Search
  • Francisco Mahfuz

E1. Go From Invisible to Irresistible with John Livesay



Below is an AI-generated transcript and therefore it may contain errors.


Francisco Mahfuz 0:00

Hi everyone, Francisco here. Just before we get started, I wanted to share something I'm really excited about. I recently launched the story powers bootcamp, a course that teaches you everything you need to know about how to find craft and tell stories that work. But it's not just an online course, because you get personalised feedback from me for all the practical activities in three hours of life coaching to work through any challenges, or focus on specific projects. So it's like if you bought a cookbook, but the chef came along with it. So go to story powers.com and click on Course, all the information you need will be there. So please check it out. And if you love the show, and would like to support us, you can go to buy me a coffee.com forward slash story powers. I drink about five coffees a day, so any support would be much appreciated. All right on with the show.


Welcome to the story powers podcast, the show about the power of stories that people who tell them and why you should be doing it too. I'm your host, Francisco first. My guest today is John Livesey, also known as the pitch whisperer. John is a sales keynote speaker and shows the lessons learned from his award winning sales career at Conde Nast is the author of better selling through storytelling has been interviewed by none other than Larry King. And his TEDx talk has had more than a million views. He is also the nicest salesperson you ever meet. If you liked the show, please leave us an iTunes review and subscribe. It really helps other people find us in Yes, I'm sure you've heard that before. What can I say? We broadcasters have always depended on the kindness of strangers. Ladies and gentlemen, John Livesey. John, welcome to the show.


John Livesay 1:51

Thanks, Francisco. I hope I can live up to being the nicest salesperson you ever meet.


Francisco Mahfuz 1:56

I don't think it's a very high bar to. But But no, I mean that sincerely. Because I've started reading your book recently. I end and that's very much the feeling you get from from most of your stories. And the other funny thing was I started reading the book, and I thought, This sounds a little familiar. And then I realise why. And so I went back and watch your TEDx talk again. And I realised that the beginning of the first story you tell on the book is almost word for words, the TEDx talk, and that is my first question. Yeah. Has it been your experience that a good story works as well, when it's written, other than told


John Livesay 2:38

a good story works period, and you want to be known for having a few signature stories as a brand. And I've explored this a lot. And other speakers have said, you know, they have their keynote that they're known for. And people take two or three stories away, hopefully, if, if they remember them, and they're great. And then they might hear the speaker again, and the speaker doesn't tell that story. Again. They miss it. And we think that speakers will have to have a completely new content. And I learned this from listening to Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote Eat, Pray Love and Big Magic. And I heard her speak. And then I read her book, and I thought, oh, my gosh, this story that she told in her talk is almost as you said, word for word in the book.


Francisco Mahfuz 3:22

Oh, it's having your greatest hits to a certain degree. Yeah, I think I've heard I've heard either Jay Baer or someone on Jay bears podcast refer to the same that if they get too, so disappointed the audience if the story five years ago is not there, at all interesting because I think the natural thinking would be no start have everything new. So you're not repeating content, but clearly not. And also in your TEDx talk. I mean, starting TEDx talks, or TED talks with a story has become almost a cliche. But yours doesn't only start with a story, yours is almost only a so there's some other things in there. But but almost all of it is a story. Again, this might sound like a bit of a softball question. But why did you take that approach instead of something that's a little a little more common for Ted?


John Livesay 4:13

Well, I actually hired a TEDx organiser to be my TEDx coach. Because giving a TEDx talk is very different than a normal keynote to a roomful of salespeople, for example. And we really crafted stories within stories and what are the takeaways from the story not just to tell the story for the stories entertainment sake. So there was a lot of thought and structure that went into the whole thing is a journey. And within that journey, there'll be multiple stories that and we reverse engineer it, we actually start, and I think this is great advice for anybody. Whether you're telling a story or giving a talk, whether it's a TEDx talk or a keynote, start at the end of your talk, reverse engineer it, and he had me answer these three questions. What do I want the audience has to feel at the end, what do I want them to think? At the end? And what do I want them to do at the end of my talk? So we started at the end with those three answers. And that's how the whole thing came together.


