Jan. 4, 2023

How to Best Unlock Secrets to Being a Successful Speaker - BM351

How to Best Unlock Secrets to Being a Successful Speaker - BM351

Do you want to unlock the secrets to being a successful speaker and discover the best strategies to become confident and engaging?

"Speaking is rarely about a transference of information. Speaking is about a transference of emotion." - Steve Lowell

Listen as Steve Lowell a multi-award-winning speaker, bestselling author, and master trainer for high-impact speakers shares the importance of knowing your message, understanding your audience, and using stories to captivate your audience.

Do you want to unlock the secrets to being a successful speaker and discover the best strategies to become confident and engaging?

"Speaking is rarely about a transference of information. Speaking is about a transference of emotion."  - Steve Lowell

Listen as Steve Lowell a multi-award-winning speaker, bestselling author, and master trainer for high-impact speakers shares the importance of knowing your message, understanding your audience, and using stories to captivate your audience.

In this powerful episode, you will discover…

  • How to best position yourself as an expert, reporter, philosopher, entertainer, or sage when speaking.
  • How to use stories to captivate an audience and transfer emotion.
  • Find out the key to crafting a signature talk and growing your business

 And a whole lot more…

 Here's how to contact Steve to find out more about the incredible services he offers:

ATTENTION: Want the key to Master Your Book Success in 2023?
Book Marketing Mastery
is a powerful step-by-step 6-week program that will help you to create and successfully position YOU as a recognized expert authority in a niche market... which will inevitably help you sell more books and make more money.

There are only a couple of spots left
If you want to invest in yourself and your book's success click this link to schedule time with Susan to discuss if this program is a right fit for you.

The program begins on Wednesday, January 11th, 2023 


Susan Friedmann
 Welcome to Book Marketing Mentors, the weekly podcast where you learn proven strategies, tools, ideas, and tips from the masters. Every week, I introduce you to a marketing master who will share their expertise to help you market and sell more books. 

Today. My special guest is Steve Lowell. Steve is a multi award winning speaker, three times number one bestselling author and master trainer for high impact speakers with a track record that speaks for itself. As past president of the Global Speakers of Federation and past national president of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers, Steve has given over 3500 keynote speeches, 5000 seminars, and trained more than 500,000 speakers globally. Steve's mission is to train people to craft their signature talk, scale their influence, and create more business through speaking. 

A National Speakers Association colleague and one of my coaches and mentors. Steve, it's a true pleasure to welcome you to the show, and thank you for being this week's guest expert and mentor.
Steve Lowell
Susan, I am so excited about doing this with you. I've been on many podcasts over the last several years, and yours is one of those that was in the back of my mind thinking, I got to get with Susan and get on her show. So thank you for having me here.
 Susan Friedmann
 I mentioned to you earlier, it was the same. I was like, I've got to get Steve on the show. Hey, you're here. This is fabulous. Now, Steve, your last book, I believe, was Stage Fright to Spotlight, where you feature 99 speaker secrets to breaking rules and mastering the stage. I'm like, okay, I know we can't go through 99 of them. However, I think it would be nice if you highlighted some of sort of the key, breaking the rules and overcoming that fear. Because I know that so many authors feel that they're frightened of speaking, but.
 Steve Lowell
They know they need to, especially nonfiction authors. As you know, when we're a nonfiction author, we generally write a book because we have some sort of an expertise or a passion that we want to share with the world. And that is a beautiful springboard. Writing these books is a beautiful springboard for launching into other businesses. Coaching, consulting, training. Speaking is a great way to build those businesses. And like you said, there are so many people, Susan, who have great ideas, great wisdom, great knowledge, great experiences, and they want to write about them, and they do. And then taking their message from the page to the stage can be difficult because they think that there's all these rules they have to follow, or they think that there's a right way to do it, and there is a right way to do it, which we can talk about. But the whole concept of getting in front of an audience and speaking, a lot of people find that very stressful to even think about.
 Susan Friedmann
 Yeah, stressful and intimidating. They know they need to speak as he said they've got this message. The book is like giving them credibility, that they are an expert in a certain subject matter or topic area, then being able to share that even more broadly with their audience. I love starting at the beginning and saying, okay, what do they need to do first?
 Steve Lowell
 I think that what we need to do first is answer a couple of preliminary questions, which presumably the authors would have answered before they wrote their book. Like, who is my audience? How am I going to serve them? So these things I find with nonfiction authors have generally already been in place. 

