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  • Francisco Mahfuz

E56. From Nothing to Notable with Ryan Avery



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


Francisco Mahfuz 0:00

Hi everyone, Francisco here. Just a quick note about the sound in today's episode, it turns out that I was so excited to talk to Ryan, that I might have forgotten to turn my microphone on. So what you're getting is what the computer captured with its absolutely rubbish internal microphone. But who knows, you might even like my voice better this way. But it's a great conversation. I'm sure you're gonna get a lot from it. So enjoy 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, keynote speaker and storytelling coach Francisco mahfuz. My guest today is Ryan Avery. Ryan is one of the nicest people you could ever meet. But he's been making me feel guilty for a decade. In 2012. I joined Toastmasters. And after I deliver the handful of speeches, I've got raving feedback. I honestly thought I was a rising star in the public speaking world. And then Ryan in age 25 became the youngest World Champion of Public Speaking history, only eight months after he joined. Thanks for that Brian says today, Brian has delivered more than 500 keynotes in 33 countries around the globe, on his mission to show leaders how to go from A to Z in the industry. Ladies and gentlemen, Ryan Avery. Ryan, welcome to the show.


Ryan Avery 1:29

I did not know you joined in 2012. That's awesome. That's me. I can you believe that was nine years ago. That's insane to me.


Francisco Mahfuz 1:36

Yes, yes, I can I can believe and I remember, you are probably I think you know, you want to the world, the world champion in the year I joined. So I think it's I had in my mind. I know. I watched your speech again the other day. And I remember that speeches. I remember from that time. So So yeah, I felt that we were connected somehow. Something else that I I noticed is when I went to your website, my first impression was, wow, this guy the balls on this guy. Because your pocket your website says Ryan Avery is the keynote speaker. That's a bit bold, then, then I got why. Yeah, but but that has very that that is the direct connection between that and you sort of your origin story of how you became a speaker, isn't it?


Ryan Avery 2:32

Right? Yeah. So it's this whole concept of why would you want to be a when you can be V? No. Why would you want to be a dad, when you could be the dad? Why would you want to be a speaker when you can be the speaker. And when you say you're the that doesn't mean that you can't grow or that you're not that there's still room for you to improve. I mean, I'm I'm on this journey of wanting to be v, because that's, that's whenever I committed to that. That's when everything came my way. When I was saying I'm going to commit to working towards being Wii and what it is that I do.


Francisco Mahfuz 3:07

So your story is completely bonkers. Because many people take theirs or their themselves to do stuff. But from what I understand, you decide that I'm I'm not the best in the world at anything. And then you decided, Okay, I'm going to be the best in the world that public speaking. Brings it in. I know that. I heard you say that. While you were doing that. You were practising for something like two hours a day or two hours in the morning, two hours in the evening. And the first thing I wanted to know is what were you actually practising for that long. So because obviously there's the content part, but But what are you spending all that time practising? Yeah, it


Ryan Avery 3:51

was definitely more than four hours. So it would be like two hours in the morning. And it probably be anywhere between like two to five hours afterward, because I was working full time as well, when I was competing. Um, so it was studying, it was learning it was watching the past 25 years of winners first, second and third over again, dissecting what what differentiated first versus second and third, it was going to meetings it was figuring out for my coaches and my mentors, like I remember, I was at 753 words for my speech. And one of my mentors said you got to get it down to 750 I was like there's no way I can cut three words out of this. Like I cannot cut three words and he said well then we're not meeting until you get those words out. And it took me hours to figure out what three words to rearrange or do like three words hours, right? So it's um, that practising body language I'm very tone deaf and a lot of like Rijkaard. So it took me a while it takes me a long time to like, learn tone of like, how to go up and how to go down and with that being, you know, body language and vocal variety being part of one of the things that you're judged on, and I hadn't really spent extra time on that. So yeah, it was it was constant, constant training. I had never had a speech before. So professional speech. So, yeah,


Francisco Mahfuz 5:04

for anyone who doesn't know, which I doubt is the case given this podcast, but Toastmasters is the world's largest and oldest public speaking organisation. And speeches from Toastmasters are different than speeches from plenty of other places. And if anyone hasn't watched it, they're in for a rude awakening. Because I think you described that Toastmaster competition as you compare it to a gymnastics competition. Right? Explain that.


