World of Speakers E.104: Vivian Acquah | Play the PR Game


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World of Speakers E.104

Ryan Foland speaks with Vivian Acquah, also known as the inclusive Workplace Wellness Advocate. She is committed to workplace wellness & DEI.

In this episode of our podcast series, Ryan and Vivian talk about carrot cake as an analogy for DEI, how to activate people and bring them into a certain story funnel, and the importance of having access to tools as a public speaker.

Tune in for an interview full of ideas and tips on how to use social media in different ways and learn how to play the PR game.

Listen to the interview on iTunes or Soundcloud.

Subscribe to World of Speakers on iTunes or Soundcloud.


Welcome to the World of Speakers podcast, brought to you by SpeakerHub.

In each episode, we interview a professional speaker and reveal their very best tips and tricks. 

You'll learn to improve your presentation skills, keep your audience engaged, and learn how to grow your business to get more gigs and make more money.

Here's your host, Ryan Foland.

Ryan Foland: Ahoy, everyone, and welcome back to another episode of the World of Speakers, where we go across the world to find speakers that you can meet, that you can learn from, that you can be inspired by. 

And today's speaker is coming to us live, well, live now, but when you listen to it, she was already here. 

This is Vivian Acquah. She's not only a speaker, she's a facilitator when it comes to DEI conversations, and she's known to inspire people to take action. So we're going to take some action today.

Ready, set, action. 

The show is going. 

How are you doing today, Vivian?

Vivian Acquah: I'm doing well, and thank you for having me, Ryan. Really excited.

Ryan Foland: Yeah. Well, it's great to have you here. I love meeting new people. I love talking with speakers and speakers usually like to talk, so there's no shortage of conversation.

Vivian Acquah: Definitely not, not with this speaker.

Ryan Foland: No. No. Instead of reading off your accolades in your bio, I'm a little bit more old school and I would just rather assume that we are on an island somewhere around a campfire, and it's story time. So if you were to share or pick a story from your past that shaped you, what would that story be, and bring us there so we can get to know you a little bit.

Vivian Acquah: The most impactful thing that happened to me, that really shaped my life, and also the life that I'm living now, was me finding out that I'm becoming a mom. This is the most joyous news that I heard. Unfortunately, though, when I shared the news in the early stage with my then managers, I was working for a small company with at least five managers who were all bosses, and I shared it in the early stage because I wanted to prevent the gossiping when I had to leave because of sick leave, and I had a lot of morning sickness. And I had five managers and five different reactions, but the majority was... It wasn't positive. So they started bullying me, which is a stress that no new parents should have. All pregnant parents should never go through what I went through, but-

Ryan Foland: Well, even not pregnant parents, no one should be bullied at work, but okay.

Vivian Acquah: True, true. But people don't know that becoming pregnant is not just a one-time thing or it's just an easy fix. So not that I had any problems in that department, but still I could have lost my child because of this whole bullying thing. And my midwife warned me, like, "You need to make a decision because you have high blood pressure now, and if you don't change that, it will not only hurt you, but it will hurt your unborn child." And that for me was... Some people tap you on the shoulder, some people whisper something in your ears, and this was the slap in my face that I needed to walk away and really rethink, and reflect on what's important to me. And my son is important, my well-being is important, and I left for early maternity leave. 

Luckily, nothing happened to my son, but once my son was born, I made a decision saying that I want to be part of a solution that prevents toxic workplaces from happening. This is my promise, my pledge, my commitment to my child.

I want to be part of the solution because I cannot be part of finger-pointing anymore. I cannot blame others anymore. I have to be part of that conversation. And this is the start of planting a seed of the work that I do for DEI. So my son has a huge role in that. Just as a reference as a disclaimer, he doesn't own the copyrights for my work because I did put in the hard work. Maybe he's going to listen back to this conversation, and think like, "Okay, you need to pay me back." I will definitely contribute to something, but it's my creativity. It's my thing. And also being through the workplace with dealing with so many isms, being the only one, being tokenized. Dealing with so much stuff that some people have not dealt with and some people should not be dealing with. I want to be part of the change. That's my main drive.

Ryan Foland: Okay. Well, I heard a few P's in there. I heard that you personally experienced this problem and it resulted in you making a promise, not only a promise to yourself, but a promise to your family, this is something-

Vivian Acquah: And the future generation as well, yeah.

Ryan Foland: You've made a pledge. So you've pledged to make this part of your purpose, and that has to do with a lot of planning. You did talk about how at one point it might pay back, which we can talk about at the end and how this has become a business for you. And then essentially this is something that is now a big part of your life. 

