World of Speakers E.03: John Bates | Be responsible for what they hear


Average: 5 (1 vote)

World of Speakers E.03 John Bates  Be responsible for what they hear

Ryan Foland speaks with John Bates, a world renowned expert in leadership and communication, and founder of Executive Speaking Success, a leadership communication service.

Ryan and John share insights about what they have learned about audience engagement, and how to go from being a good speaker to a great speaker, offering practical advice on how to empathize with your audience, and successfully build your speaking business.

Listen to this podcast to find out:

  1. How to stop being nervous so that you can effectively share your ideas
  2. How reframing your perspective to be audience focused will transform your talks
  3. Why getting paid isn’t the be all and end all
  4. What event organizers are really looking for
  5. Top tips for leveling up your audience engagement skills



If you enjoy this interview we’d be honoured if you reviewed us on iTunes. Just follow this link.


Ryan Foland: Ladies and gentlemen we are back, I am back. I am RF, and this is the World of Speakers Podcast. We gather top speakers from around the world, give you an idea of their story, and get advice from them on how to best communicate. Then we dig into the details of things they have learned, or mistakes that they have made when trying to get paid to speak.

Today’s guest I met years ago in New York while we were both speaking at the Green Festival. Since then we have been like brothers, kindred at another level. He is somebody who I not only admire, but respect, and look up to. He is a big reason I started taking speaking seriously.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am honored to introduce my friend and fellow speaker of the world, Mr. JB. How are you doing buddy?

John Bates: I am doing great Ryan, thank you. It is a real pleasure to be here.

RF: I do not think I have ever talked to you when you are not doing great.

JB: I will say a quick word about that Ryan. Because I do not think it is what happens to you, it is what you do with it. I am very cognizant of the fact that there are ups and downs in my life.

I will tell you I am doing great despite the fact that I have an almost one year old baby. It is our first baby, and we do not get enough sleep. But my business is going to the next level, which sounds awesome, but is also terrifying.

My emotional palate is full. There is plenty of stuff in the dark registers, as well as in the light registers. But overall I am great. I am above ground, and I am stoked to be here. All is well.

RF: That is a great point. I always talk about how thoughts become words, and words become things, so think the thoughts that you want. Even if you have had a terrible day, even if you are suffering from a lack of sleep. The ability for you to get in a state where you are like, I am doing good, is a great aspect to keeping a positive aura around you.

Anybody who you hear has met JB would say that guy is awesome. He is positive, he is high energy. I think that is great. I am not saying you are wonderman and have no problems, because we all have problems. But I do appreciate that at least forward facing you always seem to be in a good mood, and that helps everybody out.

JB: I appreciate hearing that. It is a conscious effort. In our talk today I would be really happy to uncover some of the dark things that I have been through that have led to good things. Because I think that breakdowns are the first step in breakthroughs.

Ryan Foland with John Bates - Quote on breakthroughs - World of Speakers Podcast (Blue) _ Powered by SpeakerHub

RF: You have so many great and catchy phrases. One that has always stuck me was your message is in your mess. I love that. But let’s not get too far ahead, because I want people to know who you are. 

What is your story John? 

What got you to where you are now, and what are some of those ups and crazy downs?

JB: Recently on another show somebody said, “John, you have got this cool job. You do leadership communications training. You get to train astronauts, and you get to train C level executives at top corporations like Johnson & Johnson, at places like NASA, and Boston Scientific. How did you get that job?

I thought about that for a second. The honest answer is I failed at everything else I did. I have been an entrepreneur my whole life. I have always had soft skills. I was always envious of all those people around me who had hard skills, because they got paid more money, and they seemed more valuable. It was clear to me what was valued, and I was not that.

I felt I had value, and that I had something to offer. I always went around trying to prove I was valuable, while secretly feeling insecure that I was not valuable. It was just awkward. Then in 2009 I went to a TED Conference, and I saw the difference one person with a well articulated idea could make.

What is really interesting is that was about the time that video was becoming truly viable on the internet.

You had this confluence of affairs, TED with these great speeches, putting them up on the internet so they were available to everyone.

That gave me a new look at what I did.

Because I have always had the soft skills. I have always been the speaker. I have always been the evangelist.

