How company executives can become powerful keynote speakers with Michael Port from Heroic Public SpeakingBy On Top of PR
September 20, 2022
In this episode, Michael Port, CEO of Heroic Public Speaking, joins host Jason Mudd to discuss the art of public speaking. Tune in to learn how to express yourself onstage, the different types of speaking events, the four categories of a keynote speaker, how to prepare a speech, and much more!
Watch the episode here
5 things you’ll learn during the full episode:
- How to express yourself fully when speaking
- What to think about before hiring a PR agency to book your speaking engagements
- How to use a breakout room to gain a keynote speaking opportunity
- The four categories of keynote speakers
- How to choose a topic to speak on
- Listen to more episodes of the On Top of PR podcast
- Find out more about Axia Public Relations
- Find Michael Port on Twitter
- Connect and learn more about Michael Port on LinkedIn
- Visit Heroic Public Speaking for more information.
- Additional Resources:
Disclosure: One or more of the links we share here might be affiliate links that offer us a referral reward when you buy from them.
- “Book Yourself Solid”
- “Steal the Show: From Speeches to Job Interviews to Deal-Closing Pitches, How to Guarantee a Standing Ovation for All the Performances in Your Life”
- “Beyond Booked Solid”
- “The Referable Speaker: Your Guide to Building a Sustainable Speaking Career—No Fame Required”
- “The Contrarian Effect: Why It Pays (Big) to Take Typical Sales Advice and Do the Opposite”
- “Small Business Marketing Strategies: Essentials on How to Market Your Business”
- “Steal the Show” with Michael Port
Additional Resources from Axia Public Relations:
- Axia’s keynote services
- Embracing the power of “No” and storytelling with keynote speaker, author, and actor Rob Biesenbach
[01:08] About Michael Port
- Michael has written nine books (listed above).
- He has books on The New York Times and The Wall Journal bestseller lists.
[01:40] How to express yourself fully when speaking
Michael: “When you feel fully self-expressed, you generally feel more confident.”
- Anxiety and nerves are different.
- Everyone gets nervous, and that's OK.
- Anxiety can be debilitating.
- Two effective ways to reduce anxiety:
- Make sure you care more about the audience and their experience than you and your experience.
- Be prepared.
[04:44] What you should think about before booking a PR agency to get you speaking engagements
- Prepare differently for the type of speaking engagements you want to go for.
- Breakout sessions are usually for experts. Experts present current best practices that generally reflect what is happening today. These are generally not in much demand.
- Keynote speeches are usually for visionaries. Speaking engagement planners are looking for people who challenge the status quo and offer an alternative perspective to make the audience feel and act differently. These are in high demand right now.
[10:02] How you can use the breakout room to land the keynote stage
- Example: Content Marketing World awards a paid keynote spot to the next year’s conference to the highest-rated breakout room speaker at the current year’s conference.
- Jay Acunzo wanted that keynote spot, so he went to the conference and delivered an expert-focused breakout room speech on marketing hacks. He was rated highly on his evaluations and thought he might have a chance. However, he didn’t get the keynote spot.
- He went back the next year, but this time he did a visionary-focused speech in a breakout room. He received a similar rating numerical rating to the previous year, but the comments for his speech were drastically more positive. He got the paid keynote spot.
- Two tips for landing a keynote:
- Don’t give up
- Use a different approach
[14:21] Four categories of keynote speakers
- Athlete, actor, and astronaut
- Famous people who “put butts in seats”
- Hired for their marquee name and reputation
- A-list alternate
- A name you might not recognize at first, but their description catches your attention
- Industry icon
- Industry icons don’t transfer across industries
- Surprise and delight speaker
- The other three categories are used to draw attention, but they don’t always deliver transformational experiences for the audience.
- The surprise and delight speaker delivers a transformational experience that is just as insightful as it is entertaining for the audience.
- They change the way the audience feels, thinks, and acts.
[19:19] Different types of speaking engagements
- Internal events (An organization has their company event and will bring you in to speak at it)
- Industry events
- Breakout sessions
- Association events
- TEDx-style events
[22:54] How to pick a speaking topic
- Start with what bothers you in your industry.
- Offer alternative approaches to issues you struggle with.
- Start with a question (that Google can’t answer).
Michael: “If you want to do something visionary, start with what really pisses you off.”
