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Are you in a heavily commoditized market, like real estate or insurance? Do you have a hard time communicating your uniqueness to your prospects?  The easiest way to strongly differentiate yourself to a potential audience is personal branding. The terrifying reality is that this will mean public speaking!  For most people the fear of public speaking is overwhelming. Is it worth the trouble to get comfortable? How can you do it? How can you find your voice? Can you actually get to the point where you enjoy public speaking?   In todays episode of the Zero Noise Marketing Podcast our very special guest is Mr Carl Richards. Carl Richards is a well-know radio personality and a dynamic public speaking coach. Carl and I will be plumbing the depths of the scary and exhilarating world of personal branding and public speaking

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Episode highlights

01:23-Just be yourself.

02:24-First valuable tool: The only person that can control your speaking is you.

02:44-Embed it in your brain that you are in control. That really changes the outcome.

02:54-Second valuable tool: The audience doesn’t know what you don’t tell them.

03:33-If you do forget something that is of huge value and you remember it later on, you can always squeeze them in later.

5:22-Take the pressure off yourself when you’re speaking and focus on your audience rather than focus on yourself.

6:16-If we treat it as a conversation, people can relate more.

7:26-The key is always practice.

8:41-Read out loud every single day for 10 minutes.

12:31-People make decisions based on emotion most times not necessarily based on logic. And if you can move people to that place of action based on their trust level of you and based on the emotion that you brought through the talk that you’ve given to them, they’ll do business with you every single day because you’ve build that trust with them.

15:34-You need to get in front of more people. That’s going to relieve the speaking stress. Because the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll get at it.

16:46-The other way to become better at anything is to hire someone that will help you get better. Hire a speaking coach.

17:32-Networking is a fantastic way to do one of three things: find opportunities to speak, find opportunities for clients, or find opportunities for partnerships.

22:07-You need to figure out what your unique brand or value proposition is.

22:27-Speaking is another form of marketing.

Jaeson: Hi there Carl! How are you doing today?

CARL: I’m great Jaeson, thanks for having me on the podcast.

Jaeson: Oh well, it’s a pleasure to have you and it’s a little intimidating for me because we at least so far, we haven’t had any radio professionals on here. So, I’m trying to keep my…

CARL: It’s ok Jaeson. Jaeson, I’m not evaluating you. That comes later. I certainly know it’s an honor and if there’s one thing I can pass along to anybody listening: Just be yourself when you’re speaking. We’ll start with that. Just be yourself and let it go where it’s got to go.

Jaeson: So, first of all Carl, tell us what your background.  What business are you in full time?

CARL: Well, I am a full time broadcaster. I’ve been a broadcaster for 20 years. Actually, almost 21 years which… You think that year does really make a difference? Sometime it does when you cross that 20-year mark and it’s kind of ironic that I chose radio broadcasting because when I was younger, I stuttered when I was a kid and my speech impediment was so bad that I could barely string three words together without stammering and being very incoherent. My parents try as they may; all they could really do is say: “Carl, stop and start a game which I did. But then eventually I learned how to stop speaking altogether. And Jaeson, I ended up in speech therapy when I was 12 years old. There are 2 very valuable lessons I’ve learned in my life for the last 30 years having been to speech therapy and actually being through broadcast school. The number 1 thing I’ve learned in speech therapy though was: The only the only person who can control of your speaking is you. The only person who can control your speaking is you. And that’s a very valuable tool. Right off the top of the introduction, you mentioned how people have this innate fear of speaking. And I think one of the reasons why is because they lose control of their speech, they lose control of their speaking. But when you take control of the reins and you have it embedded in your brain that you’re in control that really changes the outcome. It certainly changed the outcome for me as a kid who stuttered, who went on to become a broadcaster. The second valuable tool I learned in broadcast school and from mentorism when I was looking for that elusive job in broadcasting was the audience doesn’t know what you don’t tell them. The audience doesn’t know what you don’t tell them. And that is valuable too because you know, aside from the fact that a lot of our fear comes from being not in control, the other area are fear that comes from is thinking that we are going to forget something and if we do how will the audience react if we don’t position ourselves properly, if we don’t say the right things. But if the              audience doesn’t know what you don’t tell them, does it really matter if you forget something?  And if you do forget something that is of huge value, if you remember it later on in the presentation or talk that you are giving you could always squeeze them on later. So if you remember nothing on this podcast today, remember those 2 valuable lessons: The only person that can control your speaking is you. And, the audience doesn’t know what you don’t tell them. If you take those 2 things, put them together as you’re preparing and planning your talks then you’ll probably overtime be able to nail your content. Every single time you speak
.

