Today's episode is Ask Me a Great Speaking Question and episode 512 was Ask Me a Speaking Business Question. You have to have both if you really want to make money as a pro speaker because if you don't have the business part, you'll probably not make much money. You won't know what to do with contracts and agreements and deposits and stuff like that.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 513
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See Tom's Stuff – https://linktr.ee/antionandassociates[00:23] Tom's introduction to Ask Me a Great Speaking Question [05:44] Audiences expect entertainment value [11:03] Semi-circular seating or theater style [14:15] Getting your audience more involved in your presentation [17:28] Using a handheld microphone [20:48] Sponsor message [21:36] Improving your PowerPoint
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Episode 513 - Ask Me A Great Speaking Question
[00:00:09] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.
[00:00:24] Hey everybody, it's Tom here with episode five hundred and thirteen of Screw the Commute podcast. Today's episode is Ask Me a great speaking question, and episode five hundred and twelve this past Wednesday was asked me a question about the speaking business. So you have to have both if you really want to make money as a pro speaker because if you don't have the business part, you'll probably not make much money. You won't know what to do with contracts and agreements and and deposits and stuff like that. And then if you suck on stage, if you don't know what we're going to talk about today, which is being great on stage, then you won't want it. You won't get referral business and people will say, Oh, they sucked and you know, you don't want that either. And when I talk about being great on stage, I think I mentioned this Wednesday. This is, you know, people come to me like, Oh yeah, yeah, I'm already good on stage. I want to. I just want the business part time. And then I look at their video and I say, you're you're great on stage compared to what I think I said Wednesday, a lame donkey. I mean, you know, this is not this is not professional level stuff you're show me here.
[00:01:46] A lot of people just don't get it. They get a few laughs or a few claps on stage and they don't understand that. Well, it was a certain kind of audience that already loved them. And you know, that's not going to be the case when you go out on the road and get paid a lot of money to wow a crowd and you don't know the people and they don't care about you and they don't even want to be there sometimes, you know, so professional level is way different than, you know, Toastmaster rejects going out there and say, Oh yeah, I know how to speak. Yeah, OK, let's see how much money you can make. That's the bottom line, folks, is what they pay you and be happy about paying you large amounts of money because of what you did. And most amateur speakers can't say that. They can't say that every time they're going to hit a grand slam, people are going to rave, you know, begged them to sign their books and buy stuff at the back of the room and all that stuff. That's what a pro does. And so these are, you know, this is going to be a smattering today of that. And I have complete training on this. I make the claim and nobody has tried to refute me on this is that I've trained more professional speakers than anybody living. I've been asked to speak over a hundred times in, I think, seven or eight countries to professional speakers to train them.
[00:03:07] So I've been around a little bit so I can really help you with this and these these tips are from hard knocks, all right, with about three thousand presentations and 12 countries. So so you can be sure that they work and they're based on my Wake Them Up system that I developed in the early nineties as I was coming out of entertainment. And had to learn, you know, the difference between just straight entertainment and being a professional speaker to professional crowds around the world, so that's where we're coming from here. All right. So grab a copy of my automation e-book. It'll make your business run way faster. You'll save yourself enormous amounts of work and you'll reach more people faster, which means you'll make more money. So grab a copy of that at screwthecommute.com/automatefree. While you're at it, pick up a copy of my podcast app at screwthecommute.com/app you can put us on your cell phone and tablet. Take us with you on the road. We have video training to show you how to use it. You know, a lot of people give you an app and then you've got to try to figure it out yourself. Well, know we have screen captures and videos to show you how to take advantage of all the cool features of our app.
[00:04:24] All right, we really want your help on this pilot program we're doing in my school to help persons with disabilities, get scholarships and get trained in digital and internet marketing so that they can be hired and or start their own business. And you know, one of the reasons I got this idea is because the suicide rate is outrageous. The unemployment rate is outrageous, the depression rate is outrageous in the disabled community, and I thought my stuff is perfect for that. You can not only legitimately learn from home, you can legitimately work from home. And I've been preaching that for, you know, twenty three, twenty four years. And now, since the pandemic, everybody kind of got the idea, Oh, you can work from home. I didn't know that. Yeah, yeah, you can. So please help me out on that. It's at my school website. IMTCVA.org/disabilities and then click on the Go Fund Me campaign and you'll see videos of the people in the program that just doing amazing things. Two of them are blind, and then my plan is to roll it out really big after I get these people hired and in their own business by going to getting grants and foundations and corporations to help finance loads of people to get in the program. So give me your give me a hand on this as something you can really be proud of.