[25:18] Heroic Public Speaking
Works with well-known speakers, new professional speakers, executives, world-changers, and entrepreneurs
Two-day core program
- No charge
- A supportive program to take risks and learn new things
- Two days of training
About Michael Port
Michael Port is the author of nine books, which have been translated into 29 languages. A few of them have become perennial bestsellers and made it onto such lists as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. Some have won awards from 800-CEO-READ and Amazon. After delivering thousands of paid speeches on the world’s biggest stages, Michael and his wife, Amy, built Heroic Public Speaking HQ, a performance training center, to develop and nurture the next generation of professional speakers along with CEOs and founders, bestselling authors, business owners, and people leading movements and advancing important causes.
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- Hello, welcome to On Top of PR. I'm your host, Jason Mudd, with Axia Public Relations. Today, I'm joined by Michael Port of Heroic Public Speaking. Michael is an author and award-winning speaker, and I'm glad to have him on the podcast today. Michael, welcome, we're glad you're here.
- Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.
- So I first met you, Michael, unofficially, through your book, “Book Yourself Solid.” And as I mentioned to you before, I've used that book as kind of a training or a coaching platform to help people that I mentor in business or people that I'm coaching in their business to kind of help them grow and expand their business. And then you and I had the opportunity to meet at a Heroic Public Speaking event. And now I'm enrolled in your programs.
- Yeah, well, I'm thrilled to get to work with you, and I love your haircut, by the way, it's fantastic.
- We're twins. That's right. Yeah. So Michael, tell our audience just a little bit about yourself, more than I explained in my brief introduction.
- Sure. So I've written nine books. You mentioned “Book Yourself Solid.” That was the first book that I wrote in 2005. My books have been on the New York Times Best Seller list, Wall Street Journal bestseller list. The most recent books were “Steal the Show” that came out in 2015. And then most recently was “The Referable Speaker,” just last year, in fact. I run the business with my wife, who is, of course, my better half, much more charming, no doubt about that, and definitely smarter. And we just love the work we do because we get to work with people to help them express themselves more fully. Because when you feel fully self-expressed, you generally feel more confident. You know, a lot of people are anxious around public speaking, and I get that. I get nervous myself, but anxiety and nerves are two different things. It's normal to be nervous. You care about the job that you're about to do, so you want to do a good job. And so you get a little bit nervous, but anxiety is different. Anxiety can be debilitating.
- [Jason] Right.
- And we want to make sure that we're not anxious before we get up to try to communicate a message, to try to get people to feel differently, or think differently, or act differently. And the two most effective ways, to reduce anxiety are as follows. No. 1 ... Make sure that you care more about the audience and the experience they have than about what you're going to get out of the experience.
- [Jason] That's good. Yeah.
- And No. 2 – Well, because listen, because when you self-obsess, or when you focus on how you look, how you sound, what people think of you, that's generally when you produce more anxiety. So, if you get out of that space, and instead focus on the people you're there to serve, you tend to relax more, because you're not as worried about getting approval. Instead, you're just focusing on results for the people that you serve. And No. 2: Be prepared, because most people, especially executives, when they are asked to give a speech, you know, they'll maybe put some slides together. Maybe they'll walk through it in their head a few times. And then they figure, you know, I'll just use the slide deck as my notes, and you know, that should be fine. And then, in between each slide, I'll just wing it because you know, I'm an expert, and I know what I'm doing, so that should be enough. But in fact, it's generally not enough. And the more prepared you are, the more relaxed you are, because you know what you're going to do before you do it. That's the second-most effective way to help reduce anxiety.
- [Jason] That's good. People are, you're right, they're always worried about public speaking. And they say that's one of the top fears that most people have. And, you know, I think if you're alive, you've got some jitters before you go on stage. But you know, if you're well prepared, like you've described, and you know, it goes a lot better. Michael, I'm really curious to know – one of the services that we offer, is booking speaking gigs for our clients or the companies we work for and their executives. We find that actually, right now, is one of our fastest growing services. So I'd be curious to hear from you, kind of, you know, in your mind, what does someone really need to start thinking about before they come to a PR agency like us and look to get engaged for speaking engagements, start booking engagements, what kind of training and what kind of thought should they put into their content first?
- OK, so I love this question because it's a huge question.
