themselves towards extrovert than the other way around. Because I think there’s more necessity for it. And necessity is a big driver, really, for people. And I think we’re in a situation now in the world where there really isn’t a choice but to be presenting in some way, whether it’s on video calls, which a lot of people saying they’re getting sick of it, it’s like, well, I think that people would get over it in time. Because I know, I know, for myself, most of my work for the last 10 years has been almost exclusively online, with video conferencing and things like that. And, and I never got sick of it, I never thought about it, because it for me, it was just freedom, it was allowing me to work from wherever I wanted to work from, it allowed me to leave the UK. And something that I’ve been able to improve on, I hope over that time as well. And get better at being able to give online presentations, run webinars have more energy, and focus on improving my own speaking skills, all these things, starting up my own podcasts, and things that have pushed me further towards that sort of where I would now describe myself as as an Viva, I’m quite happy to put myself on stage in front of people. And in fact, I actually look forward to and enjoy it now. And that was the stage where now could never have imagined myself being there before. There really is no choice. Now if you have your own business, or if you’re an operator, anyone to do well, in terms of any kind of corporate environment, I think you have to be able to present Well, you have to be able to speak and represent yourself well. And to be able to communicate effectively not just in the boardroom and presentations or to the company, but in your one on one communications in your evaluations with your with your staff and wherever else you have to do in terms of communication, these skills are really essential being able to do them online or in person. So many people that I’ve worked with having have had no real training in being able to communicate well in their business and about one particular guy which would last year had risen to a very high position in his in the company he was with at that time, and had never been trained on communication on leadership skills or anything like that he had started off as a mechanic risen up and was just doing his best muddling through. And so we were able to work on some really specific things that helped him present himself better communicate more clearly, I think it must have inspired him a lot because he went and started his own business and but you know, these seem you can see these kinds of things as being they were important before the the non optional now.

Jamie Martin
Yeah, and again, this is also an integral topic, if we’re talking about selling for the sales team, so it doesn’t you know, whether you’re a different person as you’re not and out to your customer, I don’t, you know, again, we talked about it, it may be a helps to know that that is about building relationships. And the way to do that really is to if communication is the key. So first of all, you know, first of all understand who your customers are is an absolute integral part of it, but how are you communicating with them? And you know, it’s it’s successful salespeople out there, you know, they don’t have to be the most extroverted, you know, people ever, you know, it’s just really about, you know, building the personalised relationships. But I think there’s also a bit of a mindset factor as well. So, you know, a lot of sales, individuals will, you know, maybe stop communicating or contact and a prospect, after a few attempts, maybe they feel, you know, internally that they certainly didn’t want to be bugging in which I quite understand. But you’ve also got to look at it from the other side, you know, it’s not that the customer, first of all might not have seen your message, they might just be busy, it’s not that they don’t want the service, they might just want it right now. So unless someone really says sort of, you know, I’m fine, I’m not interested, then there is opportunity to touch points with them, you know, via various channels, when appropriate. And that’s, that’s, that’s something I’d really do help the mindset with, you know, sales individuals with, and again, communication, you know, can help with that. So maybe you might be reading better at writing sort of compelling copy, or doing social media, marketing, whether it is that you’re better on the phone or video conferencing, and I think, you know, from a business capacity, so I was sort of training that a lead generator. And so he sort of approached me as an external sales trainer, you know, what, you know, great for me and great, he was wanting to develop his own growth mindset. And then, you know, because there wasn’t every single process available within the business. And I explained, you know, well, you know, I can sort of see the way you communicate over videoconferencing. Why don’t you you know, do video conferencing as part of your sales conversion, and it’s something that the business just you know, did, you know, you do at that point in time, so businesses have got to be sort of quite adaptable to say, actually, you know, first of all, understand the individual differences of everyone what their strengths are, and, you know, be be willing to give them, you know, that opportunity to do what they do best. And it might be that now, especially because we are embracing and working from home, or you know, or digital selling now, and using video conferencing, as you mentioned, a couple of times, you know, first of all, I say, training and development, sales training is absolutely a must, if you haven’t, if you’ve had limited experience, so you haven’t had that much experience. Because that, you know, there are various stages to a lead generation discovery call. And if you’re not kind of following a bit of a framework, you know, I Are you building a relationship and are you sort of controlling the call to a certain extent to end with a you know, an outcome, or at least you know, so the the the messages you are trying to communicate is clear to your prospect, because, again, prospects are going to be very busy with their time. And if you don’t, I think humans have an eight second attention span, which is one second lower than a goldfish, I’m sure there’s controversy of it on Google, but it just goes on what it is you’re focusing on, but very true, but you know, it realistic, you know, whatever is five to seven seconds for you to buy, which I ran out of material. So well, you know, our attention span isn’t, you know, is short, because it says it’s a very noisy world, especially in a digital world. So you really got to understand how to build relationships quickly, and and what sort of sales process to follow in your communication style, and the prospects to basically end with desired results?