Then right after going to TED I went to one of the very first ever TEDx events in Santa Monica, California.

There was this guy on stage who had all the hard skills in the world. He was talking about something that was very interesting to me, but it was just awful, because he was nervous, he was stammering, looking at his notes, and really uncomfortable.

I think everybody in the audience thought they were going to throw up because he was so nervous.

RF: It was hard to watch his soft skills.

JB: It was so hard. It really detracted from his message. Nobody even remembers what that guy talked about, they just remember how awkward it was. Of course the insecure, evil part of me was sitting there laughing.

RF: Little pinky to the mouth laughing.

JB: Total Dr. Evil right there. But as I was doing that my friend Michael Weiss leaned down and whispered in my ear, “We have got to do something to help people like that.” That was a total lightbulb moment. It was a liminal moment I have never had before.

I got that if I just got over myself, and I got that chip off my shoulder, I could make a difference for someone like that.

I went home and started working on what I now call my signature training.

You have seen some of it, my Speak Like a Leader boot camp.

Because I wanted to reach out to people like that, I based everything I did on human evolutionary biology, and human neurophysiology, which is something I am very interested in. 

I got my degree from UCLA in sociology and social psychology. So, I had been studying that stuff for a long time, but I just never put it together like that.

What turned out really great for me is that when I put together this training, and I based it all on science, I did it because I wanted to speak to people like that. When I tell someone who is an engineer, or someone with the hard skills like a doctor, not only what works in communication, but when I tell them why it works, they are willing to do it.

I base everything on scientific principles.

I do not try to change their style, but I give them the why of good communication.

I say all the time that communicating with human beings is not logical, it is biological. 

But when you understand the biology, you can make it logical again. Anybody who goes in thinking logic will win by itself will lose to somebody who has both.

Ryan Foland with John Bates - Quote on logical communiation - World of Speakers Podcast (Navy) _ Powered by SpeakerHub

RF: That is your classic person talking to the cerebral cortex, versus tapping into the neurology. I think that is so powerful, because science is something that people believe. Versus asking “Who is this John guy?”

You are just a vehicle for communicating what is actually happening to these people. It is powerful. I have seen you take people, literally throw on a drill sergeant hat, and just change into this drill sergeant for your success.

JB: For your greatness. That is right.

RF: I am the drill sergeant for your greatness. This idea where you took soft skills and you saw an opportunity in the marketplace, that people who are brilliant just could not communicate their ideas in a brilliant fashion.

You took your history of science, and an intrigue for philosophy, and made a system, or a boot camp. Essentially that helped people take what they already have, and help them communicate it better.

What then? What did that leave for you professionally? How did you make that jump from there to NASA? I do not want to get into the particulars, but just the story. That way people can understand how you came to this concept.

Because I think other people might be listening going, I was terrible at everything. Now I want to leverage my soft skills, and I see an opportunity for this market. I have got my own bread and butter presentation. Was it an organic movement to where that led you to all these speaking gigs?

JB: I will tell you some of the specific ideas behind what I did. I will preface it all by saying that I have been on the other side of this conversation for the vast majority of my life. Most of my life I had $50,000 worth of debt, and millions of dollars of worthless stock.

I was always jealous of somebody who figured something out and was doing something, because I never figured it out. I would be happy to talk about how that all happened for me. I will preface it up front by saying that it did not look anything like this was ever going to happen for me, until it did. I was in a dark, dark place for a while before I popped out the other side.

The short story is I raised 80-million plus dollars with this dot-com company I had with three other co-founders. Then we went out of business in the dot-com bomb. I almost died of an autoimmune disease that I think was brought on by the stress and lack of sleep.

The big learning for me out of that was that when I was sitting there really not knowing if I was going to live another day, I examined my life. The bottom line is my context was really small. My context was opportunity only knocks once. That you had better succeed, you had better make it. That led to a small life up to that point.

When I walked out of the doors of the hospital I was not well, but I was still alive. I decided I just want to make a difference. No matter what I do, no matter what my title, position, or any of that stuff that I used to think mattered, I just want to make a difference.