- [Jason] Right.
- And I could go 25 different directions with it. I think where I'll start, is with an overview of the industry. Meaning, it's very important to understand how the meeting planner thinks because if you don't understand how the meeting planner thinks, you don't know where you fit in as a speaker. Generally, when a meeting planner is booking speakers for an event, they have a few different keynote spots. If, let's say, it's a two-day event, they'll have a morning and an afternoon keynote each day, and then they'll have, maybe, 30 breakout sessions, maybe more.
- [Jason ] Right.
- And generally what they're looking for when they book breakout sessions are experts. Now experts generally present current best practices.
- [Jason] OK.
- They generally reflect what is happening today to the audience who's not as familiar with what's happening today in that particular area. However, when they're booking the keynote speakers, they're generally looking for visionaries. Now I know that's a big word, and I don't want to put too much stock in the word itself, but it's important to think about it from that perspective because when they're booking the keynote speakers, they're looking for people who can help chart a path toward a better future. And that, you know, is going to be across many different areas of society or of business, but a visionary doesn't just say, here's what's happening today. They don't say, well, here's the seven best ways to get, you know, more YouTube followers today. They challenge the status quo, and they offer an alternative approach that gets people feeling different, thinking differently, and then, of course, ultimately acting differently. And so we need to approach the development of the speech differently, depending on which room we want to be in. If we want to be in the breakout room, we're probably going to deliver expert-type content. Now, I still think a philosophy and a vision is very, very important. And if you want to get on the keynote stage, it's often a good idea, or effective at least, to deliver a visionary-type speech in a breakout room. So people say that should have been the keynote. We'll set that aside for a minute. If you want to be on the keynote stage, when you're developing the content, it's important to focus on it from a visionary perspective so that the speech is about the big idea, is about challenging the status quo, and offering an alternative perspective. Now, this is important because if you look at the world in which we live today, expertise has become commoditized. I can go on YouTube and I can learn almost anything, about almost anything from almost anybody. It's not that hard to become expert at something in today's world. But that doesn't mean if I went to YouTube, and I, you know, I watched the video about how to rewire, I don't know, DC on a power boat, that I would remember that person or that person would change my life in any way. They might just give some information and, oh, that's helpful, thanks. And then, you know, I go and put that into practice. So if there are so many experts out there, that suggests that expertise is commoditized, and when something becomes commoditized, it becomes less valuable when there is a high supply of it. If the demand, excuse me, if the supply is very, very low, well, it will then have a high value. But what I'm suggesting is that in most fields, expertise has become commoditized because there is an enormous amount of supply of experts. Where there is a much smaller supply is in true visionaries. People who are doing work that challenges the status quo and offers a new approach that gets people to feel, think, and act differently. And so you might want to consider moving out of expertville, and into visionary town, if you are an executive, you're a CEO, COO, senior VP, vice president, middle manager. If you're using speaking to advance your brand, to enhance the exposure of the business that you work for, or for any other reason where you have a message that you want to deliver and spread, you might want to think about getting out of expertville, and moving into visionary town.
- I like that. Yeah. And you know, what's interesting, Michael, is so many people think, "Oh, I want to speak at this conference. Oh, they only gave me a breakout session." Right? And then they're like, "Well, maybe if I do a great job with this breakout, then they'll invite me to keynote." But, I mean, you're exactly right. There's a limited number of slots for keynoting. And secondly, there's a platform or a topic that, you know, would make more sense for a keynote than a breakout.
- Well, I'll give you an example of how you can use the breakout room to land the keynote stage. So, there's a marketing conference called Content Marketing World, and they do something that's very unique. They award a paid keynote spot at next year's conference to the highest-rated speaker at this year's conference from a breakout room.
- [Jason] OK.