Do you think that this instant was the straw that broke the camel's back? Have you been experiencing this type of... Whether it's marginalism or tokenization or whether it's bullying, I'm assuming this isn't the first instance of it, is that correct?

Vivian Acquah: No, it wasn't the first instance, but it was... I think the intrinsic motivation was my son and for my son to be indirectly hurt by what was caused by people who weren't that important to me. They were my employers, and my managers, but I don't see them as my God. I don't see them as anything to me. So my son is my everything. And the moment that I made that connection where they might be hurting my child, my future child, my unborn child. Mind you, there are people out there that go through a lot of ish in the workplace and isms, and it can cause to them lose their child. It can cause them to end up in depression, I also had postpartum depression because of this... 

Because of what happened I lost my identity because of what they were doing to me and realizing... Becoming a mom, there comes a whole new power, there comes whole new energy, and that energy was the drive for me to change my story, to change the narrative.

Ryan Foland: Mama bear. Don't mess with a mama bear.

Vivian Acquah: No.

Ryan Foland: Now here at the World of Speakers, we talk with speakers and typically people solve problems with the words that they choose to use. And I want to know a little bit more about, have you always identified as a speaker, has speaking been something that's been a go-to problem solver for you, or was this catalytic moment something where speaking just became a natural route for you to flex? Tell me about that.

Vivian Acquah: So my speaking journey was... I'm born and raised in the Netherlands by the way, in Amsterdam, and I always dreamt of becoming the next Oprah in my own way or becoming a public speaker that is known on all these YouTube platforms and channels, but I wasn't ready, and at the time I was speaking a little bit Dunglish, so I wasn't that... Dutch English. I wasn't that.

Ryan Foland: Did you Dunglish?

Vivian Acquah: Dunglish.

Ryan Foland: I did not know Dunglish.

Vivian Acquah: It's a word. Dutch English, mixing Dutch words with English, or pronouncing Dutch words in the English way. So when you look up Louis van Gaal you'll see how worse it can get, but I wasn't that worse. I mean, I know my way of talking English, but I wasn't that confident yet. So what I did was do a lot of speaking engagements, but also eventually started my own podcast because I knew I had to train my muscle. I had to become confident. And the more I talk to people, the more confident I became. And now when a client is approaching me, I'm just already thinking like, "Okay, this is what you need to say. This is what you need to do. This is..." And when somebody's talking to me, my brain is already going to the moon with everything that I can ask them because I have my own podcast, now I know what questions to ask, but also now I know how to make people feel comfortable, but also how to activate people and bring them in a certain story funnel so that they become active into their commitment.

Ryan Foland: I love that idea of a story funnel. I mean, life is all about stories, the stories we tell each other, and the stories we tell ourselves, right?

Vivian Acquah: Exactly.

Ryan Foland: So let's tap into what you know. Let's share some of the goods. Let's share what you think are maybe the most impactful speaking tips that you've learned. And there's a lot of our listeners who are around the world, and maybe English isn't their first language, maybe they associate with that as a challenge. 

There are a lot of different threads that we can pull here. But I'm going to help you go a mile deep than an inch wide. So typically people say, "engage your audience or use this or that." So let's dive into the more unconventional or the nitty gritty. What are some of the things that you can share with us that helped make your story funnel come to life?

Vivian Acquah: It helped me to know how to play the PR game. So you can use LinkedIn to do that, to share what happened in your day or what happens with a client and share your story with that and use social media in different ways. 

So you don't always need to have a video. Even though I do from time to time, I do LinkedIn Lives or other things. I am more of a storyteller via words using words. And you don't always have to write a book to become a storyteller. So that's one of the things that I can definitely share. Find somebody who can help you, train you, and help you in crafting your story. What is your story? Because when I started out, I did not know how to own my story.

Ryan Foland: All right, so we got two that we're going to chase down here at the moment. So when it comes to social media and the PR game, you also mentioned this idea, which sounded like a slice of life, so sharing with people what you're up to. There are a lot of different strategies when it comes to LinkedIn, especially for speakers. Give us a little bit more about your particular strategy. Are you one who's updating a combination of personal and professional? Is there a certain ratio that you stick to?

Vivian Acquah: I mix it up because I am personal and professional and what people need to know about me, it's a warning that I always share with my clients, I always warn people when they work with me and I always warn my followers as well within at least one month or maybe two months, I will mention that I am a foodie. 