Ryan Avery 5:32

Yeah. Well, I mean, there's a very, like he said, there's a very big difference then my competitive speeches than my corporate speeches, right. And in fact, after I won the world championship, I didn't plan to be a speaker. This isn't what I was trying to do. I woke up the next day to 264 emails asking me to speak and I was like, okay, and then it actually hurt me. Because once I started getting in the corporate world, people saw my competitive speech. And they're like, oh, no, we do not want that type of speaker because it's very theatrical. And so the reason why it's it looks like gymnastics is well, you're judged. Yeah, 14 judges at that level, you're judged on a variety of different things, and you're scored. And so you're at a level where you're working around some 100, let's say 100 of the best speakers in the world, it gets down to little things. And so vocal variety, grammar, body language, messaging, all these things that you're, you're judged, quote, unquote, on. And these 14 judges, like in gymnastics, or looking at those things, so I played to the judging, I played to the scorecard per se.


Francisco Mahfuz 6:38

Yeah, I find it strange how, how those speeches are judged on derivates, exactly equal criteria noises, I looked at a judging sheet. But there is a lot of weight for stuff that I think in the real world, most people would agree is either not that important or not important at all. So that those masters put put a lot of focus on things like body language, and stage movement. And I think in most speaking, definitely incorporate speaking, you know, as you said before, none, none of that stuff is important, it actually is detrimental. So I wonder why it has become that with Toastmasters, instead of saying, giving the content a higher weight, I don't know if it's just because the content could be a very subjective analysis, whereas the other stuff can be more objective much.


Ryan Avery 7:30

It's almost, it's evolved over time. Like we can see this with TED talks, right? Like they're not moving around the stage, and they're not doing vocal variety. So what I believe and I can't speak for Toastmasters. But what I see in my personal opinion, is what they're trying to ultimately get at is body language is important. vocal variety is important. We don't want it to be distracting, like filler words are okay until it becomes distracting body language. Like, we don't want to be just pacing back and forth. Like we want to have a structure. We want to have poise. We want to have all these things when we speak. What it's done, though the competition is it's become so grandiose that it's like the next and the next to the next. And after you've had a competition for literally, almost 100 years, I think it's 100 years next year, then you're gonna have that next and next and next and next thing, right, it's like an ice skating ice skating competitions 45 years ago are very different now, like with the tricks and spins and things that they're doing, it's very different.


Francisco Mahfuz 8:29

It's competitive I, I will compare it last ice skating or to gymnastics and more to like, horse dressage having the horses do all these tricks that no horse would ever have any reason to do in real life. Okay, so one thing I wanted to ask you, because obviously, you mastered all of those things. So all of those things that for the competition, were important. But I would probably guess that the people that got all the way up there and made it to the final would have gotten pretty good at most of those things as well. Now, I have a feeling for this, but do you know, what was the tip to you over the edge into when


Ryan Avery 9:09

it was speaking from the heart? So my mentor, Randy Harvey, when he coached me and agreed to coach me, he said, I will coach you, as long as you never give a speech again, if you only give a message from your heart. And I was like, what does that mean? I can't promise something like I don't even know what that means. We you know, he touched me through it. He talked me through it. And when you look at the difference between first and second and third, you clearly know that they're giving a message that they believe in that they love that is part of who they are. And it took me a long haul because at that time, I was 25. And so I didn't feel like I had this message from the heart. I didn't feel like I had that. But speakers were not really there to teach. Were there to remind we're there to guide like nothing that I'm saying is new, what it really is over. Right, it's overlooked and so I'm here to remind people of something that is in my heart and I spoke from the heart. And that's what I did I, I really gave the message that I wanted to give no matter what happened with the judges.


Francisco Mahfuz 10:08

I would also add that you spoke from the heart and you did it in the form of stories within stories within stories. And I watched a tonne of Toastmaster speeches and I I'm still a member, I don't go anywhere near as often. And one of the things that I tend to lack now that I've gotten so much into the into the speaking and particularly the storytelling world, is stories, I find that most people still under use them. In yours, there is almost nothing. That is not a story. It's it's a story that leads into a story that listen to a story. There is almost no exposition outside of the stories. And I don't think that's actually the norm. There's a lot of people talking about things in in this those types of speeches. Whereas yours was present in a story and stories. I think it's three stories in total, but they're all sort of connected.


Ryan Avery 10:58

Well, let's think about all the things we've ever learned. Right? Whether you're religious or not religious, whether you're a political or not political, every everything we've ever learned has been through story. Every lesson, every value, everything has been a story from you have kids, right peter pan to the Disney Frozen, like, frozen, the movie is not like and here's the point of frozen, right? They they they share a story. You learn from that? Why would we want that to be any different when we're in the corporate world or when we're in the world of going out and inspiring and motivating? We don't. So there's this


Francisco Mahfuz 11:34

frozen frozen block is such a hodgepodge of stuff because they had to get to them. Fix it so many times that I'm not sure it has a point. You're


Ryan Avery 11:45

right, it's like love. And it's for me like frozen because I watch all the time. So my kids, to me that was such a great story of reminding, like love look very differently, because we hurt we thought the love was true love's kiss. But love was really the love of her sister. And so relooking and revisiting what love really is and that love is all around us. And love doesn't have to be a prince. It can be simply I love my sister. I love my siblings a great message to me.