- So they take all the speakers in the breakout room and they look at, OK, who was the best evaluated, who was the most well-received? And they're going to get a keynote spot for next year and they'll get, I think, it's maybe 25 grand for that speech. And so, many people will go to that conference, to do those breakout sessions, to try to get that keynote stage in the next year. And there was a young man named Jay Acunzo, who wanted to get that keynote stage. He wanted to build up his reputation as a speaker. He was not known at that point. And so he went into the breakout session, and he did a good job, an excellent job. In fact, he got about a 4.8, maybe 4.82 on his evaluations. And the feedback was very positive. It was things like, "Really, really helpful." "I learned lots of tips and tricks about marketing." "There was a lot of hacks that were really helpful, that I could probably do some things more quickly." "Great content." That's a win, right? Everybody liked it. So he was pretty excited because he thought that's a pretty high score. The feedback was great. “Maybe I'll get the keynote stage.” I think you can see where this is going. He did not get the keynote stage. He goes back next year, and he says, I'm going to try again, but I'm going to do this a little bit differently this time. Instead of doing an expert-focused speech, I'm going to do a visionary-focused speech. So he came up with a big idea, again, that challenged the status quo. And he went in there and he delivered that speech in a breakout room and he got almost the same feedback. I think it was like a 4.83 or 4.84. So almost the same statistically, but the actual comments were dramatically different. The comments were things like, "That totally rocked my world." "I will never think about marketing in the same way again." "That should have been the keynote." "I will forever be changed," "Blew my mind, thank you.” And when the conference organizer saw that feedback, they gave him the keynote spot the following year, they paid him for it, and he picked up 13 paid keynote speeches after he did the big keynote speech on the big stage at Content Marketing World, and it launched his career. And so, A.) it demonstrates he didn't give up. You don't give up just because you don't get the thing you want the first time, and B.) that he needed a different approach. And so, if you're not getting the stages you want, you may well in fact need a different approach. Now I mentioned that it's important to … understand how the meeting planner thinks about booking their speakers. And I gave you the difference between the breakout rooms and the keynote stage. But, we need to break that down a little bit more, because when they're booking their keynote speakers, generally they pull from four categories of speakers. Now, they don't always pull from all four, but they generally pull from at least one, two, or three, maybe four of these categories.
- Michael, that's great. Before we continue with the four different types of anchor speakers, let's take a quick break and come back on the other side with that information.
- [Announcer] You're listening to On Top of PR, with your host, Jason Mudd. Jason is a trusted adviser to some of America's most admired and fastest-growing brands. He is the managing partner at Axia Public Relations, a PR agency that guides news, social, and web strategies for national companies. And now, back to the show.
- Welcome back to On Top of PR, where I'm joined by special guest Michael Port with Heroic Public Speaking. And we were just about to start talking about the four categories of anchor speakers, or keynote speakers. And this is something I've heard Michael talk about before. And I know you're going to enjoy hearing it. Michael, I'm going to turn it back over to you, and tell us about the four different types of anchor speakers.
- Sure. So, when a meeting planner is booking their keynote speakers for an event, they want to find anchor speakers, speakers that anchor the event, and they generally pull from four different categories. Now, when I share these categories with you, you might get a little bit nervous, because you might think, "Oh my God, I'm not in that category. I'm not in that category. I'm not in that category." But there is one category that we can all be in if we do the right kind of work. So don't worry if you don't hear your name called right at the beginning. Here's the first category of speaker: the athlete, actor, and astronaut category. Now, I'm not talking about an actor that you know is waiting tables while they're trying to get some jobs. I'm talking about famous actors, famous athletes, and, of course, famous astronauts. They're people who put butts in seats. They're not hired for what they're going to do at the event. Although they want to hire people who do a good job, they're hired for their marquee name, their reputation, and people say, "Oh my God, I want to go. I want to go see that speaker." But, really, what they mean is, "Oh, I want to go, I want to go take a picture with that speaker."
- [Jason] Right.
- That's cool. And they don't usually think of them as speakers. They think of them as celebrities. That's the first category. Most of us don't fit into that category. The second category that these speakers pull from when they're looking for their anchor speakers, or, excuse me, the meeting planners pull from when they're looking for their anchor speakers, is the A-list alternate. Now the A-list alternate is somebody whose name you might not immediately recognize. But when you hear the next four to six words after their name, you say, "Oh yeah, I'd love to hear from that person. Really interesting." So, for example, Yancy Strickler might be a good example. When you hear the name Yancey Strickler, you say that's an interesting name, but I don't know who that is. Unless maybe you are in the tech world, maybe then you'll know. But, even so you know, was a name that I didn't know, until I was told that he was one of the founders of Kickstarter, and I say, "Oh wow, what an amazing company. I'd love to learn from one of the founders of Kickstarter. I'd love to hear from them.” So that's an A-list alternate. The third category that they often pull from for their anchor speaker is the industry icon. Now what's important to recognize about the industry icon is the industry icon doesn't always translate, or transfer, from one industry to another. For example, the CEO of Domino's Pizza might be an industry icon in the fast food business, but a wellness conference is probably not going to book him or her for their conference as a keynote speaker. They're not an industry icon in that industry. So they generally are relegated to their industries, and an industry icon who leaves their company, unless they had a massive, massive reputation, often has trouble getting gigs because they're no longer associated with the company that they were with. But, if they're well known in the industry beyond the company that they are currently working for, or maybe they don't work anymore, then, you know, they're booked regularly as industry icons. If they're relevant for that particular audience. Now again, most of us don't fall into any of these first three categories, but there's one category that we can all be in. And that's the surprise and delight speaker.
