Do you want to know how to share your expertise with the world?
Listen as David Rosenberg shares his savvy tips and techniques to help you be an amazing keynote speaker.
Do you want to know how to share your expertise with the world?
Listen as combat decorated veteran, David Rosenberg shares his savvy tips and techniques to help you be an amazing keynote speaker.
In this week's powerful episode "How to Share Your Expertise with the World" you will discover...
And a whole lot more...
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 Dave Rosenberg. Dave is a combat decorated veteran who flew the Navy's first mission to Operation Desert Shield by accident. Over the 25 years since leaving the Navy, Dave owned and ran multiple companies before starting Locked on Leadership, a consulting firm specializing in developing radically accountable high performing teams.
Dave is a speaker and the author of Locked on Leadership: The Tactical Business Guide to Creating a Culture of Consistency, Courage, and Caring. A dear friend and National Speakers Association colleague, Dave, what an absolute pleasure it is to welcome you to the show. And thank you for being this week's guest expert and mentor.
David Rosenberg: Well, Susan, thank you so much. I'm so looking forward to this. Thank you for inviting me.
Susan Friedmann: Dave, your focus is on keynote speaking, which I know is an area that many of our listeners are really keen to know more about, the ins and out of how do you actually get into this profession. So let's dig and find out more about what it takes to be a good keynote speaker. In fact, let's even start with that question. What does it take to be a good keynote speaker?
David Rosenberg: The obvious answer of course, is you need to be comfortable on the stage. That's number one. And I don't mean you can't suffer from stage fright, but you have to be able to overcome that enough so when you get up on stage, you can engage your audience and have a conversation with them and present in a very natural way.
Susan Friedmann: And I think in this day and age, that whole idea of being natural and authentic comes over. That's essential. Would you agree with that?
David Rosenberg: Absolutely. Some of the first advice... In fact, I was just talking to another very successful keynoter just before this call. You may know Stan Phelps. And the conversation moved to one of the first things I learned when I went to my first National Speakers Association meeting, as I started on this journey was that if you're not the same person onstage as you are offstage, that's going to be a huge red flag really, really quickly.
And the moment they talk to you... Because what happens is you get off the stage, and if you've done any sort of half-decent job, most people are so terrified of speaking in public that people come up to you. They say, thank you. You did a great job. Blah, blah. If you're a different person, they're going to know that right away. It's going to leave a sour taste in their mouth. Your credibility has just gone out the window, and you really dug yourself a deep hole.
Susan Friedmann: I think that's really essential, this idea of, as you rightly say, being that same person on the stage and off the stage. You talk about feeling comfortable and obviously confident to do this. Are there some tricks that you've used in the past and maybe you even continue to use to stay confident and to stay comfortable up there on the stage?
David Rosenberg: Yeah, absolutely. One of the things I've heard over the years, and I've been speaking long before I became a professional speaker. I actually started in theater as a kid, so I was on stage as a relatively young child. Not professionally, but amateur theater.
In the military, of course we did presentations. You do briefings and they go from your squadron all the way up to air wing and larger. My career, my career path has had me in front of people and every time I get excited. And this is really important. Not nervous, excited.
Physiologically, there is no difference between being nervous and being excited. It's how we frame the energy we're feeling. If you're getting nervous, tell yourself you're excited. It feels the same way. I only get concerned when I'm not excited before I get onstage, because then I'm worried about how much energy I'm going to bring, because if you're not energetic up onstage, if you're not giving it out...
What's that song, every drop of energy I try to give away. Turn the Page, right? Bob Seger, I think it is. If you're not giving away from the stage, people aren't going to feel you, right? So I want what some people will call stage fright. For me, it's just that pre-game energy, that pacing energy. And so I will inculcate that somehow. I'll shadow box. I'll do whatever it takes to get my blood going or my blood pumping, so when I hit that stage, I'm giving out a thousand percent.
Susan Friedmann: And I've heard that before, that the stage fright it's even good to know that. I mean, somebody like Sir Laurence Olivier, the famous actor, he always said how he suffered from stage fright. But as soon as he just walked on that stage, he took on the role that whatever he was going to play. Now, in a sense, you are playing a role here as a keynote speaker. Would you agree with that?