Francisco Mahfuz 12:12

But let me ask you one more question on the whole Toastmaster thing. And then we move on to what I think are significantly more interesting things. You said that when you won the competition, and you woke up the next day to 269 emails, wanting you to speak or present somewhere? Now this is something I find confusing, because by your own admission, and I think anyone's when you look at one of those speeches, unless you're very much in the Toastmaster world, that's not a speech that you're going to want to take somewhere you don't watch that and go okay, I want you in my company doing something like that. It's almost the opposite. I definitely don't do that in my company. So what are these people just assuming that because you were that good at speaking, that you could do it straight? Or how did that work?


Ryan Avery 12:59

It was a mix of a lot of people. It was people who were Toastmasters, who were in the corporate world who wanted to bring in the world champion. It was people who wanted to know my journey, they had heard that I had won a world championship and eight months. And so they wanted to know like how I did that. It was a variety of different types of people. Most people had a connection to toastmasters in some way, though, right? They were in Toastmasters 10 years ago, or they are currently in Toastmasters. And then it freaked me out because I spent months doing something for seven minutes. They're like, Hey, can you give an hour keynote? And I was like, how am I gonna talk for an hour? Like it was? It was this wild concept to me. And I it was a lot of anxiety at the beginning.


Francisco Mahfuz 13:39

Because I I had, I had Brian Miller on the podcast last week. And he quoted that famous Mark Twain quote, which is, I didn't I'm sorry, I didn't have time to write a shorter letter. And there's one about a speech, which is, if you want me to speak for an hour, I'm ready now. But if you could speak for 10 minutes, I'm going to need a week.


Ryan Avery 14:03

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, today, I gave a 15 minute keynote this morning before this podcast, and it took me hours to get ready for that took me hours.


Francisco Mahfuz 14:14

See, this is this is something I'm just finding out. And I'm finding one of those miraculous things about stories and storytelling that that I didn't know before. Because I I used to be I used to compete all the time on Toastmasters. And I think I got us back there, unfortunately. But I think you'll appreciate this one. The reason because I didn't you know, like, like many people to compete, I was keen to go as far as I could go. The reason I couldn't go was because of my daughter. And what happened was I was into the it was the humerus one. So I won the club, I won the area, and then I competed a division and I won division, and I think was a pretty strong speech and I had prepared the hell out of it. And I had been practising for a few weeks. And then for my wife was pregnant with our first kid. And she was due in early December. And the competition was in, in early November. And then two days before I had to fly out to the competition, my wife started getting contractions. And that was it. I spoke to the doctor and I said, Okay, so. So can this wait until Sunday? I'll be fine. There's just like, I'm not sure if we're gonna go past Friday. Friday is the same as I can do the same knees and then come back on set, because I've made might not win.


Ryan Avery 15:39

Can we postpone birth?


Francisco Mahfuz 15:43

I mean, that would be commitment to the so no. So what I was gonna say is I used to compete, I was compete a lot. And there was this one particular competition, where I have been practising a speech for quite a while and I tweaked the text and rewrote it, I change words and rehearse it and all that stuff, right? People do. And then I think a night or two nights before the competition, I got an email from the organisers and it said, for this competition speeches can be no longer than five minutes. And I thought, I'm screwed. Because there was no way I can take two, two and a half minutes out of the speech, and I was going to quit and the critical position, but then I thought, this is data that I have that story about my wife and the picnic in Tuscany when she lost her keys. I could just tell that, and I thought of an introduction, and I thought of a very good moral of the story to close, rehearse it four or five times did it the next day, never had so much fun on stage on the competition in ever since I realised that, like if you do a lot of stories, the stories are sort of just plug and play on non keynotes as I've got, I've got one coming up in a week. And it's going to be 25 minutes. And I took me five minutes to put it together. And I rehearsed it twice in. It's 90%. There, right? Because it's stories that I've told before. And I can just tell them again.


Ryan Avery 17:07

So yeah, I call it the Lego theory for me. So it's like having 100 I have like 150 Legos, a client comes to me and says, you know, we we want 10 Legos. And so I put 10. Legos together, I know how to piece it together and then present. Sure.