The funny thing is when I came upon being a speaker coach, I called a bunch of friends who were people who would hire speaker coaches. I said I have been a speaker my whole life. I think I can make a difference. I have got this boot camp.

RF: That seems like a natural progression.

JB: Then what happened is I called every single one of them. The guy who owns the PR company, the woman who was the head of HR at a big company. 

They all said, “You do not want to be a speaker coach. They are a dime a dozen. That is a horrible job, you do not want to do that. Do not do that, that is terrible.”

That really knocked me back on my heels for a while. There were times during this period where I was thinking I was going to be lucky to get a job as a greeter at Walmart. I was crying so hard that boogers were coming out of my nose.

But I decided I am just going to do it anyway. I do not care if it makes money. I have done this my whole life. I know I have something to offer. I am going to focus on providing value. I do not care about the money.

The funny thing is that for about a year and a half I basically did this for free. 

All of a sudden at about the two year mark things turned around. Year two I made 100 something K. The next year I doubled that plus. The next year I tripled that.

I am on track to make more money than I ever even thought I could make in my life. I think that is because I stopped focusing on making money, and I started focusing on providing value.

RF: That is so key. Because I think a lot of people have this pie in the sky idea. Where if I can speak, I can be that motivational speaker. Or they see somebody come to a conference, and do a keynote.

They are probably just like you were at that TEDx going, that guy is good, but he is not that good. If he can do it, I can do it. There are so many programs out there advertising, saying get paid to speak in 30 days, and stuff like that.

There is this, I do not want to call it a false reality, but I think the reality is what you said, not focusing on the money, but focusing on the value. Whether it is written content or spoken content, that is a theme I am hearing from the speakers of the world that we have had here on the World of Speakers.

I think that is exciting, because if you have value there is an opportunity for you to make money. You do not go out there and just make money. The people I talk to say the first couple of years it is not so easy, it is not like things were coming in.

But there seems to be this multiplier effect, and a tipping point essentially. Where people see you at gigs, and hear about you at gigs. Then you are at gigs, and you get more gigs because of it.

JB: That is exactly how it works. I have got to tell you for that first year and a half I started putting myself out there with my friends. One of my friends is a really great guy who owns a company called NetPop. They do consumer research.

He recommended me to this guy who ran a CEO group in the Bay Area. He called me saying, “Josh recommended you, and he thinks you are a really good speaker. Would you be interested in speaking to our group?” I said, “Sure. Do you have a budget?” He said, “No.” I asked, “Do you have a stipend?” He said, “No.” I asked, “Will you pay my gas money?” He said, “No.” I said, “I will be there.”

RF: Can you just give me some water buddy? What do you have?”

JB: I am like “Free breakfast? I am there.” I just did that over and over again. Then there is the group who out of the generosity of the center of their soul paid me $6,000 to come do three days of training. They flew me out, and put me up. That was the big time.

But those two events happened side by side. It was very uneven. Mostly for the first year I was just putting stuff on my credit cards if I had to.

I said, this is an investment in myself, and my business. I am not going to worry about it for a year. I will start freaking out in a year and a half. I just went for it.

RF: Let us tease everybody for a little bit. I want to know the action items, the things that helped you to land either the free gigs or the speaking gigs. How the referral base works, and your network, and all that stuff. But after we learn about your tips.

I was speaking with somebody else and I asked, what are your public speaking tips? One of their first suggestions was do not call it public speaking, call it professional speaking. I am on the fence about that.

I thought that was a cool distinction, because there is a stigma attached to public speaking. But if you are a professional speaker that almost assumes there is that professional level. Do you have a preference between calling yourself a public speaker or a professional speaker? Have you thought of that difference?

JB: I call myself a leadership communications expert. I speak, I do trainings, I do one on one coaching, I host events, all that stuff.

But I do not necessarily even refer to myself as a speaker. It is good to have a book, or something you have created like that. Because people do not want to hire speakers, they want to hire experts who speak about their expertise.

Ryan Foland with John Bates - Quote on experts not speakers - World of Speakers Podcast (Grey) _ Powered by SpeakerHub

RF: That is a great distinction. They do not want to hire speakers, they want to hire experts who will speak about their expertise, that probably would deliver high value for the specific audience in that room.