Francisco Mahfuz 5:13

I've heard many TEDx organisers and people that are involved with, with helping speakers talk about how what you just described is one of the hardest parts of dealing with anyone that has experience, you seem to have gone the opposite way you went and looked for a coach, when a lot of people I know I mean, as I'm, I'm a TEDx coach, as well, I started being on the seer. And a lot of the organisers say that most speakers don't understand they're going to be coached, don't want to be coached, and are very resistant to the idea of income. And it's interesting that someone who does this for a living, will immediately say, no, no, actually, I need a coach, I'm not doing all of this by myself,


John Livesay 5:51

Well, I tell you, that experience was quite intense, because they have you take things apart, you know, my TEDx Talk is be the life God of your own life. And I talk about my own disruption and embracing it. And ironically, that's more important now with our quarantine than ever, but at the time, it didn't seem nearly as intense or social impact as many of the other people in the class that I was taking on that, you know, social impact big stories of, you know, making a difference in the world, which are all great, and I love those, but mine was a little more business focused. And during the process, you know, they have you move things around, as you know, start and stop, cut that story at this. And I thought to myself, Man, I feel like a beginner here. And then by the end of the weekend, they had a quarter live rehearsal, and we did it. And this is just for the class. This isn't the actual TEDx experience, and we did it, then they gave us some more notes. And they gave me like six things to change and, and that's when my experience kicked in. I know how to memorise something quickly, I was able to redo it. And when I went up to do it, so they were filming it for so I'd have some footage to submit to TEDx, that all my experience came to play. So I think it's a really great lesson for everyone a to stay coachable, no matter how experienced you are, and be, just be willing to let things fall apart before you put them back together.


Francisco Mahfuz 7:24

Yeah, and I think that part of the part of the issue that a lot of people have with that is, is an inability to, as they say, in the writing world kill their darlings. Yeah, it's a story so precious to you that number. This part is really important. No, that doesn't work out. But I like it so much. But But one thing that I did notice, and because I have seen you have seen parts of your keynote speech, and I've heard you on the podcast, and the one thing that I know a lot of TEDx coaches struggle with, the biggest challenge is to coach someone improve their speech, but not change their voice is have them sound like themselves at the end of it. And perhaps because I've seen all the things of you, but to me, that just sounded 100% John Livesey. They didn't sound like someone had their fingers in that a lot. So you know, credit credit to the coach, I guess. Yes,


John Livesay 8:11

Mark, love. It is his name. He lives in Lisbon now. So yes, it was fantastic.


Francisco Mahfuz 8:16

So how do you find that that compares, so this experience of putting together a TED Talk to putting together a keynote? What would you say are the major differences with regards to how we have to balance stories and content and entertainment and all of that?


John Livesay 8:31

Well, the first difference is the length of time, you know, to typically TEDx talks are 12 to 18 minutes. And typically a keynote is 60. Sometimes 45. So obviously, you have to have a lot more content. And I just recently did one for Olympus medical. And it was a virtual keynote verse. And that was the first time I've done that. And let me tell you, that's a very different experience than being in front of a live audience. Because everyone's on mute. There's 250 people, and they're all you have no feedback, no energy, no laughs. So you really have to refocus the way you're delivering the talk. And what I did was I went through my talk and made sure that every 10 minutes, there was some kind of engagement going on. I didn't expect them to look at me on Zoom for an hour, without any kind of engagement. So I had trained some of the salespeople on how to turn a boring case study into a case story, so that I could call on them during a keynote, which is not something you typically do at keynote. But it was one of the highlights of the talk, because they would explain a concept of storytelling as a sales tool. And then I'd have somebody who worked with them that they knew, give an example of it. So he required a lot more preparation. I also had breakout rooms during the keynote, where you know, five or six people out of the 250 would go into a short little breakout room and work on something and then come back. And then I made my slides much more animated literally with animation, MOOC something moving and there was some eye opening In a lot more movie clips than I normally do, again, because when we're watching something our brain is going, is this a commercial? Or is this entertainment. And so I turn the sound off on some of the movie clips and would speak to what's going on if they were famous movie clips. Like, you know, here's what this whoa, wow, unless there's a moment, in a movie clip where someone's taking a very long pause, and I'm trying to teach them to be comfortable with silence, then I'll play that clip.