- [Jason] OK.
- Now, remember, the first three categories are generally designed to put butts in seats. Oh, I want to hear from that person, they're famous.
- [Jason] Right.
- But, they don't always deliver transformational experiences for the audience. In fact, sometimes they deliver subpar experiences for the audience because they rely on their celebrity, their marquee name. They don't do a lot of work on their speech. But the surprise and delight speaker is generally the one who comes in when people don't really know much about them. And they deliver a transformational experience that is as insightful as it is entertaining. And often the meeting planner will put them right after the actor or the astronaut or the celebrity of some kind. Because although people are excited to get a picture with the celebrity, they may not have been changed dramatically by that particular celebrity, but the surprise and delight speaker is going to change the way they feel, change the way they think, and change what they do. And finally, people will go home saying, "Hey, look, I got a picture with so and so, but let me tell you, I saw this speaker named Jason, totally blew my ... I never am gonna think about, you know, this particular thing in the same way again. In fact, let me just draw this model that he introduced. We’ve got to have him come talk to our organization as well."
- [Jason] That's good. Michael, I also want to ask you about the different types of speaking engagements. So, there's speaking engagements, like we talked about, where you go to an industry conference and you're a speaker, there's speaking engagements where you get brought in by, say Google or some other company, to come speak at their campus, to their employees. There's certainly, as we talked about, you know, breakout sessions, you know – do you have a list of the different types of speaking engagements that are out there?
- Well, yeah, I mean, you pretty much articulated it just now. There, you know, certainly, there are the internal events, so an organization has their company event and they will bring you in, or they will have an event for a certain group in the company. A couple years ago, my wife, Amy, and I went and spent some time with the top 100 producers for Guardian Life. They do a big event for them every year. They do it in an exotic place, and it's a pretty amazing event because they want to make sure these people are happy and they stay with them. Now, I mention this because it's important to understand the agenda of the organization that is putting on the event. In that particular case, the agenda there is not necessarily about the content at the event, although they want to make it a great event. The agenda there is to show those producers how important they are. So, they're throwing money at the event, because in that world, often, that's what says “We care about you” – we'll spend money on you. And if you understand that, then when you're having conversations with the meeting planners; it helps you in that quote-unquote sales process. So there are internal events, then, of course, there are events that are put on by production companies, and they will invite lots of different organizations. So, they'll sell a hundred tickets to Microsoft, two hundred tickets to IBM, you know, 75 tickets to Hewlett Packard, no tickets to Kodak. And those events are, you know, really, the transformational experience of those events are really important, but they also have to make sure that people are excited to go. So, they've got those "put the butts in seat" speakers, as well as those surprise and delight speakers. You'll see both of them at that kind of conference. And then, you know, you'll have association events. Those generally don't pay as well because the associations don't generally have as much of a budget for those events, but they certainly do. And you'd be surprised sometimes, you know, the budgets are pretty good, but they'll generally fall into those different categories. And then there are the, you know, the non-paying, sort of status-type, TED-style events that people are often trying to get because they think, well, if I get a TEDx Talk, or a TED Talk, well that's going to really raise my profile. And sometimes it does.
- [Jason] Yeah. Depending on how viral your video goes, right?
- It's all about that. Yeah.
- Yeah. Yeah. Sure.
- It's important to understand with TED and the TEDx Talks, of course, the conference organizers want, again, the people to have a great experience, but TED is really focused on those videos.
- [Jason] Right? Absolutely.