So I might be talking about carrot cake, I might be talking about barbecue, I might be talking about spices. I might share that change needs to marinate. And people seem to click about that. They understand the words that I use to convert my story, but also to make it more digestible for them because I cannot give them an all-you-can-eat buffet when it comes to DEI. What I am doing is providing baby food of DEI so that they can digest it better. See what I did here?

Ryan Foland: I saw that. My glands were salivating and getting ready to break down the information. And I think that is something I'm very much in line with, but for me, it's sailing. 

So when I talk about social media content, I've got my three sails theory. When I talk about leadership or mentorship or entrepreneurship, I physically talk about a boat and what it takes to keep it afloat and all these things. I believe metaphor and analogy are a huge part of storytelling, and I think that a lot of people are fearful of sharing these types of what may seem uncorrelated, unrelated, or having nothing to do with your profession, but at the end of the day, I tell people, people want to do business with people. They don't want to do business with businesses. Influencer marketing is an effort to try to pay to humanize your brand, but if you are a person and you are a speaker, I think people want to know what makes you tick outside of the information because it really helps to show that you have experience, which then results in your expertise.

Vivian Acquah: You know what the outcome of all this... So I'm trying to step away from carrot cake because apparently some of my clients literally sent me carrot cakes.

Ryan Foland: Oh my gosh, that sounds amazing.

Vivian Acquah: It's deadly. It's deadly for my well-being. And I'm just like... I'm talking about carrot cakes. Sometimes I even bring carrot cake... If they want me offline, I sometimes bring a carrot cake just to make everything that I shared, make it more fun. 

Carrot cake is included in my training where I talk about the acronyms, and why I believe carrot cake stands for DEI. But another thing is I never shared in any secret message that I want you, my client or my future client, to buy me carrot cake. 

So, my partner and child, are over the moon when I receive something, and I'm just like, "I'm working on my wellbeing. I'm working on my health. It's not about the carrot cake that I need to share with at least 10 people." So I'm not complaining, I'm very grateful, but there are other ways to surprise me as well.

Ryan Foland: Well, just tell your clients that instead of sending it to you, send an overt message that they can just forward that carrot cake to me. This is fine. Now I do want to use the example that you drew a little spice on, which is carrot cake as an analogy for DEI. Can you dive into that, just to the surface level, so we can again show an example?

Vivian Acquah: I can make it very simple.

Ryan Foland: Okay, let's see it. I tell my clients DEI is similar to a carrot cake where you want to be able to serve your clients the best carrot cake. 

To be able to do that, you need different ingredients. Your employees are the different ingredients. Without that everything will be bland and it wouldn't be a special carrot cake. The second thing is equity. 

This is a word that is missed by a lot of people but having diverse people within the company and not providing them tools, personal tools for them to be able to bring out their best... So for instance, if your team member is a cinnamon type, you need to bring a tool that they can rasp the cinnamon, or maybe you add orange juice to your carrot.

A little ginger, can we throw some ginger in there?

Vivian Acquah: A little ginger in your carrot cake as well, different ingredients need different tools, and you need to be able to have that conversation with your employees and say, "What do you need to bring out the best of you?"

Ryan Foland: I love it. What I think is so powerful about this type of method for the PR game is that you are helping to build your personal brand by talking about things that are personal. It's not a professional brand, it's called a personal brand, so you're more personable. And one of the things that... I don't want to say I'm irritated with it because it really doesn't affect me in that way, but I will say that it always surprises me when I meet someone or I'm connected, and the first place I usually go is to LinkedIn, then I'll go to Twitter, and then I'll go to... I have my little social media audit of where I care, and I don't check your Facebook, because I haven't checked Facebook in 10 years. I'm not going to do that.

But on their LinkedIn, I will take the time after I look at the backdrop and see what does that mean? I'll look at their face and see how I like that. I'll read their title, and their tagline to see how that is. Then I will skip to the bio. And I am so surprised that so many people on LinkedIn are not human. They are just a badass who has X amount of 300% year over year growth, and they've done this and they've closed this deal and they've done this and they've sold this and they've merged this and they've done this. And I'm just like, "Ugh." I have no way of latching onto whether they like food or whether they like sports or outdoors or sailing or cars or skateboarding or stuff.

I always encourage people to do a bio audit. The audit is to make sure that you're human and it can be very subtle. You like dogs or cats. It says a lot about you. You like boats. You like nature. You like hiking. So I'm a big fan of making your personal brand personal, and I think this is a really good topic.