JB: Exactly. Listen, if you are a really great motivational speaker, you happen to be a really great public speaker, and you happen to be a really great professional speaker, that is icing on the cake. But you really need to write a book, or make your mark in some way, to position yourself as an expert in something they could have a talk for, not just be a speaker.

RF: I think that is a great distinction. That really speaks to personal branding. I am a big fan of the personal brand, because in a marketplace now with so many speakers and public speakers, you have got to stand out and be known for that one thing.

For me it is the 313. I have got my 313 book. I just spoke in China about the 313, Haiti about the 313. The Leadership Sailing Forum in 2018 is courting me to do the 313 for a bunch of sailors.

JB: Dude that is awesome. Congratulations. I remember when you created that.

RF: You were one of the first people years ago when I was testing it out of the Green Festival.

JB: I love it. Listen, here is another secret. There is a saying among professional speakers, if you will, that it is much easier to find a new audience than to create a new speech.

Ryan Foland with John Bates - Quote on finding a new audience - World of Speakers Podcast (Navy) _ Powered by SpeakerHub

RF: Say that again. This is quotable and tweetable. If you are listening to this I want you to take this quote, and I want you to tweet JB. John, you have got to tell them what your Twitter handle is too.

JB: My Twitter handle is @johnbates.

RF: This is a very tweetable moment. Let’s hear it again.

JB: There is a saying among professional speakers that it is much easier to find a new audience than to create a new speech.

RF: Love it. #badass.

JB: It took me a while to figure out that I was always working to create something new. I realized do not need something new, I just need a new audience. 

Go find a new audience. Then when you do that same talk over and over it will get better. I am going to make a 100 percent certain bet that your 313 talk is much better now than it was at the beginning. Not that it was not good then, but with repetition over time it got better.

RF: It gets better every time. I learn something new every time. It is my proverbial axe I just keep sharpening and sharpening and sharpening. People have no idea the tree that I am going to cut down. But I am just sharpening and sharpening.

JB: What is really interesting too is this is true if you are a business person, and not necessarily a professional speaker. If you have got that story that you tell that really crystallizes your philosophy about business, and how you do business, and customers love to hear that story, tell that story.

As long as it is not to the same person, tell that story over and over again, and that story will get better and better.

Then that will be a key part of your pitch arsenal.

RF: Exactly. We have so naturally slid into this concept. We are at the part of the show where we get your best speaking or expertise communication technology. I wanted to take the word speaker away.

If you had ten minutes to sit down with somebody who paid you 14-million dollars and change to get all of the goodies out of you, what would be the highest level, most impactful thing that is not going to make somebody who is listening feel like they have already heard it before, or somebody who is brand new feel intimidated? What is something that is universal, that is going to make people better at communicating their expertise on stage?

JB: Probably the biggest thing that comes to mind for me because I hear back from people about it the most. They say, John, I will never forget this. I still think about it all the time...

RF: This sounds like a good one. We could do this for 14 million hours. Audience feedback is a great way to filter the information you are sharing. Because as you become more of an expert, you might have your own podcast, and you will have all this stuff to talk about. But filtering the tips you are giving by the highest value feedback from your audience is a very non egocentric way to speak.

That is a very powerful tool, to stand outside of yourself and have almost a metric of feedback. Instead of saying, this is what I think is important you say, people tell me years after I have spoken with them that this has a lasting impact. I love that. What is your universal tip?

JB: I will say it this way. Your speech, your pitch, or any communication you are giving out there is not a presentation, it is a performance. There is a key that comes after this. I am going to explain what I mean, and then you are going to get the real tweetable piece.

It is not a presentation, it is a performance.

Now because I am from LA, whenever I say performance people are like, you mean you are not actually being yourself. I say, no, that is not what I mean. If I present to you Ryan, I have done my job. But in a performance, I am going to think about what your experience is the whole time you are there.

When you walk into a theater there will be beautiful velvet red curtains, statues on the wall, and the paintings on the ceiling, and the music. We chose that music on purpose. For the whole thing I am on the hook for you having a good time if it is a performance.

I realized at a certain point that although I was being responsible for what I said, and I thought that was pretty good, that is stopping early. What I realized is I could not only be responsible for what I said, I could be responsible for what you heard.