John Ball
Yeah, I think the attention span stuff is more relevant, where you don’t have the relationship, I think, where you do where people are more hooked in, I think it’s less of an issue. Personally, I don’t have science to back that out. But that’s my, that’s my take from experience at least as well. So may or may not be true, I might have to look into it a bit more. But I like very much like what you were saying about past 90 being really important right now. And one of the things that I think it makes that because it makes a big connection, but I know there are people who may roll their eyes at hearing authenticity, and that around one more time or relationship marketing, everyone’s talking about it, it’s not me yet, but they’re talking about it for a reason. And how do you think people can best help present that personality online? What are some of the things that that we should be thinking about?

Jamie Martin
First of all, there’s something I teach in one of my workshops, and it’s about, it’s about you and your brands. So, you know, I mean, LinkedIn is commonly seen as a business, a business and more of a professional business related site. So you’ve really got to show your personality on there by you know, not just posting about, you know, the business all the time, you know, you can, you know, talk about other areas, maybe you’re involved within the community or within charity work, and if people really want to get to know you for the person you are. And also they’re gonna more likely remember you if you if you stand out in certain areas. So definitely, you know, I would say, you know, doing career in social media, marketing about some, something, you know, personal to you, you can certainly share news related articles or content or write an article, a lot of top tips article about something you’re passionate about. And then you can you can certainly demonstrate in the way you write and what your opinions are, your, your personality there. And but also, you know, you’ve got your LinkedIn company page, whether you’re a business owner or a part of the company, but your personal profile is about you. Certainly, you can write you know, text on or about what your company does. And when we are writing about things that it’s not just about the features, it’s really is about the benefits and the outcomes. And what your customers say about you is, you know, the most important because then it’s about a third party speaking about you and the service or products you provide And you sign it yourself, but, but on your personal profile, you know, put put some extracurricular activities or documents on there really give a bit of, you know, a flavour personality and also in the in the social media marketing and the copy you write, you know, yet authenticity means you know, you’re consistent. So as long as you you know, you portray a consistent message about your personal personality or about you know, the business you are promoting about the time, then then I think others will actually get at the message, you know, when when new relationships are formed, you are right about, you know, if someone’s already engaged, if it’s, if it’s an existing client, then naturally, I think you should just, you know, make sure you listen to them, during these times, you know, if they’re going through a difficult time, it’s not about selling or upselling, it’s about, you know, just just checking, they’re okay, you know, and something I really like is called random acts of kindness. So, you know, occasionally just do some really kind for them, whether it’s just, you know, sending them a gift for doing something engagement with them on social media, but for for new prospects, in which a lot of businesses are looking for new business nowadays, which is kind of what I specialise in. From my recruitment background, you know, breaking down doors effectively, not literally, but you know, because you might need to look for new industry sectors, so you’ve got to do a lot of research, you know, about the industry, how it operates, you know, what groups they’re in, what podcasts they listen to, are going to really identify the person you’re speaking with. But the more you demonstrate your personality, when you are identifying yourself with new relationships, the more they are likely to remember you. And to be honest, it is about being remembered in a sales capacity in a business capacity moves.

John Ball
But I think one of the one of the most challenging things, especially when maybe in the earlier days of doing something like that, is that without responsiveness without engagement from people, it’s hard to know how that’s being received. What what are some of the things that you might recommend people to do to try and turn up responsiveness?