Vivian Acquah: And also I try to play around with images. So I'm known for memeing people or sharing memes when I react, and regarding what you shared about the LinkedIn personal bio, I feel like playing around with your favorite or your future images or future posts is also a little way, because when you look at my LinkedIn profile, you'll see that LinkedIn sent me cupcakes. You'll see a little bit of VR. You'll also see who I am with my speaker view. And you'll see so much more where I've included some of the food elements, but also the personal stuff and also the professional stuff so that you get to see a mix of me.

Ryan Foland: Your carrot cake?

Vivian Acquah: Yeah. Especially. Yeah, exactly.

Ryan Foland: I think metaphors and analogies may just make the medicine go down more. And here's the thing. I think people are aware of DEI and I want to give the benefit of the doubt that people are excited about it and they want to have tools and do things, but it's hard to relate to DEI if that's not your expertise. But I can relate to food. So you get me food and you talk about a carrot cake and it makes it more palatable, more digestible.

Vivian Acquah: And every time that you go to the store and think about carrot cake, you know where it comes from. The reason why I came up with a carrot cake, it landed on my desk one day, and I was just like, "What about using that analogy?" Because a lot of people know the quote about being included in the party and there are so many other quotes that people created. And I was just like, "I want to create my own thing. I want to create something where people can recognize me, but also see that this quote and this way of talking about DEI comes from me."

Ryan Foland: Yeah, absolutely. So there are so many speakers that I can think of... Here's another test, the speaker association test. Can you think of a speaker, knowing what they speak about from a topical standpoint, but then can you also identify or have top of mind something that they talk about that's not related to it, but then ties in with it? 

So here are a few examples. We've had Josh Linkner on the show, and he's a jazz musician who talks about jazz music when it comes to innovation. You have, let's see, Lisa Kostova, who is a mountain climber, and she talks about women in tech. So this whole thing is about climbing your mountain and finding your career mountain.

For myself, I speak about sailing. I know there's a guy who speaks about weeds, like weeds growing in your garden, because there are certain qualities and traits of a weed that shows up in your garden, whether you'd like it or not. It expands, it takes over. There are growth hacking lessons from what to take from weeds. So I just love the customization that can come... 

And I know this is about the art of speaking, but we're really talking about using something unique to you that you're excited about that gives you a chance to tie it in and make it fresh, like a fresh carrot cake with cinnamon and ginger.

Vivian Acquah: Exactly.

Ryan Foland: I just want to touch briefly on another thing that you said, which I wrote down, which is this idea of owning your whole story. Now, this is special to me. This is something that I say, I teach. My book is called Ditch the Act, and I really feel that the more we can stop pretending that we are the person that we want to be, or that others maybe want us to be, and for us to just be like, "Eh, this is where I'm at. This is where I've been. This is the good, the bad, the ugly." For me, that's what it means to own your story, and I wanted to know from you what that means in a speaking context.

Vivian Acquah: In a speaking context, me owning my story... So I have different levels of stories and every year that I grow, I add a new chapter or a new page to my story. But the main story that a lot of people know is the one about me becoming a mom and how this journey was challenging. That's the one that I get. The reason why I'm sharing it is because a lot of people can connect with me. 

Maybe up-and-coming parents or maybe grandparents or somebody who has kids surrounding them. And I'm bringing my son, showing my humanity, I'm bringing in somebody. And kids always do well. It's not the main reason, but I tested a few things and I realized the one that works well is me sharing my story of becoming a mom and the challenges that I faced, and that works really well.

Ryan Foland: I like the idea of you testing out a few stories, and where I think that that is still rooted very authentically is that these stories are yours, and you have more stories than you can tell. 

We all have stories that we can tell and go on and on. And if you're in the right audience or a very small audience or with your family or friends, you can go on and on. Once you're in a public setting, sometimes I think we're hesitant because we feel people will judge us because that information is maybe one off and they don't know where we've come from. 

So this idea of finding your stories and then finding the story or set of stories or individual that helps to get your audience to get to know you so that they can decide whether they like you so that they can eventually trust you on a related goal scale.

So it's not that you're hiding other stories. It's that you've just done the research to find what serves the audience the most from a perspective of their learning, perspective of that connection, while still having the underlying message of showing where you're at, why you're talking about what you're talking about.

Vivian Acquah: True. And as a speaker, I tap into my vulnerability, which isn't easy. I am an ambivert, where let's say 60% of me is an intro, and 40% of me is an extrovert. So I know that it's asking a lot of me every time that I'm speaking, but I love it. I love it, and then afterward I go hiding.

Ryan Foland: Need a little moment hiding in the corner after the stage, after the big stage.

Vivian Acquah: Yeah. I get the nervousness afterward instead of before.