Jaeson: So, that’s really really interesting. So you really had quite a journey there from being someone who is struggling with interacting with other people verbally all the way up to talking for a living.

CARL: Absolutely! And there are still times today although they are very few and far in between where I might stammer but it’s not to the extent that it was then than that it was rather when I was a kid. I overcame stuttering when I was 14, I think 14 or 15. It had a bit of a comeback, everything has a comeback. I mean, if Sheriff had a comeback, why can’t stuttering be for me? So anyways, it came back into my life when I was having some personal challenges in my life’s early 20s. But aside from that, it really is been in resurgence and again because I applied those 2 techniques all the time and it really makes it a little easier for me. And as far as broadcasting goes, I mean it’s been for the most parts it’s been radio, I have done some work on television too. But I also do a lot of other things now within my businesses as a public speaking coach and speaking mentor and professional speaker that you know I am speaking all the time so there’s almost no time to even worry about or be anxious about stuttering. I mean it’s just a matter of being human and being in the moment like I said off the top and just allowing yourself to go with it.

Jaeson: One of the things that jumped out of me was that the strategy for you has been to take the pressure off yourself when you are speaking. And focus on your audience rather than focus on yourself. Is that fair to say?

CARL:   Absolutely! The way I share this information with clients who come to me is you know, think of it as a conversation. Don’t even think of this as “I’m public speaking. I’m on the stage. I’m giving a presentation.” Because as soon as you do that, that’s where a lot of the anxiety is going to come from. That is also where… We know we have it in our minds what a public speaker looks like or what they should sound like. But what we don’t realize is that a lot of what we’ve been taught or in some cases having been taught in school because a lot of our introduction to speaking is either you know the dreaded reading of book reports in class which were never meant to be read out loud by the way cause they were written for the eye not for the ear. Or essays. Those kinds of things. But what we don’t realize is that you know, if we just treat it as a conversation people can relate more. I mean, can you imagine sitting and having coffee with your friends and some colleagues and you just jumped into a public speaking mode. Well, you won’t do that. But we do that when we are speaking to audiences especially with people who are a little bit nervous when it comes to speaking and presenting. So we just shift our thinking and think: “I’m just having a conversation with these people and just sharing the way I would if I was having a coffee with them.” And if we did that, a lot of the anxieties, a lot of the pressures, a lot of it with just overtime will fade away. I mean, practice is a component of that too but if you just practice having conversations with people as opposed to public speaking the anxieties will just go the way of the dodo. They really would.

Jaeson: Would you say there’s any value in emulating and trying to improve the value of your speech when you’re talking to people one on one so that you are more comfortable talking to a group.

CARL: Well, of course! Absolutely, I mean there’s obviously practices here a spoken merits to speaking whether it is one on one or whether it is you in front of a thousand one people, the key is obviously practice, practice, practice. It’s the smokin’ mirrors to what I do and it’s the one thing that we forget because I think we have this frequency of notion that when we speak all the time, we communicate with friends, family, colleagues all the time, why do I have to practice speaking? We attuned practice to music, singing, sports. But we don’t attune it to something that we should be practicing all the time which is speaking and communication. It’s such a valuable tool though to practicing what we’re good at especially in business because again whether you’re speaking one on one or speaking to a larger group, you still have an end-goal just like you would in music, your end-goal is to play maybe a very challenging piece of music whether it’s rock, Molotov or Beethoven or whatever. Same in sports, you know athletes train for years to be in the Olympics they just don’t wake up one morning and say: “yeah, I’m gonna go inside of the Olympics this year” it wouldn’t happen to begin with. But can you imagine if athletes showed up and just were unprepared? It wouldn’t happen. But we see it happen so much in the speaking world. And there’s definitely a lot of value to practicing and practicing could be as simple as Jaeson it could be as simple as reading out loud every single day for 10 minutes. That’s as simple as it can be. But a lot don’t take the time. They say they don’t have time.  I mean, who doesn’t have 10 minutes in their day to read out loud and practice something that’s so valuable? As a matter a fact, I don’t know if you’re gonna talk about this or not, but billionaire Warren Buffet says you know: “The number 1 skill that boosts your career value by 50% is by public speaking.” And even with that term itself, you know public speaking is a bit of a misnomer because every time you speak in public, we’re public speaking. But in you know in this sense he’s talking about sharing your message or sharing your expertise with an audience of people to generate higher results. Why wouldn’t you wanna practice that? So you get it right every single time. Why can’t an athlete? Or why can’t a musician? Why wouldn’t you wanna practice that?