[00:05:46] All right, let's get to the main event. This is ask me a great speaking question. In other words, on stage stuff, not the business of speaking, but they're tied together. Like I said, the the better you are on stage, the more money you're going to make, the more referrals you'll get. So learning these techniques and this is just a smattering today of the over a thousand techniques that I have in my wake them up speaking system. But anyway, here we go. So Tom, I've seen you speak several times. You're hysterical, but you still had people flocking to buy your serious stuff. How did you do that? All right. Well, first of all, you have to realize that the audiences today expect an entertainment value. I mean, we just saw Joe Biden sleeping at a presentation in Scotland. All right. And I know international travel is tough, but I mean, he would not have been speaking. He would not have been sleeping had I been there, right? Because I'm not a boring scientist. All right. So you got to understand you must include an entertainment value, but the entertainment value should support the points that you're trying to make. This is all part of the wake up system where we have, I think I identified 11 different engagement techniques with the audience, one of which is humor. So that's what I'm going to talk about today and give you an idea on how you develop this.
[00:07:17] One of the exercises I give to my speaking students is that I get him to look at a current news site for funny, non offensive humor and force them to see how their their material can tie into that current funny event because everybody knows about it. If it's national news and the ones that don't, you can make a brief explainer in the middle of all this. And also, another thing I should tell you is it doesn't have to be a national event, it could be a local only to the group you're talking to see. Sometimes you don't even have to come up with the humor. I'll give you example, one time I was speaking to three or four hundred state employees and I had reviewed their newsletter and someone had written an article about the lack of pay raises. And in the article, this lady said, Now I know why the governor is building all those state prisons when the state employees start having to commit armed robbery to make ends meet. He'll have a place to put us, and this lady was in the crowd and I all I did was read this and the place went crazy, laughing. So I did my job, which was to help them reduce stress. And I made one of them, the stars, which is one of the engagement techniques, will talk about involvement. Somebody asks a question a little later.
[00:08:55] And so everything is good, everybody's happy I didn't even make it up, she made it up, but I became the star on stage for bringing it up, made her the star for writing it got the whole audience involved in laughing. That's something that applied to them. And it was just all good. So that's just kind of the things that that you learn how to do if you learn these techniques. And another thing is you've got to mix serious material with the serious, helpful material that they care about with the entertainment value to be a top speaker and you have to pay attention to the appropriate percentage of humor as compared to the serious content. And all this should have been figured out in advance in your pre-program research. And then as you get more experienced, you will adjust on the fly to deal with things. That happened at the event, like maybe they're tired they were flying all night, maybe they're running late. Did something happen at the event that changed its nature? I mean, I've been at places they got word one of their beloved members passed away or something bad like that. Well, you've got to be able to switch. You can't just come on and do your yuck. Yuck. Right after you. They hear that. And on the other hand, they may have gotten word they broke all the sales records and and maybe their main competitor just went out of business.
[00:10:34] See, there's and you might want to. You really need to be able to tease competitors unless you want to speak to the competitor someday, but. But that's a perfect place for humor. See, there are lots of details and and that's why you want to study all these techniques and practice them like crazy. I mean, they've meant millions of dollars to me. So yeah, you've got to mix the entertainment in the serious, make it make sense and be able to adjust on the fly. That's what pros do. Ok, next thing, what is semicircular seeding? Well, I got to tell you, I learned this from a guy named Paul Rotty years and years ago, and before I learned it, I had already done 500 speeches before I learned this. And I'll tell you what I wish I have learned this sooner. And what we're going to talk about today is actually semicircular theater style. Now, theater style means there's no tables, it's just chairs. And normally when you see theater style, it's like lines of chairs. And normally if you're sitting in one of those chairs, you can only see the ear of the person on each side of you. Well, this is bad because laughter and interaction are socially facilitated phenomenon. And that means if you see someone else laughing, you are more likely to laugh. That's why they put laugh tracks on some of these stupid sitcoms because it just makes you want to laugh more.
[00:12:03] Even if it's fake, it does. Now. As same thing as if you see somebody nodding in agreement with what you're saying or shaking their head, no, they don't agree. Or maybe you said something that you'd want them to shake their head. No, that's no good. Well, if everybody can see everybody else. That's much more likely that they will do what that other person was doing, and if they can see bunches of people, you really raise the whole presentation. I'll tell you in a minute how that works. Now, with semi-circular seating, you can see all the faces of the people in the row rather than just the ear of the person on one side or the other of you. And. Here's the thing, some of the pieces of humor I had done several hundred times, and I know the reaction I'm going to get after doing it hundreds of times with different audiences, you know what to expect, right? So once I changed to the semicircular theater style whenever possible, you don't always have a choice. But when I could, I would get three times the response on these pieces of humor. I had done hundreds of times. And the same for all my other material, and that mean I was doing pretty darn good as a speaker at that time with 500 presentations under my belt, with great reviews. When I made this change, whenever I had any chance to have anything to do with the room set up.
