E4. Becoming a Professional Speaker is Easier than You Think with Grant Baldwin
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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, the people who tell them and why you should be doing it too. I'm your host, Francisco mahfuz. My guest today is Grant Baldwin. Grant is the author of the successful speaker and founder of the speaker lab.com, a training company for public speakers is also the creator and host of the speaker lab podcast and has coached 1000s of speakers. I've had his voice in my ears for a long time now. So I'm really looking forward to this one. If you like the show, please leave us an iTunes review and subscribe. It really helps me justify to my daughter why I'm spending so much time locked in her room and talking funny. Ladies and gentlemen, Grant Baldwin. Grant, welcome to the show. Thanks, Francisco.
Grant Baldwin 1:47
Appreciate you. Let me be here. Very, very kind and generous introduction.
Francisco Mahfuz 1:51
I must say, though, that I am upset with your grant. I'm upset with you and your friend Brad. Okay. Because I've read your book. Not that long ago. But for some reason. That line when you say, you know who is this guy? You haven't been to your wedding? You haven't been my roommate in college. Unless you Brad. Hi, Brad. For some reason, that is one of the lies that stuck in my head and it just keeps popping out. But random times.
Grant Baldwin 2:22
That's funny. That's it. Yeah, Brad. Brad was a good buddy all through through high school. We were college roommates for a little while. still keep in touch to this day. And yeah, so we gave him a little random shout out in the book there again.
Francisco Mahfuz 2:35
It's that line. And something about getting a puppy. Those guys are adorable. I mean, I think it will fade after a while. But every time I hear puppies, I think those guys are adorable. That's funny. But it's not that I mean, one other line from the book that that is very good. And a bit more to the point of what we're talking about is that speakers should be a steakhouse, and not a buffet. Yeah. So can you just can you just talk about that for a sec?
Grant Baldwin 3:02
Yeah, it's one of the most important parts of the speaking process is getting clear on who you speak to? And what's the problem that you solve? So for a lot of people who are interested in speaking, we just enjoy speaking, it's been a lot of fun. And so we just want to do it. We really enjoy it. And so who do we speak to? I don't always speak to anybody. We speak to everybody. Right? And and what do we speak about? I don't know, what do you want me to speak about, I can speak about anything I speak about, you know, a leadership or motivation, or faith or family or marriage or customer service, or sales or marketing. It's just like, on and on and on and on. And that just is a horribly ineffective way to run a business and especially to be a speaker. And so what we say is you want to be the steak house and not the buffet. What we mean by that is Francisco's view and we're looking for a good steak, we have a choice, like we could go to a buffet or steak is one of 100 different things that they offer. And they're all mediocre. Or you could go to a steak house where they do one thing, but they do that one thing really, really well. So they don't do lasagna, they don't do tacos, they don't do pasta, they don't do cupcakes, they do steak. And that's it. And so by doing one thing, by focusing on one thing, they're able to attract the right type of customers, but also repel the wrong type of customers. And so a steak house isn't trying to appeal to everyone. So we do this. And so if you're looking for tacos, that there's a great place down the road. If you're looking for pasta, you should go over there. But if you're looking for steak, then we're the best. We're that is what we do. And so it's difficult for speakers to do that. Because again, we tend to gravitate toward more of a buffet mentality of but I want to speak on a whole bunch of things. I want to speak to a whole bunch of different types of people. And so again, it's counterintuitive, but the more narrow, the more clear the more focused you are, the easier it is to actually find and book speaking gigs.
Francisco Mahfuz 4:33
I think there's also a certain you could call it overconfidence, you could call it arrogance of this idea that we are good at speaking about anything our great speakers give me any topic I can I can sound I can be sensible about it, I can give great advice and wisdom. And it is true that we can sound like we know what we're talking about with most topics. But But I think a lot of speakers and I'm not taking myself out of that we tend to perhaps think that we could easily deliver, you know, our long keynote on whatever you asked us to speak about, which might be a slightly over egging it our our ability to deliver good content.