Francisco Mahfuz 17:20

Yeah, right. So okay, so So I want to get into the stuff that you that you do. And one of the things I wanted to cover as well is, I don't know if you've been think of it that way. But you have a very clear origin story, or a signature story, which is how you got into the whole speaking thing. And you use it all the time. How much of that was actually deliberate? And how much was just, you know, this is what happened? And you're just telling that so you can get some context to people who the hell you are.


Ryan Avery 17:53

When I when you say I'm using it all the time. Do you mean like, when people ask me, what were


Francisco Mahfuz 17:58

the well, I've seen you use it, I've seen you use it on podcasts, it's on your website. I don't think I've ever seen anything from you where the story of how you not only the story that you want the competition, because that's that's just the fact of it. But the reason of why you're getting into the competition in the first place. That that and that being the clear justification, the clear link between the A to Z idea.


Ryan Avery 18:25

Yeah, well, it's this, it's this really, it's concept. It's the belief that I believe everybody has something they want to accomplish, everybody. And so I work to share that story to remind people that if there is something you want to do, you have to take action on it. And you can really go from you know, nothing to notable, but you have to take the action in order to do it. And that's really the concept of a TV. It's not a wish, it's not a one, it's not even willing, you have to be working to do it. And that is why I share that story is I worked to do that. It didn't magically happen. I didn't you know, I didn't will it to happen. I worked for it to happen. And that's a really I know a lot of people who want to write a book. I know a lot of people who are willing to write a book. I know very few people who are working on their book,


Francisco Mahfuz 19:19

having written a book are well aware of why a lot of people want to write although if I'm completely honest, I actually found the process to be fairly pleasant. Once I had gotten past the the first pages and thinking Why do I write so badly and then kind of figuring out okay, I actually know how to do this and stop trying to pretend that I'm sound I sound like someone else. I didn't mind. But I know a lot of people that have been sitting on that project for years and years and years. Okay, so, so your, a lot of the work you do is based on this idea of become you know, stop Being a leader and becoming the leader, and or what I've seen it described is that that's founded on. It's based on three major pillars. And I believe those two be confidence, connection and clarity. Right. Right. Okay. Right. So, obviously, what I want to talk about mostly is where stories connect, and storytelling connects with those things. So I have seen you talk about specific, strategic storytelling, strategic storytelling strategies, that doesn't make any sense. There's specific strategic storytelling techniques that people use for that. So you can just talk a little about about that point.


Ryan Avery 20:39

Talk about being so so


Francisco Mahfuz 20:41

so when you when you're trying to teach people strategic storytelling? Yes, what types of things you're you having them do or try to stop them or go from A to


Ryan Avery 20:53

Z? Yeah, so I'm a very strategy person, I can see the strategy and then know how to act on it. And so when I look at the best storytellers, when I dissect the best storytellers, what I found is one of the best strategies to implement is what I call the three F's of storytelling. And the three F's of storytelling are around fears, family failures, fears, family or failure. So one of the strategies I recommend is sharing stories around fear of failure failures, because no matter who you are, whether you're white, black, gay, or straight, Christian, or Muslim from Europe, or from the US, every single person has these three things in common. And so when we share stories around fears, family or failures, what we do is we instantly build relatability. But here's the thing that differentiates a speaker versus these speaker, a speaker knows to share these stories, the speaker knows how to add the value attached to it. And so what I recommend is never as a leader, we should be sharing stories that do not add value, all of our stories should add value with it, what is value value is something they can use. It doesn't mean they will use it. What it means now, though, is when you add value, you remain valuable to them.


Francisco Mahfuz 22:04

Okay, so let's get a little more specific on that, because I know where you're coming from. But I'm not sure everybody listening will understand that distinction. So when a story, not necessarily the symbol of a story, but if a story has value, what if we tell you the story within within a company? How would you define a story that has value in one that doesn't? Because I don't think that distinction will be obvious to everybody.


Ryan Avery 22:30

So I always ask myself, Why am I telling this story? Okay, so do I want them to know something? Do I want them to feel something? Or do I want them to do something, I call it a KFD. So I want them to do something, I want them to feel something, I want them to do something. And then the value is attached to that KFD. And so something that might not add value is a story that like it's a something that happened to you, and you're like, Isn't that funny? Or like, Don't you get it like something where it ends? And you're like, cool story. It's like, you know what it's like, there's people who like to show you their photo albums. And they just like, they're like, come look at these. Look at this great vacation. I went on and you're like, cool, what this is point, this is so ridiculous. But then it's like when grandpa or grandma shows you the photo album. And they're like, oh, this photo here. I remember when x y&z and they give you something within the photo, they tell you something, they teach you something that remind you of something. And it's this concept of like sitting down with your grandparents looking through old photos, because there's there's learning, there's lessons attached to it. It's not just some experience that you had.