[00:13:38] Boom. I mean, I went to an entirely different level in the pro speaking ranks. I pretty much got in the top one percent of income of pro speakers worldwide, and I'm not only attributing it to the seeding, but if there's something that you can change under your control, that automatically makes you more interesting. Let me do it, folks. There's an entire section in my course on seating because it makes such a difference in the audience response. And you can do this with tables and U-shaped and even boardroom presentations, so pay attention to seating. All right. Next question, how can I get my audience more involved in my presentation? Well, I told you I have in the Wake Them Up system, we have about 11 attention gaining devices that I use over and over again. And you would never know, ever in a three hour presentation that I was using these on you because it's just plugging different material into these formula type things. And it's just rapid. I mean, nobody goes to the bathroom when I speak. I mean, nobody checks their email, you know, they are paying attention, and that's what the wake up system is all about. So how do you get your audience more involved? Well. You've got to learn about the seating stuff I just talked about, and that's going to be a great start, but then learn about pre-program research.
[00:15:09] We're part of my Pre-program Research is interviewing audience members prior to the event to get inside info and humor and names of people that you can mention during the event. For instance, I was taught, I would say something like I was talking to Sally from production department, and she told me X, Y and Z. Well, since everybody knows Sally, or or even if they don't know she's she, they do know she's one of them because I'm talking about the production department and everybody knows they got a production department. And during that little segment, I might say, where is Sally, everyone and then everyone's looking around and pointing to Sally, and I might thank her for that information. But I also I might ask her to come up on stage with me to discuss what she told me. And that's where good microphone handling technique comes in and and leads to. The next question about handheld microphones, which that's coming up here soon. But anyway, right, there is a massive involvement technique of mentioning someone and getting them on stage with, you see, I virtually always find some excuse to get people on stage with me. And here's a technique for you. I'm giving it to you. I'm pretty sure I invented called dueling flip charts. Where because I never read about this, I don't think in any books, I kind of made it up for my wake them up stuff.
[00:16:43] I'm not sure about that one. Sometimes I'm sure about that, I invented something, sometimes I'm not so this one, I think I did, but I'm not sure. But anyway, so what I have is a flip chart on each side of the stage. So to flip charts and then I invite volunteers to write stuff on the flip charts. Let's say they were discussing the pros and cons of developing a certain new product. Well, I have two audience members on stage one on each flip chart, and I have other audience members yelling out pros and cons of this thing. So this is massive audience involvement. I've got loads of these with regard to mentally asking certain questions to take people's minds where I want them to go and and a bunch more. But there's a couple you can use there. All right, so I mentioned microphones, see? The question is, I always see you using a hand-held microphone, why don't you use a lava or clip one? Well, first, I feel like most people that use clip ons are lazy, and those using headset mics just want to look cool. Ok, so handheld microphones are the way to go. And and here's a bunch of reasons why. First of all, even in Las Vegas, in the old days, if you're old enough to remember they'd have a drink and a cigarette in one hand and a microphone, and the other hand, because it didn't know what to do with their hands.
[00:18:07] So that's a good thing right there. But anyway, here's a bunch of reasons why I use handheld, and I believe it's better. I am certain it's better. See, I can control the volume with just a few inch adjustment of how far I hold the mic from my mouth, and especially when you're starting out and you don't have a sound person in the room. It saves you from running back and forth to the sound system to turn knobs and have more people come in the room. It absorbs the sound. You got up the volume a little bit and it just looks stupid and kills the middle of your presentation fooling around with that kind of stuff. Then I can put the microphone down or easily turn it on or off if I go to the bathroom, or if I need to clear my throat before I come on stage. Things like that and I can interview people like I just mentioned in a previous question. When I get them on stage and I can interview them without that awkward, like talking to my chest thing because there's a clip on my. Now you do have to practice this techniques, so you put the mic in front of their mouth when you ask them a question. I mean, it looks pretty stupid if you ask them a question and then keep holding the mic to your own mouth and then no one can hear the answer.