Grant Baldwin 5:15
Yeah, no, that's exactly right, is just because you, you know something about all those topics, just because you are interested in all those topics, just because you maybe you're even passionate about all those topics, doesn't mean you should try to position yourself as such. So one of the most difficult things for a speaker, just any entrepreneur in general is to stay in your lane and to stay focus. So I'll give an example I remember. So the company that we run is called the speaker lab, and we teach speakers how to find a book speaking gigs. And so with the new book, and with some of the experience I have with books and publishing, I had had someone who a student who reached out and said, Hey, you, you run the speaker lab, you should also create the author lab, a lot of people who are interested in speaking are also interested in writing books. And on one hand, you're like, Yeah, okay, that makes sense. But on the other hand, like every other thing that you try to do, just waters down the core thing that you're good at. So I don't know, we do this. And we're really, really good at that. So another way to think about this would be, let's imagine, God forbid that you had to have brain surgery, right? And you have, you have a choice, like you could go to like your local family, medical doctor, and they are a doctor, they went to medical school, they've probably done some surgeries before, they probably know more about the brain than you or I do. They're very knowledgeable person, but they've never done brain surgery. Or you can go to a brain surgeon, well, that's all they do day in and day out. If you have a broken arm, you're probably not going to them, if you got a bad cough, you're probably not going to them. But if you need, you got a big brain issue, and you need them to take a look at it, that's probably who you want to look at it, right? Versus if they're, versus if you go to your family doctor. And they're like, Well, I've never done brain surgery, but I'm a doctor, I don't know, I'll give it a shot, I can figure it out. Like, you don't want that person cutting you open. You don't want that person working on your brain, you want the person who know I'm good at one thing. And so if there's 99 Other things I'm not good at or I'm mediocre, that's fine. I can tell you all the other people. So when people come to me and say, hey, you know, grant you you know something about publishing or you know, something about webinars, you know, something about courses, or you know, something about online marketing, or funnels or email marketing or any of that stuff like, Yeah, but there's plenty of other people I'm happy to point to and say, Hey, if you want help with speaking, I want to be your go to resource versus trying to be all things for all people like that, that just doesn't work.
Francisco Mahfuz 7:20
When you talk about my family doctor, I immediately immediately thought about Dr. Jose. And I thought there are not many things of trust Dr. Brain surgery, definitely not to be one of them. One of the things that I have heard you talk about in the podcast, and in its process that I've gone through, and I have a lot of friends trying to go through and massively struggling with is this, you know, figuring out what their lane is, or finding their niche is a lot of people talk about, you know, to me, I was I've been public speaking for for many years. So it was always going to be something either public speaking by itself, or something that makes up the speaking. And I ended up settling on storytelling. But for a lot of people that I'm talking to this, they got leadership in their head, for example, which is kind of a vague, broad subject. And they are struggling to figure out what's their thing? I mean, what do you tend to? How do you tend to help people figure that out? Yeah, so
Grant Baldwin 8:20
there's two sides of the equation, there's who you speak to. And then on the other side of the equation is what is the problem that you solve? And so most people are clear on one or the other. And the opposite one is very, very vague to them, right. So I know, I want to speak to, you know, real estate agents, but I have no idea what I could speak to them about right now I want to speak to, you know, college students, but no idea what to speak about. Or I know, I want to speak about, you know, Facebook advertising, but I have no idea who I should target. You know, I know one side of the equation, but not the other. And one of the best ways to kind of get started with that is to really start with what you know, and what your experience has been. So I'll give you an example, just from my own story. So my background was I actually, in high school, I was really involved in my local church, and my youth pastor had a big impact on my life. And so I wanted to do that. I was like, I want to be a youth pastor that he made a big impact for me, I want to do that for other students. And so that was kind of the path I was on. So I worked at a local church as a youth pastor gave me a lot of opportunities to speak. And I was speaking as one of the things I really enjoyed. And so because I had worked, I spent a lot of time working with students, then it was a natural transition to say, Okay, if I want to speak, then who do I speak to? Well, who do I know? What's the world that I'm familiar with and that I come from, but speaking to students, and so that's really how I got my start was speaking to high school students, because there's a world I already knew versus if I said, Okay, I want to go speak to you know, corporate CEOs, but like, I've never been a corporate CEO. I don't know anything about what that world is like. It's going to be difficult. I think the challenge that a lot of people have with it is they feel like when you're when you're making a decision about who you speak to, and what's the problem that you solve, we feel it's a very important decision, but we feel like we're making a