David Rosenberg: Yes and no. It's much like acting in that sense. I think in the beginning, it feels like a role. This is, I think, one of the really things that keep a lot of people away from it. It feels like a role. There's a bit of that imposter syndrome. Am I really up here? Is what I'm saying really important?
As you get better and more used to it, and you realize that yes, what you're saying is important and people want to hear it, you start to become a little more authentic. So in a sense, I think as you're more established and get more comfortable onstage, it's less of a role and more of just being you. Having said that, and this is the paradox, you have to treat it like a stage performance, especially if you are prone... And you know what? Not even if you're prone, because I'm not prone, as I said, to stage fright. It's not stage fright for me. It's energy I want to inculcate, but I want to make sure I start off right. So in my mind, I'm rehearsing just that opening line over and over again, make sure I hit that really hard, hit it really well. And I know once I get it going, it'll be fine. So in that sense, it's a role.
Susan Friedmann: You talk about knowing that first line, which I've heard is essential. The first line, how you open and how you close are two, almost like the bookends that you need to know exactly how that's going to work. Because as you rightly say, it's setting the stage, and then the end, it's bringing closure to everything that you've done. So other than learning those bookends, what other preparation do you do prior to a presentation?
David Rosenberg: I'm an extemporaneous speaker. There are speakers I know who are very good and extremely successful, and they write a script, and they memorize a script, and they treat it as a play or a movie where they are saying their lines. They know those lines inside and out. Their goal is the same, exactly as written.
I consider myself a subject matter expert. And I think for many of our aspiring speakers, that's number one is understand your material. Understand your material so well that you don't have to worry about what comes out of your mouth because you know it's going to be accurate and good. That's number one.
And so for me, I want to know what are the points I want to hit. What's the outline? How am I going to get there? I'm not gravely concerned about how I get there, other than timing. And this is the piece, I think, as a speaker where my biggest challenge is I can go on for hours. I can do the same keynote for 90 minutes or 45 minutes.
Think about that for a second. If I'm not working off of a script, it's easy to get lost. So when I rehearse, I'm rehearsing to the timing. And that helps me give a better sense of where I need to be at what time. So 10 minutes before I should be off the stage, I'd better be going into my closing story, because I know it's an eight to 10 minute closing story. In order to be at my closing story 10 minutes before, I need to hit this particular story 20 minutes before. Those are the sort of things that I do in rehearsal.
Susan Friedmann: What that brings up for me, Dave, is that you're at the whim of the meeting planner. And let's say that somebody prior to you speaking has gone on too long, or for some reason they have to cut things short or the meeting is running over and you are the last speaker on the stage. And they say, well, Dave, I know you were meant to give a 60 minute presentation, but we've only got 30 minutes. What would you do in that situation?
David Rosenberg: I would do a 30 minute killer, killer keynote. But here's what you need to know. You need to know how long each section is. What am I going to cut out? And these are sort of things in rehearsal that you can do. I know, for example, my opening story is 10 minutes. My closing story is 10 minutes. If I am only given 30 minutes, I'm going to make one point. In that opening story, I'm going to make one point. I'm going to make it really well. Whatever that story is, I can modify it. I can play it by ear. So that second story or that major point is a 10 minute filler, and then I'm going to go into my closing story. Bam, 30 minutes, done.
If I'm given 45 minutes, I can either make two or three really short poignant points in between, or one really long point. And it really depends on who my audience is, what the outcome I want. So this is all part of what you need to do in preparation is understand what the outcomes are.
Susan Friedmann: And let's go back to that. You say depending on your audience, what kind of preparation do you do prior to going in front of that particular audience?
David Rosenberg: One of the things I do consistently time and time again, that I recommend everybody do, is find out who the key stakeholders in whatever organization it is that you are presenting for. So if you're presenting to an association, typically it's the board members. If it's a corporation, whoever the... Again, depending on what level in that corporation, but whoever the top key stakeholders are, find out who those stakeholders are and then interview them, trying to elicit their stories that illustrate your key points. And then weave that story in to your keynote at some point. You might say something. So for example, I was talking with Susan Friedman and she shared with me how she does this in order to inspire her team members or whatever it is. Right? And you share a little piece of their story or a little piece that shows you know their business, not like they do, right? You don't ever want to come up like I'm the expert in their business, because you're not. But I love to know... You say, listen, I've learned about your business and here's how it relates to you.