Francisco Mahfuz 10:25

It sounds like the biggest difference in your approach to the virtual keynote to what will probably be the case on stage is that the weight of keeping the audience's attention has to be significantly less on you. It has to be distributed between all these different things that is, that I know a lot of keynote speakers don't particularly like, I mean, I'm not a big fan of, of slides. I've used them because you have to use them to a certain degree, but I'll try to use them as little as possible. And I don't think normally there is a great deal of engagement, there wouldn't typically be breakout sessions unless it's a workshop, right. But, you know, one hour is a very long time.


John Livesay 11:02

And they actually asked me, asked me to make my keynote an hour and a half, because they wanted me to add 30 minutes of content to teach these outside salespeople how to sell on Zoom. So it was it was the keynote became almost like a mini workshop. And then I did a workshop the next day. So it's an interesting process, as opposed to the keynote. And then the workshop follows right away. You know, you can't expect people to sit that long on a zoom call, like they can in the room. But even when I give talks in person, you're moving around, there's something to look at on the stage. So and I have the audience stand up and do some things and you know, even just crossing your arms one way and then crossing your arms, another you can still do those things. But my real big difference between a TEDx talk wishes for evergreen content, ideally, versus a keynote is it must be customised to that audience. You I reference people's names that I've talked to I talked about their specific industry. I gave a talk to anthem insurance. And afterwards someone said, Oh, how long have you worked in health care? He said, I haven't I just took the research and the time to prepare and customise the talk to you,


Francisco Mahfuz 12:13

out of curiosity, where you sitting or standing, standing.


John Livesay 12:17

And that's one of the tips I give, when I'm teaching people how to be good on Zoom is I have this soundbite stand up and dress up. And they weren't oh my god, none of us are standing up and we're talking to our clients, it totally changes your energy.


Francisco Mahfuz 12:29

And I have that as a bit of a of a battle between the two things. Because yeah, 100% standing is way better from an energy point of view. But I've now seen a lot of people be very good with using the screen. So they using either props or their hands or their proximity to the screen. And that is very difficult to do standing unless you have a very professional filming setup that allows you to get close and far. So I've seen the the benefits and the advantages of both sides. And with with the sound, which I mentioned, I think I'm I'm waging a one man crusade in trying to convince people whenever I do anything online to unmute themselves, because they'll say I'll take the noise, if that means I get the feedback.


John Livesay 13:15

But there's a lot of distractions. That's for sure. There's photo bombing from the kids, there's doorbells, there's dogs barking at 250 People unmuted would really be distracting for me.


Francisco Mahfuz 13:28

Yeah, I think that it's it's doable to a certain degree with smaller groups, but with 250 people, and I understand that, that doesn't work. But just the idea of trying to do much humour, which something I tried to without any audible feedback is just I mean, you could be bonding any necessary. No, you're above me, right? Again, probably feels better than if you're actually bombing. And there's just that silence. So a lot of your career because you mentioned that you didn't work in health care. And I know a lot of your career was in the advertising space. And this is something I was curious about, because I've seen you give examples of how brands use storytelling or typical stories in their in their brands. But what they're not doing is I mean, they're not telling a story. They're using elements of a story. So that's something I just wanted to you to talk about a bit. The difference between the sort of short form storytelling that brands do, compared to when you actually tell a story.