permanent decision which is not the case and So what I mean by that is that people feel like, okay, if this is who I decide that I'm going to speak to, and this is what I'm going to speak about, this is the problem that I'm going to solve. That is the only audience I can ever speak to forever and ever and ever. That's the only topic I can ever talk about forever and ever and ever. And so we put almost too much pressure on ourselves to get it right. And it's important to get it right. But also recognise again, you're not you're not making a permanent decision, you're not getting a tattoo, if you decide to change, if you decide to pivot, that's fine, that there's nothing wrong with that, in fact, a lot of speakers over the course of their career would say, Okay, I'm going to be speaking on this, because that's what I know, and I'm passionate about and familiar with. And then over time, maybe I'll pivot to something else. And, again, just kind of looking at my own career. And my trajectory. I, you know, did a lot with high school students for a long time, and then had a lot of opportunities, speaking to college students speaking to teachers and parents, and then had opportunities to speak to in corporations and associations. And then today, the speaking that we do is largely for entrepreneurs and those who are interested in speaking and so even my own speaking career over the last, you know, 12 years or so, is not like a bot, you know, you made a decision on day one. And that's what you're stuck with forever and ever and ever, like you, you can pivot and evolve, but you need to pick something and be moving towards something versus like, well, you know, if I'm going to pivot evolve over time, why don't I just try to do everything like that just that doesn't work, you're not going to get any traction during that way. So it is important that you ultimately decide like, Okay, this is who I'm going to help. This is what I'm going to speak about. And then over time, if I need to pivot, or just, that's fine, but I need to pick a starting point.
Francisco Mahfuz 11:30
And what are your thoughts on qualifications and things of that nature? And let me just give you a tiny bit of context here. So most of the public speaking I had done before, was things like Toastmasters. Right? So I, I took part in competitions, and I won some stuff. And you know, once I started trying to move professionally, I thought, Okay, well, I was a National Champion of Public Speaking. So you know, maybe I should put that somewhere. But I have a lot of friends who got into their heads that that sort of thing is very important that if they don't win something at national level, or European level or whatever, then they don't have anything to show for when they try to present themselves as a speaker. But listening to you know, listening and reading your story, and a whole bunch of other speakers I've heard on your show, and others, that doesn't seem to be the case that most people don't have awards or some specific qualification that lets them speak about things.
Grant Baldwin 12:23
Yeah, no, that's exactly right. And so there's kind of the there's a couple sides of that, that equation there one is going to be, you know, are you qualified just to be a speaker? And the reality is, is like you said, most people I know haven't won any award, you know, they are they're just either good speakers, or they've worked at it. And you know, the reality is, is like the way you become a better speakers you speak it's no different than anything else, why you become a better podcaster is that your podcast, so you become a better writer is that you write the way you become better at playing a sport as you play that sport, right. And so the same thing is true with speaking, you don't necessarily have to say, you don't have to have some type of certification or one sub award in order to be okay, this person's, uh, you know, qualified to be a speaker now, like, I don't think that that's the case at all. And the other side equation, though, would be, what is the nature of the topic that you speak about? Or what's the problem that you solve? And are you qualified to talk about that? Because that is, that is certainly something to consider. But I also think that there's kind of this this myth of the expert mentality that in order to be a speaker on a topic, if you said, Okay, I want to speak about, you know, I want to speak about Facebook ads, or Facebook marketing or something. But I'm not the expert. I know plenty of people who know more about it than I do. But realise, like, you don't have to be the world's greatest expert on that in order for others to perceive you as an expert. So I'll give you an analogy. You know, like, whenever I know nothing about cars, I'm completely closed with cars. So when I take my car to the local mechanic to have the oil change I have worked on or something, whoever's working on my car, to me, that person is the expert. Why? Because they know more about cars than I do. Now. Does that mean that they're the world's greatest expert on cars? No, I know that they know that. But I'm not looking for the world's greatest expert on cars. I'm looking for the one person who knows more about cars than I do. And so to me, that person is the expert, I view them as the expert. And so really, expertise is kind of an eye in the eye of the beholder. And so if you're going well, there's plenty of people who know more about that thing than I do. But if if it's something that you're knowledgeable on, and something that you have some experience with, and something that the audience views you as the expert, then that's, that's, that's what expertise is. And so it's, it's less about you, you getting like hung up on other people knowing more about it than there's always gonna be people that know more about it than than you do and that's okay. But that doesn't take away from your own expertise or knowledge that you can share with an audience.