Susan Friedmann: Yeah, that's so key, because then they feel that you understand them better. Maybe you're one of them. So there's that empathetic side to your delivery. I love that. Always love to talk about mistakes, Dave. What are some of the mistakes, not necessarily that you've made, but you can absolutely share some of the big mistakes you might have made in your career. But what do you see, often keynote speakers, mistakes people make?
David Rosenberg: I'll tell you the biggest mistake I made in my career. And this was an early mistake. My initial keynote that I created was a how-to. It was a "here's how you transform your teams." And I got really specific, knew how to do it. It's almost like a lecture. And for a keynote, that's too much of a deep dive. And people, they nod their heads and they write down notes and it's nowhere near as dynamic or as interesting as a... Not so much how to, but what to.
So I think that was my number one mistake. As I got better, I changed the keynote, and it's much better received with a what to do, not a how to do. And there's a distinction there.
Number two is stories, stories, stories. You illustrate your point with a story, with an amusing story, and don't worry about the detail. Let the story show your point. And I see a lot of... I shouldn't say a lot, but I've seen keynoters who don't tell a lot of stories, and frankly, it just gets old. We are wired to learn from stories. Reading, writing only became ubiquitous really in what? Probably the last 200 years of human civilization, where everybody is doing it? We've been around for 300,000 years. Most of our lives, we've learned through stories.
Susan Friedmann: It's interesting that you bring that up, because I was exactly going to ask you about the whole idea of obviously being a good storyteller, and you hit the nail on the head. So thank you.
And it's interesting that you talk about the mistake that you made, the how-to, and that's actually why I preferred doing training programs, because give me a three hour or a three day training program to do, and I'm in my element. Give me 40 minutes on the stage and I'm like, ah. So keynote speaking wasn't for me, and I never wanted it to be, because I knew that I was much or of a trainer teaching the how-tos rather than doing the storytelling and the what to dos and having three points. I need to have far more than that when I do a training program.
David Rosenberg: Absolutely. And just like a training program from the stage as a keynoter doesn't go over well, a keynote from the training floor, you're just sitting in a classroom of 10 to 40, or even 50 a hundred people, but it's supposed to be a training. And if all you do is keynote and give them big picture stuff, people are going to leave with a sour taste in their mouth.
Susan Friedmann: One of the questions that I get a lot, Dave is how do I get a speaking gig?
David Rosenberg: Yeah, I'm an old fashioned sales guy. I learned sales decades ago and I did it by picking up the phone and just dialing. And that's... I still do that today. I make calls every single day. I go for associations. That's my target market at this point in time. And I'm using word of mouth to get into corporations. That doesn't mean you can't cold call corporations. It's just more of a challenge to find out whom to call there. It's a lot easier at the association level.
And so you need to know who your audience is. It's like any other marketing. Who's your audience? Who's your avatar? Who exactly do you want to get to? And you cannot get too specific there. You can be too broad, but you cannot be too specific. Once you understand who that person or people are, what they look like, what are their challenges, what are their needs, create your marketing material that speaks to that needs and how you answer that, how you fix that, how you help them achieve whatever it is they're looking to achieve.
And then just start sending emails, picking up phone calls, picking up the phone, making your calls, and presenting yourself as a speaker. And ask them if they want you to speak. I would recommend if you're really new to speaking, just to get comfortable with your message. Do the free circuit. All the rotaries and the service clubs and chamber of commerce, anybody who's looking for speakers. There's a lot of people who want speakers who don't have a budget for it. It will enable you to hone your message, hone your skill.
And if you are lacking in confidence... I don't mean completely, but you're not quite sure how well your material's going to be received. I know I wasn't when I created mine. It was like, is this really new stuff? I mean, this seems so obvious to me because it was based on my life's experience. What I found is that yeah, my life's experience, but nobody else had it. So it was my perspective and people appreciated it. And that created some confidence in me to then get into larger and larger audiences.