[00:19:23] You have to practice this or in the heat of the battle you could forget look stupid. And the sound quality is better with a good handheld microphone because the pickup diaphragm is larger. And another thing you've all heard the squeals when someone walks in front of a speaker with their microphone turned on. Well, this is easy to avoid with a hand-held mic because you can either turn it off or hold it behind your back or away from the speaker as you walk by. And here's another little trick that could save you some real, real grief. I mean, if you walk by a big speaker or if I walk by a big speaker, I automatically put my finger in my ear on the side of the speaker just in case something goes wrong and feedback comes out of the speaker. And I know a guy that got his eardrum blown out when that happened, and he lost his broadcasting career because he couldn't wear headphones anymore. This is serious. So handheld is the way to go whenever possible, and and by the way, even when I did not or when I did a lot of magic early in my career where I needed two hands, there are special mic holders you can put around your neck to hold the microphone near your mouth while you know you're doing the trick. Or I was doing the trick. Say. Ok, so that's handheld.
[00:20:53] All right, next question, how can I improve my PowerPoint? All right. Well, before I tell you that, I just want to remind you again about the pilot program where we're helping these folks with disabilities, something you could really be proud of supporting any little bit helps in the Go Fund Me campaign. Or if you're flush with cash, you can sponsor the entire person yourself. Boy, that's something you could be proud of. But check it out at IMTCVA.org/disabilities and you'll really be inspired seeing those people making videos in their blind. I mean, think about that. All right. So, so check it out. And like I said, I'm so proud to be involved in. I've done a lot of charity stuff in my career, but this is one that's I think is going to change these lives forever. All right, so back to the how can I improve my PowerPoint? Well? First thing I would say is get rid of it altogether. All right. But I got to tell you in the thousands of speakers I've trained over the years, no one has the guts to do this. But. And even with seeing that, I'm the one that takes home all the money at these events and I'm the only one not using PowerPoint. Tom, again, there's a lot of factors there, but but you should think about this a little bit. All right. See, what I do is I put all the files I plan on using on my desktop even more files than I could possibly use.
[00:22:20] See, with PowerPoint, if your time gets cut, which is very frequently, you have to, you know, run through slides, either talk faster, which is just terrible, that's the stupidest technique you could ever do or skip through slides in front of people. Well, what? That makes them feel like they're getting cheated out of material. So that's terrible. If my time gets cut. I just go to, you know, stuff on my desktop, they didn't even know what was there or what I was going to talk about. And it's just boom, boom, boom. No problem. And also, if something comes up during a presentation that shows me or maybe surprises me, that the audience would rather hear about some other topic, I can skip to my material about that topic immediately and keep their attention. No problem. Then this other thing is I'm kind of an expert at being able to sell when you're not allowed to sell now. For the past twenty one years, they want me to sell because they get a percentage of the money. But in the corporate arena, you really can't sell. So I created magalong logs. That's for another another day. We'll talk about that. And other ways to sell what I'm not allowed to selling, but but, for instance, I had a multimedia DVD for one hundred and ninety seven dollars.
[00:23:43] I think it was 50 videos on it. And of course, I'm not allowed to sell at this corporate event, but I used some of the videos, I think two or three videos of these training videos in my presentation, I just showed them from the stage. Another great thing about it is shown videos from the stage. It gives me a break. I can take a drink of water, I can look at my notes, which are hidden from the crowd. And while they're looking at the video, I'm peeking at my notes and there's a lot of good things there too. There's a lot of technique there, but. After the event. People came up to me and said, Hey, where do we get those videos? And I said, Well, the meeting planner said, I'm not allowed to sell during the event. I have this, you know, 50 of them on CD-ROM. So they go and badger the meeting planner to let them buy the this multimedia CD. So but besides my fee, I sold a whole bunch of these hundred and ninety nine dollars things. So I had to ship them to him because I didn't bring them with me, you know, but I just showed the videos. So use your product during the presentation. In a previous one of these I was they asked me about how I used to sell books by giving them away. I think that was Wednesdays. I did that. Yeah, the business is speaking.
[00:25:10] Yeah. So Wednesday I talked about how how I sold books at the back of the room and sold three times as many without even selling. So you've got to go back and listen to Wednesdays. That's five, five, 12, I think. Yeah. So anyway, I suggest you get rid of the PowerPoint and just play stuff off your desktop or show visuals or show graphics. And I've just made millions and millions of dollars doing that, and it's so smooth. I'm never look flustered. I never have to skip through slides and make them feel cheated. I mean, there's just so many things to it, but I don't expect any of you to listen to me because after all these years, nobody has yet and I still take home all the money. So anyway, that's my story. I'm sticking to it. Those are some ways to be great on stage. There's two ways you can deal with me with this. We have the video professional speaking system, which now I think Mark has taken it off DVD, so those would be delivered to you over the web. All the videos with that and then the pro speaking mentor program, which includes the speaking system. But it's a twenty four week intensive program with homework and stuff, and it really gets you fired up in your in your own speaking business in a hurry. All right. That's my story. And I'm sticking to it. I'll catch you on the next episode. See you later.
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