Ryan Foland: Is that like a food hangover? Like in the moment you're eating it, eating it, and all of a sudden you're like, "Oh my gosh, I ate too much carrot cake."

Vivian Acquah: Maybe it's an attention hangover. That's what it is. Is recovering from the energy that you have shared, but also recovering from, "Okay, this is a day where it's about me being in my bubble and recharging my battery so that I can go up to the next stage." When I know that I have multiple things during the week, I try to be very mindful of where I spend my energy and also how I can combat my energy as well. So this morning I went swimming. I know that starting your day with swimming is very good, but it's also making me tired as well, and it's my outlet for the work that I do. I have to have that outlet or else my energy will go very low.

Ryan Foland: So that sounds very much like a cooking perspective, like a baking perspective. You've got to understand the energy. You've got to know the ingredients. You have that foresight. I'm the exact opposite. I literally just run into fall and then life delivers the Sundays every once in a while where I'm able to recoup. But I like that as a note of being a bit more aware of my battery level to make sure that I'm giving all of that that I need when I'm on stage. 

Okay, this is all good stuff. We're talking about speaking tips, which start with how people learn about you as a speaker, which is a bit meta, but we're really talking about going inside the oven. We're talking about the smells that are going to come from your social media profiles to see what it is that you're cooking.

And in particular, whether it's cooking or sailing or mountain climbing or music, something that makes your speeches and your messages personal and relatable. Because if you can make something that is familiar to someone, swimming, yoga, being outdoors, and associate that with some of these more philosophical or more technical or more, I guess, things that you have to invest more in because you're learning, if you can draw those associations with things in real life, it is the medicine that makes that learning go down.

Vivian Acquah: Yeah. I learned a lot from teachers who were boring, and I'm not saying that all my teachers were boring, but the majority weren't that exciting. And I told myself, "Never ever will I do that." I want to be somebody who's engaging. I want to be using different tools. I'm a geek, I'm a nerd, so the robot behind me, there's a reason why it's there because I love using tools like Slido or using tools like Kahoot! or Mentimeter to spice up the engagement. 

I don't want it to be about me, me, me talking me, me, me, because the work that I do, it's about inclusion. I want to include my audience as well so that they can see that I am listening to them. I am listening to what they want and how they see DEI within their company.

Ryan Foland: You're basically just making one big batch of carrot... Is there a carrot batch beforehand or just like... I don't really know how to make carrot cake. Do you throw them all in together, just bring some ginger, and cinnamon?

Vivian Acquah: Test it, try it.

Ryan Foland: That's it. I'm going to try to find a festive occasion, and I'm going to make some... But it's going to be likely carrot ginger cake. I need to tie all the ginger in there.

Vivian Acquah: Whatever, your carrot cake is your carrot cake, and that's the thing. Some people like carrot cheesecake, some people like carrot cupcake. You can do it without walnuts. You can do it with walnuts. You are your own chef.

Ryan Foland: I love it. And to be honest, I actually really do like carrot juice. I have secrets. This is a little vulnerable moment. I pretty much always have carrot juice in the fridge. It's my sipper. And maybe it's just because it's a ginger color, maybe because it tastes good. Maybe because I was watching Gilligan's Island back in the day and I'll never forget the episode where a bunch of these carrots came to shore and they all ate them and then they all of a sudden were able to see ships off in the distance, but then they didn't realize that the carrots were actually helping with their vision, and I recognized, "Wait, carrots help with your vision?" Hook, line, and sinker, I was like, carrots are good for this ginger.

Vivian Acquah: Exactly.

Ryan Foland: Well let's transition basically into helping understand how you build your business, how you grow your stages, how you work up your fees, how you find your fees, how all of the things have to do with the business side of things. What would you like to open and pull from the pantry and share with us?

Vivian Acquah: You took over my whole kitchen cooking analogy as well. So what's in my kitchen? I share with you that I love using tools. So let's say that I have an AppSumo addiction.

Ryan Foland: AppSumo. I do know AppSumo. For people who don't know AppSumo, talk about AppSumo.

Vivian Acquah: Well AppSumo is the place where starting freelancers or somebody who doesn't want to invest monthly in a subscription or in an IT tool, AppSumo is my go-to place when a company is creating a new tool or has a new tool, existing tool, and they want to sell it for a cheaper price where you pay a one-time fee or maybe a smaller fee. 

And when I found AppSumo, where I bought Book Like a Boss, for instance, which is a similar platform like Calendly, but maybe a little bit better. I'm not saying that Calendly is not good, but Book Like a Boss for me was a one-time investment.