- That's what matters. The video has got to work because they want it to spread.
- [Jason] Yeah. So Michael, and one question I know people are going to have, is, you know, how do we, how do I, figure out what a great topic is, and how do I land that topic, for both within my sphere of knowledge. And that makes it relevant to meeting planners.
- Sure. Well, if you want to do something visionary, start with what really pisses you off.
- [Jason] OK.
- Start with what you don't like about your industry or your field or the area that you're going to address. What frustrates you? What confuses you? What baffles you? What do you think needs to change? Because if you go in there thinking, you know, well, what do they want? What should I do for them? You know, you'll often produce something that for you, you're not particularly connected to. If you start with what really, really, really gets my goat about, you know, what's wrong with my industry, you're generally not the only one who has that perspective. And if you can articulate that in a way that fires other people up but then offer an alternative approach that gives them a new way to do things or to look at things or feel about things, that can be very, very powerful. And then, secondly, start with a question, answer a question. You know, when Andrew Davis and I wrote “The Referable Speaker,” we started with a question. The question was, "What's the formula for building a sustainable speaking business?" That's it. Nobody had ever written ... Nobody ever come up with a formula. So we said, let's see if we can do it. And we went on an investigation to see if we could, and we did, but we did promised that we would publish our results, even if we didn't find it, because, you know, that was important for our audience. They wanted to know.
- [Jason] Right.
- And so you start with a question, and it's important to ask a question that Google can't answer.
- [Jason] Right?
- Because if Google can answer the question, it sits squarely in expertville, and I can go onto YouTube or I can just type into Google. Of course, YouTube is also Google, and I can get the answer either in written form or video form or audio form.
- [Jason] Right. But you know, if you ask a question that breaks Google, and Google's like, “Ah, I don’t know what to answer there.” They don't give you satisfactory answers, but it's a critically important question for the audience that you want to speak to. Then you've really got something. Then you're starting to, you know, uncover a big idea and an alternative approach that may be really quite provocative and exciting and relevant for the people in the audience.
- [Jason] Good. Good. Michael, tell our audience just a little bit about what Heroic Public Speaking is and what you guys do there.
- Yeah, sure. So, at Heroic Public Speaking, we work with a few different types of speakers. We work with professional keynote speakers, some of the biggest names on the circuit. We work with a lot of those celebrities, too, to help them get better. But we also work with people who are new to professional speaking and that's the next step in their journey. Sometimes they're leaving their corporate job, and they want to, you know, take all their experience and bring it onto the stage. But we also work with a lot of executives because so many executives need to pitch better, present better, and are often out there on the keynote circuit or in the breakout rooms advancing their brand identity, both personally and for the company that they work for. We also do work with people who are on a mission to change the world in some way. They don't have a business case for what they're doing, they have an ethical or a moral case for what they're doing. And, that's really exciting as well. And then we work with a lot of entrepreneurs, again, who either are raising money for the companies that they're building or are using it to book more business out in the world, because speaking is such an effective way to do that – when you're given that stage, you're automatically given that credibility. In fact, the stage is higher than the audience, which raises your credibility right from the start.
- And I first heard about your organization through a referral from Drew McLellan. And then I came in and did your core program with a colleague of mine in the industry, Nancy. And then since then, I've referred several clients to your organization as well for your two-day core program. Talk about that for a minute, Michael.