Jaeson: Right! Absolutely, and certainly presentation if done carefully gives you the opportunity to pitch to a group even if it doesn’t sound like a pitch you’re still communicating your value as a clear thinker or as a thought leader or we’ve seen this with the Ted Talks and know it’s kind of part of our vernacular as a culture if we see people who are at the height of their respective industries, are almost, always asked to speak on Ted and it doesn’t seem to matter what industry that they are in. Usually, a lot of authors but we see industrialists, and people from all walks of life who are called upon to speak when they reach that level.   

CARL: Well, exactly. And when you think back a couple of years ago when a guy like Steve Jobs goes on Ted and just rocks the stage. It’s not because he was Steve Jobs and he was a multimillionaire and had a fantastic company. It’s because, you know, he knew how to clearly articulate his message every single time he got up and spoke. And you know, that came with a lot of practice. Now, if you look at the history of Steve Jobs, and I’m not gonna go into his background but you know he was a drop-out. He was. And you know, but he took not only his skills in business and all his passion for technology but then he had to strengthen his skills to become better at speaking. So he did. He did a very good job at it. But you just got a very interesting point Jaeson, when you said that pitching without making it seem like you have anything to pitch or making it seem like you’re not pitching. That in itself is a skill. And you can’t just wake up one morning and say: “I’m gonna get on stage or I’m gonna get infront a group of people in my networking meeting and just pitch to them and not make it sound like I’m pitching. It just doesn’t. I think for most people 99% of people wouldn’t know how to do that. They would have to practice that and it starts with reading out loud every single day and then adding other skill sets to that and knowing that when you’re having that conversation to people, and gaining that trust, and you know let’s face it! People make decisions not based on logic, it’s based on emotions. So if you’re pitching to them and it doesn’t sound like a pitch, they’re going to make a decision whether or not they’re going to make business with you based on emotions and based on your ability to move them forward to that place in your call to action. That’s why I often say to people who take my 6-week program or my which is now 3-month program by the way, it’s kinda like the impulse items in the grocery store, they don’t place it throughout the store because they think you’re going to put that in your cart logically. They place them at the check-out wine to evoke that impulse action to create or to trigger a memory that you have of when you first have that Jersey milk candy bar. I like Jersey milk candy bars that’s why I am drawing that comparison. So, it creates that emotion of memories and of course you are going to pick it up on impulse. See, and that’s an emotion. It really is. So, people make decisions based on emotion most times not necessarily based on logic. And if you can’t move people to that same place of action, based on their trust level of you, based on the emotion that you brought through the talking that you’ve given to them, they will do business with you every single day because you built that trust with them but that doesn’t come overnight, it comes with practice and then more practice and then Jaeson after that even more practice.

Jaeson: So, one of the themes I’m seeing here is that: “With public speaking, throwing yourself under the bus by just expecting to be a savant when it comes to talking to a group is not fair and it doesn’t really work so you have to avail yourself of every possible advantage when it comes to doing this kind of unnatural thing like talking to a group is not a natural thing for people to do it’s a skill that needs to be acquired. So what would you suggest as far as ways to practice beyond some of the things that you’ve already talked about.