Francisco Mahfuz 23:38

Yeah, as you were describing my father in law in the beginning there. I think it's it, that distinction is very clear. And one is you are just telling people, something that happened with you. Not necessarily a problem, not a challenge. Not a lesson, not a mistake. Just something that happened. We went to that restaurant, it was nice. The food those days, the photos that we just, you know, can be interesting to know, anyway, particularly for their friends or family, although not usually that interesting. Yeah, buddy, but if there is a learning, or less than a 10, or a learning or some mistake, or some challenge attached to that, then it's teaching us something about how to leave, which essentially what


Ryan Avery 24:20

we're feeling, right. That's why it's a KFD. It's sometimes I want people to know things. Sometimes I want people to feel things, and some people sometimes I want people to do things. And so understanding what's the point of my story, what's the value that's added to it is an important aspect of what I do.


Francisco Mahfuz 24:38

I actually I have a friend, John Zimmer, who is also pretty big on on Toastmaster world and he I think he calls them it is slightly different to ours. He has the four F's, so it says its fears, frustrations, failures, and fiascos. He uses a less polite word for fiascos. Okay, cool. Yeah. Those those are those are those are the rules that are amazing. I had Mark Brown on the show. And and Mark, he has the what he calls. First, last worst and best. Oh, good, good, good, good. Yeah. There's lots of them, then. And sometimes the other one he talks about as well, which is something that is so obvious, and people completely forget about it, which is pick up your phone and look at your pictures. If your pictures don't jog your memory about something interesting that happened in your life, then you're taking the wrong pictures, or you might be leaving.


Ryan Avery 25:35

Yeah, one of the things that I do is I make sure that I develop one story a month. So at the beginning of the month, I always pick a story that I'll work to develop. And then that way, at the end of the year, I have 12 great stories. But also what this does is this keeps me refreshing. I never want to be that speaker who someone's heard me before. And then they come back and they're like, Oh, I already heard him speak. Right. So what this does is every year I have new content. Every year, I have something fresh. And every year, it's something new that people go oh, yeah, I like that. Because I want that refreshing feel to be attached to me and my brand and who I am I don't I never want people to think heard it before. All right.


Francisco Mahfuz 26:15

So what is the process for that? So are you collecting ideas for stories as they happen? And then taking from those? And how do you pick the story? How does that work?


Ryan Avery 26:25

So I have this thing that I call my story bank, I keep it on my phone, it's like you can use any note, I use Evernote, but you can use really any note taking app. And so anytime I remember a fear family or failure story, I add the line into my phone. And then anytime I like experience, if your failure failure story I added into my phone and then every month, there's no process and other than like scrolling through and being like this one, I'm gonna develop this one. There are some times though that I develop value first, I'll come up with like a scream strategy or come up with a really great piece of value. And I'll want to attach that value to a story. So then I go, Okay, what's the story that aligns with this value? And then I work to develop it there. As long as you pick one story a month. You're golden, right? You're good? Because you're going to develop it anyway. Am I good at the beginning of the month now developing it right? But at the end of the month, I practice it in front of my kids and my wife and my friends. And I put it in front of a few of my keynotes a week a couple weeks later, and then all of a sudden, now I've got it down.


Francisco Mahfuz 27:28

How long are those stories that you use on the keynotes usually go for? They can


Ryan Avery 27:33

really vary. I can I can, you know, shrink them and expand them. I have stories that are 60 seconds. And I have stories that are 15 minutes. And I can make any one of those expandable, depending on how I'm looking to make the I think KFC?


Francisco Mahfuz 27:52

Yeah, I think you described the to two of the most basic approaches to developing stories that I don't think people necessarily without training can do either of those things terribly well, because the one the first one is you have the story, just figured out what it means. And then you know crafted. So it's just cut all the fat and just left what's really important there. And I think that one, I know a lot of people that are very good with that approach. The other approach, whereas you know, you have this specific lesson or this specific piece of value, or a specific feeling you're trying to convey finding a story that matches that. I think for most people, that is a lot harder, because the way I think of it is our brain doesn't have those files, right? You don't have a file in your brain that says stories about confused communication. Right? You're looking for it there was like, When was I confused last time? I think it's, I have spoken to I mean, I was I do this, I put this out every week and I speak to tell people to do their work in stories. And most of them do exactly the same thing you do and I do which is you write down the ideas on your phone as they come up in then you go back to them. Trying to find the story to match the lesson is, can be done but it's a lot harder.