John Livesay 14:29

Adweek, interviewed me recently, to give my feedback and opinion on which of the Superbowl commercials were using storytelling to the best advantage. And so I talked about the different genres of storytelling and you can start to identify, oh, that brand is using that genre. One of my favourite Superbowl commercials was Google, because they're making a story about a man who's older, he just recently lost his wife, and he's losing his memory and he uses the Google tools to Google, what was what was her favourite song? What was our favourite movie. And then ironically, they cut to a scene from Casa Blanca, where they're saying goodbye. And so we're, they're tugging at the heartstrings multiple ways, the feeling of watching that scene in the movie, and how it is, and then how Google is helping this man keep his emotional connection to his wife. So there's stories within the story. It's all within a Superbowl commercial of 30 seconds. So I thought that was some really great use of storytelling for a brand,


Francisco Mahfuz 15:29

when you because I thought I seen you refer to is, I think the examples you use were, one was definitely expedient, maybe using the example of the trip. And sometimes it's just a line and if you know, the reference, which is I think we're the Expedia one is the the typical story of going on a trip and coming back and then telling people about it. Yes. But, you know, they're tapping into that story archetype, which if we're not crazy, is this is from Christopher Booker's, famous book of the seven basic plots,


John Livesay 16:00

right? The Wizard of Oz is the classic example of that. But that mean,


Francisco Mahfuz 16:03

that is a very condensed, short form of storytelling, isn't it? I mean, a lot of the things that that I know most storytellers would want to have in a story to have it impact or not presence there, you just don't have the just not available to you. Have you found that that is just a completely different type of storytelling? How do they balance those things out?


John Livesay 16:25

Well, the goals of an advertising campaign are very different than the goals of a keynote speaker to an audience. So the goal of an advertising campaign is first to break through the clutter, which storytelling does. And secondly, to have an emotional connection to the brand to get people to remember, and that's why they run them so many times, is they have to keep that frequency going. So that you take some action.


Francisco Mahfuz 16:48

And one other question that that comes often whenever I tell people about, about storytelling and about what I'm doing. The question that always comes is, yeah, it's fine if you're on stage. But But if you're in a one on one situation, if you're in a pitch, if you're having a meeting with your boss, I got this one last week, if you're in a meeting with your boss, how do you introduce a story to that conversation without that coming across? Very weird. I don't imagine there's a better person in the world question.


John Livesay 17:16

So Well, I tell people, if you want to go from being seen as an annoying pest, whether it's to your boss or someone you're pitching to, like medical people have to call on doctors, and be seen as a welcome guest. So you see the contrast of growing past to welcome guests. Yes, storytelling will make you a welcome guest, as opposed to pushing out a bunch of information or asking for something. So the people who are storytellers, like, it's like going on a ride at an amusement park, like I'm going to be entertained, this is going to be fun. It taps into a different side of our brain, as opposed to let me analyse this to solve something else. Oh, you have a story to tell me. I'm in. And it doesn't have to be so direct, you just start telling the story. You know what, you're never gonna believe what just happened to me on the way to work. And suddenly we're in the situation. Yeah. And I had this idea. But I know that we're going to be struggling about this. Maybe this happens to you. We're in the shower. It's so funny how ideas come to us and unexpected places. Anyway, and then you get into what the solution is a very different kind of conversation than I've been thinking about this problem. And I've used my critical skills, and I've come up with a solution. And I'd like to give you a presentation on it.


Francisco Mahfuz 18:29

I mean, I'm sure there are people that actually sound like to just be there. But But I think for those that are perhaps used to slightly more fluid type of communication, yeah, difficult to believe that anyone thinks that that ever makes sense.


John Livesay 18:45

Well, it's so funny I work with a lot of people have, like you said, be authentic, be yourself. And when that camera goes on on a TEDx talk, or when I've done live TV, or someone is asked to shoot a video, or just get up in front of a room and present, people become robotic, they go, Well, my natural personality to have, and I have to be this formal person. And that's not at all what makes people connecting. So storytelling can really help people relax, and be authentic.