RF: That is powerful. You are not responsible as much for the message you are delivering, because that would just be your presentation. You are really putting yourself in the audience, and you are responsible for the way they experience that information.

JB: The whole thing. Listen, I used to be the kind of guy who would say, “I told you, and check the box.” But if you did not get it, that still did not get me the results I wanted, did it?

RF: You could very effectively present the information. But it is not a given that the audience will receive it.

JB: That is right. If they do not receive it, it is no longer their problem, it is my problem now.

RF: I like to make up words. I have a word forming in my head. Instead of a performance, what about a speechformance?

JB: You could say that. It is a speechformance. Because that is what you are doing.

RF: I am going one step further. My brain is working here. What about a speechsperience.

JB: That is even better. I am responsible for your speechsperience.

RF: Or audienceperience maybe. I am responsible for the audienceperience. Feel free to use that, I like that as well. Maybe in your tweetable moment you can use #speechformance, #speechsperience, or #audienceperience. What is a tweetable moment when it comes to this concept here? 140 characters or less.

JB: I would say the tweetable moment is be responsible for what they hear.

Ryan Foland with John Bates - Quote on being responsible - World of Speakers Podcast (Blue) _ Powered by SpeakerHub

RF: Be responsible for what they hear. I love it. #speechsperience. That is one. Let’s pull two more nuggets out of you. What is another one?

JB: I know that you have a lot of people who are really great speakers listening to this.

You have got speakers from all over the world who are very experienced, who are really good at speaking, and who know what they are doing.

Ideal with a lot of those types of people.

Imagine, I am at places like Johnson & Johnson working with some of their top executives. If you do not think those people are good speakers, you are wrong, they are awesome. I do a lot of training for some of the best TEDx events in the world. I have trained TED speakers.

The thing I see most often is people who are worried about whether or not they are good speakers show up, and they have a beginner’s mind. They take the coaching, and they listen, and they are working to get better.

The people who show up that think they are already good speakers do not have beginner’s mind anymore. They are not interested in getting better.

They are just super interested in getting what they want to say out, and that is that. A lot of times they will do the same old schtick that they normally do a TEDx event, and it just does not work. To the really experienced speakers I would say something I take on myself, because I do not think I can push it if I do not eat it myself.

RF: Exactly. You have got to take your own medicine, even if it takes a spoonful of sugar.

JB: That is right. I get coached on a regular basis. I bring beginner’s mind, and I do not know better than my coach. I say “yes sir, may I have another.” That whole idea of this being something like surfing, or golf, or those kinds of things where you will never be as good as you could be, even when you are at the top of your game.

Tiger Woods had two coaches, and he beat everybody, but his coaches could not beat him. At a certain point in his career when he was winning like crazy, they broke down his stroke, and redid it.

He fell behind for a little while, and then came back stronger than ever. That is beginner’s mind. That is somebody who is committed to the craft. As a speaker the minute you give up that commitment you start to turn into that talking head where everybody is wondering when can I get out of here.

RF: How do you get people past that ego spot?

Because if you are already this crazy high level executive, or you have already found success, you are already making money speaking, you are on that tipping point.

How do you say to someone like that “You need a coach.”?

Because it is kind of an ego thing. You might feel like somebody who is at a lower level is coaching you. How do you go about that process? I guess you go to That is where you go first, right?

JB: Well that is one place. Here’s the story. I think people will find their way to whatever it is that is ready for them, and that they need.

Here’s a quick story. I was talking to a guy who knows the coach who coached Kobe Bryant. He told me a story about how Kobe Bryant went to a high school game, and not even a really high stakes, big deal high school game.

He would go to high school basketball games, sit in the back of the bleachers with sunglasses on, and watch the players to see if he could learn any moves. One day he saw this kid do this move. He was like, I have never seen that before.

He went home, and he rearranged his furniture. This guy is the guard, this guy is defending, and he practiced this move. Then he got up the next day, rearranged the furniture again, and practiced the move some more.

When his coach asked him, Kobe, how long are you going to practice that move? He said, until. that is it, he’s just going to keep practicing that move. The moral of the story is don’t ever think somebody can’t teach you something, because they can.