So to get ready to speak, here's a couple of things that need to happen. Number one is they need to really get clear on what exactly their message is, because I meet a lot of nonfiction authors who feel like they need to bring their entire book to the stage. And of course, that doesn't work in most cases. So they need to know what exactly is the message that we want to bring to the platform, bring to the audiences that is going to entice the audience to be more interested in the book or to be more interested in our services as coaches, speakers, trainers, consultants, whatever.

So understanding what is that key message? And it's amazing to me how many speakers don't really know what that is. And that's number one. We got to get crystal clear on that.

Number two is we really need to know what kind of speaker we want to be. Do we want to be like an inspirational speaker? To use our story to inspire and motivate people? Do we want to be an educational speaker?

Are we trying to educate people and teach them something? Do we want to be a speaker that monetizes? Do we want to try and market our business and our programs from the platform? All of these are legitimate forms of speakers. 

Do we want to be an entertainer? Do we want to be a philosopher? Do we want to position ourselves as an expert? All of these questions need to be answered. 

So what is our core message and how do we want to position ourselves? What kind of speaker do we want to be? And then there's some tactical things like where do I find these audiences and how do I get on those stages? And one of the mistakes that I see speakers make, Susan, is getting on a platform in front of an audience before they're ready, before some of these things are answered.

And what happens often is they'll get in front of the wrong audience at the wrong time, or they won't have their message targeted or prepared. They won't have the skills to deliver. But if we start with what is my core message? What exactly is it I want to share with these people?

And who exactly are they and where do I find them? And then we need to understand, what skills do I need to develop and what kind of speaker do I want to be? Once these questions are answered, then we're ready for the platform. 

Then we're ready to at least start getting on the stage, talking about skills. 

Susan Friedmann
 What came to mind, Steve, are stories. The importance of using stories. I know that you work very deeply with speakers to prepare them. That's always been a challenge for me is like the story part, how where, when, how many stories talk to us a little bit about that aspect, to the speaking and why that's important.
 Steve Lowell
 Sure. Yeah. Stories are mission critical for most speakers.

And here's the way I approach it. I like to start with one story, one foundational story that represents the point, represents the overall message. And once I know what that story is and the story could be about me, or it could be about a client, or it could be about something else, I've got all kinds of stories about all kinds of things.

 What is the foundational story that represents my message? And then I like to break that story down into three components in its simplest form. And the three components are these.

 I call it conflict, decision, and discovery. The first is what is the conflict of this story? And what I need to think about is the conflict of the story needs to be a conflict that is representative of my audience's condition.

 So I want my audience to be able to relate to me as a storyteller. And one way to do that is to represent a conflict or a problem or a train wreck moment that represents the audience's condition. So the audience can go, you know what?

 That's kind of like me. I can relate to that story. So I'll start with the conflict.

 What is that conflict? And then the next thing that I like to go to is decision. And the decision would be the main character in the story.

 Let's say it's about me. What is the major decision I made within this story that changed the trajectory of the story? And that decision that I'm going to make is going to be representative of the decision I'm asking the audience to make.

 I'm trying to guide the audience's thinking through my story. So the audience is thinking now is they're kind of like this. They're going, yeah, you know what?

I get that. I have a similar situation to that, and then maybe I should make a similar decision. And now they're starting to take my story and internalize it to themselves.

 And they become now less of a passive recipient of the story and more of an active participant because they can make the story their own. They can kind of take me out of the story, put themselves in it. And so we got conflict and decision.

And then the third part of the story is what I call the discovery. And this is like the AHA moment. What was the big lesson in the story?

 Or what was the big outcome, the success? Or even maybe the big failure? How did the story end?