Francisco Mahfuz 19:15

It's funny, you just say that you just said that. Because a few days of two, three days ago, I was going to post something on on social media. And there's always this people that that police what other people do on social media, you know, this is appropriate, this is not appropriate, or whatever. And then I'm just like, I don't want to just complain because it's just boring. So how do I do this in a more entertaining fashion? So so I just I just wrote down that I, you know, I walked into the meeting room, and I shook his hand, and there was no expression on his face. And I sat down when I started getting a feeling this meeting wasn't gonna go well, when I really needed it to go well, and I looked around, is there anything personal here that I can use for a small talk, no book, trophy pictures of this family? It was nice. thing. And that's when I realised who I had just met the professional man. fader. And then I went on to talk about how this the professional man has no sense of humour, he never uses laying, he just, you know, he's always by the book. But in my experience, that person doesn't exist. This is a myth that a lot of people believe in that there is this business, people that are all about business. They don't crack jokes, they don't have a personal life, they have no sense of humour. But to me, this is a myth. But perhaps I've just been lucky in my life that I haven't


John Livesay 20:32

Well, compared to Darth Vader would really bring that to life for people because they would be we know, you know, I'm a father. You know, we It taps because Star Wars is all about the myth of using this genre. So if you paint a picture that somebody can instantly get a visual of I felt like I was presenting to Darth Vader that makes that story that much more dramatic. And what I loved about what you did there was I really needed this meeting to go well, you've painted a picture of that the stakes are high. And that's what people need to learn about really good storytelling is, there's got to be a little bit of drama. In that problem. The stakes have to be high for us to be interested in it to see what happens. If it's like, I don't care if I if this meeting goes well, or not, like who cares? Right. But I need this meeting to go well, and it's not now where, who tells me what happens next?


Francisco Mahfuz 21:21

Yeah, I mean, if you don't have steaks, I mean, you could sue me a story is just another very interesting one. If you don't care, what happens? Why would we


John Livesay 21:28

write, I have an example of helping somebody take some really informational things, and that they typically would say, in a case study or some boring presentation, they were saying, you know, our equipment is 30% Faster than another competitor. And I was saying to them, oh, there's no story there. And that's not there's no emotional connection to that. So what does that even mean? What's the typical surgery? Oh, two and a half hours. So 30% faster as well, oh, it's done in an hour and a half. So So okay, so here's how we turn that into a case story. Imagine how happy the doctor is that he can go out to the patient's family, who's in the waiting room, where every minute feels like an hour, an hour earlier than normal. And nothing, no, their loved one made it. They got chills from that, because that's not how they're telling. That's not how they're selling their product. But the minute you start painting that picture, and guess who's the hero in the story, it's not the client with the machine. It's the doctor who gets to go out to the patient's family. So that's what I love about storytelling as a sales tool.


Francisco Mahfuz 22:31

I've seen a lot of people try and twist what was usually the way stories were told in the sense that temptation for everyone telling it is to make themselves the hero or if it's a company, the company is the hero, the product is the hero, not a company, that the colour the customer is the hero, the company is the guide. So the company's Yoda organda for Mr. But not, but not in that case, again, the pain of the patients or the patient's family is the real, the real problem and see, that's what you're fixing is not while the surgeries have been shorter. Why so that the doctor can go play golf,


John Livesay 23:06

or do another surgery, make more money, that's all fine. But you know, then if you're talking to another doctor, then the doctor hopefully sees himself in that story and says, Oh, I want to go on that journey that that other doctor got to do. Yeah, yeah. Till I became a doctor.


Francisco Mahfuz 23:22

I, as I mentioned, I started reading your book recently. And the good thing about reading books written by storytellers is that they should be a very good read. And yours is, if they are not a good reader, you probably should stop after the first chapter. Yeah. And there's a story you mentioned there about Martin. I'm not sure pronounce the name. Yeah. So So Martin, who had survived two weeks by himself in the Amazon as a young man, and how you help them use that best don't forget, sorry. He used that as in his investor pitch. And the thing that struck me about that story, I mean, it can be a very powerful story. But if that was my story, every single person I know in the world will know that would know the story in would get would have gotten tired of hearing me tell my my talk about my two weeks naked in the Amazon. And he didn't mean you had to pry it out of him. Yes.