RF: To think of Kobe Bryant going to not fancy high school games to figure out from high school students what the newest and latest grooves are. that is an amazing example when it comes to the beginner mentality of being a top level speaker, but having a coach.

The first two major tips you’ve got. We’ve got this last one here, which I’m excited about. But it’s first as a speaker, or as an expert who is communicating and talking about your expertise, it’s not as much about being responsible for your presentation, as much as it is being responsible for the audience’s experience, and I guess absorption of what your presentation is trying to deliver.

Ryan Foland - Quote on audiences experience - World of Speakers Podcast - (Grey ) _ Powered by SpeakerHub

JB: Yes.

RF: #speechformance. #speechsperience. #audiencenessattainment.

JB: Do you have time for a fast story about that?

RF: Sure.

JB: Here’s how I applied that. I was speaking at a TEDx youth event. They were all in late high school. So of course they’re teenagers, they know everything. How can I tell them anything that is going to matter. But they wanted me to come talk to them about what I wish I would have known when I was your age. Come on Ryan, how many people have told both of us what they wish they would have known, and we just didn’t even hear a word of it.

RF: Right. Because you already know that if you’re a teenager, right?

JB: You already know that.

RF: Kobe is watching my moves.

JB: There you go. I thought about it for a long time and here’s what I decided to do. I went in and I said, “So, you guys are all about 16, 17, 18, right?“ They’re like, “Yeah.” I said, “If somebody half your age came to you, and they said, ‘gosh, I wish you would tell me what you wish you had known when you were my age.’ Do you think you could tell them something that would make a difference for them? Is there anything you know that would make a difference for them? You’re twice their age.”

Of course they’re teenagers so they’re like, “Oh dude, are you kidding? What couldn’t I tell them.” I said “That is true, you really could tell them something. If they listened to you, that would make a big difference for them, right?” They said, “Yeah.

I said, “Well I’m twice your age. I’ve been thinking about things that would make a big difference for you. Do you think there’s any possibility that if you listened to me I could tell you something that would matter?” It was so funny to watch their faces. They were fascinated for the rest of the talk.

RF: Just to think about what you did there. Instead of saying, “This is what I’ve learned so that you can be better.” and having them sitting there looking right through you, or playing on Snapchat. By you making them the hero of that story, for them to think, “I can make a difference.” Getting them to admit that only if their audience listened. Then you flip it on them.

This is a speechsperience inception, because you’re getting them to realize the importance of being responsible for an audience they would have. Inception inside of that, you’re making them eat their own words for you to talk with them.

JB: Exactly. I call it Jedi training. That was a Jedi move I think.

RF: Totally. These are not the drones you’re looking for.

JB: Exactly. I’m going to say something important to you.

RF: You will experience my information in a way that you will listen. that is a great tweetable moment #jedi.

Then you talked about the second point, which was also fascinating.

It’s about having this beginner experience, and not being bashful, shy, or having too much pride to get a coach.

In fact, look at high school students playing basketball to up your game.

JB: Exactly.

RF: What’s a final nugget for how people can better deliver their information. Then we’ll jump into how to use what you know to get the opportunity on stage to practice these things.

JB: Here’s the final one. It’s something probably everybody struggles with to some degree. Some people less now because they are speakers who have done this a lot. But almost everybody that I talk with, including the really good speakers you would never believe suffer from stage fright. It’s that whole thing of fear of public speaking, fear of professional speaking.

Here’s the thing, there’s a key to that that really spins people’s heads around when I tell it to them. Here it is. Who is nervous about? Let’s say, Ryan, you’re about to go on stage, and you’re really nervous. Who is that about?

RF: It’s probably displaced about...I don’t know. I’m ready for a Jedi mind trick right here.

JB: Here’s who that is about, Ryan. If you’re about to go on stage and you’re super nervous, that is all about you.

RF: Right. Exactly.

JB: That is pure narcissism. What are you doing? You are thinking about you. You’re going to get up and try and deliver a message to them.

RF: You’re worried about looking bad. You’re worried about sweating through your shirt. You’re worried about memorizing your speech. You’re worried about lighting.