 In a big way, what I'm trying to work through there is to get the audience to think, I want that same outcome, or I want to avoid that outcome. And so, again, it's all about taking the audience by the proverbial hand and walking them through this journey, positioning them so that they can put themselves in it. So when I tell this story, I want the audience to be thinking, yeah, that's kind of like me, and maybe I should make a similar decision because I'd like to have that same kind of an outcome.

 And then with that story, I generally create my signature talk all around that one pivotal story. Then I might use additional, smaller stories as examples in order to prove a point or support something. But I like to craft my signature talk around a specific story.

And that's just one of many ways to use stories. But that's where I usually start. When I'm crafting a talk for myself or when I'm working with a new client, I usually go there.

 Let's find out what is the story. Because oftentimes, as you know, Susan, the story that we find is oftentimes the foundation upon which we've built our message.

 Things happen to us through our lives, and so we start a business because of that, and we start a mission because of that, or we have a purpose or a passion or something because of a part of our story.

 So if we can find that story, that usually forms the foundation of how why the book was written and why the message exists.

 So I like to try and find that story and start there.

 Susan Friedmann
 Yeah, I love that, and I love the way you broke that down so beautifully. That conflict, the decision, the discovery. Then you can fill in the blanks almost with those three things. And what's going through my mind, as you say, that is the importance and you mentioned this earlier of really knowing who your audience is, because then, as you said, if you want the audience to relate to the story, it's got to be something relatable to them. 

You started a business. Maybe they're entrepreneurs and they're starting or they've started a business, you've had something happen, a train wreck, as you say. And so have that. We've all had train wrecks. I mean, I don't know anybody who's in business who hasn't had one. And then how did you overcome that? And then they're looking for your inspiration, motivation to help them with that. That's beautiful. I love also what you said about knowing what kind of speaker you are. I've always said, for instance, for myself, I don't see myself as a motivational speaker. I feel I'm more of an educational speaker. And when people say to me, oh, you're a motivational speaker or you're inspirational. I'm like, I don't see that for myself, but they see it for me. Have you had that happen?
 Steve Lowell
 Most speakers that I work with consider themselves to be educational speakers. So let's back up just 1 second. If I look at it this way, there are several ways that one can position themselves as somebody who has the right to speak.

 And I'll walk them with you very quickly here. We can be one of these or we can be all of these. And the more of these we can be, the better we're positioned.

 So one of those ways is we can position ourselves as what I call the expert. Now, generally an expert is considered somebody who has been there and done that right? So they've earned their superpowers through experience.

 That's what I would call an expert. And then the second one is what I would call a reporter. And a reporter is maybe somebody who hasn't necessarily got the experience.

 They haven't been there, but they have studied it. They've got the PhD. They've got the education and the certification and the training and the knowledge and the wisdom.

 So they're reporting what they've learned even if they have not necessarily done it themselves. So we can be a reporter. We can also be what I call a philosopher.

 A philosopher is somebody who comes and has a unique creative spin on an existing problem. So they're offering something new that maybe the audience hasn't thought about before or offering a perspective that the audience hadn't considered. So you can be a philosopher.

 You can also be an entertainer. And an entertainer is somebody whose function is just to come up there and be funny or just be captivating in some way without a lot of depth to their content. That's a legitimate way to be as well.

 You can also position yourself as the sage. And the sage is sort of the all being master of the knowledge. When we think about what kind of speaker we want to be, one of the things I try and guide my students through is where do you sit in there and which one of those personas kind of rises to the top and which personas support that one?

 And let's see how we can position you first, and then we decide what your function is. Is your function to educate? Is your function to inspire and motivate or whatever?

And then what I always tell speakers is this and if your listeners get only one thing out of our time together today, Susan, this would be a good thing for them to get. And that is an understanding that speaking is rarely about a transference of information. Speaking is about a transference of emotion.

 Now, what I mean by that is this if I can get you to feel about my message the way I feel about my message now, we really have communication. Now, I can educate you, and I can teach you and give you all kinds of great facts and figures and studies and all these cool things, and that might engage your intellect, and that might be fine, and you might walk away thinking, oh, good, I've learned something new. But if I want you to go forth and be more than you were when you came in, I have to get past your intellect and into your imagination, and I've got to be able to change something in you at the visceral level.