John Livesay 24:14

So let's work on it. Yes, because it's a rite of passage in his culture. And I kept saying, if you don't say that, it sounds like child abuse.


Francisco Mahfuz 24:21

I'm I mean, I'm Brazilian. And if you know that I am Brazilian. I've started figuring out to try to figure out which is discouraged.


John Livesay 24:29

Because that is


Francisco Mahfuz 24:31

what I was thinking about. That was why do you think it is so difficult for for most people, I think, to find their own stories, why do they not recognise that their life experiences and again, this is perhaps a bad example, because this is so obviously an amazing story.


John Livesay 24:48

Well, if you've lived it, it's not obvious to you. I think the analogy is it's very hard to see the outside of the label of a bottle if you're in the bottle. Okay? And that's why people need coaches and consult Since they're outside the bottle, and they can say, you just asked enough questions, you okay, there's a good story. And I actually gave Martin an exercise to help his confidence, where I had people write down two or three times when they knew they nailed something where they were certain that they were better. You know, you asked your wife out on a first date, you got a second date, right? You've got a job, whatever, you know, and in his case, one of his moments of certainty was this experience. But he had thought about it in years. So it's sort of we sometimes forget story. So helping people dig up the stories from their past, the story of origin is almost always interesting.


Francisco Mahfuz 25:37

Yes, it's in its, it's also fantastic how, when you start getting more practice into it, how everything starts looking more like a story I've committed, because I'm trying to keep my storytelling chops, as sharp as they can. And I've now committed to putting every single week Azorean on social media, so I'm filming something a minute or two. And then you start finding them, you know, you remember things and, and then I do the ultimate test, which is I tell it to my three year old daughter. And now my wife gets sort of baffled. She's like, What is this story? She's going on about the bad boss, like, oh, sorry, that was that. Sorry, when I completely lost my temper and shouting. So so every single week, she gets a new story, like them. And as long as it's a story, and I've put all the elements in there, yes, she likes them. And she doesn't want to, you know, read the normal books she just wants the story, to me is, I mean, it shouldn't be surprising anymore.


John Livesay 26:43

They love to hear the little red riding hood over and over again, right, the Big Bad Wolf, and you've just turned it into the big bad boss. Let's go over with what makes a good story with the four LSR. Because I think that'll help everybody listening. So let's go back to the Martin example. The actual story sounds like this. Martin, was born in South America, but he grew up in the Netherlands. And when he turned 18, his parents took him back to South America, and dropped him off in the Amazon jungle naked, to survive for two weeks. Because in his culture, that's a rite of passage into manhood. And I said, Wow, that's a good story. But what lessons did you learn in the Amazon jungle that goes well, as sure learned how to focus and pivot and persevere, it's a great, we're going to take those lessons from the Amazon jungle, into the concrete jungle of being an entrepreneur. And when he had that story practised, he got his startup funded, because the investor said, This guy will figure out any problems in business if he survived that. So the elements of that story, the exposition, who, what, where when, as I said earlier, if he doesn't say it's a rite of passage, it sounds like child abuse. So you got to paint that picture. The problem is very obvious. He's naked there for two weeks. The solution is not only does he survive, but he learned some life lessons. And the secret sauce to a really great story. Francesco is the resolution. What happened to him after surviving, that he was able to get a startup funded, and that's what most people's stories don't have. And that's why if you look at the Wizard of Oz, there's definitely a resolution in that movie, when she comes home. And you were there, and you were there. And there's no place like come all these life lessons that were learned.