CARL:   Well, again the practicing by learning out loud is certainly a good starting base. And I say this, I keep going back that I got some other tips and techniques I’ll share in just a moment. But I keep going back to practice like reading out loud because even broadcasters with years of experience, including myself, we practice everyday by reading out loud, we do vocal warm ups, we do all those things. I usually read an article or two out loud. If I don’t have an article to read like I’m on vacation and I’m not doing it for the sake of either my speaking business or my career as a broadcaster, I’ll read through my spiels or find an interesting article on google or something. And I’ll read through my spiels and same thing it helps to really get you comfortable with it because it is not just about practicing your voice, that’s part of it. The reading out loud strengthens your voice, your pitch, your tone, your volume. All of those things. It also practices and it gives you the opportunity rather than practicing to make you comfortable of hearing yourself speak and it helps to raise your confidence. So, those things alone that’s a good solid foundation. But other ways that you can practice speaking of course and really nailing and getting rid of all that stress. Is to get on stage more. You know, a lot of people who are anxious when it comes to speaking even though they know how to do it they might speak a couple of times a year and say: “Oh, I’ve done my 2 times a year and that was scary enough. Well, you’re not going to grow your business by six figures if that’s a goal for example. And for some people they wanna grow to 6 figures or grow another 6 figures. Yeah they wanna grow from a hundred thousand to two hundred thousand. Well, you’re not going to do that in a year if you only speak once if you only get infront of two audiences unless you know, there are really big audiences and you’re going to capture them every single person in the room. But if you’re only speaking twice it’s probably not going to happen. So you need to get infront of more people. That’s going to help release the speaking stress because the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll get at it. You know, when I was a kid, again I’ll lead you to my childhood, when I was a kid, I was scared of the water. I didn’t swim. I sat on the shore and played in the sand while my cousins were right there, we vacationed in Wellington Ontario where they’ll be water skiing and all kinds of things and I’ll be there in the sand playing in the sand doing sand castles. Not until I took swimming lessons that I became comfortable with swimming. And then, I don’t know how far I got. Fairly, high up in the cross swimming levels, I can’t remember it so long ago but I gone through 6 different levels of swimming and I enjoyed it and I’m not a pro- swimmer by any means but I’m certainly more comfortable on the water. I boat in the summer. You wouldn’t even go anywhere near a boat if you are afraid of the water. So, you know all of those things by practicing and getting rid of the fear, the more you do it. So, the more you get up there and speak, the more you, not only the better you get at speaking but you’ll also overcome that anxiety that’s associated with it. The fear will become less and less. You’ll learn how to channel that fear. And of course, the other way too to become higher at anything is to hire someone to help you get better. So, you hire a speaking coach. And this is a shameless promotion. But if you hire a speaking coach, they’re going to help you get better. That will be a cheerleader in your corner. They’ll make it even easier for you to get up there and speak when you have to do it. So, definitely that. But the more you get up and speak. And I made up my goal last year to be speaking at events outside of my regular network and groups at least once a month, at least once a month. And it’s so far, it’s worth very well.

Jaeson: So how do you seek out opportunities to speak publicly?

CARL:   Well firstly, the first thing I do is I do a lot of networking. Networking is a fantastic way to do one of three things: either find opportunities to speak, either find opportunities for clients, or find opportunities for partnerships. So, clients, speaking opportunities, or partnerships. So, those partnerships could also mean sponsorships as well. I host live events and I’m always looking for sponsorships  for that. But aside from that, it’s going to lead you to other speaking opportunities. So when I meet people, when I’m out networking, I’ll ask them and I won’t ask them in a very uncomfortable way, but I will subtlety be asking them: “are you interested to becoming a sponsor for my event? Are you interested in you know, expanding your speaking platform and doing more speaking? Are you interested in you know, finding out more of what it is that I do and seeing if there’s a partnership there? So, there’s certainly that opportunity through that. Networking is a huge way to grow your speaking footprint because it gets you infront of audiences that you would necessarily just go and be infront of. And there are several networking groups. You know, every city has at least one, if not, several networking groups or networking events, chambers of commerce, those are great way to connect with other people and again look at how you can improve your speaking.

Jaeson: So, would you recommend public speaking groups like toastmasters for instance?