 So I can do that as an expert. I can do that as a philosopher. I can do that as a reporter.

 I can do those things. But that needs to be my purpose in being there. So even if we're an educational speaker like you and I are, both, we consider ourselves to be educational speakers.

 And one of the things that you and I and other educational speakers, one of the things that we tend to struggle with the most, in my experience, is over teaching. We teach too much. We get up and we educate too much, and we're only speaking to the intellect, and we don't get past the intellect and into the imagination.

 One of the things that I've learned many years ago is even as an educational speaker, my job is not to transfer information. My job is to transfer emotion about the available information. And then if they want to be really taught, that's where they hire me.

 And that's a fine line to cross. And it's difficult to reach that point for a lot of people. Most people that I meet, they say, I'm an educational speaker, and then they want to get up in front of an audience, and they want to teach their stuff.

 And in most cases not all cases, but in most cases, that is not the best way to captivate an audience. That's not the best way to position yourself as an expert. That's not the best way to grow your business.

 It's not the best way to get booked again. The audience needs to leave more than they were. They need to become more than they were when they came in, in more than an intellectual way.

 Susan Friedmann
 This is hitting home so hard, Steve, because like you, I've always wanted to give information in more and more and more. And, you know, it's like the PowerPoint. There's 50, 60, 70 slides, and it's like, yes, I've given them everything I can give them. But that's a big mistake.
 Steve Lowell
 Well, it is. And it's because of this there's a tipping point between volume and value. And when I say volume, I don't mean loudness. I mean amount of content, right? And there's a tipping point between volume and value. And what I've found is the more volume I give, the more content I give. The value will rise. The perceived value in the audience's mind will rise to the point where they have absorbed all they can absorb. 

 After that, more content or more volume starts to diminish the value. When that line is crossed, when that tipping point is crossed, not only does the value start to diminish, but the previous value that has been installed becomes diminished as well. 

 So we end up doing more damage and finding that tipping point is different for everybody. It took me 20 years to find that tipping point for me, maybe more than that. This is one thing I try and work with speakers as well as let's find that tipping point for you, where, especially if you're an educational speaker, we need to find that tipping point for you where the volume now is starting to diminish the value instead of enhance the value.
 Susan Friedmann
 Yes, it makes so much sense. It's like, how do you find that tipping point? How do you know enough is enough? Do you give three points? Do you give six points? Do you give ten points? What is enough? How do you know that?
 Steve Lowell
 Yeah, and here's the thing. This is how so many people look at it. Is it three points or five points or ten points? And that's not really it at all what it is. It's the achievement of an outcome. And the outcome is you're bringing the audience to a certain point. In most cases, where you want to bring your audience to is a point that's like this. This is the best way I can describe it is when your audience gets to this point where they're thinking like this, in their mind, they're thinking, I've never considered it like that before. Maybe I should do something different. I need to speak to Susan. That's the point. And after that, now we're starting to diminish the value. And the reason we're starting to diminish the value is because we think we're going to give them what they need to solve their problem. 

 Of course, you and I both know that most problems can't be solved in a 45 or 90 minutes keynote, but what we do is we think, I'm going to give them everything they need to solve their problem. Then they walk out the door thinking they have what they need to solve their problem. In reality, they don't. And so we have done a grave disservice by misleading them, thinking that they're going to go and implement everything we just taught them, when they're really not. So the tipping point, it's not about two points, three points, five points. What it's about is a destination for the audience. 