Francisco Mahfuz 28:14

I think the Lord of the Rings is probably a very extreme example of that, because the whole thing finishes and you think, okay with them. And then there was another 100 pages, I think, in the book about, about Frodo going back home, and then all that stuff that goes on. I mean, to some people, that's a lot more interesting than before. But yeah, and I guess that, for anyone trying to use storytelling, in business, if you don't have the resolution, you might be taking the chance that whoever's listening to your story is going to get the wrong message out of it. Because if you haven't made it clear what what you've taken to your normal life, you just have this Amazon story, and they might just read something different into it, perhaps. Yes. Okay. So let me ask as big as this I haven't seen anywhere. I mean, again, haven't finished your book, but I've seen other things from you. And I've never really seen where you've learned that stuff. I know. You're in sales. But at no point. I've seen you say this, this is what taught me this is uh, this is when I learned


John Livesay 29:21

well, before I got a career, selling advertising to big brands like Lexus and guest jeans. I worked at an ad agency editing movies into commercials that were coming out on DVD, back in the day. And so I learned the elements of how to take a two hour movie and cut it down to a 32nd commercial. And how we can look at what had been done theatrically to get people to go see it the movie theatre, maybe it wasn't as it and the movie theatre and so if we re edited and told the story of that movie in a different way, people might want to go rent or buy it on DVD. So that's really where I started to learn Let's and then I just watched a lot of other successful sales people. And some of them were telling stories. And we're always welcome. So I just started watching what's going on? What's the difference between really successful people who people can't wait to see, and those who are bored and checkout?


Francisco Mahfuz 30:19

Fair enough. I think movies seem to be the place that a lot of people that are into storytelling learn their craft. I keep keep growing across people that worked in cinema, or, or just big movie fans. And that seems to be seems to be a recurring theme. And something else that I mean, it should have been obvious to anyone who's been paying attention to the words you've been using since we started. But I've I've noticed how you put a lot of stock into using more metaphor, obviously. But I think most people just think of catchy lines. Right? So you know the the I think we want to use visitors annoying guests to welcome guests. Guests Yes. To annoying past to welcome guests. Yes. I think was the other one. I've heard you use the target the heartstrings to open


John Livesay 31:06

the papers or strings? Yes. Okay.


Francisco Mahfuz 31:09

And the one I really like and this one, I will definitely be stealing, I'll try to remember to give credit that'll definitely be stealing is when I've seen you use at the TED Talk, which was that mastering your fear wasn't about getting rid of your butterflies, but getting them to fly in formation. I mean that I think that's beautiful. And, and that one, I pretty sure will stay with me for quite a while. And so my question to you was, do you ever thought of metaphor as a condensed version of storytelling,


John Livesay 31:40

sir? It's, it's a way for us to tap into real estate that's already in our brain. So when I tell people, I'm known as the pitch whisper, automatically, we go, Wait a minute. I know what a hoarse whisper is what the pitch whisper. So our brains always looking for something new to look into and compare it to something that already knows. That's why when you're describing, calling on somebody who was so cold, and I said, oh, like Darth Vader, so my brain is just trained to look for ways to help lock that in for people to understand in a different way.


Francisco Mahfuz 32:10

I'm not sure I should tell you this, but I will anyway, for my generation, I'm slightly younger than you. It's not the horse whisperer that we think of is the dog whisperer.


John Livesay 32:21

Via whatever it is. tastic Yes, I have a dog. So I studied his work. And I, well, much like a dog whisperer, horse whisperer. It works with people on their confidence level, by calming people down, you know, whether it's your dog barking, or the horse, you know, getting scared. So if people go, Oh, you help people be confident and calm down when you have to pitch by telling him to be a storyteller and relax. Okay, now I totally get what you do.


Francisco Mahfuz 32:50

It's an amazing tournament, it's no surprise you trademark that someone is bound to steal that. And the last thing I wanted to ask you is, again, we were talking about the catchy things, and another one, which you use. And it's actually the name of a programme I think you put out this year, which is the go from invisible to resistible. Now, was it just coincidence that you have this whole web based learning programme to come out at the time we're all stuck at home? Or did you ever been working on it? Or did you just pivot really fast?