Jamie Martin
Okay, so with engagement, like I said, it may not be that they don’t want your service right now, it may just be that they’re busy, or they haven’t seen your your message or your private message on LinkedIn, because not everybody does. So social media marketing and engaging is actually quite a good way of, you know, developing relationships. So you know, it’s been, it’s been, it’s been, you know, doing it in a professional credible way. So if you’d like to post that someone seen one of your prospects, you know, really do comment or share it, you know, to support their network, you know, if it’s an article, they returned, and then they know read it and engage with it, or whatever it may be that you actually kind of identify what your customer your prospects interests are, and you send them a link of interest, you know, you’re not selling at this point, you are literally just nurturing relationships. And the first few times, yes, it may not go anywhere, because like I said, it is a noisy place. But these different touchpoints, as I’ve kept kept mentioning, and when you’re using a cadence, so a series of activities in a strategic way to develop relationships, you know, it’s naturally going to, you know, help strengthen the engagement with a prospect, but it’s not maybe just that one person that you’re trying to do that with, you know, you kind of got to do a variety of things, whenever you’re in PR, whether you’re doing you know, your own marketing, whether you’re collaborating or you know, synergizing with others, you know, if you’re or whether you post them to groups that maybe your prospect is actually in, they really got to see that you are you are an expert within your field. And like to say we do we need to work various different hats, sometimes to, to portray an image about ourselves. But, you know, the more and, you know, I think the most powerful when we said know, like and trust when we’re talking about referrals, so referrals to me, because I think, you know, this is, you know, slightly we’re talking about reviews, but 92% of reviews said by TripAdvisor and G to source online, they talk about that, that convinces someone to buy, once they’ve read reviews, it’s the same with a referral, if someone introduces you via an email, or via telephone or video conference, whatever it may be, they’ve already demonstrated that they know like and trust you to refer you to that, that probably their customer or someone they know within the network anyway, so any referrals is really going to help businesses right now. And that’s the message I would get. There are some brilliant industries out there, due to the pandemic, you know, whether it’s technology, or whether it might be, you know, something to do with medical or pharmaceutical, you know, if you have connections, who can refer you out, that’s probably the best way to be introduced right now. Because, you know, it is a noisy place. Otherwise, do do the different various different touch points which are relevant to your customers. And like I said, it’s really not all about sudden, it’s about providing value, providing information, whether it’s a self help guide, or a link of interest, really do do something, you know, that’s going to benefit your prospect from effectively speaking and communicating with you.

John Ball
Yeah, it’s good. And one of the things that I found for helpful for getting more engagement on LinkedIn has been to be more engaged on LinkedIn with other people. And that has started up conversations and it means big By having more conversations with different people, they’re more likely to come and have a conversation on your posts as well. Which is great for engagement and for visibility as well. And so sometimes, but also putting out different types of posts as well, sometimes a text post, sometimes a video, sometimes an image post, and having happened some different things as well gets a gets different responses and different views. And say it’s been interested in that some of the highest responsiveness I get on LinkedIn particularly, is to purely text kind of messages that are put out there like a post that is all text rather than any kind of image or video attached to it is interesting, if you if you say that I think that the written word is still very powerful on our platform, I guess where many people are surfing at, they’re either working in a maybe in a shared space or somewhere where they’re not going to have the sound on that text engagement might be easier there. Whereas on other platforms, maybe not but but as not to the level of pods where you just go And like and comment on each other’s posts just to get the views, which I think is a bit dodgy. But to actually start building up your community and getting engagement with people, it can start with you. And I think it’s a really good, a really good strategy. And especially right now where you know, all the stuff we talked about today about relationship and being involved and engaged with people and like being known liked and trust, you can start that journey, don’t wait for anyone else to start it with you provide, you know, provide stuff that adds value to them, but provide comments or just ask questions will show that you care about people, it’s all really good stuff. And you can start doing that right now on on your social profiles.