 Can we get them to the point where they have a realization that they have a different perspective on their condition that they hadn't considered before, and they think action needs to be taken and therefore they need to talk to you. That's what we strive for.
 Susan Friedmann
 As you say, that is the tipping point. That's knowing that, and I suppose a lot of it is experienced too as you said, and you admit it too, is the fact that I've given people the farm, everything. This is everything I know. Here, take it. I've done them a disservice because I've overwhelmed them with so much information that it's too much for them to take in. So their heads spinning and what's the action? Often it's none.
 Steve Lowell
 Exactly. And not only are we doing the audience a disservice, but if we're trying to 

grow our business through speaking, then we've done ourselves a grave disservice because we set that audience off with a false expectation that they're going to be able to apply what we've told them in this talk. They're not going to be able to apply what we've told them, but by that time, they're going to go out there, and there's no purpose in their mind for them to engage us. So we've just lost a prospective client.
 Susan Friedmann
 Whoa. This is so much to consider, listeners. You're going to have to listen to this again and again and just really absorb all the wisdom that Steve has shared with us so far. But you're not done yet, Steve. We love talking about mistakes, so let's give maybe one or two of the top mistakes that you see people make. Now, we've obviously talked about one big one, which is over delivering. What else?
 Steve Lowell
 I would think one of the biggest mistakes that I see is trying to be somebody else on the stage or on the platform than you are in real life. And we could go down a whole rabbit hole down in this discussion. But I see so many speakers, especially aspiring speakers, who rely on what I call meaningless stylization. Meaningless stylization is where everything about their presence seems contrived.

And there's all kinds of reasons why that occurred. And one of the reasons why that occurs is because, A, they've been trained to do that. There's a lot of speaking courses and clubs and trainers who teach this theatrical stylized approach. Some speakers have learned that, and so they take that to the stage.

 And that's a big problem because we need your audience to arrive at these three outcomes in their mind. We need the audience to think, first of all, you know what? I feel like I'm understood by this speaker. This speaker gets me.

If there's no understanding between the speaker and the audience, if the audience is sitting there watching a performance, then it's all about the speaker. And the audience hasn't got the opportunity to make that personal connection with the speaker. So we want the audience to think, you know what you get me. You understand me as an audience member.

 That's number one. The second one is we want the audience to feel safe with us as speakers. And generally speaking, when we see somebody giving a performance, then that is a one sided exchange. And we don't always feel safe approaching that person because they feel unapproachable, because they're an act.

 The audience needs to feel safe in approaching us and talking to us. And then the third thing the audience needs to feel is the audience needs to feel like, you know what? We can actually help them. So, Susan, if you're on the stage and if I'm in your audience, I want you to speak to me.

 I don't want you to perform at me. If I want you to perform at me, I'll go watch you on Broadway and do a show. If I want you to perform at me, I'll go to a concert. But when I'm listening to you as a speaker on a stage, I want you to converse with me.

 Even though there's 5000 of us in the audience, I want you to converse with me. And I'm thinking this consciously. This isn't going through my head consciously, but this is what I want as an audience member. I want to feel like, you know what?

 You get me. I'm just like you and you're just like me. We understand each other. And you know something?

 I feel like I could come up and talk to you. I think you've got something that might be able to help me, Susan, if you can get me to feel like that when I'm in the audience. We've got a beautiful opportunity here to work together for us to engage each other beyond the conversation on the stage. So all of that to say this, there's this theatrical, stylized approach that I see a lot of fledgling speakers use.

 One is because they've been taught. Number two, they use this because it's based in fear. So they're afraid to figuratively expose their true self on the platform or in front of an audience. Nerves will do this.

 Anxiety will do this. But we need to be able to get past that meaningless, stylized, theatrical approach because that's really not what a speaker's function is. Now, that doesn't mean we don't apply those skills. If we can be theatrical, if we can be stylized, if we can be artistic, those are beautiful skills to have.

 But they need to be specifically, tactically, strategically, selectively, carefully applied in the stage. So that's a big mistake that I see speakers make. The next piece that I see is speakers often don't have a structure that serves their desired outcome. And probably because so many of them don't even have a desired outcome, they'll get on the stage and I have my 30 minutes to speak.

 So I'm going tell everybody how awesome I am. I'm going to tell them about my book. I'm going to teach them my four pillars to this, my six secrets to that, my five strategies to that. Then I'm going to say goodbye and go, and I will have done a good job.