- Sure. That two-day core program we don't charge for, and, you know, people might be watching, going, "You what? Two days? That seems odd." We used to charge for it. We used to charge $2,000 for it. It was still a very, you know, a modest entry fee for that. But what we found over time was the people that we worked with that had the most, that had the best results, and the people we liked working with the most, were always the people, not always, but were 95% of the time were the people who were referred to us by our students. Because even though we're professional communicators, it's still sometimes hard to understand what we do unless you've experienced it because you've probably never experienced just something like what we do. It's not a traditional, you know, “Here's what to do with your hands” or, you know, “Here's how to look at each person in the audience.” It's much more sophisticated than that. We're really teaching the craft of performance. And so, as you mentioned, you were referred in, so 95% of the people there are referred in, and this way we don't have to charge for it. We just ask for a deposit that we give back as soon as, you know, as soon as you walk in the door. So, you know, if somebody does want to come, or at least learn more about it, they can ask you to introduce them to us. And, if they come from you, of course, we're going to, you know, open up the red velvet rope, and make them feel welcome because it's very, very important that our environment is a safe environment because no matter how experienced you are, no matter how skilled you are, no matter how wealthy you are, this can be provocative. And we want to make sure that people are in an environment where they can make big choices, take chances, try new things, and crush their fears. And in order to do that, they have to know that nobody's going to criticize them, that everybody's going to support them, and they're safe. And so that's a big part of this referral process so that everybody understands that everybody that is there has been curated and chosen and selected, you know, by us, based on the referrals of the people we've already worked with. Five percent of the people are people who didn't have referrals because sometimes someone doesn't have a referral, but they absolutely should be in the room. And we just vet them a little bit more, and a little bit differently, but we always make sure that we leave at least 5% of the seats available to people who don't have referrals. But if they do want to come, they should reach out to you and you can make the introduction. And it's a full training for two days, as you'll attest to, we spend maybe 30 minutes on the second day, introducing next steps and what that might be like, either with us or on their own. But the whole thing is our HBS core content.
- [Jason] Yeah. And we'll put a link to the core information in the episode notes so that our audience who's interested can check that out ahead of time, and then certainly reach out to us at On Top of PR for that referral. In addition, you know, I'll just say I did the two-day program. It's exactly like you described. The minute I walked in, there was an envelope handed to me, with a check written out to me, for the same amount of the deposit that I made. You provided meals, you provided a great town to be in and have a good time. And of course the community of participants that were there, we all went out and had a good time together and built relationships. So, of course, on the second day, you know, I think I was one of the first to say, "Yeah, I'm doing this." And so I've enrolled in your programs, and that's starting up here real soon, so I'm certainly also looking forward to doing that. Michael, what is your best contact information for those that want to get ahold of you, and, you know, maybe follow you on social media or ask you questions about this episode?
- Sure, so, HeroicPublicSpeaking.com. – HeroicPublicSpeaking.com is our website. And you can get to us through the website, or you can just email us at questions@HeroicPublicSpeaking.com. We have a Facebook page as well, but most of my time on social media is spent in our private Facebook page for our students and the people who have done Core. I'm a little less public than I once was, but we do, I do, a podcast, which people may enjoy. This season was actually about speakers with money. So we did a lot of personal finance work, but I have many, many seasons that go deep into all the different aspects of the craft of public speaking and performance with lots of really interesting guests; a lot of the best professional speakers in the world are on that show. And the podcast is called “Steal the Show” with Michael Port.
- [Jason] Nice. OK. I wasn't aware of your podcast. I'll have to check that out. We will put a link to that podcast, as well as all of your books, in our episode notes, also, so that people can capture all of that content from you. Michael, it's been a pleasure having you here. I think I see you again in person in September, or something like that. And you know, I'm really looking forward to that. Thank you for sharing your smarts with our audience. And with that, this has been a great episode and I appreciate it.
- My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
- My pleasure. Thank you. All right. So with that, this is another episode of On Top of PR, thank you for tuning in. It's our job here to help you stay On Top of PR. In this episode, we were endeavoring to help you understand a little bit more about what goes on in getting booked to be a public speaker. What goes on when you attend these conferences, and why they make the selections of what people they put on stage for the keynote and put in the breakout rooms. I hope you enjoyed this episode and you'll take a moment to share it with a colleague who you think would also benefit from it. Other than that, thank you for tuning in be well.
- This has been On Top of PR with Jason Mudd, presented by ReviewMaxer. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode, and check out past shows at OnTopofPR.com.
- On Top of PR is produced by Axia Public Relations, named by Forbes as one of America’s Best PR Agencies. Axia is an expert PR firm for national brands.
- On Top of PR is sponsored by ReviewMaxer, the platform for monitoring, improving, and promoting online customer reviews.
About your host Jason Mudd
On Top of PR host, Jason Mudd, is a trusted adviser and dynamic strategist for some of America’s most admired brands and fastest-growing companies. Since 1994, he’s worked with American Airlines, Budweiser, Dave & Buster’s, H&R Block, Hilton, HP, Miller Lite, New York Life, Pizza Hut, Southern Comfort, and Verizon. He founded Axia Public Relations in July 2002. Forbes named Axia as one of America’s Best PR Agencies.
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