CARL:   I think toastmasters is a great platform and I have to say that I spent 12 years in toastmasters. So, I speak highly of the program but what I would suggest to people is they assess, they really do some thinking and ask what it is they want. Is it specifically for business? Is it to overcome anxiety and raise your confidence? The reason why I say that is because you know, if you wanna learn how to speak and sell a hundred thousand dollars with a product from the stage, that’s not something that toastmasters is going to be able to do successfully. So that’s why you need to employ a coach. But if you just want to practice speaking in a friendly environment that’s mutually supportive, toastmasters is great for that. I always caution people though how much time they spend in a group like toastmasters or how much time they spent any public speaking  program because they’ll gonna teach you how to speak like a toastmaster. They’ll gonna give you the tools that you need to speak and be articulate the way toastmasters speak. And there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s why I always share with people: “Sure, go to toastmasters. Gain some basic skills. But when you’re ready to speak on a professional stage or real world stage you need to have a coach. It’s kinda like the difference between playing intramural basketball and playing basketball in the Olympics. If you wanna play in a higher level, you need a coach. So, toastmasters is great for the introductory level. Once you’ve become comfortable and you’ve learned those basic skills and you wanna ratchet it up a level, you wanna speak professionally, you wanna position yourself as an expert, you need to go above and beyond what toastmasters offers. And I actually have a colleague, he’s in toastmasters and he uses it as a practice platform but he speaks, he is a 7 figure income earner and he speaks at various businesses and institutions across Canada and the US but he uses toastmasters till to this day as a practice platform. A place for him to just go out and practice his material. But he is also taking professional training from coaches, very renowned coaches, whom he knew could get him to the next level. As a matter a fact, we have the same speaking coach. That’s how I know him and he spends time with toastmasters too, that’s another way I know him. But, he puts those two together because he knew he had to do that. That toastmasters wasn’t going to be enough to take him to that level. So, by all means, check out a group like toastmasters if you wanted just to overcome speaking anxiety, if you wanna learn some basic skills like share with people, do that. But when you’re ready to take it up to the next level, if you wanna take your 5 figure business and turn it into 6 or your 6 figure business make it to 7, you need a coach to help you get there. So, toastmasters by all means. And other groups, by all means. But when you’re ready to get serious, then that’s when you need to employ a coach.

Jaeson: So, you can definitely get your fundamentals from a group like toastmasters but then finding your voice is kind of the next step. Finding your uniqueness. Is that right?

CARL:   Absolutely! Because you need to figure out what your unique brand, your unique value proposition is and you’ll find that, you’ll get a taste of that in toastmasters but once you’ve got a little bit of flavoring, you’ll expand that even more with a coach. Because a coach is gonna share with you. They’ll gonna help you with that branding. Think of it this way, speaking is another form of marketing, that’s really what it is. So, they’re gonna help you. They’ll look at your current marketing and what you have and a proper speech coach will look at what your goals are for taking your brands to the next level and giving the tools to help you get there based on what your branding is. Based on what your value proposition is. Toastmasters doesn’t have the enough tools and place to help you with that. But certainly, when you’re ready to get there, a coach will take you there. And it’s definitely about branding. It’s about making sure that everytime you get on that stage it is about your brand. I mean, imagine everytime you know, founder of Mcdonalds, imagine everytime he got on stage, he didn’t know his value proposition, or he didn’t know what his branding was. He ended up talking about another copy organization. So, a coach is gonna help you strengthen what you need to know to be able to do that. So yeah, that’s very important for sure. It’s making sure that you are definitely speaking to your brand every single time and that’s why it is important to make sure that you just don’t show up thinking that you’ll be able to rock the stage without no preparation or practice because now it’s not a reflection of your industry, it’s a reflection of you and your brand. Right? Everytime you’re speaking, it’s about you and it’s about your brand. And if you’re not prepared, if you’re not ready, if you haven’t practiced, if you haven’t know honed the skill and pitched and head a coach or something a toastmasters meeting or whoever it is, give you the feedback that it sizzles everytime you speak, it’s not going to sizzle.

Jaeson: Well, those are some great suggestions. The insight there Carl. Especially from someone who, has come from your background, going all the way into being a professional broadcaster and speech coach. It’s been very edifying. Thank you very much. So, how can people get a hold of you if they’re looking for this sort of help Carl?

CARL:   Well certainly if people need more information, they can follow me on Facebook Live. I’m all over Facebook: Carl Richards. You can’t help but check out my Facebook Live videos. I’m also on Linkedin but you can email me directly: askcarl@carlspeaks.ca and check out my website it’s always have always been there’s always tips up there and I’m also always looking at a conversation with people who are interested in finding out more. So, you can schedule a speaking breakthrough session with me where we can find out what your goals are for speaking and find out if it’s a relationship that we wanna pursue further.  But that starts with an email and again check out the website, it’s: carlspeaks.ca

This has been the Zero Noise Marketing Show, connecting with the right prospects in an authentic way doesn’t have to be complicated. If you think authentic Zero Noise Marketing might be right for your business, find out for sure by contacting us for a free consultation session. We can be reached at: 613-379-3051 you might be eligible for a complimentary test campaign. I am Jaeson Tanner, thanks for tuning in.

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Download the Action List and Transcript For Episode 004

What best describes you and your business?

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