JB: Oh my god, I might screw up. What if they don’t like me? All that stuff. That is so narcissistic. that is not what you’re there for. Here’s the advice I got from two different sources.

A top leadership trainer, one of the best in the world anywhere, outside of the military, told me: “John, if you get up on stage and you have your attention on yourself, then you have your attention on a minor ball of petty concerns that is of no real interest to anyone but you.” Ouch, but that is true.

RF: Did she slap you across the face right afterwards?

JB: It felt like it. But she loved me.

Then she said, “However, if you get up on stage, and you have your attention on the audience, and you have your attention on the difference you’re going to make for them, and the difference that is going to make in their lives because of it, now you’ve got your attention on something worth thinking about.

Ryan Foland with John Bates - Quote on attention on the audience - World of Speakers Podcast (Navy) _ Powered by SpeakerHub

RF: I love it. that is a hashtag, tweetable there.

JB: Here’s the tweetable part Ryan. I got the exact same advice from none other than Snoop Doggy Dogg who just said it differently. This was when he was the Dogg, I’m not kidding. He said “Don’t be nervous, be at their service.

Don’t be nervous, be at their service

RF: For people who are going to tweet that out you definitely have to tag @johnbates, and you have to tag Snoop Dogg, and you have to tag me.

JB: @snoopdogg, that is right.

RF: I want to be in a tweet with John, Snoop, and Ginger MC altogether. that is awesome.

JB: Don’t be nervous, be at their service. That is fundamental.

RF: It is fun to get paid to speak. What are some of the things that you learned or could deliver to people who are younger, older, or anybody who is in a similar path to you but maybe not at the same spot?

I know we talked earlier about getting gigs, even if they’re free. But what are some other core things that would be exciting for somebody to learn who’s either just beginning, or on their way?

JB: I think that there is a fundamental value to just going out and speaking. I don’t care where you speak. Go speak to the Lions Club, go speak to mothers with toddlers.

It doesn’t matter. Even if you think you’ve got this message for executives, and the mothers with toddlers want to invite you to go speak, go talk to them. Just go do it.

The fundamental thing is to take your message to anyone who will listen, and just share it over and over and over. When I was doing that for free for so long, I was really worried about should I give them my best stuff or not. I very quickly decided, you’ve got to give them your best stuff. Either don’t do it, or give them your best stuff. It will pay you back at some point.

RF: Versus the mentality of getting the opportunity and not giving them all of your good stuff because you’re maybe not getting paid, or you want to hold something back.

JB: Exactly. If you do that, then they’re just going to think you’re not that good. But if you give them your best stuff they’ll think you must have something better.

RF: Right. If you bring your best stuff they’re going to assume you have something better. Because everybody is not going to assume that you’re going to leave everything out on the floor. I like that.

JB: If you give your best stuff you will have more, because you’re the one who knows how to implement, and dig deeper, and all of that. Just give them your best stuff. Go speak to anyone who will have you.

There is a guy I think is phenomenal that I would like to turn you onto as well.

I coach people in their speeches, and their presentations. I mentor executives, and I do one on one executive coaching and all that kind of stuff. But this guy is an absolute genius when it comes to the business of speaking. He has made an enormous difference for me. He has got this thing called the Big Money Speaker Boot Camp. His name is James Malinchak, and I highly recommend him.

The funny thing is he does this speaker boot camp, and it’s practically free.

It’s four days of some of the best information I have ever heard about the business of being a speaker. One of the things I love about that is when I went and saw his boot camp for the first time. I’ve been a couple of times, it was that good.

I was like, oh my god, this is what I’ve been trying to do. Give my best stuff away, and just know that it will somehow pay me back. It was a really nice way to feel that what I was doing was the right thing, because I saw what he was doing here. It’s four days, and it costs $97.

RF: You’ll have to make an intro, and I’ll get him on the show.

JB: I would be happy to do that. I think you’d love to have him. I think he’d be happy to do it.

RF: The point is you get the speaking opportunities, but then you give everything you have, you give your best, even if you’re not able to charge for it.

Look at the way you just talked about this guy.

That is priceless. When you’re out there giving all this value, and people that you don’t know, when they edify you like that, that is huge. that is liquid gold right there.