Because now working as a freelancer, doing those whole monthly costs, they add up and I rather invest one time, and for me to be able to have a page where people can book me can get a follow-up, but not only get a follow-up, they get an SMS, they get a reminder as well. People seem to think that I am doing that manually, but the only thing that I did was set it up once, which will take about one or two hours depending on how savvy you are, and then it's just copy paste and use it for the next time, and then use it again for something else, for your products as well. 

So I love using automation.

Ryan Foland: Could we say that Book Like a Boss is like the Keurig of calendaring?

Vivian Acquah: Yeah. And also another thing is when people come on my website and they want to know more about me and they want to book me, for instance, they can already make a selection. I made it easier by sharing my most asked training or workshop, and if there is something else, they can also share it there. I know the date, I know the hour, I know my audience. 

Why? Because I'm asking them certain questions so that they can fill it up. And that makes my life easier. So doing a pre-survey so that you know what the client is coming for is better than not knowing anything at all, or knowing that we want to hire you, but not knowing their budget, not knowing how many people they're going to talk to, and not knowing if it's going to be online of offline as well, because all these things are the building blocks or the ingredients for defining your price.

Ryan Foland: And then you go into proposing what batter you're going to put together based on ingredients that so that the cake is something that they are after.

Vivian Acquah: Exactly.

Ryan Foland: Because maybe they want cupcakes.

Vivian Acquah: Exactly.

Ryan Foland: All right, so tell us some other tools. What are some of these other things that you're using to automate or to help systematize or to help demystify the process of building a business?

Vivian Acquah: As a speaker you have to have a tool. I'm not saying that you have to buy a tool, but you have to have access to a tool where you're asking your client questions. Questions that can help you, but also help your client. The client is there for a reason. They want to come to you because there is a challenge that they are facing and they are asking you to share your knowledge so that this challenge is a little bit smaller. But what if you are asking questions that are helpful not only for now at the time, but also for the future? That will help for instance, their ERG team. That will help their DEI team to create a calendar for the upcoming years. So I try to make my one-time appearance, try to make it something that they will ask me for more times as well.

Ryan Foland: So is that a tool? Explain what that looks like? You had me, I was ready to buy, but I'm not sure what you're using.

Vivian Acquah: So are you familiar with Mentimeter or Kahoot?

Ryan Foland: Those are virtual real-time games that you're playing within Zoom.

Vivian Acquah: It's some kind of virtual game, but see Slido as a way to ask ice breakers or a way to learn how their energy is at the time. This is also something that you can add into your service and products saying that I'm noticing that a lot of people have lower energy. Have you looked into that? What are you providing that so that they can also see that you are not only coming in to help them with something DEI-related. I'm also a wellbeing consultant. So I also look into that aspect as well and try to bring... Either they hire me for wellbeing, and I bring in the DEI aspect as well.

I'm noticing that a lot of people are saying that they don't belong here, that they feel like they are not belonging and there is no belonging in the workplace as well, or I notice that a lot of people are saying that they are stressed. What tools are you providing them to prevent that?

Ryan Foland: So you're using tools and also showing how those tools can be a drip effect or leftovers for people to hang out and eat later on?

Vivian Acquah: It's a great way for the client to continue their quest on amplifying employee engagement, and I'm making their work easier.

Ryan Foland: Are you also making money as an affiliate? Is this another-

Vivian Acquah: Oh, definitely.

Ryan Foland: Okay, cool. So I like this. You're using the tool, showing the tool for engagement, talking about engagement, and leaving it as a leftover.

Vivian Acquah: But I'm using the tool, the outcome of the questions.

Ryan Foland: So you're using the tool within your programming, which then gives you an idea of how the employees are interacting well beyond your talk, to then take that information and go back to the client and say, "Hey, it's really fun sharing my information, but just so you know, your audience, according to a poll, felt this way. They're also sharing this with me, which they might not be sharing with you. So as a leave behind, I would suggest X, Y, and Z tools, which I'm making an affiliate on, for you to move forward with."

Vivian Acquah: It could be tools or it could be, "Bring me back in to support you more or to guide you more or share more."

Ryan Foland: Yeah, you got the cheese, I'm the grater. Let's connect and grate some cheese together.

Vivian Acquah: Yes. It's all about making my client's work life easier.

Ryan Foland: You got any other ones here? We're talking about AppSumo to get bulk pricing on... Or one-time pricing on experimental apps or new apps. You've got things like Slido, Mimeo.

Vivian Acquah: Mentimeter. Mentimeter and Kahoot.

Ryan Foland: Mixing bowl, we're mixing them all up together. In an AppSumo Meter Menti, Is that it?