Ryan Avery 29:15

Well, I you bring up a really good word basic. And people forget the basics. People like are wanting to learn, let it go on the piano before they learn JAWS or you know, like they're, they're wanting to do all these fancy things before the basics. And really, I don't do anything fancy. I do really basic things. I don't use big vocabulary. I'm not an intellectual person like that. Like I I share simple stories that have impactful meaning that are translated into tangible strategies that people can use period. And there's no like people are like, what's the trick? First I'm like, I'm not a magician. Okay, so I don't do trick.


Francisco Mahfuz 29:55

Second off, that was my that was my last guest which is good. Well Right, right. Yeah. Brian Miller is he doesn't do that to his girls. But he's, you know,


Ryan Avery 30:06

yeah. So for me like, if anybody's listening to it, there's not a trick. There's not a it's not complicated. It's simple. And what happens is because it's so simple, and basic people overlook it searching for something else versus actually doing the work actually taking time to look at the stories, to put them in your phone, to pick one story a month to develop it. Within a year, you've got 12 stories, then if you're really wanting to speak and go out and make an impact in the world, now you've got it.


Francisco Mahfuz 30:36

In one approach, I found that this for me has worked very well is is social media. So if you are someone, if you're one of us last, last idealised individuals that are still on social media. I know you're no longer in social media. But it works very well for that. Whereas you you you come up with an idea for a story, you develop it a bit, and I put it out, I like usually two minute stories or three minute stories of most, and then you get some very direct feedback, you know, the delivery, what are they interested in it, they engage with it, they have comments about it? I mean, they're not necessarily gonna tell you why I think that sort of would have worked better this way or that way. But at least you get a feeling for did it resonate or not? And then I, for me, I find that if I'm ever liking ideas, immediately, I can just go back to Everything I've posted in the last year. And there'll be you know, they're easily be like, 40 stories in there. He's,


Ryan Avery 31:32

like you said, like, looking at your photos. If you have children, you have endless amounts of stories. Okay, endless stories. I constantly having stories with it, because people think it also needs to be like this grandiose, so I hiked Mount Everest, and no people want to relate to their people that they're listening to. And so it's really those basic simple stories that add value that remind people of something that they should know, feel or do.


Francisco Mahfuz 32:01

Yeah, my talking about children's stories. My daughter told me the other morning, she said, Daddy, you are funnier than a snake. And we had just gone to an animal farm and they had some exotic animals. And apparently, this is what she told me later, she said that the snake going up the handlers arm was hilarious, but I am funnier than I was made. No, I've no idea how I'm ever going to use that story. Definitely find a way to use that story. Okay, so one of the things I've seen you describe, when you when you talked about the different ways you tackle, I can't remember if this one was connection or clarity or confidence. But you talked about relief, versus retell when it comes to story. So how do you how do you make what is the difference? What is relieving and not retelling a story?


Ryan Avery 32:53

Yeah. So when you retell a story, it's your story. And nobody cares about your story. Maybe your mom does. But other than that, nobody cares about it. So retelling it means you're in the past tense. It's something that happened. When you relive it, it means it's in present tense. And it's something that is happening, which means it's happening for you as well. So now, it's an engagement strategy that allows you to be engaged with the story, because it's no longer my story. It's our story. So you don't want to use the word was and you don't want to use past tense. I bring all my stories into present tense.


Francisco Mahfuz 33:29

I actually saw, I've seen that, that that take from from a whole bunch of storytellers. I've tried that myself. And I never felt that natural with it. But I know plenty of people that every single story, it's always present tense.


Ryan Avery 33:44

Well, don't use natural with uncomfortable, right? Because natural, it's not natural for us to do that. Because we never been taught how to do that. So naturally, we're going to speak in, in past tense, because that's how all stories have been told to us, it's most likely been uncomfortable, because you're not used to it. It's different. And so that uncomfort level, what it does is it prevents people from actually taking action because it makes them uncomfortable. It's not really about a natural thing.


Francisco Mahfuz 34:15

fairpoint and, okay, so so telling it on the present tense, is that the only difference between relieving and retelling?


Ryan Avery 34:23

Exactly, yeah, I really love it. I bring it to present tense, I don't use the word was. And I show the three.


Francisco Mahfuz 34:31

Something else I've seen you talk about when it comes to to do some of the techniques you teach people or to do I think you said something like, motivation and not attention is what we're trying to get is would you consider that that or any of the other techniques that you teach? Also have to do with mystery. I know you teach a whole bunch of stuff that has nothing to do with with storytelling, but I'm just looking for the ones that have so is the motivation for Does that cut the stories come into that or not? Not usually?