 And then we make the mistake of thinking that a thunderous applause. We often mistake that for a job well done. And even standing ovations, all speakers want, oh, I want that standing ovation and it's beautiful to get a standing ovation. You've gotten many of them, and I've gotten some, and it makes us feel great, but it doesn't further our professional cause as a speaker.

 It's an ego thing, and it's good and it's great, and it's fun and it's beautiful. And look, I mean, I've got some on video that I use because it's credibility. It's all that beautiful stuff. But what it doesn't do is it doesn't generate business.

 When we are speaking, especially as nonfiction authors, we've got something to sell, something to, even if it's not something to sell, even if we have a mission that we're trying to evangelize and we're trying to change minds or change perspectives or sell an idea or a concept or something.

 We need to be able to have a strategic plan within our talk that takes the audience to that end point.

 And so many speakers don't have that.

 So those are three of the biggest.
Susan Friedmann
 That I was they're great, and I related to them. I was thinking, oh, my goodness, yes. And I remember one of my mentors saying, never be frightened to self-disclose because I would never let anybody in and talk about anything personal. And then at one time I did, and people came to me and said, oh, my goodness, I can relate to that. And that happened to me. I'd never had that before. And so it was beautiful.
 Steve Lowell
 That's it. When you do that, they go, you get me.
 Susan Friedmann
 Yes. So that little bit of self-disclosure doesn't mean you have to pour your heart out or this isn't a therapy session, but just let them know that you're a real person. I think that's beautiful, Steve. That was a great segue, too, for you to tell us how our listeners can find out more about your brilliance and what you offer nonfiction authors and speakers. Take it away.
 Steve Lowell
 It's actually very, very simple. The best way to find out more about what we're up to is just go to my website at SteveLowell.com. Everything that we do is there. We have different programs running all the time for all different levels of speaker, from the fledgling speaker to the seasoned pro and everything in between. And these are always ongoing things there. 

 Every quarter we have a five-day signature talk challenge that we run. We've got two day programs, we've got mentorship programs, we've got books, we've got a membership, we got all kinds of things there. So go to Steve Lowell. From there, you can poke around and get onto my social media channels, and you can find all the different things that we're doing there. So I'm very easy to find. Go to Steve Lowell and start pressing buttons and poke around and see what you can find. Perfect.
 Susan Friedmann
 And we'll put that in the show notes, a direct link to the website. Steve. Make it easy for them. Just press that button. Excellent. And as you know. We love to end off our sessions with a golden nugget from our guests.
 Steve Lowell
 What's your golden nugget for today? I think the golden nugget is what I said earlier, because this is a change in mindset that can really have a profound effect on your presence as a speaker, and that is that understanding as a speaker, speaking is not about a transference of information. Speaking is about a transference of emotion. So if I stand in service as a speaker, my job is not to impress you intellectually. My job is to inspire you emotionally, because emotional inspiration is what's going to cause you to take action. If you take action, then I have served.
 Susan Friedmann
 I think you've struck a nerve there, Steve. Yes. So beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. I'm thrilled that we finally got you on the show, and I think there's plenty of more information that we could have you back again maybe in a few month’s time. That'll be fabulous. Thank you. 

And listeners, by the way, if your book isn't selling the way you wanted to or the way you expected it to, let you and I jump on a quick call together to brainstorm ways in which you can ramp up those sales. You've invested a whole lot of time, energy and money, and it's time you got a return that you were hoping for. Go to brainstormwitsus.com to schedule your free call. And in the meantime, I hope this powerful interview sparks some ideas you can use to sell more books. Until next week, here's wishing you much book and author marketing success.

 Here's how to contact Steve to find out more about the incredible services he offers: https://stevelowell.com/

ATTENTION: Want the key to Master Your Book Success in 2023?
Book Marketing Mastery
is a powerful step-by-step 6-week program that will help you to create and successfully position YOU as a recognized expert authority in a niche market... which will inevitably help you sell more books and make more money.

There are only a couple of spots left
If you want to invest in yourself and your book's success click this link to schedule time with Susan to discuss if this program is a right fit for you.

The program begins on Wednesday, January 11th, 2023