John Livesay 33:22

No, I've been working on it for six, seven months. And it just happened to be finished right at the time when the quarantine started. And I tell you, it was a really wonderful thing. And this is another takeaway for people listening in, give yourself like a stock and invest your money in yourself, you know, your own work ethic, you believe in yourself, hopefully. And when you have a choice of, I'm going to invest in creating this online course, once I create it, then I'll figure out how to promote it. And I may or may not feel like this was a good decision. But I want to do it. And I know people want it. Then Ironically, when I was going up for that big speaking job I was talking about, it was between me and another speaker, I had the online course to offer in addition to as a part of the follow up to my talk and workshop. And they loved it. They said, Ooh, we also want to get additional 75 copies of your book and the online course for the new hires that we have budgeted after the sales meeting is over. So it really became a great, great way for me to get more speaking engagements. And now a lot of people are loving it because it's short little modules. And it lets you get in and out. And it's a nice little refresher, and there's some quizzes afterwards. And you know that our brain craves project progress. And so after you've completed the whole thing, you get a little certificate saying congratulations, your revenue Rockstar now, well, that's a great tool for Olympus medical to manage the 250 salespeople and say, you know, send us a copy of your certificate so we know he went through it, and that because they're committed to having storytelling be part of their sales. culture. So it's, it's really a fun way to reinforce it in a way that, you know, busy people can go, Oh, I got 10 minutes to watch this module. And then, you know, I can complete this in a short amount of time and I can go back and get a refresher. So it's just happened to be something that I because I don't think you should try to whip something together, because it will damage your brand. So, you know, I had to spend time creating it, just like the book, had somebody filmed me then put graphics on it, then there's clips of movies as I'm speaking. So that lifeguard story again, gets repurposed, once again, the TEDx the book, and now the online course. And so when I'm describing that, you actually hear the lifeguard whistle, you hear the sound of the water splashing. So it's a different way to bring that story to life.


Francisco Mahfuz 35:45

And I think timing wise, it's fantastic that you managed to bring it out now, because from from everyone that I've been speaking to, and James Taylor, who we mentioned earlier is one of them, it's very clear that we are probably not going to see the speaking world at least go back to anything resembling what we understand as normal for another year, 18 months, and even when it does go back, there is still likely to be a big appetite for virtual conferences for online products. So I think that you're right, I think I don't think anyone should throw something together just to ride the wave. But a year down the line, I think anyone who doesn't have that sort of thing in their arsenal, is really going to struggle, because, again, we don't know how long we're in this for. But but but I think a lot of the changes are likely to stay in place for a while. And And just one last question I wanted to ask you is, are you missing the stage already?


John Livesay 36:41

Oh, yes. I miss the energy. And I miss hugs. Most of all, you know, just listening to you describe about going to shake somebody's hand in your in your earlier story. And I thought, oh, you know, will that go away? Who knows? So I miss the hugs. And I miss the face to face contact? For sure. So we'll, we'll are going to get through this. It just makes us appreciate things in a whole new way, I think. But getting a haircut is suddenly now a luxury.


Francisco Mahfuz 37:10

Where can people find you?


John Livesay 37:12

Well, on Twitter, I'm at John underscore LiveSafe li V as in Victor E, sa y on Instagram, I'm the pitch whisperer. And you can also find me on LinkedIn in and if you go to my website, which is just my name, John livesey.com, you can get a free sneak peek of my book.


Francisco Mahfuz 37:33

And for everyone, I'm going to put all those links in the show notes. And I'm also going to put a link to to John's new sales storytelling programme. Better selling through storytelling. That's the name of the programme, right. And the website is go from invisible to irresistible, which is quite cool as well. John, you've had more than one celebrative career, you've been interviewed with Larry King. And when I asked you to come on the show, it took you about 30 seconds to say yes. That to me is a big testament to to the kind of person you are in a generosity. So I wanted to give you my sincere thanks. It's been absolutely amazing having one.


John Livesay 38:09

Thanks for inviting me and I know you're gonna be a great host and great speaker. I can't wait to see you on stage sometime and we'll share it together.


Francisco Mahfuz 38:17

Alright everyone, thanks for tuning in. Take care of yourselves and until next time



Recent Posts

See All

After 100 episodes, what storytelling lessons have I learned? Well, a few, so here are 23 for you, and they cover: why stories matter, what do you use stories for, where do you find them, how do you t