Francisco Mahfuz 14:42
It's interesting that we don't take we don't take that mentality to anything else we do in life. I mean, most of us who, who a lot of people who are wanting to be a speaker have a different career. There's other things that they're doing now, and I don't think any of them think of themselves as the greatest lawyer or The greatest accountant, but when it comes to speaking, perhaps because it's going to be in front of an audience or, or something along those lines, because perhaps your payment per per gig tends to be higher than then what you would get sometimes in amongst doing doing mastering other jobs. But But it's interesting that we, we don't feel that way about any other any other activity we do in life. Yep. Another thing which I get a lot from my friends, because I know a lot of people from the competitive public speaking world and other professional public speaking world is this concern about how amazing they need to be a speakers to actually speak professionally. And there are some professional speakers that are absolutely fantastic. I mean, I think you've had Scott Stratton on the show the other day, and he is amazing. And I've seen plenty of guys be mind blowing on stage. But I've also seen a lot of people that I saw on stage and said, Okay, that's good content. But you know, why you dancing backwards and forwards and why your hands doing that, and why you oming and I left, right and centre, when we are so used to picking apart those things when we're judging performance and competitive public speaking. But I get the feeling again, that this is significantly more in the eyes of the person creating obstacles for good for doing it, then whoever is going to pay you to do it or the audience. I'll give you
Grant Baldwin 16:17
my two cents on like a Toastmasters in general, it sounds like that. of a world that you may be familiar with. And so the I think, I think one of things I mentioned before is that the way you get better to speakers, you speak and you have at bats and you have reps. And so Toastmasters gives you a lot of those reps, you get a chance to stand in front of an audience and present and speak. The thing I don't like about Toastmasters is I think it it can cause speakers to be very, very robotic and formulaic. And I like that I like that everything is done with intention and purpose. But I think it's really easy to overdo it to the point that feels like sometimes you see like some of the the world's greatest Toastmaster train speakers. And it feels like it's just a robot up there. So I one thing I always remind our speakers is listen, you are a human talking to a collection of other humans. So act like a human Now does that. Does that mean that you just need to? Well, I just kind of like willy nilly, no, no, like, you need to be polished, you need to be prepared, you need to be ready, you need to rehearse, you need to take it you need to treat it like a professional. But I think it's easy to sometimes get so deep in your own head where, okay, I'm supposed to say this line, and then I take five steps this way. And then I raise my hand like this, and I did that. And it's just like, is that how you are in real life? Because that seems annoying. And it just, it's, it's almost like, again, because someone's so deep in their own head regurgitating a script. It's like you're not even here right now. Right? Like part of being a speaker is just being engaged and fully present with the audience and what is happening. Now, the other thing I would say is that it's kind of like movies or music, and that there are going to be types of speakers or a style of speaking, that's really gonna resonate with some people, and it's gonna be a complete turnoff to other people. Like, why is it that some people be like, Oh, such and such is the greatest movie ever? And other people like I didn't even like it. You know, it's like, how is it that we watched the same movie and had two totally different impression? So how is it the same thing is true of speakers like, you know, you some people will see a speaker and be like, That was that was the wow, that was the best speaker I've ever seen. And other people are like, yeah, they're all right, you know. So sometimes sometimes just gonna be a little bit of, you know, different strokes for different folks type of type of thing. But I think what's important first for speakers listening to understand is that it's important for you to be you up on stage and to be authentically you and not try to be someone else. I saw, you know, Tony Robbins do this on stage. And, and people liked it, and therefore I have to do it, or I saw someone deliver this joke, and they got to laugh. So therefore I have to tell that joke, like, don't do that. If it works for someone else doesn't mean it's going to work for you. It doesn't mean it should work for you. And so you need to be authentic, you need to be genuine, the audience can can sense that. And so it's really, really important to lean into that versus trying to be something that you're not onstage,
Francisco Mahfuz 19:04
one of the things about Toastmasters that having been part of it for almost a decade. Now. You notice a lot as soon as you step out of it is there is a lot of focus. There's too much focus on delivery, and not so much on content. And there's also this thing, which I think it's a slightly more American thing, but it's in Toastmasters everywhere because most is very American. It's the theatricality of it. Yeah. You know, I have to try to describe to people when I'm trying to fix that to say, you're talking to your friends at a bar, you're not on Broadway. Yeah. When I woke up in that morning, something happened. Yeah. Hamlet, put down the skull, right. You don't need to do that. But yeah, again, as you said is that that's and I think for a lot of people that that I've worked with trying to get them as better as a speaker they say, What should I do so for the very first thing you should do join Toastmasters because that will be a chance to speak 234 times a month. Yes. And our supportive audience that will like to try whatever content you want to try. But where are you going to do that? If you don't have a club or something like that, there's just way harder. So ignore the nonsense and the bits that are never going to translate, but get the practice in. Totally.