Ryan Avery 35:03

Well, in order to be a motivational speaker, you should know what the definition of motivation is. Right? And this is a belief that I have because people call themselves motivational speakers, they go out to motivate people like to do what to be motivated, you're like for why are what type of motor li DMS


Francisco Mahfuz 35:23

are motive, the motive for action?


Ryan Avery 35:25

Yeah, and so that's ultimately it, right? Like when we look at the word and we break it down, I like to study Latin in the sense of prefixes and suffixes. Latin word motif stems from the Latin word motif, which means to move, Asian is the suffix and Latin, which means to take action. So by definition, it means moving people to action. It does not mean getting people to pay attention. People don't pay me to speak. People are not paying me to talk, they pay for my strategies, they pay for the value that I come to bring, it took me years to understand that. And so if I can give them things, simple, tangible things that are impactful that they then can act on. That's how I'm motivating. Because now I can go and do something that they can use and take action on versus sitting for an hour and paying attention to me. I don't want to be that speaker. I don't want to ever be the speaker who people go well. Wow. And they give me a standing ovation. And they Oh, I was good for an hour. I wanted a speaker who you might clap for me afterwards. But your life has changed. Your life is different. Your life is like, wow, I could really use that strategy. Cool. That's awesome.


Francisco Mahfuz 36:30

Yeah, I've talked to I've talked to to a whole bunch of people that have said similar things. I think the President comes to mind stems and Webster. And she said something like that the best way to the best feedback you should get as a speaker is not there. And then the best feedback should be three months down the line, or six months down the line, which is what have you done differently? Because of my speech? And wild results have forgotten? Because if the answer is nothing, then you know, something is probably not as it should have been. If the answer to the whole organisation is we've not changed the thing we'd love, not change the thing.


Ryan Avery 37:12

It's like this concept of good speakers get people to listen. Really good speakers get people to take action, the best speakers get people to take others to get action as well.


Francisco Mahfuz 37:22

Okay, cool. And one thing that one thing I've seen you talk about, and I thought the numbers were really interesting, and I expect I'll be quoting them from now on, is that you had at least a couple of numbers of senior quote in your presentation as the the actual what is one of them was a financial number, the actual cost of bad communication? Yeah, if I'm not mistaken, he was chiselled 26,000 euros dollars per year per employee from the homes report, right? Yeah,


Ryan Avery 37:53

yeah. So the home support found that the average employee in America can't do the global because homes were presented that cost an average of $26,000 per employee, you times that let's say you have 100 employees, that's literally millions of dollars lost out on miscommunication. But here's the thing, we surveyed 1200 full time employees to ask them questions around communication. 85% of full time employees in America said that they would be significantly better at their job, if they had better ways to communicate. However, 75% of those people had never had communication training offered at their company. So what's the biggest problem we have in in business miscommunication, but what trainings do we do sales, leadership, marketing, because Oh, everyone already knows how to talk. Everyone already knows how to communicate, but are what we're seeing with the data, what we're hearing from the people is they want and they need communication strategies to make them better at what they do.


Francisco Mahfuz 39:04

Yeah, this is, this is the battle that you have. And I have an everyone that deals with soft skills. And for someone who's not watching this video, you know, inverted quotations here is I find baffling how you still need to convince people of this stuff. So one of the things I I tell people in my speeches is I say, Listen, there is a reason why millions of people binge on Netflix every night. Like you can sit and watch Game of Thrones or money heist or Breaking Bad for four or five hours on end, no problem. But most people can't make half an hour through a business meeting without doodling or checking their phone or having their mind wander. It is not because business is boring. Business is not boring. There's all the excitement of life in business. is sometimes a little more betrayal than we find in other parts of our life. But no one looks at a PowerPoint presentation for fun. You never call the friend and said, Listen, this business report just came out, I can't stop reading it, you have to check this out. It is not the content is how its communicated. And, you know, it


Ryan Avery 40:21

really comes down to, in my opinion, what the leaders that I've worked with a ego, and then be false feedback. So the leader will go and give a presentation. And the people that he or she pays come up to them and say, hey, great job, good, great. Of course, they're gonna tell you good job. If you pay them, of course, they're not gonna say bad job to you. So it's, it's like false feedback. And so it's this, it's this continual feed of the ego of like, people will call me and they're like, they'll say, like, Oh, I love to speak. I want to be a speaker. And I'm like, nobody cares that you love to speak. It's are you good at it? And do you add value? That's ultimately what people hire me for? What other good speakers get hired for is because they add value, and they know how to do it,