Vivian Acquah: No.

Ryan Foland: What else? What are some of your, either other favorite tools? I feel like you've got a lot of these tools, and what are some other ways that you're using tools to build your business?

Vivian Acquah: Okay, this is my whole cycle. So I bought something from AppSumo, it's called SoundWise. I am a live streamer, so from time to time, I stream live. But my challenge was I want to do a one time thing. I don't want to stream live and then do a podcast. So I'm using SoundWise as an automation. So my live stream, which I'm using a different tool for, but that's a whole nother thing, my live stream, once it goes into YouTube, SoundWise converts it to a podcast. And I don't have to do anything. I only have to set it up once, and that's it. It means that it's unedited, though, but it's there. And I multistream, so I stream LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter.

Ryan Foland: TikTok?

Vivian Acquah: No that I don't do, but I use Missinglettr for the other platforms.

Ryan Foland: Missinglettr? What the heck is Missinglettr?

Vivian Acquah: So once my interview is done, so once my multi-streaming is done, I convert it to a blog, and converting it to a blog means that I have at least for 12 months, I have content for 12 months.

Ryan Foland:  So smart. I am a big fan of that as well. If I'm going to invest the time to do something, you might as well not only multiply the efforts, but let's just take that off the table, and let's just consider our audience in mind. Some people like to watch it. Some people like to listen to it. Some people like to read it. And some people like to physically kinesthetically be there. So you're really serving your audience by multiplying your efforts to make your life easier. So you can invest your own time cooking whatever you want. In addition to helping people cook.

Vivian Acquah: And also sometimes not all the people see and read everything, and every conversation I always have hidden gems in the conversation. So I might bring up hidden number gem one. The next time, next month, hidden gem two, hidden gem three. And I use that and spread that to 12 months. Each month, one article is being highlighted. And it makes my content very easier because I'm posting maybe three times manually for myself, but the rest, and that means two or three times extra, is from Missinglettr because I'm drip feeding all the content.

Ryan Foland: Interesting. You might also like a software called I've been playing with it. It's got so many tools, sometimes that's a bit much, but essentially you can take an article-

Vivian Acquah: It sounds right up my alley.

Ryan Foland: Yeah, you can take an article and it will have an AI algorithm read the article and suggest social copy based on small, medium, or large. Then you can actually schedule into the future and have it repeat as often as you want in perpetuity or on certain dates, so you can have a single piece of content that actually the software pulls the social copy from. 

You can even have a whole bunch of images that you can rotate through. And honestly, sometimes it's so hard to figure out how to set up, to make it easy for yourself, there's that bridge. But as you said, and you've echoed, takes a little bit to get set up, but once you do it, then there's a lot of value from it.

Vivian Acquah: Yeah, once you do it's just a one-time thing. It's just a one-time thing. And there are so many tools out there. I mean, sometimes I'm just like... A few months ago I was just like, "Okay, one month no AppSumo. Please don't do anything because you already have enough." And I literally have a lot. But it's the little monster within me. I am an IT nerd. I love using tools to make my work easier. And if there is a tool that makes my work a little bit more easier, I'll use it.

Ryan Foland: Do you use applets? Do you know what applets are?

Vivian Acquah: I think I heard of it, but I'm not sure if I'm using that.

Ryan Foland: Have you heard of the applet called If Then Then That?

Vivian Acquah: Oh, definitely.

Ryan Foland: Definitely. I thought you might. So an applet-

Vivian Acquah: Definitely. If you said that the first go, then definitely. Of course, I'm using what-ifs.

Ryan Foland: Okay. So if people don't know what If Then Then That is, it's an applet and it connects apps together. So when somebody fills out a Google form, that can trigger an applet that then puts something onto a calendar, and in the meantime, it will send an email to someone and do all these... So you can have the apps talking together, which is... Again, it takes time to think it through and utilize it, but then we can automate it.

Vivian Acquah: Yeah, definitely.

Ryan Foland: There we go. Well, another tool that I'm excited about, and that is actually how we connected is through SpeakerHub. is a place for speakers to put their profiles, to generate one-pagers, to reply to call for speakers. It's definitely something that is an exciting tool. It's a little investment to get involved, but then it's its own tool.

Vivian Acquah: You're saying it is an investment. Believe me, the investment that I made has paid it out so many times. So I wouldn't say that... It's an investment. Of course, it's a hefty investment when you're starting out, but still-

Ryan Foland: In time and effort, like all these things.

Vivian Acquah: Within a month, it was. And it's still repaying me over and over again. And I'm just like, "No, it's worth paying for the gold version."