Ryan Foland - Quote on giving your best even if free - World of Speakers Podcast (Blue) _ Powered by SpeakerHub

JB: It is. He has no idea I’m saying this about him. Obviously people said nice things about me, and I had no idea. I just got a call out of the blue and they’re like, “Will you come work with us here?

RF: This has been a lot of fun. We started the whole thing off saying we’re in a good mood, but this conversation has put me in a good mood. Because you’re somebody who failed at everything, and ended up speaking, tapping into your college education of interest in psychology, and physiology, and the human body as a science.

You were inspired by seeing, one, amazing talks at TED. Then you saw a not so good talk at TEDx and you’re like, I’ve got this. I can use science to teach these people how to better communicate. Not change their messaging, or their personality, but just give them those fundamental tools. that is given you the opportunities to work with NASA, with Johnson & Johnson.

Anybody who wants to see these adventures, you need to follow John on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook. He shares his stories. If you want to see what the inside of NASA looks like when you’re going to speak there one day, definitely check him out.

Then the advice that you just gave here today, and much more. If people want to find more resources. Because I’m telling you, there’s the messes in your message, and your light saber fighting, all these core messages. Where do people go to get the value from you after the show?

JB: There are a few different places. It all basically starts at my website Executive Speaking Success, and that is a long website, but hopefully you’ll find it worth it. I’ve got some blog posts there.

I also write for Inc. Magazine. My first article there was “How I blew my first TED talk”, which is very embarrassing to me to this day.

But it was one of the most transformational experiences of my life, because I just learned so much from it.

I’ve written about training the astronauts at NASA there. I’ve written about pitching from an ice hole in Finland.

If people go to Inc. Magazine, and just search John Bates, there are some articles there.

There are also articles on my blog at Executive Speaking Success.

It’s very easy to reach me from my website too.

So if anyone wants more information, or wants to reach out, that is how they can find me.

RF: Johnnie, this has been amazing. I’m looking forward to seeing you again soon. Keep up the great work man.

We look forward to sharing this message with the world. I think if somebody listened to this podcast, it could literally help change their outlook, which could change their life, which could change their path, and they too could be featured here sometime at the World of Speakers. Because you’re making an impact on the world. The day you walked out of that hospital, brother I’m telling you you have, and you are, and you will continue to make that difference. I am proud of you.

JB: Thank you. That means a lot to me Ryan.

I want to congratulate you too. I accept your compliment. I want to not just return it, but give you a separate distinct compliment. I have watched you from when I met you at Blackstone, even before the Green Festival. that is where we got to know each other.

You were still working it out with everything you were up to. You were enthusiastic. You clearly want to make a difference, and you do. I’m really proud of you. Because I’ve watched you grow into this, and take things on over and over.

that is the other thing. When I say just do it, look at Ryan. You just did it over and over. Then all of a sudden you’re MCing at the Ideas Festival. Then all of a sudden you’ve got this podcast.

RF: Thanks man. You’re a big inspiration for all that starting. We will see you at the next podcast. Check them all out. For anybody who wants to improve their public speaking, or their professional speaking, World of Speakers is your deal.


A bit about World of Speakers

World of Speakers is a weekly podcast that helps people find their own voice, and teaches them how to use their voice to develop a speaking business.

We cover topics like: what works versus what doesn't, ideas on how to give memorable presentations, speaking tips, and ideas on how to build a speaking business.

Connect with John Bates:

Did you enjoy the show? We’d love to know! Leave us a review on iTunes by following this link.

Listen to more interviews with expert speakers.


Average: 5 (1 vote)


See also:

  • World of Speakers E.94: Maura Sweeney | Be Authentic, Be You
    World of Speakers podcasts

    World of Speakers E.94: Maura Sweeney | Be Authentic, Be You

  • World of Speakers E.93: Robert Knop | Spreading the word
    World of Speakers podcasts

    World of Speakers E.93: Robert Knop | Spreading the word

  • World of Speakers E.92:  Max Branstetter & Eric Sim | Starting a Podcast
    World of Speakers podcasts

    World of Speakers E.92: Max Branstetter & Eric Sim | Starting a Podcast