Jamie Martin
Yeah, and I think you know, part of you sort of towards the end of this, I’d like to mention something that I’d like to leave as a final note, really, and you just literally said it, you know, there and this is this is one, this is one of my favourite habits from Stephen Covey’s highly seven highly effective habits of effective people. And basically, that is synergy. So synergy means, you know, to two heads are better than one. And, you know, effectively collaboration, collaboration means businesses working together. And they may be you know, completely different businesses that have come together now to support one another. But it’s a bit more than that. And, you know, when you mentioned about engaging with others, so reciprocity, so you know, if you if you naturally refer businesses to you know, customers, they feel that they would want to help your business as well. And I think collaboration is the key now more than ever, in a changing world, when, whenever, you know, whenever we’ve all had to step outside of our comfort zones, our personalities, be in adapt, adaptable, changing the way our sales process sales strategy and business operates. You know, it’s really now exploring those joint ventures, those collaborations and supporting the business community, whether that’s a local space, and that working group, or a global, you know, community, you know, like, such as LinkedIn, as we talked, you know, quite a bit about, it really is making sure that we can support the business community and, you know, continue, you know, that their business stay invisible during these times. And effectively, you know, that I’ve always said, synergy, you know, and, and that’s what’s helped me in my business, you asked me to start, you know, what did I do in my business, so immediately going to go into networking events, now you can go webinars and meet people all over the world. And if that’s my international relationships, I’ve been developed from video conferencing, because, you know, we’re able to do that more, and we are embracing change. So yeah, to the audience out there, you know, collaboration synergizing is definitely the key to, you know, Bing, you know, and continuing success.

John Ball
Yeah, certainly, I mean, the the the UK, particularly now is just officially in the time of recession, and many people are going to be panicking about that and, and thinking that there’s no opportunity or no hope for them and but know, what you say still applies, opportunity is still there. And working together with people collaborating and looking for those opportunities to find synergy and to, to grow and expand you that those are going to be great avenues to be exploring, and really, hopefully going to lead us to more positive business environments in the future and to greater success as well. I think that’s a great thing to be wrapping things up on today, that many people are going to want to know more about you because you’ve already shared some great insights, some resources and, and that we’ve put the links to some of the things you shared into the show notes as well. But if people want to just find out a bit more about you, what’s the best way to do that?

Jamie Martin
Yeah, I’m happy to for any, you know, questions and to build connections and relationships. This is what I really enjoy doing. So I’d probably say contact me on LinkedIn as Jamie Martin and you’ll see the BSc ons on there. My website is www. Correct curries coaching.com and my contact details are on there as well. But yes, the you know in the show notes, he will provide the top tips guide and some articles I’ve written. And, you know, I welcome building relationships with anyone who wants to find out more. And you know, again, build synergy, really. Thank you very much. Thanks for having me today. JOHN. I’ve really enjoyed chatting with you. We’ve covered loads of areas of interests and insights and hope you want to join us in into it.

John Ball
It’s been a great conversation. Thank you for your time today, and we’ll stay connected in the future. Thanks.

Jamie Martin
Thanks. Thanks, John.

John Ball
Hey, hope you enjoyed the show. Remember to hit the subscribe button for an apple podcast leave us a review. why not check out a free copy of my new ebook the five key beliefs of bulletproof business speakers available free on present influence.com Join us next week when I’ll be speaking about disability access in relation to media and presentation and training events. with disability expert and accessibility expert Ese Hardy, we had a great conversation and this is a really important area for anyone who’s in speaking and training and presenting to know about and understand because there is potentially a whole segment of your audience who are missing out because you’re not serving them if you’re not meeting disability access needs for them. Join us for that show and many more to come. Make sure you like us, subscribe to the show. See you next time.

Women In The Lead with guest Lillian Ogbogoh

This week my guest is professional speaker, corporate trainer and NLP practitioner Lillian Ogbogoh. In our fascinating chat, we talked about overcoming fears to get up and speak in public, women in leadership and training, mythological archetypes as a tool for understanding ourselves and for telling powerful stories and much more besides.

I’m sure you’ll enjoy listening to this chat as much as I enjoyed having it. If you’d like to find out more about Lillian, you can check out her website https://www.lillianogbogoh.com/ 

Next week I will be speaking with sales trainer and speaker Jamie Martin about improving your sales and how you show up in your business. Don’t miss it.

While you’re here, grab a copy of my new ebook ‘The 5 Key Beliefs of Bulletproof Business Speakers‘ FREE!