Ryan Foland: And here we are, look at this carrot cake just spitting gold and Bitcoin and Ethereum all out of it.

Vivian Acquah:  No, I don't do Bitcoin. There are certain things of the IT side I don't-

Ryan Foland: You don't get paid? So if I want to hire you and pay you in Bitcoin or Ethereum, is that not part of your program?

Vivian Acquah: No. I want money. Money that I can-

Ryan Foland: For me, talking about technology, I actually am very bullish on blockchain, web3, NFTs, metaverse, and actually, if you want to hire me to speak, you can purchase an NFT which unlocks that utility. So all kinds of crazy tools and things.

Vivian Acquah: Awesome. There are so many things. I am doing a lot with VR. That's something else, not in the meta, but in a different space. I am doing that, but there's so much out there and I just turned 42. I know you cannot see it, but I just turned 42.

Ryan Foland: Me too. I just turned 42 a week ago.

Vivian Acquah: A week ago?

Ryan Foland: Well, it depends on when this goes out, but August 13th is my big birthday. I'm a Leo. Strong.

Vivian Acquah: I am also a Leo.

Ryan Foland: 42 is the new 30. We are very strong in our years here.

Vivian Acquah: Exactly. I think that the audience has enough tools that they can work on right now.

Ryan Foland: Yeah, they're taking notes, it's getting crazy, and this is a perfect time to end it. Otherwise, we're just going to keep on cooking. So much to learn. Really, at the end of the day, there are stories that have happened to you, which may be you're shy, bashful, or afraid to share with the world. But those stories can be the ones that you own to help people understand who you are. If you're looking at building your professional speaking, don't forget about the personal things that you enjoy and how that can create a unique approach to your leadership or entrepreneurship topics, whatever it is saying. Ship, get it, sailing, got it, cooking with oil.

Vivian Acquah: Oh, I get it. Oh, I get it.

Ryan Foland: And at the same time, there are more hacks and apps that you can use and utilize, but you have to spend the time, you have to invest in it, you have to channel your inner geek. You have to be okay to have something boil over or something blow up in the kitchen because you got to get dirty with it. But when you do, you can automate, you can be smarter, and you can spend more time doing the things that you actually like to do while being a more effective speaker when people pay you to do what you love to do.

Vivian Acquah: True. And I need to add, if you are not that tech-savvy, you can always hire a VA that is tech-savvy. I am fortunate that I do know a lot, but I have come to a stage where I found a VA who is doing a lot of tech and I'm loving it and who is making my work easier. So that's it.

Ryan Foland: That's the original app right there, is a human app. Where'd you get that? No, it's called a VA app. It's a VA app. Hey, well this has been a pleasure sharing some time in the kitchen. Next time I'll definitely bring my apron because I feel like I got stuff all over my shirt, but that means that we're just trying. 

For those people who want some carrot cake in the form of a speech, how do they get in touch with you? Where do they find you? What's the best place to get you, your podcast, all the stuff that is out there, sharing your info?

Vivian Acquah: The best place to find me is on LinkedIn. I mean, I am on Twitter and all the other platforms, but if you really want to talk to me, connect with me on LinkedIn or find me via my website,

Ryan Foland: Awesome. Well hey, on behalf of all of our listeners, fans, and followers, I want to thank you for sharing your insights, your tools, your tips, and the treasures. The, can we say, hidden nuggets that are chocolate nuggets, the little pieces of ginger that are hidden in the cookie? Or the white chocolate or the mint that's crushed up in there. Or maybe even we draw some peanut M&Ms just in case. 

Maybe a couple of the peanut butter M&Ms just to blow their minds and their palate all at the same time. 

All right, everybody, you've heard it. And remember, if you are a speaker and you want to get more traction, we've heard it here, you can go to That is a great tool. I appreciate them for fueling this podcast for so long and it's very exciting to learn more, because each time I talk with somebody from SpeakerHub, I learn more. Each time I talk with a speaker, I learn more.

And at the end of the day, we're all chefs in our own kitchen, so let's have a big cook off and share the knowledge based on our own personal experiences. 

And if you want to learn about me and my story, if you want to hire me to come speak and get your crowd riled up, or if you want me to be the MC of your next charity event, all you got to do is find me online. 

And if you know my name, you know my website, you can find me at That's it. 

Check out our other episodes. Don't just be a listener, be a subscriber.

 Vivian, it's been a pleasure. 

Thank you so much. And we'll cook something up soon.

Vivian Acquah: Thank you, Ryan.


A bit about World of Speakers

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

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