Grant Baldwin 20:20
Yep. I totally agree with that. Like I said that when people ask me about Toastmasters, I tell them like there are 1000s of Toastmaster chapters all over the world. So go find one. Because the other thing is like, each one's going to be slightly different. And some, you could go to a couple different ones. And one might be like, Man, this is this is perfect. And other be like, yeah, it's just not what I'm looking for, which is fine. Like, try a couple of them and figure out which one resonates with you. And like you said, Francisco, it's like, it's good to just get the practice and get at bass and reps. And because that's it's hard to find, you know, those those opportunities as a speaker, sometimes
Francisco Mahfuz 20:53
something you said in the book that I find almost mysterious is is this idea about working with what you have. I think this is only talk about the things that everybody needs to know that everybody has a website in the video. But then I've had people on the podcast, and I've spoken to other people and listen to yours. And the stories about new speakers almost always involve a horribly crap video, that is not even about them talking about the thing they'll talk about, or I spoke to someone. I know James Taylor, very well, guy I mentioned to you when we spoke for originally, in he didn't have a video, he had the PDF with a picture of him on stage and saying, This is what I talk about. And what surprises me about that is, yeah, find that that works for us, it makes sense that you will work with what you have. What surprises me is that companies will sometimes hire speakers and not pay them little money, in some cases, on the basis of that type of promotional material. I would understand if they just said okay, sure, we'll hire you. But we'll pay you the lowest fee, we'll pay any speaker. But that doesn't seem to be the case sometimes. So do you have any idea why that happens?
Grant Baldwin 22:06
So as far as like, why, why? Either clients wouldn't wouldn't consider paying a speaker or why they would offer
Francisco Mahfuz 22:14
why? Why would a with an event planner, look at a speaker's materials, you know, look at the website and look at the video and they will clearly be able to tell Okay, well, this video, is this guy shooting this thing on, you know, the backyard or whatever. But they will still hire speakers on that basis. Do they? Do they just have a much less superficial eye to what works and what doesn't, then perhaps we do when we're trying to evaluate the first stuff is good enough to put it out there?
Grant Baldwin 22:42
Yeah. So when it comes to the demo video, in general, what we always say is, is to work with what you've got do with excellence and improve as you go. And so whenever it comes to, especially the demo video, think of the demo video, kind of like a movie trailer, before anybody would go see a movie, we typically want to see a trailer and a trailer that you know, they take a movie that's 90 minutes or two hours, and they they boil it down to two or three minutes. And within those two or three minutes, you have an idea of who's in it, what's the plot was the theme. And the point of the movie trailer. And the point of a demo video is to make people want to see more. So you got to remember that that event planners are in the risk mitigation business. So anytime that they they hire a speaker and they put that speaker up on stage, they are taking a risk. Everything that that person says on you hand someone a microphone, and you put them in front of your audience, anything and everything that that person says, reflects back on the event planner. So if they are amazing onstage, then the event planner looks like the hero, if they they say something inappropriate, or they're rude, or they're just a bad speaker, or they just do a poor job, then that also reflects negatively back on the event planner. And so event planners because they want to remove that risk, oftentimes, they want to see some type of demo video and so we think that the demo video has to be you know that this you know, Hollywood movie level production. And if you have that great but most speakers don't have that. It's real easy to to compare what you have as far as your website and your video to what other speakers have. And remember that every speaker starts from zero everybody, every every speaker, any speaker, you look up to you admire your respect. All of them started with a with their best attempt at a video, all of them start with their best attempt at a website. And again, they work with what they had and they improved as they went. And so I think about like my very first demo video was footage of me. I spoke at a local church youth group spoke to a friend of mine, who's the youth pastor there, I spoke for probably 30 minutes to a group of about 30 people or so I borrowed a little handycam, put on the side of the room. It was dark, the lighting was bad. The audio was bad. The acoustics were bad. It was just it wasn't great. But it worked. Right. I did it with excellence. And it was enough that an event planner could