Francisco Mahfuz 41:08

right? Yes, I agree with those points, I would even throw in an extra one, which is, I think that are two extra ones. One is that people get into business. And I don't know if we're trying to convince ourselves that we are grownups. So we talk in a way that no person has ever spoken before. You never sit with a friend for a drink or coffee and talk about synergies and alignment of priorities and things of that nature. But we for some reason, think this is this is how grownups should speak in the other one is that a lot of our communication is, is just appealing to the rational brain is just information. It's not, it's not pulling on the emotional strings. And anyone who has anyone who has the latest iPhone, or leaves in the city and bought a pickup truck, or has had four or five children knows that emotions is why decisions are rational calculation of innovation. Right? Right. Good. Yeah. Yeah. So anyway, I think it's is the frustration of anyone working in communication, but at the same time, it's good. But it's good that this problem still exists, because it gives us something to talk about and try to improve. It'll help people improve with. Now, just one, one final thing I wanted to ask you, I know you seem to be in a mood for a bit of a rant. So I'm going to give you a reason for another one. I have I heard that your least favourite sentence here, or whatever the circumstance is to step outside your comfort zone.


Ryan Avery 42:45

Yeah, so I can't stand this thing, right? Because we've been taught this for so long. It's like stepping outside your comfort zone. First off, why hate this is because if you step out, that means you can step back in. So it's a pointless, right. It's not a strategy. It's not at all strategy. Okay. The second thing is, I have never accomplished anything being uncomfortable. Okay, so here's the saying, Here's what it should be, here's what we should really think about is it should not be step outside of your comfort zone, it should be expand your comfort zone, I want to be more comfortable with more things, I want to know and interact with all different types of people in all different types of cultures in all different types of situations. So when that comes again, I am comfortable to act on it. Because ultimately what I found to be true, is when people say they have a confidence issue, they really have a comfort issue. If they're not comfortable, you can't be confident and people buy into this concept of feeling like they need to feel confident. No, they need to feel comfortable. Because when you're comfortable, you're going to present more naturally, you're going to go out and speak from the heart more, you're going to be able to add more value. So it really isn't about confidence. It's about being comfortable with who you are, and what you can bring and letting know that you're not going to everyone's not gonna like you, you know, like all these things being think focusing on how can you expand your comfort zone today? What can you do today to go and talk to someone who's different religion in you different sexual orientation and you different skin colour than you different different than you go and have those conversations and understand where they're coming from figure out what it is that they're about and get more comfortable with that.


Francisco Mahfuz 44:33

Okay, I think that's a particularly now that is very relevant and very important feedback. And I think if we, if we all took the time to do that a little bit more, and as as we doing, we actually paid attention to to other people's stories. It will become a lot easier to to understand where they're coming from and perhaps we wouldn't be in the mess that we are in


Ryan Avery 45:01

There's one thing I would like to say about that. Listen, to understand, not listen to agree. I'm not asking you to agree with someone who has different politics than you. I'm asking to agree with someone who has a different religion you, I'm asking you to understand where that person is coming from. So you get why they're even thinking that in the first place, if we can't understand that, well, then we can't have conversations. We can't change. They can't change. We can't grow together. You're not trying to agree. You're trying to understand that's the point of what we're wanting to do.


Francisco Mahfuz 45:36

I agree. So Ryan, I says, I said in the beginning, you made me feel guilty in the beginning of my public speaking journey. You've recently made me feel guilty because you've taken that beautiful step of stepping out of social media haven't stepped out because you're quite against that back in when you ran screaming from social media, which I think anyone who has it should understand exactly why it needs no explanation. So if people want to look at more of your stuff, I understand that the only place to look for it is the website, Ryan avery.com. Yeah, Ryan avery.com. I,


Ryan Avery 46:25

I have all of my videos up there for you. Every Tuesday with Bellevue University. I do Tuesday, takeaways live at 12pm. Eastern Standard Time. So if you want weekly motivation for 15 minutes, every Tuesday, thanks to Bellevue University, you can sign up on my website on there. So right Avery comm is where you can touch.


Francisco Mahfuz 46:46

Cool. Listen, this has been a pleasure. I've been following you for a while. And I know you do some amazing work that we haven't even come close to touching here with the world records and all of the charity stuff that you do. So once again, thank you for your time today, man and keep up the good work. Thank you keep being near what you do. Alright, everyone, thanks for tuning in. Take care of yourselves. And until next time.


I hope you enjoy the show. And if you did, I'd love for you to subscribe and leave us a review or a rating on the Apple podcasts app. It's very easy. You open the app and find this show and scroll down a little and when you see the stars tab. I'd really appreciate it and it does help other people find this. And if you'd like to get in touch or find out more about what I do, reach out to me on LinkedIn or visit my website story powers.com



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