Susan Friedmann: And that's so important. I remember the advice when I first got into to the speaking business as well, is just do freebees, as many as you can, because this is one of those professions that you learn by doing. It's not that you can pick up a book and read and learn from the book. You actually have to physically do it, do it, and do it again, and just keep doing it.
David Rosenberg: The other of thing we have now that we didn't have 10 years ago is very easy to video ourselves now, with every computer having a webcam. Even if you can't get in front of a live audience, record, stand up in your office wherever it may be and pretend it's a stage. I do this for rehearsal and go through it as if it's live. Don't let yourself stop if you stumble. Go through it as if it's live. Block it out, meaning I'm going to walk here. I'm going to walk there. Pretend there's an audience in front of you and look people in the eye, even if it's just your desk. Pick your book and look at that while you make one point and look at another book if you make another point. Even that's going to help.
Susan Friedmann: What do meeting planners require these days in terms of a one sheet or a video? I mean, what are they asking you for when you apply to speak?
David Rosenberg: It's all over the map, to be candid with you. There's no set formula. But I think any speaker is going to need to have not necessarily a one sheet. You and I were talking beforehand. I just created a one sheet. It's actually two pages. So is it really a one sheet? It wouldn't be on one sheet of paper if I actually printed it out, but nowadays everything's digital.
Before that, I had a 10 page brochure because I had more programs to offer. I went down to a one sheet. I'm not sure it makes a big difference because it's digital anymore, but a professional brochure in digital format. They're going want to see testimonials, absolutely want to see testimonials. You should have a demo reel, a sizzle reel, to start. At some point, as you speak more, get video of every single engagement, or as many as possible. And I put up the raw unedited, not made fancy. That's on my YouTube page. Somebody wants to see me speak. Let them see me speak. I shouldn't be afraid of that. If I'm not doing a good job, I'm not going to get a lot of gigs anyway. Let them see me speak. And so the sizzle reel is marketing. The reality I think is, they love to see, okay, what's he going to sound like onstage?
Susan Friedmann: Yeah. And that's very much so, because otherwise every speaker looks the same on paper. The puffery sometimes of what they think about themselves or what other people might say, as you say the testimonials. But at the end of the day, it's what do you sound like? Have you got the energy? Do they think that you're going to appeal to their audience? That's key.
Dave, this is fabulous information. And listeners, I hope that you're taking notes because David shared some real gems here, I want you to know. Dave, if somebody wants to get hold of your book and find out more about Locked on Leadership, because that's your brand, so how can they do that?
David Rosenberg: Well, my web page is lockedonleadership.com. L-O-C-K-E-D-O-N leadership.com. It's funny. I've learned that my Philadelphia accent, they don't hear the beginning. Leadership, the hardest, the longest word there. I don't have to spell that out. But lockedonleadership.com, and my book Locked on Leadership is available on Amazon.
Susan Friedmann: And I'll put a link to that in the website, on the show notes as well. Thank you. And Dave, I know that we're going to go into our premium member site after studio, after this. And you're going to share some juicy insider secrets there that, before I let you go on this side of the studio, we always like to leave with a golden nugget. So what would you like to leave our listeners with?
David Rosenberg: You don't need to be all things to all people. In fact, you can't be. Right? So understand who your market is. It's not about saying yes, oh, I could do this. I could do this. I could do this. I'm in leadership. You think okay, do you want to talk about communications? Yes. I could do communications. You want to talk about emotional intelligence? Yes, I could do emotional. Right? Those are all leadership topics. Those aren't my topics. I don't do those. If somebody wants somebody to talk about communication, I refer them out. If somebody wants to know about accountability, I'm all over that. Be really specific.
Susan Friedmann: And that's really wise, because you've got a lot of competition out there. Leadership's a big topic as you rightly say, but it can be divided down into lots of more niche topics and knowing that niche for yourself and what you know you are good at and you know who your target audience is, is brilliant. So thank you. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. And thank you, listeners, for taking time out of your precious day to listen to this interview. And I sincerely hope that it sparks some ideas you can use to sell more books. Here's wishing you much book and author marketing success.