look at and say like okay, obviously not the best quality footage, but I can tell that this guy is a good speaker and would do a good job for our event. And so each time I would speak then I would get more footage and better footage and improved footage and could make a better demo video and then a better demo video. So fast forward to today, and we're on probably our sixth or seventh iteration of a demo video. And now we have really, really good footage. But it's, that's because we've been doing it for a long time. And we've also had some really crappy footage that we've used over the time. And so what I would recommend for speakers is not like, Well, I'm just gonna, you know, kind of hold up my phone and selfie mode and be like, Hey, I'm Grant, I'm a speaker, you should hire me like, don't don't do that, that doesn't work, like people are hiring you to speak. And so that's what they want to see, they want to see an example of you actually speaking. But you want to make sure that if you if you, you know, let's say you don't have some type of footage, it kind of presents like this chicken egg situation, I, I need footage in order to get gigs and gigs in order to get footage, what I do, then one things you could do is you could speak to an empty room. Now, if you're going to do this, do this in some type of setting where someone's going to actually hire you like nobody's hiring you to speak in your backyard or your kitchen or your living room. So don't record a video, they're like go to a theatre, an auditorium, a banquet hall ballroom, like some type of setting where someone would actually hire you to speak and film something there. And that type of setting where someone's watching that and they're trying to envision like, yeah, I could see hiring this person, I can see how this person would do. Cook would do a good job for our event. So that can absolutely work for first speaker. I've also heard from speakers who said, they, they never had a demo video for the first, you know, year or so, I so I think hypothetically you could do that wouldn't be my first vote because again, you're you. Because event planners are in that risk mitigation business, a lot of them want to see something that just gives them some comfort and confidence that if I hire this speaker that they're going to do do a good job, if I hire them that they're going to, they're not going to embarrass me, right. And so that's that's why that that video and the website are so important.
Francisco Mahfuz 26:49
I think that now we are you know, a lot of the world is locked down. The slide you said about they're not hiring you to speak in your bedroom or your backyard might be slightly different nowadays, if this thing goes on for much longer, then you are speaking from your bedroom is the neutral wall of your bedroom.
Grant Baldwin 27:09
And so let me give an example to that. Because like at the time of this recording, we are kind of, we're still in this, this weird COVID world and who knows how long we're going to be here. So we've seen a lot of speakers who are because live events, for the most part aren't happening, because of the just requirements of everyone kind of keeping their distance from one another, then we're seeing a lot of speakers who are transitioning to virtual speaking and virtual opportunities, right. And we're seeing that there's a lot of opportunity with, there's a lot of upside with virtual speaking. And so if you're going to do that, then I think, again, a demo video and a website that reflects that is also still really important. Because just because you're a speaker doesn't necessarily mean that people don't know that you're a virtual speaker. And just because you know, someone can watch a video of you standing on stage, delivering a great look, delivering a great talk doesn't necessarily mean that you can deliver a great talk, you know, sitting at your home talking to a camera and an empty room. So it's different context. So showing examples of this is what it's like to work with me. And this is how I interact with your audience. And this is how I can deliver in a virtual setting is important, especially if you want to be booking virtual gigs.
Francisco Mahfuz 28:12
This is actually the exact approach I've taken with with with mine, because I had I had good footage, but I didn't have good footage of me talking about storytelling. So I'm putting one together now, and I have some really crap footage. But then I tried to build that into I said, you know, stories work, even if you're talking in a dark church, and this is me talking with like a mosaic window behind me or they work if you're locked at home, talk into a screen. Yeah, that's good. But yeah, no, I fully see that. And I think that, again, with like a lot of things with people that are trying to get started. Perhaps we judge all of these things that we're trying to do we judge some things too harshly. And we don't judge others harshly enough. So I know people that think that, oh, I don't need a website. I'm on LinkedIn, like, you know, right? Just get a website, just just get a presence there.
Grant Baldwin 29:04
Yeah, then it doesn't. It doesn't have to be any type of fancy site. Like it can just be like a one page website that gives some information about you. But especially in this day and age, like if you don't have a website, it's hard for people to take you seriously. And like you said, if if someone says, Well, I got a LinkedIn page, or I got a Facebook page, or I got a YouTube channel, like, that's fine, but people at the end of the day want to see they want a website. So it's important to have one.
Francisco Mahfuz 29:26
There's something I remember from the book, you describe the situation where I think the situation was that you deliver the speech and you felt it went well when everybody enjoyed it, and it was laughing. But then the school principal came up to you to say that I don't think you had you hadn't done the things you had agreed to do or you hadn't covered something. And I think you had this conversation. Or I heard Scott have this conversation either with you or with someone might have been with Jay Baer and he said something that had me thinking what he was talking about that he was doing one of his rants and then He said, I was giving the audience what they needed or what they wanted. But I didn't give them what the client wanted me to give them. Yeah. And, and I had a question to you about, what's your What are your thoughts on balancing? You know, servicing the client? Who is not your audience? Is the person who hires you, with your integrity, or your integrity with the message? Is that ever a problem where you have to think, Okay, well, I, this message needs this thing. But I can't say this thing, because the client will get annoyed with me if I say it. Yeah. So
Grant Baldwin 30:33
you, I always want to, I think every speaker is gonna be a little bit different. I know, some speakers who kind of have the mentality and approach of like, I'm going to get up there, I'm going to have the mic, I'm gonna say whatever I want, and the audience and the event planner can just deal with it, I tend to not be like that I'm much more, I'm a safe choice for event planners, because I want to, you know, they've hired me, and I'm there in service of them and the audience. And so I want to do what they have asked me to do. And a lot of this has already been, it's not like, I'm just, you know, they're like, Hey, come speak on anything. And everything. Like all this has been discussed ahead of time. So even in the process of being hired in the first place, tell me about the event. Tell me about the audience. What do you look at? What are the challenges that they're running into? What would you be looking for a speaker to talk about? So I know going into it, you know, something about the event. Now, there have been times I remember one time, this was several years ago, I was I was at a conference and I was sitting on the front row with the event planner. And I'm getting ready to go up and speak in a few minutes. And I'm just kind of watching the session unfold. And so I kind of leaned over to the event planner said, Hey, initially, we had talked about me speaking on this topic, X topic. But the more I'm here, the more I think that y topic, this other topic, there's other talks that I have, I think could be a better fit. Are you cool? If I do that presentation in that talk instead? And they're like, Yeah, sure, that'd be awesome. You know, and they like they really appreciated it. And me just clearing it by them versus me hopping up and giving a presentation that they're like, wait a minute, this doesn't sound familiar to what I was hoping they're going to be speaking about. Right. So just being on the on the same page, it's kind of like, a couple years ago, the the house that we live in, we we built and so you know, if we were we worked with a, I guess somewhat of an interior designer on on parts of it and thinking through, you know, paint colours, for example. And if we said, Okay, we want this paint colour in this room, and then the painter comes in and painted a totally different colour. And it's just like, hey, I put paint on there, you want me to put paint on there, I know you wanted this colour, I personally thought this other colour would look better. So I just want to add one with that. Like, as the homeowner like, we'd be ticked, we're like, no, no, no, no. Like, what we paid for is for you to do this, right. And so it's, it's important that again, as a for like, in this situation, like with a painter, for example, they may be able to or an interior designer, they may be able to communicate up front, hey, I would I think this colour looks better. But if you want to do that colour, that's totally fine. And I'm happy to do that. Right. That's the same type of approach that a speaker should have of, hey, I think I think potentially that, you know, this could be a better topic based on what you're describing. But I also think like most of the time, and most the experience, I've had hundreds of interactions with clients, the most the time they they are looking to you the speaker as kind of the expert, alright, based on based on on what you know about our events based on what you know about our audience. And based on what you know about our situation, what we're looking for, what do you recommend, right? It's kind of like going to a restaurant and sitting down a restaurant you've never been before? And the waiter asking, What do you want? And you're just like, what do you recommend? What's good because you like, you know, all the menu items, like I just walked in the door, but you've tasted these things? And you know, what would be potentially, like, if you say, Hey, do you want to, you know, a burger or salad? Or do you want something that's more sweet? or something's more salty? Or you, you know, How hungry are you that okay, well, based on all that, here's what I'd recommend. A lot of times people are going to go with that, because they know the menu, they know what the items are. And so the same thing is true for a speaker, it's pretty rare for an event planner to be like, Hey, we really want you to do this topic, even though it has nothing to do with with what we think it does. So you absolutely want to make sure that you understand that as the speaker, you are there for the client, you're there for the audience. And I typically, I don't recommend or take the approach of kind of a Cavalier approach of like, I just get up on stage and do whatever I want to like that's, that's not what you're there for. You're there to serve the client and the audience
Francisco Mahfuz 34:23
and talking about audiences because you've, you've spoken to, as you mentioned earlier, a broad range of different audiences. And I'm familiar with most of those. But what I've never done was speak to college students or high school students, since I was one. What are those audiences like?
Grant Baldwin 34:42
They're great audiences. They're tough audiences, but they're, they're great audiences. And one of the things I really like about them as they are, they're, they're, they're very genuine. They're very potentially difficult audiences. So when you're speaking to let's say, like a business audience most of the time They're gonna be relatively polite, you know, they'll give you a little courtesy laugh if something's really not that funny, and they'll kind of mostly stay engaged. But for if you're speaking to, you know, a bunch of 1516 1718 year olds, who are maybe have shorter attention spans who if it's not funny, they're not going to laugh. And it's not that they're a mean audience or a bad audience. But it just means like, You got to be on your game, you got to be sharp. And so it forces you as a speaker, I think, to become a better speaker. And so I, I've always kind of felt like, man, if you can, if you can do a good job speaking to, you know, a high school or college audience, you can do a good job speaking to most audiences, because it just really forces you to be a good speaker. So yeah, they're, they're fun audiences, for sure. But they can be challenging.
Francisco Mahfuz 35:43
Yeah, I can imagine I, I try to remember my days in in high school. And the one thing we didn't have was tolerance for anything we perceive to be to be nonsense, or just not entertaining. I mean, if we could do if we could boo, the school principal and get away with it, we would have right many times over. So I can only imagine that if you got 300 Kids, school kids in the same room and you're trying to be funny, you will know exactly if you're being funny or not.
Grant Baldwin 36:12
Yep, you do, which is good. You get that immediate, like real feedback that, you know, you can tell if you're if you're doing a good job or not.
Francisco Mahfuz 36:19
Fair enough. And the last question I have for you is, are you missing the stage already,
Grant Baldwin 36:24
you know, I had been a full time speaker for several years, I was doing 6070 gigs a year and my business model certainly shifted and changed now where I do a couple gigs here and there, but not nearly as much as I used to so so right now, it's not dramatically different for me and that I wasn't, I wasn't doing a tonne of I do a lot more virtual speaking now. And so in essence, it's still kind of scratches the itch and but I love you know, I love helping I love helping speakers. I love working with speakers and at all different stages of their own career in their business. And so what we have to do now is really fulfilling and rewarding.
Francisco Mahfuz 36:57
If people want to find more about you and what you're doing, where should they go? Yeah,
Grant Baldwin 37:01
everything we do is over at the speaker lab.com The speaker lab comm we got a podcast by the same name this week, a lot podcast, we have nearly 300 episodes there. So definitely worth worth checking out. Also, the new book that you mentioned, touched on the successful speaker, five steps for booking gigs, getting paid and building your platform. So if you want to dig deeper on anything we've covered and talked about today, definitely definitely, definitely check out your your copy of the successful speaker.
Francisco Mahfuz 37:26
Grant. Thank you very much, mate. It's been a it's been a pleasure. And well, let's hope you don't mind too much. Not being on stage anytime soon. But let's hope at least we can go outside the hugger friends at some at some point in the near future. Very true. Very
Grant Baldwin 37:42
true. Thanks for the time, Francisco. I really enjoyed it was fun. All right,
Francisco Mahfuz 37:45
everybody. Thanks for tuning in. Take care of yourselves and until next time